Monday, 29 February 2016

Our family portrait in February 2016

My oh my, February has been super fast right? Even if we do have one extra day this year it has flown in the blink of the eye! After Phoenix's 2nd birthday celebrations we then celebrated Mr T's birthday including a lovely date night for us two at a fantastic restaurant where the food was amazing! We then had a lovely relaxed week for half term which I was so sad to see end as we really do just enjoy being with each other like we always have been. We did lots of crafting, playing, parks, play dates and a trip to a local museum.

Another thing thats been a big change for our family this past week is that we've had our 'dreadful, mud bath' driveway done (HUGE air grab/ fist punch into the sky!). The amount of times our mornings have been slowed down by the state of it, particularly in the big rain falls, it has been awful. Not to mention all shoes being covered in mud, kids falling over in mud - on the school run, yeah thats fun!...me finding it harder to get each kid in the car without getting covered myself from lifting them, even though I shouldn't be doing that either because of my tummy muscles & back but hey - got to be done when the mornings are mental! Mr T also got his van stuck on there too which is always so helpful! So yes, on the whole, we are so pleased with the outcome and are looking forward to getting some plants out the front to add to the finished product (a before & after post will be coming soon!)

To sum up we've had a lovely month as a family in all honesty the only thing on my part that hasn't been so much fun is just getting very uncomfortable in these last 6 weeks of pregnancy now, especially as I'm anaemic and trying to get my levels up, carrying a huge (said alien/pumpkin type bump) and feeling pretty achy, weak from rubbish sleep, & awful leg cramps in my sleep! This has also led to a round of feeling 'Mama-guilt' as I've felt like a slow moving, pale looking, moody Mum with not a lot of patience at times.

I did want to add, (and feel a little proud about!) that I've been given some lovely work & opportunities through my blog recently, including a collaboration with Pampers. Small but gradual steps which I've been enjoying much more now i'm feeling a bit more organised with my diary & planner!

Other than that, we're watching our baby grow within my ever expanding tummy with joy that he or she will soon be here to make our tribe that of six members.

March should be another interesting month as it will not only potentially be our last month as a family of five, but we'll be doing a lot of 'baby prep', continuing to transform our home into something we love, another half term will be on its way (woohoo) and above all, we are going to cherish every last minute of it before another change happens. 
You may be able to tell that we've gone a little 'daffodil mad' recently but are using this to be fully embracing the arrival of Spring! We usually buy or grow our own daff's but this little area of green just near our home is a spot that the kids love to explore and when theres an open opportunity, kids will be kids & they will pick a few "for their Mumma & Daddy's bedroom".

The Me and Mine Project
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Sunday, 28 February 2016

Do you ever feel Mama-guilt?

I have so much to say on this topic, but instead of writing a huge essay i'll keep it simple - ish.

For me, I have had a few days where I've felt a bit of a rubbish person/Mama/pregnant lady all into one, but you know what? Everyone has days where they feel like it's all a bit much (especially with wild pregnant hormones and feeling pretty weak!), you question your abilities as a parent, you feel like you're not enough, suffer 'Mama-guilt' over little things - I get this a lot!

But when you take just a minute to process whats around you.


Really take it all in.

You realise that you have to make the most of what you have, when you have it. In those moments when everyone is over-tired, wanting for everything & nothing at the same time, lacking motivation, or just feeling a little lost - talking it through, hugging it out and taking a little breather will help you see that each day is a new beginning, each moment even. I often dwell on things and over think but recently I've thought realistically. Being the main at home parent of three littles aged 5,3,2 and 34 weeks pregnant will reveal some challenging moments, but you know what, this is all part of our journey, our story & our life. I wouldn't change it for the world, and it's made me who I am today (even if that person does look very tired!) Small stresses are just so irrelevant when you look into your littles eyes and see just how much they love you, need you and want you. And when you see how much you're physically & mentally changing from growing a baby, feeling it moving about so much that it makes you so uncomfortable & sleep deprived and some days questions your coping skills, you see how much that baby needs you too. They're not this small forever, I'm not going to be pregnant forever, our house isn't going to be in this upside down mode forever, everything is happening for a reason.

