Love Jenuine

So my biggest social media weakness is probably Instagram. I can’t help myself, I love looking at other peoples pictures, and I can’t resist sharing photos of my adorable little man (follow me and Harry here), but I didn’t realise how beneficial Instagram could be.

I’m sick of trawling high street shops and online sites for something different and new, only to end up in the same outfit as everyone else. I keep seeing the same styles everywhere, and I’m so over worrying that I’ll find myself in the same dress or the same top as someone else at the office? Anyone else having this problem?

Fortunately, my social media vice has saved the day. Instagram is not only great for style inspiration, but I have found it is a great platform for brands. And I’m not talking about your go-to high-street brands, I’m talking about fabulous fresh designers. I recently came across a few brands that I had never heard of before; all reasonably priced, all different styles, and all a welcomed change from my usual Topshop or River Island hauls. I was delighted! And all thanks to Instagram.

So is Instagram the new window shopping? If it is, then no more afternoons being pushed and shoved in Westfield’s, you’ll find me curled up on my sofa scrolling my way through beautiful dresses, cute skirts and to-die-for shoes. Here are a few of my fave brands whom I recently started following

Novo-London
Instagram: @novo_london
I actually came across one of their dresses on Danielle Lloyd, I loved it and thought it would be way out my price range. When I visited the site I was pleasantly surprise and I loved the whole collection. Dresses range from £75 – £100 and are very much neutral colour, symmetrical and simple.Here are some of my favourite pieces

Novo(SOURCE)

Lavish Alice
Instagram: @lavishalice
I think someone regrammed their accessories, and a dress or two, and they really grabbed my attention. I started following them on Instagram and it never crossed my mind to actually look at their site. I adore the simplicity and neutral colours with the odd bit of print and pattern thrown in. I particularly like the print dresses. These clothes are ideal for a day in the office, slip on a pair of heels and drinks in the city. Again modest prices, a dress is between £40-£60. I particularly like the Oxblood Red and Monochrome looks.

Lavish Alice(SOURCE)

Lavish Alice also have a promotion on with Now Magazine. Receive 25% discount on all full priced items, all you need to do is sign-up and use the promo code NOW25 at the check-out.

Kirsty Doyle
Instagram: @kirstydoyle
I actually came across this designer via an old school friend tweeting about her wedding outfit. Kirsty Doyle is a fellow scouser, and her style is very similar to Victoria Beckham’s, but with a more affordable price-tag. A couple of her items are a little on the pricey side for me,  but out of all the new sites I have found her designs are by far the most interesting! Plus I don’t mind spending a little extra to support a fellow scousers. Kirsty also designers and makes great bridesmaids dresses, and i think i have already spotted the one I want for my lovely maids of honour. Below are some of my favourite pieces!

Kirsty Doyle(SOURCE)

There are plenty more out there, you just need to have a good search. A couple of others I also recommend are @Kandeeshoes  have fabulous shoes and bags, their instagram is better than their site, and @Baublebar do great accessories.

I would love to hear of any other brands / designers that people have found that I can add to my window shopping list.

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19. 07. 2014

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A lot of people, admittedly me being one of those prior to having my own baby, thought mums who stayed at home had loads of time on their hands. How wrong was I!

I am sure all mums would agree, taking care of a baby 24/7 is a lot harder than it seems, and one thing you never catch, is a break. What I mean by a break is your little one being the responsibility of someone else, be that your partner, a family member, so that you can relax, and know they aren’t going to wake-up just as you sit-down.

Yes the baby will go down for naps, sometimes a few times a day, so why don’t you get a break whilst they’re napping? Perhaps because you always find a million and one things to do round the house. There are always bottles to wash and sterilise, if you’re weaning, there is pureeing and cooking to do, cleaning the house, which seems to get messier now your on maternity leave as you are there all day! If like me, my hair started dropping out 4 months after giving birth, i was hoovering and sweeping everyday. You now have twice the amount of washing and ironing…. the list is endless.

Yes there are the nice things you get to do, like coffee with other mums, shopping, walks in the park, but you’re not relaxing, as you still thinking about the next item on the schedule, well when will the little one need a feed, and do I need to change his nappy, do I want him to fall asleep in the pram or in the car…it is mentally draining.

