Finding out your pregnant is so exciting (for most), but once the news has settled in, and your reading up on everything you need to get for your new arrival, it can be a daunting task.
As a self-confessed shopaholic, I couldn’t wait to get stuck in to buying new baby clothes, but once i started doing some research i realised, i needed to furnish a whole new room, there were gadgets for everything, from breast pumps to nappy bins, to a nasal aspirator. Where did I start?
Once I had got some advice, from other mums, my own mum and the midwife I made a list of the priority items we needed. However to create this list you still have to answer some questions.
How are you going to get the baby around, will you use a pram or sling? do you need a carseat? or two?
Where will the baby going to sleep?
Are you going to breastfeed?
I decided we needed some help, so where better to go than The Baby Show – the biggest national baby event, it would have everything under one roof, and we could just take the challenge head on. This also suited my other half, as he could just do it all in one day.
The Baby Show has most of the top baby brands, but it also has smaller stalls for independent brands, which I found better for once you’ve had the baby as then tend to be clothing brands or gadgets you don’t really need till the baby is 6-months+.
The bigger brands will have plenty of offers on the larger items such as your travel system, your nursery furniture. For example we got our Mamas + Papas travel system (pram base, with buggy top, car seat and isofix base) at 30% less than the RRP.
I did my research prior to going, otherwise it can be totally overwhelming due to the volume of exhibitors, and the range of products offered – plus many are the same, so you get bombarded with sales jargon.
Below are some suggestions if you’re thinking of going:
My best buys:
Medela: This is an american brand of breast pump and bottles – focused on going from breastfeeding to bottle feeding. It is now stocked in the UK so much easier to buy, but their discounts are amazing. I got most of my kit at 50% off, and since it has been used by me, two friends, and i am getting ready to use it again (with new bottles and teets obviously)
Snufflebabe Nasal Aspirator: I had never heard of this one, but it was a godsend – this is used to clear a baby’s nose if they have a cold, or are bunged up
Nappy Bin: You can usually get them 50% off at the show – this is an essential!
Travel system: If you know which system you want, you can go in and negotiate off the RRP. I had it narrowed down to two options, and we went and tried each one. Looking at how it collapsed down, could I manage it alone and would it go in the car easily, and most importantly how much room was there for my shopping! Always make sure you get a cup-holder – I didn’t with my first one, and as coffee is staple to a new-mums diet, trying to push a buggy one-handed is no easy task.
Nursery Furniture: I got a Mothercare nursery set, at roughly 35% off. You order and pay a deposit, and then it is delivered 6 weeks before your baby arrives. This is something you could order once the baby is here, as you don’t actually use the cot till they’re 6 weeks +, but the deal was too good.
Feel free to add your best buys, or tips for going to the baby show.
It’s currently 4am, and I am 39 weeks + 4 days pregnant with my second child. This isn’t ideal, as I need to be sleeping as much as I can before my world gets turned upside down by sleep deprivation!
Instead, I am anxiously wondering if the 5th February will be the day we meet our little princess, and do I have everything ready? – almost. I have a couple of things to add to my hospital bag, and tons of ironing to do, oh yeah and a new house to get in order (we’ve been in less than two weeks!).
I then started thinking about how overwhelming it can be when you’re pregnant for the first time. My best friend is currently 24 weeks pregnant (so exciting!) with her first, and she has so many questions, and it has reminded me of all the emotions you go through with your first (btw you second pregnancy is far less exciting and a lot more exhausting when also running around after a toddler, working – and stupidly moving house at the same time).
Given I am wide awake, I thought I would use this time to jot down some of my thoughts / tips for first time mums-to-be
Finally, ENJOY! The first pregnancy is special, every day is new, every movement is exciting. Remember how incredible your body is for producing another human being, and make sure you rest, and relax. The feeling you have when the baby arrives is nothing I can explain, and its something I can’t wait to experience again.
I am sure lots of mums have other tips or suggestions, so please feel free to add them in the comments section! I would love to know if anyone has any for second time mums!!
Good luck to anyone who is expecting!
So I’ve been away for a while, nearly 16-months to be exact, and 2016 has been my most challenging year yet, and here’s why….
