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This is it..

The moment we’ve been waiting for.

We’ve officially reached the point where financially, things need to change and they need to change now. We’ve sold our car and ceased spending on unnecessary expenses such as Spotify, Dropbox and Netflix.

By getting rid of the car we’ve essentially made a saving of €200 a month which is a huge chunk of the mortgage. Ross is moving to a cheaper payment plan on his phone, unfortunately I’m still tied into my contract for another year, but his €40 saving will come in very handy. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you’re living on one wage, €280 a month is mega.

We’re literally budgeting for the necessities and curbing our spending.

So how does it feel?
I wont lie it’s absolutely fucking terrifying… but also it’s not as bad as I thought it would be.
We have access to a car which we’ll be able to use if and when we may need it. Ross is working full time and is earning a good wage. We eat meat, but not a lot and we get our veg from a local farmer at the market each Saturday so not only are we saving money,  we’re also saving on plastic packaging which is an added bonus! Also batch cooking goes a long, long way.

We use cloth nappies on the kids during the day, so that’s a huge saving already and they have all the clothes they may need through very kind hand me downs and investing in a few good quality items.

I have to admit, it feels quite exciting. It’s a new challenge and I’m well aware of just how challenging it will be but It’s given us the drive that we need to pull the finger out and get the printing business up and running and working towards our long term goals.

And work hard we will, we’ll have to.
To quote Gary Vee “If it were fucking quick and easy don’t you think every fucker would do it?”

Watch this space!

– A x

Baby, Baby

So we announced today that we’re expecting baby number two in April next year!

You can check out our announcement video here: https://youtu.be/a0M3vUgRNvg

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about anything and I’ve really, really missed it.

I spent the past four months in hiding. Hiding from the world and from the kitchen because, food smells (ugh)
Yes the past four months I literally focused on surviving and pretty much gave up on social media and interacting with anyone.

I went to work and tried not to get sick on my lap whilst driving, a few times I had to stop the car and get out and dry wretch along the motorway. Fun times!

Constantly snacking helped and unlike my pregnancy with Finn, I’ve completely gone off of Strawberries this time. Like, completely!

I napped in my car at lunchtime because even a 10 minute power nap was better than nothing and it was THE ONLY way I could get through the day. I shit you not.
It wasn’t all bad though. Finn was still taking 2 naps a day so when he napped I napped and he’s also at that age where he’s quite happy playing away with his toys as long as I’m there beside him. It didn’t matter that I was panned out on the couch suffering through what felt like one of the worst hangovers (it’s the only way to describe it) as long as I was there, he was quite content. Win!

Anyway so morning sickness sucks ass, but right on queue at 14 weeks it started subsiding and I’ve finally got my energy back. Which is a good thing. My house realllllyyy needs to be hoovered.

Yes, I’m finally able to stay awake past 8.30, to enjoy the smell of coffee again and stomach tea! I’m still working my way up to eggs.

This pregnancy so far has been so much harder than Finn. But as I explained to Ross after losing one baby I gave zero fucks about anything else except sustaining and nourishing Finn and one of the main ways I could do that was to sleep, all the time! I didn’t have that luxury this time. But like most women, I survived.

Dealing with pre and postnatal Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) and Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP)

Pregnancy can be expensive.

Yes your maternity care is free under the Maternity and Infant Scheme and the prenatal vitamins don’t cost too much. You’ve got 9 months to save up for the baby and work out a budget for when the little bean arrives, but one thing we neglect to include in that budget is our pre natal and post natal well being.

Of course, every pregnancy is different, many women sail through. But one in four women suffer from Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, Pelvic Girdle Pain or both.

