Beauty · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

My Favourite Lip Products 

As well as being a mum and a proud one at that, I am a lover of all things makeup related! 

I’m in no way, shape or form any good at applying my own, but I have a real weakness for beautiful eyeshadow palettes, creamy foundations and most of all, any and all shades of red lip products.

So on that basis, I thought I’d share my favourite lippies with you all. It’s a mixture of shades and brands, ranging in price from approximately £5 to £25. 

£18 – This is a deep plum liquid lipstick. It drys quite matte and applies better with a lip liner. It’s a gorgeous vampy shade and well worth the higher price range I think.

£5.49 – have a few different shades from this collection and a nude which is actually one of my favourite lipsticks ever. The formula is creamy and if blotted can stay on the lips for up to 4 hours without reapplying. For the price it’s a steal and a definitely a collection to invest in.

£24 – Charlotte Tilbury knows how to make a lipstick… And this shade is my absolute favourite of all my lip sticks. It feels creamy and moisturising on the lips and have amazing staying power. If you’re going to buy one lipstick this year, make it this one!

£16 – As liquid lips go, this is an absolute winner! An amazing array of shades to choose from and the best liquid formula I’ve tried by far. It doesn’t feel too drying on the lips and the colour payout is unreal!

£6 – What can I say about this brand that hasn’t already been said?!?!? They are cheap and brilliant. As simple as that!

£6.99 – I don’t know what it is about this particular lippy, but it just feels so luxurious. This shade in particular is such a classic red, not to mention the super moisturising formula. It’s just a beautiful collection.

This collection is the ultimate for any lover of red shades like myself. I have searched high and low, buying more products and spending more money than I care to mention, finally settling on these beautiful products. 

Seriously, who doesn’t love a red lippy? 

babies · children · Lifestyle · pregnancy

Then there was you… Part 2

The day after Matthew was born I was moved from the labouring room into a single room. I felt quite lucky being allocated a room of my own, what with having so little privacy in the open wards. It wasn’t until later on that morning that I overheard one of the midwives telling another staff member that they had put me there so I wasn’t in amongst new mums and their babies.

It broke my heart, but I felt grateful that they had thought about me in that sense.

Still unable to walk and with the doctors debating my requirement for a blood transfusion, my husband wheeled me over to the NICU to see our son. The unit was much scarier in the cold harsh light of day, with a great deal more staff there than the night before.

Matthew still looked the same. Small and fragile.

I still felt the same. Disconnected and ashamed, feelings I didn’t share with my husband.

We spoke with the doctors who told us that Matthew was doing really well considering. The pressures on his ventilator weren’t too high and they were in fact thinking about extubating him in a few days if his stats remained at such good numbers. At this point Michael and I knew nothing more than the facts and figures they were giving us and so we were content to leave every decision up to them.

A decision we did make ourselves was that we wanted to have Matthew blessed by our priest. Michael and I are both catholic and it was important to us that this ritual was carried out in case the worst should happen.

Michael contacted our priest the following day and he was at the hospital within hours, offering to baptise Matthew for us. It was just myself and Michael there standing at his bedside and despite the sense of urgency and the fleeting ceremony, it was actually a beautiful moment for us both and the first time I felt any sense of hope about our situation.

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I had been trying desperately to express milk for those first few days, but to no avail. It was important for Matthew to have breast milk ready for when the doctors started him on feeds. Breast milk was easier for his body to digest and kinder on his gut than formula, so I really felt the pressure to deliver the goods as it were.

It took 4 days, but on Sunday the 23rd of August my milk supply finally came in. I managed to express 0.6ml which sounds like nothing, but it was honestly the most rewarding feeling in the world being able to produce anything at all.

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I immediately got ready and took the syringe over to the NICU, where we were met with masked and scrubbed up doctors and nurses surrounding Matthews open incubator.

His lung had collapsed and the doctors needed to insert a chest drain to allow for the fluid and air to escape. I honestly think my heart stopped beating for those first few moments.

We of course consented and were ushered into the family room located across the corridor. Both Michael and I fell apart and held each other, waiting for news.

We waited for what felt like a lifetime. It was in fact 30 minutes. The procedure was successful and Matthew was stable and a lot more comfortable than he had been in the previous half hour.

It was in this moment that my heart swelled for this tiny boy. He was fighting for his life, already enduring more in his first few days of life than most people do in a lifetime. I felt overwhelming pride and an outburst of love and affection. The feelings and emotions missing from those first few days surged through my body like a tidal wave. I sat by his incubator, put my hand inside, placed it gently on his body and wept for my son.

