Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Enjoying mummy me time with Baby Blooms

Skin, Pamper Hamper, Baby, Baby Blooms, Parenting,
Skin, Pamper Hamper, Baby, Baby Blooms, Parenting,
Skin, Pamper Hamper, Baby, Baby Blooms, Parenting,
When mum called me into the kitchen because there was a parcel waiting for me, I was surprised – not only was I not expecting anything, but I couldn’t believe Ashley had managed to keep something a surprise. For inside the box was the most beautiful mummy pamper hamper, from him... well from Alfie! It really was the most thoughtful gesture, as I’d felt pretty rubbish while in hospital and once we returned home, I was thrown in at the deep end and was adamant I would struggle! Alongside the beautiful wicker basket, packed full of goodies, was a super cute gift card: Dear Mummy, thank you for being brilliant with me. Here’s something so you may relax while Daddy takes over cuddling duties. Lots of love, Alfie xxx.

Baby Blooms is an online boutique, specialising in gifts, clothes and personalised items for babies – and mummas to be/new mummas. Ash knows how much I love my baths and relaxation, so the pamper hamper was the perfect gift. The white wicker basket is lined and can be re-used. While I’m not in my room, I’ve packed it full of toiletries and skincare products. The contents of the hamper were:

·         Bath towel embroidered with ‘mummy’
·         Candle
·         Handmade soap
·         Bath soak
·         Body lotion
·         Hand cream
·         Leg & foot cream
·         Cuticle & nail balm
·         Lip balm
·         Pair of socks

The products are all similarly scented with essential oils of ylang ylang, lavender and geranium – all associated with relaxation and stress relief – making them ideal for unwinding and ‘me’ time.
Skin, Pamper Hamper, Baby, Baby Blooms, Parenting,
Skin, Pamper Hamper, Baby, Baby Blooms, Parenting,
I always have candles in the bath and this one is strongly scented, filling the room quickly and for a long time. It mirrors the scent of the bath soak, which is also long lasting in the room and on the skin. The product froths up well, creating bubbles which last for the length of my bath – great, as I hate when you’re in the bath and sat in just water after 5-10 minutes. I found it so easy to relax. Once I was finished, I wrapped myself up in the large fluffy towel. It’s a really good size and ever so soft – think 5* hotel or luxury spa and certainly much better than the bath towels we have at home. I’m hoping it keeps its softness and want similar towels when we move.

Towards the end of my pregnancy, my skin was starting to be drier than usual and now all the excess fluid has left my body, it’s drier than ever and in such bad condition. Thankfully there are a number of products in the hamper to help prevent dryness, flakiness and keep my skin supple. The body lotion is a great consistency, rich and deeply moisturising. Similarly, I love the hand cream – my hands are actually the worst at the moment, because I’m constantly washing them. The foot cream I use daily after my bath or shower. I don’t use it on my legs as I’m still loving my favourite Clarins cooling lotion, which prevents me itching my legs and irritating them. However, the foot cream in the hamper is perfect for self-pedicure... I really need to look after my feet more.

I wish someone had told me about all the affects pregnancy has on your body – as well as the dryness, my hair is in terrible condition (it’s so lifeless, doesn’t feel as thick and looks flat) and my nails have become so brittle and simply won’t grow. My lips, too, are dry and prone to cracking – no matter how much I hydrate. Thankfully, Baby Blooms have that covered too. When it comes to my nails, I am the worst girl – I don’t look after them and I’ve never had a manicure. The nail & cuticle balm has become somewhat of a revelation to me – I love it! And once my nails have grown and become stronger, I’m definitely treating myself to a mani. The lip rescue balm is my saviour, though. It works much better than Vaseline.

How cute are the socks disguised as a rose?! There’s nothing better than revitalising tired feet by slapping on the foot cream after soaking, then putting on a pair of socks – especially when it’s done overnight! Baby Blooms have a wonderful section on their website: baby clothes bouquets. They look really spectacular and would make the most lovely gift.

And now Alfie’s been fed and put back in his Moses basket, I think it’s time for me to go and run a bath...

Love, Lucy xx

Thursday, 12 October 2017

My Labour/Birth Story

They say Ignorance is Bliss and that’s exactly how I went about my pregnancy. I’m not going to lie, I had no idea about the options available when giving birth, the pain relief you could be offered, the amount of pain you’d have to endure, the aftermath... I really hadn’t given it any thought. Two weeks before Alfie arrived, my midwife recommended a birthing class at the community hospital, which both Ashley and I attended. It was in fact really helpful, I learned a lot and I had pretty much got a birth plan together after we left – ready to share with my obstetrician, when I was 36+2. I didn’t make it to 36+2...

