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Baby | How We Got Oliver to Sleep in His Crib

Thursday, 29 December 2016
In our 8 week battle to get Oliver to sleep in his crib, we tried just about everything. The hot water bottle in the bed, the piece of clothing so he can still smell me .. even Ewan the sheep and his therapeutic white noise wouldn't settle our little one. He'd fall asleep so easily in our arms but no matter what we did, he'd wake up as soon as we put him down. We'd persevere, but after five or six cycles of rocking/singing him to sleep, waiting for him to get into a deep sleep, putting him down and then comforting him when he cried hysterically minutes later, we'd give up. 

For the first 8 weeks of his life, I slept (or dozed at the most) propped up with pillows surrounding me while holding Oliver on my chest. It broke all the rules on safe sleeping, but it was literally the only way we could function. I spent the first months dreading night time and the mental torture of trying the same failed methods with a tired baby screaming in my face and on top of that, I had the guilt of co-sleeping and the worry that something might happen.

We'd spoken to parents who have had a similar problem (and had also ended up co-sleeping) and all of them said the same thing - it's trial and error. Keep trying different things and eventually you'll find the winning combination. Every baby has their breakthrough night eventually. 

So we kept going and two weeks ago we went from sleepless nights to a full 9 hour sleep, with Oliver in his side-sleeping crib. When he woke for a bottle at 5am, I'd already been awake for twenty minutes staring at him in disbelief! I thought it might have been a fluke (as we'd had a few of those) but since that night, he's slept in his crib every night(!) and everything seems to have fallen into place. There's a few things that I think contributed towards Oliver settling at night but here's the top 3 and the most important ones in my opinion. Here's our winning combination - our breakthrough!

newborn baby sleeping tips

1. Acid Reflux - We noticed that Oliver would often grunt, cough and cough up when laid on his back. He wasn't bring up his milk, it was more like an acidic water and after reading online, it became clear he had all the symptoms of acid reflux. Things got worse around 5 weeks and after trying baby gaviscon (which just made him constipated and even more unhappy), we were prescribed Ranitidine. This is a liquid medicine given in a syringe into his mouth three times a day. It took around a week to have a noticeable effect but he's been much better. He still coughs up every now and then but it's no where near as bad. We noticed it was working when he started enjoying being on his changing mat!

2. Swaddling - I always knew that Oliver needed to be swaddled because his startle reflex would often be the thing that woke him up, but he just wouldn't let us do it. If we managed to wrap him in a blanket, he'd fight his way out within a few minutes. One night (at around 3am I'm sure), I discovered these velcro swaddles on Amazon and had to give them a try. On the first night, I watched Oliver startle himself several times but since the velcro held the swaddle completely in place, he didn't wake up. It must have made him feel like he was being held. Swaddling is definitely the best way to stop the startle reflex and I'm so glad we kept trying!

3. The Swing - A huge turning point has been getting Oliver to sit on his own during the day. Until then, he'd always need to be held throughout the day unless he was being pushed in the pram. He would cry in his vibrating bouncy chair or if I'd sit him upright on the couch with pillows. My mum bought him this swinging chair and it's been a total life changer. Oliver really enjoys being in the swing and it's adorable to watch him smiling and looking around. If he's tired, he will quite happily go for a nap in it and this has got him used to sleeping on his own and out of my arms. 

Did any of you have a baby that wouldn't sleep on his back? What was your breakthrough? 

5 Things I've Realised As a New Mum

Tuesday, 20 December 2016
When you're expecting a baby, some people are overly keen on telling you how your life is going to change. It may have been my pregnancy hormones in overdrive, but I always felt there was a slight negative tone to some of them. Masked by a slightly passive aggressive laugh, they would basically tell me to enjoy my life now, because it's going to be pretty hard when the baby arrives. 

It's definitely true that your life changes. But I'm far from looking back at my old life and wishing I had that again (except a full nights sleep, but that'll come back eventually). In fact, being a mum has made me realise a lot of negative things about my 'old life' ... 

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1. I used to waste so much time - When you have very little time to yourself, every minute counts. I can get showered, dressed and do my hair and make up in twenty minutes now whereas before, I could have taken up to an hour. That included several breaks to check my twitter, whats app my friends, send snapchats. Looking back, I wonder how many hours in every day that I wasted staring at my phone like a zombie. Oddly enough, now that I have less time to myself, I get so much more done.

2. Walking is the best therapy - Since me and Oliver have been going on long walks together, I've realised how much I love being out in the fresh air and how it can totally perk up my mood. There's nothing that refreshes me more than wrapping up in a hat and scarf and going out for a long walk with my little bear in the pram. Oh and the cup of tea to warm up when we get home .. bliss.

3. A little mess ever hurt anyone. I used to stress out in a messy house and it was always a priority to get the place clean and tidy before doing anything else. But now, during the day when I'm home alone with Oliver, it's inevitable that the place ends up a bomb site by mid day. I could find something to distract Oliver to let me tidy up, but then I'm missing out on fun times with him and to be honest, it'll end up messy again within a few hours. Life's too short to worry about mess all day. Now, I give the house a quick tidy when Andy gets home and just enjoy my time with Oliver during the day.

4. The little problems don't matter. It's a cliche but when you have a baby, your whole perspective changes. When you realise how lucky you are to have a baby, you stress a lot less about the unimportant things such as Tilly scratching our carpet to pieces (true story) or the length of time it's taken us to finish decorating! As long as Oliver is healthy and happy, everything else can wait.

5. I said all the things I now hate. I know this kind of contradicts the above but as a new mum there are a lot of things other people do, that you cant help but find irritating. The annoying same questions I heard throughout my pregnancy? I used to ask them. The vague/cliche/inexperienced advice people offer about babies? Pretty sure I did that too. Almost all of them are innocent on the other persons behalf but now I've heard it from the other side, I won't be one of those people again. 

Let me know what you think and leave a comment below!

