3Ds - Glucose blood test 2 - the bump diaries

Week 28 – Glucose Test Number 2

28 weeks for a pregnant lady with a starting BMI of 30 can only mean one thing – the start of the third trimester and the second glucose blood test.

In my first midwife appointment I found out rather than doing the normal glucose test, which involves drinking a bottle of lucozade an hour before having your blood taken, I would need to do a full glucose test twice. The full test involves fasting for 12 hours, having your blood taken, drinking some weird glucose drink, waiting 2 hours and then having a second lot of blood tests.

Now I had one already early on around 16 weeks so I knew what to expect. Fasting for over 14 hours (when you add on the two hours between blood tests) and the joy of being stuck with a needle 2 times in 2 hours is not fun.

Food has been an issue throughout the pregnancy for me – I have had to eat very little and often to stop nausea being hellish but this has gotten worse since last time. My last appointment had been booked by the midwife so she had made sure it was on a Saturday so that BF could come and keep me company – this time it was automatically booked so I would be going alone. These two aspects made me really worry about the pending appointment.

3Ds - Glucose blood test 2 - the bump diariesLucky for me I have found how filling a portion of egg fried rice could be recently. With an 8am appointment booked and BF commuting back from London so due home at 8pm, I had to plan out food carefully. I didn’t want to cook something at 9pm that I would need tasting or would make me hungry – he was happy with my plan though as it involved him ordering Papa John’s.

I had alarms set at 7 and 7.50 to ensure that I would start cooking and eat in time before the dreaded 8pm deadline. This was such a good idea or I would have struggled to cook and eat in time. Yes, I forgot so the alarms really helped.

With egg friend rice cooked and eaten just in time all I could have now was small sips of water. I often work on automatic so using a climbing sling and screwgate carabiner I tied up the cupboard so I wouldn’t be able to open it in when half asleep. I also hid easy to grab snackable items in the fridge at the back or hidden. Once BF had food sorted it was easier just to try and curl up and sleep.

For once I slept through the night – I think keeping my fluid in take mixed with the very filling dinner made this possible but going for a long walk helped too. With BF’s 6.30am alarm, I was awake early enough to help him get up and ready before heading to the bus stop with him to take the bus across town for my appointment.

The Royal Sussex County Hospital has a load of building works going on at the moment so I finally managed to navigate the hospital to get to  the maternity ward in time for my appointment. At 8am it was completely empty so I had to wait until a member of staff turned up.

It wasn’t long until I was called up for my first blood test. The staff were slowly arriving and I had a young nurse who was going to be managing my glucose test. As with any time that I have to deal with needles I was open about how I had to not see the needle at all and not to know when they were going to jab me.

“Sure no worries – we’ll just talk.”

I wish she had kept her promise but nope… she warned me just before she was going to put the needle in. I of course tensed and this made it super painful.

At 28 weeks, whether or not you have a BMI over 30, you have to have a round of blood tests to check on various things like iron levels so with the first glucose blood test, I also had the standard 28 weeks blood test taken so I had to be jabbed one less times with a needle.

Blood taken and a cotton ball taped to my arm it was time to head back to the waiting room and occupy myself for the next two hours. The first time I had BF to keep me company so we watched episodes of Eggheads downloaded from the BBC iPlayer app. This time I was all alone so had a book and my DS. I think actively playing a Zelda game made time really fly.

Others around me seemed to be struggling though as the waiting room filled up. You could hear and sense the boredom and frustration coming from them. They would try reading, talking and walking around the room.

It seems that having something that you actively have to engage with helps pass time much faster. Eggheads had helped time fly as we had been discussing and guessing the answers. My DS had helped me focus and enjoy the time even as I sat there alone.

Not everyone has a handheld console or likes games and quizzes but there was one lady passing the time happily knitting away. If you know that you have to wait for 2 hours between blood tests, I really would suggest finding something to actively do.

With the two hours over I was called back and returned to the room for my final blood test. Again with the same lady I asked to not know when she was going to stick me with the needle and again she agreed only a minute later to warn me. Yeap, she was really not the brightest spark.

It was however finally over! After 14 hours I could finally eat again so pulled out my pre-packed snacks before heading back home to engulf some filling food.

As my blood test was on a Friday this time, I only had to wait a day for the results – last time I had to wait two days due to no results on a Sunday. Great news – my blood test came back clear so I don’t have fetus betus! Now more sugar related blood tests now for me. The results actually came back really good so I wasn’t even close to having any issues. My 28 weeks blood tests came back normal too!

It was another test done and another milestone as I entered into the third trimester with a clean bill of health.

Did you have to have the full glucose test? How did you pass the time? Did you have the normal test? I would love to hear from you so leave a comment below.



Week 20: Second Ultrasound – The Bump Diaries

Ultrasounds are always exciting – this was the second and possibly last one that we would get. This second ultrasound, as it was planned at 20 weeks could also tell us what the gender of our little baby was going to be.

Still struggling with all the itching and being made aware that it could be a serious pregnancy condition I was very nervous. Little one hadn’t moved for a while and movements haven’t gotten regular yet so I was panicking of what I may or may not see at the ultrasound.

As normal BF was calm leading up to the appointment. He always seems to be as cool as a cucumber all while I freak out so it was great to have him coming to the appointment.

