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LIFESTYLE: WAYS TO STAY POSITIVE THIS YEAR


In today's post I want to talk about staying positive and ways in which I think you can stay positive and increase your productivity in 2018. I'm going to include a few products to help you stay organised and things you can do to make 2018 the best year yet!

First up it's the 18th of January so you should all have a brand new diary and calendar, if not you need to go and get one. I think writing down things really helps me stay productive and I like to tick things off and this keeps me on track. I also keep a note of any appointments etc, coffee with friends so i'm super productive and know what i'm doing from one day to the next. If I have a free day then I can use this for blogging and i'll usually write a list of blog posts I want to write or write a list of products I need to review so i've always got something to write about. I also use the calendar and notes on my phone but I find actually writing things in my diary and on my calendar works better for me. There's lots of lovely planners around like The Happiness Planner and these ones from Dot Creates and so if you work from home or like having a big diary I think they are great and have lots of sections to keep you organised. 

Next up why not invest in a new wardrobe, get yourself some nice new clothes that you will be proud to be seen in. If you work in an office get yourself a nice new jacket or suit. This will make you feel really confident, and ready to get that promotion this year. If you are self-employed even though you don't wear a uniform appearing clean and professional is a good way to get new commissions, work etc, even if you just invest in a new dress, pair of jeans or a new coat. 

Having a positive mental attitude is going to boost positivity and productivity this year. Why not join the gym or start going for a run, I find exercise a really good way of thinking and i've come up with some really good ideas whilst i've been out for a jog. Exercise can also help you sleep better which is another benefit and another way to boost your positive attitude. 
Start doing yoga, have a massage, go for a walk around a park, just take some time out for you. Personal well-being is very important and looking after yourself should be a priority this year.  

Healthy eating is another good way of staying positive, I always have a 'lets do this' attitude when i'm eating well. I'm always very motivated to do well. Sugary and fatty foods can make you feel sluggish and can leave you feeling tired and irritated.  







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REVIEW: BURTS BEES BABY BUBBLE BATH AND SHAMPOO



Incase you didn't know I recently had a baby, (HELLO AMELIA ) and I'm hoping to start featuring some kind of parenting / new baby type of blog posts. I want to write updates about Amelia and document this time as a new parent. I also want to write product reviews and share products that I would recommend buying and products that I think are a waste of money. I will still be featuring beauty, fashion and lifestyle on my blog and I will try and alternate my posts so it's not all baby posts or all beauty etc. Please give me some time to get back into blogging as I've been pretty absent since having Amelia as sitting down to blog is hard when you have a needy newborn who doesn't want to be put down

Today I want to review some of the Burts Bees baby range as this is pretty much what we've used on Amelia since she was born. I did try and refrain from using any products at all, just water for the first couple of weeks because her skin is quite sensitive. I found her hair was looking quite greasy and wanted to use a shampoo on her. We had quite a big selection of baby products to choose from ( she literally has more shampoo, bath products, cleansers, creams than me) I opted for Burts Bees because they are a natural brand and I was hoping she wouldn't have any kind of reaction to their products.
I tried the shampoo first and she seemed to be fine so I continued to use this. It cleans her hair well, it lathers up well and you only need a tiny bit so a little goes a long way. It smells nice, the fragrance is very subtle and gentle. I only need to wash her hair once, maybe twice a week ( shes quite a sicky baby and manages to get sick everywhere) This is also a wash you can use it all over which is very handy. It leaves Amelia's skin feeling soft and clean. We have a few other shampoo products to use up but I think I will repurchase the shampoo and wash as I know it works really well for Amelia. Burts Bees products are easy to get hold of as they are usually stocked in Boots and Holland and Barrett

Once we had used the shampoo and was happy that she didn't have any reactions etc we tried the bubble bath, I pretty much use this everytime she has a bath, again you only need a little bit as they don't have much water in the bath. It's a lovely fresh, gentle scent. It creates some lovely bubbles which makes bathtime a little more fun for your little one. You can use the suds to wash baby. Amelia loves bath time so it's nice to have lovely products like these to use one her.

Both of the products are mild and tear free so you don't have to worry too much about it going in their eyes. I have a few other products from the Burts Bees baby range to try and i'm looking forward to giving them ago.






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FITNESS: GETTING THAT PRE-PREGNANCY BODY BACK!



