Monday, 22 June 2015

Summer Green Smoothie Recipe

Green Smoothie Recipe ~ Zingy Kiwi and Coconut 

If you read my most recent Food Diary Friday post you'll know that I've been feeling like garbage lately. I've had no energy and really felt like I needed something to perk me up.

I know that feeling tired and sluggish is just a normal part of being this pregnant, but what we put into our bodies has a powerful effect on how we feel too so I've been hunting down inspiration for healthy juices and smoothies on my Pinterest 'Health' board

On the hunt for an appetising green smoothie I recently came across this one and adapted it to suit my taste. I'm not a huge fan of Kale so I swapped it for Spinach in this smoothie and added some coconut water for extra goodness. Packed with Vitamin C, K, fibre and antioxidants this drink is so easy to make and really makes you feel cleansed and alive. The recipe below is enough for two people, so I'd recommend halving it or sharing with a friend :)


3 Kiwis peeled and sliced
2 large handfuls fresh spinach
1 cup ice cubes
Half a fresh lemon squeezed
Half cup of coconut water
Fresh orange juice to taste


Add all ingredients except orange juice to blender and process until smooth. 

Add fresh orange juice to both sweeten and adjust consistency to taste. I used about half a cup- 1 cup in total. 

It's literally as easy as that. Let me know what you think if you try this recipe. Also, as a note, it really does come out this green. This is something I find quite satisfying.


Sunday, 21 June 2015

Pregnancy Update ~ 39 Weeks

Pregnancy Update ~ 39 Weeks

How Far Along? 39 Weeks and due on Thursday

Maternity Clothes? Consisting of anything baggy and the same old maternity leggings. Saved a literal fortune by being pregnant and broken my addiction to buying clothes though.

Stretch Marks? So far so good but I have to say it is at this point that the stretch is really on. I didn't think I could expand that much more but the body can, does and has. I've been using the coconut oil I talked about here to relieve the itchiness and hopefully it will help get me to the end with minimal damage. Watch this space.

Sleep? A bit broken this week from the general discomforts of being so huge. Been dreaming quite a lot more though nothing too alarming to report. Just birth dreams, and no kittens this time :S

Best Moment this Week? Best moment this week was Friday when I stayed in bed all day and watched films. I was racked with guilt at the time but the next day I got up and cleaned every cupboard in my kitchen. Pregnancy turns you into a complete freak. These are the things that excite you.

Miss Anything? I miss the feeling of existing in a body that does not hurt in some way or other. 

Gender? Boy

Movement? Yeah, surprisingly given that there can't be much space left in there now. There's the odd foot or fist protruding here and there. He's most active at night or when Ed plays piano music to him. Apparently he likes Debussy and Ravel. Whoever they are.

Food Cravings? No cravings to report, just the serious desire to get healthy and feel like a normal person again!

Anything Causing Queasiness/Sickness? Every morning I wake up with nausea just like I had in my first trimester. It's kind of like morning sickness without the sickness and it goes away when I eat breakfast. It also sometimes comes back at night before I go to sleep and I seriously don't know what it is. I've read that nausea is an early labour sign, but I'm not too sure if it's that or my body just telling me to eat things in preparation for the energy I'll need to give birth. Primitive.

Labour Signs? So back ache like period cramping and lightening are the things I mostly have been experiencing. A little Braxton Hicks here and there but nothing major.

Symptoms? Nausea, lower back pain and lightening as mentioned. Still can't imagine what a contraction feels like. I'm really mentally well prepared...

Happy or Angry? Happy with a good dose of anxiety thrown in there now.

Looking forward to? Really I don't know. I'm looking forward to Ed and I becoming parents but at the same time have the fear about absolute tools becoming parents. Who has permitted this.


Friday, 19 June 2015

Third Trimester Food Diary Friday #9

Food Diary Friday #9

10:00am- Breakfast
Bowl of Fruit 'n' Fibre
Coffee with milk
Prenatal Vitamin 
Cordial and Ginger Beer

1:30pm - Lunch
Steak Bake
Raspberry Leaf Tea
Drumstick Lolly

7:30pm- Dinner
Pork Sausage Meatballs with Home Made Tomato and Basil Sauce and Linguine Pasta (recipe below)
Diet Lemonade
Green Tea with Mint

9:00pm- Snack
Options Belgian Hot Chocolate


Today I spent most of the day in bed and felt like an absolute social deviant. I only really got up to cook this dinner as I felt I needed some token of productivity to show for my day. Everything aches and I have no energy. I watched the Hobbit and tried to relax without feeling guilty. I was borderline successful. 

