Thursday, November 29, 2012

Xmas Party Outfit Blogger Challenge

Choosing a Christmas outfit, both for the party season and indeed for Christmas Day itself, has always been a time of year I look forward to. There are always lots of gorgeous dresses in the shops and online and I love getting dressed up for Christmas.

As you know I am now nearly 27 weeks pregnant; fashion, at the minute, is passing me by to be honest. The trousers and jeans in my wardrobe don't fit me anymore and I just generally feel uncomfortable in anything that isn't pyjamas or doesn't have some sort of elasticated waist (and I do not mean M&S Classic range trousers! I have not sunk that low. Yet. Instead, I bought some 'treggings,' whatever they are - probably a bit like leggings but more of a trouser style. And fabulous and very comfortable).

So when I got an email from Fashion Vouchers, about their Christmas Competition, which you can find here, I didn't really take much notice. The competition was to put together a Christmas party outfit for £100 or less. I certainly didn't think that, being pregnant, I would be able to find a suitable party outfit, that was both fashionable and stylish but also didn't make me look like a meringue.

Bored one day over lunch time, I read the email a bit more closely and clicked the link to the Fashion Vouchers website where there was details of the competition. I happened to notice that Asos was one of their brand stores and I remembered how I had bought a couple of maternity dresses from there a few weeks back. So I decided I would take on the challenge; after all, what have I got to lose!

I'm a dress girl. I came to dresses, I suppose, rather late on, probably when I was around 22. I believed, up until then, that they were for special occasions or going out etc. But since I discovered dresses I have to say, they are my staple wardrobe item; my go to item. I wear them for work, I wear them at home, to go out etc. With this in mind, I wanted to put together a Christmas party outfit based around a dress. I went across to the Asos website and of course, clicked 'Maternity.' I was actually quite surprised and pleased, with the amount of party type dresses available and it took me a while to choose my favorite one.

Anyway here are the results. I hope you like it. Buying and wearing clothes at the moment is a bit traumatic at times, but this really cheered me up and I felt I would feel comfortable but also fashionable for the party season.

Asos lace skater dress in green - £28
Luxury spike gem drop earrings - £18
River Island (from Asos) black clutch bag - £15 
Emma Jane Maternity tights 60 denier (from Asos) - £8
Asos Black Panther wedge shoe - £22.50 

Total - £91.50 (with change left over!)

Now I do realise that my outfit doesn't compare with some of the entries on other fashion blogs, but I am pregnant after all, and my intention was to create something that was stylish, but also practical for a pregnant woman, who will be nearly 31 weeks by the time it comes to wear this outfit, and also comfortable. Comfort is definitely the key to clothing in pregnancy, otherwise you end up hot, sweaty, and in a right old grump! 

I think this outfit could be worn on Christmas Day, but also to a Christmas party; the earrings add a bit of sparkle and bling for the festive season.
I would love to see other Christmas party outfits for pregnant women so if you come across any or you do one yourself - please link up!

If you want to get involved in the competition yourself, please click here to go to the competition page for more details. The winning entry receives £100 of vouchers for their chosen retailer (for the online shop they put their outfit together from).

mummystartingout x

Saturday, November 24, 2012

26 weeks and some baby shopping

So I am now 26 weeks! 14 weeks to go, can't actually believe how close it seems compared to when we actually found out!

Last week, however was not a good week. It all started well, I felt like I had hit a major milestone (24 weeks) and was feeling ok. I had a routine midwife appointment and everything was good, all measurements were good, heard the heartbeat etc.

Then it came to the consultant appointment. I have these as I have a history of high blood pressure and I have to be checked more often as in some cases high blood pressure can eventually lead to pre-ecylampisa. Anyway, after seeing the midwife the day before, I presumed everything would be fine again. I assumed wrong. The midwife was very concerned that my blood pressure was on the high side (FYI 129/94). Off she went to have a quiet word with the consultant. Read: speak very loudly in the room next door, separated by a paper thin wall, hence I heard everything she said. By the sound of it you'd have thought she had found lizard spit in my blood the way she was going on about it. She then produced the results of my urine sample and that had traces of protein in it. Again, having this can be a sign of the dreaded pre-eclympsia. So they were all in a right tis. The consultant came in and decided that this was too high to be left alone and being at an increased risk she was going to put me on medication to treat the high blood pressure. I wasn't too keen on this I have to admit. I have really tired to treat aches and pains and any illness, like colds etc, with natural remedies whilst pregnant. But she said it was necessary, as the further on you get in pregnancy, the higher blood pressure is likely to rise. Sigh. Anyway, not content with putting me on medication, she continued to flap a bit more, declaring I needed blood tests and a possible stay in the maternity ward whilst they monitor it!  Cue me frantically texting the hubby in a panic. I had (wrongly) assumed I was coming in for a routine appointment.