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Lifestyle

My Current Favourite Books

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I am a big fan of books. Unfortunately since having my little boy I’ve found I no longer have the time to pick up a book and get lost inside the pages like I used to. 

However… I do try to as often as I can, having even resorted to audio-books in bed once my little person is tucked up in his.

The majority of the books I’m reading at the minute are all based around parenting and motherhood in particular. I am not ashamed to say that I am that person that upon finding out I was expecting, bought all the cliché pregnancy books.

“What To Expect When You’re Expecting” was obviously my first purchase! 

So it was only logical that once said baby arrived, that I would continue on my journey through those unending pages offering the A to Z’s in parenting advice. However I’m not too into those books that are quite judgey (if that’s a word) and so my selections were based on reality and full disclosure, which is where Sarah Turner and Giovanna Fletcher come in. These books are filled with humour and wit, tears and tantrums and I’ve loved every last word!!! 

That being said, baby books are not the only thing I’m interested in. I am of course human… and in being human I share a common love and admiration of certain celebrities. In other words, like many of the millions of people around the world I love Beyoncé… Probably too much if I’m honest! Nonetheless I am currently indulging in the story of her life and I’m relishing it.

As well as those selections I am also making my way through Fearne Cottons “Happy”! 

After the birth of my son, both my body and my mind went through an unexpected and quite dramatic transformation. I found that my already crazy emotions were heightened and there were days where I just didn’t know how I would be able to function. This book has been an  amazing tool for reminding me that these feelings are ok and it provides me with a point of reference for when I’m needing a pick-me-up. 

Finally I have included Sarah Knights “The Life-Changing Magic Of Not Giving A F**k”. It was part of my New Years resolution this year to stop being a ‘Yes Man’ or woman as it were, and this book has gone a long way in giving me the balls to do just that. It’s funny and life altering all in one. Just brilliant really!  

I honestly can’t recommend these books enough. I pretty much have them all on audio-book as well so there’s no excuses really for not being able to give them a go!

babies · children · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

Matthews Favourite Books – Toddler Edition

So it may have something to do with the fact that I am a lover of books myself, but my boy, even at such a young age, has really been enjoying his introduction into the vast and exciting world of children’s literature . 

I make a conscientious effort to read to him most nights and we have made our way through an abunadance of beautiful books he has been gifted or had passed down to him. However, he has had the best reaction so far to this collection of books in particular. 

1. Always There Bear – Its a story depicting the special relationship between a child and their favourite teddy bear. It’s heartwarming and beautifully illustrated, and takes only a few minutes to read. I find this is the perfect book for Matthew when he’s on the edge of falling asleep. 

2. Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone – I have to confess. This was actually a purchase I made for myself. I am a self-proclaimed “Potterhead” in all its glory, and I fully intend on turning my tiny human into one too… Hence the introduction to not only JK Rowlings wonderful stories but the most beautifully illustrated books I think I’ve ever laid my Muggle eyes on. This is a working progress which we are taking our time to get through. There’s never a rush with Harry Potter, after all, this is a marathon, not a sprint.

3. The Gruffalos Wean – This humorous and downright lovely book was gifted to Matthew by our NICU friends, who know how much I want books to be a big part of his life. This book is a translation of “The Gruffalos Child” into Scots. It is one of the classic children’s books with a Scottish twist, and being Scottish ourselves we love it!

4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Again this book was gifted to us by Our NICU friends. It’s a finger puppet book, one of many in Matthews collection, and to say he loves it is an understatement. It’s definitely not a book we read when it’s time to settle down. He loves the animation of the finger puppet and gets excited by the mere sight of the book. It’s beautifully colourful and vibrant, and just the perfect little story illustrating the transition of a caterpillar to a butterfly. It just never gets old!

5. If You’re Happy & You Know It – This is a musical book which plays the title tune, as you follow along with the words and pictures on the pages. Again, Matthew has several of these books in his collection and this so happens to be the one he’s enjoying most just now as it’s one of the songs he has been hearing most in Toddlers group. They are fun little hardbacks that bring an immense amount of joy to any child exploring them. 

So there we have it. This list will most likely change within a week, as it has done previously. Just means more fun adventures to journey on, and more beautiful illustrations to admire with my boy… And there’s nothing to complain about there. 

…We lose ourselves in books… We find ourselves there too…

babies · children · Food & Drink · Lifestyle · Skincare

MUMMY MUST-HAVES (Chill Out Edition)

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Generally speaking, raising kids is hard work. Toddlers in particular I find, are like navigating your way through a minefield. They have a seemingly unending amount of energy and if my little human is anything to go by then you will spend most of your day chasing them around the house, barely having enough time to stop and get a breath.

