Thursday, 24 July 2014

Ye Olde Black Ladd


My favourite pastime, like many people I presume, is going out of an evening for a lovely meal with my favourite dining partner (that’s my Husband). We used to have a weekly “Date Night” on a Thursday which would involve a meal out somewhere, and perhaps a film afterwards, and I used to look forward to our dates all week. We also used to eat out on other days of the week too, and enjoy a long drive and nice lunch out at the weekend. Basically what I am trying to say is that we ate out a lot; all our money went on this hobby but that was before a wedding, mortgage, and now Baby!

Nowadays eating out has become more of a treat. On Tuesday, Pete sold a painting so he offered to take us out for tea. Where do you go when you are quite tired, in casual clothes (but still smart mind you) and want a relaxed atmosphere with amazing home-cooked food and strictly no 8 course pompous bullshit?

We ended up in Ye Olde Black Ladd, on Buckstones Rd in Oldham. The reviews on Trip Advisor were promising and after getting a little bored with my favourite pub The White House and my second favourite The Old Original I decided it was time to find a new hidden gem.
After a lovely drive from Shaw up  Buckstones Rd enjoying the unexpected countryside, the view of Ye Olde Black Ladd in  the distance certainly didn’t disappoint. A typical timber framed black and white Tudor building (slightly spoiled by a crappy red “Food Served All Day” sign) plus the wonderful view, made me feel like I was far far away from Oldham on a work night. The inside was just as cute and traditional, but I would advise booking in advance as the restaurant was busy!

The steaks looked amazing as did the choice of sauces (the Black Ladd was right up my street) but I’m avoiding steak for the whole of my pregnancy (if I can’t have it medium rare I aint gonna bother) and Pete really surprised me by going for the chilli burger (£9.95). I almost ordered the lasagne but changed my mind at the last minute and went for the Chicken Stroganoff (£11.95).



Both meals were absolutely delicious. The burger was served with a side salad, onion rings and a separate big portion of chips whilst the Stroganoff came with rice, salad and garlic bread. I love it when you get a decent side salad with peppers, cress and all that jazz, as some restaurants will serve you some pathetic-looking limp leaves and one measly cherry tomato. The garlic bread is probably the nicest I’ve had in a pub before.

The portions were large and great value for money and we decided then and there we would be back very soon to sample the steaks!



Now, if we would have left it there, I would have scored the food 8/10. However, we decided to order pudding. The desert menu looked awesome, but I was simply too full, warm and pregnant to squeeze anything else in so I passed on the treacle pudding and decided to share Pete’s Blueberry Cheesecake (£4.35). One look at the horrible processed wedge told me it wasn’t a homemade dessert. It had some generic red sauce squirted over the plate and it was absolutely tasteless and by that I mean it had NO TASTE whatsoever. Even the accompanying vanilla ice cream was like frozen water. It was so bad that something happened that I have never seen before: Pete left some cheesecake on the plate.

Maybe we just got unlucky and picked the only rubbish pudding on the menu, or perhaps all the deserts are bought in and universally bland. Either way, we enjoyed our main course so much we will definitely return to Ye Olde Black Ladd and I’ll let you know how I get on with that steak…


Overall score = 7/10




What's Happened? What's Happening?

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Intimate Waxing with The Waxologist



Hair removal, for most women, is a necessary evil, but for me it is the absolute bane of my life!
Take, for example, the shaving of the legs (sounds like a theatre production). I really despise spending a fortune on women’s razors as I think they are such a damn rip-off! Blades are ridiculously overpriced and most of the time it is actually cheaper to buy a whole new razor than a packet of new blades!

I usually stick to the cheapest of the cheap razors which will instantaneously turn to rust the second they encounter water. Then we have the rigmarole of shaving. It’s boring, time consuming, and (especially for a rapidly expanding pregnant lady) can be quite difficult to contort into the required positions. Cheap razors cut my legs but even the expensive ones can often lead to a nasty nick. And I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I always tend to miss a bit (usually when I’m going to somebody’s house for a BBQ and the sun beams down onto my pasty legs clearly highlighting the fact that one is sporting a Mohawk). Then we have the unexpected sandal day weather where you forgot to shave your toes.

 I hate it!

All this stress for one day of smooth pins before the whole process starts all over again.

