Sunday, 7 August 2016

How to decorate a small nursery

How I decorated my baby's small nursery

Decorating your baby's nursery is such an exciting experience, but can be a daunting one. Whether it is choosing the right colour scheme, furniture, wall art or deciding between curtains or blinds, there are so many decisions to make. 

Many nurseries are limited when it comes to space, so how do you create a practical yet stylish nursery, in a tiny area, without it looking cramped?  It's not about the space itself but how you use it. There are lots of useful tips on how to maximise your small space and here are some of the best ones i've used decorating my son's nursery:

Colour
Less is more when it comes to decorating a small nursery room. Finding inspiration on Pinterest is great for sourcing ideas, but it's easy to over decorate a room, especially small rooms. Love the idea of having a nautical theme with navy and yellow colours? It may look great on that Pinterest image you pinned but in a small room, dark colours and strong patterns can  make a room look smaller so I stuck with a neutral palette and decorated my nursery using white, grey and cream.

Accessories - Utilise wall space for storage and install shelves like this shelf unit near the changing station for easy access to items. Also, use the shelves to display toys, books, photos or your favourite decorative pieces like I've done below:


Furniture
Getting everything you need in a small space might seem like a huge challenge so it is important to make sure that every item in the space serves a good purpose. In other words, if there is no use for it, you do  need it! Be strict with yourself by making a list of the essentials: the three key pieces of furniture you'll need in a small nursery is a cot, changing table/dresser and a chair for nursing. Once you have those three items everything else comes second.  

Minimal decor creates a clean, uncluttered look. No space for a wardrobe and changing table? Then choose a dresser with a changing top like I did, for the combination of storage and an area to change your baby. 

The original dresser came with wooden drawer knobs but I replaced them with these glass knobs instead

Light - our nursery room is small so I needed as many surfaces as possible to reflect light off. Adding a large mirror is the perfect way to make space appear bigger.

Keep floors clear - Clean lines allow the eye to travel freely about the room, making it feel more spacious so keep the floors free of items to ensure the space looks anything but cluttered and use hooks and shelves for storage instead.

Wall art - Wall art is also another a great way to decorate a room and great for small spaces too.  Inspired by our Safari honeymoon, I added these adorable animal canvas prints to the walls to create a warm, comfortable and inviting nursery for my baby.


Hope you found these tips on how to decorate a small nursery helpful! What are your top tips you used for decorating your baby's nursery?


Friday, 22 July 2016

What is in my changing bag?

What's in my changing bag?

Whilst I was pregnant I loved watching "what's in my changing bag" YouTube videos and reading blogger posts. It was so useful to know other people's baby essentials and tips on what to pack but despite picking up all this useful information, I really struggled to find a changing bag I liked.

So when I came across a photo of a Jem and Bea bag on Instagram, I knew I had found the perfect changing bag.

Designed by two Mums, Dominique and Rebecca, they found themselves frustrated with the lack of stylish changing bags available for parents so they set out to create the perfect collection. And they certainly have! The designers have redefined the baby changing bag market and their collection is far from the "mumsy" looking nappy bags we're so used to seeing.

You can personalise the leather tag on your bag with your initials

Unlike most changing bags the Beatrice tote is not only beautifully designed but a functional bag too. Available in two colours, orange and taupe, the stylish bag is made of butter soft leather and is both practical enough to fit all your essentials such as a changing mat, nappies, bottles but also stylish enough to wear as an everyday bag or even for a night out.  

The bag is very well designed with handy wipe clean lining and features five interior pockets with a zip compartment for valuables, thermo bottle pocket, separate mobile phone compartment, a dustbag and also includes a luxury padded changing mat too. There's even a detachable cross body strap included plus buggy clips available separately.

Inside the Beatrice Tote

So if you are looking for a stylish luxury changing bag, the Beatrice Taupe ticks all the boxes. It's definitely not the cheapest changing bag on the market but it manages to combine both style and practicality with great success, so in my opinion it is absolutely worth the cost and i'm so pleased with mine!

