Preggo Updates – 34 Weeks

Posted in Pregnancy and Baby.

Less than six weeks to go! Can you believe it? No, me neither.

third trimester pregnancy outfit

Jumper, M&S | Jeans, New Look | Jacket, ASOS (similar) | Bag, Jem + Bea | Trainers, Stan Smith

I’ll be 35 weeks pregnant on Tuesday, and I can’t quite believe I’ve only got five weeks to go (give or take a week or two). Where did the time go? I’ve still go so much to do!

Week 34 has been pretty exhausting, tbh. My preggo app tells me Baby A has had a growth spurt this week, and my belly is certainly looking bigger. Everything makes me tired – walking, carrying stuff, sitting up, talking. I’m hoping for a burst of last-minute energy next week!

On Saturday Rob and I went to our first NCT class. I was a bit nervous before we got there – people say NCT classes are great for meeting potential parenting pals and I do love making new pals. Luckily everyone was super nice and the first class was really useful and interesting, so a winner all-round. We’ve got two more NCT classes (which are private antenatal classes you pay for, FYI) as well as two NHS antenatal classes, an active birthing session and a tour of the delivery suite at St. James’s Hospital to cram in before Baby A arrives. I’m nothing if not prepared!

I’m winding down my workload in preparation for going on maternity leave from 28th Oct (argh!) so next week will be spent redecorating the living room, finishing off the kitchen and cleaning as well as writing lots of blog posts and probably sitting down a bit. If you have any post requests, let me know in the comments…

A Babymoon in Croatia

Posted in Pregnancy and Baby, Travel.

A few weeks ago, Rob and I flew off to Croatia for a ‘last hurrah’ holiday before the arrival of Baby A.

It. Was. Amazing.

babymoon in croatia pregnancy
relaxing babymoon holiday croatiaThe idea of a ‘babymoon’ is to get away with your significant other for one last trip, just the two of you, before your baby arrives. Rob and I love travelling together and we know we’ll get far fewer chances to do that once Baby A is here, so a babymoon sounded really appealing.

We’d already been on a few trips since finding out I was pregnant (we did a mini USA roadtrip at 10/11 weeks and Copenhagen at 20 weeks), but our babymoon was the ultimate in pre-newborn relaxation – a 5 star, all-inclusive break on the Croatian coast. Yes.

maternity bikini swimwear
luxury holiday croatian coast
relaxing holiday croatia 5 starCroatia has been on my must-visit list for years, so when I saw Sarah’s tweets from the most beautiful Croatian hotel, I asked where she was staying and discovered the Sensimar Adriatic Beach hotel. It’s one of Thomson’s couples only hotels and as it’s just been refurbished, we managed to get a great deal on an all-inclusive package.

I’ve never stayed at an all-inclusive hotel before – usually my favourite part of a holiday is discovering local cafes, bars and restaurants and I love exploring my surroundings. But this was a babymoon – the whole point is to relax and let someone else do the hard work. Plus I’d be 31/32 weeks pregnant when we travelled, and the thought of traipsing around an unfamiliar area looking for preggo-friendly food didn’t appeal to me.

I spent hours reading the TripAdvisor reviews on the hotel and it was almost unanimous that the food at the hotel was outstanding, which was another tick in the ‘book it now!!!!!!’ box. Combined with the beautiful location and great price, we were on to a winner.

holiday in croatia while pregnant
sensimar adriatic beach hotel review
croatia beach holidayWe arrived at the hotel around 12pm after a 6am flight from Manchester and a 2 hour transfer from Split airport. The hotel’s changeover day is always Friday, which means around 400 people descend on the hotel all at once, and I’d heard reports that check-in was a bit hectic – guests were sent off for lunch while bags were taken to rooms, which were eventually available at 3pm.

But! I didn’t experience any of that because as soon as they clocked the belly, Rob and I were whisked to the front of the queue, checked in straightaway and had our bags delivered to our room. We got the chance to unpack and freshen up before we went down for lunch and a wander round. Excellent service all round!

