Tuesday, 13 January 2015

My 1st year as a mum

It's official... I'm back!

As I'm sure you've probably noticed, things have been pretty quiet on the blogging front for the last 12 months but I've made it my New Year's Resolution to put a stop to that!

When I was pregnant, I promised myself that I'd post regular updates after Finley was born and document every milestone, every achievement and every new experience... That was until he actually arrived and I discovered just how tricky it is to juggle being a mum with, well, anything really - let alone blogging! (Seriously, hats off to those all you mums and dads who manage to find the time and energy to write such great posts on top of looking after little ones!) 

Life has been pretty full on since Finley was born and, whilst I always knew that would be the case, I don't think anyone or anything can prepare you for just how much things will change with a new addition to the family. If I'm being completely honest, I didn't find it easy (and any mum who tells you that they did is either Superwoman or just telling fibs!) I struggled with the sleepless nights in those early newborn days, I struggled with not having any time to myself or get anything done, I struggled with the baby weight I'd gained and, more than anything, I struggled with the complete lack of identity came with my new title of 'mum'. 

Welcoming Finley into our little family wasn't the only major life event to occur last year - after calling the South East of England home for 4 years, we decided to move back to the West Country to be closer to friends and family in Bristol. As much as I loved being in close proximity to London, Bristol is so much cheaper, greener, quieter and home to so many people that we know, so moving was a bit of a no-brainer really! 

Moving house was easily one of the best decisions we've ever made - since being in our new home, we've had so much fun, visited so many new places, had so many opportunities and made so many new friends (including the most amazing group of mummy and baby friends!)

On top of all that, moving house also paved the way to me starting a new job in September. I'm now working for a students' union doing a job that I love, surrounded by the most positive, passionate people I've ever met and I couldn't be happier! 

2014 was a busy year which gave me a whole load of new challenges and completely turned my life upside down. Yes it was a struggle, but that's not to say that I haven't enjoyed becoming a mum. The good times have outweighed the bad and watching Finley grow from a teeny tiny 5lb 15oz baby into the funniest, happiest, cheekiest little boy over the last 12 months is easily the most rewarding thing I've ever done. Put simply, he makes me proud to be a mum! 

I guess what I'm trying to say with this post is that it's ok to not be ok. For some women being a mum comes naturally, but for others it takes a while to get used to the new role, and that's fine too. I'll admit that was one of the latter types and found myself stressing over little niggles that really didn't matter in the grand scheme of things. I wanted to be super-capable and do everything at once, all by myself which was just totally impossible. 

Although I've missed blogging and feel a bit guilty for not keeping things up to date, it has been nice to just focus on Finley and put the pieces of my new life into place. Although it seemed like I was failing at the time, in hindsight I feel I got the balance right by putting my own wellbeing first. So with that in mind, I'm making it my New Year's Resolution to be kinder to myself this year:  Kinder to my body, by drinking more water and eating healthily.  
Kinder to my skin, by remembering to moisturise and take my make-up off at the end of every day. And above all, kinder to my mind by not sweating the small stuff. Texts, emails, laundry and tidying can wait! 

As for my blog? Well I'm going to try to be kinder to that too by posting more often and keeping it up to date, so if any fellow parent bloggers have any tips then feel free to send them my way! 

So welcome back to Notes From The Nursery... Here's to a fab 2015! 

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Thursday, 30 January 2014

My Birth Story

Finley James Drew was born at 10.57pm on New Year's Eve, weighing a dainty 5lb 15oz (and was the last baby of 2013 to be born at our local hospital!) 

Unfortunately my labour was quite long and complicated... It all began just a couple of hours after my due date, which had been spent trying to relax despite the countless "any news?!" texts from friends and family! I had a long soak in the bath and went to bed, convinced that I'd end up being seriously overdue. 

Then at 2.30am I woke up to find that my waters had broken! I sat in the bathroom for a moment trying to gather my thoughts until my partner, Dave, woke up and came in to check I was ok. I remember grinning from ear to ear as I told him my waters had gone. He, on the other hand, went straight into panic mode! 

I phoned the hospital, showered, got dressed, had some toast, double checked that our bags were all packed and by 4.30am we were at the hospital. 