Here are the key essentials that I keep in my changing bag:

Pampers newbaby sensitive - These newborn nappies combine both dryness and softness and clinically tested to be mild on a newborn baby's skin. Best of all they have a very handy "Wetness indicator" that turns blue when your baby pees.

Water wipes -  These are chemical free baby wipes suitable for newborns and great for nappy rash and other sensitive conditions.

Aden and anais swaddle blanket - These muslin swaddling blankets are 100% cotton super light, soft and breathable, so they allow baby's body temperature to regulate naturally, helping to reduce the risk of overheating.

Spare vest and sleepsuit - babies are prone to having leaks and other accidents so I always ensure to have a change of clothes just in case. Because of the warm weather, I've included a sun hat to keep baby's face shaded.

Elephant rattle - This soft rattle is the perfect toy for a newborn, where tiny hands can shake the elephant to make it rattle. Too cute!

Would love to know what is in your newborn's changing bag? 

Jem and Bea collection is available to buy here.



Sunday, 3 July 2016

My natural birth story

Me at 37 weeks, just a few days before I went into labour

During my pregnancy, I read so many birth stories online and listened to dozens of podcasts. I loved hearing about people’s birthing experiences, both positive and negative, not only did it give me good insight into labour but it also made me aware just how different every women’s birthing experience can be. 

Initially I wasn’t sure about writing my own birth story. I have always found writing therapeutic but whether I had a good or bad birthing experience, I wasn’t sure if it was an experience I would want to share. However, I thought about all of the birthing stories I had read on blogs and how much it had helped me prepare for my own labour and I knew sharing my birthing experience would be the right thing to do.

We have to go back slightly as my birthing story starts a few weeks before I actually went into labour…

Initially my plan was to have a water birth in the birthing centre with no pain relief and as natural as possible. However, I purposely did not write a birth plan as I was aware births do not always go to plan I wanted to see how things panned out as I was to find out!

At 36 weeks 3, I went to hospital to get monitored as I was experiencing painful and strong contractions and nothing like the Braxton Hicks I had been having a few days before. After being monitored and then examined by a doctor, they discovered I was 3cm dilated and I had to decide whether to be induced and have a pre-term baby or wait until 37 weeks and see if I go into labour naturally. My waters hadn’t broken and membranes were still in tact so after talking through the options, we decided to wait for the labour to progress naturally. If I could help it I did not want to have my baby before 37 weeks as this means it would have been premature and possibly needing more care. So I was put on a drip of antibiotics and stayed over night in hospital, reflecting on whether I had made the right decision. My care plan was to come into hospital every 3 days to get monitored and have my bloods checked for any infection as my cervix was open I was at risk of infection.

Once I was discharged, things didn’t improve and day by day, my contractions got stronger and more painful but nothing else changed. My waters hadn’t broken and I hadn’t lost my mucus plug either. I was stuck in limbo and it was so so hard. I was torn between getting induced and therefore having the labour started artificially or waiting, in severe pain, for my labour to start naturally. I battled with this decision for days but in the end, I couldn’t continue to wait being in so much pain so at 38 weeks 1, we went into hospital for my usual 3 day monitoring and blood checks. However unlike the last few times when my blood checks all came back fine, there was a peak in one of my results and potentially a risk of infection. My blood pressure was also much higher and I had very very swollen ankles, Kim Kardashian style! With this all in mind and after discussing with my consultant, my husband and I decided that evening I would be induced. I didn’t want to put my baby or health at risk anymore and it was then I knew I made the right decision.

So on Saturday night, as arranged, we turned up to the hospital labour ward with bags packed and waited to follow instruction by the midwife and doctor. I was examined again and was still 3cm dilated therefore the plan was to break my waters and wait a few hours to see if the labour would start naturally. If not, then I would then get induced and have a drip with the medication.