For weeks we have been discussing whether or not we wanted to know the gender. There are so many pros and cons to both sides and even the morning of our appointment we still weren’t sure what our decision would be. For us the idea of keeping it a secret would be exciting and would stop people from giving us overly pink or blue presents. Find out though would let us be able to focus the baby name search down significantly and we would be able to stop calling our little one an “it” or go “he/she” in every conversation; we would also be able to start imaging our little family.

With the afternoon starting we made our way by bus straight to the hospital with bottle of water to drink. As at the last ultrasound I had been instructed to have a full bladder, I thought this would be the same so throughout our journey I was sipping away. By the time we got to  the hospital though I really needed to pee – seems my bit of a bump is squishing my insides.

As we arrived the room was almost full of others. Next to the only free places to sit together were a rather loud family. Last time we had an ultrasound we had decided to get lots of photos so that we could share them with family members – this time round we had decided on just one or two. There was only one issue with our plan – that loud family had broken the machine and now it was no longer accepting card payments. Having used the last of his change on the bus tickets, BF was left with nothing to pay. Everyone else waiting in the room had this issue – many partners had run off to get change but I managed to pull together some change so we could get one photo and BF wouldn’t have to run off.

The time passed and sat quietly whispering away in excitement – unlike our first appointment our appointment time came and went by. 15 minutes after it was scheduled I couldn’t hold it any longer – I needed to pee and someone prodding my stomach with an ultrasound wand was out of the question unless it was going to happen in the next 3 minutes. It was then and only then that I checked my paperwork and phone only to find that at the 20 week ultrasound I didn’t need a full bladder. Thank goodness!

With that I nipped to the loo and less than a minute after returning to my seat and feeling far more comfortable my name was called out. This was it, we were going to see our little one again. All of those fears bubbled up one last time. “Please oh please let there be a heart beat and that everything is fine!” rang through my head as I was asked to get up on the bed.

Up went my top and on went the gel that warmed up really quickly as it touched my stomach. This time I was at the hands of a new girl with a more experienced lady assisting her. The wand went on my stomach in a hard prodding fashion. Instantly they found the baby again in a peaceful pose. It was this point that BF exclaimed “It’s an alien!” to help calm my nerves as I gripped his hand to make me giggle. The giggling clearly woke up the little baby as it began to wiggle and move. The newbie then annoyed at the now awake baby prodded harder and harder as she tried to find a good position to view the heart. After a few minutes of the other lady trying to guide her and I think seeing how much pain she was clearly inflicting on me and bump, who was wiggling with every hard prod, she took over. She excused it as “I’ll show you what I mean and you can try later on to find it yourself” but she was so gentle and asking constantly if she was hurting me.

They spent ages looking over the heart and checking out all the key veins and arteries running to and from it to have me and BF geeking out in the corner over it all. We are nerds so love finding out all about this sort of stuff and so got to learn a long side the newbie where everything was. It also meant that we had even longer to coo and see the little alien slowly calming down back to sleep again as bump was no longer woken by laughs or painful prods.

Bit by bit we got to see them checking the spine, vital organs, head, brain and hands. My favourite part was when the screen was all black apart for two little perfect feet occasionally moving. It felt like we have been gifted with so much time to see every little detail of our little one as the new girl got to learn so much.

20 week baby ultrasound - the bump diariesAgain throughout there was talk of measurements passed and written down while Bf held my hand and we cooed away. It was a much longer appointment compared to our first one that a new lot of gel had to be applied. With all the measurements and learning that could be gleamed from our session the lady holding the wand told us that all the vital stuff was finished and did we want to know the gender.

We still hadn’t formalised an answer between us but in the thrill of it all we looked at each other and bf said “I know she really wants to know so yes.”

She giggled at us – I think she has been faced with many answers of over her years of doing this and I think she always loved this part. “Any ideas or predictions of what you think you might have?” she quipped leading on to BF giving a very quick break down of his family just having boys for the last 5 or 6 generations so it is probably going to be a boy.

“Well I have a surprise for you… it’s a girl!” Cue to very shocked parents to be – we really thought it was a signed and done deal with BF’s family history but here we had news of a little girls. It seems my recent dreams of holding a little girl were true! It was at this point I turned to BF to see one of the biggest and proudest grins from him I have ever seen as he squeezed my hand. We didn’t get long left to coo over our little girl as a final picture was taken and my stomach was cleaned up of left over gel before dashing to the loo one last time. By the time I had returned the picture was printed and the ladies were offering their final congratulations before we headed back out the hospital to go home.

As we caught the bus home we were both buzzing with excitement – it was clear that the news of the gender made this even more real for BF. I don’t think he ever imagined having a little girl either so a new sort of shocked excitement was waving over him. BF had gone from wanting to not know or anyone to know to sharing it with the world. It would seem that we made the best choice and all the way home we giggled to each other and tried to think of baby girl names with our new photo in hand.

What was your 20 week scan like? Did you want to know the gender? Were you surprised? I would love to hear all about your stories so please leave a comment below!

heart button in a book: Meeting the midwife - the bump diaries

Week 18: Bump – The Bump Diaries

All through my pregnancy I have not felt like I looked pregnancy. I started with a lot of squishy parts; I had a bump but it was made up of squash-able fat. For weeks neither me or BF could see a difference – to us I was still the same width.

imageSince about 8 weeks I have been losing weight from struggling to eat enough food but my stomach stayed the same – little did we know that I was losing fat from my stomach. On top of this equilibrium between bump growing and fat loss, as we were seeing my shape everyday we didn’t realise that over time I had changed shape in a subtle way.