I'm currently 39 weeks pregnant with 6 days to go till my due date. I'm totally knackered and feel like an enormous human entity. I rolled over in bed before and put my own neck out. This is the scale of my situation. I am a hazard to myself. 

In terms of food and diet, the sheer size of the baby is such that whilst he may be engaged, he's also back to booting me in the ribcage and crushing my stomach. Indigestion as a result is back but in a cruel twist the HUNGER I talked about in previous weeks remains. Out of sheer determination I made this sausage meatball meal and attempted to eat it all in a final farewell to normal sized dinners for the remainder of my pregnancy. If you fancy cooking this for your self, the recipe is below. 


Fresh Stuff
Glug Olive Oil
6 Good Quality Pork Sausages (85%+) ~ Skinned and rolled into meatballs
1 Onion ~ diced
2 Peppers ~ diced
3 Cloves of Garlic ~ sliced
3 Mushrooms ~ sliced
Half a Fresh Chilli ~ sliced
Handful of Fresh Basil ~ shredded

Sea Salt 
Black Pepper 
Smoked Paprika ~ 1 tsp
Ground Cumin ~ half tsp
Piri Piri Seasoning ~ 1 tsp
Dried Oregano ~ 1 tsp

Wet Stuff
1 Carton Passata
1 tbsp Sun Dried Tomato Paste or Puree
Splash Cider Vinegar
Splash Worcester Sauce
Half tsp runny honey

Half a pack of Linguine ~ Boiled

Place fresh ingredients into a large frying pan and fry on medium heat until the meat is golden and vegetables are soft. 

Throw in seasoning and fry on low heat for further 5 minutes

Add wet ingredients and simmer whilst the pasta cooks ~ add pasta to pan of boiling water and simmer for 12-15 minutes.

Serve with Parmesan cheese and basil leaves.

Serves 4.


Sunday, 14 June 2015

Pregnancy Update ~ 38 Weeks

Pregnancy Update ~ 38 Week

How Far Along? 38 Weeks ~ Only 10 days till my due date... AS IF.

Maternity Clothes? So sick of wearing leggings everyday, really can't imagine having denim as a lower body option.

Stretch Marks? I still don't have any stretch marks but these last few weeks I've no doubt could be the most high risk. Seriously I feel like I'm at capacity already, I really can't imagine expanding any more.

Sleep? Is kind of okay. Because the baby is so low the only thing that interrupts my sleep are his movements which I obviously don't mind. He's majorly active at night. Like from 8pm til 2am. Animal.

Best Moment this Week? Finishing uni and finally starting my maternity leave although I'm still to shift the not doing any work guilt...can't quite let go...

Miss Anything? Not having to be within 5 minutes of a toilet. Bladder compression is really not a liberating feeling.

Gender? Boy

Movement? So much movement at night, and really low. So low it makes me think about birth. The actual reality of birth...

Food Cravings? There's not been anything I've specifically been eating this week.

Anything Causing Queasiness/Sickness? Spring onions and garlic bread though to be honest I don't think this is pregnancy related as these things used to spark a bit of nausea with me from time to time if I ate too much of them.   

Labour Signs? Yep, pelvic grinding has been felt in the cervical region this week. Like that is where he is and I am concious of this. Absolutely terrifying.

Symptoms? Skin tightness over the bump this week with some ichiness (on high stretch mark alert) and I think this really is just to be expected in these last few weeks as the baby puts on weight. Wee beast. Also boob tenderness. Oh my god the reality of it all...

Happy or Angry? Happy, excited and of course terrified. Telling myself the cave women did it, animals do it everyday, hens lay eggs like all the time and that can't be comfortable either but they just do it. Yeah I've totally got this.

Looking forward to? Meeting the baby but also oh my god I have to act as his passage into the world first and shit what's that going to be like?!?!?! It's going to be okay. It's all going to be fine. Yeah, it definitely is. Right?


