Thursday, 9 March 2017

31 Weeks Pregnant: Baby number 2

Oh, boy. 31 weeks pregnant (32 weeks tomorrow!) which means less than 8 weeks to go! I can't believe how fast this pregnancy has gone, even with the dodgy few weeks right at the start... it literally has flown by! Most of baby's things are sorted now, I sorted his room out last weekend, built the cot and stocked his wardrobe all I need to do now is sort out my hospital bag, which I keep putting off!

The last few weeks have been lovely too, I've been feeling really good and excited for his arrival, preparing myself and our home for his arrival and also had my baby shower on Saturday which my best friend organised and had such an amazing afternoon seeing some friends who I haven't seen for months! I'm just starting to lag a little in the afternoons now and by the time Friday comes, I'm definitely ready for a rest! Working a full time job during this pregnancy has taken it out of me a lot more than it did when I was pregnant with Millie as I wasn't working at all through the majority of the 2nd and 3rd Trimester!
So, as for all of the symptoms... He's been moving A LOT, like proper rolls and turns and he's started to stick his bum out now too! Adam and Millie can see my tummy moving most evenings and Adam feels him every day now which is cute (he still thinks its super weird!). I'm kind of trying to embrace it all now as I know this is definitely going to be our last baby and I won't be pregnant again so I'm taking time to feel every move, kick and roll even if it's uncomfortable as hell at times or when I'm juuuuust dropping off to sleep! Heartburn is back with a  vengeance. Nothing triggers it, it literally comes on sporadically and hurts like a mofo. Gaviscon is definitely my best friend.
Stretchmarks are getting a little more obvious now too even though I'm keeping up with my Secret Saviours Bump Band and lotions, I had some from Millie so I just think those ones are growing as my bump does! But the lotions are so nice as they aren't sticky and dry pretty much instantly unlike some of the other oils and lotions I've been using. I stick a load on in the morning and then again when I'm home and then before bed - even if they're not preventing them, it makes my belly feel so much better!
I'm slowly developing a waddle. My hips are starting to hurt towards the end of the day and my ankles are starting to swell if I've been on my feet a lot too! But, other than this, I really do feel great. I wore a lovely dress from Boohoo Maternity to my baby shower which I felt fab in and my hair and skin has never been better! I'm definitely embracing the pregnancy glow at the moment but I'm not too sure how long it's going to last...
4 weeks left at work and hopefully baby should be here within 7 weeks! The countdown is ON!

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Saving Money whilst on Maternity Leave

Maternity leave is fast approaching, with only 6 weeks of work left for me before my maternity leave starts officially, but along with the excitement of having no work for 9/10 months, comes the financial worry of not having a steady income that we’ve been used to for the last 2 years. Since before we started trying for a baby, I’ve been saving what I can out of my monthly wage to help buy bits and bobs for the baby and also, to support me whilst I’m off on maternity leave but we’ve had to dip in and out of those savings and they’re not going to last forever so I’m trying to think of some other ways that will help us save money whilst I’m off on Maternity leave and hopefully will give you some ideas too if you’re also planning on going on maternity anytime soon.

Some people may be able to see Maternity leave through on just the basic SMP or Tax credits they have, others may need to take out a small loan from places like to help them through the month but, hopefully, using some of these nifty tricks may avoid these worries and you’ll be sailing through maternity leave like there’s no tomorrow... 

1. Loyalty cards and Store cards/Vouchers
I did a whole blog post about using store cards and vouchers such as Nectar, Clubcard, Boots card and all the other ones which you can read here but over the last year, I’ve really utilised store cards and voucher schemes like the from Nectar - you can load this up before you go shopping and it will give you extra Nectar points on certain items (like the receipts you get from the till) but also, our Nectar points are saved all year and I use them to buy Christmas eve dinner or Christmas dinner which can save us around £50-£60. We also try and buy nappies from Sainsburys as we like them anyway but it means that we’re also getting Nectar points too unlike if we were to buy them from Aldi or elsewhere. Boots is the same, you’ll be getting 10 points per £1 if you join their Babyclub! 

2. Shop around in bargain stores
It might mean an extra hour of shopping but you’re on maternity, you have all the time in the world... right!? Not quite... but it’s definitely worth it! We do our food shop in Aldi most of the time as we prefer a lot of their foods including meats and vegetables - we find they last a lot longer than other supermarkets’ do! But, we head to places like B&M and Home Bargains for everything else such as Toilet roll, Cleaning products, Cat food and litter and other little necessities just because we’ve found that it works out so much cheaper! 