Home | Printed Frames on a Budget

Saturday, 17 December 2016
If you've read my home styling posts before, you'll probably have a good idea of how much I love framed prints. I love the style of layering different frames on a shelf, and how you can add so much colour or style through the prints that you chose. You can pick up frames pretty cheaply from most homeware shops, but the actual prints can be a bit pricier if you want something good quality.

I recently discovered a little trick that can give you beautiful framed prints for so much less. I was in M&S picking up a birthday card when I spotted a few of the cards in the 'just to say' section which had really pretty designs. They had copper foil prints, cute quotes and different textures and I realised these were actually better quality than some of the prints I was buying on line. 

I bought a couple and framed them and I'm so happy with how they've turned out. It's something I wouldn't have thought of doing before, but framing cards is a much less expensive option and, compared with the lower price 'print your own' designs on etsy, much better quality. My favourite cards at the moment are from Marks and Spencer but Next have some really nice designs too. 

You could easily put together a lovely framed print for less than £10 or even £5 if you used a cheaper frame from Ikea or similar (this one above was £2.75!) With Christmas just around the corner, these would make a perfect present for a secret santa too. 

What do you think? Where's your favourite place to buy prints? 

What They Don't Tell You About Post Partum Recovery

Thursday, 8 December 2016
If you read my birth story, you'll know that I found labour a less than enjoyable experience to say the least. Don't get me wrong, I didn't expect it to be a walk in the park but when you've never experienced that kind of pain, it's impossible to imagine it and therefore it's pretty difficult to prepare for it. All the way through labour, I kept telling myself that it would be over soon. That's another contraction over, that's another centimetre dilated .. another step closer to the finish line. The minute Oliver was born, I remember thinking 'it's over!' and then feeling a bit hard done by when the doctor showed up to start my stitches. In my desperation, I actually asked her, 'is this the final painful thing before it's all over?' and she said yes. I'll be home tomorrow, I thought, and this pain will all be a distant memory...

I wasn't prepared in any way for the recovery. I didn't know there would be a 'recovery' - is that naive? No one mentioned it to me beforehand. At most, I thought I'd be a bit sore for a few days but in reality, it took a good two weeks before I felt anywhere near normal again. 

Now, let me just be clear - this post isn't meant to scare anyone. It's not a doom and gloom kind of post. In the same way that labour is openly discussed, I think we should discuss post partum recovery too. Just like labour, it happens. There's nothing you can do about it, but at least you'll know what to expect.

tips for after labour

1. Tears, grazes and stitches - If you're unlucky enough to have had any of these, the recovery can range from mildly painful to full blown torture. It's sore to walk, to sit and don't even get me started on the pee problems. You might have heard about how painful 'the first pee' is after you've had a baby - no one mentions that it continues to hurt like that for a good week at least. I was scared to pee, so despite my insane thirst (see point 3), I was scared to drink anything. The pain started to get a bit better around day 8 for me, and gradually got better over the next two weeks.
Tip: A bath with lavender or tea tree oil helps to soothe and heal the area. For the pee situation, cold baby wipes are your friend. Luckily you should have loads of these to hand.

2. Post-partum bleeding - Your body's emptying out all the contents of your womb from the last 9 months, so it's usually a lot more than just a normal period and, TMI alert, there can be a lot of clots too. Remember though, tampons are a no-go so soon after labour so maternity pads are the only option. They're basically nappies so at least you're twinning with baby!
Tip: Don't try and get by with normal pads, buy the proper maternity ones because chances are you will need them. If you're not used to wearing pads, make sure you have some proper underwear too. By proper underwear, I mean granny pants.

3. Losing the Water - You'll lose water in every way possible in the first few weeks after childbirth. If you thought the third trimester frequent toilet trips had subsided .. sorry, not quite yet. Expect to sweat a lot more than normal too. The good news is that you'll notice it on the scales - as your losing all that water, you lose weight quickly so you'll probably drop a lot in the first two weeks.
Tip: Wear deodorant (obviously) and change your clothes regularly. FYI - you'll probably be doing that anyway since you'll be covered in baby sick. Yay.

4. Exhaustion - seems obvious, doesn't it? I always thought that the exhaustion in the newborn days was because of the long nights awake with the baby. I didn't realise that you get no time whatsoever to recover from labour. You're thrown straight into it. I was given my bed around 10pm after labour, Andy was sent home and I spent the whole night looking after Oliver myself. I was delirious with tiredness - there's no power nap before motherhood. I can imagine this is even harder if you've had a section.
Tip: The cliche advice is to sleep when the baby sleeps but that's easier said that done. My tip is to make sure you're eating and drinking enough - it's easy to forget when you're so engrossed in looking after the baby. Take help from friends and family if it means you can get a nap every so often.

My biggest tip is to tell people how you're feeling. Post partum recovery isn't discussed a lot so most people won't be aware of how tough it can be and how rough you might be feeling. Personally, when I've went to visit new babies in the past, it didn't even cross my mind that the mum might still be in pain. Don't feel like you need to accept lots of visitors, or that you need to go out before you're ready. Take your time, set your own rules and remember it will get better eventually!

Did any of you have any surprises after labour? What was the worst part of your recovery? 

Baby's First Christmas Eve Box

Friday, 2 December 2016
Two things you should know about me - I love Christmas and I love family traditions. This year is extra exciting because it's Oliver's first Christmas - we're a whole new family and we have a blank canvas to start our own family traditions. Of course, Oliver will be just eight weeks old and will be unaware of it all this year but I do want to start a Christmas eve box and keep the same one going as he gets older. This year, admittedly, it's for my own enjoyment but in years to come, I can't wait to see his little face when he opens it up and finds lots of Christmas goodies to start the festivities.

So what do you put in a baby's Christmas eve box? 

1. Christmas PJs -New pyjamas on Christmas eve will be another tradition for us and Oliver will be no exception. Of course, for him, it'll be a baby grow this year. I love this reindeer sleepsuit and this red one too. I always prefer the slightly more subtle prints when it comes to christmas clothes, as opposed to dressing him like a little christmas pudding. Although I can't deny that's still adorable.

