Thursday, 20 April 2017

Slimming World Eats: Overnight Breakfast Oats

Another great recipe idea to have tabbed, especially if you’re getting fed up with your usual meals. I love making these overnight oats and changing it up with a different flavour yoghurt or different combinations of fruit but take a look at the standard that I usually make... Perfect if you’re on Slimming World as you’re getting some speed fruits in there and also using one of your HEx B’s too! 

overnight oats

40g Oats
1 x Muller Light (or equivalent fat free yoghurt)

Fruit of your choice - I have used 

Add your oats and yoghurt into a portable pot/tub (any will do but these are perfect little jars from IKEA) and swirl it around so that the yoghurt coats most of the oats. Then simply add the fruit on top. You can leave like this or stir up before you refrigerate and eat in the morning. 

It’s a quick way to get your breakfast done and dusted and will also fill you up for a good few hours too! I often find that I can eat these at 7am and not have anything else until around 11:30/12pm! They’re super filling and really healthy too - try adding some different combinations of yoghurt and fruit for a change! 

overnight oats

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Preparing for Baby: 35 Weeks Pregnant

Wow, 35 weeks pregnant. Can you believe it!? I’m struggling to get my head around the fact that in just a few short weeks, we’ll have our baby boy here! Of course, I’m super excited and secretly can’t wait to meet him but there’s just a few things we need to get out of the way first! 

Millie’s birthday is at the end of the month (around the time my section will be done believe it or not...) and she’s having her birthday party in 2 weeks time just to make sure we don’t end up having him early and she misses out completely. I have 5 more days left at work too which I’m hoping will absolutely fly by - then I’ll be off for a whole year (I hope!) But other than that, we are pretty much prepared for his arrival. Clothes are washed, just a few items that we’ve been given over the last week or so that need to go in, Snuzpod is up and in our bedroom, Moses basket it up and sitting in the nursery and his room is ready for when he’s big enough to go in there alone. Until then, all of his stuff is in there so the house doesn’t get too cluttered but we do need to sort a changing basket out to have downstairs just for ease. 

I wanted to share some bits with you that have either helped me through this pregnancy so far or that I’m looking forward to using once baby is here. From around 17 weeks, I’ve been relatively ’normal’ with all nausea going. I had a rough patch about 4 weeks ago when I was so tired that my body just wasn’t functioning and I was having terrible Braxton Hicks but other than that, it’s been pretty smooth sailing. I’ve been drinking Gaviscon like it’s water though for about 3 months now and munching the tablets everytime I eat but I guess there are worse symptoms to be experiencing! 

My stretch marks seem to be fading too as I’ve been using the Secret Saviours band and lotions religiously since around 21 weeks but I know that with Millie, my stretch marks actually only appeared around about this time so we’ll see if it helps to minimise them up until I give birth...

My hospital bag is all packed now too! It was a bit of a struggle trying to remember the sort of things I needed to pack so I googled ‘Hospital Checklist’ and just took off the main things that I felt like I’d need and trying to remember what I used/didn’t use when I had Millie. I think because I’m having a section this time round, I’m more prepared and know what to have so I’ve made sure I’ve got lots of maternity pads, newborn nappies and a range of baby grows too as the ones we had for Millie were huge! I’m also not ‘over packing’ so I took my iPad etc last time that I just didn’t use as there was no wifi and I took a book but I’d rather lie and watch my baby. I am packing some extra bits for baby boy though including some swaddles. I didn’t think about it last time and Millie ended up loving being swaddled so these Aden and Anais swaddles are perfect as they’ll double up as covers for breastfeeding too! 

I’ve also been buying some cute little bits for the nursery and some keep sake items too. This super cute Elephant is actually from Scentsy! My friend and ex-fellow blogger Gemma has her own Scentsy business and I saw this and just couldn’t not get it! Millie absolutely loved her Euan the Dream Sheep and it turned into more of a comforter for her than it did a sleep aid so I’m hoping that this little guy with its gorgeously smelling tummy, can do the same for our little man. There’s 3 other characters to choose too so make sure you go and have a look!

We’ve also had a ‘Meelight’ for in the nursery but will be using it in our bedroom until he moves into the nursery. It’s a little egg shaped light that is detachable from its base and is perfect for night feeds and changes as the light is dim enough to not disturb baby (or your partner!) and can remain on charge or at a socket point like a normal light would! I love that it can clip onto your clothes too, perfect when you’re trying to make and clean bottles at 3am! 

The last things I’ve been loving are these Bellybuds headphones. They’re a way for you and baby to listen to music together but without worrying that the loudness is going to disturb him too much! You simply plug your iPod/music into the headphone jack (link with yours too if you want to!) and then place the buds on your stomach with using the provided gel pads or just resting them on your stomach. It’s such a nice way to relax and feel your baby move to the music. It’s a different way to connect and you can also play recordings of storybooks or singing too! 

I think with all the other bits and bobs we are finally ready to welcome this little man into the world. Only 4 weeks to go and we’ll finally be able to announce his arrival to you all! 

(Contains PR samples*)

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)