Lugano and Lake Como

Hey everyone, it’s been a while since I posted on here because well…#mumlife things have been pretty busy around here so it was so nice to have a couple of days off to relax and unwind with the family in Lugano (the Italian side of Switzerland) and Lake Como in Italy. They are really close to each other so we were able to cover both places in 3 days by car.

Lugano has to be one of the most beautifully picturesque places I’ve been too. The region is shielded by these huge mountains covered in greenery that seem to be everywhere you look. Having such a mountainous country has meant that only the very bottom of these mountains are habitable.

Our first evening in Lugano we dined at Baja a nice restaurant right at the edge of the lake where we ate some pretty impressive seafood. The customer service was soo good even though they were super busy hosting a party that evening.

The following day we visited Lugano town, from the train station we were able to take a tram ride down the hill. This was super quick and cost just 1.30 one way. This was the only option for us because there were lots of stairs otherwise and we had our baby and the buggy.

After about 2 hours site seeing in Lugano we decided to check out the designer outlet which was a short drive on the motorway Fox town outlet we got a few nice things here. There are lots of shops spread out across 4 floors and is a great place to shop for a bargain! The website has a full list of all the brands you can find there. It’s a pretty big place and the layout of the shops isn’t very clear so you’ll need to allocate a good amount of time if you’d like to visit.

In the evening we dined at Osteria Lanterna this restaurant was soooo good! Everything from the ambience to the service to the food! I’m gutted that I didn’t save any of the pictures I took of the food because it looked and tasted amazing. I only have one picture (which isn’t the best quality) of my husbands desert – a panna cotta with berries.

The following day we headed into Italy, the drive was some what memorable as we drove up and down narrow and seriously winding roads along the mountain whilst taking in breath taking views of the land below.

We used the car ferry (roughly 23 euros one way for 3 adults in a car) to cross the lake in Italy and found parking nearby. In preparation for our trip I had booked a 1 hour private boat ride around lake Como to see the sights as I’d read this mode of transport was the easiest way to see everything. It was super cool and so relaxing my daughter fell asleep half way through lol!

There are lots of ‘taxi boats’ as they are called that run tours of Lake Como but you can also take the ferry that takes more people and I assume cost less too. We used a company called Taxi Boat Varenna it was so easy to book and pay on their site. We booked a 1 hour boat ride which was enough to see all the best bits and was totally worth it!

We finished off the afternoon with a late lunch at on of the cafe’s close to where the boat dropped us off, it was called Cafe Varenna I had a delicious rocket and tuna pasta with a nice chilled glass of Aperol Spritz. It really was the perfect end to what had been a lovely lovely trip. You’ve got to check out Lugano and Como if you’re looking for a nice place in Europe to go to. There’s so much to see, beautiful weather, nice people and the food is incredible!

Thanks for reading! Xx

Skincare and self care

I’ve never really had a strict skincare regime but have always followed the basic rules of cleansing, toning and moisturising my skin twice a day. Now that I’m a mum looking after my skin is still important and I really want to give it my best.

In January I got some Wildseed Botanicals skin care products and I have to say that they are the best products I’ve used on my skin in a long long time. I’ve tried both high end and high street brands and I can honestly say the results from these have been impressive. I’ll take you through what I got and how I use it.

Pink Grapefruit Energising Body Polish

I find this product so luxurious and it has become a staple product that I use without fail every week. Once I’ve showered I smother this all over my skin and rinse away. I then pay away any excess water and I’m done! There’s no need to moisturise my body after that. It leaves my skin with an undeniable glow that lasts all day. My skin just feels so nourished, silky and soft. It really gives you a glow that isn’t greasy looking but just looks healthy and well looked after, I love this stuff!

Green Smoothie Vitamin and Mineral Rich Clay Mask

I use a spatula to scoop a little of this into the palm of my hand and add a little water and mix into a paste. Using my fingers I glide the clay mask all over my face, giving full coverage and avoiding the eye area. I leave it on to harden then remove with a warm soft cloth. I saw results after just one use of this mask. It’s pretty much the most revitalising mask I’ve used. I have used other clay masks that just draw out all the goodness from your skin and leave your skin super dry but this left my skin looking bright and cleansed. It really gave me a deep clean. I also use this product once a week.

Asase Aba Radiance Body Oil

I mix this oil with my moisturising lotion and apply daily to give my body that soft glow. It’s also great for this season when the air is still a bit dry, keeping my skin nice and hydrated throughout the day. This oil isn’t heavy. It’s beautifully light. What I love about all these products is they are all full of ingredients that are good for your skin and they are all natural! You can find a full list of the ingredients and some of the benefits on the Wildseed Botanicals website.

