Happy Friday

Friday, April 24

Hello and Happy Friday friends, 

We have had some gorgeous sunny afternoons this week in London, and together with the longer days and the gorgeous blossoms on the trees, spring/summer is feeling more like a reality!

We are slowly getting settled into our lovely new home, although it does feel like the final few boxes just never seem to be unpacked.  Our sofa should hopefully arrive mid May, but until then I am so glad that we ordered the maternity rocking chair (that you can sort of see in the second picture above).  It is so much more comfortable than the garden chairs we were sitting on initially! We now also have 4 dining chairs and a small table that is currently doubling as a desk and place to eat until our real dining room table arrives, which should also be next month.

We have had a few little niggles that have needed sorting out since we moved in, but I think that is pretty typical with any new building, and our small list of issues is rapidly dwindling.

As soon as the flat is looking is more photogenic and less cramped with boxes I will share some pictures on here too.

Baby wise, our buggy and car seat arrived this week (all feeling VERY real now), and Pete also put together the cot for us.  My friend Holly very kindly made me a few lists of the essential baby items that you need if you have limited space and live in a small apartment. These have been a life saver and I will share them on here soon. There are so many gorgeous things out there, and even though I think I know a little about baby products from working with Mum's and babies, I would have bought SO many unnecessary things without her very concise lists! 

Pregnancy wise, (other than some back pain) all is going well and I am now 32 weeks pregnant.  I feel gigantic and really have new respect for anyone who is overweight and exercises regularly. I have been amazed by how much more difficult I have found things like climbing the stairs and getting on and off of the floor, with being so much heavier than usual.  It takes so much more effort and exercising is so much more exhausting and less appealing!  Seriously, I applaud anyone who is overweight and regularly works out.

I seem to have (thankfully) forgotten all the ridiculous beige food cravings of my first trimester and I am once agin LOVING all things fruit, vegetable and salad related. Thank goodness, and long may it last.

Talking of exercise, the AMAZING pregnancy yoga class that I was going to on a Saturday has been cancelled. And it's made me really sad. I can't seem to find another one nearby that is as convenient.  And one I did find this week, is on at the same time as our birth preparation classes which we start soon.  I went to a pregnancy pilates class on Monday, which is conveniently across the road from our house.  And it was ok, but not wonderful. Also the one movement that I tell all my patients to avoid to not exacerbate their tummy muscle separation was included as an exercise! I couldn't believe it!!

I am SO much more of a yoga than a pilates person.

Ok, enough from me.

Have a super weekend lovely people!  

The anti stretch mark creams I have used in Pregnancy

Monday, April 20

Apparently there is no concrete research that proves that applying body lotions, oils or butters during pregnancy has any impact on reducing or preventing stretch marks.

However there are a multitude of products out there that promise you that they will leave your tummy and breasts stretch mark free after you have grown a baby inside of you.

Anecdotally however, I would say that they do work. As every patient of mine who has managed to come out (relatively) stretch mark free has sworn by putting lotion on after every bath or shower!

And so whilst the Physio in me knows that there is no hard evidence, I just feel that I have to make the best effort possible with reducing the potential damage from this rapidly growing tummy of mine.

I've never been particularly good with putting body lotion on regularly so adapting to this ritual has taken some getting used to.

I also think that when your body is changing so much in weight and shape, you can become a little disconnected from yourself.  And so I'm also using this daily ritual to help me (try to) embrace my changing figure! I also try and consciously 'connect' to the baby while doing so. Either speaking out aloud or in my mind to the baby.

A few people recommended bio oil to me. But my friend Lisa who is a guru in all things skin product related long ago warned me of the hidden horrors in the ingredients in bio oil.

Now if money is no object to you, then there are some amazing all natural and organic products available to you.

But if you are like me and don't have hundreds of pounds to spend each month on beauty products, then you may find some of the below recommendations helpful.

Upon the recommendation of Google, I started with using this Mama Mio Tummy Rub Butter. It smells lovely and has a great consistency. It is packed with natural oils and contains none of the nasty ingredients that you want to avoid putting on in the vicinity of your baby. I really loved it, but at £23.50 for the 120 g tub (120 ml), when I ran out of it after 3 weeks I decided to try and find a more affordable alternative.  (I was planning to keep the empty tub of Mama Mio to include in the picture for this post but I must have ended up throwing it away on our move! Sorry! The packaging is lovely).