Buggy builders: fitness for new families  
During a pregnancy and birth, a female’s body can change a million times over – but it is truly worth it when you meet your new-born baby for the first time. For many women though, it gets to a point after birth that you want to get your pre-baby body back and losing your baby weight can prove difficult. For this reason, a growing number of women are joining post-natal classes and are trying to get back into shape after giving birth to their little ones. With a new-born baby in tow, it can be hard to go back to the gym though – but where there is a will, there is a way.  
But when is the right time to start exercise again? Following the NHS’s recommendation, six weeks is an appropriate time to wait until starting exercise. The reason for this is that your six-week post-natal check-up will determine how well you have recovered. However, women who exercised regularly before pregnancy, may feel fit and well to begin working out sooner than the six-week check – each new mum is different. You’ll know within yourself if you feel fit enough to get back into your regime, don’t push yourself too soon.  
However, that is not to say that you won’t come across fitness inspiration and motivational posts on social media in those six weeks. Social media has become the heart of fitness inspiration, and post-natal fitness is no exception. The internet has inspired a lot of us to reach our fitness goals, and post-natal goals are no different. In fact, post-natal posts are becoming increasingly popular across the web, with #postnatalfitness associated with 53,003 Instagram posts.  
Until a few years ago, there was a gap in the market for post-natal fitness classes – industry professionals recognised this and began to design classes which were specifically targeted and new mums. The post-natal classes aim to provide a solution for new mums who were struggling to get back into shape after having their new born. There are now specialised post-natal exercise classes that help women get back into shape with their baby’s – an opportunity for new mums to get their pre-baby body back. Classes usually allow mums to bring their little ones along to the class with them.  
Post-natal classes have shown to have more than just physical benefits. Many mums have also revealed that exercising after having their baby has helped prevent, or ease post-natal depression as exercise has made them ‘happier’. Research would suggest this to be true, as exercise is shown to release endorphins in the body – hormones which can have positive psychological effects, such as a ‘euphoric high’.  
The founder of RGL fitness is a mum who knows a thing or two about post-natal fitness – Randi Lynn Greene has over 39.9k Instagram followers thanks to her workout and yoga routine posts that can be done by new mums who have a baby in tow. She has proven that workouts can be done by mums at home with a little one crawling around. Of course, nutrition is just as important as your workout regime. Greene, who has also appeared on Lorraine on ITV to show mums that you can exercise at your own convenience.    
Getting rid of the ‘dad bod’ 
The dad bod is something that Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine have proven to be true as wellIn a study of 10,000 men over 10 years, the university studied men through different stages of their life – from adolescents and young adults, to new fathers. The study showed that those found that men who become fathers experience weight gain and an increase in body mass index, whilst those who didn't become dads generally lost weight over the same time period. 
The term dad bod is something that is circulating all over our social media feeds right now – whilst the term describes men with bodies that are neither toned or defined and normally those who don’t go to the gym and workout, it isn’t necessarily just fathers who have this body.  
But that bod can be avoided. A clean diet and effective workout regime are key. Your diet should consist of the three main macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and essential fats. Avoid sugary and fatty treats – whilst they might give you an initial sugar rush, the energy boost won’t last long. You want to supply your body with foods that release energy slowly – being a dad can be tiring. For an extra boost before your workout, protein bars and shakes will help you push yourself harder to hit your performance goals. If you don’t have time to make it to the gym with all your new daddy duties, there are exercises you can do at home to keep yourself in shape:  
  • Plank – 45-60 seconds  
  • Jack-knifes – 25 reps  
  • Crunches – 25 reps  
  • Squats – 25 reps  
  • Jumping lunges – 25 reps each leg  
  • Sprint – 30 second, repeat 3 rounds  
  • Mountain climber – 25 each leg  
  • Press ups – 25 reps  

Sources 



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PREGNANCY: MY LABOUR AND DELIVERY STORY








This is my labour and delivery story, It might be a little TMI so if your squrimish or don't really care about my labour then don't read this post. I really wanted to document it so I have it to look back on for myself. I had planned to film my labour for my vlog channel but that didn't end up happening so i'd rather write it down and then if I plan on having more kids I can read it back but also i'm sure some people will be interested, I know I read some labour stories and watched videos to prepare me for my own labour.

So i'd been feeling uncomfortable for a few weeks. My pregnancy wasn't great and I felt exhausted and in pain most of the time. I'd suffered with sciatica quite early on and towards the end was having alot of pelvic pain, which i'm actually still suffering with. This along with the twinges and back pain made the last few weeks of pregnancy really hard and going overdue really took it's toll on me mentally, honestly I just couldn't be bothered anymore and I didn't really do much in the last few weeks I just waited for her to come.

On Saturday 11th November I was at home for most of the day, I was actually making some frames as the next day I was supposed to go to my friends baby's 1st Birthday/ Christening and also my sisters baby shower. I'd managed to finish my friends frame and made a good start on my sisters one, my living room was covered in craft bits and I felt uncomfortable and fed up. We needed to go to Tesco and was going to my moms to help her with some last minute bits for the baby shower so we left and around 6:30pm in Tesco I was feeling very uncomfortable, like something was happening. I actually needed to sit down so I sat on a bench and waited for Clint to get what we needed. We then headed to my moms and I was helping by putting some sweet bags and putting favors together, I was siting on the floor on a cushion because I needed room for the stuff, I couldn't keep still and kept getting up and pacing because I was very uncomfortable. My mom was watching me and asking if I thought I was in labour but I really didn't know. The pain was bareable but it just kept coming and going which made me think it was contractions but my water hadn't broke so I wasn't sure.

