My top 10 products to buy a new mum & baby

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Top 10 Buys Kiddicare Wishlist
The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Top 10 Buys Kiddicare Wishlist
Stock Photo: Pixabay

Firstly… CONGRATULATIONS!

(If you’re not expecting and reading this, here are some great gifts for family members or friends who are)

Expecting a baby whether it’s your first or third is a wonderful experience but it can also be a stressful one. Planning ahead can make things a little easier but from my experience I found that by ‘winging it’ and improvising along the way yields near enough the same results so why add on the extra stress? It’s a bit harder to not stress when it’s your first baby – I remember when I was pregnant with LO I made plans and notes constantly. 1) because of baby brain, I could hardly remember anything and needed constant reminders and 2) I became a little OCD with planning because at the time it felt like it was making a difference and made me feel more in control of my pregnancy.

If you’re a mum to be, you can use this post as a starting point for your wishlist… gifts are what baby showers or  baby sprinkles (mini showers for 2nd, 3rd babies) are for! Don’t be shy ladies, everyone who has children knows how hard and expensive raising a child/children can be and we all need a little help from time to time and showers are the time they should be accepted without arguments. Just don’t go crazy and extravagant with your wishlist or your guests may not turn up! 🙂

I decided to split this list into 5 products for baby and 5 for the expecting parent because gifts aren’t always for bubba, they’re also for the new mum. (sorry Dads-to-be!) Continue reading “My top 10 products to buy a new mum & baby”

My birth story with Baby Girl

I am sorry it’s been a little while but just didn’t have any time at all away from Baby Girl to write this until now. So here it is, my birth story…

Baby Girl arrived when I was 38 weeks pregnant at a healthy weight of 6lb 8oz – a little chunky bubba (LO weighed 6lb 2oz and was only 5 days early). I had a natural birth and due to the fast labour on the day, there was no time to have my water birth and gas & air like I originally planned.

The Labour

I strongly believe that I was first in slow labour with Baby Girl as I felt really intense and painful contractions at the start of the week (on the Monday). However, because they weren’t regular and at similar intervals apart, I ignored the signs and dismissed it as really painful Braxton Hicks which is common towards the end of the pregnancy and so I didn’t self-refer myself to Triage or call the labour ward. The rest of that week passed by ‘okay-ish’ and I managed with the contractions that were coming regularly at irregular times throughout the day. I just kept saying to myself “if I can sleep through these contractions then it can’t be real labour”.

On Saturday morning I woke up and hardly felt little movement – I told myself it’s because I am focusing too much on it so once again, I dismissed the signs that it could be real labour. It was also because this day I had organised a day out for LO to the local funfair with a friend so I didn’t want him to miss out. Plus the location of the funfair was opposite the hospital so if anything happens, I can quickly get to the hospital with ease.

We got to the funfair around 1pm and LO went on a few of the rides before wanting to go home. I felt the contractions throughout the day and was sure that was the reasons why I couldn’t feel any movements so didn’t head to the hospital. Instead I headed down to the local Tesco’s to pick up a pack of newborn nappies and some more newborn clothes and maternity pads. I had this feeling at the back of my mind telling me I needed to get these things today otherwise it’ll be too late as my maternity bags were only 80% packed.

It was then 9pm and I had just sat down and realised that the day was almost over and still I hadn’t felt any movement. At that point, I called Triage and asked if it was okay to come in to see someone regarding the movements and the midwife said yes, just to be on the safe side – it was definitely a good thing I went! When I arrived to Triage at 10pm with LO and Daddy P in tow I was hooked up to the machine and left for 30mins as they monitored me. Baby’s heartbeat was found straight away which relieved my initial fears but then those super-painful contractions returned… this time they were coming at regular intervals and I knew at that point I was in labour – it was now real.

The Birth

Super intense and super fast (I also felt I needed to do a no. 2 so went to the toilet). I passed the bloody, mucus show before finally passing the bowel movement. I waddled back to where I was hooked up and the midwife said she will do an internal examination to see if I am dilated – she was very surprised to find out I was 9cm dilated and ready to push! One of the other midwives commented on how quiet I kept everything. I’m not really a screamer and I think my body just deals with labour pains really well.

Baby Girl arrived at 11:19pm. It was the fastest labour and birth I’ve had so far (30mins it said on my maternity transfer notes) and under what most mums will consider a “perfect birth” with no tears and natural delivery. As it was such a quick birth, my plan of having a water birth went out of the window. I also didn’t have gas & air as the midwives couldn’t get it to me in time. She said if she goes to get it, I could deliver the baby before she gets back so we made the decision to skip it.

Note to self and other mums: a birth plan can be pointless.

