Thursday, 21 September 2017

A New Love For Cleaning.

Being at home more has made me realise that I actually love to clean. I've never really noticed before because in all honesty, I've never really had time. 
Between work, my relationship and the children, I've always done the basics; make sure things look and smell nice. But being at home more has made me realise I want things clean

So, I've started a new Instagram and Pinterest has become my new best friend. I know, I know, I'm late to the Pinterest party. I've never really used it other than to search a few different recipes here and there but it's a gold mine for cleaning tips & hacks. 

My question to you guys is this... Do you love to clean? If yes, what's your favourite room to clean and why? If no, how do you get yourself motivated to do a deep clean of your house? 

For now, ciao! xo

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Did You Know Prenatal Depression Is A Thing?

Did you? Because I didn't. 

I've never suffered with depression before, I have suffered with other mental issues but that's another blog post for another day if you're unlucky enough. However, there was a short span during this pregnancy that I was having weekly check ups with my midwife and being monitored for prenatal depression. And now that part of my pregnancy is behind me, it made me think... Prenatal depression is not spoken about enough. 

I knew that roughly one in ten women suffer with postnatal depression but what I didn't know is that the statistics are the same for pregnant women. One in ten women suffer with depression during pregnancy. 

From week 26, I had lost all motivation to look after myself and look after baby Pea. Now I look back, I feel guilty and sick at how I felt towards my little Pea but at the time, you really don't feel like your thoughts are irrational or 'wrong.' I started to feel teary and emotional. I wanted to spend all my time in bed and the idea of leaving the house even to pop to the shops was overwhelming and something I dreaded. I would get home from work, jump in the shower and get into my pyjamas before Damien could ask if I wanted to go out. It was Damien that suggested I talked to the midwife/doctor and after a couple of weeks of shrugging it off, I realised I couldn't go on how I was. I was emotionally exhausted.

My midwife was brilliant. There is no other word to describe her. She listened to me, explained what I was feeling was normal and put me at ease and then she persuaded me to see my GP who prescribed me antidepressants.

I have always been somebody who refuses to take medication unless absolutely 100% necessary so this was a huge deal for me and to cut a long(er) story short, I never got the tablets. I flat out refused. I spoke to my Mum about how I was feeling, what the midwife & doctor had said, what I had been prescribed and a weight felt like it had been lifted off my shoulders. 

That was what I needed; my Mum. I openly spoke about how I felt to my partner & I included my sister and they were all fantastic. And I feel like I made the right decision to not take the tablets. I started seeing my Mum every day and every evening I would sit down with Damien and let him know exactly how I was feeling and if there had been any downs that day. 

I don't feel like I had antenatal depression but I feel if I had carried on down that path and not spoken to anybody, it could have very easily grabbed hold of me.

Because what some people forget is that you are not just a walking bump. There is a person right there who needs to be asked "how are you feeling today?"  There are many reasons a woman may develop antenatal depression but the sooner you realise you are not feeling yourself, it is important you speak to somebody. 

I hope this blog post has given anybody who needs it the motivation to have that conversation today/tonight. You are still you and you deserve help too if you need it. Your body is looking after that fetus, if you need somebody to look after you and your emotions for an hour/night/week then speak up. You deserve it.

For anybody who feels uncomfortable talking to family, friends or their partner about these issues there is still help out there for you and you still deserve it. 
SANEline is open to call on 0300 304 7000.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Pregnancy & The Fear

"The pain of breastfeeding had me on my knees almost unable to breathe!"

"Your partner won't be able to look at you the same way after seeing the head of a baby come out of you!"

"There is so much blood afterwards, you'll go through 10 pairs of knickers!"

"Make sure you take all the pain meds they offer! You'll regret it if not!"

These are just four of the comments I've heard in the last week as I get closer to my due date. So my question is this... Why do people feel the need to try and scare you about labour whilst claiming they 'wish somebody had told me all this before I'd gone into labour' ?? It's just not necessary. 

Don't get me wrong, I am so glad my sister and mum discussed that yes, I'll probably need to take a box of disposable briefs and yes, I should take more than one pair of comfy bottoms just in case there's more bleeding than I anticipated but there are ways of telling new expectant mothers these things without installing the fear into them.

Telling me I'm going to shit my arsehole out during labour isn't something I want to hear by a customer who comes into my work once a week or to the lady behind me in the que at Starbucks when she overheard that I plan on breastfeeding, it's not your chance to butt into my conversation and ask me "are you sure? It makes your boobs really saggy." No no no no no. 

This is my body. My pregnancy and my life. I'm sorry, unless I ask you a question or your opinion or unless you're my mother or sister and believe I will benefit from hearing your opinion even if I don't particularly want it, then you should stick to the usual "when is it due?" "do you know what you're having?" or even maybe the "wow, you're glowing" comments that expectant mothers don't mind being asked/told 100 times a day. 

