37 weeks pregnant – full term and false alarms

37 weeks pregnancy bump shot

“How will I know?” boomed a certain 90′s songstress some time in the last century. “How will I knooooow if HE really loves me?” Of course, she was singing about relationships and love, and I’m talking about another big L here – the one that happens at the end of pregnancy – but it’s the same premise.

The song popped into my head last week, when I was woken up by strong Braxton Hicks contractions, the type that uncomfortably turn your womb into oddly pointed sheet metal. Luckily it wasn’t a work or nursery day, so Eliza and I pottered around having breakfast. And then I realised the Braxton Hicks were happening with some regularity, and were getting much stronger. We decamped to the sofa and CBeebies. It wasn’t the best time or circumstances – Alex had gone to a work meeting, Eliza and I were in pyjamas, we still haven’t painted the dining room yet – hardly the best situation for any quick dashes up to hospital. And I just didn’t know. Was it nothing, or was it…something? Continue reading

Pregnancy beauty: skin and preventing stretch marks

Pregnancy stretch mark cream reviews

Pregnancy is full of little surprises, isn’t it? And dry skin and the threat of the dreaded stretch mark rank right up there with the best. Sexy times.

There’s the whole debate with stretch marks about you being genetically predisposed to them, but I didn’t want to risk it first time and spent most of the day lathering on various remedies, from my neck to my toes (including Maison D’Anu). I didn’t want to tempt any fate this time either, and have been lucky to have been sent lots of new products to test out.

So anti stretch mark creams; do they work during pregnancy? What helps to keep stretch marks at bay? What’s good for pregnancy dry skin, and what other tricks can you try? Read on to find out more…

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If toddlers made paint charts…

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We’ve finally reached the decorating stage of our house. This means many visits to DIY shops, and hours spent pouring over wallpaper samples and paint chart strips.

Paint’s a tricky one, as there is such a wide range now, isn’t there? And so many shades and tones and variants. From the basic – dreaded magnolia – to as pretentious as you like (Farrow and Ball’s ‘dead salmon’ – dead salmon, anyone? Yours for £60 a tin). For example, this weekend we spent hours debating the merits of pale dove vs soft pebble. Which are – shhhh – the same colour of grey.

Eliza is fascinated by colour, and loves the paint chart strips we have around our house. But what if toddlers were to make paint charts based on the colours of their lives? I’m sure the names would be very no-nonsense, much more black and white, and pretty much do what they say on the tin.

Here’s some tester pots of examples:

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What not to buy when you’re pregnant

Pregnancy non-essentials - what not to buy when you're pregnant

I completely forgot that pregnancy makes you a huge target market for all sorts of goods and products you never knew you needed, doesn’t it? (Oh, and a target for every single mailing list ever).

It’s the run-up to eternal shopping list of motherhood. Congratulations; now comes the consumerism. But don’t believe the hype.

I’ll be writing a list products I have used and found useful, but to start with, here’s my list of my pregnancy non-essentials; all the things you really don’t need to buy, no matter what all the books and websites say.

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Our new favourite children’s books

IKEA Bekvam spice racks as children's book shelves

Like lots of children her age, Eliza loves to read. As well as her bedtime book-fest, it’s a staple daytime favourite too. Which is pretty convenient at the moment as it’s an activity that involves both of us sitting down (unlike dancing, spinning or jumping, which one of us really doesn’t like doing at nine months pregnant).

So here’s our new favourites, all from publisher Paragon Books: Continue reading

The Science Museum, revisited

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We first took Eliza to the Science Museum in London when she was pretty tiny (cruising but not walking, which is forever ago). She enjoyed it at the time, but in the style of living in London and being lazy, we’d not made it back since. I’d actually been more as a child – living over three hours away in the country – than my London-dwelling daughter. I know she’s only two, but still…

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36 weeks pregnant: bad days and baby brain

36 weeks pregnancy update and bump shot

Does being pregnant make bad days worse, or do they just seem worse because you’re already balancing precariously on the high hormonal tightrope of pregnancy?

I’m not sure, but in the interests of sharing my pain, here’s the top three most ridiculous things I’ve done this time round. Baby brain? You decide:

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My quest for the perfect maternity jeans

The best maternity jeans from Mothercare

Perfect maternity jeans - boyfriend fit

Maternity jeans are like fairy tales, if you think about it. You have to kiss a lot of frogs (try on / buy a lot of pairs) before you find your prince (the ever-elusive pair that looks great, stays up and is comfortable).

But I think I might have finally found mine, and they’re not from where I would have expected…

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