All of this time I had been either wearing big baggy t-shirts or maternity clothes – with my boobs having grown so fast early on I’d not been able to fit in my normal clothes for a while. It is surprising just how well maternity clothes are good at hiding a bump. This week my friend from school visited for the weekend – this was when it really hit me that I had a bump.

It was Saturday morning and rather than heading back to mine straight away we explored Brighton’s Vegfest. Nothing other than my food aversions or quick exhaustion came up until we left. On our way to Bravissamo, as there was one not in my friends city, I asked if I looked pregnant at all.

“If I didn’t know you no… but as I know you I can definitely see a difference.”

Turns out that I had a subtle bump even with the maternity top with a high bump rather than just spare tire. She felt really bad but for me it was a break through – I had a bump even if it was small!

At Bravissamo my friend searched for all the items that she wanted to try on. After finding some great things to try I grabbed a few too just so that I could go into the changing rooms with her and giggle. I also never get to go clothes shopping with friends so despite having a growing bump that was going to make any purchases pointless it was fun going in and enjoying dressing up.

With only three items to her eight I waited a few items before I tried anything on. The first top I tried despite being a 16 very curvy wouldn’t go over my boobs – oh well I knew they had gotten big. Next top went on and this time it was a light stripy jumper. Made from stretchy fabric this was actually got passed my boobs and down me. It was this point that I looked in the mirror and laughed – I had a bump and a very clear bump at that.

As I had struggled with the last top I had calls of “Did you get stuck and need me to help?” thinking it was another top that wasn’t going over my boobs only for me to tell her that I got it on and she’ll understand why I was laughing. With a call that she had another top on that she wanted an opinion on I opened the door to my changing room to a gasp.

I was very much pregnant and my clothes had been hiding it really well but this top showed off my real figure complete with very clear bump. As this had been a top that she had just tried on just before we had both seen what it should have looked like. There was no doubt now that I was out of the baby or burritos stage but my maternity clothes really hid that. It was that moment that I wondered when what I had thought was still just tubby old me was actually a baby bump – how long had I actually looked pregnant but hidden it from the world.

It is a crazy moment when you realise that you have a bump – there really is someone in there and soon it is going to be very obvious that you are pregnant to strangers. For a lot of women the emergence of their bump is worrying as they try to keep it a secret for as long as others, while for some it is a great moment that they can start to dress in a way that proudly shows it off. I could have bought that top and clearly shown off my bump to the world but for me this top was out of the question; the weather was starting to warm up and so even this light jump will be too warm to wear in a matter of weeks. It was fantastic though to see my bump and really feel pregnant especially with such a close friend present for that moment.

Finishing off our shopping trip we head back to mine to rest, eat and gossip for the evening. With such a big moment of feeling pregnant I had my next big moment when I got my first ever baby gift from my friend.

It turns out that my friend, since finding out about my pregnancy, had knitted the most adorable little baby jumper for me and my little one. As she, and I, didn’t know what the baby’s gender is she had kept it gender neutral so that no matter what I could use it.

I loved it! It was such a thoughtful, beautiful and wonderful gift that she had spent ages making especially by hand just for me. There was so much thought into it as she told me how she worked out what size the baby would probably be when the weather started to get cold so that the jumper should fit just right.

What an incredible week – not only do I officially have a bump but an incredible present from a close friend for my little one that I can imagine them in. It is weeks like this that make pregnancy great.

When did you realise that you had your bump? What was your first baby present? I’d love to hear from you about your pregnancy stories so leave a comment below!

This blog post was written March 2016 when I was 18 weeks pregnant and published in April 2016.


Life with Baby Kicks A Cornish Mum Life Love and Dirty Dishes

Week 17: Haircut – The Bump diaries

I hate having my haircut so I only manage to gather the courage to go maybe once or twice a year. The past year with my TBI really messing up my health I just didn’t go. Finally feeling well enough with bump and wanting to glamourous it was time to get myself a nice haircut.

I have a huge fear of hairdressers, especially female ones after growing up with my scary aunt cutting my hair or memories of my sister cutting off a lot of my hair. Over the years I have tried going to hair dressers but every time a lady does my hair I never enjoy it and they all seem to want me to dictate what I want. As someone who literally doesn’t own a hairdryer and just ties their hair up after a bath or shower I know nothing about how to do hair. There are pictures after pictures of me with hippy long wavvy hair that I can sit on because I would leave so long between haircuts.

The Bump Diaries - Hair Cut by the House of Hair in BrightonAbout 7 years ago I walked into a hairdressers two days before my dad’s wedding needing a haircut and I couldn’t put it off any longer. I asked for a haircut and didn’t care who it was as long as it was as soon as possible before I panicked and backed out. A tall tattooed cover man called Tony walked over and did my hair – it was the first time I felt not as scared and was happy enough to decide on what would look good on me. Ever since I have had a similar experience with the other male hairdressers – I don’t seem to panic so much and often they are really happy to design and decide on what my new haircut should be.

The last year and a bit I have been lucky to find a hairdresser that doesn’t scare me and I really do relax with. He used to work at Fordes in Brighton so with that now closed I had to track him down to find out he was now based at House of Hair in Kemptown a 5 minute walk from a regular appointment I had booked on the Thursday. After my early morning appointment I rock up ask if I can have an appointment with Dan to find he had a free slot in an hour.