I want my littles to grow up knowing that perfect isn't real, that all we can do is try our best and understand that going through some tough times can actually reveal a lot you never knew about yourself. Strengths that rise up beneath the surface, new perspectives, thoughts and ways of going about things. That in itself is a great lesson no matter how hard it may seem.

 Embrace & be thankful for what you have.



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Friday, 26 February 2016

The six week countdown

This was originally meant to be a 'Ten week countdown' post in all honesty but here goes with my 34 week, or shall I say 'six week countdown' post!

January and into February has seen symptoms still leaving me feeling pretty exhausted most days (hello anaemia) but overall in good health aside from the ongoing things such as my developing PGP collaborated with my diastasis recti muscles. Baby is growing well, moving like an absolute maniac, deciding to be ten times as active once I relax and go to bed, typical! Above all I'm trying my best to soak up, embrace & cherish these last few weeks of this journey.

A little catch up from 28 weeks.


After my 28 week check up I was immediately phoned within a day to tell me my iron levels had dropped quite a lot. At first it kind of shocked me as I thought I was feeling okay and that tiredness was just part of a fourth pregnancy running around after three little ones too but this also now makes sense as to why the exhaustion has taken over some days. I was put on iron and multivitamins straight away as having an adequate amount of iron in pregnancy is important as it is put particularly in the third trimester and definitely when approaching the time to birth. In my experience with my three previous pregnancies, my iron level always dips and so does my blood pressure, resulting in feeling very low in energy a lot of the time and this can sometimes be hard to shield when trying to be happy & up beat for three little ones and myself really.

In my first pregnancy, it wasn't known to me that my levels had dropped in the late stages of pregnancy and this didn't do me any favours when after a straight forward 3 hour labour with Yves, it turned pear shaped and I suffered a significant blood loss which almost saw me having a blood transfusion. Thankfully this was managed soon enough with lots of hydration through a drip, & observations.

My two labours after that were again straight-forward, 1 hour each labour with no haemorrhage and healed okay. With this being the case, I thought it would be the same this time. However, because of the split muscles, and now low iron levels, this has been the reason I'm not allowed a home birth to which i'm quite sad about (super speedy babies may mean we have no control of this!) but midwives and a consultant have said that if I can't get my iron up then I will also be unable to deliver in the midwifery unit (which I have done twice before and really loved my time there). Now I know a baby will come out where & when it wants to, but I just really hoped that considering this is basically out last baby, that as a home birth is ruled out, I wanted to go again to the MLU and maybe even try a water birth there (previous baby's came too fast to allow water!). Theres something that looks so magical and soothing about water birthing, and even scooping your own baby up into your arms but like I said what will be, will be. All I need to be hopeful of is that my levels are adequate, if not brilliant prior to birth-day.

Another little update from 30 weeks.

Another little update was that we had a complimentary 4d scan at 30 weeks, it was lovely to watch our baby wriggle about once more, even though I almost felt like I was going to pass out on the couch where I had been on my back for a little while. When it came to getting a clear photo of baby, it decided to hide behind the placenta and stay burrowed head down (good positioning obviously but what a cheeky little thing to hide at picture time!). We did manage one photo even if a little blurred, it does however reveal that it has very chubby cheeks & a button nose. When watching it move about, showing us little snippets of facial features its so amazing to see little resemblances to his/her siblings, but then whats even more incredible is that you see brand new things just as much, a whole new little person just getting ready to meet us and come into our lives.

Hello 34 weeks.

As mentioned above, the anaemia has been a pain for me recently, despite taking the iron tablets I still feel quite tired. This has now been added with moments of nausea, and dizzy spells some days - not very handy on the school run each morning! One thing I have been drumming into myself is to keep well hydrated to help the absorption and to keep me feeling on better form. Breathlessness has come along too now, maybe because some days baby bump drops a fair bit and teams up with the rock hard but not painful braxton hicks. This pregnancy lark is fascinating isn't it? what our bodies go through, changes, how we cope. magical and bizarre all the same.