Saturday, 13 June 2015

Pregnancy Skincare ~ Fake Tanning Routine

During pregnancy emulating that oft admired 'golden glow' may be the last thing on your mind. Unfortunately for me, I am of that blue-white 'casper' skin tone ilk of human who really cannot comfortably opt out of fake tanning

Call it unnecessary, call me vain but this is the fake tanning routine that I have personally adopted throughout my pregnancy to help make me feel body confident/happy/healthy/generally more alive. For those among you who may be interested, these are the products I use and how I've been using them :)

1. Prep 

All veteran fake tanners know that step one in any good routine is exfoliate. Any scrub will do, but I highly recommend this one. It's really effective and doesn't leave any residue that might cause patchiness in your tan. Fundamental, clearly.

2. Body 

Straight up, best budget gradual tanner out there. If I was rich, I'd buy the St. Tropez one but I use so much of this stuff that I can't justify spending any more on a gradual tanner than I do with the Palmers one. 

As we preggos know, Palmers are well known for their Cocoa Butter Stretch Mark Cream so my logic is why not get two for one on your evening body cream ritual and tan while you moisturise. I apply this gradual tanner to my whole body and neck, including the bump. I find it doesn't irritate my skin at all and it comes out the next day even and dark. I like this particular gradual tanner because it sinks in well and doesn't sit on top of the skin like I find others do, including the super popular Dove one. Age old question ~ does it smell like biscuits? Yes, chocolate biscuits but what do you want from life, of course it smells but the colour pay off for what it is is worth it in my view.

3. Face, Neck and D├ęcolletage 

I'm sure you're wondering what the Vita Liberata Extra Rich Tanning Lotion is up to in this routine given that I've already covered the body section. This is the fake tan I would have used pre-pregnancy for occasions requiring a full on tan ~ a night out say. I absolutely could not be bothered to crack a mitt out and do a full tan for anything or anyone since I've been pregnant though so what I use this for now is to tan my face. 

Vita Liberata do a face only tanner but it's almost the same price as the body version and you get way less. I mix about four pumps of the body one with one pump of the Palmer's Gradual Tanner to make my own gradual face tanner. It looks scary when you first do it but trust me, when you wash off the colour guide the next day your face, neck and chest will be nice and bronzed. I do this because on it's own, the Palmer's gradual tanner does not tan my face at all, so it's always paler than the rest of my body. Not ideal.

4. Next Day Base 

Two final products. First No7 Naturally Sun Kissed Gradual Face Tanner. It's not the best gradual face tanner in the world but I use this in the main because it contains SPF15. I apply this under my make up to protect my face from the sun. I've been suffering from hyper-pigmentation throughout my pregnancy, so the last thing I want is actual sunlight torching through my face skin. This protects me and if it helps to maintain some bronzed goodness in my cheeks, great.

Finally Benefit Hoola Bronzer has been my summer bronzer of choice this year. This is what I've tended to reach for to add that final glow. 

There it is, my pregnancy fake tanning routine. I know it's not for everybody, but pregnant or otherwise hopefully some of you will have found this post of interest.

NB. NHS Guidelines advise against spray tanning in pregnancy. The use of se;f tanning creams and lotions are however generally considered safe. Always check product labels before using any skincare product during pregnancy.


Friday, 12 June 2015

Third Trimester Food Diary Friday #8

Food Diary Friday #8

10:00am- Breakfast
Small Bowl of Fruit 'n' Fibre
Coffee with milk
Prenatal Vitamin 
Cordial and Water

1:30pm - Lunch
Falafel and Haloumi Burger with Cucumber and Mint Dressing @ The Tyne Bar Newcastle
Ginger Beer with Ice and Lime

5:00pm- Drinks and Snacks in the Park
3x Becks Blue Shandy's with Diet Lemonade
Salted Nachos and Sour Cream 

8:30pm- Dinner
Mixed Vegetable and Chicken Fajita Pizza with Salad and Dips
Diet Lemonade
Green Tea

9:30pm- Snack
Options Mint Hot Chocolate


Today has been a social day. Not only that, it's also been a proper summer's day. This means only one thing. Eat what you like. Go wild. 

Yesterday I officially started my maternity leave from my PhD (finally) so Ed and I headed out for lunch with a couple of my close pals from uni as a kind of send off. We went to the Tyne Bar in the Ouseburn to make the most of the sunshine and the (ginger) beer. The food there is really nice and won't break the bank so if your in toon and you haven't tried The Tyne for food you totally should. 