My preferred option of hair removal has to be hair removal cream. The downside is obviously the horrid pong and standing around for ages trying not to drip onto the bathroom mat whilst telling your other half to “give you 10 minutes” . Ah, the joys of co-habiting.

So what about hair removal ‘down there’? 
Shaving brings the same problems as with legs, except with all the, erm, nooks and crannies, it all becomes a higher-risk affair. Hair removal cream smells vile and then there’s always the chance of leaving it on too long you get chemical burns, or not leaving it on long enough so it’s basically a patchy, pointless mess.

I decided I needed help. 
Can you tell?



A few of my friends are committed waxers, so I decided it was time for me to man-up, and give it a try……

I searched for “waxing, Manchester” on twitter and discovered that Lauren, aka The Waxologist ,was offering half price for the whole month of June. What a great opportunity to try waxing out, I thought to myself. I’ve had my legs waxed many years before and I remember it was rather painful but not that bad.

The very idea of enduring an intimate wax filled me with dread. Of course there is the total embarrassment of getting your privates out in front of a stranger (I haven’t even had to do that with my midwife yet) and Lauren clearly states she’s a no-messing around kind of therapist; it’s a “knickers off” job and straight down to business. This makes sense as Lauren waxes everywhere, and I mean everywhere (if that’s what you want).



I actually found this reassuring as some waxing stories I’ve been told don’t sound very through. You get to keep your underwear on and the therapist just pulls them to one side and waxes off two small strips to make sure you have a neat bikini line. I’ve always thought to myself “but what about the rest of it!?” I’m not a particularly hairy person but I definitely have more hair than that!

Lauren has blogged about the anatomy of a lady and exactly where hair grows / is removed from and what position you are required to be in, so I’ll leave it up to her to explain as I can’t bring myself to use the word ‘crack’ on my blog (whoops!).

And then there is the pain. I’m a wimp with pain anyway, so the thought of being waxed in the most intimate of areas was almost unbearable. (Just in case any weird blokes are reading this right now, let’s get one thing straight: Lady Gardens are very sensitive areas; you all go on about being kicked in the balls as the worst pain ever, but a kick in the fanny ain’t much fun for us either!)

Despite the pain, the promise of smooth skin for weeks with no more chemicals or nasty razor nicks made my mind up.

I arrived for my half leg and intimate wax appointment absolutely terrified. Being pregnant, I couldn’t even have a strong painkiller or any alcohol to numb the pain. The Waxologist is a cute little clinic in Cheadle and Lauren’s friendliness made me relax instantly. I thought we were going to start with the legs but Lauren said it was best to get the worst over and done with first. She left me alone whilst I stripped off from the waist down and lay on the bed watching telly. Lauren explained the first wax is always the worst, but if you keep it up then there is less and less regrowth over time.



The first step was to trim the hair a little bit with what can only be described as a beard trimmer (Pete said I should have used his for free) then the wax was applied, left for quite a while to set, then pulled off. Yes it hurt to the point that it took my breath away, but it was bearable and nowhere near as bad as I thought.

Two things surprised me about the intimate wax. The first was the size of the strips used. I imaged tiny little strips that would go over the same area again and again. Wrong. Lauren uses really large strips so all one side is done with one strip, all the other side is done with another, and the, erm, “undercarriage” is done with another two. In total I think I had 6 strips to do everything, so that was only 6 times I had a waxing strip pull hair out. I imagined it would be hundreds of pulls and tugs and endless pain, but it really wasn’t.

The second thing that surprised me was the pain. Like I said, yes it hurt when the strip was pulled off, but the pain vanished instantly when the strip was removed. Because that area was done and dusted with one strip then you didn’t have any more pain in the same area. Also, there was a long break between each strip being removed as the wax has to fully set. During the ‘down time’ Lauren just potters round chatting like it’s the most natural thing  in the world whilst you sit there legs akimbo. After a while it really isn’t that embarrassing as Lauren has to look at fannies all day, every day, and yours is really nothing special.

After the intimate wax was over it was time for legs. I was so relieved that I didn’t feel a thing and can almost say it was relaxing!

Aftercare instructions were to exfoliate the waxed areas and use E45 cream to moisturise, not body butter, as this can clog pores and lead to ingrowing hairs.

The Results

Intimate Wax

Don’t worry, no pictures! I’m not telling you which “style” out of the choice of 3 I went for, as some things are private (hard to believe being a blogger, I know).