The Greenwich Mummy: My birth story with Baby Girl
#milkdrunk / Instagram: @mannyngo

Post-pregnancy Recovery

Also known as the fourth trimester, this is the period I find really challenging. The breast feeding, post-birth contraction pains, sore nipples, and sleep deprivation. The overnight hospital stay post-birth is also a killer as I always seem to be that new mum with the noisy baby keeping up the ward. Luckily my post-delivery room only consisted of me and one other new mum. I felt sorry for her as Baby Girl was so noisy and her baby was quiet (I don’t she got any rest). *guilty face*

I was discharged from hospital late afternoon the next day which was great. Part of Vietnamese culture a new mum must stay indoors for at least 1 month and banned from leaving the house however in these modern days leaving for essential appointments is possible. Certain foods should also be avoided which I didn’t really stick to this time round as my mum was constantly at work so I didn’t have someone looking over my shoulder to tell me off. 🙂 I tried my hardest not to leave the house so instead of just going out I waited for the days I had to visit the midwives to go out and get some fresh air. I am sure the fresh air also did some good for Baby Girl as she was less irritable when we were out… I guess she doesn’t like being cooped up at home too.

I’ve been super sleep-deprived and exhausted this time round. Baby Girl has problems latching on and is a really colicy baby. She is feeding well which is great as she’s gaining weight well but the colic and fussiness really gets me down – when she cries and screams and there’s nothing I can do to help her stop pains me. She had mild jaundice in the first week which has almost gone now disappeared by herself. Apparently regular feeding and ensuring that she sleeps no longer than 3hrs without a feed helps to get rid of the jaundice. I guess those 4hr periods of no feeds through the night in the first few days came at a price. 😦

Now almost a month old, the colic hasn’t improved so it means a trip to the hospital. The jaundice has gone now but I am shattered from the cluster feeding and constant crying. Hopefully a few months more and she’ll be all better and I’ll be able to get my nights’ sleep back. In the meantime, I rely on her sleeping patterns to get a little catch-up on sleep and rest.

Pregnancy: 36 Weeks

My Pregnancy | The Greenwich Mummy

I can’t believe it’s week 36 already!

… I can now say the end of this pregnancy is almost near. 🙂

Pregnancy: 36 weeks | The Greenwich Mummy

I’ve been logging back into my BabyCentre forum (May 2016 board) and discovered there are a few of us May mums that have met their bubbas already. According to the BabyCentre website babies born from 37 weeks are considered full-term which is a relief. I have been suffering with Braxton Hicks contractions since about 28 weeks pregnant so I am very glad I haven’t popped just yet. 🙂 They also say that you feel the pain, BH contractions etc much more in subsequent pregnancies as the muscles are already stretched out and slacked.

How I’m feeling…

Most days I feel good mentally but physically I am exhausted. Emotionally; it’s hit-and-miss but predominately good (… when I’m not screaming at LO for jumping off the sofa and onto the armchair across the room!).

I’ve been a busy bunny this week; LO returned back to nursery this Tuesday which gave me some time to clean the house, wash Baby Girl’s clothes and work on an illustration. I think I am reaching that “nesting” phase in pregnancy though I am not as obsessive about cleaning as much as I was when I was pregnant with LO.

What I’ve been up to…

I went along with a friend to a pregnancy yoga class in Camden last weekend and definitely recommend any expecting mum to give it a try no matter what semester you’re in. It’s very gentle but you do work up a bit of a sweat… Well, I did a little so maybe that’s just me. The class was held by TriYoga – they have branches all around London but we went on Saturday morning which was the Camden class.

After our lovely yoga sesh, my friend and I went to a nearby vegan/vegetarian restaurant for lunch. She had a lovely salad and I opted for a halloumi cheese and grilled aubergine burger which was incredibly tasty and low in carbs which was great for me.

Yesterday, I met up with my sisters for a lovely lunch at Big Easy in Canary Wharf. It was lovely to get out and have a nice day out with my siblings and I really enjoyed their company. LO was at nursery so it was like a little luxury for me to be out without the little one.

A busy few weeks ahead

As I like to keep busy, I have a few things scheduled for the next few weeks. Tomorrow (Saturday) I have my friend’s baby shower which I am hosting and somewhat a part of as I am celebrating it as my ‘baby sprinkle’ too 🙂 I’m not having a shower this time as I think one for the first child but as I’m having a girl this time, a “sprinkle” will do. 🙂 Then the week after, I have what may be my last pregnancy massage before birth – I’ve also booked it with a facial. Then at the start of May, I will be heading down to Cowshed at Shoreditch house with my mother-to-be friend for a lovely maternity leg/foot treatment and on bank holiday Monday, I will be meeting up with my friend for waffles at a lovely dessert bar although I will probably have just a diet coke float.

Pregnancy: 34 Weeks

My Pregnancy | The Greenwich Mummy

Only 6 weeks left until my due date! Eeeeek – not long to go now…

I’ve started my maternity leave as of last week. A little early I know but to be honest I am glad I have taken it now as I can really feel how much my body craves sleep and rest. I have to see a diabetic nurse for the gestational diabetes so the early leave has worked out well for me. This weekend I will be witnessing a school friend’s wedding which will be great fun and amazing but I am scared that my readings are going to get ruined as I am helping with some of the wedding arrangements and don’t think I will be able to eat properly. I also think the wedding reception menu will have a lot of carbs so I am going to have to really watch it.