As the night went on Clint and I decided to stay at my moms for a little longer as she was going to be my birth partner alongside Clint and I did feel like this could be it. I'd started timing the contractions at about 9:30pm and they were very frequent, about 3 minutes apart and lasting a good 30-50 seconds. We had phoned the hospital at around 11pm who said to stay at home and to phone back when the pain was worse. I decided to have a bath at this point as the pain wasn't bad but I thought it would make me feel more relaxed which it did. After my bath I dried and straightened my hair, I was still breathing through the contractions every 3 minutes and they were getting longer and lasting about a minute. I was in pain, it was still bareable but we phoned the hospital again as we had a good 30-40 minute drive ahead of us and i'd never actually been to the labour ward so wasn't too sure where we were heading. They told us to come in so we jumped in the car and made our way in. Luckily we had all the bags in the car already, we went via our flat to pick up my pregnancy pillow and birthing ball. (pregnancy pillow was amazing in hospital as their pillows are pants and ball stayed in the car) The car journey was actually okay, I sat in the front and adjusted the chair so I was more comfortable. We arrived in about 25-30 minutes and got parked up. We left all the stuff in the car and decided to see how far along we was and my mom and Clint could go back and get the bits later.

We arrived at the hospital and went round the the entrance that I'd seen on the hospital website ( as I said i'd only ever been there for scans, never to the labour ward) The door was locked and no one was answering the buzzer, finally someone answered and let us in, they told us to take a seat in the waiting room.

Someone came over and got us after about 10 minutes and in this time i'd had a contraction but I was worried they seemed to be slowing down. They put us in a lovely room, with the birthing pool. It was really big and I was quite excited about having baby in here. A midwife came in and got us hooked up to the machine and we were on this for about 30 minutes, she came back and the baby had dropped off a little so she needed me to stay on for abit longer. She came back and examined me and I was at 2cm, she explained that the contractions were frequent enough just not strong enough. She said we would need to go home until the contractions got worse. Before we could get discharged she explained that she needed to have a doctor look over the moinitoring before they could let me go as the baby had dropped off. The doctor wouldn't discharge me and wanted to monitor us again in a couple of hours so I got put onto a ward at about 4:30 in the morning and my mom and Clint were sent home. I was still having contractions and they were still every 3 minutes or so and were getting stronger. I was on a really dark ward, I think it was an induction ward. There was a big ball so I was sat on it and leaning over it, just breathing through the pain.

Clint came back up at about 7am, he's brought me a sandwhich but I couldnt think about food. I hadn't slept at all and I think he got about half an hour.
The midwife came round at about 8am and hooked me back up to the monitor. I think the midwife came back with a consultant to check my progress. Baby was all good on the monitor so they were happy with that. They examined me and I was 3cm, on the cusp of 4cm so they were going to get me moved onto the labour ward soon. The doctor said once I was on the labour ward he would get them to break my waters to speed things along. By 11am, I was in quite alot of pain, i'd gone to the toilet and I was loosing alot of blood so Clint went to get someone. They were just about to move me to the labour ward anyway and didn't seem concerned by the blood. 

We walked around the the labour ward, again we were in a nice room, (no birthing pool ) I met my midwife and I was asked if I minded having a student present, I didn't mind. My midwives were so lovely and made me feel really comfortable. They put me on a wireless monitor so I could move around and because baby had dropped off they seemed pretty happy to monitor me the whole way through labour. The doctors were happy with baby's growth so my labour was considered low risk so I didn't need to be monitored but I didn't mind. The examined me right away because I was in quite abit of pain, and possibly due to the blood. At this point I was 9cm dilated. I was so happy that i'd got so far by myself without any intervention or pain relief. I was then offered gas and air which I took. They decided against braking my waters because I was so far along so decided to leave me to labour naturally. I got to 10cm pretty quickly and felt like I needed to push. What I was actually pushing was my waters. They came out intact, they didn't break and just hung like a water balloon in between my legs for awhile. Apparently this is rare and good luck, Sometimes baby comes out into the sack but Amelia didn't. Her hand was up by her face so I was struggling to push her out. I felt the gas and air was working really well and really helped with the pain. I was all fours on the bed for most of the pushing stage. We had to change position to try and get her hand out of the way so I went onto my side, with my leg up in the air. Clint actually held my leg up for ages. She then started to come out. Everyone was saying she has loads of hair. After about 1 and a half hours on the labour ward Amelia was born at 13:18 weighing 6Ib 5oz They passed her to me and it's such a surreal feeling holding your baby. It doesn't feel real, it's really weird. They confirmed she was a girl and it was amazing. We did skin to skin right away and it was lovely having that time to just hold her and look at how perfect she was. It was all over, I was so proud and just amazed that i'd done it and honestly is wasn't that bad. They then took her to be weighed and got her dressed and then we got more cuddles. She was born small and on the 2nd centile so they needed her to feed, we tried to get her to latch but she wouldn't so she had a bottle as they needed to check her blood sugars due to her weight. She had to be monitored for 24 hours and she was fine and we managed to get her blood sugars up and was discharged on the tuesday, she was born on the Sunday. I am going to be writing a blog post about my feeding experience so I will go into more detail in that.