When we arrived I was strapped to a monitor which revealed that every time I had a contraction, my baby's heart rate was slowing down. No-one seemed to know what was causing this to happen, so we were sent upstairs to one of the birthing rooms for more monitoring and checks, just to be on the safe side. 

As the morning went on, my baby's heart rate showed no signs of stabilising. By lunchtime it was clear that he needed to get out as soon as possible and since labour was progressing so slowly, I was put on a hormone drip to speed things up. The midwife explained that this would make my contractions a lot more painful and encouraged me to take every drug she offered me (which I did!) 

Come the evening I was still only 2cm dilated. I'd had paracetamol, codeine, gas and air (which I LOVED!) an epidural which quickly wore off and some meptid but we were getting nowhere, so eventually the decision was made to go in for an emergency c-section. 

By this point I just wanted it all to be over. I was hungry, thirsty and exhausted to the point where I was actually falling asleep between contractions! I didn't know much about c-sections or exactly what they involved but right then I didn't care, as long as it got my baby out safely and put an end to the excruciatingly painful contractions. 

Dave had been incredible the whole way through. He'd held my hand, passed me things, cheered me up, gave me words of encouragement and didn't once complain or get stressed. The midwives were great at including him in everything too and much to my relief, there was never any question about him coming into the operating theatre. They gave him some scrubs to wear for the delivery so he quickly got changed, grabbed the camera, a hat and a blanket for the baby and off we went! 

The whole thing was a blur but I remember various medical staff introducing themselves when we got into the operating theatre, sitting on the edge of the bed being talked through what was going to happen, being given an injection in my spine, lying on the operating table feeling numb... And the next thing I knew my little baby boy was being held up in front of me! 

It turns out that the poor thing had got himself completely tangled up in his cord and would never have been able to make it out on his own, hence why I hadn't been able to progress normally. 

As the staff congratulated us and Finley was taken off to be cleaned and weighed, the first of the New Years fireworks could be heard going off outside and we were given a 'born in 2013' babygrow as a gift for having the last baby of the year! The whole thing was totally surreal and felt like something from a movie! 

Unfortunately things got even more complicated later on. Poor Finley's blood sugar levels were very low and he wasn't interested in feeding so he was whisked off to intensive care, where he was put on a drip and numerous tests were carried out to make sure there weren't any underlying problems. Walking backwards and forwards to NICU with a fresh c-section scar was horrible, as was seeing Finley so poorly. 

Luckily he only had to stay in for a few days in the end, so we're all home safe and sound now and doing well so far (despite all the sleepless nights!) 

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Sunday, 22 December 2013

What's in my hospital bag?

I've been toying with the idea of doing a hospital bag post for a while now, but since I've never had to stay in hospital before let alone give birth, I didn't feel like I was much of an expert! 

However, all that changed last week when I got admitted to hospital for high blood pressure and was so, so glad that I'd already packed my bag in preparation for labour. Obviously I didn't need to use everything in my bag, but I thought I'd share the contents of it in case any other pregnant ladies are wondering what to pack...


1. Birthing shirt - Or an old, baggy tee that's comfy and doesn't matter if it gets ruined when giving birth.
2. Nursing bras - Handy if you're planning to breastfeed and even if you're not, you'll need something that's comfortable and supportive.
3. Pyjamas/ button front nightie - Whatever you find comfiest for sleeping in and possibly breastfeeding in.
4. Slippers - Most hospitals won't let you walk around without something on your feet so be sure to take slippers or even flip flops so that you can go for a wander!
5. Dressing gown - For comfort and modesty when walking around the ward.
6. Socks (including one pair of cosy socks!) - Apparently it's quite common for your feet to get cold during labour, even in a boiling hot hospital, so best to be prepared!
7. Comfy knickers - You can buy disposable knickers to wear after you've given birth, but Primark pants that are a couple of sizes too big are just as cheap and much comfier!
8. Change of clothes - In case your clothes get messy during labour or you end up having to stay in hospital for a few days.
9. Loose comfy coming home outfit - Whether you've given birth naturally or had a c-section, chances are you'll be feeling a bit sore when the time comes to leave the hospital so make sure you pack something baggy or stretchy for the journey home, such as leggings or jogging bottoms.