Each evening, the baby decides to go on 'maniac mode', or some nights 'gymnastic mode' or so it seems. Really lovely to watch and feel but when i'm exhausted just needing my sleep this can leave me feeling a little frustrated, oh and the need to go for a pee all the time - yeah because thats convenient! So other than the niggly little but sometimes ever so annoying symptoms named above (oh and heartburn, thats fun - not.) I am really trying my best to enjoy each moment. Knowing that these next few weeks are going to fly by even if they will feel they are not its a crazy thought to know our family will be welcoming this little love in no time and i'll be wondering where that time went, the time in which I carried our last ever baby. This I still find a hard thought but its 90% accurate for now due to the toll its taking on my body, and i just need time to heal, and enjoy the littles we have already to my full potential. (more on this soon!)





Here's a little list of my pregnancy related posts so far:


A maternity style challenge with Bonprix. 

 'Believe you can, and you will' - My tips for a positive birth experience. 

Comfort in pregnancy, Featuring Bravado Designs silk seamless nursing bra.

Pregnancy Essentials: What i've found useful in four pregnancies in five years. 

Hello Third Trimester

Our 20 week scan, gender & rollercoaster news.

Ten worries I have for my fourth pregnancy.

20 weeks pregnant in our fourth pregnancy.

Hello second trimester.

Expecting our fourth baby, poorly months & huge reassurance.

Pregnancy ramblings - Diastasis Recti in pregnancy.

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Thursday, 25 February 2016

Groovin' on with Pampers Active fit - #SagGoneGrooveOn

Ever since preparing for my first baby's birth, we were wanting to try using Pampers nappies, and its safe to say we have always rated them, this did include us using cloth nappies in further stages, along with other brands. I have in my experience though found that Pampers are very reliable and hold incredibly well, not only that they also entail an important factor that is needed for a very speedy, mobile, agile and growing toddler - comfort. 
Throughout an average day, particularly a week day when we have numerous school runs, car journeys, trips to the park, playing in the garden, or just being active at home, (including the favourite thing ever which is climbing on - absolutely - anything and everything!) involving lots of sips of water on the go, its great to see that the nappies do hold well.
When we've got a more relaxed day with no trips here, there & everywhere, he will like to be nappy-free but on those days when he is using one I think they're a fab design. Now that we're in the process of early stages of being more 'nappy free' with no rushing, following his lead, we have introduced pants and pull ups but we still use nappies along the way. More so with gradual understanding as he watches his big sisters and their lack of nappy wearing he does now love to have pants on, but when wearing a nappy he will be the first to tell you if it wasn't comfortable and point at the agitated area without hesitation, luckily we've not yet had this when using Pampers.

After doing the #SagGoneGrooveOn nappy test kit, I have seen for my very own eyes at how well the 'magical pods' in the new nappy structure really do hold when given an average toddler soaking. You can see so clearly the difference in such a thoughtful and logical design, We have found that they do last a lot longer than other leading brands before any 'nappy sag' would be near on appearing in which case this would be changed to dodge any discomfort. 

This is what every parent needs, is reassurance that they will not leak, and will also enable their littles to be happy when being active.
V I D E O
This video is part of a promotional campaign for Pampers. I have been paid to make this video. All editorial and opinions are my own

Disclosure
I'm working with BritMums and Pampers testing Active Fit nappies with new no-sag technology. I have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own.

Visit www.pampers.co.uk/star-product/pampers-active-fit today for more information.

*Please refrain from using my images unless contacting me directly, all images are my own and copyrighted*
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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

A maternity style challenge with Bonprix

In each of my four pregnancies I have always had the same thing going on when it comes to the combination of clothing & my ever growing baby bump. And that is the fact that I literally grow all up front, leaving it very  hard sometimes to find certain styles to fit around me despite not putting any noticeable weight on anywhere else really (other than the fluid retention that naturally goes on in pregnancy!)

I've found that I can still fit in all my normal trousers, jeans but towards the end i've really lived in leggings to be honest, In this pregnancy and sometimes in my previous pregnancy, I mixed up the leggings with maybe using over the bump tights (not necessarily maternity branded) with a fitted jersey dress. I only have a couple of these at the moment but i've found them to be the most comfortable thing for my 'pumpkin' shaped bump up front. Not restricting underneath my bump like some trousers can do, and i'm not sure why but in each pregnancy (we worked out the other day that we will have one from each season!)... I've never really felt comfortable wearing the lovely flowing dresses, or relaxed swing style dresses or anything thats not fitting in some way when heavily pregnant as where I have small boobs, it will just bounce off my pointy bump and either make for a ridiculous shape or make me look ginormous!

