Today I have a guest post from the lovely Siobhan from Rock Mum. She is expecting baby number 2 and has put together a few tips for me to share with you!
My first tip for preparing for baby is probably the most important.
Be honest! Be honest with your friends and your family about how you’re feeling and especially be honest about how hard it is. No one will thank you for staying quiet or pretending you’re ok if you’re not. Being a mum can be the most rewarding experience, but it can also be the hardest.
Prepare for the worst
Yes, you might want to give birth naturally and have the sort of beautiful bonding experience they tell you about in your NCT class, but there’s a chance that might not happen. Newsflash: You *may* not look like the Dutchess of Cambridge immediately after giving birth.
In my group of six who gave birth at the same time three of us had emergency C-sections, two had episiotomies and one delivered naturally (but had horrific piles). So please do write your birth plan, but don’t expect it to be a perfect case study in birthing. You need to have things to hand to prepare for the worst in your after-birth care.
So with this in mind, stock up on:
A doughnut pillow
Anusol
Lactulose
Witch hazel
Maternity pads
Maternity pants (disposable)
One of those puppy training pads (this goes under your bed sheet)
Tea tree oil
Really shit nightclothes you don’t care about and are basically the equivalent of a massive jogging bottom.
Equally, breast feeding. You may want to, you may not. For those of you who do want to, here’s what you need to know: that video they show you at NCT called “laid back feeding”? It’s NOTHING like that. It hurts. No, you health visitor at the back, it’s not because “I’m not doing it properly”. At first, it hurts. Stop telling people it doesn’t.
So it hurts. You need nipple balm, breast pads. Everything will hurt. Your actual boob, your nipple. It will get easier, but if it’s still hurting and it’s not, please just look at alternatives. It’s important that your baby is fed, it doesn’t matter how.
So you need:
Breast pads
Nipple cream (Lansinoh)
Hand pump
Electric pump (I had the melena swing which I bought second hand)
Bottles
Steriliser
Formula
Breast feeding pillow
Oh god, the actual baby
I expect you have clothes and things for
Baby to wear once it is born. Did you know, by the way, that there’s a whole size in between 0-3 months? I didn’t! It’s “newborn” and if you haven’t already it’s worth getting little vests and sleep suits in that size too.
Aside from the clothes (sleep suits, vests, hats, bibs) you’ll need The Stuff. Here is a list of things you will need. There’s other things that you’ll want, but this is a list to get you through the first few weeks.
Muslins (baby’s are sick quite a lot)
Hats (their heads get cold/can get burnt)
Car seat
Pram
Sling (make sure suitable for a newborn)
Somewhere for baby to sleep
Changing mat 
Nappies – even if you’re doing cloth I would say get a back up pack of disposable as you just never know.
Wipes (they’re skin could be super sensitive when they are first born so research this)
Cotton wool (lots. You’ll probably use this over wipes initially)
Coconut oil (you can use it for EVERYTHING)
Thermometer (we initially had an armpit one but now have invested in a head/ear scanner and I do think it’s worth it)
Bath (I wasn’t sure about including this… you can just use a sink, I plan to this time. Last time I bought this seat thing that you put baby in and she HATED it. So, I dunno. If you have a bathroom sink you might just want to use that and save your back a bit).
Also consider.. water thermometer (you could just use your elbow, you could. But I did and then was like “what am I testing for here? How does my elbow know it’s ok? Did someone tell it? Is it enough?” So, if you’re prone to worry, just get one of these).
Towels (loads out there, but if you’re on a budget this isn’t an essential as baby can just as easily use a towel you have – just make sure you’ve washed it in something that won’t react with their skin)
Hypoallergenic washing liquid suitable for sensitive skin (So, you *may* be able to tell, but my baby had sensitive skin! But I did read somewhere that it’s a good idea to wash all the new baby stuff before putting baby in it)
Blanket
Playmat (somewhere you can lie them on the floor and they can look at stuff. It sounds like a “like to have” rather than a “need to have”, but they do become useful. Especially if you can’t be arsed to hoover every time you want to set them down!)
Bouncy chair thing (See above, you’ll thank me for this! You can pick these up on selling groups for about a fiver. I have two. One for upstairs one downstairs. I dunno if it’s the vibration, the annoying song, the bouncy thing… but it will buy you ten minutes peace. And that, my friend is precious).
Infant calpol 
I think that’s it. I’ve probably left stuff off, but if it’s not at the forefront of my mind then maybe I didn’t use it. Would love to hear back from anyone who thinks I’ve left stuff off though.
Your life with baby
Oh, I can’t say this enough: don’t be a hero. Ask for help. Don’t try and do everything. You know when you start a new job and they spend a week sort of teaching you the ropes and stuff? It’s like that but with no sleep and a really sore fanny (and maybe arsehole) and maybe midsection and tits are leaking and massive or sore and it’s not a week, it’s more like three months. And look, I have a three year old and I’m still sometimes like: whatthefuuuuuuuuck. So please please please. Get some mates in your phone- contact me I’ll be one! – join online forums (avoid avoid the holier than thou sites, DM me and I‘ll tell you which ones but anything with “gentle” in the title basically), speak to your health visitor if you’re struggling also (equally take all advice from these guys with a pinch of salt as they all contradict each other and are seemingly obsessed with breastfeeding).
Practically there are things you can do to prepare.
Get in easy-to-make food in bulk. If people want to buy you gifts, thank them, but ask that they make you food instead that you can store in the freezer beforehand. Forget Hello Fresh, your first month will be more like “what can I eat with one hand and will be ready in five minutes”?
There are companies that do meal packages that they’ll deliver to you and you just need to warm up- it’s important that you’re not just eating crap, so think about investing a bit more and getting these. Cook is the one I know, but I know there’s a tonne of independents doing this also. Have a research to see what’s available in your area.
In terms of reading materials… I don’t know what to say. I got the books, I read them and then I didn’t remember the stuff. I think following mum bloggers is a good idea for a dose of honesty (I can provide a list of these that I found genuinely helpful if you like). I had a book called “Your baby week by week”. I liked this one and in the end it’s the only one I read because it was just a chapter a week. But then my friend Claudia said she hated this book as her kid wasn’t doing the stuff so it made her worry (mine wasn’t either, but I was too tired to think about whether it was an issue). So have a look at what you think appeals. My mum bought me “Baby and Child” because she said she used it and it was invaluable. But, I dunno. We have the internet now and apps etc. I had an app called Wonder Weeks which I liked, it basically goes through developmental milestones so you can see why your baby is acting particularly shite that week. That’s quite good to know. Otherwise you worry that it will never end. And it does.
Oh, almost forgot! Get a Netflix subscription. The nights can be long at first and this will keep you awake during feeds.
Above all, the best thing you can do is be open to change and be prepared to have a different journey to the one you envisioned. Trust your gut. Definitely do this. No one knows your baby better than you. And good luck!