After killing some time in a lovely cafe just up  the road I returned and it was time for a great catch up. The reason I love Dan is that he really knows how to calm and relax even the most terrified person, he will happily gossip away and take your mind off things, and designs your haircut based on what is best for you both in terms of up keep and appearance.

Now if you are pregnant there are a few changes to your normal hairdressing experience; for me the majority of those occur when they wash my hair. On top of not being able to use anything with essential oils or other pregnancy unsafe chemicals they are not allowed to give you a head massage for various reasons. For me this isn’t too much an issue – I actually hate people massaging my head with all the head injury and spinal issues. I know that others struggle though as they can’t have various hair treatments that they would normally get to enjoy, such as certain hair dyes.

The Bump Diaries - Hair Cut by the House of Hair in BrightonMy hair all clean and wet I sit down and the gossiping with Dan begins as he works out what fun exciting plans he has for my hair. As I barely manage to get my hair cut even every 6 months, and I do nothing with my hair other than brush and wash it, he asked just how much he could cut off. As my next haircut could be anywhere from 6 months to a year away I tell him he can cut it to just below my shoulders; this means I’ll have over a foot of hair cut off.

It is at this point that another member of staff is shocked but we both giggle and he explains the situation. She investigates my hair and gasps at how great the condition my hair is. “This is what happens when you don’t own a hairdryer or use straighteners!” I’m used to the shock of people finding out how low maintenance my hair routine is – Dan couldn’t help but giggle.

The experience was wonderful – Dan really does know how to make a girl feel wonderful and look that way too. I loved my hair and couldn’t stop grinning; my haircut was also so practical for my life. My haircut was designed so that no matter what I do my hair will look good when tied up or down, and won’t need any styling.

Of course I had to get photos and it was so wonderful that staff were quick to help with directing me to the best light and take the photos for me from various angles.

Now I’m a little embarrassed to admit that with all the flutter and conversations going on I sort of forgot to pay. As I stopped to send a photo to BF of my new hair I heard my name called. Ah has the dreaded baby brain hit me already! A quick return to the shop to sort out things (and everyone being very sweet about my bit of baby brain) and it was back to enjoying my hair.

I have promised to go back with baby in hand and after bump is born I will probably want to have some me time too. With how amazing I feel after weeks of exhaustion, headaches and other issues, it was nice to feel so wonderful and beautiful with an appointment in the hands of a hair expert. I can see why all the baby books tell you to treat yourself to a haircut every so often – it so easy to forget these little luxury me moments. I should follow their advice and get one just before bump arrives but I’ll see how I feel closer to the time.

Did you get a nice haircut when pregnant? Did you find your experience different? Did you have to avoid certain treatments because of your pregnancy? Do you have a favourite hairdresser; if so why? I can’t wait to hear about your stories so leave a comment below!

Week 15: Pregnancy Yoga – The Bump Diaries

Throughout the pregnancy you are always told to keep healthy with food and exercise – you can either continue with certain sports to a point or join various classes at key points. I tried swim classes for pregnant ladies like me but that was hellish for people who don’t have a straight forward pregnancy.

I felt so humiliated with my inability to basically do half of the pregnancy swim class and then putting up with a period of “relaxation” where the cliques talked for half an hour and the rest of us floated about trying to relax with no clue what was going on. The whole experience really made me cautious about expecting a good experience at pregnancy yoga after that. I did however book my place around the end of the corner from me with loads of really great reviews in terms of their pregnancy classes.

Upon booking online I had to fill out a form which included a section about any health issues. All of the stuff online states that you have to wait until at least 12 weeks to go but every place has a different policy. Lush Tums have a policy to wait until 16 weeks but as the class fell on a Saturday and my week 16 would start two days later I listed this along with my other health issues asking if this would be an issue.

Pregnancy Yoga with lushtums - week 15 - the bump diariesI have filled out the added sections on forms before, always being open about my issues and nothing ever happens. My first experience of Lush Tums however was a surprise. Within 24 hours of booking my first session mot only did I get a response that I was fine for me to turn up 2 days before being 16 weeks pregnant but I also got a wonderful response about my health issues. The instructor Clare was open that she tailors her sessions based on the issues of all her students but to make sure to talk to the instructor of the class before each class just to highlight this.

Compared to my experience of the swimming lesson, where I struggled to find much information at all, this was already hands down so much better. It was at this point though that I tried to make sure I didn’t get my hopes up but this did help me feel a lot calmer.

The morning of my class arrived and I planned to arrive at 10.30, despite the venue being literally 5 minutes from my flat so that I would be able to find the venue as well as have time to talk to the instructor and settle. Walking in the door hidden behind the busy Western Road I was greeted with a set of stairs or corridor – it was great though as I already knew from all the clear signs to go and talk to reception upstairs as soon as I arrived.

The lady on reception greeted me with a smile and was so great at dealing with a clearly nervous me with everything I needed to know. The loo was downstairs, along with the changing rooms, while the studio door was just to my left. She went on to inform me that I didn’t need to bring or burrow a towel unlike the other yoga classes and that while we can have small bags or valuables in the class that there is a lot of space in the changing room for any thing else, including shoes and coats. It was then at this point that rather than letting me try to sort my self out and then hunt out who was the teacher, she went out of her way to ensure that I got introduced to her.

