Monday 15 May 2023

My favourite pregnancy/birth books

Natalie meddings how to have a baby

During my three pregnancies I've read a lot of pregnancy books (yes, even re reading in subsequent pregnancies - you forget so much!) I wanted to share my top three.

🤍 How to Grow A Baby by Natalie Meddings - my lovely hypnobirthing teacher Sarah passed this on to me as part of her course and I am SO pleased to have read it before I birth this baby. There are so many labouring scenarios I relate to in this book and wonder if I'd read it last time if I'd have responded differently. While it addresses birth scenarios and interventions I'd say it's still leaning on the holistic side so it's maybe one to skip if you know from the get go you'll be having an elective. Highlights include the concept of "the two rooms" of birth (aka. not jumping the gun and how to relax and take your time at the start of a very long labour), statistic based discussion on birth choices and coping mechanisms, and the importance of cake (seriously!)

The positive birth book milli hills

🤍 The Positive Birth Book by Milli Hills - this is the book I'd recommend everybody reads as it's going to appeal to the most people - it walks you through what labour "feels like" including lots of accounts from different birth givers, talks about different outcomes, and again gives you the tools you would need to make a positive birth far more likely. Knowledge is power and this really covers scenarios that may crop up while giving birth. For me the two above books work fantastically in conjunction with each other: one offering a no nonsense insight to birth, and How To Grow A Baby for a fresh point of view and plenty of relaxing and empowering choices, the two having a joint motive to make your birth sail as smoothly as possible.

The kind mama Alicia silverstone

🤍 The Kind Mama by Alicia Silverstone - This one is for the crunchy, earth conscious hippie mama who wants to grow her baby on a plant based diet. Although there is a labour and birth section, I found the pregnancy and postnatal parts of the book most informative and empowering. Straight up, this book is not for everybody - it's very health focused and I GET it if you don't want somebody telling you to deep dive into the sugar cravings. Personally I found this empowering and motivating to get past my beige food stage (still acknowledged during this book!) and I've gone back to it with each pregnancy. It's not an essential but when I was pregnant for the first time and a little anxious about there being NO vegan pregnancy resources available in the UK, this gave me the confidence to grow my beautiful baby on plants (and to do so again another two times!) Highlights include her section on placenta capsules (doooo it) and the excellent nutritional information and inspiration.

Have you read any of these books? How do you like to get informed about pregnancy and birth?


Friday 16 December 2022

Warming teas for the festive season

Festive tea makers of London  chai
This post is in collaboration with The Tea Makers of London.

 Best Warming Teas for the Festive Season

This time of year, the chilly days and bitterly cold evenings call for a truly warming brew that will have you feeling like you are sitting beside the fire, wrapped up in your cosiest blanket watching your favourite Christmas movie.

The run up to Christmas can be a stressful one, trying to fit in time for buying presents, seeing friends and family, wrapping up those last things at work before the big day. With all of this going on it’s important to make time for yourself to unwind and reset. This selection of teas is the perfect combination for winding down in a winter evening. 

Wrap up with your favourite jumper, and pop on your favourite brew because we have the best selection of warming, loose-leaf winter teas to make the next top spot on your favourites list.

No.107 Chai of Madagascar

Chai of Madagascar is the perfect blend of tender green South African honey bush leaves, juicy chunks of ambrosial orange, fragrant bits of cocoa and delicious authentic Indian spices. This mouth-watering infusion is ideal for enjoying during cold winter evenings and is a fruitier twist on a traditional chai cup, and being naturally caffeine free can be enjoyed by the whole family. 

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Sunday 30 October 2022

Teas for good quality sleep

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This post is in collaboration with The Tea Makers of London


We know that getting the little ones to bed is hard enough, then feeling like you can’t nod off added on top can leave you feeling a little hopeless, and constantly fatigued by the time morning comes.

If you’re finding it difficult to get to sleep a deliciously soothing bedtime tea could be the answer to your sleeping problems.

From calming Chamomile to Organic Rooibos these naturally caffeine-free Herbal blends contain the perfect mix of healthy ingredients to help aid your sleep, calm your thoughts and get your bedtime routine back on track.

Prepare a warm cup of your favourite bedtime tea an hour or so before you hit the hay and enjoy a longer, better quality night’s sleep, without being left feeling drowsy like some sleep aiding products.

Are you having trouble nodding off? Read on to discover The Tea Makers of London’s Top 5 Teas To Aid Sleep


Wednesday 1 December 2021

Little Butterfly London review (for pregnancy and baby!)

Little Butterfly London beauty vegan cruelty free review littlepackofvegans
*This post contains PR samples
When I was pregnant I tested multiple different belly balms, creams and oils for my stretch marks and this is how I discovered Little Butterfly London. I've been testing more products from their range since just before I had Summer, and I have to say I'm completely enamoured.

All of the Little Butterfly London products are cruelty free, and they are planning to change all of their products to vegan by the end of the year. In terms of packaging, the Little Butterfly London range is certified by Ecocert, so all of the packaging is fully recyclable. The cardboard is made from sustainable sources and the bottle caps are made from wood to reduce plastic waste.  The only thing that is plastic is the small waterproof disc which is in the cap to prevent leakage. This is important to me when choosing cosmetics as choosing good quality, ethical products is important to me but I don't want the planet to pay a high price for these.

