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TRYING AGAIN, AFTER LOSS

(If this is your first time here on my blog, HELLO! I had a miscarriage in August 2017. It wasn’t ‘over’ until the ERPC in October 2017..  This is a lengthy post – as always, I am sharing our experience as a means to continue the conversation of trying again after loss).

—–

OK, I’ll start from the very beginning…

 

A year ago (January 2018), I stopped drinking. I started taking the recommended dose of Folic Acid and additionally, Vitamin B12.  (Just incase).  The “better” eating happened. Then when we moved to Manchester in May, I began the exercise – cycling to school and back twice a day was also helping my mood! I’d been on the pill for a few months post-miscarriage to get my periods back into a regular routine, but came off them at the start of 2018. Every single person you speak to regarding your miscarriage will tell you, “you’re most fertile after having a miscarriage… you’ll fall again quickly”. 

We decided that we weren’t going to look at fertile days, or take ‘trying’ too seriously. After my Miscarriage, I didn’t want ANY added stress or pressure. We wanted it to happen on our own terms… after all,  “you’ll be amazingly fertile after a miscarriage“.

But after our trip to Florida in June, I started to get a bit anxious about trying again and opened up my FLO app to begin tracking my periods, mood, health and everything in-between. From then on, we began trying on the most fertile days of the month.

September came and I still hadn’t fallen. Now, I understand that this really isn’t a long time, compared to other couples who try and try and try for years. But I’d fallen pregnant with my first two pregnancies within 3 months of trying. Granted, I was a lot older now – but I am only 32 still. Not exactly elderly! I lost a little weight and continued cycling and enjoying walks in the great outdoors (thanks to our new National Trust membership!). I knew fine well that out of every 100 couples trying for a baby, 80 to 90 will get pregnant within 1 year. The rest will take longer, or may need help to conceive. But at the back of my mind, the whole “shouldn’t you be mega fertile now?” voices were constantly trolling at me and  I couldn’t help but worry that something else was going on in my body, that:-

  • I had no control over (ie, my Endometriosis or something more sinister…
  • Something had ‘broken’ during my ERPC procedure that had left me with some kind of scarring…
  • Or worse, had everything actually ‘come away’ following the ERPC operation?

So, September onwards, we began tracking my ovulation and BBT (Basal Body Temperature). I bought a few packs of the ‘cheapie’ ovulation kits by One Step and the results were so interesting – see below:

 

I’d really recommend the One Step Ovulation tests (and pregnancy tests too). They’re cheap, they’re accurate,  they’re clear, they’re easy to use, they worked for us. 

 

The only problem with tracking your Ovulation is that, your day begins by thinking about your fertility… This meant, I couldn’t really escape my own pressures of falling pregnant. It was alllll I could think about.  To the extend that I began to distance myself from outside of this little bubble. You can clearly see where I began a minor social media hiatus!

I was tracking everything via the app. Every little niggle! You track so much and think about it so much, that your body eventually convinces you that you’re pregnant. (Hence the early testing in September and November).  But when you’re tracking everything, you’re reminded every month when you’re bloody period arrives that you’ve failed again this month. It’s the most heartbreaking few days – every time you go to the loo and get that little reminder that your body wasn’t up for fertilisation. To top it off, we had Eli listening to my tummy to check if a baby was in there… he’s been desperate for a sibling for as long as I can remember now.

 

 

On Thursday 15th November, I was making Eli an outfit for BBC Children in Need.  Looking back at my tracking, I’d had a few ‘off days’ . I’d had period type cramps and felt so light-headed. I wasn’t due on my period for another week but thought I could be coming on early.  Then on the evening as I was finishing sewing, I managed to stab my hand with a pair of exceptionally sharp fabric scissors. Normally, I’d be fine and get a plaster. Blood does not bother me, heck, once you’ve watched 24 Hours in A&E, you can muster pretty much all of the blood.  The DRAMATIC scenes that ensued are frankly, pure comedy. I was freaking out so much. I had to lay on the bathroom floor for fear of passing out. Never, have a I ever been like that.

The next day I went to the GP to see if I could get a Tetanus injection – just incase I was pregnant. I didn’t want to get an infection. Luckily, it turns out I was up to date. Phew.

