Pregnancy: Getting the best support possible

Image @ Pinterest

Pregnancy can be an uncertain time. Like me, this might be your first time experience, you might not have been around other pregnant people before and feel a little bit overwhelmed with everything going on leading up to your birth. There are a lot of hospital appointments to attend with various scans, blood tests, and never ending urine samples. All of the glamourous situations! There are also a lot of things to consider along the way such as planning your birth and getting everything organised before your little bundle arrives.

Today’s blog post is a review about ‘Bump to Beyond your birthwhich is an amazing antenatal and postnatal support service for mums to be, and I’m really excited to share this with you all!

Image @pinterest

My pregnancy support journey

During the last 9 months, I was not prepared for the lack of information or support that we were given along the way. Covid is possibly one of the main reasons for this but as this is my first pregnancy I don’t really have anything else to compare it to. I thought that I would have been assigned a dedicated midwife that I would meet with regularly who would be on hand to go over everything we might need to know but this really wasn’t the case at all. 

As someone who has barely even held a baby before, never mind fed, changed, bathed or given birth to one, I had a lot of questions buzzing around my head. So we joined an online NCT group which unfortunately we really didn’t enjoy very much and didn’t get on with at all. I found it to be quite a judgmental space and more geared towards women that only wanted to breastfeed which can be a very touchy subject. The group was made up of around 6 other couples and I found it a little intimidating to ask questions in this sort of group setting with others that were not open to other people’s preferences. So we didn’t really get what we actually needed from this type of course.

Discovering a new kind of support Network

This got me wondering what other options there were out there for us and then I thankfully discovered Bridie from ‘Bump to Beyond your Birth’. She has a wealth of experience, having been a midwife for over 10 years and is also a mum herself to 2 children. Bridie offers birth preparation courses on a one-to-one basis which takes place over a Zoom call. So you can sit in the comfort of your own home with a nice cup of tea and talk with her openly in total confidence. You can arrange to have a birth preparation course (Antenatal) which will cover the whole labour process and she also has a baby preparation course which will help you with making sure you are all ready and informed in time for bringing your new baby home with you.

Feeling informed and prepared

I was personally really interested in finding out more about the whole Caesarean process as well as bottle feeding. As the courses are on a one-to-one basis it’s so much easier to tailor these to your specific questions and needs rather than being in a group setting. We scheduled in a Zoom call together and from the outset I felt relaxed and comfortable as we went over the following:

Signs of Labour we discussed the signs to look out for that will mean you have gone into labour. This will be slightly different for me as I have a planned caesarean booked. However her Antenatal course will cover this topic for you as well as what the stages of a natural labour are, of the different pain relief options that you will have available, your partners role in the whole experience and what to expect after the first 24 hours of birth.

The caesarean operation process – we went over the whole procedure for me, covering everyone that will be in the room during the operation and what each person’s job is. This was a great comfort to me as I wouldn’t have thought to have asked about this and would have been wondering who everyone was in the room which could be a little scary. We then covered what happens during the actual procedure, through to the recovery process afterwards. This was so informative and has really put my mind at rest about the whole thing.

Preparing to go into hospital from what to pack in my hospital bag (I will write a separate blog post on what I have packed in my bag) and what to plan for when I come home and go into the recovery process.

Bottle Feeding As I plan to bottle feed, we discussed about doing this whilst being in the hospital, following onto when we are back home. 

How to book a course

I was so impressed with the professionalism and information that I received from our Zoom call. I felt that I was able to ask as many questions as I needed – there was no such thing as a silly question and there was zero judgment whatsoever. I really recommend booking a course with ‘Bump to Beyond your Birth’ as it’s the perfect way to go over everything you need and to feel prepared and empowered in time for your birth. 

There are a few courses that you can choose from which I will list below, but just to let you know that you can have a 15 minute Zoom call free of charge with Bridie to meet each other and for her to explain in more detail what your course will cover ready for your scheduled call which is great.