The hotel was just beautiful, and possibly the cleanest place I’ve ever stayed. It was spotless, the staff were a total delight and service was quick and efficient. I’d read that there were quite a few steps that made the resort unsuitable for those with mobility problems (i.e., a 7 months pregnant woman), but we found lifts almost everywhere and the steps from the hotel to the beach, although tiring, were manageable.

luxury croatian babymoon
sunset hotel croatiaOnce we were settled, our days were spent lounging at the beach or by the pool, eating heartily at every opportunity and enjoying stunning sunsets on the terrace. The atmosphere was so laidback – it didn’t matter that we spent a good chunk of our afternoons in our room, napping. No one pestered us to take part in activities or bothered us when we sheltered from the sun under big umbrellas. We drank fruity cocktails (mocktails for me) and ate 6 types of carbs for lunch and basically did nothing. It was blissful.

visiting dubrovnik pregnant
all inclusive 5 star hotel croatia
dubrovnik game of thrones tour
walking tour dubrovnik croatiaWe did have one active day – we booked an excursion from the hotel to Dubrovnik, which was about a 2-hour coach ride. The drive itself was stunning, with a short stop-off in Bosnia before we reached Dubrovnik’s old town.

We had a tour guide who took us through the city walls and showed us lots of points of interest – I’d never usually go for a guided tour but this was such a good way to discover Dubrovnik’s rich history as well as all the Game of Thrones settings! The guided walk took 1.5 hours and was completely flat, so perfect for me and my limited energy reserves. Afterwards we had a bit of time to explore on our own and I really wanted to go up on the walls but I just couldn’t manage the steps in 25 degree heat, so Rob and I meandered around and stopped for a drink before heading back to the coach.

Then it was time for a quick trip out of Dubrovnik to watch the sun set over the city – an absolutely beautiful sight that I’ll remember forever. And then we headed back in for another hour and a half within the city walls, soaking up the evening atmosphere.

Rob and I absolutely loved Dubrovnik and can’t wait to go back to explore some more… hopefully I’ll make it up those walls next time!

luxury holiday croatia all inclusiveAfter our Dubrovnik adventure, we had another few days chilling at the hotel before it was time to head back to the airport for our flight home. Everything ran so smoothly, even with so many people doing everything at the same time – the whole experience, from the airport transfer to the delicious food and the beautifully-maintained pool, was a dream.

We had such an amazing time in Croatia – it was the perfect luxury setting for our babymoon, with the scenery and culture we love alongside an all-inclusive service that made it extra special.

If you’re pregnant, a babymoon is a great way to celebrate those last few months as a twosome before you welcome a baby into the world. I know it’s not possible for everyone to get away, especially if you’re having a tough time during pregnancy. But even if it’s just a couple of nights in a nice hotel, a break away gives you the chance to relax, unwind and enjoy some time to yourself before life changes completely.

Here are my top tips for excellent babymooning:

– Go somewhere you won’t be able to go with a tiny baby. It’ll probably be your last chance for a while!

– Don’t push yourself to do too much – a babymoon should be about total relaxation, imo.

– Scope out the nearest hospital to your accommodation and take your maternity notes, just in case.

– If you’re flying somewhere, check your airline’s policy for pregnant women – many require a fit to fly note after 28/29 weeks, and most won’t carry you after 36 weeks (34 for twin pregnancies). You can get a fit to fly note from your GP or midwife, but make sure you ask in advance and be prepared to pay around £20 for the pleasure!

– Get comprehensive insurance that covers you, your partner and your baby. I used this MamAtoB Pregnancy Travel insurance – it was way more expensive than regular insurance but it covered me, Rob and Baby A for treatment, labour and a stay in hospital afterwards.

– Be aware of the health situation in the country you’re visiting – I was particularly worried about Zika and kept a close eye on where it was developing. Another reason to have robust travel insurance, too!

– If you’re heading somewhere hot, pack lots of high SPF sun cream and keep out of the midday sun – I used children’s products as I figured they were a bit less chemically, always wore a hat and spent most of my time in the shade.