End of rant.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Third Trimester Essentials

Being a step mum to four children is hard. Being pregnant is tiring. Being both whilst holding down a full time job is a word I don't think exists yet but for now, we'll choose 'exhausting'. 

I was very lucky during the first two months of my pregnancy; suffering only two days of morning sickness/nausea and maintaining my weight for the first 5 months, it was silly of me to think I would breeze through my third trimester with the same ease. Alas, it was not meant to be. So, I thought I would put together a little list of my personal third trimester essentials. 

  1.  Stretch mark oil.
    Okay, so this wasn't really a third trimester purchase. Other than my folic acid, this was one of the first things I purchased after finding out I was pregnant. I believe that if you're going to get stretch marks, you're going to get them. I already have stretch marks in various places on my body but I wanted to give my body a helping hand in reducing its chances of getting them on my stomach. Although I cannot prove that the oil has stopped me getting stretch marks (fingers crossed & touch wood as I could still get them) but it has put me at ease. My partner rubs it in rather than doing it myself which I genuinely believe gives him a little bonding time with baby pea. (Plus it means I get to lay back, relax and have a little massage!) 
  2. Fybogel.
    When I fell pregnant, every woman who had previously had a baby told tales of their back pains, the impending cramps, the swollen legs & feet and the heartburn I was bound to experience (see number 4.) Nobody warned me of the stomach problems I would experience once I hit this trimester. With the increase in progesterone in your body, the growing baby squishing your intestines and in some cases, iron supplements causing gut problems, half of pregnant women experience some form of constipation in their pregnancy. Fybogel has been a life saver for me. It's not the nicest taste or texture but with one in the morning, it has helped keep me regular. TMI but honestly, what did you expect coming on an expectant mothers blog?
  3. Maternity Pillow.
    Yes!! I did not realise one pillow could make such a difference. As I've got bigger, I've found it very difficult to get comfortable during the night. My maternity pillow manages to support my bump and my leg. With many on the market, there are loads to choose from. I opted for a simple U shaped pillow. Yes, there were complaints at first from my partner as they take up quite a lot of room but after a while, he stopped moaning and realised that my pillow was important to me and I have debated whether I will even get rid of it after the baby is born. 
  4. Milk.
    Not really a pregnancy purchase but my saviour when it comes to heartburn. I am very funny when it comes to taking medication so when I read up that milk is a natural heartburn reliever, I was chuffed. I did purchase some Tesco own brand Heartburn & Indigestion Liquid one day but have you tried that stuff? It is like swallowing a spoon of PVA glue... Yuck! Heartburn is one thing I have suffered terribly with during this trimester so milk has become my best friend. 
  5. Water Infuser Bottle.
    This speaks for itself. If you struggle with drinking water, this is a great way to increase your water intake. A pregnant woman needs, on average, depending on your level of fitness and daily exercise, 2.2 litres of fluid a day. Fluid is a vague term and yes, includes water, fruit juice, milk etc however, I tried to stick to my water and my fruit infuser water helped me. I bought a 2 litre one, it's quite bulky and the description said for hikers but it's the perfect size for me to take to work in the morning and once I've finished it, any extra 'fluid' that day is a bonus for my baby and me. 
  6. Maternity clothing.
    Like I said, I was lucky that I could fit into most of my clothes still way into my 5th month but once I hit month six, it was maternity jeans, loose fitting dresses and even maternity tights. I will make a seperate blog post on what my staple items were in my maternity wardrobe but bigger bras will definitely be number one on that list!
  7. Yoga
    Last on my list is some form of yoga. The yoga I was doing before pregnancy could not be carried on in my third trimester once my stomach had started to pop out. So I found a more pregnant friendly yoga and it helps relax me, keep my exercising and is baby friendly.
These are just seven of the essentials in MY pregnancy. Every pregnancy is different and what may work for me, may not work for you and you make experience your own problems. You may also read my list and think "Ha! What heartburn?!" but like I said, everybodys journey is different. As long as you get through it healthy and happy, it doesn't matter how you cope. 

I'd love to know what your pregnancy essentials were. Were any the same? Is there anything missing on my list that you simply could not live without? Let me know in the comments! 

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

A Packed Christmas Week

One thing I have never understood is people who don't like Christmas. Who doesn't like seeing sparkling lights everywhere, eating Ferrero Rochers for breakfast and spending time with loved ones? 

But Christmas this year was different to any other Christmas I've had. A typical Christmas for me is one day. I work Christmas Eve and Boxing Day so it's one day. However, this year my partner and I went to Butlins for four days 19th-22nd. Now, I don't know about you but I had never been to Butlins before and when someone says holiday, I don't expect to be so exhausted every night by 6pm that I'm ready to sleep. 
From ice skating to swimming to pantomimes to fairground rides to arcades, it was tiring! 