I have come to realise (only taken me 7 months), that mums need time off too, the same as other people do from their jobs. Sometimes just an hour away from the house, away from other responsibilities, a couple of drinks with a friend, go for a swim, pop round your mums for a cuppa. These are such simple things, that can be overlooked, and I confess I took having ‘me-time’ for granted before having Harry.

 

Need a break
I’ve found my blog has been a great escapism. For example today – Saturday, I have been with Harry all week, and unfortunately my partner had a super busy schedule, and so he has been away most of the week. I think this really took its toll on me, being responsible for Harry all week, alone, especially after a 10 day holiday and having support on a daily basis. So today I have been in a funny mood, I had a lie-in which was great and I woke up feeling positive and ready for the day, but as the day progressed, and Harry decided not to have his nap, I’ve become anxious, and snappy, unfortunately taking it out on my partner. Both my baby and his daddy have now gone for a nap, and I have been able to just chill-out (opting to do no cleaning, no cooking, no washing), just me, my blog, and I am about to treat myself to a fresh juice! I feel so much better for just having this past hour, to collect and download my thoughts.

Don’t misinterpret this for me being ungrateful, I love my baby more than anything in the world, but I need to be Jen as well as mummy.

I am going to try and make sure each weekend,  I take myself out for a coffee, get my nails done or see some friends, letting the boys have some ‘father and son’ time, and allowing me to have a bit of time to be Jen and not mummy or wife (to be).

It would be great to hear anyones thoughts on how they relax, or have created their own time away from being a mum?

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14. 07. 2014

I will be the first to admit I am a sun worshiper, 99% of my holidays have been about sitting in the sun, reading a book with a glass of vino, working on my tan. I would possibly dedicate one day to either shopping or sightseeing…if the weather was bad. Well I can kiss those holidays goodbye for the next 10 years….at least!!

We decided for our first holiday with Harry we would drive to France. Contemplating having to get all of Harry’s stuff on a plane made me want to cry , whereas driving we could shove it all in the car, stop when we wanted, and do everything at our own pace. Dover.jpg
We opted for Normandy / Brittany as the drive wasn’t to long, and my best friend lives in Normandy so we were able to stay with her for a few days for a real French experience. We had 5 days in Fecamp, a small coastal town about 2 hours south of Calais. We stayed in a typical French home, ate fresh croissants each morning, and stuffed ourselves with bread, cheese, meats and wine for lunch. Sylvie (whose house we stayed in, and she spoke very very little English) was an excellent cook and made us a homemade cheese tart, it was divine, and I think rich will definitely be trying it at home.

We spent our days relaxing, and catching up on some sleep, visiting an old Mill recently bought by Katy’s family, checking out the local markets, also we had a day trip to Rouen and a walk through Fecamp and along the promenade.

normandy

Rouen’s famous gold clock / our trip to the mill / Rouens beautiful architecture /date night!

Each evening we did something different, we attended a French birthday BBQ, where we were taught how to lasou, had meat fondue (not sure it was my cuppa tea, but glad I tried it), went to a steak restaurant where the meat was cooked in front of you on an open fire (this tasted AMAZING), had another BBQ, and our final night we ate so much at lunch we couldn’t face another meal, so had a lovely date night whilst Katy babysat Harry, and we went for a few drinks.

Food!
Meat Fondue / Galette (famous Brittany savoury pancakes) / chocolate with salted caramel

We decided to take the scenic route to our next stop in Roz sur Couesnon, until we saw it was a 7.5 hour drive. So we took the motorway to Caen (our half way point), and then took the scenic route, admiring lots of tiny French villages along the way. We had rented a cottage for 3 days / 4 nights,  based in between Mont St-Michel and St-Malo. We spent a day at each of these locations, and then a day in the cottage when we had the best weather (make sure to read my blog post about the cottage we rented, it was wonderful and a reasonable price). We’d not had the best luck with the weather so far, but on our last day we had glorious sun, and were able to get the paddling pool out for Harry, and being typical Brits, soon as he was down for a nap, we were out trying to catch what we could of the sun, so at least we come back looking a little healthier.