In this fourth pregnancy of mine seeing me expecting through the winter seasons through to when I will give birth in the Spring, I have been living in cosy & comfortable items, this definitely includes chunky knit jumpers that fit nicely to my bump, or the dresses named above, or jeans, vests with my pumps - totally needed for a busy school-run Mama. I've also loved wearing my fur gilet which isn't ideal with rain & has now popped a button right from the point of my bump! so second best was my trusty 'Fat Face' parker coat - which sadly, is not designed for a bump.

I was then contacted to collaborate with Bonprix who are running a 'maternity style challenge' who offered me to search their website, and choose something to style. Now I came across a couple of things I liked, including this dotty cardigan with over the bump detailing, the leggings look of high qualitythis pack of tops look so comfortable and I love nautical colours too.

For me though, the ultimate 'no-brainer' (as it's still pretty chilly each morning - particularly on the school run) was......yes! you guessed it, this lovely looking parker coat. My current parker is navy, so for me I wanted to choose a shade which brightened up my mornings with a more vibrant colour & I opted for the scarlet red.

I am almost 34 weeks pregnant now and this coat (which I have not taken off all week) has been such a hit. Given that we're now back in to the swing of school runs each morning its just helping me to embrace the comfort in these late stages.

What I'm loving most:

Super handy zips on each side: such a great element especially for pregnant Mamas like me who just literally grow outwards into a point on the front!

Deep pockets with button fastening: Perfect for all the junk your little want you to look after, or for you to hide a stash of chocolates - no joke I did this the other day!

Overall quality: When receiving an item of clothing from a brand i'm not familiar with i'm sometimes skeptical, but I was instantly impressed with this coat and put it on as soon as I opened it when going to the park with my little ones, the faux fur hood lining, the thickness of the coat, length of arms (I have long arms!) all get my vote.

The colour: So glad I chose the red! I know my styling is pretty simple here but red is just such an easy colour to work with, I have worn it with numerous other outfits that have different shades, patterns and styles all together and its just very adaptable yet stylish.

These images are from our trip to the museum last week, the weather was dreary and cold so I kept it simple with layers, jeans, pumps and hat (all from H&M)

Striking a pose with Mama.
"Your new coat smells lovely Mama"
Awkward posing outside a museum was a must before it pelted down with rain ;)
As mentioned above, I have been living in comfortable clothing in these late stages, and have been teaming the lovely scarlet red parker coat with this outfit in the photo from our trip to the zoo. I have been meaning to show the versatility with each outfit but have literally forgotten to photograph every one! but you get the idea :)
* I was kindly sent this product for the purpose of a review and entry into the 'Bonprix maternity style challenge', all photographs, words & opinions are my own. 

The coat retails at 49.99 and I totally think it's worth every penny. 
Please do check out their maternity range :)

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Thursday, 18 February 2016

For the love of photography: My camera kit.

I wrote recently about my love of documenting through the wonder that is photography & film.

When photographing & film making my aim is to make the most out of my camera kit to its full potential. I do have my little wish list which I would love to purchase over time, but in the mean time and for the best part of the last five years, (along with a lot of self-teaching in manual mode), My photography gear has enabled me to document the most amazing elements of my life whether this be big milestones, holidays, craft projects, or simple everyday moments including my little ones voices, & their beautiful ever changing faces & personalities. So if my simple camera kit can do that, then I look forward to what anything above could offer in the future.

This of course goes hand in hand with a lot of self-teaching and most of all - practice.


Cameras


Canon 500D - (1) This camera & I have been friends ever since my Dad bought it be as a surprise and to help me build my confidence in something I love. I still have the recipet somewhere and I still remember how gobsmacked I was that he got it me. It came with a kit lens, along with some other bits and another lens - that particular one I have only used about 5 times as I tend to stick to my normal favourites. 

