Wednesday, 29 April 2015

First Purchases for Baby

Now that we have passed the halfway mark, and had the all clear from our 20 week scan we have allowed ourselves to start thinking about buying things. The one thing we decided from the start is that we didn't want to spend lots of unnecessary money (largely because we can't). Although I will be getting maternity pay from June onwards, not having worked since March has made an impact on our finances. This has made it all the more important to research the best prices and value for money with pretty much every purchase we make. 

We are very lucky in that my partner's parents have asked if they can put some money towards a travel system. My parents are also donating a lot of items (my mother is a recently retired childminder). We have also had a few offers of hand me down clothing too. All this will be a huge help but we still want to hunt out bargains for everything else we buy. 

We went on a research shopping mission after our scan on Monday. It was a long day of dragging round many, many stores. We took photos and made notes but on the whole feel more confused now about what we need than ever! We did manage to purchase a few bargains as ASDA currently have a 'Baby and Toddler Event' running in store. We purchased a moses basket and stand for £38.00. It had really good reviews online and considering most moses baskets in mother care were over £50.00 for the basket alone we are very pleased with our buy. 

Photo from ASDA: Kinder Valley Tiny Ted Moses Basket (£23.00) & Stand (£15.00)

We did also buy a couple of very cute things (had to be done when finding out we were having a girl!). We bought a 'My First Teddy' Bunny from NEXT and a little outfit from Morrisons. The teddy cost us nothing as we had a £10.00 voucher and the outfit was only £4.50 - so not a huge over spend. We have said that we will not be buying lots of outfits though, and will try to make do with multi-pack clothing as they work out much cheaper, and I am sure it will be a while before she becomes fashion conscious! 

Monday, 27 April 2015

20 Week Scan

So today was our 20 week scan. We have been looking forward to and dreading this day in equal amounts for the past few weeks. I knew they could tell us everything was looking good, and maybe even the sex but I also knew they could tell us something was wrong. 

Our scan was at 9am so luckily no agonising wait in the waiting room - in fact we were in for about 8.40am. The scan itself took a long time. Baby was lying in a very awkward position (on its belly with legs crossed) and wouldn't move. The sonographer checked all the organs and did the required measurements, she explained what she was doing which was nice, but she certainly wasn't trying to win a personality contest at the same time and did come across a little cold. I could tell she was getting a little frustrated about measurements she was struggling to take too. After what seemed like a lifetime she confirmed all looked good and despite baby having its legs clamped shut for 90% of the time she did get one shot and said was able to tell us the sex. 

Now both myself and my partner have been convinced we were having a boy for the past few months. This is not because we both preferred a boy - in fact if you had asked us a year ago we both would have said we wanted a girl. I am not sure what first made us think it would be a boy, it may of even been because when we first found out we were pregnant my partner kept joking it would be typical if we had a boy because then he would have to learn how to play football - which he hates. We both just had a gut feeling we were having a boy. 

We always knew we would ask the sex at the scan. Just for fun we looked into a few old wives tales this week to see if they backed up our 'blue' hunch. These are the results:

Morning Sickness: Has been bad and lasted a long time so - Girl 
Heart rate: Over 150bmp so - Girl
Skull Theory: Head look a bit angular on first scan so - maybe Boy
Nub Theory: Could not see on first scan pic so no use. 
Cravings: Have been craving savoury food so - Boy 
Bicarb Soda Test: The test fizzed a lot so - Boy
Spots/Acne: None at all so - Boy
Dry Skin - Lots on my hands so - Boy 
Chinese Birth Chart - Boy

Going by the above there it looked more likely to be a boy (if any of these actually work). Despite baby trying not to show us the one look the sonographer did get was enough for her to say she "was seeing what she would expect to see in a girl" and showed us three distinct lines. She wouldn't be anymore direct than this (guessing for legal reasons) but it looks like we (and many old wives tales) were wrong and we are in fact team pink! We are over the moon. It may take my partner a few days to get over the fact he can't have a dinosaur themed nursery anymore. I can't say I am not relieved! 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Bump to Five Show

Yesterday we went to our first baby show. It was a local 'Bump to Five' show and consisted of a range of stalls and activities. To be honest we didn't stay long as there was not much to see for 'bumps' - most was aimed at people already with children. I did speak to someone about aqua natal classes though and I will be looking into doing this soon hopefully. I also spent some time talking to the people at the 'Weleda' stand. 