1. Maternity pads - Not the most glamorous accessory, but essential for coping with bleeding after giving birth.
2. Hairbrush and comb - To make yourself look presentable for photos and visitors.
3. Toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash - For freshening up, especially if you have to stay in hospital overnight.
4. Shower gel - For that long awaited post-birth shower! It's worth taking a mild, un-perfumed one in case you're feeling extra sensitive afterwards.
5. Razor - Again, useful if you have to stay in hospital for a while.
6. Tissues - Always handy!
7. Nipple cream - To help soothe sore nipples if you're breastfeeding.
8. Breast pads - To prevent any leaks.
9. Hair ties - For keeping your hair off of your face when you're feeling hot and sweaty during labour!
10. Shampoo and conditioner - Important for freshening up after giving birth.
11. Deodorant - Also important for staying fresh!
12. Lip balm - To soothe your lips as they're likely get cracked and sore after being in a warm hospital for hours on end.
13. Wet wipes - For everything and anything, including freshening up between showers and cleaning your hands after nappy changes.
14. Make up wipes - Self explanatory, really!
15. Make up - To help you feel a bit more human after giving birth and look a bit more lively in the photos!


1. Pregnancy notes - Whatever you do, don't forget these as you'll be asked for them as soon as you get to the hospital!
2. Phone and charger - Essential for keeping in touch with friends and family and for helping you to stay sane when there's lots of waiting around.
3. Camera - For those all important new baby photos.
4. iPad/ book/ magazine - Hospitals can be really, really boring so make sure you take something to keep you occupied when things get a bit quiet!
5. Pen and paper - Just in case you need to jot down anything important or relay info to your partner between contractions.
6. Handheld fan - To keep cool during labour.
7. Glasses and contact lenses - If you wear them or might need them.
8. Towels - For when you want to have a shower or a quick freshen up.
9. Water and snacks - Hospitals aren't exactly known for providing restaurant quality food, so be sure to take some snacks to give you energy and a bottle of water to keep you hydrated during labour.
10. Ear plugs - Vital for trying to get some sleep on a noisy hospital ward!

Things for baby

1. Nappies - Some hospitals will supply you with nappies but there are a lot that don't so it's best to take your own, just in case.
2. Baby wipes - If you're going to take baby wipes, make sure they're extra sensitive or have been proven to be safe on newborn skin.
3. Nappy bags - Most hospitals ask you to bring your own as they don't supply them.
4. Cotton wool - For those first few nappy changes.
5. Vaseline - To make it easier to clean off newborn poo!
6. Babygrows - For dressing your baby in after they've been cleaned up and cuddled.
7. Hats - To keep your baby's head warm.
8. Vests - For your baby to wear under their sleepsuit.
9. Cardigan - For keeping your baby cosy, if needs be.
10. Socks or booties - Not essential, but some hospitals like you to bring them in case your baby needs to be kept extra warm.
11. Scratch mitts - To stop your baby from scratching their face and accidentally hurting themselves.
12. Muslin squares - For folding into bibs, mopping up baby sick
13. Blanket - Nice to have for newborn snuggles and essential for keeping winter babies warm on the journey home!
14. Car seat - If you're planning to travel home by car, no hospital will let you leave unless you have one. Make sure that it's suitable for newborns and that both you and your partner know how to fit it in the car.

...So there we have it! Of course whatever you take will be down to personal preference, but I found a lot of these things to be really useful and therefore wanted to share my experiences.

If you've given birth in hospital before, what items were you really glad you took with you? And what did wish you'd packed in your hospital bag?! If there's anything you think I might've missed off of my list then let me know!

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Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Cussons Mum & Me Hydrate and Nourish Shower Cream

As your bump grows, your skin can become dry and itchy. Throughout pregnancy people will are forever reminding you to moisturise your bump in order to stop this but what if you can't afford to splash out on expensive stretch mark creams? And what if you don't have time to fit all that extra moisturising into your morning routine?! In fact, even now that I've got time to do it, I hate smothering my bump in thick, gloopy stretch mark cream after a shower as it makes my skin and clothes feel greasy and sticky for the rest of the day!

So what do you do? Spend the day feeling sticky or let your bump get dry and flaky?!

