30 June 2014

Introducing Aria Lily Johnston x

As I am writing this, my beautiful baby girl is fast asleep in my arms, and I just cannot stop staring at her in complete amazement. 




Aria Lily Johnston was born Saturday 28th June at 7:23pm, weighing a chunky little 8lb 5. 

I just wanted to write a quick post to say thank you for all your kind messages. I'm sorry I haven't been able to reply yet, but we truly appreciate all the love and well wishes! 




I'm going to take a short blogging break while we get used to life with our little princess, but I'll be back with our birth story very soon! 

Lots of love, 
Nicola and baby Aria xxx
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26 June 2014

Week 40 Pregnancy Update


How far along?
41 weeks today... a week overdue, what are you doing in there Baby J?!
 
Total weight gain?
I haven't weighed myself this week...I usually do this at my mums as I don't have any scales, but I forgot to this week!
 
Maternity clothes?
I've struggled with clothes this week as it's been super hot and all my nice little summer outfits just don't work with an overdue belly, so it's been a mixture of maxi dresses and a raid of mums wardrobe! Sorry mum :)
 
Stretch marks?
None.
 
Sleep?
I've still been waking up a lot with sharp pains and needing the toilet, but sadly these pains haven't progressed into anything yet.
 
Best moment this week?
I've not had any 'best' moment, but I've had a nice few days enjoying the sunshine while I still have time to sit out in it :)
 
Worst moment this week?
I think the worst moment was hearing that Baby J still hasn't moved down, and that I may need to be induced next week!
 
Miss anything?
I've not missed anything this week, I'm focusing more on what is around the corner! At least I know this time next week we will definitely have a baby here :)
 
Movement?
Still getting a lot of movement along with some pains, but they've not turned into anything more than that just yet! My midwife came over this morning to do a sweep but sadly same as last week they couldn't do it as my cervix is still too high - so I'm booked for an induction in Wednesday! Hopefully it won't get to that, but at least I know Wednesday is the latest I can go. 
 
Food cravings?
I've been trying to eat as healthily as I can this week, and try stop the cravings for chocolate and all things naughty!
 
Anything making you feel sick or queasy?
No.
 
Gender?
Surprise!
 
Symptoms?
Plenty Braxton Hicks and a bit of sciatica.
 
Belly button in or out?
In/flat/out... it depends where Baby J is lying!
 
Happy or moody?
Happy mostly... with a bit of frustration thrown in there!
 
Looking forward to?
Finally meeting Baby J! Bring on the pain! Haha :)
 
 
And here's the bump for 40 weeks!

 
Nicola xx
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24 June 2014

What Pregnancy Is Really Like...

When I first announced I was pregnant, I was a little overwhelmed with the amount of advice and opinions that were thrown my way (whether I asked for them or not). Don't get me wrong, as a first-timer I welcomed it with open arms, as I really had no idea what to expect. But at the same time I knew that each and every pregnancy is completely different and that what one person said may not necessarily be fitting for me.

So with that, I'm not going to sit here and preach about what should and shouldn't be done, but tell you how I've personally found these past nine months...



Being pregnant is really hard. I don't think many women feel comfortable enough to say this, as it is meant to be the most magical time of our lives (which it is) but I don't want to sugar coat it in any way!

The emotional journey has been more of a struggle for me than the physical. As quite an emotional person anyway, there were times I did find myself get quite down. I wouldn't say depressed, as I think that is a really strong term, but there were certainly moments I wondered how on earth I was going to get through the nine months ahead of me! Thankfully I have the most wonderful husband, family and friends who have been so supportive and have always been an ear to listen or a shoulder to try on. I really am so lucky to have them!

Of course, even with the struggles, there are some incredible moments to pregnancy that I will honestly treasure. Hearing its heartbeat, seeing its little bean-like shape for the first time, feeling it move... it makes it all worth it.

I've met so many lovely pregnant ladies and new mummies through my blog, and have loved being able to go on this little journey with you! Even those of you who aren't planning on having a family anytime soon, it's been so wonderful being able to talk about anything and everything with you. I really feel like I've made some true friends, and really hope that we can meet up soon  - who's up for arranging a little get together?!

I feel a little sad that these updates will be coming to an end, but I'm excited to share the next part of this journey with you. I hope you'll stick around to finally find out if Baby J is a boy or girl!

Nicola xx

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21 June 2014

Overdue and Nothing To Do!

Well guys, Baby J is officially overdue. 

Surprisingly, I'm not as stressed as I thought I'd be that I've passed my due date. Now I just feel 'if I'm late, I'm late'. There isn't much I can do about it! I feel a lot calmer knowing that by the end of next weekend, I will definitely be a mummy (eek!!).

With all that being said, I am feeling a little bored. Not with pregnancy, but because I don't feel like I can really do anything. Baby J could literally be here any day now! I don't want to go too far from home or plan my week out, just in case anything happens! It feels like my life is literally on hold.