Diet

It’s been good, I’ve been trying my best to control it with my new diet plan but I still find myself cheating every now and then but it’s okay because I make sure I count the calories and carbs so I don’t go over my limit. I found that following a low GI diet has helped me a lot. By knowing which carb foods can push up my blood sugars and which carbs are slow-releasing allows me to eat a good amount and get a good reading.

I have to make sure that I test my blood sugars daily – four times a day to be precise! The tips of my fingers are starting to get sore from the pricking. 😦 It also helps that I have regular appointments (every 2 weeks) with the diabetic nurse to make sure I stay on track and help me manage my GD better. The last time I visited she warned me that I may have to start taking medication if my body can’t manage on diet alone but I think it can. I just needed help understanding the whole low/high GI foods which I now understand much better.

Body

My belly button is sticking out now. The skin is very taut and sometimes a little itchy. I find it really hard to sleep as well, my sides are starting to ache due to the pressure of my body weight on my side. As baby girl’s feet was always poking under my diaphragm and ribs, I kept feeling like I had acid reflux when I was sleeping. I realised that I just needed my head raised higher than the rest of my body so I used my nursing pillow to sleep on which has really helped. It’s actually really comfortable sleeping on the nursing pillow as well and I am so glad I bought a new one as I sold my previous one after LO no longer needed it.

I have been slacking with the exercise so I need to start doing it again. A pregnant friend of mine has invited me to pregnancy yoga in a couple of week’s time so I cannot wait for that. I need to also start picking up the pregnancy pilates class again. All the stretching from the class should help alleviate some of the tension in my body and help to strengthen my body for birth.

Well-being

I’ve been pretty chilled so far but it’s starting to settle in how close I am to meeting baby girl now. It’s making me a little apprehensive – I think I worry a lot when I have an idea of what’s going to happen. When I was pregnant with LO I didn’t have a care in the world and just took every day as it came and only stressed out a little bit a couple of weeks before he was born. This time however, I think because I know what to expect, I am kind of looking out for the signs which is really annoying as I can’t just CHILL OUT sometimes. I think also because I am expecting baby girl to come early, I am just really anxious. I’ve got a few spa treatments lined up for end of April/beginning of May so hopefully I can take my mind of things after then. For now, I will keep myself pre-occupied with baking, making, and blogging. 🙂

Pregnancy: On the hunt for a “pretty” nursing bra

My Pregnancy | The Greenwich Mummy
Maternity Lingerie: Nursing Bras | The Greenwich Mummy
Photo Credit: Google

Who said maternity lingerie had to be frumpy looking? Most maternity bras on the market for us mums-to-be nowadays have better shapes, are really comfy and designed to look good and feel good. (Finally!)

In my recent search I came across so many maternity lingerie brands; some names that I really liked and recognised, others that I hadn’t heard of, or didn’t like the look of. Most of the bras though looked amazing and seemed like they would feel comfy too. Maternity bras comes mainly in three types; non-nursing, nursing, and sleeping. I definitely want a nursing bra as I will be breastfeeding Baby Girl and will need something to see me through those booby-milk days but I want something that would be comfortable enough to fall asleep in too.

I really loved my Emma Jane nursing bra that was given to me at LO’s baby shower and I practically lived in it for the whole 6 months that I breastfed LO however it really unattractive and frumpy looking so this time, I just want something just a little bit “prettier”.

Here’s my wishlist of the nursing bras I’ve found online which I really like…

Heidi Klum IntimatesThe Greenwich Mummy | Lingerie: Maternity Bras

This nursing bra by Heidi Klum Intimates looks comfortable yet stylish. I love the black and cream colour because it’s just simple and the design is one that I think I would wear on a daily basis. Also, as it’s a nursing bra, it’ll see me through my breastfeeding days so no need to switch from a non-nursing to nursing bra.


Hot MilkThe Greenwich Mummy | Maternity Lingerie & Bras

I really love this bra by Hot Milk. It looks like my Emma Jane nursing bra that I had when I gave birth to LO which was sooo comfy but I’m not going to lie – it looked hideous and didn’t sit well under my clothes. However this one seems to look smoother and seamless so it shouldn’t be visible under my clothes. I love comfort and rate it more higher than looks so this bra will probably be my first nursing bra purchase.

 


Amoralia

nougatine-ig-matbranewThis beautiful silk-soft stretch satin and lace bra by Amoralia looks absolutely amazing. The luxurious design doesn’t compromise the functional or practical aspects of the bra. The material is stretchy so it’ll mould and move with your body, not against it. So no chaffing underarms or irritated/itchy nipples and cleavage – woop woop! The bra comes in the black/cream version which is pretty but my favourite is the nude/cream colour.

 


Topshop Maternity

ts44u18ippk_zoom_f_1This lovely bra from the Topshop Maternity collection. It’s a very simple looking maternity bra – a little cute albeit – and is very much a basic essential maternity bra. It’s the cheapest out of all the bras I’ve mentioned in this post which I am a little scared will reflect in the quality of the material. I mean, Topshop is my go-to place for clothing (especially denim jeans!) however for my maternity wear… I am not 100% sold on it yet. I will need to go to the shops to try it out and see. It may just surprise me!