My midwives were great, they made me feel so comfortable, I didn't feel stupid at all. I'd worried a couple of times if the monitor went quiet but they reassured me that it was all fine. I felt very comfortable and was half naked for basically the whole labour, I did have a sheet over me at the start but this didn't last long. I had some funny moments on the gas and air for example I kept repeating ' I just feel like i'm shitting myself' and apparently I was asking the student about her course and how long she has left before shes qualified? I also described gas and air as the feeling you have when you are drunk and have your head on the toilet door.

 Overall I had a really positive labour experience, the whole thing from having contractions to giving birth took about 18 hours. Pushing was around an hour. I got to 9cm without any pain relief and only had gas and air towards the end. My midwives were amazing and made the whole experience very pleasant. They dimmed the lights to make the room feel more relaxed. They were friendly and chatty and just lovely. I had been very vague with my birth plan because I knew that not everything goes to plan, so I didn't get my birthing pool but I really don't mind. The pain was bareable, the only really painful bit was pushing her out as I did tear a little and needed a few stitches but I think I managed the pain really well and breathing through the contractions really helped. The gas and air really helped with the pain and didn't make me feel sick or out of it, I knew what was going on the whole time. I had the injection to deliver the placenta and this came away very quickly and I was stitched up quickly too.

We were moved onto a ward after a little time just holding her and getting myself dressed and spending some time taking pictures and just taking it all in. I was crying and thanking the midwives. I remember saying ' I can't believe shes here' a few times. It really is an incredible experience.

I understand that not everyone has a great birth story and I haven't wrote this to rub in that I had a positive experience personally. But I found when I was watching videos or reading birth stories that they can be unpleasant and everyones quick to tell you how bad their labour was and you always hear about what went wrong and I personally wouldn't change anything about my labour apart from I wish Clint could have stayed on the first night when I was having contractions by myself but even that wasn't that bad. He was at the birth and thats the main thing.

Did you have a positive birth story?


CHRISTMAS: GIFT IDEAS FOR FOOD LOVERS




I thought i'd put together a little food lovers gift guide as I have a few products that didn't really fit into any of my other gift guide categories and they seemed to fit the foodie category. 

First up, if you saw yesterdays post you will have seen I featured a Luxury hamper from Prestige Hampers. Today i'm including this smaller hamper, this is a more affordable option and it contains lots of festive goodies. The Seasonal Treats Box retails at £22.99 and is full of lots of lovely brands and products. 

You get a range of products including jams, fudge, popcorn, tea and more... 

It comes in this really nice box which would be easy to wrap or you can have it delivered to the recipient in time for Christmas. 

As I mentioned in yesterdays post I think hampers are a great gift idea for those people that we struggle to buy gifts for. They look impressive and are usually full of lovely treats that most of us would be happy to recieve. 

Next is this cute condiments pot from Helen Russel creations, it's such a cute little pot and would make a lovely gift for Christmas for any food lover ( or penguin lover) I think this would make the perfect mint sauce pot or you could use it for another condiment on Christmas Day. I will use this all year round as I love it and think it's just so cute. Helen has lots of other lovely products including stationary, cards and other Christmas products so be sure to have a look. 

Finally I thought this was such an unusual product perfect for any Prosecco lover ( we all know one) With this you can turn water into Prosecco, I think this is really fun and a lovely gift idea instead of just buying someone a bottle of fizz they can actually make their own. You can buy this from findmeagift.com and it's actually on offer right now.  

A few more food gifts that I think would make nice gifts are, a voucher- getting someone a voucher for meal out or a night at the cinema can mean alot to some people. Maybe they are saving to buy a house or don't really have time to think about going for a meal. This gives people an excuse to put a date in their diary and go out without spending any money. 
Another idea is a ticket to The Good Food Show or a similar event a like market etc. Again it gets people out to events that they might not have gone to before and if they love food they will be thrilled to attend a foodie event. 
Experience days, there's lots of foodie experience days out there. You can go wine tasting or go on a course and learn how to cook. You will be surprised at how many food and drink experiences there are. 


I hope my gift ideas for food lovers has helped? What kind of gifts would you buy for the food lover in your life? 







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