Initial results of the intimate wax were amazing! I’ve never achieved such a smooth result using any other hair removal method, and not one single hair was missed.

2 weeks later the area was still super smooth and perfect! Any other hair removal method would have resulted in a big bush two weeks later – not with waxing!

3 weeks later – there is a small amount of regrowth now but it is definitely still at the acceptable stage. I think 4 weeks is the optimum time to re-wax.

Legs

Initial results – nice and smooth. However, the very next day my legs started to feel a bit spikey. You couldn’t see any hair and they looked smooth but I think the problem here was that I’d shaved for so long that all the hairs were different lengths and so some were too tiny to be waxed on the day of my appointment. 2 weeks later legs were quite hairy but not as bad as they would be if I didn’t shave for 2 weeks.

Overall

I am a total waxing convert. I’m so happy with the results and I think that the intimate wax in particular is life-changing for me. I am definitely going to keep up my regular wax appointments and I will update you in a few months when hopefully regrowth will begin to reduce. I am also going to stick with Lauren, as I think it may be difficult to find a therapist you can trust, but I know exactly what  I am going to get from Lauren, and that is great results.


Waxing can become quite pricey for those on a tight budget like me, however, I truly believe it should be an integral part of your beauty regime. Especially for pregnant ladies who can’t physically reach certain areas, or are feeling a little frumpy and fed up, a date with The Waxologist will make you feel like a million bucks.

xXx

Monday, 14 July 2014

27 Weeks Pregnant // Bump Update



We’re in the third and final trimester and things are getting very real now!


How far along? 27+4

Total weight gain/loss? It’s almost bang on 2 stone and Baby will now start to put weight on at an alarming rate every week.

Maternity clothes? In the photo above I am wearing a maxi skirt from Primark fashioned into a kind of dress-thing.

Stretch marks? Still no sign but I think that’s about to change as we head into the final few weeks of growth.

Sleep? I’ve been waking up in the night with cramps in my calf. It’s so bloody painful that I wake up wailing and Pete then jumps up thinking I have gone into labour! I had night cramps when I used to do a lot of running; my legs were so strong that if I tensed them during my sleep then my calf would cramp up. I assumed that this was the same thing, only difference being that my legs were strong do to carrying an extra 2 stone around all day. It wasn’t. I discovered that leg cramps in pregnancy is caused by the weight of the uterus cutting off the blood supply. Lovely.

Best moment this fortnight? Pete and I have joined an NCT evening class. Its 17 hours over the next few weeks and there are 8 couples attending who are all really nice. It’s really reassuring being able to share all our hopes and fears with people who are going through exactly the same thing as we are.

Miss anything? I’m starting to feel a bit sad about finishing work for a year, although obviously I can’t wait either. I’ve worked in my laboratory a long time but the last two years in particular have been brilliant with a really nice group of people I am going to miss immensely.

Movement? Baby can now clearly be seen kicking and punching my belly and it is the strangest, most wonderful thing I have ever experienced. We play a little game where I chase Baby’s movements around my stomach and it makes me laugh that we are having fun together already (although Baby be like “piss off Mum and leave me in peace”)

Food cravings? Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. Yeah, I didn’t  bother whipping that up so we went for cavery.

Anything making you queasy or sick? Nada.

Labour Signs?  I’ve had no Braxton Hicks yet which I am grateful for. In our antenatal class we are learning about first, second and third stage of labour and I am so glad Pete is getting educated on what is going to happen to me so he can get himself prepared whilst also being a better support too.

Current Symptoms? Apart from the cramps let’s just say Baby’s food supply has made an appearance and I almost freaked out! I really, really, really will do everything I can do to successfully breastfeed and it’s the most natural thing in the world, but this new milestone is so frightening for me… I’m about to be a Mum and I just hope I’ll be good enough.

Belly button in or out? It’s really weird as it’s in some days and out the next.

Wedding rings on or off? On.

Happy or moody most of the time? Last update I blogged about feeling a little down in the dumps; well I’m glad to report I have had no such repeat episode thank God! I’ve had a few silly arguments with Pete but most of the time we are happy and excited.


Looking forward to? Buying some new nighties and PJs for my hospital bag.


Have you read my other bump updates?




Baby Changing Bags // Help Me Decide


I’m struggling to pick a changing bag for Baby – can you help?