Former yummy mummies, if you have any recommendations that you can offer me it will be greatly appreciated!

Recipe: Curly Kale and Sweet Potato Hash (V)

Photo Credit: Crumb and Colour

So I have had to change my diet completely due to my gestational diabetes. Luckily this time round I am not on any medication but I’ve been giving the diabetes blood sugar testing kit so no cheating! I have to abide by my new diet rules and portion control to prevent baby from becoming too big.

I had a group meeting with the diabetic nurse and dietician last Wednesday and we went over the foods we can and can’t eat. To top it off, I’ve only gained 0.5kg since the start of the pregnancy so it means somewhere along the way I lost a lot of my weight and gained it as baby weight. It’s quite sad because the dietician has now said I need to start putting some more weight on.

It’s almost like a catch 22 as I am scared to gain the weight as I don’t want baby to be too big but because of the little weight gain, I have no choice but to do so.

So I’ve been checking out the GI index of foods and seeing what my best options are. I created this little recipe a while back when I was trying to experiment with curly kale. It’s so simple, super healthy and nutritious, suitable for vegetarians/vegans and has a low GI index – basically a winning recipe! I even made up the name for it… Curly Kale and Sweet Potato Hash 🙂

So without further ado, here is my recipe:

Recipe: Curly kale and sweet potato hash | The Greenwich Mummy


Curly Kale and Sweet Potato Hash Recipe

Time: prep – 5mins, cooking – 30mins
Servings: 2-4 people

Ingredients:

  • A bag of curly kale (washed)
  • 2 sweet potatoes (unpeeled)
  • 2tbs Dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbs of cooking oil

Method:

  1. Fill the saucepan with water and boil the sweet potatoes with their skin left on. Boil until softened which took me about 20 mins on a high heat.
  2. Drain the water and place the sweet potatoes to one side to cool down. Once they’ve cooled, peel the skin and throw away then dice them.
  3. Add a little bit of oil (1tbs) to the dry pan and turn the heat to medium/high. Add in the curly kale and stir frequently.
  4. Fry the curly kale for about 3 mins and add in the soy sauce. Adjust to your taste but I usually give it a generous drizzle. Use a light, low-salt soy sauce if you are concerned about the salt content but as we are not adding any extra salt, I like to use dark soy sauce.
  5. When the curly kale has decreased in volume from the cooking, add in the diced sweet potatoes.
  6. Add a splash of water to help create some steam which will also help to cook the kale nicely and cook for another 2-3 mins.
  7. All finished!

Take off the heat and leave to cool. Eat it on its own or serve with rice or cous cous. I like to just eat it by itself to help cut out the carbs and it’s so filling, I don’t mind it without any meat or poultry but if you did want to eat it, I think grilled chicken would go nicely. Enjoy!

Review: Spa Experience London Wimbledon was amazing!

Being pregnant and coming from a spa therapy background I completely understand how important it is to look after my body and my well-being. So when I was invited to review some prenatal treatments at Spa London Wimbledon, I grabbed at the chance with both hands!

When I worked as a spa therapist in Derbyshire, I trained in Elemis and specialised in advanced therapies such as pregnancy massage so it was a delightful surprise to discover that the treatments I was booked in for was the Elemis nurturing mother-to-be massage and prescription facial. With that in mind, I was really looking forward to reviewing the place.

Location
As much as I like to spa alone, it’s nicer to be able to share the experience with someone so I asked a friend to come along with me. The spa is located just a stone’s throw away from Wimbledon and South Wimbledon tube stations so getting there was super easy. It was a short walk away for me from South Wimbledon station and a 1 minute bus ride away for my friend who came via Wimbledon. The spa itself is nestled inside the Wimbledon Leisure Centre, on the first floor. There is also wheelchair access to the spa reception.

Arrival
Upon entering the Wimbledon spa, the lovely smell of oils and scented candles greeted my nose- it really brought me back to my spa therapist days which I miss a lot. We were greeted by two friendly faces at reception who checked us in and confirmed my treatments for the day. I wanted to book my friend in for treatments as she was only having the thermal spa experience but unfortunately they were fully booked.

We were then sat in a small waiting/retail area where we filled in our consultation forms. Our receptionist brought over some complimentary arrival drinks (cold orange juice in a tall shot glass) which I thought was a lovely welcome touch. After the forms were completed, we were each handed a lovely brown canvas bag that contained our spa wear; spa gown/robe, fluffy towel, sandals and a lock for the changing room lockers. ‘Dan’ (I can’t remember his name!) showed us how to set the locks then lead us to the changing area and instructed us to come back to the main reception once we’re ready and to take us on our spa tour.

