Thursday, 19 April 2012


While I was pregnant, I was adamant that my child would have minimal amounts of junk food and no cakes, sweets, biscuits, crisps etc etc until they were well over a year old because, well, they really don't need it do they?
Fast forward a few months and all those good intentions have gone out the window. In reality, I have personally found that, although a baby definitely does NOT need to consume any of the items I have listed, there is no real reason why they shouldn't taste these in moderation. After all, Sophia's Daddy and I get through our fair share of crisps and biscuits, but we also eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and other nutritional items! I cook the majority of our meals from scratch and Sophia has been baby-led weaned so eats a huge variety of food, the only thing she has consistently rejected is pasta.
I'm still not keen on her eating unhealthy food but at the same time I want her to have a balanced diet and not to see any foods as 'good' or 'bad'.
In light of this, we recently made some chocolate cupcakes and Sophia tried one for the first time. As you can see from the photo she was not hugely impressed and threw it on the floor after one bite...ah well, back to the apple slices!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Birth Story

I've decided to blog about Sophia's birth as I think it is possibly something I will eventually not remember very vividly so it will be interesting to look back on one day! Fortunately I had a really good (as good as the worst pain I can ever imagine can be..) labour so it wasn't in any way, shape or form as traumatic as some women's, for which I am very grateful.
My contractions started at midnight four days after my due date. They were very mild pains but were coming every 3 minutes on the dot which is how I knew they were definitely contractions and not just strange pregnancy niggles. I tried getting in the bath because this is how I had imagined in my mind that I'd pass the time before going to hospital but we didn't have enough hot water so I lost interest in that idea pretty quickly as the lukewarm water wasn't doing much for me! We went to hospital around 3am and I really have no idea how we spent the three hours between my contractions starting and us leaving the house. I think we mostly tried to find the "last minute" items I had not packed in my hospital bag (next time I will know better and EVERYTHING will be packed because searching for a hairbrush in the middle of a contraction is pretty much the last thing I wanted to do. It was a waste of time anyway as looking at the photos of myself from the hospital, I don't think the hairbrush was actually unpacked..)
 I was examined by a midwife at 4am and was 4cm dilated - for a first baby it's meant to take roughly an hour for each centimetre you need to dilate so we estimated I'd be fully dilated by 10am. I was having a midwife-led birth and never saw a consultant throughout the pregnancy or labour, this was actually great as it meant I didn't need to be attached to a heartbeat monitor in early labour which apparently the consultant-led ladies did have to be in my hospital. I asked to go in the birthing pool so they gave me gas and air while they filled it up. This was in my birth plan and I had more or less set my heart on a water birth -  there was only one birthing pool at the hospital so I was VERY relieved nobody else was using it! The gas and air wasn't as good as I had hoped, it took the edge off the contractions but they were still really painful in a way I can't describe, it is a pain I have never felt before and I can't compare it to anything else. The contractions were still coming every 3 minutes precisely but were getting stronger and stronger and I kept thinking there was no way I could go on until 10am! At about 4.30 the pool was ready so I jumped in and it was all very nice but the contractions were getting worse all the time and there was no way sitting in a bit of water was going to stop the pain! I carried on with the gas and air in the pool but each contraction felt more unbearable. The midwife popped out of the room at 5.15 and all of a sudden I knew I needed to push, very odd how you know but I was certain the baby had to come out! I told Mr T that I needed to push and he told me not to be silly (still thinking it would be about another five hours before I got to that stage) I told him in no uncertain terms to get the midwife back so he rang the alarm and in she came (doused in Eau de Cigarette, but we'll let that pass...) The pushing part was quite good in that it stopped the contraction pain a bit. After a while of pushing I became convinced that if the baby wasn't coming out in one push then I should stop (and do what exactly, I don't know), so as the contraction ended and baby obviously didn't come out in one push,  I asked the midwife if I should "suck the baby back up?" at the time it felt like a completely reasonable question but she couldn't stop laughing and told me no I shouldn't "suck baby back up" as that would be the wrong direction! I put this down to the gas and air!
 Eventually we got to the point where the head was visible and with one push her head was halfway out, the next push could only be described as horrendous, her whole head was born and it was the most intense pain I've ever felt in my life, I felt like I was being ripped apart, I couldn't see or hear - I had a kaleidoscope-like pattern in front of my eyes and white noise in my ears. It was agonising and I can't pretend it was anything else. The rest of Baby was born in the next push which I had expected to be 'easy' after the difficulty of birthing the head but it still wasn't a walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination. Mr T cut the cord and I had to clamber out the pool to deliver the placenta which as you can imagine, was easier said than done.
The placenta delivery wasn't too pleasant, even after having an injection to speed it up, as I was feeling really shaky and a bit in shock at this point. I needed two stitches as had second degree tears but the stitches were fine although I was dreading them - they gave me gas and air again and it was amazing as I didn't have any major pain any more so I really felt the effects this time!
So our beautiful daughter Sophia was born at 6.05am which meant I dilated the final 6cm in just two hours which is why my contractions were so intense as they were coming so quickly. I'm so pleased with how it all went and really felt proud of myself even though it's something women do all the time! However, immediately after she was born I told myself I'd never do it again and I really meant it, I didn't for one moment forget the pain instantly when I saw her, like people say! But now the memory is fading and I know I will definitely do it again (but only if I can use the birthing pool..!)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Messy play!