So after my little rant earlier this week, which you can catch up on here, I am looking at the positives and using these last few days to catch up on TV series, blogs, housework, and attempting to keep my legs shaved for the big day! Although, I'm sure prickly legs will be the least of my concerns!

Nicola xx
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19 June 2014

Week 39 Pregnancy Update


How far along?
40 weeks today! Happy due date Baby J!
 
Total weight gain?
I weighed myself the other day and had actually lost 1lb!
 
Maternity clothes?
Since the weather has been so nice I've just been wearing maxi dresses and long strappy tops with my maternity jeans. Not buying anything new but for round the house my beach stuff is working nicely!
 
Stretch marks?
None.
 
Sleep?
It's so hot at the moment, it's been really difficult to sleep! I've also been waking with a lot of cramps and sharp pains, and also need the toilet a lot.
 
Best moment this week?
I've been quite busy this week with having friends and family visit, which as been lovely. Also, Tom had a day off work yesterday so was great spending some time with him. His mum and dad came down for lunch and to help us do some work in the garden. The men did the grafting and his mum and I played with my niece, Grace who also came too!
 
Worst moment this week?
You may have seen my post earlier this week saying how fed up and frustrated I was (I will link here), but since then I've been feeling a little better. It's just so hard living each day at a time, wondering if this will be the day Baby J decides to arrive!
 
Miss anything?
Not really missing anything this week. If anything, just something to fill my days with.
 
Movement?
Lots! Lots of legs and elbows popping out my belly :) Baby J is now in a position where it is hitting on my nerves, and I get sciatica-like pains in my bum! Ha.
 
Food cravings?
I've not had too many cravings, just feeling quite dehydrated so drinking plenty of water.
 
Anything making you feel sick or queasy?
No.
 
Gender?
Surprise!
 
Symptoms?
Plenty Braxton Hicks and also what I think is a bit of sciatica. My midwife came this morning and told me that is a good sign. She tried to give me a sweep but sadly my cervix was a little too high so it wasn't possible to do it fully, but she did say that it would have some effect, even if it wasn't the full procedure. I'm booked for another next week providing Baby J hasn't arrived.
 
Belly button in or out?
In/flat/out... it depends where Baby J is lying!
 
Happy or moody?
Happy!
 
Looking forward to?
Finally meeting Baby J!
 
 
And here's the bump for 39 weeks! (excuse the Minnie Mouse pyjama shorts!!)
 

 
 
 
Nicola xx
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16 June 2014

Feeling Frustrated!


OK, so not my usual title for a post but I am going to be honest, I'm frustrated and fed up!

I wasn't sure if I wanted to blog about this or not, as it felt a little pessimistic. But after reading Jess from Lilypod and Sweetpea's 10 Downsides to Blogging post, I felt a little more inspired to put my thoughts and feelings out there. Who knows, maybe you've felt the same too! If not, then maybe you can help me snap out of it...

Let me just start by saying that I love being pregnant. Growing and carrying our little bundle of joy has been such an amazing experience, and I can't believe that it's soon coming to an end... that being said, what is taking so long?!

I don't know about you fellow preggo ladies/mummies out there, but did the last few days/weeks just suck?! I have only three days until my due date, but I am just so fed up of waiting! I've been pregnant for almost 40 weeks. 277 days according to my pregnancy app... so can you blame me for just wanting it to be over?

My phone is forever bleeping with messages and calls from my wonderful family and friends asking "any signs?", "is the baby here yet?" or "how are you feeling?" and although I am so grateful to have so many people who care, I am getting so tired of sending polite replies when all I really want to say is how fed up I am of waiting, and if there were any news trust me, you would know!

I am so so happy for all my blog and non-blog friends who have recently had their little bundles of joy, but it makes me a little sad that I'm not there yet! It's not long now, but I can't help but get a little jealous when I see pictures and posts of their gorgeous babies and just wish that were me!

I feel like a prisoner in my own home, not wanting to go out or go too far if I do, just in case my labour starts! But at the same time I am so bored of staying in just waiting, and as all my friends and family are at work I am a little lonely. There's only so much daytime TV I can watch, and all my housework is up to date so I really struggle to fill my time.


Have any of you felt like this in your pregnancy? Or am I just being a little overly hormonal and need to give myself a shake?

Again, sorry for the little rant - but I needed to get it off my chest!

Nicola xx



Copyright free image sourced from http://pixabay.com/, for free.
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15 June 2014

My Pregnancy Essentials

I can’t believe in just a few weeks’ time, my pregnancy will be over. Now I am nearing the end it really feels like it has been the quickest nine moths ever! I thought some of you may find it useful if I listed the essential items that I’ve relied on during my pregnancy…

Books/Apps
I’ve built up quite a collection of baby books, some of which have been like a bible to me. My favourites are What to Expect When You’re Expecting – a popular one along mums to be, and it’s easy to see why. It is informative but light-hearted, which for me makes expectant motherhood a little less daunting! Your Baby Week by Week is another great book, which as the title states, goes through each week of your babies life, giving you lots of helpful advice and what to expect.