Spa LONDON Wimbledon Review | The Greenwich Mummy
Time for a quick changing room selfie!
My Spa LONDON Wimbledon Review | The Greenwich Mummy
I wish we were allowed to keep these bags! 😦

The Spa
After donning our swimwear and gowns, we went to meet up with Dan again. He took us on our tour, leading us to the relaxation area which looked amazing and then into the thermal spa suite. When he opened the doors, it was surprisingly light and airy. I really didn’t expect that much natural light in a spa so it was really wonderful to see as most spas just have artificial lighting.

The thermal spa suite has a hydrotherapy pool with jets that you can turn on/off, hammam benches (which are heated tiled plinths you sit on), foot spas and monsoon shower with a hot/cold function, ice fountain, aromatherapy steam room and sauna. Dan told me because I was pregnant, I needed to avoid heat treatments so I could only use the foot baths, hammam bench, experience shower and the ice fountain. I was allowed to sit on the edge of the hydro pool but not get in because of the heat and the jets which would be too stimulating for me. Dan also told us to make sure we keep ourselves hydrated and drink plenty of water. My friend and I were in the suite for about 15 minutes and just had enough time to have a quick natter about how beautiful the spa before my therapist came to whisk me away for treatments.

The Treatments
My therapist (I can’t remember her name either so we’ll just call her ‘Ana’) was super friendly and made some small talk before leading me to the treatment room. She told me that we’ll start off with the nurturing mother-to-be massage and finish with the skin prescription facial. I was taken back a little when she said the treatments were going to be carried out on the bed. Don’t get me wrong, Ana adjusted the bed to fit with the contours of my curvaceous pregnancy body but I was just expecting the special Elemis beanbag to be used. After all, the main concept and USP of the Elemis nurturing mother-to-be massage is for the treatment to be carried on the floor surrounded with cushions and pillows and performed on a unique beanbag. I got over it in the end but just felt a little disappointed. I later found out from the receptionist that the spa doesn’t have the beanbag that’s why it wasn’t used. Fair enough.

“… in that moment, my mind was whisked away to somewhere peaceful and serene and I forgot about everything.”

Spa LONDON Wimbledon Review | The Greenwich Mummy
This was the Elemis pregnancy massage layout I was expecting (Photo Credit: The London Mummy)

Once I was on the bed (which was heated too!) Ana started off by cleansing my feet and in that moment, my mind was whisked away to somewhere peaceful and serene and I forgot about everything. When Ana started to massage my tired and tight legs, it felt even more wonderful. She used a light pressure on my legs and a medium pressure on my back. After working on my legs and back she moved onto my arms, tummy and upper chest. I wished the tummy massage was a bit longer as I love my bump being touched. (If you have this massage in your first trimester, the stomach area is completely avoided.) After having my upper chest massaged, Ana got started on the facial and this is when I started to nod off. I don’t remember much of the facial (sorry!) as I kept drifting in and out of sleep.

I remember Ana applying the papaya enzyme peel which is my favourite exfoliator from the brand. The creamy exfoliator is applied like a face mask and left onto the skin so the fruit enzymes can gently slough away the dead cells without being abrasive or harsh. It’s the perfect exfoliator if you have dry, sensitive or ageing skin. I fell asleep again and woke up with a face mask on but I couldn’t tell which product she used this time. A blissful face and scalp massage (with oil) was performed while the mask was working its magic and I nodded off again. I woke for the last time to Ana removing the face mask with warm mitts then she applied toner, eye cream and moisturiser. I knew the whole experience had come to an end when I heard the gentle chime of the Elemis bells.

Spa LONDON Wimbledon Review | The Greenwich Mummy
What the Elemis bells look like (Photo Credit: Google)

Ana brought me some water and recommended me the Elemis Skin Nourishing Milk Bath and Cream which is great for soothing the skin and keeping it moisturised. It’s one of the Elemis products that’s suitable for those with eczema and psorasis. Ana left me to get dressed then escorted me the relaxation area where I met up with my friend again.

The Relaxation Area
I love the look, ambience and atmosphere of the relaxation area. The sheer dividers provide each guest with that extra little bit of privacy and the loungers were really comfortable. We helped ourselves to fruit-infused waters and fresh fruit (there was also herbal teas to choose from) and laid back on the loungers to chat about our amazing experience. We were also brought some extra fresh fruit and juices, courtesy of the staff and felt absolutely pampered!

Spa LONDON Wimbledon Review | The Greenwich Mummy
Relaxation area and the thermal spa suite door in the distance (Photo Credit: Dale Sauna)

As we indulged on our berries and sipped on our juices, I had a little ponder about the layout of the lounge. It’s an open space so it’s not in a dedicated room like some other spas I’ve visited. To get to the thermal spa suite, you have to walk past the relax area. It just made me wonder if during periods it would get too noisy due to the increased footfall? Luckily for us, the spa didn’t feel busy at all and we didn’t hear a peep from any footfall.

All in all…
We both agreed the spa was excellent value for money; from the service and treatments offered to the spa facilities available, we couldn’t believe a place like this exists in such a central location. We will both be returning very soon for another relaxing spa day. For me, it’ll probably be after I have baby but for my friend, she’s already booked back in! This time for the Elemis hot stone massage and she’ll be bringing her sister along for the mother-to-be massage.