After some more internet research, the next time that I ordered a tub of the Mama Mio, I also ordered a tub of this Derma Mum stretch mark cream.  It is also made primarily with natural ingredients and is free from petrochemicals. At £12.25 for 500mls, you can't really beat it for value for money! Initially I was using the Mama Mio after my morning shower and then the Derma Mum in the evenings.  I  really like the consistency of the Derma Mum and it has almost no odour which is great when you are pregnant and struggling to tolerate smells! (I couldn't even handle wearing perfume for the first 6 months as it made me feel so sick!) I would say that the Derma Mum has been my favourite of the products that I have tried and I would really recommend the Derma Mum cream to anyone. There is also an oil - but I don't like the greasiness that I've experienced with trying other body oils so haven't tried it.  I would say that the Derma Mum has lasted me about 10 weeks.

I was also given a tube of this Palmer's Cocoa Butter Massage cream for stretch marks by a friend.  It is paraben free, and when we went to Chamonix I packed it as it was far easier than taking my 500ml tub of Derma Mum.  I really like the consistency of the the cocoa butter, but I can find the smell a little overwhelming! There is NO ways that I could have handled putting this lotion on in the first few months! But if you are used to using cocoa butter and like the smell then this could be great for you.  At £4.40 for 100g it's not as affordable as Derma Mum but better value than the Mama Mio oil.  I also tend to sweat more with this product on than the others - but that may just be me.

 I popped into Lush a few weeks ago (there is NO ways I could have handled the olfactory overload of their stores in my early pregnancy) and asked what products they have for reducing stretch marks. The shop assistant (very correctly) told me that not getting stretch marks is mainly down to good luck and genetics, and said that whilst they don't do a specific product, she recommended I try one of their massage bars.  Lush is renowned for having all natural ingredients and is anti animal cruelty too. She recommended I try the Therapy massage bar. It's about the size of a bar of soap and costs £6.50 for the 50g. At room temperature it is hard like soap, but once you start rubbing it over your body then it releases an oily residue. The smells of the essential oils in the bar are quite subtle (especially for lush) and I like the mixture of lavender and sweet orange that you can smell as the oil binds to your skin.  I find the whole experience can get a little greasy though and I have to ensure I have a few minutes before getting dressed to allow the oil to dry off a little.  I also have to wash my hands with soap afterwards as otherwise I feel that all I touch afterwards is covered in oil! If I am in a hurry to get dressed or dying to get into bed I don't use the bar. But once a week after a bath I use it over my whole body and it feels great.

I hope that this has helped you a little, and remember as you are loving your body and connecting with your baby, to rub the lotion (or bar) from above your breasts, over your breasts, tummy, side and buttocks and over your upper thighs!

So far I am (fingers crossed) stretch mark free over my belly.  Please may that continue, and may genetics and luck be on my side (and your side) too!

And if I do get some stretch marks, I will know that I did my best to avoid them!

Please do let me know on Facebook or Instagram if you have any natural and affordable anti stretch mark cream favourites.

Affordable Maternity Clothes Shopping in London

Friday, April 17

I don't think that until you are actually pregnant, can you fathom just how much your body shape is going to change!  At around 18 weeks, I started to struggle to fit into my usual clothes. Frustrated at how rapidly my options were beginning to dwindle, I struck out on an afternoon's shopping spree to Covent Garden to get myself some wardrobe staples.  Unfortunately I hadn't really done my homework very well and the Gap and H & M stores there didn't stock any maternity clothes.

This didn't really phase me as I just bought a few things in larger sizes than I would usually do, thinking this would totally suffice for the pregnancy! Well of course that was a ridiculous notion, because leggings that fit around a big belly also expect you to have rather large legs and so clump at the ankles. And once you have worn maternity leggings that cover and support your belly- you don't want to go back to wearing ones that sit uncomfortably halfway across your tummy!

And maternity clothes are just SO much more flattering over a bump than bigger clothes for a typical body shape!

What I did buy that day that have served me well though were a few bigger jumpers and some camisole tops that I wore under my usual tops for as along as I could. The extra length of the cami tops helped my usual tops look ok for a few more weeks than they would have otherwise!

The below are a few pointers that I wish I had been given early on in my pregnancy.

1. Maternity leggings are a MUST. I have 2 pairs from H & M, which I thought were ok until one of my patients (who usually only wears designer clothes) told me about these ones from George at ASDA. I know, I had never bought clothes their either but their leggings are awesome and a steal at 2 for £12! I have worn and washed mine loads of times and they are still perfect! They have this pleated bit on the sides that allows more room for expansion than the H & M ones and generally just feel like better quality and are more comfortable! I also have one of their maternity swimming costumes and it is lovely!

2. Apparently you can now only buy GAP maternity clothes online. However, they do take maternity returns in store and so it's worth looking on the sale racks if they have any that have been returned,as they often just want to get rid of them! I managed to find these ones (in black) for £9,99 on the sale rack (usually £45) and the full stretchy panel that goes over your tummy make them really comfy. They have also accommodated my growing belly far better than I expected them to.