Following lunch we met up with one of Ed's friends in the park next to our house to chill out in the sun. Since I found out I was pregnant I haven't had so much as a sniff of alcohol and to be totally honest I find most of the non alcoholic beer options out there are dire so haven't really bothered even with these. The taste for me is just horrible. Mixed with lemonade however to make shandy, Becks Blue is pretty decent. I've been really happy just to opt for a Diet Coke or Ginger Beer in pubs or bars whilst pregnant, but there's something about sitting in a park on a sunny day with other people drinking beer that requires at least the faux taste of hops. This sufficed. 

PM we watched a film and ate pizza in our recliners like slobs. 

Not a healthy day but I'm 38 weeks pregnant and it's my first day of maternity leave. Tomorrow I'll make a smoothie and eat a pile of vegetables to off set the impending regret of this probably not that digestible selection of utter junk/beauty.


Sunday, 7 June 2015

Pregnancy Update ~ 37 Weeks

Pregnancy Update ~ 37 Weeks

How Far Along? 37 Weeks ~ Cooked!

Maternity Clothes? Yes, and other baggy attire. Burn all the empire lines, there is no way I'm touching them after this.

Stretch Marks? None so far, I really don't know what my stomach will look like after, it scares me, but if I get away with the stretch mark thing that would be nice.

Sleep?Good, because this week I gave up trying to do everything like I wasn't 9 months pregnant and actually slowed down. I figured that life is too short to be stressing your brains out at 37 weeks. I'm sleeping for 7 to 8 hours a night now and it feels like pure luxury. Best make the most of it while I still can.

Best Moment this Week? Unboxing the pram and building it with Ed. It was an experience I never really thought about having in life, but it was cool. See our pics and post on it here.

Miss Anything? Right, I'm sorry, but I miss being a normal shape. I miss being able to bend past my own uterus and putting my shoes on without asking for help. 

Gender? He's a boy, a pretty long one as well.

Movement? Still with the grinding sensation in the pelvis which is totally terrifying.

Food Cravings? BREAD, and all the carbs. I wrote about the carb hunger here ;)

Anything Causing Queasiness/Sickness? Nothing this week. I can eat like a normal person.  

Labour Signs? Just the pelvic thing, I don't know that it's a labour sign but it's definitely a final few weeks sign. Also colostrum. That's all.

Symptoms? Total exhaustion, but better after giving in to sleep. 

Happy or Angry? Pretty happy, pretty scared. 

Looking forward to? Kind of looking forward to having the baby, or, like, the bit after the having. 


Saturday, 6 June 2015

UNBOXING ~ Joie Chrome Plus Stroller

We own a PRAM...
 As a girl who preferred to play with cars and soil rather than dollys and baby things this experience was a little surreal.

First off, I have no experience of prams, pram pushing or pram buying. I had no idea about what to look for when choosing a pram, aside from aesthetics, and I certainly didn't realize how much the things can actually end up costing. Jeez.

Anyway, to help anyone out there like me with no clue about prams, I thought I would do an 'unboxing' post on the pram we picked, pfft, I mean I picked.
To help with this I've shortlisted 9 questions that you might be of interest to those considering buying the Joie Chrome Plus Stroller for their baby.

1. What are the pram's key features?

We chose the Joie Chrome Plus Stroller in Black Carbon for our pending baby boy. This is the official shpeel on what you can expect from it.

Main features:
  • Rearward and forward facing detachable seat unit
  • Fully flat recline with 2-position leg rest
  • Adjustable handle height
  • Spacious shopping basket
  • Easy-entry bumper bar
  • Ultra-compact fold
  • Lockable front swivel wheels
  • Single-step, scuff free brake
  • Folds with pushchair seat attached
  • Soft, padded seat
  • Pairs with Joie Gemm car seat and Joie Chrome Plus carrycot
  • Lockable front swivel wheels
  • Individual front wheel suspension
  • Foot operated parking brakes
  • Ergonomic soft foam handles
  • Suitable from birth to 3yrs / 15kgs max
  • Dimensions assembled: L90.8 x W56.5 x H102.4cm
  • Dimensions folded: L80.8 x W56.5 x H26cm
  • 1 year warranty

2. Why did you pick this pram?
This was actually the first pram I considered buying out of a (borderline) realistic list of 3- see below. I decided to opt for this pram in the end because I think it looks pretty smart for the price and it does all the things I would want it to, i.e it folds down quite small, it's compatible with the Maxi Cosi Group 0+ Car Seat we got given and it looks pretty durable. Like if I want to take it on a bit of a country walk it could cope with it. It has some pretty beasty back tyres but also a roomy shopping basket underneath. In my opinion, this pram looks fit for urban and rural life and for me, that works a treat. 