After breaking my waters, it didn’t take long for the contractions to start. I called my mum to get a cab over to the hospital to join my husband and I, as she was my second birthing partner. Luckily she arrived within half an hour as after only a few minutes of breaking my waters, the contractions were coming strong and fast and within less than an hour I knew I was ready to start pushing. I remember my midwife asking me if I was “sure?” and that within an hour seemed a little too quick for the pushing stage of labour to begin. I asked her to examine me again and I was right, by then I was now 7cm and ready to push this baby out! 

Although I wasn’t in the birthing centre and didn’t get the water birth I initially wanted, I was so pleased with my birthing experience. My husband and mum were my two birthing partners and were just amazingly encouraging throughout my labour. I was so thankful to have such incredible support and having them both by my side made me realise just how lucky I am. As well as a midwife I also had a student midwife who were both so supportive too listening to all my requests, even if they were not considered what is usual in labour.

According to the Royal Colleges of Midwives, lying down is the most popular position to use in labour to give birth but I had never wanted to use this position as I just didn't find it comfortable. The midwives listened to me and allowed me to change positions and gave me time to feel more at ease.

Initially I tried using the birthing stool but it was difficult to monitor baby’s heart rate so I moved on to the bed, but felt like lying down wasn’t comfortable for me due to back pain. I explained to the midwives if I could change my position to kneeling on the bed instead. The midwife agreed, although she seemed unconvinced that this birthing position would give me the comfort I needed. Again, I was so glad to have stuck to my decision as this birthing position was the best for me at the time. Once I had changed into the position, in less than an hour, my baby was born.  

I am so thankful to have had such supportive midwives who listened to me throughout and allowed me to have the birth I wanted. I was adamant I did not want any pain relief particularly an epidural as they had warned me that if I had this procedure, it could prolong my labour, reduce my mobility and I was at potential risk of having further intervention like a c-section. There were other options to consider like pethadine (although I did request this, it was too late for me to have it as I was too far in my labour) so I just had paracetamol and codeine and gas and air. However, the gas and air made me feel light headed and sick so I didn’t continue to use it.

Not every birth experience is the same and one of the wonderful things about labour is how different each birth can be. I was so pleased with my birthing experience, I had amazing support from my birthing partners and midwives and despite not having a water birth, I was able to still deliver naturally just as I had hoped to.

Early Sunday morning, my son was delivered fit and well weighing 7.9lbs.

I feel very blessed and thankful my labour was not only so positive but such an empowering experience and one that I will cherish forever. How was your labour? I would love to hear about your experiences too!



Monday, 30 May 2016

Outfit of the day - Babymoon

Dress - ASOS
Bag - H&M
Necklace - Topshop
Boots - New Look

This weekend my husband and I went away for our babymoon - you can read all about our stay at The Rosewood Hotel here.

As I approach the end of my pregnancy with bump growing bigger and wider every day, it is getting more and more difficult to dress my bump.

I thought I was never going to find the perfect outfit for our special occasion, until I came across this midi dress from ASOS. Not only is it super comfortable but it's lightweight too, with a soft touch slinky fabric. I thought the dress in Black worked well for evening wear as it is the most flattering. 

As well as the perfect length on me, sitting just below the knee, I loved the ruched sides on the dress that stretch for that extra comfort. Another great maternity buy from ASOS! 



Sunday, 29 May 2016

The Rosewood Hotel London Review

The Rosewood Hotel

This weekend my husband and I stayed at The Rosewood Hotel in Holborn, London for our baby moon.

For those of you haven't heard of a baby moon, this is a pampering break away for couples before the baby arrives. While many people use their baby moon as a excuse to lie on a beach soaking up the sun or stay at a quaint country manor we wanted something a little different.  

Living and working in London we don't always have a chance to enjoy the capital like a tourist would, which is why we thought a babymoon in our vibrant city would be ideal way to spend some quality time together before the baby arrives. Best of all, we chose the bank holiday weekend so it would be less busy as more people escape the city at this time of year.