I’m starting to put together my Hospital Bag (post coming soon), and one of the best tips I picked up so far is to have a separate bag for Baby’s things, that you can even leave in the car till required, which will save vital space for your own things. Once Baby has arrived safely into the world you can point out the Baby bag and say “Everything you need for Baby is in there”. Organisational skills taken to the extreme me thinks.

Expectant blogger The Brunette Says suggested a great tip for Baby’s hospital bag that I love which is to use your Baby changing bag as a little suitcase, awwwww.

There is such a massive choice of changing bags around that I am totally overwhelmed with it all.


Size
Pete and I are out and about a lot, visiting different villages and towns around the North West, and we hope that this will continue when the Baby arrives. Therefore, we need a decent sized changing bag to make sure we have everything Baby will need whilst on our adventures.

Colour
We don’t know the sex of our little Riglet so I was worried about choosing a gender neutral style. However, after mulling this over for a while I realised that the bag will be an accessory of mine, not the Baby, so I am free to choose a nice girly design, fully understanding the fact that Pete will refuse to carry it. Oh well, he can push the pram and I get a new handbag (of sorts).

Also, I was worried that I wouldn’t find anything to match our rather unusual turquoise and orange pram, but I think I need to put my matchy-matchy OCD to bed for a few months now.

The Short-List

I pinned 22 bags that caught my eye (and you can view those here) and then narrowed
these down to my 4 favourites.




It’s Cath Kidston of course with her Button Spot Double Pocket Nappy Bag (£95). I simply adore this print and have a similar little bag that Pete bought me for Christmas which I use every day. The bag comes complete with a bottle holder, wallet and changing mat. I love it; What lady wouldn’t!


Wallaboo - £47
The faux suede and cream shearling trim makes this Wallaboo Changing Bag different from anything else I’ve seen. I think it appeals to the free spirit (somewhere) inside me which is why I like the brown colour although it does come in many others. There are no extras included but there is a built-in bottle holder inside the bag, along with different pocketed areas. Great value for money.


Kipling - £83
A backpack as a changing bag! What a fantastic idea. If you are planning to carry the bag around by hand rather than stick it under the pushchair, then the Kipling Baby Backpack is the most back-friendly option in my opinion. With baby mat and monkey keyring included, the pram-matching bright orange is the cherry on the top for me. Love it.


Pink Lining - £79
If you haven’t seen these gorgeous print bags on the arms of yummy mummies across the country before then you don’t read enough blog posts. This Pink Lining Yummy Mummy Changing Bag Woodland was the first to catch my attention as the deer print would match the deer/woodland theme of the nursery and the pale turquoise would complement the pushchair. One thing that put me off a little bit, however, was the massive cupcake stuck on the front. Now what does a cupcake have in common with deer grazing in their natural habitat? Many of the bags have clashing designs that I can’t quite understand. However, before I clicked away from the website I noticed this Pink Lining Not So Plain Jane Woodland changing bag especially for “mummies who love the shape and design of the Yummy Mummy but want to avoid the calories of a cupcake motif”. Spooky. It’s like they read my mind. This grown up version of the Yummy Mummy is right up my street and the other nice surprise is that at £69 it’s a tenner cheaper than the first one including lots of nice little extras (2x insulated bottle holders, 2x nappy pockets, pen holder, key fob, mirror, phone pocket, small zip pocket, padded changing mat and wet zip bag). Oh, and now here’s the spanner in the proverbial works: they do a Bramley Tote version in the same gorgeous print with all the little extras for £69.




So many gorgeous bags, but which one is YOUR favourite. I really can’t decide!


Super Busy Mum

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Maternity Photography by Carina



I love to keep a record of my growing bump with my regular “Bump Updates” but let’s face it; the photography leaves a lot to be desired (sorry Pete). I love browsing Pinterest for professional maternity photographs as I think they are such a lovely way of recording a moment in life you will never get back. After all, I will only be pregnant with my first child once, and perhaps it may be the only time I will be ever pregnant – who knows what life has in store?

I wanted share with you my chosen maternity photographer, and that is “Photography by Carina”. I always like to support local, up and coming businesses, so Manchester-based new business women Carina was the perfect choice for me. Did I mention that her work is absolutely beautiful too?

Carina says:

Originally from South Africa, but now living in Manchester, I work part-time as a Speech and Language Therapist and the rest of the time as a mum to a soon-to-be toddler and wife to my amazing husband.  
My husband and I met at uni in 2003, moved to England in 2006 and got married in 2009.  Our gorgeous son was born last year August. 