I’ve always suffered with my back and saw my osteopath regularly as well as practiced Pilates to manage my scoliosis and back pain. I knew that I’d most likely suffer to some extent if I ever got pregnant, but I’d never heard of SPD or PGP.
As soon as I reached 12 weeks in my pregnancy, and the relaxin hormone kicked in, I started experiencing problems in my hips, back and my pelvic floor.
It was recommended that I see a Chartered Physiotherapist who specialises in Women’s Health Physiotherapy.
From the get go Laura from Live Well was great.
After my initial assessment I learned how to adjust my stance (I locked my knees when I was standing, this put strain on my back which contributed to the pain in my lower back, hips and knees) and how to use all of my foot when I walked (Yes I learned how to walk, properly)
I also learned how to engage my core and to exercise my pelvic floor the right way (You’d be surprised just how wrong I was doing it)

After a couple of months of Pre Natal Pilates Classes, Physiotherapy, daily stretches and massage as well as regular visits to my Osteopath, I was able to walk better towards the end of my pregnancy, than I could at 12 weeks, I found that alternating between Physio and Osteopathy worked great for me. It was worth every penny. But it did stretch us a bit thin and surviving on one income at the time wasn’t easy. We had to dip into baby fund a few times.

In this post I’m going to give you advice on how you can look after yourself, no matter what your budget or time constraints are, and provide links to some great websites full of information.

**Make sure you get your medical professional or midwife’s go ahead before attempting any types of exercise or stretching during pregnancy and before your 6 week post natal check-up.**

SPD and PGP, what are they?

SPD:
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction
Symphysis_Pubis
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) is a condition that causes excessive movement of the pubic symphysis (See diagram above) as well as associated pain, possibly because of a misalignment of the pelvis. -Wikipedia

PGP:
Pelvic Girdle Pain

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Pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain (abbreviated PGP) causes pain, instability and limitation of mobility and functioning in any of the three pelvic joints- The two Sacroiliac Joints and the Pubic Symphysis. – Wikipedia

What causes SPD and PGP?

During pregnancy the hormone relaxin is produced. This causes the ligaments in the pelvic region to relax and stretch in preparation for labour.
Unfortunately there’s no magical cure for the pain, but there are ways that you can manage it.

It’s important to know that the vast majority of women suffering from SPD and PGP will recover fully, more or less straight after the birth, but for some it can take months, even up to a year for the pain to subside.

1. I recommend that you go and get a one on one assessment by a chartered physiotherapist who specialises in Women’s health. Be it private or public, the assessment will enable you to know what’s causing the pain and your physiotherapist can advise you on different ways that you can relieve it..

2. Buy a support pillow for sleeping, there’s so many option out there. I’ve heard great things about the Dreamgenii pregnancy pillow but they can retail anywhere from €60-80 depending on where you buy it.
Alternatively you can buy a triangular pillow, the midwife at my antenatal class recommended them. They’re way more affordable that the Dreamgenii and work just as well. I picked mine up in Guineys.
Whichever one you go for, make sure to pick up a spare pillow case.

3. You may need a support belt which helps to support your bump by taking a bit of the weight off of your hips and helping to support your back at the same time, some of them can even be used post pregnancy. The downside is that they can be quite expensive and they don’t work for everyone, so enquire about trying one before you invest. You can get one free from the public physio or your private physio will give you one to try before you consider buying one. If it works for you then it’s definitely something worth investing in, it can be a long 9 (10) months and chances are you’ll use it for subsequent pregnancies and in your post natal recovery.

4. Maternity Briefs/Shaping Underwear
Having the right support during and after pregnancy can help greatly. Maternity briefs are so comfortable (Albeit not the most flattering) You can pick them up in penneys or alternatively Here and Here. They help to support your bump and relieve back pain.
Regular shaping underwear and vests will help to support your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles weakened after pregnancy, the compression helps to shrink your uterus and speed up recovery and they can also offer great support and comfort if you’ve had a cesarean section. You can pick them up, again, in Penneys, here or here

5. Pre-Natal Pilates or Yoga?
Pilates is more about strengthening your core (abdominal muscles) and increasing the stability of your back and pelvic floor. All really important during pregnancy.
Yoga helps to keep you flexible and relaxed (the stretches and pulls can help loosen all the tight muscles that come from carrying a tiny human) it can also help to fight fatigue and nausea! Get advice from your doctor or Physio on which one would be better for you. But remember, there’s no law that says you can’t do both.
Shop around for different classes in your area and find a time and price that suits you, whether it’s a morning or evening class, most pre and post natal classes run for blocks of 6-8 weeks. Some classes you have to pre-pay for, but there are loads of instructors who run pay per class sessions too, if work and other commitments mean you don’t have a lot of free time.