France in pics

All-in-all we had a great time, but I must admit going on a holiday with a small baby was much harder than I thought despite packing our car so it was bursting with all his stuff. Harry really missed his jumperoo, and I think just having playtime, as a lot of time was spent out and about so he was either in his buggy, his car seat or the sling.

I guess it also didn’t help that Harry had a stomach bug for the first week and projectile vomited multiple times over Sylvie’s sofa, which I might add is black. It rained for our first two days, Harry screamed for 2 hours on date night, so we nearly never made it out, and to finish it off, we spilt red wine down the cottage’s white curtains on our last night, and the owners didn’t speak English so trying to express how deeply sorry we were was very hard.

Would I do it all again? YES! Spending a week with my boys and a few days with my best friend was totally worth the hard work.

Despite our child being ill, and vomiting everywhere I would like to thank Katy, Greggers, Sylvie and Katy’s family for making us feel soooo welcome! We had a great time and a true French experience.

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I was lucky enough to be given a ticket to see Elton John play a charity gig for Sports Aid at the amazing Stoke Park Golf Club over the weekend.

Having grown up listening to Elton John, I had always wanted to see him live, but never really thought I would have the opportunity. However my partner surprised me with a ticket to a charity gig at a spectacular venue only 15 minutes from our house, how could I say no.

On the day of the gig, after a glorious week of baking hot weather, we had  a day of thunder and lightening, and constant down pours. I wasn’t so much looking forward to standing in the rain, but it was Elton John so i wasn’t prepared to give up my ticket.

The event started at 5pm, we arrived at 6pm, just as the sun comes out and all the clouds disappear. The venue was breathtaking, when walking past the ticket office it dawned on me, this was a small but prestige event. There could of been no more than 3000 guests (if that!), with a couple of (what i can only describe as) luxury food and drink stalls, serving Stone baked pizza, paella, fish and chips with Heineken, Pimms and Champagne.

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I was gobsmacked when I saw how small the audience would be, even standing at the back of the seats you would have a clear view of Sir Elton John.

We made a beeline for the bar, and ordered a Pimms and Heineken, and it went down far to well. We indulged in fresh fish and chips with homemade tartar sauce, it was DIVINE. The fish fell apart! This was not your ordinary gig food. We found a spot on the grass and basked in the summers evening. However 30 minutes before the gig was due to start, the clouds came in, and our sun was no longer, we threw on our macs / ponchos and headed for cover before the music started.

Sir Elton John kicked off on time, and we took our seats in the rain, prepared with waterproofs, and ponchos, we sat for the first initial songs. It was just him and his piano, and was superb. He sang ‘Your Song’, i had goosbumps and it took me back to the days of watching Moulin Rouge with my sister (its her favourite film – or one of). About 4 songs in, I was drenched, not even two ponchos could keep me dry, so we decided to head for the trees at the back of the seating area. Surprisingly, it was completely dry under these bad boys , and the view was better than our seats.

We stayed under the trees for the rest of the gig, danced, sang, and adored this talented genius! He gave us Still Standing, Rocket Man, Daniel, and of course The Circle of Life. He had no band, just him and his piano! Outstanding! He played for 90 minutes and it seemed like 9. I was devastated when it finished, but it had been an experience I will never forget. What makes it even better, is he did this for free, and all the ticket sales go to Sports Aid.

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We were lucky enough to meet two of the sports men being supported by Sports Aid, and they told us a little about the charity. It is fairly unknown, and had been running for 4 years, and last year the Duchess of Cambridge became patron. Sports Aid helps young athletes to make their dreams a reality, from funding travel to competitions to new equipment. You can find out more about this charity and how you can get involved, or support by attending an event at  http://www.sportsaid.org.uk/

This was an experience i cant wait to tell Harry about.

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Harry was 17 weeks when I considered weaning. I had read so much about the government guidelines being 6 month (24 weeks),plus the health visitor drills it in to you, but Harry was always hungry, and I had already moved to combination feeding but he still wanted more. He had slept through the night from 11/12 weeks old, and all of a sudden he was waking at 1am for another feed. We brought back the dream-feed, that did the trick, but i felt we were going backwards instead of forwards.