Something still didn’t sit right with me about the way I had so ridiculously overreacted the night before. So at lunchtime, I went upstairs and did a quick One Step pregnancy test. I was 99% certain it would be negative as I’d had the cramping… it was also the very first time I’d ever done a test without James by my side.

I couldn’t believe my eyes as the second line appeared in 2 1/2 minutes. Again, I nearly passed out and laid on the sofa to compose myself. I thought I better ring James. I thought he’d go mad with me for doing the test without him…. I’d kind of played it cool on the phone. I’d convinced myself that the cheap test couldn’t POSSIBLY be correct. And 5 whole days before my period was due?!

I convinced myself it was a false positive. It HAD to be, right?

At school home-time I told Eli we needed to pop to the chemist to get something for my tummy… he immediately said “Why, is there a baby in there now?!”.  “I really hope so darling”, I responded.

I got 4 of the Superdrug own pregnancy tests – the same ones we’d bought when we fell with Eli. So I had some trust in them. I’d used a variety when I fell pregnant in 2017 and going back to the Superdrug own brand tests made me feel a bit safer, weirdly.

I waited on tenterhooks for James to get home from work – and with an evening urine sample, the results were… (see below)

 

A very faint, but very positive pregnant test!

 

The second line was so faint, I couldn’t see it and had to put the picture under all of the filters on photoshop to see it. But, as I said when I fell with Eli, you can’t be a little bit pregnant, can you!?

We told Eli our news immediately. We wanted to be open and honest with him – especially as he had seen me go through our miscarriage. We told him that we would tell all our family and friends at Christmastime as a present! (And you can’t tell anyone when its a present, can you!?) HOW Eli managed to not tell anyone before Christmas, I will never know. But that kid man, he is just a total boss.

Speaking of which, I went on Timehop and we realised that we’d done our first pregnancy test with Eli on the SAME weekend – 18th November 2011. Strange; we must have conceived this baba around the same time as we conceived Eli.

Over the next few days, POW, the pregnancy symptoms came in thick and fast.I felt so sick. I was so tired. And continued to track pregnancy tests and my symptoms – just incase.

 

 

I had every single pregnancy symptom going; and then-some.

  • My skin burst into the worst cystic acne ever. Mostly on my lower cheeks and jawline.
  • ‘Morning Sickness’ – except, it’s not just the morning, is it. It’s ALL DAY and ALL EVENING.
  • The Exhaustion – I was falling asleep after dropping Eli off at school and then again straight after tea.
  • Extreme bloating – by 7pm, I was looking mega preggo.
  • Food aversions – the smell of cooking is just the WORST. Couldn’t face meat. Couldn’t face big meals. Ended up surviving on plain boiled rice and rice cakes. Good job I was taking ALL of the pregnancy vitamins by this point.
  • Couldn’t face Tea or Coffee (still can’t do my beloved (now decaf) Coffee, even the smell is nauseating).
  • Brushing my teeth became the enemy – every single time I’d bork.
  • Sheer, unadulterated, brain fog – not being able to articulate what you want to talk about or not being able to remember why you entered a room; or even why the kettle is in the fridge is somewhat frustrating and also kinda scary.
  • Increased thirst – which is quite something for me as I’m always guzzling water as it is!
  • Extreme Overheating – I had repeated ‘hot flashes’ that made me feel so faint. Luckily, touch wood, I’ve not fainted.
  • A weird one now – an version to LEGO. ACTUAL LEGO. It wasn’t that I had a want to eat it or anything, but the sight of Lego made me so, so nauseous! I had to have Eli pack it all away and not play with it in front of me. SO WEIRD. I have no idea what caused it or why. But 5 weeks on, I’m finally becoming ok with the Lego being around again.

—–

By 10th December, we were being seen at the Early Pregnancy Unit in Stepping Hill Hospital for an early Scan. By my app, I was exactly 7 weeks pregnant. I felt anxious but the full-on symptoms gave me hope that we would perhaps see a pregnancy sac.

And low and behold, as soon as the scan went on, the heartbeat was found. The tears of relief rolled down my cheeks. We were so bloody happy.