  • Booking an Antenatal course with ‘Bump to Beyond your Birth’ is recommended from around 28 weeks of pregnancy. The 4 hour course can be split into 2 sessions and is priced at £170. As mentioned above, this course will go over in detail what the stages of a natural labour are, the different pain relief options that you will have available, your partners role in the whole experience and what to expect after the first 24 hours of birth.
  • Booking a practical preparation for baby course is also recommended from around 28 weeks of pregnancy and is an excellent follow on from the above courses. This is a 3 hour session priced at £135 and will cover everything you could possibly need from how to hold your baby, nappy changing, taking the baby out, dressing, bathing, feeding and all other general care. An essential for anyone feeling nervous like I was, having little experience with babies before.
  • Booking a preparing for your labour, birth and baby course is recommended from 32 weeks pregnancy onwards. It’s a 2 hour session priced at £90 which will cover your choices for birth, putting together a birth plan for you, packing your hospital bag and preparing your home for the new baby.

You can email the following address to arrange a course booking or to ask any questions:  info@bumptobeyondyourbirth.co.uk

I know you will enjoy these courses as much as I have and so I am really happy to blog about my experience with this. I would love to hear how you get on too and what course you decide to go for!

Also, if you missed my recent pregnancy blog posts I will leave the link to them HERE. and HERE

7 ways to get out of the 2020 slump

2020 has been a strange one and it’s so easy to get yourself into a slump at the moment. There is a lot of tension out there from constant arguing and opinion slinging on social media to people actually having a go at each other in the street – I have had this directed my way a couple of times recently from complete strangers which is just the weirdest thing ever. I’m all about keeping positive right now and have 7 ways on how to get out of that 2020 slump.

Switch off from social media

This sounds like an obvious one but social media can be a bit of a toxic space at the moment, especially on Facebook and Twitter. We are all constantly on our phones and having that endless stream of doom and gloom news can really start to get to you after a while. 2020 has seen a huge increase in the suicide rate and social media will definitely play a part in this. Turn off your phone for a few hours a day and step away from the news and newspapers to give yourself a break from it all. They say ignorance is bliss and I can’t help but agree as when I take a break from the news and social media it makes me feel a whole lot better and is the perfect way to reduce stress or anxiety levels.

Less slump, more get up and go!

Being on lockdown and staying indoors for long periods of time can definitely get you in a slump and feeling sluggish. The weather is turning colder and you might just want to stay in your pyjamas binge watching Netflix. This is completely ok but not all day, every day. Make a plan to do something productive every day. Start reading a new book, clear out your wardrobe (see my previous blog post with tips on this), re-organise a room in your home, do something creative, go for a nice Autumnal walk, do those jobs that you have been putting off for a while. You will feel so much more positive and productive when you get up and get moving.

Write yourself a list

Following the above point, writing lists is a great way to get a plan of action in place. There is something really satisfying about crossing things off of a list when you complete them too and you will be able to see everything you are getting through and accomplishing. Writing down a list is also an excellent way to clear your mind as sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming when you have a million things buzzing around your head all at once and a list helps to see everything written down clearly. Plus, it’s always nice to treat yourself to some new stationery.  My favourite places to buy fabulous stationery are Smythson, Papier, Paperchase, The Magic Notebook, and Juniqe.

Paperchase A4 Jungle Forest Notebook
Paperchase A4 Jungle Forest Notebook
£8.00
Smythson Mara Chelsea Notebook
Smythson Mara Chelsea Notebook
£115
Paperchase Luxe A5 Subject Notebook
Paperchase Luxe A5 Subject Notebook
£7.00
Paperchase Letter H Notebook
Paperchase Letter H Notebook
£7.00
Smythson ‘S’ Monogram Panama Notebook
Smythson ‘S’ Monogram Panama Notebook
£69
Paperchase A4 Jungle Forest Notebook
Paperchase A4 Jungle Forest Notebook
£8.00
Smythson Mara Chelsea Notebook
Smythson Mara Chelsea Notebook
£115
Paperchase Luxe A5 Subject Notebook
Paperchase Luxe A5 Subject Notebook
£7.00
Paperchase Letter H Notebook
Paperchase Letter H Notebook
£7.00
Smythson ‘S’ Monogram Panama Notebook
Smythson ‘S’ Monogram Panama Notebook
£69
Paperchase A4 Jungle Forest Notebook
Paperchase A4 Jungle Forest Notebook
£8.00
Smythson Mara Chelsea Notebook
Smythson Mara Chelsea Notebook
£115
Paperchase Luxe A5 Subject Notebook
Paperchase Luxe A5 Subject Notebook
£7.00
Paperchase Letter H Notebook
Paperchase Letter H Notebook
£7.00
Smythson ‘S’ Monogram Panama Notebook
Smythson ‘S’ Monogram Panama Notebook
£69