One thing I do regret is not getting more photos at Butlins. I'm known as being that one person that constantly has their phone out taking photos of everyone doing everything but this time I wanted to just be in the moment and enjoy myself so I didn't take anywhere near enough photos and I regret it already. 
When your two year old toddler screams because they don't have skates small enough for her feet so she has to go on the 'ice' in her shoes. 

Anyway, after returning from Butlins we most looked forward to seeing our pooch. For anybody that doesn't own a dog, you probably find it incredibly sad that we were so excited to get home so that we could pick up our doggy. However, for anybody that DOES own a dog, you'll understand that a part of us felt like it was missing. So, I get in my car to get ready to pick up said dog and boom! My car breaks. Brilliant. Three days before Christmas. 
Let's just say, I wasn't exactly happy at this point but all that was going through my mind was thank God I had done all my Christmas shopping!

So the car goes into the garage and I walk home. The garage phone me and tell me there's nothing they can do until the new year but the car can be driven. I'm ecstatic at this point and completely pissed off at my car that's supposed to be my loyal sidekick but is recently showing itself to be a frenemy. My Dad agrees to come and drop off my pooch and the family is complete.

I head off to work the next morning with my works secret Santa, get Dominoes for the shop for lunch and we exhange our Secret Santa presents and have a lovely catch up before Christmas. I finish work and head straight to meet a friend to exhange gifts and have a catch up carvery. I'm so exhausted by 6pm, I come home, help sette the kids for the evening and fall asleep on my partner on the couch. I wake up at 6am when my alarm goes off and set off to work. 

Yeah, I feel that way too , Freya.

Now, I take my break at work and make the journey home to see my stepkids before they go to their mums for the night and enjoy Christmas there. They don't even notice I'm there and they don't even notice I go back to work. I come home for the evening and spend some time with Damien. Again, for the second night in a row, fall asleep on the sofa, wake up at 4am with congestion (the joys of pregnancy) and am so frustrated I wake Damien and force him to stay awake with me. 

Christmas was strange without the children. It was chilled and quiet. But it was fun. We spent time with family and with each other. It's not something we do often enough. But getting the kids home in the evening and having another Christmas on Boxing day was absolutely lovely. 1) Because for once I didn't work and 2) I love knowing how much thought we put into the boys and Freyas presents because I know there isn't one present they didn't like. 

How was everybody elses Christmas week? 

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

AngelSounds Fetal Doppler Review

So, last week I wasn't feeling too confident about Pea growing. I'm a worrier by nature so any little bump in the road and I automatically think the worst. Damien had a brilliant idea of buying me a fetal doppler. For anybody that isn't sure what that is, it is hand-held ultrasound transducer used to detect the heartbeat of my little Pea.
Damien did have a few reservations... What if I can't find the heartbeat straight away and I start to worry? (This has already happened) What if it doesn't even work? Etc. But we decided to go for it anyway and purchase this on. 

The Angelsounds Fetal Doppler. The reasoning for choosing this was very simple. It had great reviews, everywhere we looked, it was the only doppler we found that wasn't 50/50 with it's reviews. It was very much 90/10. Also, the price. We paid £30. The price range for dopplers on the market ranges but for £30 we thought why not? 

It was the best decision we could have made for me and my peace of mind. 

The AngelSounds is small and cute. We use it with a little bit of bio oil and Damien can find Peas heartbeat almost instantly every time. (I still struggle and get frustrated after trying for twenty.) 
Hearing Peas heartbeat for the first time was magical. I teared up and couldn't stop smiling. It was so much faster than I imagined it would be and I was convinced that couldn't be it. So Damien made me listen to my heartbeat through the doppler and then Peas again. A healthy heart fetal heart rate is between 120-160 beats per minute so we timed Peas and found it was 150bpm. Another huge smile on my face. 

What I would say, is for the money, it was one of my favourite purchases so far. And I would recommend it to any expecting mothers. What I would suggest though is waiting til you were 15+ weeks. This particular doppler states the heartbeat can be found from 12 weeks but I am 16 weeks and depending on the position of Pea, the heartbeat can be very, very faint which I can only imagine may be even fainter if the baby is smaller. 

Definitely a brilliant purchase! 

Shannon x

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

I'm Shannon and I'm a Step Mumma!

Hey there! I'm Shannon & I thought it would be a good thing to introduce myself. 
I'm twenty two years old, have three gorgeous step sons, a beautiful step daughter and a baby pea growing inside of me.
My life is hectic to say the least and I wouldn't change a single thing about it. 

My partner, Damien and I live in a house in Great Yarmouth and this is a lifestyle blog documenting little snippets of my life, my adventures with my step children and things I love. 

I hope you can stick around and say hello and enjoy my posts! 

Shannon x