GoPro Hero 3+ - (2) This was something I purchased because I wanted to be able to film more when doing watersports or just having a smaller, wider angled camera when outdoors with my family, which enabled me to get in on the film too especially when getting clips from holidays, on the beach, walking etc. This year though we are going to get using it more on little projects including our individual ones too. So for example, when we go out on our bikes, the bike trailer, more swimming, and also setting it up so we can capture more of our everyday without the obvious filming where the camera is pointed right in your face.

Canon Powershot A3300 lS - This is such an old camera now, but regardless of that, it's been a pretty reliable point & shoot for me including capturing the moments of the births of my three children. I still use this camera when shooting film too as its very compact, easy to use and still manages to document wonderfully.

Iphone 5c (& 4s as a back up) I'm due for an upgrade soon but I was so impressed with these two when I got them when using the camera. I've made a vow to myself to use my 'big camera' a lot more but Iphone camera's are wonderful and the sizing makes them a little more convenient

Lenses


Canon 50mm 1.8 - (3) This 'nifty fifty' lens is one of my favourites, and is a great price at that. you can now get this wonderful lens for just under £100 in most places and you will come out with lovely results especially when shooting manual mode.

Canon 50mm 1.4 - (4) Again this lens is one of my favourites, it was a little bit more pricier than the 1.8 but gives you such beautiful depth of field in your images.

Canon 35mm f/2 -  (5) This lens is on my camera 95% of the time and has been ever since purchasing it last year. I was loving using my 50mm lenses but wanted something with a bit more of a wider frame availability.

Accessories & Programmes I love to use: 


Tripod - This is something I find very handy when wanting to shoot really steady film, or when taking our family portraits. I'm hoping to purchase a new one soon which has a horizontal column - something that will come in handy when I move further along into some projects.

Canon remote RC-6 -  (6) Always handy if needed for our monthly family portrait! I also used this along with my tripod when taking my self portraits when expecting Phoenix. I'm hoping to do the same this time.

Adobe Creative Cloud subscription: (7) I am using Photoshop for editing, and I also already had a version of Photoshop elements, this I don't use so much anymore as I feel theres so many more options using Photoshop. In the near future, I would like to use InDesign & Illustrator to further my skills and knowledge when designing my own stuff, for now - I'm happy using what I have for editing my images and doing a small amount of design work too.

Erin Tole Photography Actions: When I do my maternity, newborn & baby photography I love to use some of the actions from this set. They're really lovely and I sometimes dabble around in my everyday photography if I feel it suits the mood, again using only a minimal amount as I love to keep my photography as natural as possible.

Imovie: The place where I experiment and create my films. You can see some previous one here.

Blurb: This has been a website that I have used a few times when creating my family photo books. I have more about creating photo books soon so keep your eyes peeled!

As mentioned before, I'm looking forward to adding to my collection gradually, purchasing camera equipment can be quite daunting especially when the higher the quality comes with a bigger price tag, but when you think of the benefits you will realise how much of an investment they really are, particularly when documenting through photography & film is one of your biggest passions like mine!

What camera gear do you use, and why? I'd love to read your answers!


Let's Talk Mommy
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Monday, 15 February 2016

Our Siblings - February 2016

As I'm typing this, it's the beginning of half term (a little late I know but the images have been ready for a couple of weeks!) it's a time we've all been looking forward to for some rest from the school run for me - with three kids and a rock solid baby bump, this has started to cause such pain for my back and hips! And for the littles to not have any time limitations Monday-Friday, & to be honest for them to be able to craft, dress up, be silly, enjoy longer breakfasts and conversations together without having the "let's keep going, we've got to go lovelies!". 

The past few weeks, the girls especially have wanted to do all those things every morning, and Phoenix would love to do anything but get in a car seat most mornings as all he wants to do is play - who doesn't? 
So it's a nice feeling knowing that we have a whole week to spend with each other. Obviously not everything in life with three very close but slightly different ages is straight-forward and without any bickering but recently its pretty short lived and resolved with kisses, cuddles and apologies. The girls have really enjoyed doing things together again lately, after having a couple of on/off days when they would want everything each other had but now they thrive on doing things together as "team tastic" - air grabs included!