Now I think prior to yesterday I was vaguely aware of Weleda, but I didn't know that they were natural and have certainly never tried one of their product. It turns out their products are completely natural, organic, ethical and sustainable. As well as standard products they also have a baby range and I was given a handful of samples to take back with me. I got face cream, body lotion, baby oil and baby wash. I shall look forward to trying them when baby is here, that is if I don't crack and use them on myself, it does state on the label also suitable for adults with sensitive skin! 


Friday, 24 April 2015

Origins Well Off Eye Make-Up Remover

In my search for cosmetics with fewer chemicals, one of the products I struggled with was my eye make-up remover. Now I have always had problems with finding a make-up remover that I like, that is not too expensive and that actually works. Having always had a major weakness for premium brands like Clinique, Estee Lauder and Clarins I have tried many different ones but I honestly find that the more expensive ones do not work and always went back to my trusty (and cheap) favourite - Simple. 

Now the brand 'Simple' describes itself as a brand that is suitable for all skin types, including the most sensitive skin. They state they only use the most natural, skin loving ingredients. Now I will admit that Simple's 'Kind to Eyes Eye Make-up Remover' is the best I have ever found - it works really well and even removes my waterproof mascara with no rubbing or tugging. You can imagine how annoyed (and surprised) I was when I looked carefully at the ingredients and found the product contained parabens and sulphates - so much for those 'skin loving ingredients'. 

Now I will admit that I didn't throw this product straight out - after all the aim of this was not to be completely irrational and ban all 'bad' products, I just want to try and pick better products. Instead I decided to use the rest up whilst looking for an alternative. Having been so impressed with Origins facial skincare products I looked to see what they offered. Their 'Well Off' eye make-up remover had good reviews but it was £17.50! Considering my usual one cost only a few pounds this did not fit in with my current money saving mission so I continued my search. Now I didn't have much look finding an alternative so I did actually end up buying the Origins product - but more by chance. Myself and my partner went to Cheshire Oaks shopping Outlet were there was a cosmetics store selling premium skincare at greatly reduced prices. Just by chance they had 'Well Off' and I managed to purchase it for £10.00. 

Origins Well Off - £17.50 for 150ml

At £10.00 for 150ml I would still say this is on the pricey side BUT I am so glad that I took the risk and purchased it. It really does work and feels so gentle on my eyes. I only need to use one 'dab' on my cotton pad for each eye and it gets rid of everything. For more stubborn make up I just hold it over my eye for a bit longer before wiping. There is also no scent at all which means my eyes do not feel irritated afterwards too. As mentioned in a previous post the Origins products contain no parabens, phthalates, DEAs or other harsh chemicals. 

I have been using this for a few months and I have only used about a 2cm from the top of the bottle - so it may work out more budget friendly that I first thought! 
Rating: 4.5/5 - only knocking off 1/2 a point as it is on the pricey side.   

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Who Needs Sleep?!

OK, moan coming up..............

I am so tired at the moment. I have not slept properly for about 2 weeks now. I keep waking up at least 2 times during the night and then it takes me so long to get comfy and go back to sleep again. I think I am spending more time in bed lying staring at the alarm clock than I am sleeping. I know that I shouldn't moan as I am over the moon to be pregnant but I really, really need a decent night's sleep. 

The problem is that I sleep on either my back or front - both of which are too uncomfortable to do at almost 20 weeks pregnant and I am sure will just become more and more impossible as the weeks pass by. I try to sleep on my side, but during the night I roll back over - which wakes me up and starts the vicious cycle. 