Practice gratitude daily

One way to avoid falling into a slump, is instead of focusing on negative things, think about all of the amazing things you already have in your life. Be grateful every day for what you have and it will definitely make you feel more positive. You could even write down one thing a day that you are grateful for and then read over them by the end of the week. You might be surprised at how lucky you are even by the most simplest of things. Here is an example of a daily gratitude list:

  • Monday I’m grateful that I have my own home/place to live in.
  • Tuesday I’m grateful that my family live near to me.
  • Wednesday I’m grateful that I have a good job and have been able to work during the pandemic.
  • Thursday – I’m grateful for having an easy pregnancy this year and that I am about to be a new mum.
  • Friday– I’m grateful for having a great support network around me.
  • Saturday– I’m grateful for all of the amazing, friendly messages that I receive on Instagram every week and meeting new people.
  • Sunday– I’m grateful that I have a fridge and cupboard full of food.

Pampering

Whenever you feel a little stressed out or in a slump, having a nice hot shower, using some gorgeous products can make the biggest difference. It’s an instant mood lifter. Having a little pampering session, like spending time doing your nails, applying a hair or face mask, or having a long exfoliating soak in the bath – these are all things that you might not have time for usually every day but setting aside an an hour for a little pampering is a great way to get you feeling good about yourself and out of that slump! Cult Beauty have some amazing sets at the moment for a perfect pamper night in.

Cut back on alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant which means that any amount you drink can make you more likely to get the blues. Drinking too much, too often will make you feel tired and sluggish – definitely not good when trying to avoid being in a slump! Lots of bars and restaurants have been closed this year which has lead to an increase in home drinking and it’s easy to get into a habit of over doing it. Take a step back from the home boozing, have a little detox and practice the other tips in this blog post and you will feel so much better for it. 

Do something nice for others

Thinking about others and brightening up someone else’s day is an instant mood lifter. Why not send a little care package to someone to cheer them up, or a bunch of flowers. You might know someone who is not able to get out of the house easily and taking them round some essential bits and bobs could be a massive help for them. It will make you feel good to help someone out. I think 2020 is a year where we all need to be checking in on each other more than ever. Make the time to call someone and see how they are doing. They might be more grateful for that chat than you realise. 

If you enjoyed this blog post, check out my other tips around self care HERE

Is Instagram creating a new breed of social climbers?

A social Climber

A Social Climber is anyone that becomes friends with someone if they have something that they want. They become ‘friends’ with people in particular who ‘know people’ that can be of use/benefit to them. In turn, they become (or attempt to become) friends with that first person’s more ‘popular’ friends, then leaving the first person behind. They repeat this cycle to get to the ‘top’ as they see it.

This is something which has been playing on my mind a lot recently and I’ve been noticing the trend of this happening around me quite a lot. I know I can’t be the only one experiencing this so I wanted to write this blog post to put it out there that social media channels, particularly Instagram, is encouraging a new breed of social climbers. 

I love Instagram as it’s so visual and great for inspiration. I personally really enjoy using it for picking up on new emerging trends and seeing how other bloggers or Instagram models put together outfits, looking out for the latest bars or restaurants that are opening and also for home styling ideas. It’s great though for anyone, whatever their passion or interests might be. I wrote a blog post a year ago about my thoughts on Instagram HERE  which you also might like to take a look at.

Follow/Un-follow culture

Instagram has always had a problem with the follow/un-follow process. If you are not aware of this, what happens is that the account will start following people to get them to follow them back. Once they follow back, they then hit the un-follow button. Usually they never notice that this person un-followed them and they have essentially got away with it. The reason they do this to boost their follower account and there are even companies that you can actually pay to do this for you as a ‘bot’ which is craziness!

Fake Instagram friendships

When I first joined Instagram there were girls that would comment and engage on my posts all of the time. I was happy to be networking with some really lovely people, (or so I thought) and I genuinely loved supporting them back with their posts. However, a while ago, two of them stopped leaving comments as regularly and then stopped following me all of a sudden. It made me slightly paranoid, making me wonder what had changed. Did they no longer like my content? Had I done something to offend them? Had I missed any of their posts lately and it had annoyed them? 