This is where I met Clare and all of my worries of the class went away; she was so wonderfully calming and understanding of all my issues. I loved how she made a point that she always has to tailor her classes for the aches, pains, injuries and other issues of people in her class so she provides alternatives of any thing that she think might be an issue. I have been told this before so my guard was a little up – people make vague promises of considering all their students needs and then either don’t follow through or make you feel singled out. I think how Clare then went into how some of her students deal with hip issues brought on by pregnancy and that she does a Hello Circle were people share about their week made me feel so much better. The way that she inquired more information about what I could and couldn’t do, asking follow-up questions, made me feel that she was really listening. The whole conversation may have only taken up 5 minutes but it really felt wonderful that she was willing to arrive early to talk to people. With our conversation over, it was at this point she started talking to another student who was dealing with some bad back pain that week. Rather than just making vague promises, Clare then started to open up with ideas of what could help her in and out of class. Even before the class had started it was clear that this was going to be a completely different and wonderful experience compared to the swim class.

As they continued their conversation I slipped back down stairs and got ready for the class before returning up again and into the studio. The room was bright and airy; to my relief there were no mirrors! There were some mat already left out and others were grabbing their own to find a spot. As I had planned to arrive early there were few people when I arrived so I got a spot and sat down with a lovely lady next to me. Straight away she said hello and struck up a conversation.

It was great as she helped me set things up and told me about what to expect. As more and more ladies came in I was given a form to fill out as a first time student. When I had completed it I returned my attention back to the now buzzing room full of mats and women.

Now I had booked my place a few weeks before hand and even before the lesson started women were having to be turned away as it was fully booked and spare places had already been taken; 10 minutes before the lesson started and the room was packed! This classes popularity really did speak for its self as I was the only new student.

The lesson started with a hello from Clare before her as planned Hello Circle. This basically involves going around the whole room and each lady saying their name, how many weeks they are and then some time to talk about their week. This was fantastic as you are in a room of other pregnant ladies who are sharing in an open space to complain about their week and issues – you aren’t alone and people are able to share in a safe place with others being able to give great advice. As all this went on Clare was able to in part what would help in terms of the class as well as outside. She was also noting things down and stating what exercises we were going to do especially for that issue. It was an incredible experience that I have not had the chance to have in terms of my pregnancy. Not only did it feel great to be able to share this moment with the others there but I also to feel listened to by an instructor.

The class was amazing – with every exercise Clare would give us alternatives without directly pointing out people but by talking about issues even if there was only one person suffering from that. She was also great at explaining what each exercise would be great for; they covered things for labour, back pain, relaxation, and so much more.

For me, even with all my head, back and shoulder issues, I was able to take part in the whole class and felt amazing! I had learnt loads of really useful things and felt fantastic. The class however wasn’t just about exercises but finished with a relaxation part. Unlike the swimming one that was just “go relax” and the instructor chatting away to the lifeguard or checking her nails, this was lead by Clare as she talked through something I have only experienced from a relaxation therapy specialist that I had to see with the Nurophysio. Lying down she talked everyone through this meditative session with her soft accent and music making you feel like a whole new person afterwards. Turns out that her talk through mediation is so popular and has helped so many ladies in the classes that she has recorded some; ladies were boasting how they had found them to be the only thing to help them relax (which then helped them not ache) or to get to sleep when nothing else would work. One lady mentioned how a previous student had played it during her labour between contractions and found it highly positive.

Even as the class finished everyone was so friendly, while Clare went and talked to students with more suggestions to help them or just to see how they were. After the class I ended up talking to a few ladies; I loved just how friendly and open everyone was. In the changing rooms this continued as the ladies continued to be so welcoming and slowly we all went our own ways.

I loved my first session that I booked my next class on my phone before I had walked into my flat 5 minutes away to ensure I wouldn’t miss out from it being fully booked. I have never wanted to sign up so quickly for something after my first session and I think it just goes to show how much I adored it.

For me this class is incredible as it helps with so many things! I am now a huge fan of Clare and her lessons – I will do everything I can to ensure I don’t miss a lesson where possible and will be looking forward to what next week will have in store. I can see now why her lessons are so over booked – it is really will be the highlight of my week and it is already for most ladies in the class.

If you are pregnant I would recommend checking out http://www.lushtums.co.uk/ and seeing if they are doing any lessons near you. I am lucky that I have the classes so close but I know that quite a few of the ladies travelled from Worthing and further as they were worth it. I’ll definitely be at the Brighton and Hove sessions over the next few months!

Have you been to a pregnancy yoga lesson? What did you think of it? Have you been to Lush Tums? What is your favourite pregnancy class? I would love to hear from you so leave a comment below!

This review was all my own opinion and hasn’t been sponsored in any way. After writing this post I did approach Clare to ask if there were any photos or images I could use and they have been wonderful and provided photos.

Made Brighton: Best of Jewellery

This weekend I have been up and down the aisles of Made Brighton and it has been fantastic. The show is full of wonderfully created pieces of art, fashion, home ware and jewellery.

I love jewellery but I hardly ever find things that I like on the high street. As someone who can’t wear gold this is even more of an issue and even in Brighton’s famous laines, it is mainly all similar looking engagement rings or gold. In the past I have travelled to various places known for their creative jewellery but At Made Brighton there was so much choice in such a small space.