I knew there was only one place I wanted to stay - The Rosewood Hotel, one of London’s most luxurious hotels. In the heart of Holborn, The Rosewood was perfect base for our babymoon. Located within a few minutes from Holborn tube it is minutes away from Covent Garden so perfect for a spot of shopping or a day at the theatre too. 

The Rosewood lavish entrance

From the moment you arrive at the large wrought-iron gates of grade II listed Edwardian building, you are in awe of the beautiful architecture of the hotel. As we walked through the tranquil courtyard and into the hotel lobby we were taken away with how opulent the building was. The five star hotel is luxury at its best: the lobby is rich in every detail, decorated with such style and sophistication it feels like a mini palace!  All around you is an elegantly decorated building: the beautifully designed black and white marble mosaic flooring, the stunningly high glass partitions filled with art and books, the magnificent marble staircase, and even the cute bulldog statue and birdcage full of budgies placed by the lift doors.  This is a beautifully decorated hotel and feels very lavish.

The reception staff, who were incredibly welcoming and helpful, checked us in and then shortly afterwards we were shown to our room where we were impressed further once we entered the elegant suite.

Bedroom

Living room

We stayed in deluxe junior suite: spacious and super sleek one bedroom and one living room elegantly designed with a contemporary look and feel with light grey and cream fabrics, textured dark woods and plenty of space to relax.

Spacious living room

Every detail of the suite was well thought out and designed with style.  There were beautiful fresh flowers placed in the living area creating a homely but contemporary feel to the room.


Always a treat waking up to beautiful flowers!

The suite featured a large bedroom with a spacious ensuite marble bathroom that had a walk in wet room style shower and a bath. 

Bathroom

But it was the little touches that made the big difference like the king size bed dressed with elegant Rivolta Carmignani Italian linens, the bathroom stocked with Czech & Speake toiletries, personal bar with complimentary snacks and non-alcoholic beverages or the smart Nespresso coffee machine. But best of all was the pregnancy pillow left on a chair for me. 

The hotel provided me with a pregnancy pillow for my stay

If you read my last post on how pregnancy pillows have eased my discomfort then you'll realise how much I have appreciated seeing a pregnancy pillow in the suite! 

A generous gift from The Rosewood

The staff at The Rosewood also kindly gifted me with a basket of baby goodies, by Bamford Organic, luxury baby products that are natural, fresh and smell divine.  It's these little touches that make a big difference and why The Rosewood really does deliver on its luxury and 5 star status.

We then headed to the Sense Spa which has seven treatment rooms designed around a circular gold leaf and teak relaxation lounge. Men and women have their own dry heat saunas and amethyst crystal steam rooms and offers facials, treatments and beauty rituals. For pregnant women there is a choice of treatments such as the post and pre natal massages. Being in my last trimester, I chose the pre natal massage, that focused on aching muscles, fluid retention and tired feet and legs, a perfectly designed spa treatment to comfort and relax mothers to be.  

After our relaxing treatments we spent a few hours in our suite before getting ready for our dinner reservation. I had always wanted to experience The Rosewood hotel's restaurants and bar. There are three dining areas at the hotel: the Mirror Room, the Lobby or Holborn Dining Room, which is where we selected as the place for dinner that evening.

The restaurant is just as lavish as the hotel, decorated with oak furnishings, red leather upholstery and antique mirrors, diners can expect a varied menu of British dishes with a twist and London's largest gin bar with over 400 gins and 27 tonics. Whilst my husband opted for a Cornish gin and tonic called the "Tarquin", I chose the fresh cranberry juice with rosemary, lime and soda water mocktail.

Tarquin gin and tonic and cranberry mocktail

To start, I had the tasty fried squid with relish mayonnaise and he chose the griddled prawns with lemon and garlic butter. For mains he had the roast rib eye club cut and I chose the shrimp burger with jalapeno tartare - delicious! To finish off our tasty meals, we had the apple pie with ice cream to share.