Little Butterfly London beauty vegan cruelty free review littlepackofvegans
During my pregnancy, I used the "Fall Into Dreams" Mother and Baby Massage Oil at least once daily. The texture of this oil is beautiful and it spreads easily (I found some oils I tried didn't rub in well and it felt like I had to use so much product per application - this went a lot further, which I appreciated because it's gorgeous.) It smells absolutely delicious, like oranges, and kept my skin feeling really smooth and supple - this was no mean feat considering I carried VERY big this pregnancy and had a 9lb 9oz baby. During my pregnancy I also used this oil with Eden for some bonding time - in the evenings I'd use it on her after her bath and do a little bit of massage while we spoke about things including about what would happen when the baby was being born. This really helped prepare her for our separation during my labour in such a calming and soothing way, which in turn helped to reduce my own stress around the subject.

Due to Summer's skin sensitivities, very soon after she was born I realised I had to really strip back on any products that I used on myself, laundry, and of course on her, and introduce anything new really cautiously. This was tricky as not only was she a rashy baby, she was also a baby with very dry, almost scaly skin, which meant that I instinctively wanted to use oils on her. Particularly as she's grown and developed a little bit of cradle cap (super normal!) I've wanted to oil her scalp, and I've found she doesn't react with this oil which I'm SO thrilled about because I absolutely adore the scent and it gives me such a visceral memory of my pregnancy.

Little Butterfly London beauty vegan cruelty free review littlepackofvegans
The Little Butterfly London "Cocoon of Bliss" Stretch Mark Butter won first prize in the Green Parent Natural Beauty Awards which made me want to give it a try. This cream contains bio-actives, essential fatty acids and skin-replenishing vitamins, and is certified organic. I found this butter really nourishing and soothing on my itchy bump. I am aware that stretch marks cannot be avoided solely by using topical treatments like oils or creams - there are many other factors that will determine the likelihood of getting them, including genetics, staying hydrated, etc. However I do think that keeping the skin as moisturised as possible reduces itching and stress on the skin from it stretching so quickly. This surely reduces the chance of getting any extra, avoidable stretch marks - how the skin copes at the deeper layers is out of our control however. I actually didn't get any stretch marks on my tummy again during this pregnancy and I do believe that keeping my skin well hydrated was a contributing factor to this. I used this cream towards the end of my pregnancy, by which time I really was carrying enormously, and while it felt lovely on it's own I really liked to apply this after the oil - it felt like it really locked moisture into the skin this way and kept my bump feeling smooth and beautiful. The cream is thick and the smell is unusual - honestly, at first I wasn't even sure whether I liked it - but it was worth it to really provide nourishment to my bump, my skin really deserved a cream of that richness as it was stretching so far to accommodate our baby.

Little Butterfly London beauty vegan cruelty free review littlepackofvegans
The Dewdrops at Dawn Body Lotion is another product with a soft, gentle scent - it is, like all of the Little Butterfly London products, innately calming. It's a rich lotion which I've used not only on Eden, for after bath massage, but on myself to try and soothe redness on my arms from keratosis pilaris. It feels thick and luxurious on the skin, but rubs in easily. This won a gold award in the Green Parent Natural Beauty Awards and it's not hard to see why - this contains cucumber seed oil, nourishing cocoa butter and calming aloe vera, plus papaya, peach and apricot oils, to add antioxidants, moisture, soothe, and relieve redness. This is truly lovely and is both relaxing and nourishing, Eden now often runs to me after her bath with this tube and asks me for her "massage" which has been a lovely thing to incorporate into her routine.

Little Butterfly London beauty vegan cruelty free review littlepackofvegans
Perhaps the last thing I found our groove with was the Little Butterfly London Wrapped In Love Calming Anti-Pollution Baby Face Cream. This has been formulated to protect little people's skin and act as a barrier against environmental pollutants. It's made from completely natural, organic ingredients, and is great for calming and soothing irritated skin. It can help calm specific skin complaints including eczema, dribble rashes and dry skin. I was even told that some adults choose to use this cream on their own skin flare ups. Although I'm careful with what we use on our toddler's skin she's never been overly sensitive, so having a new little one so prone to flare ups has been a real learning curve. I now tend to get nervous to try any products to calm her young skin in case it has the opposite effect and makes the problem worse, but actually I've found this cream is fine for her and does help to alleviate any dryness or redness if she's had a reaction to something. I've also been using this around Eden's mouth as she's had some redness and soreness from cold weather, and it's healed it really quickly.

Overall I'm so thrilled with these products - they really are such luxury, beautiful items and they've made pregnancy and postpartum bodycare a really dreamy, enjoyable experience with their rich textures and gentle but blissful scents.

Have you tried Little Butterfly London products? Which of these appeals most to you?

Wednesday 20 October 2021

Welcome Summer

Littlepackofvegans baby girl

In mid-August we welcomed our second daughter, Summer Daisy, into the world. It was a long labour but I used hypnobirthing to stay calm and focused throughout which was invaluable, and I got my VBAC which I'm so thrilled about as it meant my recovery was so much smoother and made our transition to a family of four that much easier. I have been trying to jot down my birth story when I can as I'd love to have it written down so I can remember it forever - I'll be posting it here whenever I get the chance! As for blogging, I've definitely been taking a longer maternity leave than intended, largely because I have my hands very full with two littles, but I have lots of posts in the works - again for whenever I get the chance!

Most of all I feel very lucky and blessed to have two such wonderful girls in my life, and such an incredible and supportive fiance. In fact, now baby's here maybe we can start planning a wedding too! I'm sure we'll have plenty of time for that now, right?!

See you soon! x

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