2. Baby Book - This is more sentimental than anything although they do say that you should read to your baby from as early as a few weeks. Oliver loves when we sing to him and this baby christmas book has a Christmas CD with it too. Again, another thing that's probably for my own enjoyment - it'll probably end playing in the car, with Oliver crying at my horrendous singing voice.

3. Christmas Bauble - I want Oliver to have his own bauble for the tree on his first Christmas and when he have more children, they'll get their own one too. I love this my first christmas bauble but also like the idea of getting one with his name on it too. I know you can get lovely personalised things at the Christmas market in Glasgow and we're going next week for a look. 

4. Cuddly Toy - the obvious choice for a baby box, of course. How adorable is this little crochet reindeer toy ? I think a Christmas comfort blanket would be really cute too. 

5. Hat and Mittens - I spotted these 'My First Christmas' hat and mittens in Mothercare the other day and stupidly let Andy talk me out of getting them. Now I need to go back, because I can't stop thinking about them. I'd love to get a nice photo of Oliver in this hat in front of the Christmas tree this year! Cuteness overload!

6. Slippers - I saw these reindeer slipper boots and had to include them. These are probably a bit too old for Oliver at the moment but still a nice idea for a slightly older baby.  Imagine some chubby little baby feet in these? 

Do any of you have a Christmas eve box?

New Mum Must-Haves

Monday, 28 November 2016
I obsessively searched for check lists in the final weeks before my due date. Did I have everything in my hospital bag? Did I have enough nappies, bottles, wipes? What else did I need? As it turns out, I had everything I needed for the baby. Too much, if anything (especially when it came to my hospital bag). However, there's a few things that I wish I'd organised for myself before having the baby that would have made new-mum life a bit easier.

1. Lounge wear - The chances are you'll spend the first few days, at least, indoors. No one wants to hang out wearing jeans and 'proper clothes' and you'll probably be stuck in the limbo between maternity and normal clothes anyway. At the same time, I'd feel like a total slob wearing pjs all day. Get some comfy lounge wear for your first few weeks - think leggings or joggers, hoodies, baggy t-shirts. Something that makes you feel like you 'got dressed', even if it's suspiciously close to pyjamas.

2. Easy Outfits - When you're finally ready to leave the house, chances are you won't want to (or have time to) start trying to put an acceptable outfit together. You'll want something comfortable, but a step up from the loungewear in point 1. I've lived in baggy jumpers and jumper dresses in the last few weeks and it takes me seconds to pull something together. I'd also highly recommend some kind of hat. I can't tell you how much use I've had from mine in the last few weeks. It means I can skip doing my hair, and it somewhat covers my sleep deprived face when I'm taking Oliver out for a walk!

mum and parenting blog

3. Snacks - Again, time for yourself is limited especially if your watching the baby alone. Try and have some snacks in the house that don't need any preparation. Even toast and tea can be a huge effort when you've only got one hand free. If you're breastfeeding or have a baby sleeping on you, you might find yourself sitting in one spot on the couch for a few hours so have some easy snacks to hand to keep you going.

4. TV and Entertainment - As above, you might find yourself sitting in the same spot for a while or awake at times in the night when the only thing on television is old episodes of The Bill or a repeat of Homes under the Hammer (which you probably watched already that morning). Use the time to start watching a new series on Netflix or find some new YouTubers to watch. I've become obsessed in parenting videos and have probably watched every video that comes under 'newborn tips'..

5. Easy, quick and portable make-up - This follows the same theme as above. You'll appreciate being able to cut your 'getting ready' time when it's already taken an hour to get everything together for the baby. At the moment, I wear the same basic make-up every day and I've got everything I need in a make-up bag which means I can lift it and do my make-up anywhere in the house, whether that's on the bed when Olivers napping on me, or while I'm sitting on the floor rocking his bouncy chair with my foot.

What were your essentials in the newborn days?

The First Month of Motherhood

Thursday, 17 November 2016
It's been one month since Oliver arrived and our lives changed in the biggest possible way. Most new mums say how this time flies by but for me, so much has happened that it's hard to believe that my 'old life' was only four weeks ago. Just four weeks ago, I was waddling around with a huge bump, lying awake with heartburn every night and wondering when my little boy would show up. It sounds ridiculous, but I spent 9 months waiting to meet my baby and when I first set eyes on him, my first reaction was total shock. I've grown a new person in my tummy. And now I'm his mum. 

My first month as a mother has had it's ups and downs. It's been hard, there's no denying that but its also been absolutely amazing and even throughout the stressful times, there's always this constant feeling of love and happiness that I have him. I was on the verge of tears one night at 4am - Oliver was crying and I was so sleep deprived that I wasn't even sure if I was awake or dreaming, but even though I felt so worn out, I was just staring at his face and my heart was just melting at how much I love him.

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Oliver's First Month

When Oliver was first born, he latched on straight away and breastfed like a pro. I hadn't planned to breastfeed, I hadn't really planned anything. I just thought I'd see how it goes, give breastfeeding a go and if it doesn't work, give him a bottle. As it turned out, Oliver knew his stuff and we didn't really need any help at all. Everything was going well for the first 3/4 days - he lost 4 ounces after birth, but was back to his birth weight within 4 days (which is quicker than average) so we knew he was feeding well. Oliver was a hungry boy, and would want fed every hour but by day 6, he was constantly looking for milk and after three sleepless nights where he was attached to me all night, I was losing my mind. I was crying, he was crying if he wasn't feeding. I wasn't sleeping at all. After a mental breakdown or two, I decided that we'd all be happier if we switched to bottle feeding. I cried with guilt at giving up (the sleep deprivation didn't help) but after his first bottle, he was actually full. He stopped crying for more milk and seemed so content. We were able to go out for a walk without worrying that he'd cry for milk the whole time. It was a huge relief and I knew it was the right decision. He's now taking 3-5oz every 3 hours and has the cutest little double chin to show for it.