The week that Alfie arrived, I worked four days out of the five and enjoyed Friday off with family, going out for lunch and generally relaxing. With only two and a half days until I was due to go on maternity leave, I told myself I’d get my hospital bag ready at the weekend and as soon as I was due to finish work, get the rest of the arrangements together. I still had one more midwife appointment and I already had a list of questions to go through with her. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it that far and could not have been any less prepared!

On Friday (15th September) night, I struggled to sleep. I simply couldn’t get comfortable and when I did, it was 3am – the time I usually needed to get up to go to the toilet. After getting up twice in an hour, I did think something was wrong and the third time I got up, it was 4:50am and suddenly it clicked – my waters were breaking. I woke my mum up, as Ash was at his house that night (he was going to stay here, but I told him to enjoy an evening with friends) and she told me to ring the triage number on my red book. I explained the situation (in a bit of a panic) and the midwife told me to come into hospital, get checked over but not to worry too much about bringing lots of things – chances are, I’d be sent home and told to come back later. In my haste, mum helped me put together a bag (a dressing gown, hair brush and makeup bag), while I called Ash to tell him I believed my waters were breaking and to meet us at the hosptial.

By the time we got to Queens Hospital, Romford, my waters had completely broken. I felt tired, uncomfortable and generally disgusting – I could barely walk and was more worried about the potential mess more than anything... that, and the fact I had no makeup on or had time to shave my legs! From the entrance, I made my way to the third floor and the birthing unit (where I had planned to give birth), but got sent back down to the ground floor and the antenatal ward because I was only 36+0 weeks. I felt more agitated, but reluctantly went to the antenatal ward, where I was given a bed almost immediately and soon felt a bit more comfortable. I was assessed (blood pressure and heart rate) before I was strapped up and they monitored Alfie’s heart rate. Ash soon arrived and as I was only allowed one visitor, mum drove home – at least then she could get a bag together as it was clear I’d not be going home now – and it wasn’t long before they started also measuring my contractions. At this point, they weren’t that frequent or strong, but the midwife continued to monitor me and I was whisked to the labour ward before 10am.

As soon as my mum arrived back home, Ash was on the phone letting her know I was in labour and she was allowed back to the hospital – she returned as soon as she’d had some toast and got a bag together and by that point, I was on the gas and air (the only pain relief I wanted... brave or stupid?) and my contractions were becoming a lot more frequent – and a hell of a lot more painful! I honestly couldn’t put into words what the pain was like – it was far worse than period pains, even more painful than the abdominal cramps associated with PCOS and ovarian cysts bursting. It really was excruciating and extended to my back.

After noon, my gas and air were taken away as I made the decision I was ready to start pushing – this was due to the frequency of my contractions and because it felt like Alfie was ready to come out! The senior midwife didn’t seem to think I was ready, but after calling the doctors in to give me the once over, it was very clear I was fully dilated (as I had suspected) and then she was happier for me to proceed.

I spent an hour pushing just laying on my back and it was clear I was struggling and tiring already, so another midwife came in to help (the senior midwife was not very helpful at all and didn’t encourage me at any point). The second midwife was a lot more helpful, encouraging me to try different positions: lying on my side, standing up, crouching over a Swiss ball and they certainly all helped. Standing up worked best for me, but because I was already so tired, it wasn’t long before I was back in bed, lying on my back. Thankfully Ash and my mum were encouraging me all the way, telling me I could do it when I felt I couldn’t. I honestly could not have done any of it without them.

The senior midwife requested the doctors came back a number of times to check on me, as it was clear I was struggling – while my contractions were becoming more frequent and stronger, I was unable to push for long or hard enough so wasn’t really getting anywhere. For what seemed like forever, they could see the top of his head, but there wasn’t any progress beyond that. The doctors wanted to come back at 2pm to see how I was getting on, but the (nice) midwife suggested half past. Just before the recommended time, the doctors returned to set up for helping me but I was told by the time they had done everything they needed to do, the baby would most likely come out naturally – which was good, because I wasn’t keen on them using a suction cup or forceps and after all, I had got this far on my own, without much help!