Both my own mum and my mother-in-law told me I should start weaning. I was a little scared, and I didn’t want to damage his digestive system, but I could also see the signs. He was sitting up by himself, he was watching us eat and drink (i constantly felt guilty, and even hid when I was eating), so I gave it a go with a tiny bit if baby rice, well he nearly took my hand off!!!

We gave him 1 teaspoon of rice mixed with his milk, and he ate it so fast we had to make more, he wasn’t bothered by the spoon, right then I knew we’d made the right decision to start him weaning.

I had no idea what to do next, how do you make the transition from milk to food. What foods can you give him? Is there anything dangerous? what happens if he chokes, When do you cut down their milk? I needed guidance, so who else to turn to but Gina Ford (and my mum – of course!).

Gina Fords book ‘The contented little baby book of weaning‘ actually addresses how to wean a baby before the recommended 6 month mark, this helped a lot. She takes you through introducing food in groups, so fruit, veg then protein etc.

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I was really looking forward to the weaning, and it was exciting to be starting a new stage of Harry’s life. A couple of my friends had warned me about weaning, about how tedious it could be, and you get sick of pureeing food, boiling fruit,  filling ice-cube trays and cleaning it all up. To begin with it was novelly, but now I am 10 weeks in, I can not wait for Harry to be able to eat what we eat!

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I followed GF’s book to the tee for about the first 8 weeks, but I found Harry was getting a bit bored of the same food, and he was starting to reject his own food, and be grabbing for ours instead. I had heard of ‘Baby-led weaning’ when I was pregnant, but as I started weaning Harry early, and he couldn’t hold his own food, I didn’t think it would work. Now Harry was gone 6 months and could easily hold his food, I tried it out  a couple of  times,  just giving him chunks of broccoli, cheese, fruit etc to eat himself. They say it encourages the baby to develop quicker, better hand-eye coordination, and plus it means they can join in family meal times.

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Once I let Harry pick his own food, I realised he could chew more than I thought (and not choke!), and so I stopped pureeing his food (hurrah!!!), and I started to make the things we were eating but mashing them up, so tuna pasta, pasta in tomato sauce with cheese and ham, roast dinners and salmon with veg. I would mash it so it was ‘textured’ (not lumpy), and he loves it. I do also give him finger foods, so pieces of pear, strawberries and in the mornings, and he either has porridge which I feed him, or I make him wholemeal toast very lightly buttered, and just cut one piece in to strips.

Harry’s nearly 7 months and seems really happy and content. Over the past two weeks, I have experimented with what I can make for him, and stopped worrying so much about following a plan, and gone with what i think is best for him. I dont include salt in any of my cooking, and use low salt, sugar free, and wholemeal  ingredients where possible. I tend to give him a mixture of finger foods and mashed foods now, but i am working towards giving him more solid foods when i can.

Cutting down his milk was a bit worry of mine, and I really went with my gut instinct on this one. I cut down his lunch time milk first and about 2 weeks ago removed it completely, and spent time trying to get him to drink from a sipy cup instead, either water or juice. This took about 4 weeks, but now we have a cup of water/juice every day, and drinks it between his feeds and milk. I haven’t figured out when i will take down his afternoon milk, probably when he doesn’t drink it all, or even seem to want it anymore.

What I am really learning with each of these new stages and experiences, is you need someone to give you an initial guidance on how to manage the next stage, such as weaning, breastfeeding, but once you start working with your baby, you seen realise you will always know whats best for your own child, and you have to go with your gut (maternal) instincts. I still find the best advice comes from my mum. She brought up 4 of us, and works with children, but she will always remind me ‘mum knows best!’

If anyone has any advice or tips, i would love to hear, as i am still in the thick of the ‘weaning’ stage, and so welcome the help.

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22. 06. 2014

maternity shopping

To follow on from my maternity ‘what’s hot and what’s not’ I have jotted down my tips for maternity shopping.

 

clothes

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d really like to hear any tips you have or advice you can offer for others currently looking to revamp their maternity wardrobe.