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Oliver still needs to be held or cuddled all the time. He falls asleep in my arms without any problem, but as soon as he gets put down he wakes up and cries until he's picked up again. In the first couple of weeks, I'd spend the whole night repeating this process until morning when we'd both be exhausted. He'd fall straight into a deep sleep as soon as he lay on my chest, so one night I gave in. I wedged cushions and pillows under each side of me so I'd be unable to move if I tried, sat almost upright with my pillows behind me and let him sleep on my chest while I dozed. He slept for 4 hours straight before waking up for a bottle and we've been co-sleeping since then. I'm a really light sleeper and wake up with every little grunt that he makes, but I'd rather that than the alternative. I know it can't last forever, and I know there's lots of warnings about bed-sharing but at the moment, it's getting us through the first few weeks. I felt so guilty about it at first, but after speaking to other mums about it, I was surprised to find how many of them had done the exact same for the first few weeks. I'm trying to phase it out by getting him used to lying himself during the day and hope he'll be in his crib in the next couple of weeks. So far, we've managed 15 minutes straight in the bouncy chair - progress!

My First Month

It took a good two weeks to get over the physical effects of child birth. I won't go into too much detail as that might be a whole other post but let's just say stitches are hell on earth and I had no idea how sore they would be afterwards. In the first two weeks, I also developed PUPPS rash. Normally this appears in the last trimester and disappears after the birth. For me, it started the day after. It started with itching on my belly and behind my knees, and within two days I was covered in a red, raised rash that made me want to scratch my skin off. It was all over my legs, bum, belly and arms. I ended sleeping with wet toilet paper over my skin to try and soothe it. The doctor gave me steroid cream which did little to help. I did some research on line and found a link between the rash and the hormones released when breastfeeding and when I did eventually phase out the breastfeeding, the rash started to clear up. 

uk mummy bloggers maisy meow blog

The last two weeks have been much better. I'm physically recovered. My belly is back to 'normal' although I definitely need to get to the gym after Christmas. I've lost just over two stone since the day before I had Oliver which, other than baby and placenta, was mostly water I think. I was really swollen in the last few weeks of pregnancy - my feet were huge, my hands were huge and my face resembled the sarcastic moon emoji. A few days after the birth, I looked in the mirror and it actually looked like my face again! I still have weight to lose to get back into my pre-pregnancy jeans - I'm hoping all the long walks with the pram will help with that and I'm not stressing about it too much. 

Everything else aside, I absolutely love not being pregnant anymore. I'm now appreciating the little things like being able to get up from the couch unassisted and not having constant heartburn. 

Overall, it's been a difficult but amazing month for my new little family and we're excited to see what next month has in store for us! 


Remember you can follow my life with Oliver over on my instagram @maisymeowblog 

Do you have any tips for getting a newborn to sleep in his crib?

My Birth Story

Monday, 14 November 2016
Oliver Jack Wells - born Thursday 20th October at 6.28pm, weighing 6 pounds.

Here's the birth story - grab a cup of tea and make yourself comfy because it's a long one!

I finished work at 37 weeks and decided to spend my days going for long walks, and trying every old wives tale under the sun to get things moving. I'd spent the Tuesday and Wednesday out walking and had some lower back pain and the occasional pain that felt a bit like trapped wind in my back. I'd accepted that I'd probably go overdue though so I wasn't getting my hopes up too much.

On Wednesday 19th October, I was at home with Andy watching telly and bouncing on my birthing ball as per usual. I was shattered but since I'd been feeling so awful the last few days and was looking exhausted, I went for a long bath, put on some fake bake, painted my nails and washed my hair. When I went to bed, I had the full on fake-tan face and jokingly tweeted that I'd be in trouble if I went into labour during the night. If that wasn't tempting fate then I don't know what is!

I woke up at 1.30am, got up to go to the toilet and stood staring in disbelief as I watched my waters break onto the bathroom floor. TMI alert - there was a lot of water. Enough that I had time to shout on Andy, who then came through and joined in on the staring. We both had this look of horror/excitement on our faces. It was still a week until my due date! I phoned the hospital who said we had to come up to get checked, so I had a quick shower (to get rid of all the tan) and we headed in. I was shaking - not sure whether it was fear, excitement or both.

The hospital confirmed my waters had gone but that I definitely wasn't in labour. No dilation, no contractions .. nothing. I was to go home and wait to see if anything would happen and if not, they'd schedule me for an induction the following day. Luckily, on the way home I could already feel things happening. Again, it felt like trapped wind in my back and would come and go every now and then. There was no chance I was going back to sleep, so I lay awake until 6am when I just gave in, got up and cleaned the house from top to bottom. Nothing like a bit of last minute nesting!

By 8am, the contractions were coming thick and fast. I had planned to spend as much time at home as possible, but was also scared about waiting too long so we decided it was time to go to the hospital about 10am. At this point, I couldn't talk through contractions and they were every 2/3 minutes and last about 1 minute to 1 minute 30. I was already crying through a few of them by this point! 

When we arrived, I was praying that they'd tell me I was at least 5cm. When they told me I was 2cm, I was terrified. If this was 2cm, then what on earth is 10cm going to be like?! She also told me that my baby was lying 'back to back'. I'd read about that, and knew it was the most painful way to deliver, but the midwife played it down and said it's common and the baby usually turns before he comes out. I still don't know if he did it or not. That midwife had given me some gas and air to calm me down before she checked me and when I asked if I could hang on to it, she said 'wait until your further along before you use pain relief, you'll understand why later..'. Those words hung in the air for a while after she left and made me feel ten times more scared for what was to come. 

Luckily, they let me stay in and sent me to the labour ward to wait it out. I was offered paracetamol and a bath, but neither helped and an hour and a half later, I caved and asked for the epidural. My plan was to try and go without the epidural mainly because I'm terrified of getting a catheter, which seems daft in the grand scheme of things I know. The midwife offered to check my progress first, and I nearly cried with happiness when she told me I was 8cm. She was shocked too, and said how amazing it was that I'd got to that point without any pain relief..I'd only been there an hour and a half!  If I'd gone from 2cm to 8cm zo quickly then I could be pushing soon, I thought, so I didn't want the epidural. I had a whole new sense of energy as they took me up to the delivery room. 