I was a hot sweaty mess, ready to give up. I just wanted to go to sleep, as I’d had about two hours sleep the night before. I felt as though I couldn’t push anymore. So the end of the bed was taken away, the stirrups and pads put in place, a bucket ready... but thankfully the doctors could see most of the head and believed two or three sustained pushes would do it. After a couple of minutes following their advice with a number of 10 second pushes, the head was finally out and it was only another two pushes that were needed for the rest of the body to follow. I was honestly so relieved, but physically and emotionally exhausted.
At 2:35pm, our beautiful munchkin arrived. I was in labour for less than five hours and from the start of my waters breaking, it was under 10 hours!

Because Alfie was four weeks premature, he wasn’t given to me straight away and after his cord being cut, he had to be assessed under a light. He was wrapped in towels after being cleaned and then given to me. Holding him for the first time was incredible – and still in a bit of a daze, I don’t think I really processed what had just happened. But I instantly fell in love and still can’t believe we’ve created someone so perfect.

My due date should have been this weekend, when Alfie will be a month old – but already he amazes me every day and has come a long way from where he was when we were in hospital.

Love, Lucy xx

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

My Baby Shower

Have you ever been to a baby shower where the baby was actually there? That’s exactly what happened to me as my shower was planned well in advance for Saturday 30th September – two weeks before Alfie was due and of course, he was early (like his mumma). My good friend Vicky was left in charge of arrangements after I gave a list of free dates and names of guests – and even she had an inkling it would be a baby shower where the baby attended!

After liaising with my mum, we decided to have the gathering at home – perfect as I would have been 38 weeks pregnant, but even better as munchkin could stay in his Moses basket if needed and there was no chance of him being unsettled.

Vicky made the cake, which was absolutely incredible and a hit with everyone. It’s one she trialled earlier in the week and was a vanilla sponge with lemon curd butter cream, passion fruit curd and fresh raspberries. It tasted even better than it looked – and it looked spectacular, almost too good to cut... not that there were any protests when the knife finally came out! There was enough to last a couple of days, which was definitely a bonus.

My brother was in charge of decorations and he did a fabulous job. The balloons were from Gaiety, a local business where we always go for balloons. I loved the mini blue balloons inside the giant one and the glitter writing shone in the light nicely. Rob also bought all the paper bits from Selfridges: Hello World bunting, cloud & rain backdrop and the mint & white pom poms (all by Ginger Ray). He and my mum spent the night before assembling the pom poms, while I was in bed, of course. Everything else was set up in the morning as I was getting myself and munchkin ready – I wasn’t even allowed downstairs!

Mum was in charge of favours and again, did a great job! She arranged some little soap and candle goodies. The candles came from Charm in Gifts on Etsy, while she bundled the soaps up in cellophane with ribbons and printed labels for everything. She stocked up on pick n mix, so everyone could take a pot home (if they could wait that long... the boxes were opened almost immediately!) and also provided the food: finger sandwiches, lemon drizzle cake and scones with jam & clotted cream. With tea, soft drinks and fizz available, it was like an afternoon tea – which is completely up my street!

My friend Gemma was in charge of games – not that we played any... I think they were cancelled when our bundle of joy made an appearance! I’ve known Gemma since I was three, so I was so glad she could make it – even though it took her five hours to drive down from Shropshire! By the time she arrived, everyone had left; but it meant we could catch up and there wasn’t a queue for cuddles. I’ve also just realised the last time I saw her was the beginning of March, when I had no idea I was pregnant!

I was so pleased with the turnout and despite giving Vicky a guest list, I didn’t know how many people would turn up, or who! A couple of friends couldn’t make it, but luckily I saw them earlier in the week and there are a few people I’m still yet to see (including my Nan). Alfie was totally spoilt with gifts, which I won’t go into too much – but once everyone left, I felt very loved! One present I will quickly mention is the handmade frame from my brother... I’m hoping he will write a guest post about it because it really is special and so creative. I can’t wait to display it in our new house!

Both munchkin and I had such a lovely afternoon, with family and friends – although we were very tired when everyone had left. I’d like to thank Vicky for everything she did: the arrangements, the travelling, the cake, the flowers and fizz. I’d also like to thank my mum and Robert for everything they did during the day and also in the lead up to making the occasion so special. And of course, thank you to all my lovely guests who made the afternoon so wonderful and memorable.