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12. 06. 2014

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Living in London, I don’t think I will ever run out of new things to do or places to see. My downfall is I always think I am too busy to go do new things. My other half works in the drinks industry, and his patch is the city and Shoreditch, so he is constantly telling about cool new bars opening, or events happening. Before Harry, I would meet up with him after work, and check out a couple of his bars, or we would spend Saturdays trying out new places. Since Harry has arrived, I haven’t been able to make as many of these nights as I would like, in fact I think only once, but sometimes an opportunity comes along that you just can’t turn down. We were lucky enough to be offered a night in the most exclusive, and sought after room in London.  Has anyone ever noticed there is a boat sitting on top of the Southbank centre, as i hadn’t and i have been there enough times! A room for London is a ‘boat’ perched on the edge of the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the Southbank Centre.

The boat is in fact a one bedroomed self catering space, where visitors are treated to an incredible view of London. With a two tiered deck, you have this fabulous panoramic view from Big Ben, to St Paul, to the more recently built Shard. We were offered a nights stay at very short notice, so we were desperate for an overnight babysitter. Thankfully my sister came to our rescue, and so we got ourselves ready for a night away from the little man, and prepared to embark on an adventure watching over London. On arrival, you sign a contract that you won’t breach any of the rules, such as taking guests back, no parties etc. You are then taken to a secret lift, that takes you up to the boat!! Unfortunately on our visit it was pouring with rain, I prayed for it to dry up so we could spend some time on the deck, but ultimately it poured even more.

outside 2

I brought the champagne, and we decided to order takeaway from my favourite place, Wagamamas.  This was just below the Royal Festival Hall, so just a short trip down the secret lift to collect our dinner. We opted to eat in, as we can eat out anytime in London, but we will never get our time back in this exclusive room. We sat down at the table, (which we never do at home), and had our meal. No TV, no iPads, just our own company and our food. It was slightly surreal, but great to just chat about our experience, and how lucky we were to be there.

inside

The room comes with dishes, cutlery, glasses, tea, coffee, milk etc, the usual you would find in a self-catering room. The bedroom looked over the River Thames, you are provided binoculars to spy on the city, we had fun trying to guess all of the buildings, seeing if we could see inside the rooms of The Savoy opposite, and seeing what bars we could spot. The rain continued, and we made an attempt to go outside and get some photos, but it was too wet to risk taking our SLR camera outside. It seemed a real shame to spend all of our time inside looking out, but even after a last minute umbrella purchase, the rain finally beat us. I had assumed it would be freezing, so had packed jumpers and joggers, but the heating was quick, and within 20 minutes of whacking the radiator on, it was like a sauna!

The view

We stayed up drinking, admiring the view, reading the books provided (there was a library of books about London’s history), and reading the log book, which all guests were recommended to detail their stay and sign (some people giving a little too much detail of their bedroom antics). We wanted to stay up, to not waste any of our time sleeping, but having been up with the little man at 6am, by the time midnight came, I couldn’t stay awake anymore, and gave in to my tired eyes.

Rich was awake at 6am like a kid at christmas, wanting to watch the morning hustle and bustle of London in our final hours. Due to work commitments, and our babysitters, we had to leave at 8am (you have the room till 11am), we quickly got showered (whilst admiring the The Shard from the porthole in the bathroom!), dressed, and wrote our notes in the log book, we stood at the doorway for ages, trying to hold on to our last moments of this amazing experience. It was over, and we were so sad to be leaving.

Living Architecture is the company behind ‘A room for London’. You have to enter a ballot to be in with a chance of staying in the room, and it is £300 for the night – but worth every penny. You are limited to one night, and can only stay there once, and the boat may possibly move location in the future. Living Architecture also have a number of other properties around the UK, and some more opening during the next 18 months. If you get the chance to stay, or even enter the ballot, then go for it!

This is one event I really wanted to capture on my blog,and share our experience with everyone. The pictures do most of the work!

This is something I hope to be able to tell my children, and grandchildren about.