I had to get to 10cm and I had gas and air which helped a little at this point. The contractions were getting so strong and about two hours later, I remember the feeling changed. At the end of every contraction, I was pushing. It wasn't by choice, it felt like my body was doing this on it's own and I was really worried that I was doing myself damage by pushing too early but at the same time, I literally couldn't stop it. The midwife who was with us offered to check me again and this was the moment when everything changed. It started with her telling me she'd check see if we could safely start pushing, and ended with her telling me that a mistake had been made earlier and I was actually only 6cm at this point. My heart broke and I felt so helpless. I was back to square one. Not only was it unsafe for me to push, but I had a good few hours of these awful contractions ahead of me. At this point, I wanted all the pain medication. I was physically and mentally exhausted and knew I couldn't possibly go through hours and hours of this. 

What I didn't realise, was how long an epidural would take. Even when the anesthetist showed up, he took ages to get started. Slowly and calmly telling me all the ins and outs of the procedure, while I was crying in pain and begging him to get started. I was lying on the bed shouting in agony - yes, I was that person from One Born Every Minute who you can hear outside the ward. It was the involuntary pushing at the end of each contraction that hurt the most and I felt like I just wanted to run away from the pain.

The epidural process was horrendous. It took so long, and since I was perched on the side of the bed hunched over a pillow, the contraction pain was much stronger than before. The only thing that kept me going was thinking how each contraction could be the last one I could feel. The anesthetist said it could be around 15 minutes before the numbness kicks in, but half an hour later my contractions were stronger than ever and I could feel everything. The doctors checked me from head to toe and around an hour later, they confirmed that the epidural had failed. All that, and no pain relief. I'd actually added more pain to the process, and still had to endure the contractions but with a huge needle in my back. I didn't realise an epidural could fail. The doctor said 'it happens sometimes' and offered to try again but there was no way I was going through that process again. I didn't even have the energy to talk. I was just lying there terrified for the next contraction and staring at the clock trying to set myself a goal to make it too. 

My body was still pushing with every contraction - no matter how much the midwife told me to breathe out and relax, I couldn't control it. She checked me around 5.45pm and told me that I'd finally reached 10cm and could start properly pushing now. I'd always imagined getting to this point and feeling so relieved, but in reality I was so exhausted and delirious by this point that I didn't really acknowledge it .. I'd been 'pushing' for hours anyway!

The next 40 minutes were a blur. I had always tried to imagine what giving birth would actually feel like, but it was nothing like I'd imagined. It was just the oddest feeling and I'd never be able to explain it. When his head was out, I could actually feel him moving. And the feeling when the final push got him out was the biggest relief ever.

And there he was. This tiny little baby with a head of thick, dark hair staring up at us. He had a really short umbillical cord, so I had to deliver the placenta before I could hold him but that only took a few minutes.

I'm actually welling up when I'm writing this, thinking about the first time I held him. It was the best feeling ever and I can safely say it still hasn't stopped. I've spent hours and hours just staring at his face, wondering how on earth we made him. Despite my huge bump, he weighed a tiny 6 pounds. He has been an absolute angel since that day and although it's a total cliche, no matter how awful the labour (and the pregnancy) was, I would do it ten times over for him. Welcome to the world Oliver! 

Pregnancy Update | 38 Weeks

Friday, 14 October 2016
So this could be my last pregnancy update before Oliver makes an appearance. If I'm honest though, I think I might have another couple of weeks ahead of me. My due date is the 26th of October and I've had a feeling all along that he'll show up between then and the 31st. If he's a Halloween baby then I'll be extra excited - think of the halloween themed birthday parties of the future!

My last update was at 33 weeks and all of the symptoms I mentioned in that post are still here. I'm still suffering with heartburn and acid reflux every night - I don't know how my throat hasn't completely melted actually. The good news though, is that my pelvic pain has subsided a lot. Given how I felt at 28/29 weeks, I expected to be on crutches by now. Don't get me wrong, it's still agony at times especially during the night but it's nowhere near as bad as it was. The main problem when I'm walking now is the shooting pains when Oliver rolls his little head over my bladder. For a split second, it honestly feels like my bladder is about to pop!

Full term baby bump maternity photo pregnancy update

After smothering myself in bio oil and stretch mark cream for the last 9 months, I noticed some little faint lines next to my belly button at 34 weeks. Yep, stretch marks happened. It's a tiny area at the moment and barely noticeable but if I push my skin together, I can see there will be a few marks once I've deflated! I'm not as distraught as I thought I would be to be honest - I'm well aware it could be so much worse and I think I've gotten off quite lightly. 

I was told last week that I had anemia and prescribed iron tablets. No big deal - or so I thought. It turns out iron tablets are the worst thing ever invented and make me feel horrendous. I'm going back to the doctors to try and get an alternative, and have been making smoothies with kale and eating lots of red meat to try and up my intake that way too. 

In the last few weeks, we crossed our final items off the list: 

I've been shopping and picked up some little outfits for when he's here and also got some lovely outfits from my team in work. It's so difficult to shop before he's here - I've no idea what size he's going to be! My midwife thinks, judging by the size of my bump, he'll be around 7.5-8.5 pounds, but that's just a guess and could be way out. I've bought mostly first size and 0-3 months for now. 

Halloween new born baby haul update pregnancy update

So from 37 weeks onwards, the baby is considered 'term' and ready to be born whenever he decides. From now on, he's just getting fatter every week - just like his mum. He could come any time now - but I've not had any real signs of anything starting. I just need to keep bouncing on my birthing ball, eating pineapple and going for extra long walks and hopefully he'll start packing his bags pretty soon! I can't wait to finally meet him!