 

It’s difficult to put into words how you feel when the Sonographer say’s… “and there is your baby with a strong heartbeat fleeting away”. The scan looked more like 6 weeks than 7, but we were reassured that the baby would likely catch up, or the conception date could be a little out – did you know that sperm can travel for 7 days before fertilisation?

 

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Fast forward to Christmas Day and I’m 9 weeks pregnant. I’m mainly surviving on:-

  • Orange ice lollies
  • Jamaican Ginger cake
  • Ginger beer (not ginger ale, ginger beer)
  • Raw carrots – in abundance.
  • Apples – but must be cut up
  • Bananas on rice cakes with a dash of honey
  • Plain boiled rice and soy sauce
  • Yoghurts with peach compote
  • Orange drinks – Fanta or Capri sun
  • Chewy sweets – Haribo, Randoms etc
  • I can only drive if I have original Tic Tac’s
  • McDonalds Cheeseburger
  • Pickled Beetroot
  • Chips & curry
  • Chips & gravy
  • Chips with salt & vinegar
  • Salt and vinegar crisps – (preferably, Disco’s)

We also got to finally let our parents know we were with child. Which again, was another big relief. We spent the rest of the festive period SO relaxed. Which is just what I needed. This was mostly my view:-

 

Never spent so much time in bed, in my life. We decided ‘bed rest’ was for the best. This baby is so precious and I just didn’t want to overdo it by rushing about at my normal pace, lifting loads at will – up & down the stairs with laundry or the Dyson. I had also stopped cycling for fear of falling off etc. By week 11 I was just so tired, that being in bed was definitely the only place for me to be honest!

 

Also, is there a better way to spend your pregnant-life than in pyjama’s?! These ones are still my favourite, from NEXT. They also still fit, at the minute, hurrah!

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Almost up to date now. We had our 12 dating week scan on Friday 18th January, again at our local hospital of Stepping Hill. I felt sick with nerves and worry and anxiety – what if there was nothing there like our last 12 week scan? I couldn’t speak. James and I spent the 10 minute car journey in silence, him asking if I was ok… then muttering “you’re scarily quiet… “.

As is rather usual, scans were running a little late,  which is totally reasonable given the detail they require. I forbid anyone to get frustrated with this – even with a full bladder!

We were called into the scan room and soon as the sonographer addressed us I broke down in tears. She had asked a question about my previous pregnancy and what happened at my 12 week scan. To which I blubbered through the details of my miscarriage – she looked perplexed. Then we ‘clicked’ that she was in-fact  referring to the issues that came up when we had the 12 week scan with Eli – his NT measurement was high, so we were referred to the Fetal Medicine Unit at University College London Hospital (UCLH) . Because of the sensitivity of time, the referral was organised for the very next day. The appointment at UCLH would include a detailed scan, counselling and the invasive Chronic Villus Sampling (CVS) procedure based on the results of the scan and our consent. CVS would be able to tell us if there were any genetic/chromosomal abnormalities.

Once we’d explained everything, I was asked to get myself comfortable on the bed. I couldn’t. I was on the verge of an anxiety attack, I felt like I was about to pass out. I was sobbing and shaking and sweating. I was so scared of being scanned. It seems ridiculous and all I could do was apologise. The worry I’d been bottling up the last 12 weeks had come to the surface. The constant anxiety at every niggle – the worry that my symptoms suppressing. Was I losing the baby? The constant anxiety of every, single, toilet visit – inspecting the tissue incase theres any trace of blood. Apologies if this is *too much information*, but I’m just giving an honest insight to the daily struggles.

Eventually, I came round and shakily got onto the bed. The warm gel was applied to my tummy and the Sonographer went to work. Within seconds (felt like YONKS) she showed us our babe on the screen. Firstly, I was so SHOCKED at how large the baba was. It never, ever, ever, becomes less amazing. I was sobbing again and clenching James’ hand so tightly. The relief of seeing that baby, an actual child, on the screen, is unbelievable.  Secondly, the baba was bouncing about and flailing it’s arms so much – which was brilliant to see – but made it difficult for the Sonographer to get the measurements she needed.

 

 

The Sonographer managed to get the length measurements and gave us a due date of 27th July. The EXACT due date we were given with Eli. I mean, what are the odds of that?! The dates made my pregnancy 12 weeks & 6 days. A little further along than we thought!