6. Download an app! There are countless apps out there that specialise in wellbeing and most of them are free. It’s a cost effective way of looking after yourself during and after pregnancy.
One of the most useful ones I downloaded was the Pregnancy Pelvic Floor Plan App from Continence Foundation of Australia
You can read tips on looking after your pelvic floor, bladder and bowel during and after pregnancy. You can also learn how to do pelvic floor exercises and schedule reminders (Super helpful, because baby brain is indeed a thing) and the information in the app is divided into key pregnancy milestones, so the info you receive is tailored to whatever stage of pregnancy you’re in.

7. The Contincence Foundation of Australia also have a 36 page guide on pregnancy. It’s a great booklet full of invaluable information and covers a range of topics including abdominal muscle bracing, sex before and after, pelvic floor, prolapse etc. you can read it here.

8. Youtube it!
There are countless workouts/self help videos on youtube. One that I found particularly helpful were these four videos from Gary Crowley on relieving Pelvic Girdle Pain.

9. Babycentre.co.uk is a great site and their app to track your pregnancy and your babies development is fantastic. Here’s a post on Pelvic Girdle Pain.

**Again make sure you get the go ahead from your physiotherapist or doctor before attempting any exercises.**

If you’re in pain don’t ignore it, there are ways that you can get help without breaking the bank. Knowing where to start can be a bit daunting, but hopefully this list and the links will help.

Did you suffer from SPD or PGP? How did you manage it during and after your pregnancy? Feel free to comment below

A x

Spring capsule Wardrobe- Outfit 4

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Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I had a lovely, quiet weekend relaxing and spending time with family. We went for a swim on Sunday and I’ve started doing an Aqua Aerobics classes twice a week. What a work out!
The last time I went to an aqua aerobics class I was 9 months pregnant! That was challenging too, especially when I was trying to get out of the pool afterwards 😀

There’s still that chill in the air so I’ve been adding knits to my wardrobe. Will most likely be keeping them for the next three months, but you never know 😉

I love this skirt. It was a gift from my sister for my Birthday.

IMG_3495IMG_3498IMG_3497It’s a nice thick material and the quality is great. I have to say, Topshop, like Zara, you get what you pay for.
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The top is just a plain long sleeve. A basic for any wardrobe! It’s got a cute little pocket on the front.
I dressed the outfit up with thick tights (200 Denier) and my back ankle boots.

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I’ve had these boots for a couple of years now and they’re the best. So comfy and they play a huge part in my wardrobe. They go great with any season style. Again they’re from Clarks, well worth the money but these were blagged in the sale for about €40!

This necklace made an appearance in another blog post during the summer. It’s from Zara and it just screams spring.

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As we’re still battling off winter, I added a turtleneck cardigan. It belonged to my sister a long, long time ago and I’ve had it for years (Thanks, Les ;*)
It’s nice and warm and looks bad ass with a pair of jeans and a leather jacket.

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Skirt// Topshop – (Sold out) Similar here & here
Top// Primark – Similar here
Boots// Clarks – Similar here & hereNecklace// Zara – Similar here
Turtleneck Cardigan// (OLD) – Similar here & here

Spring Capsule Wardrobe Outfit 2

Day 2 and again, it was cold! #IrishWinterInSpring

I paired this gorgeous Zip Back Jumper with cargo pants and brown knee high boots.

The jumper was light enough for out and about running errands but warm enough for the wet, damp weather.


The ‘Serenity’ colour is taken straight from the S/S’16 colour palette.
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The jeans were featured in another blog post and are a staple in my wardrobe! They’re so comfy!

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I invested in these boots from Clarks and I’ve had them for over 2 years. They’re just the best! Perfect for Winter.

They are definitely a wardrobe staple for Autumn/Winter/Spring.

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Babies make for the cutest accessory!! ^_^

Jumper// Primark (Penneys) – here
Jeans// Primark (Penneys) – Similar here & here & here
Boots// Clarks – Similar here & here

Diary entry… The joys of parenting

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He gives you this look that makes you think you’re the most important person in the room. Of course, you know that’s complete crap, because the dog is present and the dog wins the attention span wars…. everytime.

Still though, he looks at you, deep into your eyes and reaches a hand out to you slowly. He moves it closer to your face.
You think to yourself ‘he wants to make himself familiar with my features and learn the shape of my face’.
He places his palm on your cheek and you melt and for a split second all is well in the world.