Are any of you expecting soon? 

p.s keep up to date with any news on my instagram by following here

Maternity Styling tips

Tuesday, 11 October 2016
Considering I've spent most of my pregnancy stressing out at having nothing to wear (and actually meaning it this time), I would have thought I'd be the last person writing a post like this. How can I give maternity styling tips when I failed so miserably at dressing my bump? Well, the way I see it, you can learn from my mistakes. I'd say it's taken me until now, the last two months of pregnancy, to finally get the hang of this whole maternity clothes thing and if I have another baby in future, I think I'll do a lot better in terms of what to buy (and what not to buy) and how to do it in the most affordable way. 

So if you've just found out you're pregnant or you're far along and having the same morning meltdown situations that I was, hopefully this post will help...

how to dress baby bump maternity styling ootd
maternity t-shirt | jeans (top) | jeans (bottom) | bra extenders | striped shirt | suede jacket | boots | scarf

1. Buy the maternity basics
It's not until you have to shop there, that you realise how bad most maternity sections are. Most shops have one messy little rail, which has a definite aura of 'the stuff that no one wanted from the sale'. The sizes are minimal, and most of it's last season .. or the season before that. Unfortunately, it's pretty hard to completely avoid maternity clothes. The bump won't fit into normal jeans or trousers forever. My tip is to just buy the basics from maternity - two/three pairs of jeans that you can dress up or down, white/grey basic tees and if you can, some plain dresses that you can style for different occasions. The best places for maternity jeans is H&M, ASOS and New Look although I'd strongly recommend ordering on line and avoiding the shop (and the disappointment) altogether.

2. Shop in the regular shops for everything else 
Once you have the basics sorted, you can still get away with shopping in the regular stores. Look out for cardigans or gilets that you can layer with, shirts that you can wear open over a t-shirt or a dress (these are perfect for when your bump takes a big growth spurt at the end) and jumpers that you can size up in and wear with skinny jeans. Look out for nice jackets, coats, shoes and accessories to pull your outfits together especially if you can find bold prints or colours to add something special to an outfit. You'll still be able to keep up with fashion trends and it means you can continue to wear them after you've had the baby too. 

Everyone knows that boobs get bigger in pregnancy but what I didn't realise, is that my back size would continue to grow with my bump. So although you'll go up a cup size or two in the first few months, your bra will feel tighter and tighter around the back as time goes on. I bought new bras at 15 weeks and then started using the bra extenders at about 20 weeks. You can buy them in either two or three hooks, so they'll fit most bras and will save you a fortune over your pregnancy.

Do you have any tips for maternity styling?

Pregnancy Update | 33 weeks

Wednesday, 7 September 2016
When I wrote my last pregnancy update, 33 weeks seemed so far away. I can't believe that I'm already here, and that we're into a single figure countdown until my due date! A lot has changed since my last post and I have a whole new list of exciting changes and horrible symptoms to share today. So let's start with the most obvious sign - the bump.

pregnant bloggers 2016 uk

This photo was taken at 33 weeks exactly. My belly button hasn't totally popped out yet, but it's got a little ski-slope thing going on which you can see. I've no stretch marks so far, but those could still appear in the last few weeks. My belly piercing from years ago looks super weird, it's now a few inches above my belly button so I dread to think what that'll look like post-pregnancy!

I'm still experiencing a lot of the same symptoms as I was in my last update - extreme fatigue (a 9:30 bedtime is a regular occurrence) and heartburn and indigestion. I'd never really suffered from heartburn before pregnancy, but I get it every night now as soon as I lie down to go to sleep. You'll find me most nights sitting with a huge glass of milk before bed and a bottle of Gaviscon!

The biggest symptom in the third trimester has been SPD pelvic pain. It's basically pain due to the combination of hormones softening the pelvic bones and the weight of the baby. I started getting pelvic pain at 26 weeks which coincided with the baby turning head down. I started to notice a lot of pressure on my bones down there, almost as if they were bruised and like I'd pulled the muscles in my inner thighs too. It got bad quite quickly and after a few days, I could barely walk because as soon as I put any weight on my feet I would get this horrible pain. This affects everything - walking, sleeping, getting dressed, getting into the bath/shower. I'll never take these things for granted again!

pregnant bloggers uk
Navy/white stripe pyjamas: Next
Now onto the positive stuff! 

We've decided on a name! We went through so many different names throughout the first few months but in the end we went back to the one that we loved before I even got pregnant. Our little boy will be called Oliver. We both love it and I feel like since it's the name we liked throughout, it's definitely the right one! We haven't totally decided on a middle name yet, but I do plan on having one.

Oliver's movements in my belly are now super strong. When I lie in bed at night, I can watch my belly in the mirror and see it moving around. He's head down with his little bum at the top of my belly and his hands at the side, and I can always feel his little hands moving around at night time - unbelievably cute! Sometimes I feel his feet right up in my ribs too. He also gets hiccups a lot, which feels like little twinges really low down. I could actually cry at how cute it is to think of him having hiccups! Then again, I cry at everything these days!

The baby room project is under way too - we've set up the furniture and everything and picked a few things. I plan on spending some time on it when I'm on maternity leave, since he won't be going into his own room for a good few months any way. I have so many ideas for it and I can't wait!

We've picked a little coming home outfit for him from Zara - hopefully it'll fit him! How sweet is this?

pregnancy blog 2016

I could probably write twice as much as this but I've tried to keep this post to a reasonable size. I haven't been blogging as regularly these days (blame the 9.30 bed time for that!) but I definitely plan on doing at least one more post before my due date with a final bump pic! If any of you are pregnant, let me know how you're feeling and if you've had any of the same symptoms too. Speak soon!

Life | DIY Mum-to-be Pamper Hamper

Tuesday, 30 August 2016
Recently, I was invited to try out the new St Enoch Centre Rewards scheme. It's a pretty simple concept - you earn points every time you shop in the centre and as your points grow, you earn rewards and access to exclusive offers. You can either use the reward card and keep it in your purse, or you can download the 'St Enoch Rewards' app for your phone and scan it at the till. Easy!