The baby flipped the wrong way, then FELL ASLEEP, meaning the Sonographer couldn’t get the crucial NT measurement. She asked me to go for a walk and to drink some more cold water to try and get the baba moving about again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So cold water was had and I waddled up and down this flight of stair no less than 50 times. We were called back in and I felt giddy this time – excited to get a second viewing of this wonderful babe. Except, the baby had moved into another awkward position. The Sonographer made me dance, tilted my body at odd angles, inserted a ‘soft play’ cushion under my knees and finally, made the bed go so far backwards I was slipped off, head first. Baby eventually played ball and it was confirmed that the NT measurement was low-risk, being 1.5m. Again, relief flooded my veins and I felt dizzy. (Although, that could have been due to the blood-rush from the bed being tipped up!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here I am. Week 14. Already with huge bump – yes there definitely is one in there – and feeling slightly less queasy, but still a lot tired.

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By sharing this (ridic long) blog post, it has been cathartic for me and if it gives hope to those who have been through loss, then that would make me really happy too. A new pregnancy, does not replace the one you lost. To have a million worries is normal and expected. Just look after yourself Mama, because I certainly am!

C
✖️✖️✖️

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ADVENT CALENDARS // 2018

 

The big day is just shy of a month away…. but there is still time to treat yourself or gift a loved one with a brilliant Advent Calendar, from booze to beauty, theres something for everyone! Advent Calendars are a real tradition in our house – it really marks the start of ACTUAL CHRISTMAS! But gone are the days of eating stale chocolate come the 1st December, (unless you’re weird like me and actually really love the cheapest Kinnerton calendar you can get your mitts on!). So, cheapo chocolate aside, here is my pick of the best Advent Calendars that are available online, now.

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Image result for 1290067 asos
ASOS // ASOS Face+Body Calendar //
£55.00
Image result for asos 1290068
ASOS // ASOS Grooming Calendar //
£30.00
GINGER RAY // Envelope Calendar //
£12.99
DIPTYQUE Advent calendar
DIPTYQUE // Advent calendar //
£130.00
12 Days Of Christmas Jewellery Advent Calendar
ORELIA // 12 Days of Christmas Calendar – Make your own Jewellery //
£60.00

The must-have jewellery advent calendar of 2018, Orelia’s 12 Days Of Christmas Jewellery Advent Calendar contains a stunning gold plated necklace and bracelet chain, along with an eclectic mix of charms behind each door, so you can create your own piece, layer up with lots of charms or pick your favourite to wear alone.

They’ve also included a pair of the bestselling gold plated Micro Hoop Earrings, which you can add a charm to or wear alone.

Limited quantities available.

Charlotte's Beauty Universe Advent Calendar - Charlotte Tilbury
CHARLOTTE TILBURY // Beauty Calendar //
£150.00
Food & Wine: Confectionery Neuhaus 2018 Pop-Up Chocolate Advent Calendar
NEUHAUS // 2018 Pop-Up Chocolate Calendar //
£55.00
MIXPIX // Personalised Christmas Playlist Advent Calendar // Available at Notonthehighstreet.com
£18.00

Each door reveals a new Christmas track culminating in an awesome Christmas playlist for Christmas Day. Ideal Music Lover Gift.

Choose any name to be printed on the advent calendar.

Open a door each day and hold your phone or tablet up to the calendar to hear the Christmas hit for that day. Each track plays straight away and after that track, the album that the track is taken from continues to play.

The perfect gift for every Music Lover or to help ease those Bah Hambug’s into the festive spirit throughout December!

The carefully curated tracks have been selected based on the most popular Christmas Hits of all time, including classics such as:

All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey, Do They Know It’s Christmas by Band Aid, Driving Home For Christmas by Chris Rea, Fairytale of New York by The Pogues, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Frank Sinatra, It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas by Michael Buble etc.

On Christmas Day, scan the Spotify code to listen to all 25 tracks as your Christmas playlist throughout the big day.

made from:

Our personalised advent calendars are made from 350 gsm box board card and comes with a small clip to hang the advent calendar with. Size – A3.