I'm finding this stage to be very lovely but like everything in life there is always going to be challenges, or at least moments which make you question if you can do it a better way, or just remember that three ages very close will sometimes clash as their are age ability differences. For example, the girls love LEGO, where as Phoenix is a little better with DUPLO but he will be insistent on wanting to be involved as he just loves to be part of the team, much to the girls annoyance if they've made a lovely LEGO castle. Everyone means well but finding the balance is the best option in this situation I think, so we then do the DUPLO or he will then forget about it and move on to his tools for the girls to then decide they like that too, but as mentioned before, they usually sort out a solution and end up making a nice game together.

Next month will more than likely be the *last* month that they are a trio, bittersweet but they are very much so looking forward to adding another little person to what will be their tribe.

These are from a birthday trip to the zoo celebrating Phoenix's 2nd birthday. And it's so bizarre & was like a live time-hop as the last time we came here was for Yve's 2nd birthday and when Halle was four months old. So to return with three little siblings and our fourth on the way really was a surreal and proud feeling.
Wishing everyone a lovely half-term xx

The Me and Mine Project
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Saturday, 13 February 2016

Comfort in pregnancy, Featuring Bravado Designs silk seamless nursing bra.

When expecting our first little baby, all exciting about our soon to be parent status and enjoying the stages that pregnancy brought to me I couldn't help but use some of my early maternity leave by making little lists of  'stuff I would need' while in my last trimester of pregnancy, in my hospital bag and beyond. To be fair I think I did pretty well with not buying too much & packing things that were completely unnecessary although this has still slightly altered since going through three pregnancies since then and already having some useful things and just knowing that you don't really need that much new when you already have one child.

Something that is paramount for me in pregnancy & when breastfeeding, is comfort. And after using nursing bras for basically five years in a row with my three littles, I can say that i've really benefitted from choosing some nice bras for my journey. I have a post coming up about all of my favourite maternity & nursing bras as I couldn't just choose the one but here I wanted to talk more about a recent bra I have received.

A few weeks a go, I was offered to be sent & give my honest opinion of the 'Body silk seamless nursing bra' by Bravado. I always seem a little skeptical taking on some reviews, but this is something that felt was completely relevant and after some of my current nursing bras growing tired I thought it was worth a try. I've tried it out while in my last trimester of my fourth pregnancy and so far I am really impressed. 

I have small boobs naturally so finding a bra at this stage in my pregnancy is something reassuring as I really dislike bras that have lots of wiring, too much structure on them and not comfortable at all, this bra however gives the shape without decreasing the high levels of comfort.

A little bit about Bravado Designs.

Bravado! Designs is a company created by two Mamas over 20 years ago and you can see its something thats transformed from an idea, into a growing passion & successful business. The company itself seem to invest a lot of precious time ensuring that their end result product is 100% the best for expectant & new mamas by involving testing by Mamas of all shapes and sizes to make sure there are a whole range of bra sizing needs met. I believe that a lot of hard graph & thought has gone into the design of these products as you can clearly see that they do really meet the needs of an ever-growing/changing pregnant body, and further along when you're nursing a sweet baby. Comfort is such an important thing when in this stage of parenting and I definitely get this feel from this brand & initial product.

All Bravado nursing bras and tanks meet strict quality and safety standards so we can guarantee they are long-lasting, dependable and baby-safe. They adhere to Oeko-Tex Standard 100, which ensures they are safe and free from harmful substances.

What you'll love.

Seamless stretchy fabric - The fabric is extremely soft and gentle, I've enjoyed wearing it lately and it doesn't leave you feeling uncomfortable from under-wiring, or restrictive straps. This element is particularly important when feeding a baby and if things aren't going as smoothly as wanted - comfort wins again.

Easy sizing - These come in four sizes only (S,M,L,XL) but adapt to the bust size range from 32B-46F. Also, If you have any issues regarding the sizing, you can find a handy guide on their website here.

Moulded foam cups - These can be removed if desired as they do look an odd shape when you've not got it on, and for someone like me with a small bust it may even look false, but once put on and the adjustments are set, it fits really nicely, And for me at the moment I find them quite comforting and I think they will also fit well (plus continuing the comfort feeling) when wearing breast pads when the feeding begins.

Various colours & styles - Availability in eight lovely colours, & they also do a 'seamless yoga bra' which looks wonderful and comes in two available colours.