On the 27th December 2015 we lost my Grandad to a stroke, in January we had an almighty party to say our goodbyes, and what a fantastic send-off but such a sad way to start the year.
January also brought the news my agency had a lost a large contract, this later led to the agency closing (which i believe was for the best), therefore I was made redundant. Having worked at this agency for 8 years I knew nothing else…but maybe this is the change I needed.
Three weeks before my wedding a dormant cyst on my shoulder became infected and I had to have emergency surgery and was left with an open wound. Not only wouldn’t this be healed by the time I got married but it involved daily trips to the Drs to get my dressing changed, which my husband-to-be had to master so he could do it for the duration of our honeymoon. Plus I couldn’t drive or exercise and struggled managing harry as I couldn’t lift him.
May arrived and our wedding was amazing! It literally flew by, it was worth all the stress and chaos. We had an amazing day, we got very drunk with all of our favourite people. Our honeymoon was the trip of a lifetime, we flew to Hawaii (This place truly is paradise) , flew back to LA, drove up the west coast in an open-top-mustang to the Big Sur, and on to San Francisco. Couple of days sightseeing, and then back to our little boy.
The first four months of the year had been totally overwhelming, and not until we went on honeymoon had I stopped, then did I realise I didn’t have a plan….I always have a plan…..sh*t!!!
After 4 weeks at home with Harry, an opportunity came up a stones-throw away from home (well in comparison to my previous 90 minute daily commute), it was part-time and right up my street. However things can never be that simple…..Not long after my second interview I found out I was pregnant (we basically got pregnant the weekend of our wedding, not part of my ‘non-existing plan’ – whole other post coming!).
So, I went for my third interview, but I couldn’t walk-away without saying something. I was shaking I was so nervous, but that proved to me how much I wanted this role, and I couldn’t go ahead unless I was 100% honest. I dropped the bombshell and left them to discuss, and later that day they offered me the job, it was a 6-month freelance contract but with the opportunity to go back once the baby was born! AMAZING!!!
At our 12 weeks scan we got high-risk for Down Syndrome again, we opted for the harmony test, which Wrexham NHS offered for free (Only some NHS offer this service FOC – and only if you’re high-risk). Thankfully we got the all clear.
As we are soon to be four, we definitely needed a new house. Our house has been perfect for our little family and a great first home, but with a fourth member on the way, we need more space. We found an adorable cottage (that we had to fight off lots of other people for) that has been extended to more than double the original size. Its just what we were looking for – something full of character, but with lots of space! Its perfect, and fingers crossed we should be moving in January 2017 – a great start to a new year.
This year has been beyond challenging (though I wouldn’t change anything about it) with the above being a very very brief summary of my ups and downs, but there’s something I haven’t mentioned in here, that has had a huge impact on my life and that’s anxiety and depression. This I need to write about in my next post so stay tuned…
As my previous post was so long trying to cover my actual 90-day plan, I also wanted to reflect on my take-out from The Body Coach, so here are my thoughts…
Is this plan worth the £147 you pay? YES.
For me, this was a small fee to pay (which I paid over 3 months at £49 per month). You get a personalised plan, a set menu and food list, and an education in nutrition, fitness and cookery.
Is it as straight-forward as it seems? NO
The way Joe presents the plan on his website and through his Instagram account, it makes out that the training isn’t time intensive, and you can do it at home. I agree and disagree with this.
Yes, you can do it at home no problem, but he does recommend that you do your exercise fasted (meaning as soon as you wake up), but also expects you to drink supplements 30 minutes before starting to train. Therefore I was getting up at 5.30am to drink my supplement, and then start training at 6am, to be finished by 6.30am to either get to work on time or have it completed before my 18-month old got up. With the warm-up and cool down plus your 20-25 minute HIIT workout, it was at least 30 minutes per session sometime longer, opposed to the 20 minute work-out described.
Can you do it all from home? YES and NO
I was also a little annoyed about the variation of weights in Cycles 2 and 3. If I were to buy all of the weights needed, especially as you are expected to increase and decrease the volume of KGs in Cycle 3, you would need a whole family of weights. I had started this plan so I could do it at home, and didn’t have to sign-up to a gym. Now I have finished, and I do want to continue to workout, I will probably look to invest in some weights, and actually set-up a home-gym, but that’s beside the point.
