Friday, 29 April 2016

pregnancy: a few thoughts

The past week or so I’ve been reflecting on my feelings about being pregnant. The third trimester feels like a particularly emotional time. You’re in the home straight, so to speak, thoughts turn to the birth of your baby and you start to really feel pregnant and uncomfortable.

A lot of people have commented on the size of my bump in recent weeks. What is that all about? Seriously? I realise that I’m pregnant and therefore getting bigger and I was prepared for this but when people look at the bump and are surprised that you have longer left than they thought, it starts to panic you. My bump is measuring slightly on the bigger side but it is still a nice neat bump that I’m happy with. I love the fact that the bump is actually a sign that my baby is healthy and growing well. I love feeling my baby move around, giving me little kicks and jabs to remind me he/she is there – as if I could forget! But I am struggling to find clothes that fit and are comfortable and don’t leave me feeling frumpy and slovenly.

I feel as though I’ve been pretty negative about my pregnancy: I spent the first trimester (and beyond) feeling and being sick, I’ve had hip and pelvic pain from the end of my first trimester and generally felt exhausted throughout. I was having a good old moan with a colleague that people who say they enjoy being pregnant are liars! But afterwards as I reflected I realised that I was maybe being a little over dramatic. I have loved being pregnant. I have loved the feeling of growing a little person, of feeling those first flutterings and now the bigger kicks. I have loved the excited and anticipation of what the future holds. Being pregnant feels like such a special time and I feel very very lucky to be able to have this experience and to carry a child. But, my goodness, the constant tiredness and surge of hormones make it difficult to fully appreciate it sometimes.

How have you felt - or did you feel - during your pregnancy?

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

style: third trimester style

We're now just over three quarters of the way there! (Yesterday was 31 weeks.)

These photos were taken during week 30. My bump is feeling humongous! A feeling that has been confirmed at my antenatal appointment this morning. Apparently I am measuring quite a bit big and so may have to go for a growth scan. It sometimes seems to feel like each appointment brings up something else I hadn't thought of but I'm keeping an open mind as everything else has been unfounded. I'm really keen to give birth at our local midwife-led unit which is in our town (5 minutes from home!) but with each issue I keep being told, it might be that I have to go to the consultant led unit at the hospital a bit further away.

I am wearing: my new Dorothy Perkins maternity blouse (only £10 in the sale right now!), Next faux leather leggings and Clarks ankle boots.

During my second trimester I certainly preferred maternity trousers with an over the bump band but as my bump gets bigger and bigger I'm finding them more restrictive. These leggings from Next are under the bump and much more comfortable now.

I am wearing: Marks & Spencer breton tee, Next leggings and Clarks ankle boots.

Monday, 18 April 2016

style: maternity wedding guest outfit

Following on from my post last week about the difficulties of finding stylish and affordable maternity wear, this week I’m tackling the tricky topic of what to wear to a wedding when you’re seven and a half months pregnant! Yep, in five weeks time (at 35 weeks pregnant) hubby and I will be attending a wedding and I have nothing to wear!

I say nothing. That is not strictly true as I have now bought four different options. And I think I have narrowed it down to two. I had a few criteria for the dress:
  1. Reasonably cheap as it’s fairly close to the end of my pregnancy and I might only wear it a few times.
  2. A maxi dress that will be comfortable and (hopefully) dressy.
  3. Something that isn’t so dressy I can’t wear it again.

My first stop was Asos. To be fair, on my rant about a lack of maternity wear, Asos do have a large selection but they are only online so any purchases involve buying various sizes to try and different styles. I did find quite a few options in the sale – some in my size, others not, some that looked nice, others that really didn’t.

Maternity wedding guest dresses

I have actually found a dress (not featured here) so I will post a photo after the wedding in May. I will say though that it can be worn again, is a nice breathable fabric so will be cool and was pretty cheap!

Friday, 15 April 2016

food: pregnancy recipes

When I was told that I needed to be tested for gestational diabetes a few weeks ago (it was negative) I decided to make a few changes to my diet straight away. I knew that I had been using my pregnancy as an excuse to eat anything and realised that this wasn’t going to help, particularly when the time came to loose the weight post-pregnancy.