I won't spare images of me trying to model the bra itself! but you can see on the website all the colours available, and different photos to show you the important elements included in the design.

Overall thoughts.

I really rate this bra with top marks as the design is wonderful, then teamed with the glorious comfort. This will definitely be in my top pregnancy nursing bras round up, and an essential for expectant / new-Mamas.

The 'Body silk seamless bra' retails at £30, which does seem a little steep but when you want to find luxury over a smaller price tag - you'll see the difference. And to be honest when you search other places the pricing is pretty similar.

You can purchase at Bravado.com directly or through numerous retailers.

*Disclosure: I was very kindly sent this product in the 'White blush' colour for the purpose of this review, all words and images are my own unless stated otherwise.



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Friday, 5 February 2016

'Believe you can, and you will' - My tips for a positive birth experience.

Throughout my three pregnancies I already had in my mind (like lots of other mamas out there) that I did not want any intervention what. so. ever. If it was life threatening then of course I wouldn't be selfish and would always prioritise the wellbeing of baby and I, but the way i saw it was if I freaked out -

I was just going against the natural process of what my body was designed to do. 

When it's your first pregnancy, of course you have all these mixed emotions swirling around, growing with intensity the closer you reach your due date, but with lots of simple thought, support and some tips along the way - you can make it such a positive and empowering experience.

Even when your first birth doesn't go 100% according to plan you can still direct this in other following pregnancies, like with my first - I felt all those emotions, as it was the unknown, a new chapter, something I had no idea about no matter how much reading and researching i did. The birth went very well for a first timer to be honest, a three hours straight forward labour which did leave me stunned but equally with a rush of self belief that I did that, I brought our baby safely into the world on my own, trusting my own birthing plan. It wasn't until two hours after giving birth that it went a bit pear-shaped and I suffered a big blood loss, having to be rushed to observations with talks of theatre wasn't what I had envisioned for us but it all worked out just fine, with not many answers but baby  I were well, after a couple of days rest of course.

The point of including that is that it didn't put me of having to go through it all again, it also didn't lower the empowerment I felt when in labour. The fact that for once in my life, I felt in control of myself on a whole other level. The pain of birth isn't pleasant and I wont be one of these people who say otherwise as it does cause pain, but what I felt helpful was that it was a positive pain, I wasn't ill, I was simply preparing our baby for the world.

Here are my tips for preparing and having a positive birth experience:

Preparing for birth.


Breathing techniques - whether this is by using a yoga dvd, going for a nice walk, or simply sitting in a quiet room, maybe even on a birthing ball and just concentrate on you, your breathing and the state of relaxation you want to reach.

Iron levels - Keeping a close eye on how you're feeling as in my experience I have felt my levels dip towards the end and it does make all the difference prior, during and for recovery after birth.

Be knowledgeable of your birthing options - Do you want a hospital birth? home birth? water birth?... talk with your midwife to see what will suit you.

Remember that all births are different & unpredictable - So keeping a realistic mindset but one that you feel you can handle in the most relaxed way is going to give you the best chances of having the experience you want.

Keeping active - So your muscles don't feel the ache as badly when in labour so much, just try to get as strong as you can prior to labour. A stronger mind and strong body will work wonders together rather with a physically exhausted and emotionally tired mama.

Trying to get/keep baby in the optimum birthing position - Try not to slouch on an ever so comfortable sofa (I know its so hard after long day, especially in my case when running about after three littles!) but for the most part I do try and keep as upright as possible when sitting, and even a birth ball can work wonders.

Talk about how you're feeling - let go of any tense feelings, get support and enter the last weeks/days with as positive a mind as possible. So trying to remain positive before you even give birth is a wonderful thing to do, I have had little moments when I think ' I am not sure I can do this next contraction (with my first) but then I just knew that my body was doing all this for a reason, I wasn't ill, a baby wanted to come out to meet us so it was my job to do that safely, and to finally say hello to my baby!