While there were thousands of different pieces on display here are my 5 favourite pieces of jewellery.

5. Fabric inspired pendant

Cool silver necklace: check out my top picks from Made Brighton

If you know me well, you’ll be aware that I have gotten into sewing over the last two years. Deep in the middle of the whole show was a stall full of jewellery all based on sewing, knitting, and textiles. There were pendants of famous types of fabric weaves in silver that filled the walls to bracelets with sewing techniques. I love the story and passion of all things sewing about it all yet this pendant just stood out.

You can see Kate’s whole collection at www.kateholdsworthdesigns.com including this pendant necklace for £50.

4. Unique Silver links necklace

Cool silver necklace: check out my top picks from Made Brighton

Of all the jewellery, there was one piece that you could not miss – set on a black velvet display it’s unique silver links stood out beautifully. I loved the care and attention made to ensure each link in the chain was beautiful and unique all at once. There were other pieces by the same artist but this was the one that brought you in with its eye catching nature. It is hard to photograph its true nature as it is such a 3D piece of art but even flat images show that it is something extra special.

Called Angles and Curls, this necklace is beautifully created and you can see more of this exciting range at www.ellenmonaghan.net or e-mail ellen@ellenmonaghan.net to view the whole collection.

3. Delicate Silver spiral necklace

Cool silver squirrel necklace: check out my top picks from Made Brighton

I love animals so I adore this cute squirrel necklace. It was such a popular range that I struggled to get to the stall for a closer look at first. You could get just the acorn but for me the adorable squirrels running up and down really makes it for me. You can get this necklace for £135 and the other items in Phoebe Jewellery’s Woodland collection here.

2. Silver flower pendant

Cool silver necklace: check out my top picks from Made Brighton

Now for me there is more of a story behind why I love this – though it is beautiful and had everyone fighting over it. Growing up my mum would plant lots of cool and fun flowers in our garden – my favourite though was the Fuchsia bushes that sat on the corner of the whole garden. With a name like Annabelle, it has always been hard to find anything with my name on it like my sister could.

My mum rather than ignoring her daughter’s frustration searched and found that there was a type of Fuchsia that was called Annabelle. She planted it and a few months later after it started to flower she showed it to me and told me that it was better to have a beautiful flower bearing my name than anything else. It is something that has stuck with me since and so has the love of Fuchsia’s.

As you can imagine finding a necklace that was beautiful, silver and shaped like a Fuchsia is just wonderful. So close to Christmas I wish I could have justified buying it but I’ll be keeping nbNg’s details close by for when I can justify getting my self one!

This is available in a load of other metals but for me the silver one for £100 was definately my favourite. Check out their website for all their amazing designs.

1. Silver kingfisher cuff

Cool silver necklace: check out my top picks from Made Brighton

I love really delicate jewellery – for me fine metal work beats big diamonds any day. Walking past Helen London’s stall without buying anything was so hard as it just was everything I love.

Every piece of jewellery had such beautiful and fine detail. While I didn’t have a chance to talk to the designer, I loved every piece as they were everything I love and look for in the jewellery that I wear. Out of all the jewellery at Made Brighton, nothing stood out or was as beautiful as Helen’s Swan bracelet. It was gracefully beautiful and I have never seen anything quite as incredible.

For more details about Helen, visit www.helenlondon.co.uk now or view her Filigree collection to purchase some of her incredible work.

This design really does show what unique, beautiful and incredible items that you could come across at Made Brighton. I hope that in the future I’ll be able to see more designs from Helen London and even own my own too.

Made Brighton is open tomorrow for one more day at Brighton Dome if you would like to search for your own favourites.

Love all this beautiful jewellery – make sure that you check out my So Pretty board for all things sparkly and wonderful!

Follow Annabelle Spender’s board So pretty! on Pinterest.

Did you go to Made Brighton? Will you go to the next event? What was your favourite piece? I’d love to hear from you so leave a comment below.




Made Brighton: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Review

As  trained designer, I have been to a lot of design shows in the past and even exhibited at some with my own design work.This evening I headed to the 10th Made Brighton show and it was the first time that I attended this event too.

Each year, before the event officially opens, there is a private viewing were you can get into the event early to get the best choice of things as well as enjoy a far less crowded event with the joys of free drinks. I still can’t believe it but the team behind Made Brighton gave me access to the Private Viewing event!

Beautiful silver necklace - check out my honest review of Brighton MadeI have been to Brighton Corn Exchange before yet when I arrived there is still the buzz of excitement as you walk into an incredible Indian themed building. As I arrived the doors started to open so I was lucky that while there was a queue it moved really quickly.

It is a shame though that the initial feeling of excitement and buzz was stopped with a rather silly queuing system once inside – you had to walk in and if you tried to walk into the venue or to get into the queue of people waiting for drinks you were just directed away to a hidden queue. This was a bit weird and just caused more confusion than anything and minutes later was ignored by everyone. I think there was just basically someone trying from the Brighton Dome team that seemed to be on a power trip of wanting to direct people for the sake of making himself feel better than keep order. This was though I will mention the only small thing that was bad about the whole experience so you can imagine how the rest of the show was if it was just a moment of confusion that is by far the worst thing!