3. Cut down on spending in general
I know it sounds daft but think about things you buy unnecessarily... Coffee? Chocolate when you pop to the shops? That top that’s on sale? Unnecessary spending is definitely one thing I’ll be cutting back on massively and to help me, I’ve worked out a budget for myself each week after all the outgoings have left my account and I’ll draw that money out every Monday morning and it will be my ‘pocket money’ for the week. Anything that I want will be a case of waiting and seeing if I still want it 2 or 3 days later... 

4. Bills and Credit cards
It sounds daft but, try and work out where you can cut down on your bills. If you split your household bills with your partner like I do with Adam, it might be harder to do but, we have downgraded our Sky box and saved £5 a month on that and then there’s things like credit cards and phone bills that can also be cut down by just making sure they’re paid on time! 

5. Monthy clear-outs
The one thing that comes with having a new baby is stuff. Yep, you’ll get through so many clothes, toys, accessories, baby items etc etc etc, but, you arent going to need them forever! So, at the end of each month, why not have a good clear out and have an eBay selling spree! Stick all the unwanted, unused items on eBay and make some money back from the things you either barely used or had double of! If you’re anything like us, you’ll be given loads of things anyway so you’re bound to be able to sell some things once baby is a few months old! This can also be your items too - shoes, clothes, makeup, the list is endless! 

6. Start a Hobby or Business! 
Now, this isn’t for everyone and there are obvious ties that come with starting your own business or hobby, but, if you do it properly, it may really be able to help you out when you’re on maternity leave, especially in the later months! I make my own earrings, I am also a Younique rep and I have just started my own Spray Tanning business. I don’t do them all full-time but they each bring in their own little wage each month that goes towards paying bills, the food shop or even a treat at the end of the week! You must register yourself as self-employed though if you’re selling items or starting a business but in the long run, it might really benefit you! 

Hopefully, we’ll be able to see ourselves through the (almost) full year of me being off work as I hope to return just before Easter next year but, money will be the main decider of that and if we can’t pull in enough to pay the bills then I’ll need to go back to work earlier than expected! 

The countdown is well and truly on now though... less than 10 weeks to go until I meet our little man! 
(*In collaboration with Swiftmoney)

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Guest Posting on Secret Saviours

For the last few weeks and until April, I have been guest posting over on Secret Saviours Blog. Secret Saviours is a company that is inspired by Mums and have put together products to help minimise stretch marks. Secret Saviours' Anti Stretchmark Band is their key item which is said to help reduce stretch marks by up to 70%!
I have been using the band and gels for the last few weeks and will be posting a review once baby is here of the effects it has had on me and my stretch marks and whether it has worked for me or not so stay tuned...
For the time being, go and have a read of my Guest Posts:

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Getting your Garden Summer Ready

When we moved house back in October, the only downside to the whole thing was that the garden was a complete mess. I’m talking, completely overgrown, broken greenhouse, battered soil shed and a completely bodged fence. The deal was that we cleared the garden and the landlord sorted the house and thats how it went. Now we’ve been settled here for a few months, the garden is a blank slate and we’re waiting for the warmer weather to come so we can make a start on getting it to how we want it. 
We have such a big space to play with and we need to make it as child friendly as we can as Millie loves to be outside in the summer and of course, we’ll have another little one wondering around soon so everything needs to be evened out. We want half to be grass and half to be paved so we can get some furniture to sit on it. I love the look of the rattan garden sets, they’re so comfortable and perfect for entertaining too! We love having BBQ’s during the summer, Adam loves to get his grill on and Millie loves to play in her paddling pool too! I’d love a Hot Tub in the garden too but I just don’t think we’d use it as much as I’d like to once baby is here... Maybe that’s something for next year? 

Millie’s Wendy house needs to be put back up too when the weather improves, we dismantled it when we moved house and because of it being close to winter, thought we would leave it until the spring to set up again. I’d love to redecorate that for her and paint it inside to make it more homely but I’d like to get our space settled first. Fishpools have some lovely pieces of furniture and accessories for the garden so we may be buying a few bits to help us get started from their sale section as we need some storage for toys and bikes! Just look at the progress we’ve made from moving in back in October... The garden was honestly such a state that we wondered if we’d ever be able to sort it! 

Adam wants to get a little vegetable patch set up in the top corner of the garden too and I love the look of the raised beds - we’d need to get a cover because of the cats and birds we get in the garden but I think Millie would love to plant some vegetables and grow them. It’s so easy to do and we definitely have the space it’s just getting it done in time for summer! 

If money wasn’t an issue, I’d love to do so much to our garden, just look at pinterest and you can see how beautiful some people make their gardens and of course, I’d definitely have my hot tub and one of these gorgeous day beds too! Imagine lying in the summer, drink in hand and BBQ on in that! Absolute BLISS! 

Take a look at the work we’ve done so far and some of the ideas I’ve come across to get our garden looking exactly how I want it to and hopefully we can start looking at the garden furniture we really want... 
(*Sponsored post)