The spa offers all guests a generous 20% discount for re-bookings and special offers like book 2 treatments, get 1 free or book 4 treatments, get 2 free – how awesome is that?! Other spas need to take a leaf out of Spa LONDON’s book. When it comes to client retention I believe in times like these when everyone is on a budget but needing a place to unwind and de-stress, it’s deals like the ones mentioned that will turn first-time visitors into loyal regulars. I would highly recommend Spa London Wimbledon to anyone looking for a stunning day spa with affordable spa treatments and packages.

About Spa London
Spa London is an award-winning concept developed by GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited) that has revolutionised the day spa market by offering a luxurious experience at an affordable price. The GLL also work in partnership with local councils to deliver a quality service that locals can afford. GLL is a charitable social enterprise for all the community, a not-for-profit organisation with a firm belief in the power of social values.

*NB. I was kindly invited to Spa London Richmond for spa day and pregnancy massage. All words and opinions are my own. The photos used (if not mine) have been credited to their source respectively.


BLOG UPDATE: 30/05/2016
Spa London are re-branding themselves as Spa Experience by Better – this will come into full effect as of July 1st 2016.

Pregnancy: My battle with gestational diabetes

My Pregnancy | The Greenwich Mummy
GDpregnancy
Photo Credit: Google

In 2013 when I was pregnant with LO, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I was shocked don’t get me wrong but not overly surprised as there’s history of diabetes on both sides of my family (maternal and paternal).

I did my best to make sure I kept my blood sugar levels within the normal range and had to attend a lot of hospital appointments, take medication, get scanned frequently to ensure baby wasn’t growing too big (the only perk if I can call it that!) and testing my blood with a finger-pricking device everyday… 3-4 times a day. That was not a perk at all.

The GD returns…

When I discovered I was pregnant again, I knew in the back of my mind that the likelihood of GD returning in this pregnancy was high. So naturally, I tried to eat well, watched my intake of carbs and sugars, and controlled my portion intake in a bid to not get that positive result.

However it seems that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t defeat the inevitable. The good thing is that my reading this time was only just over the normal range at 8 (last time it was 12!) – I think the top end of the normal range is 7. I can’t really remember what the number represents but it’s something to do with the level of blood sugar in the body.

I am slightly crest-fallen as I was planning to have a water birth with this pregnancy as I couldn’t the last time and now I know for sure I am definitely not going to be able to opt for it again. It’s something I was really looking forward to and feel a little bit ‘stripped’ of my pregnancy privileges.

Exercise

So this time round I am not going to just sit about like the health professionals recommended the first time round, I will exercise and do as much as I can without hurting myself of course.

I am starting my prenatal pilates class this week and I’m still strength training at home but only on a weekly basis now as I think I trapped a nerve from Saturday when I tried to make a dash for the bus… not good. I stopped swimming but may have to pick it back up and go either once a week or once every two weeks. Swimming is a great form of exercise, especially when pregnant too because the body is weightless in water making it a better option on the body and the joints.

Healthy eating

The Greenwich Mummy |
Healthy eating during a GD pregnancy [Photo Credit: Diabetes UK]

In addition to portion control and carb/sugar management, the other ways of eating healthy is to choose “better” options – better carbs means looking for those complex carbs as to simple carbs. So swapping the white bread for brown or wholemeal bread, eating rice cakes instead of bread sticks and so on. It’s an exhausting process sometimes as when you’re pregnant all you want to do is be able to eat without thinking too much about what is in it, etc… *sighs*

This article by Diabetes.org offers some great advice on eating healthy with GD and I highly recommend other mums who have also been diagnosed with gestational diabetes to take a look.

Not the end of the world…

It really isn’t. Best thing of all is that it usually disappears as soon as baby is born too so not all is lost. You get offered another GTT (Glucose Tolerance Test) when you are about 6-8 weeks postpartum so they can check that the GD is definitely gone (usually the case).

One “highlight”, if one can call it that, of having GD is the fact that the docs won’t let baby get too big so you won’t have to worry about delivering a 9lb baby. Babies from mothers diagnosed with GD are usually bigger than babies from mothers without GD because as the mother’s body cannot regulate the blood sugar with insulin, the sugar passes straight through to baby making them increase abnormally in size. For this reason, pregnant women with GD are always given an induction date. You will need to be induced before your induction date if they suspect baby is too big or if there are any other complications.

Luckily for me, LO came early (he was born on the day I was supposed to be induced) and was within normal size at 6lb 2oz so my delivery that time was a good one.

I hope this pregnancy ends smoothly like the last one!

My Champneys Blissful Bump Haul

champneys-blissfulbump I’ve always loved spa products and now that I am pregnant, I adore them even more! Moisturising my skin is a must and I can swear that it is the key to not getting stretch marks.