Preggo Updates – 33 Weeks

Posted in Pregnancy and Baby.

Hello, 33 weeks!

33 weeks pregnant blog post

Dress, ASOS | Gilet, Zara (old) | Shoes, Vagabond (old) | Necklace, H&M 

Week 33 has been pretty uneventful, really – we’re back from Croatia and it’s lovely to be in the house, but everything is in disarray while the kitchen is being redone. Hopefully by the end of next week we should be on the way to having everything finished, so I’m just focusing on that for now and trying not to stress over the fact the dishwasher’s still not connected and there’s an entire kitchen strewn across the garden.

On Wednesday Rob and I went to St James’s Hospital in Leeds (where I’ll be having Baby A, all being well) for a talk on water birthing. I’ve fancied a water birth since the very beginning of pregnancy and was keen to learn more about it – the midwife who led the session was really good at explaining how water births work and what the benefits are. We left feeling totally pumped about the whole thing and excited to get the show on the road!

Quite a few people have asked me how I’m feeling about giving birth – in all honestly, I feel fine about it. I have a really clear idea of how I’d like the labour experience to go, but I’m also prepared for a different outcome if needs be. Over the next few weeks I’m taking full advantage of all the talks and classes available through my hospital so I’m equipped with as much info as possible and I think that will make all the difference. And my general pregnancy mantra – ‘my body was designed to do this’ – helps, too.

On Tuesday I’ll be 34 weeks, which means potentially there’s only 6 weeks left… that’s like the school holidays, which as my teacher friends tell me, is not very long! Exciting times my friends – exciting times.

N.B. I know I’m very fortunate to have had such a straightforward pregnancy so far, and I want to recognise that a lot of women’s bodies don’t play ball. Pregnancy is a deeply personal experience and it can be totally distressing to hear experiences that don’t align with your own – that’s why I think it’s so important to focus on your individual situation, do your own research and focus on goals that suit your body and your pregnancy. Whether you’re breezing through the weeks or suffering at each trimester, pregnancy is a tough gig and all we can do is our best. You got this, mama. 

Preggo Updates – 32 Weeks

Posted in Pregnancy and Baby.

I’m back from Croatia and the pregnancy train rumbles on – let’s see what was in store for 32 weeks, shall we?

zara dress pregnancy maternity

Dress, Zara | Cardigan, Cos | Bag, Jem + Bea | Shoes, old | Necklace, H&M | Sunglasses, Celine

This is the outfit I wore for my baby shower on Saturday – I had such an amazing day celebrating with my beloved friends and family. I wasn’t too keen on a big shower with elaborate games and lots of gifts, so just to have my favourite people around me to eat sandwiches and chat babies was heaven. They also cleverly set a ‘literature’ theme for presents – everyone bought Baby A their favourite book from childhood and it was so wonderful to rediscover the stories as I unwrapped each one. Such a great idea!

We had the best time in Croatia, but it’s so lovely to be home. I’ve mentioned the nesting instinct before as it’s something I’ve experienced pretty much throughout my pregnancy, but it’s definitely stepped up a gear since we got back – we’re having a new kitchen fitted at the moment, then redecorating the hallway and living room and having a new carpet fitted. I’m so excited for it all but I can’t WAIT for it to be done… living in it half-finished is driving me a bit mad!

what to wear third trimester pregnancy
luxury leather changing bag jem and bea

For our three year anniversary last week, Rob bought me this beautiful Jem + Bea changing bag – the three year tradition is leather, and I’d been eyeing up this leather tote since about 8 weeks in, so it all came together quite nicely. I’ll do a full post on it when I start using it as an actual changing bag… for now it’s doing an excellent job as a regular handbag, though!