 

During May the site will be covering a whole heap of products just for mum. We are so aware that we need to look after ourselves and whether that means a nap in the afternoon or a new product to use in the bathroom we will be focussing on a few lovely new products that will have you feeling great! Today we are featuring Salcura, a range of vegan skincare. Here is what Elizabeth had to say about it:

Antiac daily face wash.

This is a lovely rich face wash which feels smooth, thick and luxurious to use each day. I have been using it in the morning in the shower and it washes well without leaving my skin at all dry, which is pretty impressive in a skin cleanser designed to help with acne and blemishes. It obviously does a great job of washing away the impurities. I have had lovely clear skin while using it, and then as soon as I went away for a few days without it, I got some spots on my chin. If you have slightly oily or combination skin (prone to both spots and dryness) I would definitely recommend giving this a try.

 

Bioskin Dermaserum

This is an interesting one. The list of natural ingredients is really impressive, with natural oils from sunflower, safflower, grape, sea buckthorn, eucalyptus, tea tree, orange, lavender, olive, almond, rosemary and peppermint. It’s a lovely smooth serum which spreads and soaks in easily. It’s not heavy or greasy at all, and feels kind and nourishing. The only thing I would change is the overpowering nature of the eucalyptus and tea tree. I associate these with medicine and cold remedies, so it’s a little strange putting them on my face every morning. Nevertheless this has nourished my face through the last blasts of a cold winter and my skin is perking up now to face the summer.

With half term fast approaching I’ve been looking for ways we can visit new places while also saving money. I need them to be suitable for a 3 and 8 year old so it can feel pretty hard when looking to find something that keeps everyone happy and also mummy’s purse happier too.

I’ve been looking at a day trip to London over the may half term break to see what new areas of London we can discover to lift our sense of adventure!

Photo by Arkadiusz Radek on Unsplash

Here are a few things to do in London this half term that won’t break the bank.

Theatrical Tour

This will cover all bases as there will be some great sites from your favourite theatre shows. Why not book this and then treat yourself to one of the many shows on in London every night. It’s also fab for seeing some of the city landmarks as well!

Mini Golf

My little ones love to compete with each other and so this activity would see them have fun but also get rid of all that excess energy they always have. You could add extra fun to the day by dressing up as a golfer too! Who will get a hole in one first?