In the end, she decided that I could go home, rest and await the results of the blood tests. She told me someone would call by the end of the day. Phew. So I went. I rested. I waited. No phone call. Typical. So I rang the maternity ward. They said my blood results were fine, but were shocked I hadn't been asked to come back and have the blood pressure checked again. So I was told I had to go in first thing the following morning and have everything checked again. Which I did. Thankfully all these checks were fine, blood pressure still a bit high, but all other tests looked good. So I could go home. Come back in a week. Thankfully I went back on Thursday and everything was fine, blood pressure back to normal and they were happy enough. Although it does mean that I have to see the consultant now every two weeks instead of four!

So I remained at home for a whole week! Cue boredom and restlessness. I always like the idea of having time off work, but in reality, I always get bored and resort to internet shopping. And with another week until pay day this wasn't great timing.
Whilst I'm off, I always think of little things that need doing; washing all the baby's clothes, sorting out the kitchen cupboards, painting the bathroom ceiling etc (note: I haven't actually done any of these things, but I have wanted to!) I'm not sure if the nesting instinct has kicked in or something, but I just want to get things sorted. I am conscious that it's nearly Christmas and by the time it arrives I will be 31 weeks pregnant and after Christmas I doubt I am going to have the motivation or energy to traipse around town or sorting out the house. So I am trying to get everything done before Christmas. I am going to refrain from washing clothes until I go on maternity leave though. Or at least I'm going to try. I feel like, as much as I want to wash them now, all that will happen is once washed, they'll sit in a drawer until March and then will have lost the lovely clean, fresh smell.

Anyway, as I said, I've been sat at home with just the dog for company. And a broadband connection. So I have bought a few baby bits and bobs which I thought I would share with you.
As we are not entirely sure of the baby's gender, as it keeps being a mischievous monkey and won't show us it's bits properly, we have tried to stick with a neutral colour for the nursery. I found a lovely lemon range of coordinating items on the Mamas and Papas website, called Zeddy and Parsnip and it is fab. Really cute and while maybe bordering on the girly side, we like it and have gone with that for our theme.

So, whilst I've been off, I've  purchased the Zeddy and Parsnip cot mobile, the matching nappy stacker and the super cute comforter.

I was a bit concerned that baby had no cuddly items, hence the comforter, but then I saw the Fisher Price Soothe and Glow Seahorse. Can't tell you if this works yet, but it's supposed to send babies to sleep. And it's very cute.

I also purchased some more nappies. I mentioned in a previous post we have gone for Bambino Mio's two part nappy system and they recommend having 24 nappies to begin with.

So despite not getting out of the house for a whole week, it's been quite an expensive time! The last of my maternity wardrobe purchases also arrived, which I will post about soon. I have been really struggling with what to wear at work and these items will see me now for the next 8 weeks or so I have left at work.

 I really wanted to be able to make it to the Christmas light switch on on Thursday as well, which thankfully I did.  I love this event! There's always fake snow and Christmas carols and tunes and the panto characters also make an appearance. Yes, I'm aware it's really an event for children, but I love it. Normally we have the step-daughter, but this year it was just hubby and I, we made an evening of it and went for dinner too. This rarely happens. You can normally find us sat on the promenade in the car with fish and chips, so this was extra nice. It will also (hopefully) be the last year it's just us, so it makes it extra special.
On the way home we nipped to Tescos and there was a man on the door who invited us to the manager's office for drinks and nibbles and to showcase the new Christmas range they have in store - it was fab! Free drinks and yummy food! However my pregnant feet and hips had had enough by 9pm and I couldn't walk at all. I hobbled round for the remainder of the evening, much to the amusement of the hubby!