It really bugged me for a while and then I realised – they didn’t need me anymore and I was someone they could drop now that they were climbing up the ‘Instagram ladder’ with more and more followers and they had used me along the way to get there. After thinking about it, the whole thing is really quite stupid and just confirmed to me that these girls were not my ‘friends’ at all – I hadn’t even met them in the real world! I had to give myself a talking to and not to be so silly to even worry about such a thing. That’s what happens sometimes with Social Media though – it can be a funny old place and no wonder why so many people struggle with it. On the plus side, I still have a lot of interaction with some girls that have been there from the beginning and they are really lovely. 

Moving forward

This has really opened my eyes though. I’m seeing Social Climbing happening everywhere, not just on Instagram and it’s definitely something to be aware of.  I’m not saying that you need to be suspicions of everyone that you meet, wondering what it is that they want from you, but I will be a lot more conscious that this sadly is a thing now.

I think that this will also really make me pay more attention to how I interact with other people. My Instagram account has grown since I started blogging last year and I still love interacting with a lot of the same people that I did back in the very beginning as well as new people I have come across along the way. I would never want anyone to think that I didn’t have time for them and that the number of followers you have makes you more ‘important’ than anyone else – it’s a nasty way to behave and people will always see through it in the end. As they say, Karma will always find it’s way to those who deserve it.

Have you had experiences with this before?

Leave a comment below if you have!

How to de-clutter your wardrobe for the new Winter season

Now that we are officially in Autumn/Winter and the weather is getting colder, it’s the perfect time to de-clutter your wardrobe! Not all of us are blessed with a dressing room or rows and rows of wardrobe space. Some of us even have to share wardrobe space with our partner. So a good tip to manage the space that you have affectively is to do a seasonal clear out. Here are my top tips on how to do this.

Get started

Ok lets get going girl! You are going to feel so organised when this has been sorted. First things first, get everything out of the wardrobe and group it into sections. All knitwear into one pile, all jeans into another etc – this will make it easier to see everything that you have to go through.

Evaluate what you have

You need to be ruthless and really look at each piece with a level head. Ask yourself if you still love each item and if you will wear it again. Anything you’re not sure about, try it on. Does it still fit? If it doesn’t, there is no point hanging on to it. Does it still look as good as new or are the threads getting loose or starting to bobble? If it is, you know the drill – move it into the pile of things to be removed.

Have a look at your accessories too when making the decisions on whether to keep or remove each item. You might get inspired for a fresh new way to accessorise an outfit.

Any items that are going to be too warm or too cold to wear in the current season but you want to keep it, put these into storage bags, neatly folding everything. You can get these out next season and see if you still want to keep them or not.

If anything still has the tags on it (we are all guilty of this) then it’s likely you don’t really want the item anymore. Keep the tags on as this always helps when selling clothes online.

Organise

Now that you have decided what you are going to keep, its time to put them back into the wardrobe. A good tip is to either group the items in categories, so all of the tops together, sweaters all together etc. Alternatively hang up the clothes grouped together in outfits. This is a good idea if you have to wake up early for work and don’t want to have to think too much about what to wear – the hard work has already been done for you!
Another good tip is to hang all of your clothes with the hangers facing the same way. When you have worn something, hang it back up with the hanger facing the opposite way. This will really show you what items you have been wearing. If something is still unworn for a long period of time, ask yourself if you really still need it. It’s said that we only wear 20% of our clothes which is such a crazy figure compared to what most of us have in our wardrobe!

image: Pinterest

Keep, Sell & Donate

Work out from the pile that you don’t want, which items you can potentially sell and make some money back on. There are lots of places you can sell items, such as Ebay, Depop and Facebook local selling pages. Price them fairly – no one is going to pay full price for second hand clothes, even if they are unworn. Also, make sure anything you sell is in a decent condition and isn’t stained.
Anything else can be donated to local charity shops or to friends. Perhaps you could even organise a clothes swapping party where everyone takes a couple of items that they no longer want and you can get the chance to swap with others!

Make a list of what you need to buy

This is my favourite part! As you have now organised everything that you want to keep you can start planning new items to buy that you will need for the season. Do you need more basics to pair together the pieces you have?
Do you need a new pair of boots to replace the old ones that you removed? Write a list of the bits you can see you need and then you can get shopping!
I hope you enjoyed reading my tips on how to organise and de-clutter your wardrobe. I would love to see a photo of your wardrobe spaces and how fab they are now looking!

Follow on Instagram