For apps, I’ve been loving Pregnancy+, a free app for the first 12 weeks and then is only a pound or two for the full version. This has been money well spent as it gives a breakdown of each week as well as daily facts and information, size guide for the baby, kick counts, and many more useful features. I also love the Baby Centre Pregnancy App, which includes daily information, checklists and links to the birth club forum which I found really useful particularly in the first trimester.

Skincare
If there is one time to really pamper yourself, it’s during pregnancy. I’ve loved trying out all the lotions and potions out there designed especially for us pregnant ladies. My favourite by far has been the Sanctuary Spa Mum to Be range. The body butter in particular is amazing, I’ve used it so much throughout my pregnancy, and totally recommend to anyone. I’ve also really like the nspa Mum to Be range, which is available at Asda.



Pregnancy Pillow
Getting comfortable during my pregnancy hasn’t always been easy! I purchased the By Carla Mum and Baby Support Pillow quite early on and it’s been a complete godsend. It’s so useful for getting comfortable on the couch, as well as using it at night time. This can also be used for the baby when feeding, or just lying on. There are many different types of pregnancy pillows available, and I would definitely recommend getting one if you do suffer from back pain or find it difficult to get comfortable.

Maternity Clothes
This is an obvious one for most people, but I did struggle to find items that were reasonably priced and still flattering. I got a pair of black skinny jeans from New Look that have been an absolute staple in my wardrobe. They are super soft and have lasted really well. I’ve also purchased a few dresses, one in particular that I’ve loved is from H&M, it is maternity but I think will look fab post pregnancy too. Another place I have loved is ASOS, which goes without explanation! Their maternity range covers every item you could possibly need, and at price ranges to suit everyone.

Pregnancy Journal/Blog.
I think documenting your pregnancy is a brilliant idea, whether it be in a journal, or even a blog, it's something you can look back on in years to come and even use as an outlet for all the billion things that go through your head in those nine months! For me, starting a blog was one of the best decisions ever. It has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people and I love the close community that bloggers have, it's incredible and I feel very lucky to be part of it.


I hope you've enjoyed this post and found it useful! I’d love to hear any pregnancy essentials you have.

Nicola xx
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12 June 2014

Week 38 Pregnancy Update

How far along?
39 weeks today. 1 week til due date, woohoo!


Total weight gain?
I weighed myself at the weekend and have nearly put on 3st! I feel like that's so much, but I forget that so much of that is baby, fluid, and everything else that goes with carrying a baby!

Maternity clothes?
No change to the last few updates, whatever fits and is comfy! I did treat myself to a lovely summer kimono and some patterned trousers though. These thankfully fit me now too so I've enjoyed having some more fashionable items to wear!

Stretch marks?
None. I doubt I will get any now seeing as I'm about to pop!

Sleep?
Still not great. I wake up constantly with cramps and get excited to think I'm going into labour, but sadly they aren't progressing into anything more than a few twinges.

Best moment this week?
I had a lovely weekend at my Nana's 80th birthday party with all our family! Her actual birthday is tomorrow, but we dragged out the celebrations for a full week :)

Worst moment this week?
I've got to admit, I've been so bored this week! The novelty of being off work has worn off, and I'm struggling to fill my days as I don't want to go too far from home, but I hate being stuck in the house while everyone is at work! Hopefully Baby J will take the hint and get a move on :)

Miss anything?
I’ve only really missed having something to fill my days with, but I know I shouldn't complain and just enjoy it while I can!

Movement?
Lots! Lots of legs and elbows popping out my belly :)

Food cravings?
I've not had too many cravings, just feeling quite dehydrated so drinking plenty of water.

Anything making you feel sick or queasy?
No. Although Tom did make some popcorn on Saturday night and the smell made me feel awful!

Gender?
Surprise! 

Symptoms?
As with last week, still getting sore hips and extremely tired. I've also had a lot of cramping and Braxton Hicks, which gets me excited!

Belly button in or out?
In/flat/out... it depends where Baby J is lying!

Happy or moody?
Happy!

Looking forward to?
Finally meeting Baby J!


And here is the bump for 38 weeks!

 
Nicola xx

 
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7 June 2014

Baby J's Nursery Tour


Well Guys, I'm finally posting Baby J's nursery room tour!

I've been holding off doing this post until friends and family got to have a little look, but I am super excited to be sharing this with you all.

As you know, we don't know whether Baby J is a little boy or girl, so we have obviously gone for a 'gender neutral' room.