Also managed to pick up a yummy Costa Black Forest hot chocolate! Yummy!! Love their festive drinks this year... 

mummystartingout x

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bump Update - 24 weeks

I am now 24 weeks pregnant! Happy Viability Day to me!

Seriously though, apparently, 24 weeks is what in the medical world they would class as the baby being 'viable,' i.e. if the baby were to arrive from now on, it would have a chance of survival. Also, I didn't know but legally doctors have to medically intervene at this stage to help keep baby alive if it were born. Obviously if he did arrive now, he would be very poorly and need lots of medical help, so god forbid he does. To be quite honest, this is all a bit miserable and depressing, but on the positive side I feel like we have passed the final major milestone (excluding birth!). The others being 12 weeks, dating scan, anomaly scan, 20 weeks and now 24 weeks. My next goal is 30 weeks and then after that it really won't be very long! (Hopefully) I really am hoping that he doesn't decide to stay in there too long after his due date as I am already very very impatient about his arrival and cannot wait. Literally it's worse than being a child waiting for Santa!

So a few details about being 24 weeks (according to all my pregnancy apps): Apparently my uterus is now the size of a football(!) and has risen above my belly button. I can definitely feel this actually and it feels like it isn't far off the bottom of my ribs, which is worrying as I know potentially any day I could start with really bad heartburn! The baby is about 30cm long (the same size as one of those school rulers!) and weighs about 1lb-2lb. According to the baby centre app, he is the same size as a corn on the cob! He's starting to fill out this week with a bit of padding and his brain is growing very quickly. His skin will start to become less translucent from now.
This is the time when pregnant women can find themselves becoming a bit clumsy and forgetful (the famous baby brain) and I definitely seem to have got that. My colleagues at work think it's hilarious as I can't remember anything and they know me as a bit of an OCD organisational freak.

In terms of how I am feeling, I am definitely feeling more energetic. I am not sure if this is a weird coincidence but I was taking aspirin as I have high blood pressure and my prescription ran out so I had about 5 days where I didn't take a tablet. For those 5 days I didn't get one single headache and I felt better. So I told the GP and he said to stop taking them and since I have I feel tons better. I am not getting a headache every other day like I was and I feel less lethargic and washed out at work. The aspirin could have nothing to do with it, but whatever the reason, I am much happier!

I am also filling out now. I am really struggling with clothes and have found dressing for work this week a nightmare! None of my trousers fit properly and not only that, but, the ones I can fasten up hurt my belly and make me really uncomfortable. I can no longer wear tights really, particularly black opaque ones, as I feel everything is being held in and it is horrible. I have found some gorgeous green coloured tights though yesterday in a knitted wool fabric, so I am hoping they will be ok. I bought a size larger than normal in the hope they will go over my bump. I did buy maternity tights but they ended up with the crotch at my knees at one point so I won't be wearing those again! I have bought a lot of clothes the past few weeks online and had to return them as they are not right - either too long, too big, too small etc! It's very depressing!

Little movements have turned into massive kicks now and even though I can feel my uterus just underneath my ribs, the baby is still kicking low down. A lot of the time it feels like he is kicking my bladder - ouch! It's extremely uncomfortable! He tends to kick first thing in the morning in bed and last thing at night which I think is really nice - his way of greeting me in the morning and saying goodnight at bedtime. He also does kick though throughout the day, especially if I have a noisy class!

I now have 10 working weeks left at work until maternity leave! I literally cannot wait. Although I know for the four weeks I have off before baby is due, I am sure to get bored... But I'm now finding work quite tough and I'll be glad when the time comes to say goodbye for a few months.

I'm also finding that the last few weeks I am definitely getting very, very impatient and I just want to meet my little man. It really is like waiting for Christmas or a holiday when you were a child. But I still have the hubby and step-daughter's birthday to get to and indeed Christmas, before we meet our boy, so I still feel like I have a long way to go. It's only 16 weeks but it feels like forever. Speaking of weeks, I am really getting confused with how many months/weeks pregnant I am and how long is left. I can't decide if 24 weeks is 6 months pregnant or not, but I still have 4 months left...! So am I 5 months? argh, it makes my brain hurt to think about it. I think, to make it easier I am just sticking with weeks, all the medical staff go with weeks and I can work it out like that.