SELFIE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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05. 06. 2014

In school I was always a keen runner, I don’t think many would believe me now, but I actually ran cross country for my school. I gave it up at 16, as I wanted to be out with all my mates rather than training. Its one of those ‘told you so’ moments from your parents, when you look back, and think ‘what could of happened’ if I had stuck to what I was actually good at. Well I would be skinnier and toned for a start!

I have never struggled with my weight, and I took this for granted. I have (mostly) good skinny genes, but even they don’t keep you skinny forever. The usual happened, I got in to a relationship, settled (and my fiancé being a superb cook hasn’t helped), and put on a stone. This happened gradually over 5 years, so I only really noticed when looking back at Facebook photos for some ‘thinspiration’ to loose my baby weight, did I realise how much I had let myself go.

As mentioned in my earlier post No more (baby) weighting around, I bought a treadmill and downloaded a couple of new apps as a replacement for my gym membership. Between Rich and I, we were paying over £1,000 a year for our gym memberships, which neither of used since Harry arrived. Our Treadmill was a steal at £350, thats a saving of over £650 a year on our membership. Plus it folds-up, so doesn’t need much room.

Treadmill.jpgRoger Black Gold – Homebase

The apps I found via Facebook were advertised on my feed, I never click those ads as I always think they are scams – I was pleasantly surprised. Running for Weight Loss is the first app, this does exactly as it says on the tin. You loose weight by following a ten-week running program. I have been using this app for 12 weeks, and I am still only up too week 6 (oops!). You have to do 3 runs a week. I always find it better to run first thing in the morning, before any breakfast, but this isn’t always easy with Harry. Each run is about 40 minutes, and I can’t always guarantee he is going to sleep for that long, or I sometimes have chores to do during his morning nap. Ideally I would like to do two a week, and if I can manage three then great.

Running for weightloss.jpgRunning for Weight loss App

I am not going to lie, the runs are not easy, and throughout each run I battle in my head ‘should I stop?’, ‘can I carry on?’. I know that my body shouldn’t be tired, that most of the battle when running is in my head. I try to motivate myself by thinking about why I am doing this, to be healthy for Harry, to feel confident in myself, and so I can get in to my Zara Skinny Jeans!!

I have been combining my running with a bit of core training, using Fitstar . This is a free app, but if you want a specific training program i.e. to loose weight you have to upgrade to the premium at £2.99 a month. I used the app a couple of times before signing up, and I loved it. It was really easy, each session was only 30 minutes, and wasn’t exhausting. The sessions are based on your fitness levels, and it continuously asks to asses your fitness through-out the programmes. I have never been one for doing push-ups, crunches etc but I knew I couldn’t tone my body by just running.  I decided to upgrade to the ‘Get Lean’ program, and to alternate between this and running, for at least 4/5 days a week.  I had been looking at ‘Results with Lucy’ by Lucy Meck, there was a lot of positive press and success stories flying about, and this uses the same format as Fitstar, but it was £12 a month! I think I got a better deal.

Fitstar.jpgFitstar App

I used both of these apps through-out the whole of April, as planned doing 4-5 days of training a week, along with eating 1,500 calories a day, and even though I didn’t loose any weight, I could notice a huge difference in my body shape, especially towards the end, I was fitting in to my pre-pregnancy jeans with ease, I was starting to see some definition in my stomach, and my energy levels where through the roof. I didn’t DREAD each run like I did at the beginning  and I looked forward to my Fitstar training, as it was fairly easy, and I was seeing results.

May, however was a busy month, we were away every weekend, and my exercise plan pretty much stopped, with the exception of a run and a couple of Fitstar sessions.

I decided to pick back up my training and healthy eating from June onwards. I am on day 5, and 2 Fitstar sessions done this week, but still to do that first run!! eek!

It shows you don’t have to spend a fortune, have a fully equipt home gym or a personal trainer to get fit. By cancelling my gym membership, buying the treadmill (shared with Rich), the two apps (£39 for the year) and a yoga mat (£8) I saved myself £294!!

Download the apps! They really work, and let me know how you get on, it would be great to hear someone else’s results and experiences.