3.  New Look have some nice maternity clothes and the winter coat that I bought there has been BRILLIANT. I thought I would survive the winter with just leaving my usual coat unzipped but it wasn't very comfortable and Pete joked the one day that the baby may be getting cold and so I felt really should get one!  They don't have the one I bought on there anymore but I'm sure that they will have something similar again for winter.  I've only bought online from New Look but I think that their bigger stores may have some maternity stock in them? The green top that I am wearing in picture 2 above is from there too.

4. H&M have quite a limited maternity range available, but everything that I have bought there has been really cheap and 'alright' quality. The pink top I'm wearing in picture 1 above is from there and was only £7.  I have bought a couple of things from them as their store in Putney stocks maternity clothes (ok it's 2 rails but better than nothing) and their store at Southside shopping centre also has maternity clothes. Both of these are close to where I live so I have frequented them quite often! A good thing to know is that their maternity clothes are actually housed in their children's stores or sections.  I also bought some really lovely navy trousers there last week but I can't see them online. I also bought the dress that I am wearing in this post there. I may try and get a second one from there too.

5. The lovely top in picture number 3 is the most expensive item I've bought thus far and I LOVE it, the navy dress in picture 4 is from the same maternity shop The Maternity Company, in Sheen. I've driven past it for years on my way to Richmond and finally popped in there a few weeks ago! They have gorgeous things there although they are more expensive (but better quality) than the high street stores above, I also bought 2 t shirts there that are breast feeding friendly (i.e. accessible) for after the baby is born. If I was going to a Wedding or smart function in the next few weeks I would definitely spoil myself with something from there!

6. Bra's. Oh my goodness I read somewhere online when I first fell pregnant that few ladies tolerate regular under wire bras when pregnant and I remember thinking that sounded quite bizarre. Well after buying bigger sizes of my regular bras I soon began to find them really uncomfortable. I have found the very cheap (£2.50!) stretchy sports bra's from Primark a life saver. I recently bought a maternity bra that has detachable straps for feeding from Mothercare (£18) and it's super. I also bought  a two pack of maternity bra's from H & M for around £10 and they seem ok too.  I think I will buy a few more from Mothercare in the next few weeks. Talking of Mothercare, the store closest to me doesn't stock maternity clothes, but a few of my friends have found some lovely things in their other branches! I think I need to have a further browse of their online things.

6.  I have looked often on ASOS at their maternity range but not actually bought anything from them! I keep hoping that a stunning summer maxi dress is going to come up in their sale - but I am yet to find one.

7. Seraphine is another site that I frequently browse but am yet to buy anything from. Their dresses are GORGEOUS! I just wish that they were half the price...

Anyway,  I hope that this has helped a little if you are pregnant!

As a general rule I would say it's safer to buy larger tops and work them with a tummy than it is to with trousers!

And I am sorry that I don't have any advice for those of you that need formal work attire, being a Physio and yoga teacher I fortunately don't have to dress very smartly!

Moving House at 30 weeks Pregnant

Wednesday, April 15

Oh my goodness but moving STRESSES me out. I get this weird guilt and anxiety about how much I own and I find the final 10% of random stuff that needs packing up extremely awful and traumatic. 

After a number of delays with the flat that we bought off plan back in 2013, Saturday was the day that we were finally scheduled to move in.  It's really close to where we have been renting, (the flats are visible to each other from their balconies), but far enough to still be a big mission to move between.

Unsurprisingly, moving at 30 weeks pregnant was not fun. (Even though my super husband insisted that I go to the beauticians for the afternoon whilst he dealt with the movers.)

All was going well until the lift at our new place jammed closed with some of our things inside of it. Ordinarily this would not have been a massive problem.  Unfortunately the only thing that we actually needed to be able to sleep at our new flat, THE MATTRESS was inside of the lift at the time of the doors jamming closed.  The poor movers then had to carry up the remainder of our possessions up to the second floor.

Incredibly, although we live in one of the biggest cities in the world, in a first world country, and the majority of the development is still teaming with builders - the lift was unable to opened until Tuesday. Meaning that we were unable to sleep at our new place until last night.

On Saturday evening I found the whole thing quite comical and after we had cooked dinner in our new home, showered and brushed our teeth we headed back to our rented flat to sleep on the bed there for the night (fortunately we have had a weeks crossover as a result of all the unexpected delays).

On Sunday I was a little annoyed by it but I knew that it was the last night of having to sleep at the old flat and so walked back and forth in my pyjamas.