After speaking to some pregnant/ previously pregnant friends I decided I needed to buy a pregnancy pillow and started to look for one that would support my back and front simultaneously, so it would keep me sleeping on my side. What I did not expect to find is that pregnancy pillows must be filled with gold and diamonds! There are two pillows that meet my requirements but both are far more money than I want to spend. 

Summer Infant Body Support Pillow. Argos: £29.99
Dream Genii Pregnancy Pillow. Argos: £46.99

At the moment I just don't feel I can justify the price. Last night I tried using two extra pillows and placed on in front of me and one behind me. This felt quite comfortable when I got into bed but I must have moved them at some point in the night and again just kept waking up feeling uncomfortable. I am going to give this method a few more days and then I think I will crack. I have my 20 week scan on Monday (eeekk) so I might have to go shopping after that. I really should just suck it up and get used to no sleep - from what I hear I wont be getting any once the baby is actually here! 

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Almost Halfway

I have not posted in a whole week which makes me feel really guilty. I can't quite believe I am almost halfway now at 19 weeks. My 20 week scan is a week tomorrow - although I am trying not to think about it too much as both myself and my partner are starting to worrying about it. 

I will blame my lack of posting on the fact that I am so tired at the moment. I have been struggling a lot with sleeping this week and just feel exhausted (so much for all the pregnancy emails I keep receiving telling me I should be feeling 'glowing' and more energetic now). I also ended up in A&E with my partner on Wednesday, after he stood on a piece of rusty fence post. He is still hobbling around on crutches now and I have been having to play nurse since it happened. 

He is back to work tomorrow so I am hoping to use this next week to get back on track with my projects:

1) The painting in the front room needs finishing as the curtains will soon be ready to be fitted. 
2) I need to get back on track with my diet - my no more crisps pack went out the window after my partners accident. 
3) I need to really look into money saving ideas - my plan is to look into coupons and doing more batch cooking. 

Fingers crossed in just over a week I will have a positive update regarding my projects and the health and sex of our baby! 

Sunday, 12 April 2015

No More Crisps

I have not posted in a few days as I have been away visiting a friend in Norfolk. I had a lovely few days. I have had a lovely few days but on my return I was a bit upset to find I had gained 2lb. I cannot be completely surprised considering we probably ate about 2lb of crisps, chocolate and garlic bread! Anyway I have decided that really I need to be more careful about what I eat - after all it is not just myself that I am affecting anymore. 

Before I became pregnant I was classed as being overweight, with a BMI of 28. I managed to find a calculator that takes into account your starting weight and gives you the healthy weight range for each week of pregnancy. The idea being that the more you weigh to start with the less you should gain overall. Putting in my details I did find that I was still within the 'healthy range' - having gained 9lb at 18 weeks pregnant. However, as you can see from the chart below I am right at the top of where I should be and I know a few more days of eating badly could push me over the edge! 

I calculated that if I can keep my weight stable for the next two weeks the little pink dot will move back into the centre of the green zone which I would feel much more comfortable with. I am not going to go on a drastic diet - just cut out the junk food and plan my meals better. I am really hoping I can stick to it, I will report back in 2 weeks. 

For those that are interested the above calculator can be found here:

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Bank Holiday Garden Work (on a budget)

I have not posted for a few days as we have been very busy getting some work done in our garden. We are very lucky to have a lovely garden, but since moving in we have not done much to it due to lack of funds. The only real work we have done is build our chickens a home as they obviously needed somewhere to live (we have 6 chickens). Currently all our gardening equipment and my partners 'man things' are stored in our garage which means we are unable to use the garage as it was originally intended - as a mini gym. The first stage in rectifying this was to get some sheds sorted out. 

Now sheds range in price depending on the quality and although we could afford cheap ones we wanted a 'better quality' one that would last. We were very lucky in that my grandparents were getting rid of theirs and offered it to us for free. So we ended up with a decent quality shed (in need of some repairs) for the cost of hiring a van and petrol - about £60. My Dad offered to come and help us put it up and to build a proper base for it to go on too. Thankfully we have had great weather the past few days and have managed to get the area cleared, a concrete base down and the shed up and re-felted. The shed will need re-painting and we did have to buy some new felt (£30) but the slabs were re-used from our old house and we got all the hardcore for the base for free from Freecycle (if you have not heard of this look it up here). 