After dinner we headed to the Scarfes Bar for the jazz night. It was like stepping back in time to an old school drawing room, the bar is cosy and intimate, decorated with velvet armchairs and sofas and bookcases filled with antique books.  We were serenaded with the beautiful sounds of jazz tunes with a live performance from a singer and band - the perfect way to end a great night.

Enjoying the live jazz at the Scarfes Bar

The Rosewood is luxury at its best and the perfect setting for a special occasion like a babymoon. If you are looking for ultimate indulgence and a retreat in the city then this is the place for you. The hotel is a beautiful oasis of tranquillity away from the hustle and bustle of the city that is unique among London luxury hotels.

We had such a memorable stay, it was the ideal way for us to spend our baby moon and we will no doubt be returning again!

To book a stay at the hotel visit www.rosewoodhotels.com.

The Rosewood Hotel
252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN
020 7781 8888
 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

An Afternoon Tea Baby Shower

My babyshower celebrations

Last weekend, my mum and sisters hosted my babyshower where we celebrated the soon to be arrival of baby DoYouNoah! It was a wonderful day spent with my family and closest friends. The theme of my babyshower was "afternoon tea" so there was an abundance of cakes, sandwiches and cupcakes as well as lots of fun games too!

My afternoon tea themed baby shower

I was on the hunt for an outfit for my babyshower and with only a few weeks to go, I managed to find the perfect dress. Although it wasn't a maternity dress it was just what I was looking for; a simple grey maxi dress from ASOS tall range with a wrap front and cut a way slides. I teamed with a gold chain head band also from ASOS too.

Maxi dress from ASOS

I was so pleased with the baby shower cakes that were specially made by the very talented cake maker Claire Owen. They looked absolutely beautiful and were so delicious too, all my guests loved them!


A huge thanks to my mum and sisters who did a fabulous job of organising my baby shower plus a big thanks to all my friends for their adorable gifts and to everyone for making the day such a joyous occasion.

I was so delighted with the cakes, cupcakes, sandwiches and photography I thought I would share with you the list of my suppliers for those planning a baby shower in the future:

Cakes: Claire at Claire Owen Cakes 
Cupcakes: BB Bakery
Sandwiches: M&S
Photography: Rachael at Doll Face Design London


Cottons Caribbean Restaurant and Salon de Rhum Notting Hill

Cottons Caribbean Restaurant and Salon de Rhum, Notting Hill

Last week I was invited to Cottons Caribbean Restaurant and Salon de Rhum, the brand new restaurant in Notting Hill.

The original Cottons restaurant in Camden opened over 30 years ago. Since then they've opened a street food Cottons in Boxpark, Shoreditch and now the flagship restaurant in Notting Hill, just walking distance from Notting Hill Gate tube station.

The Notting Hill branch offers a more refined experience but still in keeping with the Cottons relaxed and colourful vibe that customers will be used to.



Beautiful authentic interior decor at Cottons, Notting Hill

I was really looking forward to seeing the bar which stocks the largest rum collection in the UK, with over 300 varieties available and not just from the Carribean but all over the world.  As well as drinks and tasty cocktails you can also enjoy bar snacks and sharing plates at the bar like Jerk pork ribs (£7), Oxtail & bean stew (£7.50), and Ackee & saltfish (£7.50).
  
The largest collection of rum in the UK 

Our tasty cocktails!

We sat in the Glass house, the main restaurant, which has a large skylight with bright natural light and decorated with stunning oak wood flooring, beamed ceilings and beautiful bonsai plants.


Luckily Cottons offers mocktails for those of us who don't drink or like me are pregnant so I chose the fruit smoothie, a blend of strawberries, raspberries, passionfruit, mango puree, coconut cream and guava juice - very tasty!

Our starter - the Mezze platter - yum!

For a starter we chose the Mezze platter which was accra, aubergine choka, creole shrimps and pholourie.