The above two points were the only two cons for me, there were plenty more pros:
Is it another fad diet or truly a lifestyle / mindset change?
Even though I have moaned about the above points, there are so many pro’s to doing this plan. I have been truly educated on the various food groups, and what is good for my body, and why it is so important to refuel your body post exercise. I hear and see all of these fad diets, which I have also fallen victim too , and see that they are never going to be sustainable. I do treat myself now and then to a glass of wine, or a piece of cake or (dark) chocolate, it might even be once every couple of days, whereas I had those treats multiple times a day prior to this plan. Now when I do have them, I enjoy them much more!! Since starting this plan, I can’t remember the last time I walked in to a shop, and bought a chocolate bar, such as Wispa or Snicker. This would be something I would do every time I filled my car up, or each time I popped to the shops at lunch.
This ‘mindset’ change, really hit me when I went food shopping a friend, and they picked-up completely different foods for me. My shopping list is predominantly meat and veg, I don’t go near any pre-packaged, refined foods, I swan through the bakery sections, no cheeses or desserts. In fact the majority of our food shop now comes from a local farmers market, where we get everything fresh, and cheaper.
I have also learnt to cook, and actually enjoy thinking about what foods I can have, and what sauces, or marinades I could add to them. Most of the recipes are based on TBC menus, but I know how to mix them up. I eat a lot more fish and eggs than I previously did, and include a wide variety of veg with every meal – sometimes even for breakfast. My whole outlook on food has changed.
I would advise anyone of thinking of doing this, listen to Joe when he tells you to prep. Week 1 of Cycle 1, I didn’t do this, and it was time intensive every night, and not the best way to kick off the plan. For the remainder of Cycle 1, I pretty much cooked everything in bulk batches, and it saved a lot of time, and made it much easier to stick to the plan. Come Cycle 2 and 3, you get to know the meals, the healthiest ways of cooking food, as your mindset is changing, prepping just becomes part of your day-to-day life, whether that is physically cooking or mentally preparing your meal plan for the days / week ahead.
Finally, I have an exercise schedule and a goal. Previous to TBC, I would run a lot, and do some HIIT training with FitStar, but I would never know what I was aiming for. I would just do it in the hope some weight would fall off and I would be super slim again. Now I have a focus every session, and each session I try to push myself harder with heavier weights or more intense HIIT sessions.
Would I recommend people to do this? DEFINITELY YES.
The fact this is tailored to your body, your strengths and weaknesses. It would never be unachievable for anyone. It isn’t a fad diet, it is a mindset change. Even though I didn’t get the final results I wanted, I have made huge progress. I never thought I would start to see the definition I had at 18, but I can. I actually have a shape to my biceps, no more bingo wings!
I have also seen lots of people drastically change their bodies. One being my elder sister, who in Cycle 1 alone lost 12 inches across her body! I can’t wait to see her results of Cycle 2 and 3.
If you have any specific questions let me know, or tweet me @jenuine_1 .
Its been a while since I wrote on my blog….5 months and 2 days in fact. However I have good reason. Back in April I decided to sign up to ‘The Body Coach’ AKA Joe Wicks. Joe is a strong believer that through eating the right food at the rights times, combined with short bursts of training, anyone can look super lean, and feel great for it, without it taking up too much of your precious time.
This ticked all the boxes for me. I couldn’t be doing with tons of time in the gym, and hours slaving over a hot stove. With the promise of a ‘hot bod’ in 90 days and a personalised plan for a £150 (which I paid for over 3 payments interest free), how could I refuse. I had two beach holidays looming, and near enough packed away my treadmill never to be seen again.
So I signed up and literally hit the ground running on April 20th. You do three cycles over the 90 days, each cycle has a different purpose. Cycle 1 is about melting fat. My first HIIT session (You have to do 4-5 of these a week), took 25 minutes, but I thought I was going to vomit It was so hard, and that was doing the ‘Basic HIIT’ you-tube video. The first week, I had caffeine withdrawal, I was bloated as the meal portions are so large, I just couldn’t physically eat it all, however the meals did taste pretty good.