I’ve tried to cut back on my sweet treats (really difficult when you’re a complete chocoholic).

I’ve swapped (some) white carbs for wholemeal versions. We eat a lot of pasta so I grabbed a bag of wholemeal pasta and tried that out – turns out it’s as nice (if not nicer) than white pasta. Who knew?! Even the hubby was happy with the change which has now been made permanent. I’ve been craving all things carb related since I got pregnant, so didn’t want to forgo them altogether. For sandwiches and toast, I’ve been using wholemeal and granary bread which actually is nicer anyway. Rice is where I fall down. I just don’t like brown rice. And it takes an age to cook too.

This simple tomato and mushroom pasta by Deliciously Ella is delicious and oh-so easy. It can be thrown together in 10 minutes so it's ideal for a work night dinner.

I’ve swapped some of my fruit portions for veggies. I’ve been craving water-based fruits, like melon and mango, a lot. So I’ve swapped them for water-based veggie sticks, like cucumber and celery. I’ve been snacking on these either on their own or with homemade hummus.

I’ve also tried to find more veggie based meals for evenings. My hubby is a carnivore (show me a man who isn’t?!) so I have to find ways to add in some meat for him but mainly he’s been pretty happy with my new menu choices. All of the recipes from the Deliciously Ella cookbooks are vegan and plant-based so they are ideal for introducing more vegetables into your diet. Another favourite is the butternut squash and lentil dahl which is a great winter warmer (or for days like today when it should be springlike but is actually horrid!).

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

3 things: they don’t tell you about pregnancy

There are a few obvious things that happen when you’re pregnant – you get bigger, your hormones make you go a bit mad, you might get morning sickness, there’s foods and drinks you’ll have to give up, you might get cravings, a constant need to pee. All of these things I know and have experienced to a degree. But there are other things that they don’t tell you. It’s like all the women who have been pregnant have made a pact to not mention some of the “symptoms” of pregnancy as it might put off those who have yet to procreate. These are three of the most surprising things that have happened to me since I have been pregnant – they won’t necessarily happen to you but they are normal (apparently, according to the pregnancy books and websites I have read):

3 things they don’t tell you about pregnancy

  1. I feel hungover. All. The. Bloody. Time. Or nearly all the time. I have flashes of what it might be like to have the “pregnancy glow” but for 99.9% of my pregnancy I have woken to feel like I had had more than a few G&Ts, accompanied by a good few Jägerbombs and a 3am bedtime. The reality of the situation is so far removed – a 9pm bedtime with a glass of milk. So very rock and roll.
  2. My nose runs all the time. I can’t leave the house without first making sure I have a lot of tissues to see me through the day! This, as well as nosebleeds, is apparently fairly common in pregnancy. Doesn’t make it any more attractive!
  3. Dry skin. This isn't just any dry skin either - this is scaly, snake-like dry skin. As someone who has never suffered too much with dry skin (a little on my legs perhaps after shaving previously), this has been a revelation. I blogged before about the products I'm using but seriously, no amount of hand cream seems to be enough right now. Or lip balm!

Monday, 11 April 2016

style: the thing about maternity clothes

Advance warning: this post may contain content of a ranty nature!

Why do shops make maternity clothes shopping so difficult? And why is it all so dull?

Honestly, it seems the majority of high street stores don’t stock their maternity collection in store and most of the time it is so limited and so dull. I’m all for creating a capsule maternity wardrobe that revolves around a few core pieces with a lot of basic essentials to mix and match but most maternity collections seem to be just the basics.

Unless I want to spend a fortune on more bespoke pregnancy wear brands who seem to have a little more imagination, I end up with the same jeans, leggings, nursing vest and wrap top combos. Yawn.