Cottons Caribbean promises "traditional Caribbean cuisine" so reading through the tasty looking menu, my expectations were high. I opted for the sharing platter of jerk chicken pieces, rice and peas, fried plaintain, potato salad and smoked beetroot salad.  The jerk chicken marinade was delicious, with plenty of flavour and came in a tasty sauce which had a little kick to it and just enough spice.  Served with the rice and peas, plaintain and potato salad these side dishes were the perfect addition to my meal.


Jerk chicken pieces

Rice and peas

Fried plaintain

Potato salad

Smoked beetroot salad

For dessert, I chose the chocolate praline bar, a beautifully designed chocolate cake with praline mousse served with a knob of lemon curd and iced bubble gum marshmallow - it tasted as delicious as it looked!

Chocolate praline bar - so tasty!

As well as the restaurant and bar, downstairs there is a private room that seats 20 for parties and events. For those with special dietary requirements vegan, gluten free and vegetarian platters are also available on the menu too. 

 Private dining room area for parties and events

If you're looking to dine in a laid back atmosphere that serves authentic Caribbean flavours then you will have to visit Cottons. If the delicious food doesn't tempt you or the relaxed vibes then go for drinks and try out the electric cocktails, whatever you decide, you won't be disappointed! To book a table at Cottons restaurant visit www.cottons-restaurant.co.uk for more information.



*Disclaimer: I was invited to review this restaurant but all words and opinions are my own*

Project B Pregnancy Box Review - Month 8

Inside my Project B pregnancy box month 8

This month I received my Project B pregnancy box and this month's theme is "prepare". Now I'm approaching my 8th month of pregnancy I have started thinking about what to pack in my hospital bag for labour.

To prepare for the big day, it’s been recommended to start packing your hospital bag, including items for both you and baby, about four to six weeks before your due date.


So it is the perfect time to receive this month's Project B box, which is full of goodies to help me get ready for labour from practical items to relaxing treats.  Here are some of my favourites:



Nurture Breast Pad

Nurture Breast Pad
Breast pads are perfect for mums and mothers-to-be to help stay dry and comfortable for those leaking moments, due to breast milk or colostrum, in pregnancy or during breastfeeding. These Nurture Breast Pads are disposable, thin and discreet and each breast pad is specifically designed with two adhesive tape strips to ensure they stay in place.



MAM Anti-Colic 160ml Nature Meadow

MAM Anti-Colic 160ml Nature Meadow
The MAM Anti-Colic is the ideal bottle for mums who want to switch between breastfeeding and bottle. The MAM teat is a unique silky-soft silicone surface, the vented base prevents air swallowing, thus helping to reduce colic and has extra wide openings for easy filling and cleaning.


Sudocrem Care and Protect

Sudocrem Care and Protect
If your baby is suffering from nappy rash then they will need a cream to help sooth and protect the baby's skin. Sudocrem Care and Protect offers triple protection against the causes of nappy rash. This new light ointment creates a protective barrier that seals in the skin's nature moisture and keeps it protected against external irritants and rubbing that can cause nappy rash. Plus it also guards against infection and protects the skin too.


Aleva Naturals Bamboo Baby Wipes

Aleva Naturals Bamboo Baby Wipes
Everyone knows how handy baby wipes are and Aleva Naturals Bamboo baby wipes are made of eco-friendly, unbleached bamboo, enriched with natural and organic oils. Bamboo fibres do not require a bleaching process because it contains a natural anti-bacterial agent known as Bamboo Kun. Plus they help you do your part for a greener world as the Bamboo wipes are 100% biodegradable within 21 days.


GLUCO

GLUCO
It's a good idea to keep any eating or drinking during labour to keep your energy up so Gluco products contain fast acting glucose, the body's preferred energy source is just what you might need if you're feeling a little tired in pregnancy. They're free of artificial nastiness such as aspartame or caffeine which makes them a great choice if you're looking for the best option available when you need an energy boost.


*Disclaimer: The products featured were gifted to me for review however all words and opinions are my own*

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