I am going to start aqua natal swimming classes this week which I am quite looking forward to and I also have a midwife and consultant appointment this week, so hopefully I'll get to hear his little heartbeat again.

As I write, the reusable cloth nappies we have decided to go for are in the wash, ready to be folded and put away in preparation for a long awaited arrival...

mummystartingout x

Friday, November 9, 2012

The good and bad of being pregnant

Now I'm really into the swing of being pregnant I thought I would list my top 10 best bits and top 10 worst bits.

I'll start with the worst:

1. Tiredness. This for me is the killer. I have a very busy and stressful job (teacher) and I don't have time to be tired! During the first trimester I found the tiredness pretty bad to cope with; I could barely function some days and at lunch time all I wanted to do was put my head on my desk and sleep. In the second trimester it has eased up a bit, but as I know to expect it to come back with a vengeance for the third!

2. Manky hair: I must have missed signing up for that elusive pregnancy 'glow.' My hair is dry, lank and greasy.

3. Ahem, err 'bowel' issues. I have IBS to begin with and haven't had a flare up for years. I hit 12 weeks exactly and bam! IBS came back, ten times worse than I have ever had it before. This carried on for four weeks. Four weeks of taking fibyogel, omaprozole, gaviscon tablets and indigestion liquid. Then, as quickly as it arrived, it went! Phew. Now, I just get odd days with a sore and uncomfortable belly and sometimes 'going' is a bit of a problem. But so far, I don't think I have had it too bad.

4. Not being able to wear jeans or tights or anything that sits snugly around my belly. This is causing me no end of problems every single day. It is uncomfortable and doesn't help point 3 as anything tight or even remotely tight gives me stomach ache. Today I have given up and given in to leggings at work. It's just tough!

5. Not being able to drink wine. If any of you know me from my former blog, you may remember lots of pictures incorporating wine! It's a killer not being able to drink. I love wine.

6. Not being able to eat brie or salami. I love these two on a lovely crusty roll. We always go to my parents for Christmas and she always gets massive packs of brie and salami in for me to have over the holidays. There will be none of this this year.

8. Maternity bras. Ugh they are horrible. I have not yet found one I like. However I have discovered the Hot Milk range, but they are pretty dear. I am saving buying one until nearer my due date so I can use it as a nursing one as well.

9. Maternity clothes in general. I must have ordered and sent back about 20 items the past two weeks. I can not find anything that I like or that fits.

10. Knowing my body will probably never ever be the same. I am prepared for stretch marks, although I am smothering bump in bio oil every day. But I am aware that your body changes and doesn't often go back.

The best bits:

1. People asking how you are feeling all the time. It makes you feel special. I am aware that once the baby arrives, they will be more concerned with him than me. But that's ok.

2. The first scan. A magical moment. Much better than the anomaly scan (partly as I got a witch doing that scan and she was a misery) as there was more time to look at things and it was the first time I had ever seen my baby.

3. Feeling baby kicks. These started out as little flutters and then popping and then what I felt were little movements. I am now feeling definite kicks - often when I am led in the bath I can see my belly move with the force of his kicks! His Daddy will probably be very pleased as he may be a potential footballer...

4. Being able to eat everything! I have a bit appetite at best, but I now feel less guilty from guzzling loads done throughout the day.  I am aware that you only need 200 calories and that's only in the third trimester.

5. Getting away with doing very little at the weekends. i.e. less cleaning, no ironing, making hubby peel potatoes for the roast etc.

6. Buying lots of yummy beauty products because I can no longer buy clothes.

7. Buying baby clothes. They are the cutest things. Lovely little baby grows and mittens, hats and socks.  Lovely.

8. Going to bed at 7pm without feeling guilty.

9. Knowing that you have created a life and thinking it is the most amazing thing you will ever do.

10. Choosing names. We know what we are going to call this little one (name to be revealed later).  We have kept traditional and kept his name in the family after my husband and his grandfather.

So there you have it. The good bits definitely outweigh the bad but there are times when I just want to curl up and sleep and wake up at 39 weeks.