Well luckily Cussons seem to have solved this dilemma with their Mum & Me Hydrate and Nourish Shower Cream. It does exactly what it says on the tin (well, tube...!) by moisturising your bump while you shower, saving you time in the mornings and leaving your skin feeling soft rather than sticky. Fantastic!

The cream itself feels so luxurious. It's very thick and creamy which feels great and means that the bottle lasts for ages as you don't need to use too much in one go. Despite being quite thick, the cream doesn't lather up into much of foam which sounds disappointing at first, but actually it means that all of the good stuff is going straight onto your skin rather than disappearing into bubbles!

The Hydrate and Nourish Shower Cream is made with grapeseed and avocado oils which not only help to moisturise your skin for up to 12 hours but also gives it a fresh, almost herbal scent. The combination of the two means that you're guaranteed to step out of the shower feeling and smelling great!

I love how cute and simple the packaging is, too. The brightly coloured lids make these products easy to find on the shelves of shops and supermarkets and easy to distinguish between other products in the Mum & Me range.

If you've never heard of it before, the Mum & Me range is split into three different stages, each of which is colour coded; 'Bump' products are for expectant mums and come with a bright pink lid, 'New Mum' products feature and orangey yellow lid and cater for mums who want to carry on looking after their skin once their little ones have been born and, last but not least, 'Baby' products are designed especially for delicate skin and come with a purple lid.

As well as this gorgeous Hydrate and Nourish Shower Cream, the lovely people at Cussons have also sent me a few products from the New Mum range, so watch this space as I'll be reviewing them once my little one has arrived and I can officially call myself a new mum!
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Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Learning to love my bump

I've never really loved my body or felt comfortable with my appearance so when I found out that I was pregnant, the thought of getting even bigger didn't exactly fill me with joy...!

People don't tell you that you won't look pregnant straight away or that you won't necessarily have a perfect little baby bump like the ones you see on all the gorgeous celebs in magazines. Instead you're expected to feel fabulous, relish the thought of wearing maternity tees with cutesy slogans such as 'I love my bump' and go for cheesy maternity photoshoots with your partner to show off your blossoming body.

I'm ashamed to say it, but I wasn't one of those women that immediately felt empowered by their new bump. I didn't want to show it off or take loads of photos and in fact, despite being a photographer, I tried my best to avoid cameras throughout the first half of my pregnancy as I didn't want to end up with a lasting reminder of being so big.

It wasn't just the size of my bump that had me down in the dumps either. My arms, legs, thighs and bum ballooned and my belly became completely covered in stretch marks (so much so that one midwife took a look at my belly and exclaimed "Oh you've got so many stretch marks, you poor thing!" Yeah, thanks a lot...)

But the day I hit the 30 week mark is the day that I completely changed my mind about my growing baby bump. I woke up, looked in the mirror and for the first time ever I felt like I looked 'properly' pregnant, not just fat!

I'm not sure exactly what changed but suddenly it all made sense and I could see why so many ladies love their bumps. I realised just how incredible it is that my body is capable of creating a tiny little human being, and decided that instead of resenting my body, I should be proud of it for all the amazing changes it's going through.

I took a quick photo on my phone to mark the occasion and ever since then I've tried to remember to take another one every week:


I'm still finding it hard to love the way I look and I have to confess that I'm not looking forward to trying to get my body back into shape later on, but for now I'm pleased that I've managed to embrace my bump and start feeling proud of my body for doing something so amazing.

Wearing proper maternity clothes and styling outfits that flatter a growing bump has also made a huge difference to how I feel, so it's worth baring in mind that there are ways of making yourself feel good during pregnancy. Despite what other people might say or how the celebs might look or what you might read in magazines, it IS ok to feel uncomfortable and self conscious when you're pregnant, but try not to let it get you down too much. Try to love your bump and just remember that the end result will be worth it!
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Monday, 2 December 2013


Beebies Baby Store is based in Kent and was founded by the lovely Ami, a young entrepreneur who has become known for creating a bit of a buzz at baby showers! The shop stocks a huge selection of great gifts for little ones - from toys to towels and bottles to blankets - so of course I've been busy lusting over their gorgeous products and dropping not so subtle hints to my partner! 