Wetlands Centre

We visited the wetlands centre a few years ago and this is a super easy place to get to on public transport with train tickets from Brighton costing £22 for all 3 of us. It is a great space to learn about nature, birds and it’s incredible this space is such tranquil spot in London.

N20 Kids Klub

This place looks os such fun! With soft play, sandpits and lots of activities it would be a great place to go for a rainier day. It costs £5.95 for 1 adult and 2 children so won’t break the bank too!

Treasure Hunt

We all love a good treasure hunt so why now book onto this underground one. It’s different from the norm and sounds quite exciting too! You could nip to a poundshop beforehand to maybe add an incentive of winning prizes after each stage too!

That is just a few ideas of what you could get up to on a budget this May half term! You can catch what we get up to over on our instagram stories.

 

Let me know what takes your fancy and what day trips you’ll be planning for your half term break.

There are plenty of style guides to be found in magazines and on the internet, that can help you achieve any look with your décor that you want to. However, there is a downside to sticking so rigidly to any one style guide. Sometimes, it might feel like you’re living in a showroom that doesn’t show the personality around your kitchen table. A little of your own personality should always be injected to make sure that a room feels “you”, no matter what style you go for. Here are a few ways to make sure that’s the case.

Find your style

One of the problems of following a style guide is that some people don’t really determine what their style is before they jump in. Finding your inspiration before you start making décor choices is going to ensure that you’re later happy with those very same choices. Watch home makeover programmes, browse through interest, take a look at before-and-after renovation photos. Do plenty of inspiration material binging and start collecting and collating those that stand out most to you. Rather than finding one “style”, you’ll find you have an eclectic mix of tastes that you could work to incorporate together.

Fit your hobbies in there

Do you have one hobby that takes up most of your time or a passion that you find inextricably linked to your very being? Then make a little space for it in your décor. It’s all about finding the boundary and not crossing it. Make a single subtle display, such as a wall lined with movie posters, if you’re into movies or a good place to fit a bookshelf if you’re a reader. You want it to be a subtle pointer to your personality, incorporating your hobby too much can end up a little overbearing if you don’t know how to hold back.

Make memories your pride

There are certain elements of décor that transcend a particular style, too. To many people, there are few better avatars of their own personalities and experiences than the photos they take or have had taken of them throughout the years. Creating a photo wall display in the home can immediately give any room a focal point that screams personality. There are a lot of ways to arrange them, such as making a grid, lining them up, or even hanging them, so you don’t have to feel like your options are too limited as to how you display them, either.

Give it some space

Whether it’s certain ornaments you love the most, some photos on display, or anything else, giving your personality some space is crucial. Set up a space all its own by using a display cabinet or a glass console table dedicated to the collection you want to put on display. Don’t clutter it and force it to share attention with some of the more traditional décor aspects of the room. This creates a competition for attention which means it won’t stand out as much.

At the end of the day, a home that doesn’t have “you” in it isn’t going to feel yours. Find the spaces you’re not using and think about how to incorporate your own personality.

 

Self care isn’t always about the pretty things that can make life look nicer, in fact there is much more to it. If you are thinking about making your own self care your number 1 priority then here are a few ways you can help yourself!

Bullet Journalling or Art Journalling

Both of these can release your busy mind. Focus on the page in front of you and what you need to organise or get out.

Bullet Journal can help you organise yourself which will help alleviate stress or feeling like you have too much on.

Art Journalling can help you get your creative side back, carry a notebook and doodle. I have a little watercolour set that is handbag friendly.

Escape for a weekend

If you are like me and always find things to do around the house even if there is spare time then a trip away can really focus the mind on enjoying the moment. Book an apartment in a new city and experience what it has to offer. You don’t need to take the kids – why not switch a weekend with your partner and then focus on something that is entirely for you, visit art galleries or snuggle in the apartment and watch Netflix until 2am with the knownledge no-one will be jumping on your head at 6am!

Look after your mind

Self care isn’t always about a spa day.  There is so much more and mental health is one of those things you need to look after. Pick up a book or start a course – something that will get your interest peaked and work with your intellect. I love taking a new short course or picking up a book. I’ve just finished Witch by Lisa Lister and although it has taken me 3 months every time i picked it up those moments were just for me.

Create a Ritual

Whether it is concentrating on your breathing first thing in the morning, a short online yoga class, that first coffee of the day or a bath make sure that before you start your day to do something unique to you. I love that first coffee of the morning and saviour it as much as I can. I find that something to start the day the right way makes my creativity flow better. Rewards dont always have to be at the end of the day.

So what rituals do you include in your self care plan?