Now I will not pretend that I was involved in the constructing of the shed (although I did help with clearing the tress and bushes). Whilst my Dad and partner worked on the shed, my mum and I carried on with some painting of the front room and then spent an afternoon in the garden getting all our pots planted up for the summer. I wanted to add some colour to the garden but as with the shed we were on a budget. When we moved into this house in June last year the previous owner had left lots and lots of old pots and containers in the garden. As nothing but weeds grew in them last year we emptied them out (re-claiming any decent soil) and then re-potted them. I managed to get a really good deal on potting compost from The Range - two 50 litre Miracle Gro bags for just £7 (RRP of £12). I also got a good deal on bulbs from our local Wyvale Garden Centre - two bags of bulbs (40 in each) for £7.99. Now I am not much of a gardener, but with 15 pots planted up in total I hope we will at least have some that survive come the summer. I will report back in 3 months! 

Friday, 3 April 2015

No Poo Washing

Now this is something I have been doing for about six months, but I wanted to write about it because I think it is something that a lot of people may have not heard of, or if they have they just disregard as 'hippy nonsense'. 'No-poo' washing, also known as 'Co Washing', is basically just washing your hair without using shampoo. 

As well as ridding your hair of daily grime and dead skin cells, most shampoos also strip your hair of all its natural oils. Now for those people with oily hair this is not too much of an issue but for those of us with dry (read 'rebellious') hair this only makes it feel worse. The idea of 'co-washing' is that you skip the shampoo altogether and instead use a gentle cleansing conditioner. When I first decided to give this a go I researched the products that were available and read many reviews. Some of the products getting good reviews were a bit to pricey (considering I had no idea if co-washing would work for me) but then I came across Palmer's Co-Wash product and at £4.99 decided to give it a go. 

To start with the texture of this product is very different to shampoo and is a lot lighter than normal conditioners. It has a nice scent to it - I am not sure I can make out olive oil but it is subtle and fresh. To use it I make sure my hair is completely wet and then I add the product to small sections at a time (as recommended). I will be honest you do have to put some effort in to make this product work  - I would say at least an extra 5 minutes onto your shower time. The instructions recommend using 12-20 pumps (up to 40 for thick or long hair), this sounds like a lot but you will soon see that each pump is only actually a small amount. I massage about 5 pumps into one side of my scalp, then 5 into the other and then split the lengths of my hair into 2 and massage 5 pumps into each side. The product does not lather and I did find this odd at first, but you do get used to it. You can add small amounts of water to make sure it is well massaged into your scalp. I then leave the product on my hair whilst I finish the rest of my shower - the longer the better really. 

When it comes to removing it I find I get the best results if I first just add a little water to my head and massage it in again - this does create a feeling as if it is starting to lather. I repeat this a few times to ensure the product has been really well massaged in and then wash it out completely. It is important to make sure the product is completely rinsed out - but do not expect to get the squeaky clean feel you usually get from shampoo. 

When you read about 'co-washing' people reviewing it often describe that after using a co-wash their hair felt like it normally would the second day after normal washing - not squeaky clean but much softer, smoother and more manageable. I would definitely agree with this and I have been pleasantly surprised that my hair has not felt greasy or weighed down in anyway. I will admit that I do not use this product religiously - more like once a week to give my hair a break from shampoo. It is actually recommended that if you do intend to use a co-wash cleanser you should also use a gentle clarifying shampoo every 1-2 weeks to adequately cleanse your hair. 

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5. I have knocked off 1/2 a point as it does take some extra effort to use this but overall I really like this product, its price and the results. With it being by Palmer's it is also formulated without all the usual nasty chemicals, which is why I am very happy to give it a place in my new regime!