KIKKI.K Stationery Lover's advent calendar
KIKKI.K // Stationary Lover’s Advent Calendar //
£90.00
BuyCowshed 24 Day Beauty Advent Calendar Online at johnlewis.com
COWSHED // 24 Day Beauty Calendar //
Currently, £76.50 at JohnLewis.com

 

 

 

 

 

BuyEdinburgh Gin Advent Calendar, 25x 5cl Online at johnlewis.com
EDINBURGH GIN // Gin Advent Calendar // EXCLUSIVE TO JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS
£120.00

The countdown to Christmas will be merry, warming and aromatic with this Edinburgh Gin Advent Calendar of 25 mini 5cl gin bottles. Enjoy a variety of tastes including clean, fresh and spicy on-the-nose gin. Delighting the palate of gin connoisseurs, hints of juniper, pine, floral, lavender, soft spice and citrus wait behind each calendar window.

  • 5x Edinburgh Gin, 5cl
  • 4x Seaside Gin, 5cl
  • 3x Cannonball Gin 5cl
  • 13 x Fruit Gin Liqueurs, 5cl
  • Suitable for: Vegetarians, Vegans, Gluten Free. Does not contain Nuts.
  • Maximum Alcohol content per bottle, 43%.
BuyLEGO City 60201 Advent Calendar Online at johnlewis.com
LEGO CITY // 2018 Advent Calendar //
£18.00
PLAYMOBIL // TOP AGENT Calendar //
£19.99
BuyLEGO Friends 41353 Advent Calendar Online at johnlewis.com
LEGO FRIENDS // 2018 Advent Calendar //
£18.00
HATCHIMALS // Colleggtibles Advent Calendar //
£24.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BuyAdvent Of Change Charity Calendar Online at johnlewis.com
JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS // ADVENT OF CHANGE, CHARITY CALENDAR //
£27.97

Start every December day leading up to Christmas with the joyful feeling of giving. Perfect for the season of goodwill, this Advent of Change calendar reveals a new charity recipient every day that benefits from the purchase of your calendar.

With this one simple purchase you will be making a donation to 24 amazing charities – helping the environment, endangered animals and even improving the lives of children.

Each of the 24 perforated doors represents a £1 donation, and will reveal:

1. The registered charity recipient for that day.

2. How your contribution can be used, showing you how you’ve changed the world for the better.

With 85% of the sale price going directly to charity, Advent of Change serves as a thoughtful conversation piece and the most meaningful gift for family, friends or, of course, yourself.

Open up to change this year and help 24 charities to make a difference, this Christmas and beyond.

Each calendar is wrapped in a biodegradable potato starch film and manufactured in the UK using FSC-certified paper, vegetable oil-based inks and biodegradable glue.

Advent of Change is a not-for-profit organisation, and gives £24 of the sale price directly to charity. The remaining £3.95 is used for production, operational and fundraising costs.

When you choose Advent of Change, you’re making a donation to the following 24 amazing charities – to see full details, take a look at the John Lewis & Partners product page, here. 

SMIGGLE // 2018 Advent Calendar //
£25.99
BuyJelly Belly Advent Calendar, 440g Online at johnlewis.com
JELLY BELLY // 2018 Advent Calendar //
£18.00
BuyWine Advent Calendar, 4.5L Online at johnlewis.com
JOHN LEWIS & PARTNERS // Wine Calendar //
£70.00
BuyMorris & Co. Advent Calendar Online at johnlewis.com
WILLIAM MORRIS & CO // Beauty Calendar //
£40.00
LISA ANGEL // Personalised Wooden Train Advent Calendar // Available from Notonthehighstreet.com //
£39.00

A beautiful wooden advent train, personalised for the festive season! Use year after year!

A fantastic alternative to the usual paper advent calendar to be used for years to come, this amazing wooden train engine with two carriages has with black, white and gold paint detailing as well as fixed shiny round wheels. Each carriage features 12 drawers (6 on each side) ready to be pulled out and filled with sweets and tiny trinkets!

All 24 drawers are labelled with the numbers 1 to 24, so every day is covered over the advent period until Christmas day.

The carriages and engine are connected via small metal hooks and can be linked or left separate depending on your preference, and each drawer can be removed to rearrange if you want to create a search game for the kids!