Then he gives you an almighty dig in the nose.

You can’t get angry with him because at that very moment you realise that he still hasn’t developed full control over his limbs and putting your face down to him was a silly, silly idea! You sit there recoiling in pain, and cursing yourself. That one was an eye waterer for sure, you know the stinging sensation that travels up to your brain? YUP!

You sit there on the ground in front of your oblivious baby bouncing up and down with delight and blowing raspberries at his little plastic friends, in his wheel of neglect. You look at him being all cute and perfect and adorable and you think…. FML.

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RUKM1130

– A x

Lets talk about the Mooncup

“The what!?” I hear you ask.

The Mooncup. And eco friendly alternative to sanitary pads and tampons. A super handy little device made from medical grade silicone which is held in place by your vaginal muscles.

One of the best things about being pregnant and indeed breastfeeding was the lack of periods, but alas, it can’t last forever. Eventually you have to start reminding yourself to pack the changing bag with your own sanitary products as well as babies. I was a sucker for forgetting!! Seriously. Baby brain does not go away any time soon after giving birth.

I never liked the idea of tampons and on the few occasions that I wore one I was so concious of it all the time. The whole toxic shock syndrome really freaked me out, as my mum got really sick when she was younger. She ended up hospitalised. She always warned me to keep track and change it regularly.

If it wasn’t inserted properly you could feel it and trying to get a dry tampon out and another one back in, especially when it’s not even in the comfort of your own bathroom, is enough to drive any woman to breaking point! It’s one of the most unpleasant experiences a woman will ever… well, experience.

Pads are a much safer option, especially at night, but… Most brands consist of plastic backing. Wearing one for 8 hours in a row or even on a warm day is so uncomfortable. You feel sweaty and gross and they can lead to a small bout of thrush (every time!)

But, ok, back to the Mooncup. Let’s skip to the Pros and Cons

Pros:

– Easy to insert and once it’s in, it’s in, you can’t feel it. Once you do the troubleshooting steps to ensure it won’t leak you literally don’t have to worry about it.

– It’s reusable, so you’re doing your bit to save the planet. One menstrual cycle at a time!

– If it’s not inserted properly, you can take it out and put it back in again. No uncomfortable dryness. Unlike tampons it doesn’t absorb your natural moisture.

– Safe to wear for up to 8 hours. One moon cup can hold up to three times more than a tampon. TSS is still a factor no matter what you use, but it’s more commonly been linked to the regular use of tampons as opposed to pads, biodegradable or reusable and biodegradable tampons or the Mooncup.

– You’re never going to run out. One woman uses up to 22 items of sanitary protection every period. Regardless of your flow, you only need one Mooncup.

– One Mooncup is all you need. It costs around €15-€25 and it’s  recommended that you replace it every 10 years. The average woman spends about €3-€5 every month so assuming you’ve 12 periods a years for 10 years you’re spending anywhere between €360-€600. So it saves you quite a bit of cash.

Cons:

– Having to empty your Mooncup. Let’s face it having to change any sanitary product is a con, but it’s like second nature to a woman and this is no different to changing a tampon or pad.

That’s about it, here’s a video that explains it all:

There’s two different sized Mooncups size A for women who are over 40 and who’ve given birth and size B for women under 40 who’ve not given birth. I recommend seeing your physio and getting a post natal screening before using the mooncup after having a baby. If your muscles aren’t strong enough then it won’t work for you. Pelvic floor exercises will help to get you back to normal but it could still take up to 4-5 months. So don’t worry about it too much, there are other eco- friendly alternatives that you can use after having a baby.

I can’t sing it’s praises enough. It’s a great little invention and it’s made my life so much easier. I’ve saved money and I’m doing my bit for the planet.

Have you tried using a Mooncup? What eco- friendly alternatives have you used?

– A x

Forever Living Aloe Products review

Hi guys!

The lovely Gina Ryan got in touch with me about trying out some of the Forever Living Aloe Products that were suitable for both myself and Finn. As I’m a fan of natural products and eco friendly alternatives I agreed to meet her for a lovely chat and I brought the products home to try out.
I was not disappointed!