During Cycle 1 I struggled with cutting back on lattes and chocolate, they are my weak points. My energy levels did increase hugely within a week, but come the end of week 3, I couldn’t see much change in my shape, and I was starting to feel quite demotivated. I emailed my personal coach, Gemma, who gave me a good pep-talk. Plus I had read from others doing The Body Coach (TBC) that week 3 was always their lowest point, so I knew I wasn’t alone. FYI Instagram is a great way to find others who are doing the plan, check-out mine to see more pictures of my experience.
I was so surprised by week 4, I could feel the difference in my clothes, which really spurred me on. End of Cycle 1 arrived and I was so excited to get on this scales and get my tape measure out, but I hadn’t lost as much as I had of hoped. I weighed in at 1lb less, but had lots 3.5 inches from around my body. I got straight on to cycle 2.
Starting Photo / End of Cycle 1 Photo
Cycle 2 was harder for me, they introduced carbs for entire days on training days. I had this fear what I had lost before, was going to go straight back on, as I didn’t eat a huge amount of carbs before I started this process. You are also given a list of ingredients apposed to a menu of set meals, and I am really crap at thinking up new things to cook, so I actually ended up just making most of the meals from Cycle 1, and now and then I would have a go at something new.
What I loved about Cycle 2 is you are introduced to weight training called GVT. However this did mean, unless I wanted to go out and spend a fortune on free-weights – even though TBC suggest you can get them at low cost from eBay etc – I don’t have time to scourer the net searching for cheap deals or second hand goods. I decided if I was going to continue and see this through I would need to sign-up to a gym, even if just to see this plan through.
It was towards the end of Cycle 2, that I started to see a difference in the tone of my arms and legs, and a little on my torso, but again not as much as I would like. I still felt I had fat to melt, especially on my back, and that even though I was training 4 times a week, burning up to 600 calories a session, and eating all the right foods, I was gaining muscle but not loosing any more weight. My measurements confirmed my fears, I had lost no weight, but had lost another half an inch from my waist, my hips and my chest.
I had a holiday to ibiza for two weeks between Cycle 2 and 3, I took my training kit with me, not expecting to train much, but I did manage one session – which was better then none. I tried to stick to mainly protein and vegetables as my source of carbs, week one was better than week two. This holiday was one of my main goals for doing TBC. I wanted to be confident when I was by the pool or by the beach, but I also wanted to enjoy our time off as a family. it was our first family trip to a hot country, and my first two week trip for nearly 20 years. I didn’t want to be restricted by a ‘diet’, so I did treat myself to ice-cream, cold beers and bowls full of pasta, but I was still always conscious to not have more than one meal of refined carbs, and I didn’t see that as a bad mindset to be in, I certainly didn’t feel like it prevented me from enjoying my holiday any more.
I picked up Cycle 3 when I got back.
Thank-god I was back to carbs post-workout only. Cycle 3, followed a similar format to Cycle 2, just less carbs, and a choice between a set of ingredients and a set menu. Most days I went for the set-menu, or the menus I had been given in the previous cycles. Also my weight training changed to DTP. I could barely walk after my first session, but it felt amazing! I was enjoying this even more than Cycle 2. You have 4 workout days, Legs Abs and Core, Shoulders, Arms, Chest and Back. They were killers, but each week got easier, so each week I pushed myself harder. (My first attempt at Leg day reminded me of going in to labour!!!).
Before I reached the end of Cycle 3, I had a boozy girls holiday in Tenerife, so I did an extra two weeks to compensate for the volume of carbs and alcohol I had consumed. I guess I was also holding out for some extra weight to drop off, or toning to happen, but I came to realise, I wasn’t going to end this plan as toned and lean as I had hoped. Come my final measurement day, since day one, I had only lost 1lb, 0.5 inches from my chest, 2 inches from my waist and 1.5 inches from my hips (I some how managed to but weight back on my chest which isn’t a bad thing!). However my none scale victory of being between 1 – 2 dress sizes smaller trumps all of those.
Starting Photo / End of Cycle 3 Photo (4 months later!)