Now I don’t drink at events so I normally have very little choice when it comes to drinks. Most of the time it will be a range of alcohol and orange yet when I requested something non-alcoholic I was offered 4 different options – a first for me at events like this. While the complimentary drinks won’t be about the rest of the event, it was so great that they had clearly thought about everyone going. I must say that the feeling of strolling around stalls with a beautiful glass of juice still made me feel so wonderful and corks were constantly popping around the venue the rest of the evening – one even hit my friend at one point!

While I have been to the Corn Exchange for fairs and events before, I barely recognised it! You walked past a curtain and if it wasn’t for the beautiful and unique mirrored windows above I wouldn’t have realised where I was if blind folded into the venue. The whole place was stuffed to the brim with stalls that many vendors had to share to fit them all in.

Beautiful chandelier - check out my honest review of Brighton MadeI will admit that some of the things were out of my price range – I don’t have £1,900 to spend on a chandelier nor £1,800 on a piece of glass artwork but there were so many things at different prices that there really is something for everyone and an incredible experience as I swept through so many stalls finding more and more things that I wanted.

One of the biggest things that shocked me was just how incredible everything was – I have been to design shows before and none have ever had as many things, even in shows 4, 5 and 6 times as big, as this show did. The creativity of the designs that you were surrounded by is amazing; it is an environment that many young designers struggle to find and yet here was the perfect place.

Made-Brighton-2015-event-lampshadeThis for me has definitely been the best fair that I have come across in Brighton in my 2 and a half years but is also high up on the design fairs that I have attended. I have been disappointed with other craft fairs in and around Brighton before – there were some good items but you’d have to search for them; at Made Brighton every stall was impressive and beautiful. Even after going around all the stalls twice, I struggled to find a stall that was rubbish, tacty or poorly designed; the team at Made Brighton have really been clever with their selection of exhibitors. It may have gone un-noticed to others but Made Brighton’s clever planning of which stalls went were meant that you never saw similar styles down the same aisle and this just added to the creativity that you felt as you walked through the venue. Even with lots of businesses there, you never felt like you saw something twice – every stall seemed to have its own take, style on even simple things like a scarfs played felt and looked drastically different from stall to stall. Based in the heart of Brighton for only the next three days, this is for me a must as you will find plenty of Christmas presents or inspiration.

All in all this was an incredible event and I really can’t wait until the next one now to see what incredible designers I will get to meet. This is not a craft fair – this is a design fair and so expect some of the best bespoke design work locally.

I loved this celebration of design and to be able to go on the Private Viewing event meant that it was just a limited number of people there. I was warned by many exhibitors there just how busy the weekend is so if you do plan to go, try to head there early or try to visit on Friday if you have the chance.

The Good: location, exhibitors, and layout
The Bad: queue system and possibly how crowded it might get
The Ugly: my bank balance…
Overall score: 5/5

Have you been to Made Brighton? Will you be going this weekend? What are you looking forward to see the most? What is your favourite design or craft fair?

Photo Blogging Challenge: Close ups

It is another month; another photo challenge. This month’s theme was all about close ups and straight away I had photos piling up. I love close up style photography – most of my favourite photography over the years has been close ups.

Close up of eyesMy first photo is embarrassingly me – I wanted to push my self and experiment with taking my own photos. As someone always behind a camera at events, I don’t get many photos of myself. I’m not great at taking photos of myself – I find it hard not being behind the camera or the ability to set up composition to be perfect.
I recently have been experimenting with a great natural light location and I wanted to see what effects I could do. The more I played with this location taking my own photo, the more I wanted to get some one else to photograph there.

I am actually quite proud of the composition of this photo and the effect of light on my air – it just seems to highlight the layers.

Close up of flowerMy second photo was from a photo day out with a friend teaching her how to use her new camera. It was such a great day being able to share my 10 years of experience; I did however find out that I have no idea what all the technical terms are but it turns out that this is very helpful for someone new to photography.

It was an amazing day as we strolled along Brighton Beach before heading to the amazing Pavilion Palace Gardens. All around us there were people, buskers and flowers providing us both a lot to photograph. It was really a perfect time to show the difference between my lenses so I tried to carefully choose something to photograph a considerable distance away yet able to get a perfect picture.

As it is October the flowers were slowly starting to fade from the beautiful Pavilion Gardens in Brighton. I loved the stark difference between the still flowering background with the dying stem. Out of all the photos of the day this was my favourite – and the rest where not close ups!

I really am proud of this photo and it really does shout October in Brighton to me with its bright colours stark against the browning trees and winter weather.


Close up of puppyOctober for me is very special – it is the month that I met the BF so every year we celebrate each year together. This year I was behind the planning and though we were staying in Brighton it was perfect – the only thing I didn’t plan for was the BF getting the flu…

With a plan to take Otto (a dog I walk every so often) to the Doggy Cafe in Hove I still took him by myself. I took my camera with me and was pleasantly surprised when I got there to find so many dogs and adorable puppies!

I love puppies and this photo really does capture his puppy dog eyes. At just 10 weeks old he really did have a captive audience as he flew back and forth or cuddled up with his owner.

Check out my caramel cake recipe nowNext up has to be cake – caramel cake in fact! This month I am starting a Bake Off themed project to attempt every single bake off challenge in order from season 1. It was all about signature cake and for me that is caramel.