I started doing lifestyle photography on the side a few years ago after photographing my godson at 3 weeks new.  It all started there and is still expanding purely by word of mouth.  
I find it a privilege to be allowed into a family’s life to capture special moments and details between families as and how they happen.  

Being a mum myself now, I understand that life is precious and that it needs to be cherished.  
Carina recommends a maternity shoot is shot between 30 and 35 weeks so the bump is nice and round, so I have a few weeks to wait….


In the meantime, let me share with you some of the beautiful moments Carina has captured…




Stay tuned for my very own maternity shoot coming so (how excited am I!?) and if you want to find out more about the talent behind these amazing pictures, head over to photography by  Carina now.



Monday, 7 July 2014

Does Raspberry Leaf Tea Help With Labour?


I’ve heard many women swear by the use of raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy claiming that the brew results in a shorter labour and easier delivery. A little box of the stuff was the first pregnancy present I received off my Sister (“But don’t drink it yet, OK?!”) and even my pregnancy yoga teacher is an advocate of this ancient plant.

For today’s scientific post, I weigh up the evidence to decide if there is any point in me drinking mugs and mugs of the stuff, or is it just an epic waste of time and toilet trips?

Raspberry leaf tea is brewed from the leaves of the plant and teabags are now widely available in most supermarkets. Women are advised to start drinking the tea no earlier than 32 weeks of pregnancy, building up from one cup a day to four, in order to strengthen muscles in the uterus and pelvic floor, whilst in addition increasing breast milk.

Sounds impressive don’t it? But what do the experts say?


There has been a lot of research into this interesting field, but Wikipedia have already trawled through the studies (so I don’t have to) and produced a fab little article, which you can read about HERE

So to summarise their findings:

Raspberry leaf tea DOES NOT bring on labour.

However, raspberry leaf tea MAY shorten the second stage of labour (the pushing) by around 10 minutes.

Initially I was disappointed with these results. I thought “What’s the bloody point for 10 measly minutes?”.

However, the more birth stories I read, the more I am beginning to realise that 10 minutes of the worst pain you have ever experienced is actually worth avoiding if at all possible. In labour, 10 minutes could be the difference between a natural delivery and an assisted delivery. More importantly, I imagine labour isn’t a barrel of laughs for the Baby either, or your partner seeing you in so much pain, so the sooner you can hold your Baby safely in your arms the better for all three of you.


Therefore, I’ll be drinking my raspberry leaf tea from 32 weeks, because maybe, just maybe, it might bring me a few moments closer to meeting my precious little one.


Disclaimer: This article is entirely the author’s opinion only and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice from a doctor. Before commencing any health plan, advice should be sought from a physician.

Monday, 30 June 2014

Postnatal Depression and Vitamin D

{1}

In my last Bump Update I mentioned I had been experiencing the odd down day caused by back pain and a general inability to move around like I used to. Therefore, I decided to research different kinds of pregnancy-related depression and discover ways I could potentially arm myself against it.

Postpartum depression, or postnatal depression, is actually rather common and affects around 15% of women. This is not a great situation for mother or new baby to find themselves in after all the excitement and anticipation that pregnancy brings.

This got me thinking:  What makes one women more susceptible to depression than the next women and is there anything we can do to prevent it?

A recent study published in the European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology found a link between low vitamin D levels mid-pregnancy and poor mood.

Vitamin D is an important vitamin which regulates nutrients in the body. Vitamin D is unusual in the fact that we don’t get much of it from our food, the main source is sunlight!

The key period of pregnancy in the study was week 24 to 28 so make sure you get enough vitamin D by doing the following:

*Go for a gentle 15 minute stroll in the sunshine on your lunch break.

*Eat vitamin D sources of food such as fortified breakfast cereal.


*Take a pregnancy supplement. I am currently taking Asda Pregnancy vitamins one a day as I think they are a great bargain!


I am doing all of the above things as my mantra is"Happy Mummy, Happy baby".





Image source {1} By David Roseborough from Los Angeles, United States [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Paper Source: European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology // xvbnnVolume 179, August 2014, Pages 110–116 // Mid-pregnancy vitamin D levels and postpartum depression // Esra Bahar Gura et al

Disclaimer: This article is entirely the author’s opinion only and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice from a doctor. Before commencing any health plan, advice should be sought
from a physician.