Tomorrow marks the start of my ‘winding down’ period – I’ve got 4 weeks of full-time work left before I start partial maternity leave on the 1st Nov, then all being well I’ll be stopping completely on the 14th. I keep swinging between majorly excited to relax and desperately anxious about missing out on work… it’s an emotional rollercoaster! I’ve been asked quite a lot about what my plans are for the business, so I think it deserves a post of its own. Luckily, as of tomorrow I’ll have much more time for all these extra posts! 😉

And after all that chat about myself, a Baby A update – she’s great. The best. Her kicks are strong and very visible, and Rob and I can now feel her pushing up against my belly even when she’s still. It’s amazing to think we’re practically touching her head/feet/bum when she’s not even born yet. The wonders of pregnancy, amirite?!

My Pregnancy Sleep Routine

Posted in Home, Pregnancy and Baby.

In the latter stages of pregnancy, sleeping has become a slight bone of contention. Generally being alive is a tiring process when 7+ months pregnant, so I look forward to sinking into bed every night… and then comes the hip pain, the restlessness, the weird dreams and the constant bathroom trips. Pregnancy bedtimes giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other (or however that saying goes).

bedroom interior inspiration

Lily the cat has no such trouble when it comes to sleeping

In an attempt to make nodding off easier, I’ve reworked my bedtime routine. It’s a given that I go to bed earlier (those pre-pregnancy 11.30pm bedtimes are now laughable), but I also try to wind down before I actually close my eyes to sleep. I’ve been doing this since around 20 weeks, so it was a nice coincidence that Neom recently got in touch to ask if I’d like to try their Scent to Sleep range.

neon scent to sleep range
mid-century bedroom style

The Perfect Sleep Starter Kit contains a travel-sized Tranquility candle, Perfect Night’s Sleep Pillow Mist and Intensive Deep Sleep Treatment. I’m a long-time fan of Neom products and have used the Pillow Mist and candle before, so knew I was in for a treat.

The products arrived just after I’d finished a mini bedroom makeover – we’ve added a new chest of drawers, hung some art, added a few plants and bought new bedsheets. I find a fresh, clean sleeping space makes bedtime so much more enjoyable, so giving our bedroom a spruce was the first step in reworking my routine.

bedroom styling inspiration

With the bedroom renewed, I started to introduce my ‘wind down’ steps. I’m usually ready to call it a day around 9.30pm, so I’ll head upstairs, change into my PJs and light the Tranquility candle. When I’m cleansed, toned and moisturised, I’ll jump into bed and get myself settled, which usually involves looking at my phone for a bit…

I’m pretty sure ‘turn off electronic devices’ is the most obvious sleep advice available, but it just doesn’t work for me. I like to check in on my Instagram feed and have a scroll of Twitter before I switch off for the day. So that bit stays, but only for 10 or so minutes. Then it’s onto a book – before we headed off on holiday I started The Little Book of Hygge and I’m really enjoying it, so I’ll read a few pages of that until my eyelids start to feel heavy.

Around 10.30pm I’m ready to sleep, so I’ll spray a little Pillow Mist on my bottom pillow and blow out the candle. I’m a bit cautious about essential oils while pregnant – jasmine is known to induce labour and the Scent to Sleep includes jasmine, so I won’t be inhaling great lungfuls until 40 weeks! Although I’m sure it’s perfectly safe for use in pregnancy (they’d say on the website if it wasn’t), for my own peace of mind I prefer to use just the candle and the Pillow Mist and will save the Intensive Deep Sleep Treatment until I’m properly exhausted (aka the newborn months!).

My final step is to slot a cushion between my knees and lie on my left side. I didn’t get on with my pregnancy pillow as I found it too big and bulky, but a normal-sized cushion works well to alleviate my hip pain, and sleeping on my left seems to be most comfortable for me and Baby A – she kicks up a real fuss if I roll onto my back – plus the lefthand side is also best for blood flow to the placenta.

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I hadn’t really noticed how much this routine was helping until I came away on holiday – despite the totally chilled out days and super comfortable bed here in Croatia, I’m not really sleeping well at all. But back at home, having a bit of structure to bedtime has definitely improved the quality of my sleep and I’m waking up more refreshed, which is a huge help when facing a busy day of work at almost 8 months pregnant.

Did you struggle to sleep when pregnant? Any top tips to share?