Preparation - The actual feeling of knowing that everything is prepared helps sometimes, hospital bag, the preparation of birth itself (antenatal classes, or just researching a little bit about the process out bodies are about to embarked upon, even though a little daunting to read as a first time Mama - I found this really helpful and would spend ages scrolling the likes of Mumsnet, NHS websites and also took a handy class with my first to show the physical movement of birthing a baby.) This may not be for some, but for me I kind of felt it was more 'Knowledge was power'.


During labour:


Back to the breathing techniques - deep, long, focused breaths, really channeling in to what you feel is going on, take control and try not to give in to the overwhelming feelings happening, its all good reasoning.

When you feel the urge that you're losing control and want to maybe shout (we've all had that moment) just remember to focus and try to project that into a slow, deep breath that will help the flow of oxytocin in the contraction - turning the what seems like negative pain into positive progression to being one step closer to meeting your baby. This also helps to restore some energy in between contractions rather than screaming your lungs off and causing more stress for baby/anxiety for you! I believe its the mindset you have which really helps, focusing on each pain being one step closer to meeting your baby. The more relaxed you are, the more you allow to happen naturally.

Moving about - Walking, trying different positions, for those who have given birth before; knowing that what felt comfortable with previous babies may not work every time, move about and look for what feels best. When I was delivering our second baby, for some reason i had in my mind that going on all fours would make the baby fall out (gravity!) and leave me with a horrendous tear, but with our third, it was a position I felt much more comfortable. I was leaning over a lovely beanbag, and ended up so chilled that i almost fell asleep.

 Accepting/ or not accepting a helping hand - I found that holding my partners hand helped a lot in the first labour as it was all very new, fast and daunting but having that reassurance that you're not alone in it all is comforting. On the flip side, do make it know if you want to be left to your own coping skills, wether this is just having someone close by but not necessarily being too in contact. 

Hydration - Keeping hydrated throughout labour is something I found good, as when gas & air was about particularly with our first baby, it gives you such a dry mouth as you're not used to it!

Natural ailments -  In my experiences, at the point where i'd given birth twice, I knew that for me lavender oil held a little bit of magical power. I used it post-birth more so and it did help me heal better from labouring two big, fast babies. With my third labour, I wanted to use it more throughout my pregnancy & especially introduce it while birthing. My lovely sister-in-law massaged the oil into my back when birthing, literally when i was ready to push, I just found it very therapeutic, the smell was something that distracted me from the contraction pain believe it or not, that long with breathing techniques. I again used it post-birth as well to help the healing process.

Wearing your own nighty/ birthing gown - In my first birth it all happened very fast and even though I packed my wonderful birthing bag, the midwives (no matter how helpful) somehow managed to put one of those awful hospital gowns on me back to front - bang went my dignity! Some people like to birth completely naked, some with just minimal clothing, I just found comfort in wearing something of my own, something from home. So with our second & third babies I made sure it was the first thing I did when getting there even though I literally had minutes to spare before wanting to get ready to push. 

The most important thing I found was to just remain positive, calm and telling myself this is a natural process for my body, that I could do this with the control I have within myself, that I trusted myself to birth our baby as safely as possible. 


I often found myself mid contraction kind of letting my way of thought block out the pain (even though the pain felt like a complete beast at times) I just felt like I needed to try my best to embrace what was going, remembering the moments. I have been fortunate enough to have short labours, but I think as long as you try to be in control and calm, the length of labour may not make much difference. I may have had three short labours, but three very different ones making me have those moments of self doubt, questioning it all, could I actually do it all over again & each time I have reverted back to trying to keep calm. I completely sympathise with/ and know so many mama's who haven't classed their birth as something great, that the whole experience had been so traumatic but then i've also heard some of their other experiences where they did have a better time as they felt more at ease when knowing how to keep calm, do breathing, and remembering it is all worth it in the end.

Post birth:
Rest! and enjoy your baby! Remember to soak in those precious moments as they too quickly pass by, be kind to yourself, and remember what you & your baby have just achieved.

How did you find labour? What would your tips be? I'd love to read them. 
Also if you fancy reading my third birth story you can read it here.

*This post isn't sponsored, I just wanted to share my tips from my experiences and talk (probably a bit too much) about birthing as lets face it, It's a bloody amazing thing, we are amazing! Which ever method your baby comes out, trying to implement calm, positive feelings can make all the difference, and most of all, feel proud!


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