On that basis I have come up with my favourite way to relax and unwind, while daddy takes on full toddler chasing duties. It might not be for everybody and I’m sure all of you mummies out there will have perfected your own “Chill Out” evening, but here is mine…



Face Masks!

I used to be one of those people who had a strict skincare routine, consisting of gorgeous and luxurious products with a price range that would literally bring a tear to a glass eye. However, after having my little human I have found i neither have the time nor the inclination to A. Spend all that money and B. Spend an hour of my day applying layers of serums and ointments to my face. So I have condensed my daily skin routine down to a quick 5 minute cleanse, tone and moisurise at night, and every now and again I will apply a (cheap and cheerful) Face Mask and relax for half an hour. Whether or not it actually helps my skin is by the by… it is just in the act of doing it that the relaxation portion of my evening can begin.

Wireless Headphones!

Mines weren’t particularly expensive (I think around £30 off Amazon) but they are instrumental (no pun intended) in my “Chill Out” process. Be it The Killers blasting in my ears or Ed Sheeran serenading me with just his voice and an acoustic guitar, listening to music is an essential part of my downtime. Not only is it entertaining but most good headphones are noise cancelling and can therefore block out any and all unwanted (and unwarranted) noise during this ever so sacred time.

Good Book!

Now this can be in the form of an audio-book (via the aforementioned Wireless Headphones) or a good old hard-copy that you can hold in your hand. I’m a big fan of physical books, despite in fact having both a kindle and subscription to Audible. Since having my boy I have discovered I no longer have the time to sit down and read the way I used to, so have resorted to listening to my chosen books in my bed once the tiny human is tucked up in his. This hasn’t stopped me from purchasing said books in the physical form, after all there is no better smell than that of a new book (and a new baby of course).

Hand Cream!

This is a new concept for me. My mum always told me to do it growing up, but I found it more annoying waiting to dry, than beneficial. However, as my age has increased sadly so has the dryness and amount of wrinkles on my hands, hands that are now required even more than before for lifting, feeding and holding my child. So I have made a conscientious effort to include this in my daily regime and especially during “Chill Out” time where I can use the crazy white cotton gloves that allows for the “proper absorption of the moisturiser into the skin“.

Candles/ Nice Scents!

For many it’s the fresh, sweet smell of flowers. For me its a Scentsy Wax Bar melted into one of my burners. I find there is nothing more soothing than a darkened room, the wafting of a pleasant fragrance and the flickering of candlelight. It creates a warm and cosy atmosphere that would unwind even the most tormented soul… And a BIG must on my “Chill Out” list of essentials.

Snacks!

Lastly and by no means least… I need snacks. Be it chocolate, cake, or crisps… No relaxed evening is complete without a delicious little snack to indulge in. Chocolate is a no brainer for me. Not only is it delicious but it is scientifically proven to release serotonin into the brain… It quite literally makes you happy… What is not to love???


So there you have it ladies and gents, the Preemie Mummy recommended “Must-Haves” to make any moment of child-free time as relaxing and enjoyable as possible. The most difficult part is finding the time to enjoy it!

babies · children · Lifestyle · Uncategorized

Then There Was You… Part 1

I’ve spoken before about our difficulties in getting pregnant and I had no immediate intention of delving into the deep and dark NICU days, but I’ve recently been inspired by one of the lovely ladies I follow, to share our story.

It’s a long and arduous one, that’ll take a few posts to cover but here goes. 

On the morning of Wednesday the 19th of August 2015 at 10:54, after a difficult and tumultuous 4 day labour, my son Matthew was born. 

He weighed 1 pound and 9 ounces. He could quite literally fit in my hand. 

His skin, red and angry, was so thin and transparent that I could see the deep blue veins running throughout his tiny body. 

Our first encounter was one of panic and fear. This fragile little being , resting on my hip, still attached to his cord. 

I watched, wide eyed, as his little heart pulsated rapidly out from his bony chest. His tiny legs kicking as if uncontrollably against my thigh. Those same kicks, I felt mere hours ago inside me.

He lay there for 1 minute exactly, as the Neo-Natal team watched intently, before cutting the cord and carrying him to the heated Cot on the opposite side of the room. 

I didn’t see him again until 10pm that night. Almost 12 hours later.

My husband and mum were able to see him once he was settled in the Neo-Natal unit but because I had a Haemorrhage and Retained Placenta, I had to go to Theatre. 