In this post I’m going to be talking about some of the Forever Living Aloe Products that I’ve been using these past few weeks.

Aloe Lotion:
A great moisturiser, soaks in straight away and doesn’t leave you or baby feeling greasy. It nice and light on your skin.

Aloe Vera Gelly:

Finn didn’t have too much trouble with his teeth, so most of the time he was quite happy drooling away on his hands or his Sophie la Girafe. But there was one day he was really cranky and irritable as his two bottom teeth started coming up at the same time. I kept this in the fridge so it was nice and cool on his gums. He stopped fussing pretty much straight away. I’m not sure if he was too distracted with what I’d just given him, but I’m gonna say that it worked like a charm because he was fine for the next couple of hours after that.


Aloe Moisturising Lotion: (Purple Label)

An all round great product.

This moisturiser was so light on my skin, it was lovely! Personally, I like something with a bit of UV protection for the day, but it’s perfect as a night cream or as a primer for under your make-up. It also makes for a great hand cream! Like I said, an all rounder.


Aloe Propolis Cream:

My personal favourite product!!

Bee Propolis is used worldwide for it’s medicinal properties. It’s known to be a natural antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti- inflammatory.

Finn had a little rash on his torso which the public health nurse said was a bit of dry skin. I started using this on him after his bath or daily top and tail wash and his raised, bumpy rash cleared right up after a few days. I also used it on his cheeks to clear up the last remaining bit of baby acne, his skin still isn’t 100% clear, but his complexion has definitely improved and the redness is gone as you can see from these before and after pictures.

  Finn’s skin at about 2 months old
  After I started using the Propolis cream Three weeks later and although his skin isn’t 100% clear, the redness has gone and it’s cleared up an awful lot. He’s also not as prone to break outs as he was before

I’m going to try it on my stretch marks and the linea nigra on my belly to see if it’ll help them fade. Watch this space.

It also makes for a great nappy cream, I apply it to Finn every night because he’s in his nappy for about 10/11 hours and we’ve had no nappy rash.

One thing I love about the Forever Aloe Products is their multiple uses. They’re natural and gentle enough for both you and your baby. You don’t need to go buying multiple products for different members of your family. So even though they might seem pricey, you’re getting a lot more for your money. There’s also a 60 day money back guarantee if you’re unhappy with any product.

If you’d like to know more about the products featured in this blog post or about how to become a forever living distributor then you can contact the lovely Gina through her Facebook Page. – A x

Day to Night- Summer Dress

So we’re still waiting for our summer to arrive here in Ireland. But last weekend was Spraoi, a three day annual festival of street acts, art and music. It also marked 5 years since myself and Ross shared our first kiss! D’aww!!!! (It’s ok to be soppy on your anniversary!)

I wanted to wear a dress. Something light and summery and I happened to pick up this stunning little bargain in Zara. 

  

   
   
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I don’t usually do sleeveless, but I fell in love, It’s just so different and it was on sale, so I snapped it up for €20. WIN! 😉

I paired it with a pair of my comfy, reliable sandals from Primark and a yellow clutch bag from Stradivarius.

 
 I love the orange detail on the sandals. They’re so simple yet they add a nice little pop of colour.

       
  
  
The clutch I picked up years ago and I never really knew what to pair it with. Of course that’s all changed (Hello Pinterest <3) I’ve only used it a few times, but it’s one item in my wardrobe that I just can’t bring myself to purge. Believe me, when it comes to my wardrobe, I’m ruthless!

  
To jazz the outfit up for a night out I ditched the flats for nude heels and a dark green blazer from H&M.

   
  

   Like the clutch bag, I’ve had this blazer for a few years. But unlike the clutch bag, I’ve worn it so many times. It’s one of my favourite items in my wardrobe.

  
   

   The nude heels are another wardrobe staple, like the black blazer mentioned in an earlier post.

I’ll be aiming to do a post on creating a capsule wardrobe. So watch this space! It may take a bit of time 😉

– A xx

Dress- Zara, Similar here
Sandals – Primark/Penneys (old), Similar here & here
Clutch- Stradivarius (old), Similar here
Nude Pumps – Barratts (old), Similar here
Green Blazer- H&M (old), Similar here