When I discovered that there was an online promotion on Champneys products I HAD to purchase some. The packaging looks simple but luxurious and from checking the ingredients list, I could see that the majority of the things on the list were good. Also, any product that is made without parabens, SLES and paraffin oils is worth a try in my books. 🙂

champneys-blissfulbumpcollage
The Champneys Blissful Bump Range

This is the first time I’ve ever used Champneys products and I can say that first impressions look pretty good. The scent of the Blissful Bump range is very mild which is ideal when you’re pregnant as strong smells can be too overpowering.

My favourite products from the range would have to be the body butter and the ginger-inspired room spray. I really love the body butter as it’s incredibly rich but sinks into the skin really well. The fragrance left behind on my skin is so light that I can only just about smell it which is fab because my sense of smell is really sensitive during pregnancy.

The room spray, again like the rest of the products, has a very delicate scent but you can smell the ginger and vanilla notes coming through. It’s a very calming and relaxing scent. I like to use it in the mornings after waking up to refresh the room – it’s wonderful.

The shower cream is a delight to use. It doesn’t do much on my skin for moisturising but it does leave it feeling clean. I do still have to follow up with a moisturiser or body oil as my skin can get pretty dry. The stretch mark oil is good and contains a good amount of sweet almond oil to keep the skin nourished which can help improve the skin’s elasticity.

My opinion about stretch mark creams
People need to remember that stretch marks are “skin-deep”. What I mean by this is that skin elasticity (and genetics) has a lot more to do with you getting stretch marks or not. I don’t think any kind of skin product can help you avoid getting them if it runs in the family or if your skin has already lost a lot of its elasticity.

What the stretch mark creams will do though is provide your skin with adequate moisture which can help improve the elasticity of the skin which should (in theory) can help reduce their appearance stretch marks.

www.champneys.com

The 7 Pregnancy Spa Treatments Every Mother-To-Be Should Try

pregnancy spa treatments

The Pregnancy Spa Treatments You Need To Try | The Greenwich Mummy

I’m not talking about just the old pregnancy massage or manicure/pedicure. I’m talking about spa body treatments specially designed for a mother-to-be. Hurrah! 🙂

I came across a few good treatments in my search but it wasn’t very easy. Funny that, because there are thousands of women going through pregnancy each year you would think that these specialised body treatments would be promoted more widely. Most spas will just offer a pregnancy massage only which can be pretty boring especially if, like me, you constantly look for something different that doesn’t focus just on massage.

Here’s my top 7 pregnancy spa treatments I discovered online:

Champneys Beautiful Bump (55mins)

“Relaxing and pampering for expectant mothers, your treatment starts with a soothing foot soak and back massage. This is followed by a localised collagen boosting body mask enriched with olive, shea, mango and cocoa butters. A relieving foot, leg and scalp massage completes this wonderful pre-natal treatment.”

£55.00

Champneys Mama Mio Lucky Legs Lighten Up (30mins)

“A mineral-rich foot soak, exfoliation and massage for lower legs and feet to help with poor circulation, water retention and the tiring effects of carrying an extra load. While you sit back and relax, we massage your hands and cuticles too. They don’t call it a maternity marathon for nothing!”

£35.00

Elemis Nurturing Mother-To-Be Massage (75mins)

“A gently nurturing, specially formulated massage for mothers-to-be that deeply relaxes. Performed on the unique ELEMIS beanbag for ultimate safety, comfort and relaxation, this unique therapy helps relieve back tension, swollen hands and feet.”

£105.00 at the House of Elemis

NEOM Cocooning Massage (30mins)

“A back exfoliation using the NEOM body scrub followed by a relaxing pregnancy back massage using the beautiful NEOM Cocooning pregnancy oil. You will leave feeling thoroughly pampered, de-stressed and comforted!”

£37.00

ESPA Pre-Natal Treatment (90mins)

“A deeply nourishing body treatment designed to target areas prone to stress and tension during pregnancy. Gentle back exfoliation is followed by a nourishing massage then a moisture rich body mask applied. Finally, truly relax mind and body whilst your scalp is massaged.”

£175.00

Aman Spa Pre-Natal Reflexology (60mins)

“Addresses the more commonly associated pregnancy discomforts such as: sore feet, swelling, back ache and heart burn. Used to encourage overall mental and physical well-being for both mother and baby. Utilises the endocrine reflex points to maintain balance and re-energise. Customised for each trimester.”

£150.00

Dolphin Square Sweetness In Bloom (55mins)

“The ultimate comforting cocoon from top-to-toe for you-and-bump! Commencing with an orange silk foot ritual to bring immediate relief to weary soles before a shea butter massage to the back. A brightening and hydrating facial using gentle yet effective cleansing and moisturising remedies, is combined with a relaxing face, neck and shoulder massage. Option to moisturise the bump with pure shea butter too.”

£79.00

Pregnancy: Exercise or nah?

The Greenwich Mummy | Exercise During Pregnancy

Is it really a good idea to start exercising during your pregnancy or not?