I was set the challenge of creating a mum-to-be pampering kit with a £100 gift card for the centre, while using the rewards card to build up my points as I go. At 32 weeks pregnant, I'm so in need of a good pamper and the offer couldn't have come at a better time.

It only took a few minutes to set up my new card and app, and then off I went to shops ready to spend some time on my favourite retail therapy for the first time in ages. Almost all of my shopping in the last few months has been for the baby and it's been a long time since I've actually shopped for myself. When you're exhausted, can't see your feet and have a to-do list the size of your arm it's easy to forget to make time for yourself when really, this is the time when I should be doing that the most.

St Enoch Centre Rewards Scheme

The brief for a pregnancy pamper kit is very different to a normal pamper kit, I think. We don't need foot files and body scrubs cos we're probably struggling to reach a lot of areas. Fake tan is best avoided, since we're applying bio oil twenty times a day and hair masks and treatments require energy that I've not had for months. Simplicity and relaxation are the most important factors.

DIY Baby Shower Gift Idea Pamper Kit

When I think of a relaxing setting, candles are always involved so the first place I went to was Yankee Scotland. In this transitional weather, I didn't want to go too 'summer' or too 'autumn' so I wanted something neutral. I love the sweet, baking smell of Pain Au Raisin and the clean, fresh smell of Olive & Thyme and luckily, these were in the blue dot sale and just £13 for the large jars.  

pamper kit hamper for mum to be baby shower idea

Pregnancy makes everything smell stronger and that doesn't always have to be a bad thing, it means that my favourite scents smell even better than normal. I've always loved the Origins Ginger range and if it's possible, I actually think the smell of it has been one of my cravings! I made a quick visit to Debenhams and picked up the ginger bath soap and the ginger body lotion from the range. This bath bar has quickly become my favourite bath products - if you leave this in the bath while it's running, it creates the creamy, gingery bath water that makes you never want to get out. The body lotion is equally good - super moisturing and keeps the clean ginger scent on your skin for hours.

origins ginger body balm bath bar soap

Next I went to the Body Shop - one of my favourite shops and an obvious place to visit for pamper products. Their skincare ranges have always impressed me so I picked up the Mineral & Ginger clay face mask - it warms when applied to the skin and I can't wait to try this out.  I was also on the lookout for something else to compliment the ginger scents so I picked up the shea butter shower cream and the coconut shower cream on the two for £4 offer. 

At the till, I spotted one of my favourite Autumn/Winter perfumes and had to get it. A new perfume is an instant pick me up, I think. Smoky Rose is a deep musky, rosy evening scent and unlike any other scent I own. The 60ml bottle is the perfect handbag size too! 

gift ideas for mum to be baby shower

Using the St Enoch Centre rewards card was super easy, and my app updated every time I swiped to tell me if I'd unlocked any new offers. There's some really good deals on there already including offers on food and drinks, special rates on travel money and discounts on clothes and jewellery. I'd definitely recommend picking one up next time you're in the centre - you've nothing to lose! Click here for all the info you need. 

Hope you liked this post and got some ideas if you're thinking of creating a pamper hamper for a mum-to-be. If you're not pampering yourself, I think this would be a good DIY idea for a baby shower gift too. Anyway, I better go ...  my ginger bath awaits me!

Lifestyle | Paesano Pizza Review

Sunday, 28 August 2016
I'm definitely a creature of habit and if I'm going out for dinner or lunch, I always tend to go to the same places. It's something I keep saying that I need to snap out of - I want to try new places and I know there's so many amazing restaurants in Glasgow that I'm missing out on. So I was super excited when CitizenMag asked me and Andy to try out Paesano Pizza in Mitchell Street, Glasgow.

Paesano is hidden down a little lane off Ingram street. The location makes it perfect for lunch after shopping in Buchannan Street or for dinner before heading out for a night in town. The restaurant has a cool, rustic vibe from the outside and it's actually surprisingly big inside. When we walked in and saw how busy it was on a Tuesday night, we knew it was going to be a winner. 

Paesano Pizza Glasgow

Paesano makes authentic, traditional 'Napoletana' pizza in wood-fired ovens and is very different to your every day pizza place. The menu is simple, with just 8 pizzas to chose from and a few sides if you want to add some extras. Normally, I'd go for lots of toppings on my pizza but this time, I went for for tomato sugo with mozzarella, fresh basil and olive oil while Andy ordered spicy salami. 

Citizen Mag Review Lifestyle Blogger Glasgow

Anyone who thinks pizza is a boring option - you need to try this place. The dough was super soft and so tasty. The toppings weren't greasy or stodgy like you'd expect in some of the big restaurant chains and you could really tell that it was proper, italian food. It was the best pizza I've had in a long, long time. The restuarant has a lovely chilled atmosphere, the service was excellent and it was just so good to find somewhere to add to my list of favourites. 

Best pizza restaurants in glasgow

I'd definitely recommend trying this place out if you're in Glasgow. It's super reasonable for prices as well - for two drinks and two pizzas, we paid just £17. You can check out their menu at and read this CitizenMag review here for more info too.

Have you tried Paesano before? What restuarants would you recommend in Glasgow? 

Fashion | The Sunday Wishlist

Sunday, 31 July 2016
It's been the longest time since I've put together a fashion wishlist. The main reason is that I'm shopping all things baby related at the moment (think I might do a baby haul soon!). The other reason is that shopping for myself just isn't as enjoyable as it used to be when nothing. bloody. fits. I know I've said it before, but maternity clothes suck and unfortunately when it comes to jeans and tops, I have no other option than to buy them. Recently though, I've started trying to shop in the normal sections where possible so I can add some style to my plain outfits. This means sticking to coats, jackets, bags, shoes and accessories.

So here's all the bump-friendly things on my wishlist just now. The neutral grey/rosy theme was actually unplanned, but I'm clearly leaning towards those colours at the moment!  