I used to make this cake when I was younger but decorating with fudge and hammered toffee rather than creating my own molten caramel. After hours of baking, and a second degree burn, I finally managed to finish and the result was the best caramel cake that I have ever made.

While I wasn’t expecting this to be a close up photo too, I was utterly shocked at some of the photographs that I managed to get of my first bake.

Looking through the photographs I had to include this as the shards of caramel and texture of buttercream made this just add depth and complexity to a rather simple item.

I love caramel and this just makes me proud of both my baking and my photography. I can’t wait to share my post now about this cake with the photos that I managed to get.


Portrait close upMy final photo is another one of me – this may seem strange but I managed my favourite close up portrait of the year.

Since getting glasses I have felt old and to have a photo that made me feel baby faced and young was fantastic. To many this photo may not seem close up but when you realise how close I was to the camera then you would.

I adore the lighting as it makes my messy hair the focus with so much texture and layers of colours for something that normally is just a singular mousy brown.

So there are my favourite close ups this month! What do you think of them? Do you have a favourite photo? What is your favourite close up photo? I’d love to hear from you so leave a comment below!






Pierced Wonderings

Hannah Spannah Coco Banana

Black and White Photography: Walking the Cockapoos

A few weeks ago I got some really bad family news – someone in my family had passed away suddenly in the night. I often turn to photography when faced with bad news so I took my camera and met up with someone in a local park as she was walking two adorable cockapoos. She’s a professional dog walker, so while one of them was her own dog, the other wasn’t.

Dogs are wonderful creatures and the feeling of joy when her own dog Otto recognised me in the park was incredible! He was so excited and happy to see me it was like seeing a kid realising that they had been taken to Disney Land.

My dog walking friend was only too pleased to let me photograph her and her fluffy companions as they strolled the sunlit park. As a fellow photographer it was also fun to hear about the sort of photos that she took and her own direction of style as the two young dogs flew around us playing.

That was a few weeks ago, and the funeral of my uncle took place late last week. I had avoided the photos – possibly because they seemed to joyful and full of colour, or due more likely to the day I took them. Coming across a black and white link up yesterday I wondered what I could use when I came back across the photos and wondered what would happen if I changed them to black and white.

They seemed to completely change and still remain utterly beautiful – they also seemed to utter more of the emotion I was feeling the day I took them. I thought that I would share a few of my favourites from that day and I would love to hear what you think of them.

black and white photo of black Cockapoo dog at the park

Otto panting in the hot September heat

black and white photo of white Cockapoo dog at the park

She many normally be bright white but playing at the park can get messy for a cockapoo

black and white photo of black Cockapoo dog at the park

All that running around seemed to puff poor Otto out

dog walker training a cockapoo at the park

Joelle doing some basic training

black and white photo of black Cockapoo dog at the park

I think this is my favourite out of all of the photos I took that day – in colour though it seemed to lose its power and sums up my feelings on the day

black and white photo of black and white Cockapoo dogs at the park

Waiting for treats and praise as they train in the park

If you liked these black and white photos make sure that you check out Black and White Wednesday for more photos or my other photography blogposts. If you are based in Brighton and are looking for a dog walker, sitter or trainer – make sure you check out the Cockapoo Lady now.


Mrs Beetons Bakewell pudding

Another week so another bake. This weekly challenge of baking something for Silver Mushroom has really become so much fun. Last week’s episode of bake-off was all about Victorian recipes so I had to try and hunt down a period recipe – who better to turn to than  Mrs Beeton.

As I date a veggie a lot of the bakes with animal fats or meat were out of the window so after a lot of hunting (and a failed pumpkin pie) I finally found the perfect recipe – Bakewell Pudding! Most people have heard or eaten Bakewell tarts but never the pudding variation so this would be a great bake. It was actually really easy and other than a long bake it was actually really quick to make this yummy dish.

To make this you will need:

  • 450ml/¾ pint breadcrumbs
  • 600ml/1 pint milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 55g/2oz sugar
  • 8og/3oz butter
  • 25g/1oz ground almonds
  • jam (and lots of it!)

Mrs Beetons bakewell pudding on a blue plateFirst preheat the oven to 180 and butter your dish (little cake tins won’t do – you need a deep 9″ tin that won’t leak). Layer the base of the tin with the breadcrumbs and then cover with a layer of jam – this will be the most frustrating part unless you use a lot so be prepared to use almost a whole jar of jam!

Now the original recipe it wasn’t very clear on the order to mix the ingredients for the batter so to make the next part mix the sugar and butter until it is light and creamy, then mix in the ground almonds and eggs until it is nice smooth consistency. Continue mixing as you slowly add in the milk until you get a very light batter.

Pour the batter on top of the jam and breadcrumbs and then put in the oven for an hour then serve. I said it was easy!

Now I had the temperature at 200 for the first 30 minutes (bad mistake!) as the original direction was “moderate” and I had no clue what that meant and ended up turning it down but the damage was done – it has a slightly dark (but not burnt) top.

I’m still proud though of how this recipe came out – it is so yummy and I really want to try it again. I wish I had better photos of it but BF was a little haphazard when serving (plus the browned top). Don’t let look put you off though – this is like a sweet yorkshire pudding, crossed with cake and bread with a layer of yummy jam.

Will you try making this? Do you have a favourite Victorian recipe? Have you tried a Mrs Beeton recipe before? I would love to hear so make sure that you leave a comment below!

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