The Greenwich Mummy | Exercise During Pregnancy
Photo Credit: Google/Mommi

The docs and midwives will tell you it’s not recommended to start exercising during your pregnancy if you were never “active” before. So for me, in my first pregnancy I didn’t bother with exercise. Not even a single prenatal workout DVD or attempting prenatal pilates or yoga. I also suffered from Gestational Diabetes (GD) in my third trimester and exercise would’ve been able to help me keep it under control but as I was told I was not an active person before, it wouldn’t be a good time to start exercising. Looking back, I wish I didn’t listen to that advice.

During this pregnancy I’ve seen photos all over Instagram and Pinterest of mums-to-be doing strength training (lifting weights), doing pilates and yoga, running and sweating and it’s shown me that being ‘strong’ is a good thing, even whilst being pregnant.

When I entered my second trimester I had my midwife appointment and they reminded me of that dreaded Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) that I’d have to do around 28 weeks as I had GD in the past. I don’t want to get it again and will avoid it if I can by changing my ways now. I have been ‘better’ in this pregnancy – cutting down on my sugars, watching the calorie intake and portion control and feel that I’ve done quite well so far. I purchased a workout DVD which I gave up on in the end but decided recently to go for a one-on-one session with a personal trainer that specialises in pre- and post-natal exercise.

(I mentioned my experience in my previous post here)

It was a great 1hr session and Shenda taught me the moves that I could do during pregnancy and gave me a workout plan to use for the duration of my pregnancy. So now that I am equipped with the knowledge, workout plan, all that’s left is to add in a few pregnancy pilates or yoga class here and there and the occasional swimming session should technically help me keep fit and healthy and keep getting GD at bay for now. If it turns out that I am positive for GD it won’t be the end of the world but the exercising and healthy eating should keep it under control.

Here are some lovely photos I came across on Instagram of expecting mums keeping fit during pregnancy 🙂

https://me.sh/udvn9fu

#fitpregnancy

Pregnancy: 26 weeks today!

My Pregnancy | The Greenwich Mummy

Hurrah! Six and a half months already.
I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone!

The Greenwich Mummy | Pregnancy: 26 weeks
The Greenwich Mummy | 26 weeks today!

This pregnancy was similar to my first pregnancy with LO but I’ve been more tired and more achy earlier on. Maybe it’s because my muscles aren’t as strong as the first time round. For that reason, I have been trying to adopt a more healthier, active lifestyle this time round.

I’ve started to exercise lightly at home and also tried to eat healthier to avoid my chances of getting GD (Gestational Diabetes) again. I’m due for a Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) at 28wks so will update you all on my results once I’ve got them… I’m hoping it’s negative but with a family history of diabetes and being positive for GD in my last pregnancy my chances of getting it again is “HIGHLY LIKELY”. *crestfallen face*

At the start of my second trimester I decided to purchase a pre-natal workout DVD. I bought Erin O’Brien’s Complete Pregnancy Fitness DVD from Amazon for about £12.00 with free delivery which was great. I used the DVD about two weeks then got bored of using it even though it is a really good workout. I don’t know why but I can never take workout DVDs seriously.

The Greenwich Mummy | Pregnancy 26 weeks
Erin O’Brien’s pre-natal workout DVD

I eventually halted all exercise until about a few weeks ago when I decided to purchase some ankle weights to start strength training as my back felt a little achy. I combined home exercises with a weekly swim session and felt amazingly rejuvenated. The best I’ve felt since the pregnancy as I’ve always been really tired and exhausted.

Earlier on Monday, I met up with local personal trainer Shenda Falvey who also specialises in pre- and post-natal exercise for a one-on-one session. Shenda created a personal workout plan for me to use for the duration of my pregnancy. Most of the moves can be carried out standing and seated (on a ball or floor) which means I can easily adapt my moves as I progress and bump gets bigger. Most of the moves Shenda showed me I had already heard about but didn’t know how to do them properly so it was great for her to show me the correct technique way. She also taught me to watch out for my posture and positioning which is very important when exercising.

Shenda teaches her personal sessions at home and also hosts bootcamps which are held outdoors in Greenwich. She’s one of the best personal trainers out there from what I was able to search online and the fact that she is a specialist in pre-and post-natal exercise makes it all that much better.

(you can check out her website by clicking here)

So teamed with my personal workout plan, I’m going to purchase some extra weights, workout ball, a pilates mat, and yoga socks. I’ve found a prenatal pilates class at The Greenwich Centre which is my local GLL leisure centre. It’s about £7-10 per class so it’s affordable.

Time to get strong, physically and mentally! 🙂

Image

Just announcing some news….

My Pregnancy | The Greenwich Mummy
The Greenwich Mummy Blog
Photo Credit: Instagram

I’m expecting a little PINK bundle of joy in May 2016!

Very excited. Very tired.

I have a feeling this little one is coming earlier than her due date but we shall see. I’ve kept it VERY hush-hush for a little while now but finally I am ready to come out and announce the news. Hopefully, it’ll also mean more regular posting but I will see how it goes because I’ve been simply exhausted since the start of the pregnancy.

I thought it’d be nice to share some lovely news with my lovely readers to end the first month of 2016. 🙂

– x –