Tom and I both decided early on that we wanted a room that was warm and cosy, and would be nice and calming to be in. We shopped around for ages, looking at what furniture we wanted and finally chose the Mamas and Papas Chamberlain range.




We got this on offer in store, and bought the cotbed, chest or drawers and wardrobe together in a bundle. I love the colour of the furniture and was surprised at how solid it is! A lot of the stuff we looked at seemed a little flimsy, but this is fantastic quality and know it will be great for when Baby J is older too.

 
For bedding and furnishings, we chose the Next Little Bear range. I absolutely love everything in this range, and as you can see I've completely decked out the room in it! We got the bedding as well as the matching curtains, photo and wall stickers. I am a very 'matchy' person, so wanted to keep everything to one theme.

The teddies we have in the cot are all very special. The one on the left was the first teddy I ever got, which my aunty brought to the hospital the day I was born. The one in the middle is Mouse (he's actually a lamb, but we don't judge!) who was my favourite teddy growing up - I slept with him every night and he is very special to me, so it only seemed right that Baby J was given him!. Finally on the right is Blah Blah, a duplicate of my stepdaughter Maya's favourite teddy. She has the 'original' Blah Blah, but wanted to give her little or brother or sister one exactly like hers.


The moses basket is from Mamas and Papas, which my cousin kindly let us borrow rather than buying our own. It's really cosy, and extremely study for being so lightweight.



So there you have it! Our little bundle of joy's first room. I can't wait for him/her to get here now so we can finally make use of the room. Right now, I just like to sit in there and take it all in, it's becoming so real now and I can't wait to be a mummy!

Nicola xx
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5 June 2014

Week 37 Pregnancy Update

How far along?
38 weeks today.

Total weight gain?
I haven't weighed myself since last week, so I'm not sure if I have gained any more since my last update!

Maternity clothes?
Same as the past few weeks, whatever fits and is comfortable. I've been having a few quiet days in the house so this is mostly jogging/pyjama bottoms and an oversized tshirt (usually Tom's!).

Stretch marks?
None.

Sleep?
Still not great. I'm been waking up a lot in the night too warm and restless, and I've noticed my hips getting really sore if I've been lying on one side too long.

Best moment this week?
Not that it's been a bad week, but I don't think I've had any 'best' moments. I've just been keeping on top of the housework making sure there isn't too much to do in case I do go into labour.

Worst moment this week?
None!

Miss anything?
I've not really missed anything this week. I'm trying to just enjoy these last few weeks of being pregnant.
 
Movement?
It's definitely slowed down, but my midwife said Baby J is a long baby, so it's probably why it feels so uncomfortable when he/she decided to have a little move around!

Food cravings?
The random cravings seem to have gone from last week - I'm no longer wanting to sit with a jar of pickled onions and an ice lolly! ....really, that did happen.

Anything making you feel sick or queasy?
No.

Gender?
Surprise!

Symptoms?
My hips have been getting really sore, and I've been feeling exhausted the last few days. I've also been having some really painful Braxton Hicks - Friday being the worst! I really thought I was going into labour, but the pains stopped after about half an hour.

Belly button in or out?
In/flat/out... it depends where Baby J is lying!
 
Happy or moody?
Happy!

Looking forward to?
Finally meeting Baby J! The nursery is all done, so all that is left is to wait for his/her arrival!


And here is the bump for 37 weeks!


Nicola xx
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1 June 2014

Recipe | Coconut & Lemon Cupcakes

Since starting my maternity leave, I've really got back into cooking and in particular, baking!

I posted a 'healthy' Raspberry & Oat Cupcake recipe on Monday which you can see here, but today I am going to share with you my Coconut & Lemon cupcake recipe!



So to make these, you will need:
115g butter
125g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
100g yogurt, I used Activia Natural Pouring Yogurt
1/2 lemon zest (you could also use 2tbsp lemon curd)
175g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
25g desiccated coconut

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180C or Gas mark 4.

2. Beat or whisk the butter and sugar together until light and creamy, gradually add the beaten eggs, whisking all the time.
3. Add the yogurt and lemon zest and blend into the creamed mixture.
4. Sieve the flour and baking powder together and then fold into the mixture along with the desiccated coconut.
5. Place dessert spoonfuls into the cases and place in the preheated oven. Cook for 25 – 30 minutes until firm to the touch.
6. When cooked remove from the oven and leave 5 minutes in the muffin tins before placing on a baking rack to cool.
7. Decorate as you wish! I made a simple buttercream icing and added a small amount of lemon juice.


I absolutely love these cupcakes, I think they may be my favourite flavour! They are really light and make a perfect little treat to go with your afternoon cup of tea.


I hope you have been enjoying these recipe posts, I've loved sharing them with you! I've also got a few easy dinner recipes I thought about posting, so let me know if you would like to see these!

Nicola xx
 
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