What are your best and worst bits about pregnancy?

mummystartingout x

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Beauty haul

I'm having a bad week clothes wise. I am now at that very tricky in between stage of pregnancy where my bump is big enough for people to notice that I'm not just becoming a chunky monkey but not yet big enough to fit in maternity jeans without them getting all bunched up and looking silly. I found out today that I can probably say goodbye to trousers until at least March. This was even wearing a bump band (which, by the way, I don't like - I think I may have bought a size too large, thinking I would grow into it by the end of pregnancy, but it rolls up and looks ridiculous). I also bought a pair of Emma Jane maternity tights. It was the biggest waste of £10 I have ever made! Awful things, bloody uncomfortable and I ended up with the crotch at my knees at one point (one significant point whilst in the Co-op!). I am just uncomfortable in anything except pyjamas and leggings. As you know, I am a teacher and it's really difficult to get away with pyjamas at school. Leggings are OK to a degree, but I only have one pair  in black (have dispatched the mother to Primark today to get me some more - the Isle of Man has NO Primark, can you believe) so I can't wear them everyday unless I want to exude some delightful body odour type smells. Saying that, I have just realised I teach teenagers (well I already knew that bit) so I could probably get away with it....

Anyway, I've spent quite a bit of time (and money) online this week on maternity dresses and tunics and so I am eagerly anticipating their arrival in the desperate hope that some of them fit me and they are comfortable.

So, as I can't buy clothes with the same type of pleasure I used to, I have turned to beauty products to fill the gap. Over the weekend I came across quite a few blogs written by women who are or have recently been pregnant. They were all full of wonderful tips and hints and lots of 'real' stories about pregnancy and I have spent most nights since then ignoring the hubby as I eagerly read everything (and I mean everything) that they have to say.

Unfortunately, my skin hasn't been the best the past few weeks; I am certainly not feeling the so called pregnancy 'glow' and one particular blogger (who you can find here and I encourage you to read her blog as it is fab!) was talking about a facial scrub that they thought was fab after pregnancy so I popped to Boots after work today as I needed a few other bits anyway and I got a bit carried away. I love a good beauty product. I used to subscribe to Glossybox and loved the excitement of all the little products that came through the post each month. But I cancelled it when I found out I was pregnant. I thought £12.95 every month on things that, in all honesty, I don't really get around to using, was getting a bit excessive.

So here is what I managed to casually 'pick up' in Boots and Superdrug this evening:

Now, I can't claim that any of these products actually work yet as I haven't tried them, besides the facial scrub and so far so good with that, but they made me happy buying them and the hubby would be impressed (if I actually told him I had bought things) as there were lots of offers on in Boots and I managed to get some bargains!

So first up is the Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Daily Scrub. Charlotte from Write Like No One's Watching recommended this on her blog and my skin has been rubbish lately, so I thought I would give it a go. 

Next up is the Carmex cherry flavoured lip balm. I've heard lots of good things about Carmex lip balms, so I am expecting good things from this. I may be disappointed. The smell is divine anyhow and I am looking forward to using it. 

Next is a product that I have never used before, but I love the brand - MUA from Superdrug. Dead cheap and supposedly pretty good, or so I've been told. This product is supposed to be multi-functional. It's called a 3 in 1 extreme contour pen. Now I don't actually know what this means but I am going to use it as an eye-liner. The the colour is lovely, it's called Auburn and I think it will look lovely with the eyeshadow I bought to match it. At £1.50, if it's rubbish then it doesn't matter.

Next up is the MUA eyeshadow palette. The picture below doesn't really do it justice, it's a browny beige set that appears to have hints of metallic or glitter in it. Again, will look great with the 'contour pen.'

Then, we have another product that Charlotte recommended to me last night on Twitter. I haven't tried this yet, but the colour is fab and it looked really good in the pic that Charlotte put up.

This nail varnish by Barry M is called Raspberry and I have been wearing it for years, well since it came out... It's very autumnal and not too red so I look like a tart. Boots had an offer of buy one get one half price on Barry M so this was only £1.49 as the one above was £3.99.  Bargain.

Finally, I picked up two lipsticks, again from the MUA range in Superdrug. I have a had a few of these in the past and the colours are always really nice but they can be a bit dry. I use A LOT of Vaseline so this isn't a problem for me as I just put it over the top of the lipstick. I got shade 1 and shade 8.

So, all in all a successful little after work trip! I only spent £20, which, for the amount of things I got, I think is pretty good. I will update you another time as to how successful they have actually been though!

Have you got any beauty product recommendations for a pregnant woman?!

mummystartingout x