After a suggestion from the staff at the Children's Centre we go to I decided to make a cornflour/water mixture for Sophia to play with. Having no idea what quantities of each to use I experimented and ended up taking ages to get it to the right  consistency but we got there eventually!

Sophia wasn't quite as interested in playing with the mixture as I hoped and decided that eating the newspaper I'd put down to protect the floor was a better idea (cue lots of tears when I stopped her...)
We had a few smiles after the tears but the newspaper remained more attractive than the cornflour so we called it a day pretty quickly!

I don't think I'll be repeating this for a while but if I do I'll add some food colouring to make it a bit more interesting!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Suface Spray: Mummy News Review

I was recently sent a bottle of Tommee Tippee Close to Nature Surface Spray to review for the Mummy News website.
You can read my review HERE
Have a look round Mummy News while you're there!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Sophia's First Valentine

I admit to not being a massive fan of Valentines Day in the past but Mr T has managed to bring out my more romantic side so this year we celebrated. However, as could only happen to us, the day did not go as planned!
All started well and Sophia got in the spirit by wearing her Valentines themed bib

I cooked a three course meal (for the three of us!) and we exchanged gifts. Mr T bought some heart-shaped lanterns so we decided to set these off after tea. Unfortunately, this is where things went a bit off-course and instead of floating off in a nice, romantic manner, the first lantern heart that we lit set on fire and plummeted from our balcony to the ground (hopefully not an omen...!) This would have been bad enough but there is building work going on outside our property which means lots of flammable items strewn about - cue the two of us frantically pouring water over the balcony to put out the flames before a full-blown fire started!
To add to this, Mr T was forced to admit that the delivery I had ignored earlier in the day was some Valentines roses (my hair was at the in-between stage of drying and straightening so I was not answering the door!) Fortunately these were re-delivered (still alive) the next day!

Despite these mishaps, we had a lovely day and plenty of giggles! Sophia even received her first ever Valentines card - doesn't she look pleased with it?!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Boudoir Bump

Would you be photographed in your underwear? I never thought I would but that is exactly what I did when I was eight months pregnant!
I had been vaguely aware of the company FYEO (For Your Eyes Only) before my pregnancy but it wasn't until I decided I needed a lasting reminder of my bump that I really paid them attention.
I had briefly considered making a plaster cast of my expanding tummy but realised that we didn't really have the space to store or display it so opted instead for an increasingly popular bump photo shoot.