Since our little boy is due on 30th December, there's no way of knowing whether he'll be here in time for his first Christmas or not, but I'm still getting excited about buying him presents. As much as I'd love to splash out on tiny reindeer outfits and Christmas pudding jumpers, I'd rather not get anything too festive in case he doesn't arrive until January! Luckily Beebies Baby Store has the perfect selection of cute but practical bits that hopefully our baby will be able to enjoy all year round:

1. Poddle Pod Package (Cotton Black Stars) - £42.99 
The Poddle Pod is a soft, cosy nest for babies to sit back and relax in. They look so snuggly and I love the idea of being able to put my little one down on something a bit more comfortable than the floor when he's not in his cot or moses basket. These ones come with patterned removable covers that can be chucked straight in the wash if needs be (and I'm a sucker for anything starry, so I love this black and white star design!)

2. Bumpsters (Blue/ Large) - £34.95
We've already started getting our baby's cot ready for when he outgrows his moses basket (scans say he's got long legs so it might be sooner rather than later!) but after reading so many conflicting articles about whether or not cot bumpers are a good idea, it's hard to know what bedding to buy. These Bumpsters are perfect though, as they allow air to circulate whilst still protecting babies from hurting themselves on the bars of the cot. They also come in a range of gorgeous pastel colours to match the nursery! 

3. CuddleRoar Towel - £35.00
A freshly washed baby wrapped up in a towel after a bath is one of the cutest things ever... But when that towel makes them look like a tiny dinosaur, it's ten times cuter! This towel looks really soft and snuggly and I can just imagine it getting lots of giggles at bathtime.

4. Hello Ernest Musical Mobile - £19.99
This clockwork mobile is not only totally adorable but it also plays Brahms Lullaby to soothe baby gently to sleep. Again, the pastel blue colours and cute characters would make this a perfect addition to the nursery!

5. Fleece Pram Blanket (Grey Stars) - £23.50
Further proving my love of stars, this gorgeous fleecy pram blanket has a fab design and would be great for cold winter walks. I love the colour too as it's really unusual and would match our pram perfectly!

6. Miamoo Travel Goodies - £17.00
I've heard lots of good things about the Miamoo brand, so getting this mini travel set would be a great way to sample a whole range of their goodies! This set contains some of their best natural products, including a body wash, baby oil, shampoo and more (all with super cute cows on the bottles!)

...So that's our baby's Christmas wishlist all sorted. No idea what I'd like for myself this year though, so it looks like it's time to start making a list of my own!

If you haven't already, then why not check out Beebies Baby Store online: www.beebiesbabystore.com
And for all the latest news and offers, you can also follow them on Twitter: @beebiesbabystor

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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Pregnancy: Love it or loathe it?

Now that I'm nearing the end of my pregnancy I'm starting to find myself looking forward to all the things I haven't been able to do for the last 9 months. Don't get me wrong, I feel incredibly happy to be pregnant and I'm very, very lucky to have had such an easy ride so far, but there is a part of me that can't wait for it all to be over!

There are lots of things that I've loved about being pregnant, including:

  • The genuine kindness of complete strangers (I've had strangers offer to help me with my shopping in the supermarket and people I barely know giving me baby clothes, nappies, bedding and toiletries!)
  • Watching my bump grow week by week
  • My nails getting longer and stronger (which has helped me to finally stop biting them! Woohoo!)
  • My hair growing faster
  • Bonding with other new and expectant mums
  • Seeing our baby at the scans and getting to hear his heartbeat during appointments
  • Feeling all those reassuring little kicks and wriggles in my belly
  • Getting to shop for cute baby clothes

...But equally there are plenty of things that I'm looking forward to once it's over:

  • Not feeling tired and achey all the time
  • Being able to sleep without having to get up to go to the loo every 5 minutes
  • Being able to drink alcohol again
  • Being able to eat all the foods that I've been avoiding (I've really missed pâté, rare steak, runny eggs and soft gooey cheeses!) 
  • Not having to battle with heartburn on a daily basis
  • Losing weight
  • Being able to wear underwired bras and fit into pretty underwear again
  • And of course finally getting to meet my little boy! (Definitely the biggest and best thing to look forward to!) 

So how did you cope with the last few weeks of pregnancy?
Did you enjoy every second of it or did you find yourself counting down the days?!
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