Rānā Regenerative Facial Serum

I’ve saved my favourite product in my collection till last. I’ve been using this day and night for almost 2 months now and I have noticed a real change in my skin. A little of this product does go a long way, so once I’ve cleansed, toned and moisturised I just place 3-4 drops in the palm of my hand, spread and gently press it into my skin ensuring full coverage. I just love the way it makes my skin feel, I feel like I’m feeding it good food haha! My skin has become clearer and feels really moisturised.

These products have really helped me to care for my skin in the way that I should and makes my ‘me time’ just that bit more special. I can’t recommend these products enough. There are others in the range so please do check them out too. You can check out the website here I am really enjoying using these products and just had to wrote a blog post and share.

Thank you for reading! X

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My 5 top tips for new parents

I truly believe that becoming a parent makes you an expert in YOUR  OWN child. If you pay enough attention and spend enough time with them, you and your partner get to know them better than anyone else. There are some things that I have realised in my 8 and a bit months of parenting that I would like to share. Here they are:

  1. Observe your child and watch for any patterns that develop with their feeding, nappy changes and baths. This may not be possible within the first 8 or so weeks but you will eventually recognise when they respond well to nappy changes and baths. You’ll be able to spot signs for hunger, tiredness or even trapped wind.
  2. Help your baby to feel secure in your arms. You are doing an amazing job and are the best person to be your child’s parent. Babies can sense insecurity, uncertainty and fear. Speak to them in a loving and assuring way, even if they are crying, try your best to remain calm and not get worked up.
  3. Take lots of pictures of your baby as they grow and change because its true what they say- time does really fly and they’ll be a toddler before you know it.
  4. Staying organised will help you to spend more quality time talking to and engaging with your baby. Simply putting a few things in place during the evening for the following day will help you start the day in a more relaxed way. This could be setting up for the morning bath, running a wash through the night or making sure bottles are cleaned/sterilised will all help.
  5. SELF-CARE – this is so so important mums. Take some time out for you! It could be a work-out, going on a short walk alone, having your nails done, a bubble bath. Whatever it may be try and get some time to look after yourself. You need to be in a good place to give your child your best. Agree with your partner a set day or a little time each week to do something yourself, you’ll feel refreshed.

Thank you for reading x

Birth and beyond – the first few weeks

I had many conversations about the birth itself with others going into real detail about what takes place. My birthing class had also prepared me for what would happen when our baby was ready to make her appearance.

I didn’t however have many discussions about the days/weeks immediately following the birth and what would take place. It was all added experience. How your stomach feels after pregnancy. My appetite increased rather rapidly after birth. Hormones were leaving my body at a rapid rate making me sweat profusely, it was really quite something!

After the delivery I felt exhausted and the pain set in in a big way once the spinal anaesthesia had worn off. I felt the cut with every single move but in the same breath was overcome with joy and relief that my daughter was finally here and she was just so perfect.

Being just over an hour old my daughter latched on for the first time and drew her first few sips. I was so amazed that a baby who was yet to open her eyes and really see her mother was able to make her way to my chest and feed. I felt a proud sense of responsibility to be her source of food, comfort and security.

I didn’t immediately have enough breast milk to meet her demands and had to supplement with formula milk. It took around 2 weeks for my supply to be adequate for a feed and for me and even longer to feed comfortably without pain and discomfort.

Statistics say that only 1% of mothers exclusively breastfeed after 6 months and I totally understand why. I’ll never dispute that breast milk is an amazing source of food and nutrition for babies and is 100% sterile you cannot beat that. However for me I did find feeding in this way incredibly strenuous and painful for some time.

I made the decision to feed my baby both breast and formula milk and that decision worked best. I knew that she was getting all that she needed from me, all the goodness and nutrients that my milk had to offer.

In the beginning I put a lot of pressure on myself to get enough milk and sometimes didn’t even trust that my milk was enough. I took fenugreek tablets and ate lactation cookies to increase my supply. The pain of the initial latch made me often not look forward to feed times but I equally also felt this responsibility to feed her.

As time went on I let go of this pressure I’d put on myself which made me more relaxed about feed times and allowed me to enjoy this precious time with my baby. What mattered was that she was fed, healthy and happy.

Thank you for reading x

Third trimester

Ahh finally!! Third trimester arrived! The excitement had really reached its pinnacle lol. The waddle was in full effect, the nursery was ready and we had even filled our daughters wardrobe with some lovely gifted items as well as things we had bought for her. Each day felt like a week as I waited and I felt as though every little twitch could potentially be a contraction lol

During the last few months I had pelvic pain as the weight of the baby pressed down, which also caused lower back pain. I still had increased melanin on my neck and chest see pic below

Swollen ankles meant that slippers and more precisely single strap sandals or flip flops became my footwear of choice for the last 2 months before birth. It’s a good thing the weather was nice. I experienced braxton hicks from about 36 weeks and they were often pretty intense.

The simple tasks I once did swiftly and easily I now needed help with – putting on shoes, picking items off the floor, basically any action that required me to bend down towards my feet lol.