FYEO are a company offering 'Boudoir Photography' - essentially this translates to a photo shoot in your lingerie (or nude for the very brave). They offer a variety of packages e.g. 'Bride', 'Bump', 'Couples'. Needless to say, I opted for  'Boudoir Bump', booked a shoot and then wondered what had possessed me! Now, I'm not the type of person keen to strip off at the drop of a hat, but I felt it was too good an opportunity to pass up. So, despite my apprehension at exposing my three-stone-heavier-than-usual body to a stranger, I decided to shed my inhibitions and enjoy the experience....and enjoy it I did!

On arrival at the Manchester studio I was made to feel at ease instantly. It is decorated in a luxurious style and really sets the mood well. My make up was done ready for the shoot (be warned - the make up is heavy so that it shows up well on camera - I forgot this and left the studio with excessively rouged cheeks, only remembering when I saw my reflection in a shop window...don't make this mistake!!) and I was taken into the studio to change. I had chosen simple black underwear and, as customers are encouraged to bring a 'prop' with them, I had brought one of Mr T's shirts so that he could be included in the photo in some way.
The photographer was very professional and made me feel comfortable throughout, directing me into a series of 'flattering' poses - though some required a degree of flexibility that my bump did not allow for! The photos are taken in a dark room with just one female photographer present, so any self-consciousness soon disappears. In fact, the hour went really quickly and I was surprised how enjoyable it had been. It certainly felt like a real achievement especially as I haven't always felt confident with my body!
About a week after the photos were taken, I was emailed a link to my gallery and could view a selection of pictures. The package I had chosen included one print and it was so difficult making the decision on which image to choose as there were so many I loved. After a lot of deliberation I did choose one and this image is now printed on a canvas and has pride of place at the top of our stairs!

I found this experience to be a massive confidence boost, a great memento of my pregnancy and a really fun day out!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Baby in 3D

During my pregnancy we decided to have a 3D/4D scan (the 4D part refers to a moving image, so the video of the scan as well as the 3D photos - I didn't know this before but am now educated!)
There are loads of places now offering this service and after a bit of shopping around we decided to book an appointment at ScanAssure in Bolton. We chose ScanAssure because they seemed to offer the best value package and they made it really clear what was included so there was no confusion around various bits and pieces needing to be added on to the final price (unlike some other companies I researched!)
On the day of the scan I was both nervous and excited to see a clear image of our baby! The staff were really welcoming and put extra chairs in the scan room for the in-laws who had come along with us. I was really worried we'd accidentally find out the sex of our baby as we had chosen to keep this as a surprise, I needn't have been concerned though as the sonographer checked first whether we knew the sex and told us look away from the monitor while she checked the position of the baby. Our baby decided that they were camera shy though so our first attempt was completely unsuccessful as she kept her face covered by her hand! I tried drinking coke, eating chocolate and running up and down the stairs to get her to change position but she was determined not to move.
 The sonographer was fantastic and really persevered, we were there for about 90 minutes all in all - much longer than our appointment should have been, which we thought was amazing service as we didn't feel rushed at all and were reassured that ScanAssure really wanted us to get the best images possible. Eventually though, we did have to admit defeat and go home and a further appointment was made for two weeks later. When we returned for our second go, Sophia was much more cooperative and we saw some fantastic, detailed images which we loved every second of.

The sonographer explained everything in detail and answered any questions we had. We were given a medical report (as they check everything looks OK with the baby and take measurements etc in much the same way as you would experience at your NHS 12 and 20 weeks scans), a large selection of printed 3D images (around 20 although the package states you should receive 8!), a CD of all the images, a DVD of the scan and last but not least, a gift bag which included a body butter for myself, a teether for baby and a silver photo frame. We chose the Gold package which was £130 although there is a Silver package also available for £80 which doesn't include the DVD, CD Rom or gift bag and offers fewer printed images.
We had our original scan at 27 weeks but the follow up was at 29 weeks and the images were very good so I would consider this an ideal time to have a 3D scan.
If you live locally to ScanAssure I would completely recommend them and if we have another baby I wouldn't hesitate to return here for another scan!