I did read a few reviews of this pram on Mumsnet but it was really watching the video reviews I could find on You Tube that made me decide to go for it. This is the official video marketing for the Chrome Plus, but this review from Hanna of Budding Smiles and this one from You Tuber Prashant Kumar helped me to get a better idea of what the Joie Chrome Plus might be like before ordering it. 

3. Where did you buy it from?
With ten points per pound spent for Advantage Card holders at Boots Parenting Club, plus an extra 10% off online, obviously I got this from Boots (direct links to stroller and carry cot in Q's 4 and 5 below). It was the most advantage card points my card has ever seen and I loved it. Clearly I've now spent them all. Maybe or maybe not on myself. 

4. What's included?
If you choose to order this pram from Boots like I did ~ link to stroller here ~ you will get the pram chassis plus the stroller seat in Black Carbon. This package also comes with the rain cover for the stroller plus the car seat adapters for Joie Gemm or Maxi Cosi Group 0+ Car Seats.
5. What's extra?
Although the official crack says you can use the stroller from birth, and although you can obviously opt to use either the Joie Gemm or Maxi Cosi car seats with it because the Joie Chrome is a fully operating travel system, if you want the carry cot for your newborn it is extra. 

I bought the carry cot from Boots too ~ link here ~ and received 10% off. The carry cot comes with it's own rain cover and flattens down which is great for storage. It clips straight onto the chassis and it looks really cosy and comfortable for a new baby.

Now this is what is NOT INCLUDED when you buy the stroller and to be honest it's not clear from the website that you're not going to get it when you order from Boots. In a lot of the marketing for the Joie Chrome Plus Stroller you'll see that it comes with a sun hood like this ~
If you order it from Boots, you will NOT receive this and you will have to order the additional Colour Packs for an extra £50. I think not including the hood is a little cheeky, as it's not fully clear that it's not included. On the plus side however, if you were going to buy a separate Foot Muff to go with your Joie Pram anyway, this comes as part of the Colour Packs.

6. How much was it?

@Boots ~

Chassis and Stroller ~ £270
Carry Cot ~ £100

10% Discount = £333
Parenting Club Points + £33.00

Black Joie Chrome Plus Colour Pack from Very = £50.00

Total including Accessories ~ £383

7. What other prams did you consider?
Like I say this was the first pram I considered buying, but I also really liked the Oyster 2 Travel System and the Mamas and Papas Pixo Travel System from Argos. 

I didn't go for the Oyster because of the price. For something that the kid is ultimately going to be too big for in probably a years time, a near £500+ quid for a pram is not something I can personally afford or justify. With the Mamas and Papas Pixo there were two things. I wasn't totally sold on the red and I couldn't find any reviews on it. For the price however, I do think this looks like a good pram. 

8. How was it to assemble?
Okay so I'm not going to lie. Ed assembled the Joie. I literally opened the box. He made it look very easy though. From what he said and watching him it's really just a series of clips. No tools are required at all. Apart from the scissors to get in the box. I can vouch for that.

9. Overall impression?
Overall and obviously without being able to test it out with a live child, I'm really happy with our choice of pram. It's smooth to push around and compact enough to store in our 2 bed flat. To me it looks like a good dupe for the Oyster 2 and for a much more reasonable price. My only vice is that I think the extra cost for the hood is a bit cheeky, but perhaps if you opt to buy from elsewhere it might be included, and I did get a load of Advantage card points which I could have spent on the colour pack...had I known.

I hope this post was useful/interesting to some of you. Let me know in the comments your thoughts on the Joie Chrome Plus or what prams you've gone for instead if your a new mum or expecting :)

For updated review see this post here :)