At the end of the day, I feel like I have lost weight, I am a hell of a lot fitter, I am much more educated on what I should and shouldn’t be putting in my body, and last but not least, combined with this and having a baby, I have realised how precious my body is, and how important it is to take the best care of it. I may not have the results I want yet, but I haven’t given up.
If anyone is considering signing up to The Body Coach or have any questions, just let me know, or check out my next post ‘Does The Body Coach really work?’ for my pros and cons of the overall experience and whether I will be continuing with my plan.
I am 31 years old, I am engaged, own my own home, have a gorgeous 11 month old son, and I guess you could say so far I have a sucesful career. Is this normal for most entering their thirties? Who knows?
A few decades ago, I would of been deemed by society as too old to be having kids, and living out of wedlock would have been a sin.
I was never one of those girls who grew up dreaming of their wedding day, or meeting the man of their dreams, settling down and having children. I dreamt of having a successful career, making a difference, and being independant. Rather than putting an age on getting married, I would put an age on what job I wanted, and earning enough to afford little luxuries. Only five years ago I had none of the above and if you’d of asked me then if I would of been in this position now I probably would of laughed.
I hear friends, colleagues and even strangers talk about what you should of achieved by the time you’re 30. Typically people want to of travelled in their 20’s, and then be married / engaged, own a property, be considering children, and earning a decent salary by their early 30’s.
Is it society putting pressure on people to have this expectation?
Is it our peers?
So if you reach you 30 and have all of the above are you then deemed successful?
In my opinion age is just a number, you only have one go at life, and its YOUR life, no one elses. I came about this post for a couple of reasons. Recently a couple of friends who will be turning 30 next year having been writing bucket lists, changing up their lives and making important decisions, and they have all said “oh but I’m going to be 30 next year, and I don’t have [a husband, a baby, a house a career]”, but I want to shake them and tell them to go enjoy their lives, they have plenty of time to do all that.
Another reason I wrote this was because of a montage we did in work, each person had to write in two words what we would of said to our younger selves. I found this too hard to do in two words, so I just suggested ‘no regrets’. I dont think people should regret anything as what ever decison you made at the time, you would of done for a very valid reason, and there is no point on dwelling on things you can’t change. However my favourite came from our Creative Partner, he nailed it with ‘Trust Dreams’, I realy think dreams can be achieved if you put your mind to it….and stop wasting time thinking about where and what you should have by the young age of 30.
So what does everyone else think?
Does society have a checklist of where you should be at the age of 30?
What would your two words of advice be to your younger self?
Join me and post a selfie with your #wizewords to your younger self.
So I have been awful at keeping my blog updated, my little sister would not be happy that I have not blogged for 6 weeks!!! In my defence I started back a work full-time in September, and have been trying to get Harry in a new routine of going to his Nanna’s and starting Nursery. Plus we had 8 family birthdays in September, including mine, so big party month!
Trying to find time to write over the past few weeks has been really hard, I have started a new role at work, and really struggled with being away from Harry four days a week, and we have had birthday celebrations most weekends. Once I lost the momentum a little, I got a bit scared of what I could write about. Guess i stuck my head in the sand.
After a month of chaos, I am ready to start the next chapter of life as a working full-time mum. I am settled in to work (in a new job), Harry is getting settled, and my sister has kindly taken Harry for a walk, so I can get cracking on some new posts, here goes…..
So I promised I would update on my fitness progress after my June update. So here I am!
A new baby can be so consuming, and it is easy to forget the relationship you had before they came along. We try our best to get time together, either a day out, or going for a meal, but it can be quite hard when you don’t have a long list of babysitters to call on.
Rich was given tickets for the Red Bull Air Race at Ascot Racecourse. We were invited as ‘Friends of Red Bull’ (FORBS), which included complimentary food and drink all day, the best view of the race course, and all day entertainment. We packed Harry off to his Grandad’s for the weekend, and managed to squeeze in a visit to the cinema on the friday, two lie-ins, and our day out to the air race.
Red Bull, as usual put on a good show. The whole set-up was vintage / retro themed, with all the staff dressed up, the interior of the FORBS section was fantastic, the cocktails flowed (all Red Bull based of course), the food was never ending and we had a front row seat to the air race.