Fashion Blogger Wishlist
sleeveless coat | heeled shoes | handbag | watch | coat | duster jacket | sunglasses 1:2 | flat shoes

A few of these are what I'd class as investment purchases - they're a bit more on the expensive side, but the colour and style mean they'd last for years. This white sleeveless coat and pink duster jacket (from the work wear collection in Coast) are beautiful pieces and could dress up the most basic of outfits. I love the rosy tone of this pink topshop coat too - it's a colour than I'd still class as neutral because it goes with (mostly) everything. How cute are these rosy pink shoes from Zara too?

I spotted these cut out heeled shoes while shopping last week and really regretted not picking them up - these would be perfect with a pair of jeans, a basic top and a nice jacket. Uh oh - I can feel an on line purchase coming on! This Olivia Burton watch has been in my sights for a long time - I just love all of the watches from this brand and if I could, I'd have one in every colour... *daydreams*

Anyway, it's time for me to get back to baby-shopping. I'm going to do a few baby-related posts next I think - a pregnancy update and possibly a baby haul, so look out for that if you're interested. In the mean time, you can catch me over on my instagram! :) 

HOME | DIY Simple Candle Centrepiece

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

DIY centerpiece candles stones in vase

I'm still working on my living/dining room at the moment (it's so close to being finished!) and I wanted to share this super simple candle centrepiece that I've put together for my dining table. It's so easy and inexpensive to create and it makes a change from having the standard flowers in a vase on the table. It's actually so easy that it almost doesn't count as a 'DIY' but I thought I'd share the idea anyway in case any of you want to put together something similar. 

Now I have to admit I first saw the candle in vase idea in IKEA, so it's not totally from my own imagination, but I've put my own spin on it and without blowing my own trumpet, I actually prefer my own to the original inspo! I picked up the glass lantern vase from IKEA for just £7 and you can find similar ones on line - I love this vase with the wooden base from amazon. 

simple centerpiece stones and candles

I wanted to keep the style really simple so I went for some white decorative stones to fill the base of the vase. These were surprisingly difficult to find on line but in the end I found the perfect ones in Home Bargains for 49p each - how good is that? I highly recommend checking out the home discount stores before buying anything on line as for some reason, it's much more expensive on there. 

Once I'd set everything up, I felt like something was missing. When I (finally) post my living room update. you'll see how much I love to have plants around the house - I think greenery brings any room to life. Luckily my obsession came in handy and I made us of my ridiculous supply of artificial plants and cut some small sections to add into the vase. These are the small potted plants from IKEA that cost no more than £3 but. in my opinion, they're the best looking artificial plants out there.

candle and stones in storm lantern centerpiece

The end result is this simple but eye-catching centre piece that gives a clean, natural vibe to any dining area. Altogether, this should cost around £15 to make and you can put your own spin on it by adding different coloured stones, a more decorative candle like this one or by adding artificial flowers instead.  

Hope you liked this super easy DIY - have you ever made anything like this? 

Home | The Colourful Wishlist

Sunday, 17 July 2016
Although minimal and neutral is my go-to homeware style, I can't deny how much I'm in love with this seasons home colour trends. Blush pink, mustard yellow and blues are colours that I'd probably never have put together myself but when they're in a neutral setting with a muted background, it's a perfect combination. It's taken so long for me to get round to actually decorating our living room properly, that I've completely changed how I was planning to decorate it originally. I've added quite a few colourful pieces to the room so far, mostly mustard yellows and blues, and I plan on adding more colour through cushions and accessories. 

For today's post, I'm sharing some of my favourite homeware picks from Nest - a gorgeous homeware site with some cool, quirky pieces that can totally make a room. You can probably sense the theme here, I just can't get enough of these colours..

I'm obsessed with mustard yellow and I love how this cushion and area rug combine what's normally an autumnal colour with some fresher summer tones. The rug is definitely an investment piece but as it covers a large area, has a huge impact and looks extremely high quality, it's totally worth it. Statement homeware doesn't always have to be expensive though - this yellow chair is one that I've actually seen used in nurseries on Pinterest and I have to admit, it's made it's way into one of my secret boards for our potential baby room. It's such a unique and interesting shape ... and it's mustard yellow so it's a winner, basically. 

As someone with a total homeware obsession, it sometimes feels like I've seen the same styles a million times over but Nest really is a breath of fresh air when it comes to finding something a little bit different. What do you think of these picks? 

p.s did you know you can follow me on twitter too? click here

*this post is in collaboration with

Home | How to Update Your Garden for Summer

Wednesday, 13 July 2016
We've spent a lot of time over the last year decorating the new house (can I still it new?), but one place we haven't spent much time on is the garden. I suppose it makes sense - living in Scotland means that the garden is the place we probably spend the least time but for the Summer months, its good to have a place to hang out on a rare sunny day. I've been doing a few garden updates over the last month or so, and I'm excited to show a before and after when it's finally finished! 

Today's post is in collaboration with Cox and Cox , which is a site I discovered at the end of last year when I was looking for Christmas decorations. The homeware is exactly the style that I love - that modern, minimal look with lots of greys, neutrals and natural woods. Their garden and outdoor living range is just as dreamy, so today I wanted to show you some of my favourite pieces and give some tips on how to give your garden a make-over with a few simple changes. 

If you're on a budget, one of the quickest and easiest ways to update your garden space is to add a some simple accessories. Lighting is one of the things that will make the biggest impact - hang some fairy lights in the trees, drape some over the fence or add a few lanterns to create a cosy space. These teardrop outdoor lights would be perfect for lighting inside a gazeebo if you're eating outdoors on a summer night. 

Another easy step is to add some accessories. Garden bunting is a always a favourite of mine and I absolutely love this outdoor window mirror and it's cool, rustic vibe. Even adding some plant pots around the seating area can really brighten up a garden and there's so many cool ways of doing it too. This grey plant shelf lets you create a little garden display which is great if you don't have much space and these hanging bird cages are so unique. I love how they've displayed them on the site with potted plants inside - how Pinterest is that? 

If you're planning any garden updates this year, I'd highly recommend that you check out the outdoor living section on Cox & Cox.

What do you think of these garden ideas? 

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