When the lift still hadn't been opened on Monday evening, I had a bit of pregnancy hormone frustrated meltdown and the lady from the property management company caught the grumpiest most tearful and hysterical version of myself possible.  It turns out their 'it will be fixed in 24 hours' is not in line with what an actual unit of 24 hours of time is.

In the big scheme of life, it really is rather insignificant. It's not like we didn't have anywhere to stay, and the flats are really close together.  But when you have almost killed yourselves saving money for the deposit and been SO excited to move and it's already been delayed by 4 months and you are feeling tired and heavy and emotional - it SUDDENLY BECOMES THE END OF THE WORLD.

Our sofa (which actually also has a sofa bed) is yet to arrive, so we have been sitting on 2 garden chairs since we moved in there. Certainly not the most comfortable for me at this point!

Anyway, fortunately after numerous more phone calls and Pete making enemies with everyone that he spoke to, it was finally opened yesterday at midday. It took around 30 seconds for the lift engineers to do so and we were able to retrieve the boxes and most importantly the MATTRESS from where they had been held captive since the Saturday.

And so we are finally (sans much furniture) in our gorgeous new flat.  It is all lovely and brand new and has so many windows with gorgeous natural light flowing through them. Especially with the incredible weather that we have had yesterday and today!

The picture above is of the kitchen (and the 2 welcome hampers that we received when moving in).

And this is my first bump selfie in our new HOME!

Enough of my whinging story now, it's time to go of a walk along the river in the SUNSHINE!

Life Lately

Thursday, April 9

Last night I had a lovely catch up with some of my favourite blogger girls, Che, Freya, Catherine and Jo.  Although I think that I am actually pretty fortunate to still be allowed to attend our blogger catch ups as I hardly seem to blog at all!

I had such great plans for this space of mine on the internet when I fell pregnant (before I got the morning sickness of death of course). I was going to share regular updates and write all the kinds of pregnancy related posts that I LOVE reading.

And then life somehow got in the way.  Pete has been using the computer that I like to write on more frequently than he used to, and I'm very fortunate that my Physio practice has been really busy this year.

Throw in us moving house this weekend, and the dreaded job of sorting out and packing up all that we own, and time continues to disappear quickly.  I also did a week long Masters level Physio course in Birmingham 2 weeks ago (where obviously I was a nerd and did ALL the recommended pre course reading, which took ages)!

So basically, there have just been fewer hours in the day lately than there usually are for me.

I have now stopped seeing the heavier children that I treat. Being a Physio for children with special needs can involve a fair amount of lifting; and doing so with a belly in the way is not the easiest! Avoiding angry physical outbursts from children with autism and behavioural disorders is also not the simplest when you are conscious of protecting your belly.

I am so fortunate that my friend Michelle, who is a brilliant physio and lovely person is taking over treating my special kiddies for me while I am off of work. THANK YOU Michelle!

I have only seen 5 patients since last Wednesday and it has felt very very strange to have all this time to myself (in between packing up our flat).  I am so grateful that I have the job that I have.  I have really been struck again in the last few days by how much joy and purpose I get from working.  I still find it quite incredible that I actually get paid to hang out with, and treat the children that I do.

With regards to work, I'm not sure how much time I will have off after our baby is born.  I will see how things go. I am also really lucky that going back to work for me, could just be an hour or two here or there, and wouldn't have to entail me having to leave our baby for the entire day.

Pregnancy wise, I am 30 weeks pregnant today! My belly feels huge (as you can see in the selfie above surrounded by packing boxes).  I was a little worried a few weeks ago when the midwife measured my tummy and said 'your baby is huge'.  Especially with everyone constantly asking me if I'm having twins! However the 4d scan that we had last week showed that there is certainly only one and it's weight is very average for it's age. Phew. The 4d scan was fascinating and I will write another post about my thoughts on scans for if you live in London!

I have generally felt pretty fabulous for the past few months. Other than a week long mild tummy bug, I've had no more sickness and having a pregnant belly is actually pretty cool (once you have invested in some maternity clothes and are no longer trying unsuccessfully to squeeze into your normal gear).  I will write a post soon on my experiences with maternity clothes shopping in London too!

We went to Chamonix a few weeks ago which was lovely, although typically I had issues with boarding the flight at Heathrow - terminal 5 is my nemesis... I will share some of my pictures from there soon too.

We had a very quiet Easter weekend as we were supposed to be moving last weekend but building delays put a stop to that plan.  Fingers crossed that we do manage to get the keys tomorrow and to move in successfully on Saturday!

Ok enough rambling for now I think.

Thanks for reading this.

I have a few more boxes to pack...
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