The whole day was great from start to finish, to relax with a morning cuppa in bed, take my time to wash and style my hair, do my make-up and have breakfast together. The day at Ascot was such a treat, and we managed to talk about a lot more than just Harry. We finished the day off with a visit to the local Chinese, just like old times. However I do think I had a little too much Red Bull, as the insomnia kicked in soon as I leapt in my bed.
After a whole weekend without my baby, on Sunday I was like a kid waiting for father christmas, I sat looking out the window, waiting for him to come back! I was so excited to have him back in my arms. I thought him going away would get easier, but I think it is getting worse!
“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” —Sophia Loren
Lots of people who have had children are so excited when you’re pregnant (Which I now understand, as I have pregnant friends, I am bursting with excitement for them), however no one ever tells you how hard the first weeks of having a baby really is. In prep for this post, I decided to speak with a few friends who have all recently given birth, and find out what they thought were the hardest things.
I had a natural birth, and felt fortunate to only needed gas and air, and came through it with one or two stitches, some cuts and bruises. It was only the next day that the adrenaline started to disappear, the painkillers wore off, and the tiredness kicked in. My whole body started to ache, it hit me like a brick wall. I had pushed a baby out after being awake for over 36 hours, barely eating for 24 of that, and not had any solid sleep since Harry arrived. I just hadn’t expected to be in so much pain, you think you do the hard bit by giving birth, but oh no, there is more. I just kept taking the painkillers, and telling myself that in a week or so I would be healed, and i would be fine…but then came breast-feeding!
One of my biggest challenges, and I am sure many will agree was breast-feeding. I tried, it was hard, very painful, I got mastitus (breastfeeding infection), but I worked through it, and fed Harry for 16 weeks, but I did have cracked nippled for at least 8 weeks, and no one can explain how painful they are. However I do know many people who have wanted to stop, and were told by their health visitors not too, that it wasn’t healthy for their baby to be fed formula “breast was best” apparently.The pressure for women to breastfeed is completely unnecessary, I believe it should be up to the mother if they decide to breast-feed and their decision when to stop.
I recall a moment when Harry was about 2 weeks old, it was 2am, and I was up feeding him. I had gotten about half hours sleep. I was so tired I could barely hold my head up, and I remember thinking “I am never going to sleep properly again”, I felt overwhelmed by my emotions, so happy to be feeding my baby, but so desperate to sleep longer than an hour. It only dawns on you once your baby has arrived, that you may not get uninterrupted sleep again and you will never have a day off from being a mum….’weekend’ for mums don’t exist.
I was warned a little about this by a one or two friends, they told me “five days in and you will cry, ALOT, for no reason”. Yes this happened, I would just burst in to tears, for no reason. I think everything kicks in, the sleep deprivation, the breast-feeding struggles (buckets of tears over this), the enormity of the challenge you have taken on, the post-birth pain, no wonder your body doesn’t have a clue what to do. The crying did ease for me after about two weeks, and most of the time i cried, i would have no idea why, but knew it had to be my hormones as i certainly wasn’t sad.
A few of my friends mentioned in their responses how they struggled once their partners had gone back to work, and were alone with their baby most of the working week. One of my friends (who must be wonderwoman), had twins, and her husband worked away during the week, and that not only did she miss the support, but it was difficult for her partner to bond with their children. Luckily she had her family close by for solid support, and her partner has managed to changed jobs, so he is back living with his family.
What I really struggled with, was the fact our relationship was no longer just us, and we couldn’t watch TV together in the evenings, go see a film etc, we had a third person, who seemed to be hogging all the couple time. I started to miss my boyfriend, even though we lived together, slept in the same bed, I missed having a conversation and staying up to watch tv with him in the evenings, but I was so tired, I would have to get some sleep before Harry woke again.
There are so many more that I want to write about in this post, but it is already getting far too long.
Even after all of the above and more, nothing can compare to the incredible love and affection you feel for your baby, and at least you can feel much more prepared for baby no.2.
Huge thank-you too Julia, Jane, Keri and Kate for your help!
p.s. I love this quote!
“It’s not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it.” —Dorothy on The Golden Girls