Interestingly I had even more energy in my last trimester and felt motivated to really tidy and clean up, I had read that this was common during the last trimester, this sudden urgency to have your home ready to receive your baby.

I had always wanted to find out the gender of our baby beforehand so you can imagine how I felt not finding out until almost 5.5 months! Each time we had gone for a scan our baby’s legs were either crossed or the position wasn’t clear enough to make out the gender. As my pregnancy progressed it became even harder to see as the bones became more dense. We finally did however get a scan which could give us a definite answer 🙂 it’s a girl!

From around week 35 our baby had gotten into the breech position and we were told there was a possibility that I would have to go through a c-section. Her head was tucked right up in my womb towards my chest, with her bottom facing down towards my cervix and her legs folded in towards her chest. I wasn’t worried, I still had enough amniotic fluid for her to have some shuffle room and turn around.

Of course I had heard a lot of stories about how other people’s births had been and it did make me dream about my own. Was it going to be quick? Was it going to be as painful as everyone said it was?

I would have absolutely loved to have had a natural birth but as I reached closer to the 40 weeks mark it was becoming clear that our dear little princess wasn’t going to get into position. For one reason or another she simply couldn’t turn. Having done everything I could (in the safest way possible) the decision was made to deliver via c-section.

As the delivery via this method had been planned I had just over a week to prepare mentally for what would take place and to be totally relaxed throughout. I knew that I was in safe hands and that I’d soon be meeting our precious gift.

Thank you for reading xx

Second trimester

This I have to say was the trimester I enjoyed the most, I had energy (way more than in my first trimester) and I had begun working out. My morning sickness subsided around week 17 and I just felt so much better. As my body began to change I felt the effects if I stood for too long, I become thirsty incredibly quickly, needed the loo frequently, tiredness, chapped lips, peeling skin, a cold and increased melanin made the skin around my mouth and on my chest very dark. All of these changes were signals of what was happening inside of me.

I had to also give in and got myself some maternity jeans as the weather grew colder and I needed to make room for my expanding bump. ASOS came to the rescue and I was able to get some fairly nice over the bump jeans to see me through this season. Maternity fashion isn’t great, with many of the styles lacking in creativity and style. I stumbled across many a bootleg jean and unflattering top that made me want to squeeze into my pre-pregnancy clothes lol

30 weeks pregnant

Being creative with my wardrobe helped, for example buying 2 sizes up or baggy fit items from some of my favourite high street brands meant that I could still maintain my style even with my baby bump.

The shape of my bump as the pregnancy progressed did make it hard for me to fit even the maternity jeans as my belly grew outwards giving me a long melon shaped bump. I was even more excited though and couldn’t wait to meet my baby. Time seemed to drag on and i just wanted her to be here already. Quite a lot of people had been telling me to get lots of rest because when the baby came it would be tiring but I now realise that there is no way that you can ‘store up sleep’ and nothing actually prepares you for this unique experience.

 

Thank you for reading! xx

First trimester

I had so many pre-conceived ideas about what my pregnancy would be like and as my husband and I had begun planning about starting our own family I developed all of these ideas about how my body would change and what the birth would be like. For the most part my pregnancy was a smooth one for which I am grateful but there were so many other factors that did take me by complete surprise.

I found out that I was expecting at 4 weeks and for the first 3 weeks or so I was absolutely fine. No sickness. I felt so relieved that I had escaped morning sickness, the nausea and vomiting and couldn’t be happier to be honest.

Then week 8 came…and morning sickness hit me like a ton of bricks! I felt like I was living on a ship on rocky seas. It’s the only way that I can describe it really lol. It was just awful. Keeping anything down including water was a triumph and I lost weight. I’m so thankful that I had some medication which massively helped me to eat and drink normally.

Tiredness was also another symptom I experienced, feeling low on energy mostly in the mornings before breakfast and feeling tired by about 7pm!

This lasted well into my 2nd trimester. I remember whilst experiencing this it felt like forever!! Yet when it passed eventually it felt like a distant memory.

At a wedding during my first trimester

My first trimester also meant everything I ate made me feel incredibly bloated but that also went away in the 2nd trimester and was replaced by what felt like an insatiable appetite, this lasted very much up until our baby was born.

I started to adjust my wardrobe in anticipation of my growing bump although I didn’t start to really show until much later on. I downloaded a ton of apps, reading each week what was happening and how our precious baby was developing. It was amazing to think that even in the weeks when big changes were happening, I wouldn’t feel a thing, my body functioned as normal while this human was being perfectly created inside of me. It’s truly amazing.

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My husband and I decided to wait until the 12 week scan to tell our family and friends which was tough because we were attending 2 weddings in that time and I was so sure that news would slip out some point. I’m glad we waited, it was so lovely to finally share and to see everyones excitement!

Thank you for reading x