Love, Lucy xx

Friday, 6 October 2017

Welcome to the world, Alfie

My blogging schedule has gone completely out of the window recently and I wasn’t expecting to write or share this post for another couple of weeks, but as you all probably know by now, I’ve had a little boy!

Our gorgeous Alfie Jeremy Jon Page was born four weeks early (I was 36+0) on Saturday 16th September at 2:35pm and weighed a healthy 6lb 6oz. It’s fair to say as soon as I laid eyes on him, no matter how exhausted I felt and rough I looked, I immediately fell in love – he is absolutely perfect.

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet, as I want to share my labour/birth story – I know how much bloggers and mums-to-be love these kinds of posts... I know I was reading as many as possible in the lead up to our little munchkin arriving, as they’re much more realistic than is portrayed on TV. I am also going to be sharing my baby shower with you – although, I guess we need to call it a ‘welcome to the world’ gathering!

We are still waiting on our move-in date for the new house, so are currently at mum’s, which is perfect as she’s on hand when I need her. Ashley is back at work, but spends most nights here. While it will be easier when we have moved, I know I’ll miss mum unbelievable amounts and Alfie loves his nanny a lot, too. We have had to swap bedrooms as I only have a single bed in mine and there’s certainly no room for the Moses basket, or Alfie’s extortionate amount of clothes (he has more than Ash and I combined!) but for the time being, we have settled nicely.

Apologies for being MIA over these last few months and for the ongoing baby spam, but I’m very much in a little love bubble and enjoying being a mumma so much!

Love, Lucy xx

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

September Favourites

September, Favourites, BBloggers, LBloggers, AX Paris, Radox, Vaseline, Soap & Glory,
September, Favourites, BBloggers, LBloggers, AX Paris, Radox, Vaseline, Soap & Glory,
With our perfect little munchkin arriving in the middle of the month, this post will be split into two – things I loved during my pregnancy and things I’ve been loving since. I’m hoping this won’t be my last favourites post, but I won’t be going out of my way to buy and try new products – although they may now have a baby focus instead. Is this something you’d be interested in reading?

During my pregnancy
So I meant to include this dress in my August favourites, before I realised it would end up being such a lengthy post and I’d have nothing to say this month. You may have also seen the dress in this afternoon tea post. The maternity striped dress came from ASOS and I found it so comfortable and flattering – thanks to the ruching down the sides. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will fit as well post-pregnancy. A lot of my maternity clothes were stripy, which is funny, as it’s not a style I’d normally be able to pull off.

Not being able to have baths was actually a blessing in disguise – it meant I could work my way through the heaps of Soap & Glory shower products I received last Christmas! Whipped Clean is a gorgeous luxurious shower butter with such a creamy formula – it froths up so well. The scent is incredibly intense, staying on the skin for hours after, leaving my skin smooth and well moisturised. I’ll definitely buy this again.

After my pregnancy
Since I’ve been home from the hospital, I’ve been living in oversized knitwear, ready for the winter. While I’m back to better than my pre-pregnancy weight, I definitely have a mum tum – something a couple of gym sessions will be able to sort, no problem. Alfie loves attention and cuddles, so they’re also a great way to swaddle him and calm him down. My current favourite is this heart print jumper from AX Paris – it isn’t too thick, but the perfect size.

Onto skincare now and since munchkin arrived, my skin has been so unbelievably dry. Soap & Glory’s Butter Yourself lotion is ideal for after a shower or bath. I love the scent, which is fruity – but more importantly, it’s a light moisturiser that easily soaks into the skin. I am on the look-out for a new hand cream if anyone has any recommendations... I’m literally obsessed with washing my hands to ensure bubba doesn’t get ill. Similarly, my lips are constantly dry so my cocoa butter Vaseline lip therapy has been needed.

During my pregnancy, I missed not being able to have hot baths and it was actually getting to the point where I could no longer fit in the bath at home... yep, I dread to think how I’d have looked at 38 weeks, too! Obviously I’ve been taking advantage of baths since and it also gives me some time away from munchkin to look after myself (something I really need to do more because I wear rock the mum bun/no makeup look to perfection). Radox Feel Blissful bath cream is so relaxing and is the perfect product to unwind. There’s nothing better than a hot bubble bath after a long day! I already miss Lush hauls – so my Christmas list is pretty much sorted.

What were your September favourites?

Love, Lucy xx