Why is it so difficult for retailers to create pieces that women actually want to wear? I’m a huge fan of H&M. I also need to shout out to them because they do actually stock some maternity wear in some of their stores. But they don’t follow through the designs of their core collection to their maternity range. For example, this dress (below) would be great for a pregnant body but just needs a little alteration in the design to make it fit properly. I have considered buying it up a size but then the arms and shoulders are too big.

So this is my appeal to stores like H&M and New Look to create maternity pieces that reflect the core collections and don't just offer the boring basics. Obviously there is a place for the basics and I don't want these stores to stop stocking them too, but expand and offer something a bit more exciting than another wrap nursing top. Just because we're pregnant doesn't mean we've lost all sense of style.

While we're on the subject of maternity dressing, I spotted this post over at Dress Like A Mum which has some super handy tips for dressing through pregnancy and beyond.

Friday, 8 April 2016

style: never enough stripes

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman can never have enough stripes in her wardrobe."
Or so it would seem, if you take a peak inside my wardrobe! For me, they work in any and every situation. I can never have enough of them. Even my husband has started to comment now. My latest addition is this maternity dress from Next. Now that I have a proper bump I am embracing more bodycon styles and showing off my growing baby! This dress is really flattering as it seems to skim any lumps and bumps, other than the obvious one! The length is just right for the summer when I can wear it with bare legs and sandals. It will also see me beyond pregnancy as it has a layered top part to allow for nursing.

To be honest, I did buy this for later in my pregnancy but I'm getting so fed up with wearing the same things that I decided to bust it out. Obviously the lack of sleeves isn't ideal as it's still pretty chilly, even with the sun shining. So I decided to layer up, adding a cardigan...

And also adding a spring scarf....

I am wearing: Next maternity dress, Primark cardigan and H&M scarf (a few seasons ago).

Monday, 4 April 2016

3 things: helping me look awake!

If you’re working through the pregnancy you’ll know that, particularly in those first few months, when you don’t want to tell anyone but when you’re likely feeling your most tired and possibly nauseous, getting to the office and looking reasonable is a big deal. Here are a few of things that got me through my first trimester – when I was feeling really poorly. And are still helping me to look awake now, nearly into my third trimester!

3 things helping me look awake!

  1. Under eye concealer. Sickness, headaches and exhaustion are some of the slightly less glamorous effects of early and later pregnancy. And with these come tell tale dark circles. Fake it, with an under eye concealer. I use No7’s Instant Radiance Under Eye Concealer – so easy to apply with a built in brush system and a part of the Match Made collection so it will be matched to your skin tone.
  2. Fake a glow. Almost immediately that I found out I was pregnancy my skin got really really dry (see my post here). The fatigue also means that my face often looks a bit dull too. To combat this I’ve been faking a healthy looking glow with Dior Diorskin Nude Tan Bronzing Powder (this was a treat to myself before my honeymoon last summer!).
  3. Go bold. It’s the oldest trick in the box – wearing a bright lipstick to take the attention away from the rest of your face. I love MAC’s orange-red Lady Danger for a real pop.

Friday, 1 April 2016

style: re-working your non-maternity wardrobe

Pregnancy can be an expensive time with all of the things you need to buy in readiness for your soon-to-arrive baby, as well as the maternity clothes. So I've been finding myself re-working non-materity pieces in an effort to create new outfits without spending too many pennies.

First up is a workwear look I wore this week to the office:

The top is maternity but the pencil skirt is a stretchy jersey number from my pre-pregnancy days - I just pulled it up halfway over my bump. It was actually really comfortable and a really easy way to re-work my wardrobe with my new shape!

I am wearing: Marks & Spencer maternity/nursery t-shirt, H&M jersey tube skirt and Topshop pumps.

The next look was over the bank holiday weekend - when the sun made a very welcome, if a little brief, appearance. I spotted @amothersedit on Instagram wearing her denim jacket and immediately dived into my wardrobe to hunt out last year's summer jacket purchase!

I'm not huge on double denim but the jacket goes perfectly with my faux leather leggings which I'm still loving as an alternative to my jeans.

I am wearing: Mango denim jacket, Primark tee, Next faux leather leggings and Superga trainers.