After being in Recovery for a few hours I was taken back to my room and waited anxiously and impatiently until they were able to take me over. Too weak to walk and with a catheter still inserted I had to be wheeled over in my hospital bed. 

The NICU was foreign territory for me. I had no idea what to expect, other than what my husband had already told me. 

The first thing I remember was the beeping noises. Little did I know after hearing them for the first time, that they would become the soundtrack to that entire experience. 

So, I was positioned next to Matthew, who was tucked away inside what looked like a mammoth sized Incubator.  His tiny face was covered, showing only his closed eyes and the smallest of openings for his mouth, which had a long tube coming out of it in order to help him breathe. I could hear the noise from the ventilator as it pumped tiny breaths into his lungs, and with every breath his chest rose up and down. 


He was heavily sedated so wasn’t moving much and he had several wires attached to his body via miniscule needles injected into his limbs. 

It was the most terrifying thing I’d ever seen. 

My beautiful, helpless little baby, kept alive by machines and an abundance of drugs that were pumping through the inky blue veins that protruded his wafer-thin skin. 

I’m ashamed to admit that in that moment I didn’t feel a maternal connection to my son. 

He didn’t look like the the blonde haired, blue eyed little boy I had dreamed of and envisioned when I felt him move about inside me. He didn’t resemble the chubby little squidgy baby I had hoped to hold in my arms after giving birth. He was alien looking. I was frightened of him. He looked so delicate that I feared my very touch would be cause him pain. But reluctantly, and after being encouraged by his nurse, I put my hand inside the incubator and stroked his back. 

He barely moved.

The guilt I felt just watching him was unbearable. 

All I could think of was that I’d failed. 

I am a woman. My job as a woman is to carry a child, and bring that child safely into the world. 

What kind of a woman am I that I can’t even do that… something that my body was made solely for? 

All I could see when I looked at my son was how much I had failed him. That I had brought this baby into the world and subjected him to all of this pain and trauma, and all because I couldn’t do my job as a woman. 

And now I didn’t even feel a connection to him. That instant moment of love and pure joy was missing. 

What kind of mother doesn’t feel a connection to their own child? 

Still I smiled and posed for the camera when my husband took our first photograph together… My son and I.Smiling on the outside, and torn apart on the inside, I felt completely alone and full of shame. What’s should have been the happiest day of my life, was one of my darkest. 

Lifestyle

What I Eat In A Day – Toddler Edition

As a first time mum I have been lucky enough to have a baby that hasn’t had many problems with feeding. He has always been a hungry boy who even as a baby in the NICU always enjoyed his feeds. 

From Breast Milk (Donor EBM) to Prescription Formula, then to the weaning process. It’s always been a relatively easy transition. 

That was until we tried regular cows milk. 

Matthew seemed to enjoy the taste and didnt have any sort of aversion, however he began to be quite sickly and over time we noticed skin rashes appearing.

Long story short he was diagnosed with reflux and he has a Dairy intolerance so we had to substitute his cows milk with Soya milk… a change he took to without a problem. 

So here is an example of what Matthew eats in a day. Bear in mind he is a 20 month old toddler (16 months corrected), weighing approximately 10kg (or 22lbs).

Breakfast


He had a bowl of Ready Brek with Alpro Growing Up Soya Milk. Sometimes I’ll add puréed fruit but this morning it was just plain.

Mid-Morning Snack


Matthew loves these Wafers and we find that they are the ideal snack for him between meals. 

Lunch


We had an Occupational Therapy appointment today and so Matthew didn’t have a solid lunch, instead he had a 6oz Bottle. 

His lunch is always determined by how he’s feeling on a daily basis. If he’s playing and is quite active around lunch time then I will feed him solid food like pasta or risotto. However, on days like today where he was tired and grumpy after his therapy, he is more inclined to want to cuddle on the couch with me and drink a bottle.

Afternoon Snacks


Matthew loves these little biscuits. We buy a lot of the Organix range and in fact it was the Organix Porridges that Matthew first ate when we were weaning him. These come in a few different flavours and 2 of them in the afternoon are often really satisfying for him. 

Dinner


Doesn’t look particularly appetising but my boy loves it. It was Sweet Potato with Carrots, Onions and puréed pork. He devoured it!

Supper


Matthews last meal of the day is always his bottle. He’s still young enough that he needs this to settle him at night. He has 9oz every night and it knocks him off to sleep at around 8.30pm.

So there we have it,m. Today was a good day eating wise. He’s been quite unwell for the last month and so trying to get his appetite and eating back up to scratch has been challenging. 

However, he’s definitely getting there and he’s gaining weight at a good and steady rate so we are a happy mum & dad!