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After our 12 week scan, we had a blood test to check for Downs syndrome, this is an optional test which most expecting parents have, we were advised to have this, as the nurse doing our scan had spotted a little too much fluid (Nuchal translucency) at the back of our baby’s neck, which can be a strong sign of Downs syndrome. This worried us, but we tried to keep each other calm, there was nothing we could do about it till after the blood results.

Our blood results showed we had a 1:60 ratio of having a baby effected by Downs syndrome, we were now classed as a high-risk pregnancy (this ratio is calculated by measuring the fluid at the top of the neck, and looking at the hormone levels your placenta is producing). It never crossed my mind we would be at risk of Downs syndrome. We weren’t expecting this at all. I actually received the news whilst stuck in gridlock traffic on the M25, and was bawling my eyes out. We were devastated, the usual thoughts ran through our heads ‘why us?’, ‘what will we do?’, we had very different opinions so decided not to discuss it until we had more information. We ended up going to Harley Street for more tests at a private clinic. I’ll be writing a new post soon about our scare with Downs syndrome, how we coped and our glimmer of hope ‘The Harmony Test’

At 16 weeks, and after additional tests, we were given a new ratio of 1:10,000 this was the best you could get. We were on holiday when we got the results, luckily at the start, so we could really enjoy our last break as a couple! I don’t think i had ever felt so relieved in my life. I celebrated with a glass of wine.

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Once we had the 20 weeks scan, it dawned on me that I wouldn’t see our baby until he/she was born (unless we wanted to pay for an extra scan). This worried me a little, and so I looked online to see if I could buy a heart monitor, similar to those your midwife uses at your antenatal appointments. I think Rich thought I was crazy, but after all the anxiety we had after our 12 week scan, I couldnt wait till my due date to know he/she was okay. I bought the Angel Heart Monitor  Now I could check the baby’s heartbeat and movement whenever I wanted at home. This was great, not expensive, and gave me a little reassurance each week. Once we passed around the 28/30 week point, and I was feeling the baby move around daily, I stopped using this, as the movement was reassurance enough.

Most people opt for the extra scans and get 4D scans done, but these are quite expensive and you always find out the sex. We really wanted the sex to be a surprise, so stuck to our heart monitor. However if you did want to get these done, they are on Groupon most weeks.

Now we were in to summer my bump was rapidly growing, and this wasn’t the only part of my appearance that was changing…

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15. 05. 2014

When Harry met Bond

As many men are, my other half (Rich) is a James Bond fan, and they’ve recently opened an exhibition in London of all the cars used in the films.

Before it even opened he was asking if we could go. As I am still on maternity leave, and I didn’t fancy pushing Harry around a London museum on a Saturday, I suggested rich take a days holiday and we go mid-week.

The exhibition is £14 a ticket and for an extra £5 each you get a small device that narrates each exhibit. Of course Rich booked both, but the other plus for going mid-week is the extra device was on buy one get one free.

Having only watched maybe 3 Bond films in my life , I wasn’t sure what to expect, but thought it would be a nice family day out!

I was pleasantly surprised! On entering you are able to look at some of the original storyboards for some of the action scenes. I found this really interesting, as when I first started in the world of advertising we would use storyboards, mainly collated using a Mac, but I would of loved to have worked in the industry when they had no technology, and they would spend weeks working up storyboards by hand to present at a pitch! This reminded me of MadMen (I am a huge fan and will be posting about this in the near future).

We then went on to look at the cars, this I thought could of been quite dull, but actually listening to our narrator tell us about how they shot the action scenes was really interesting, and seeing how damaged the vehicles actually get, watching short videos of each scene was great. They had clearly lit up each vehicle so it was perfect for photographing, I took on role of photographer whilst rich looked in detail at all the cards.

It took us about 1-2 hours to do it all, it was really quiet so really easy to push Harry around, and you could get your photo done to look like Bond. We thought this was a bit cheesy, but great for kids!

One thing I have realised being on maternity leave, is I really don’t make the most of living so close to central London. I have been here for 8 years and actually not seen a great deal in that time. This was one of the reasons I wanted to do this blog, so I would make more time for experiences and days out in London and generally around the UK with Harry and Rich and capture as much as I could of our trips to publish here.

Now to plan our next day family out!

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