Personalisation:

A name of your choice printed in black on one train, with ‘Santa Express’ to follow on the other train. We can allow up to 10 characters, including spaces and punctuation. Your font size will be adjusted accordingly.

This train is a decorative item and not a toy.

made from:

Wood

dimensions:

Engine – width 13cm x height 13.5cm x depth 8cm

Carriage – width 15cm x height 10.5cm x depth 10cm

Inside of drawers – width 3.2cm x height 2.4cm x depth 3.1cm

Christmas Advent Calendar (Image 1)
TWININGS // SEASONAL ADVENT CALENDAR //
£21.99
BuyHotel Chocolat The Ultimate Advent - Dark, 125g Online at johnlewis.com
HOTEL CHOCOLAT // DARK //
£12.50

 

HONEST BREW // Craft Beer Advent Calendar Crate //
£89.00

Mixed case of 24 craft beers, by the team at HonestBrew.

Feast your eyes upon a seasonal selection of 24 festive brews that will light up the life of any self-respecting beer lover over December! Containing a range of beer styles, from light and hoppy, to dark and roasty, there’s a beery surprise each day. Tis the season to be jolly… and drink great beer.

After selling out in 2015, 2016 and 2017, the HonestBrew Craft Beer Advent calendar is once again back & better than ever before.

24 beers, 15 styles, 12 countries, 7 exclusive beers, plus free standard shipping! Guaranteed fresh & on time.

Only the best breweries go into our advent calendar. That means award-winning, quality-driven and innovative producers from 12 countries behind every door. This premium selection includes 7 exclusive beers, limited edition collaborations, and seasonal releases for a festive journey across the craft beer landscape.

Expect a wide range of beer styles to sample. Including: IPAs, Pale Ales, Saisons, Pilsners, Porters and Stouts. Breweries include Magic Rock, Cloudwater, Northern Monk, Buxton and many more!

made from:

Beers come in glass bottles & craft cans.
All beer is made from mighty fine ingredients (water, malt, hops and yeast) and some love.
Packaged in recyclable cardboard box with protective packaging.

BuyCoppenrath Victorian Christmas Houses Advent Boxes, Pack of 24 Online at johnlewis.com
COPPENRATH // Victorian Christmas Houses //
£15.00
Image result for cath kidston advent calendar
CATH KIDSTON // 2018 Advent Calendar //
£40.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I hope this gives you some idea’s for the lucky ones in your life! For us, we’ve already got the LEGO City calendar for Eli, which our Elf on the Shelf Scout Elf, FRODO, will be bringing on 1st December, as he does every year.

Happy Advent, however you choose to celebrate!

C
✖️✖️✖️

 

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Recipes | Split Red Lentil Dahl.

IMG_8546

Yesterday was our 5th Fast Day. And it went surprisingly well. It definitely get’s easier… infact, I look forward to our Fast Day, as we’re trying such lovely recipes – and the added bonus is,  I wake up the day after a fast feeling great – feeling lighter and brighter. I wish the scales would actually ring true with the lighter part though, as I’m not seeing a huge difference. I’ve seen how some people have lost 10 – 14lbs by their 3rd week of fasting. I’m so far only seeing a 3lb drop. But still, that is a 1lb per week I guess and not to be sniffed at. I guess I’m just being inpatient!

SO! Yesterday was a fast day, as I say. And I made the most wonderful red lentil Dahl! The first time I’d ever made a Dahl… and dare I say it, the first time I’ve ever actually eaten one too! So only going on how mine turned out – but it was super yummy, warming and filling – just what you need on a Fast Day! I was inspired by several Dahl recipes that I found online. I loosely followed this recipe from the wonderful London-Unattached. But as Fiona mentions in her post, most Dahl recipes are more or less the same – just depends on what veg/meat you want to add! Our recipe was meat-free last night. This recipe would be awesome during the cold Winter months too – you can throw in so many things to bulk it out, while it will still remain very healthy.

——————-

SPLIT RED LENTIL DAHL*
SERVES 2 – PREP 15 MINS – COOK 20 MINS
300 Calories, per portion.

Ingredients.
90g Sainsburys Dry Red Lentils
100ml Knorr Vegetable Stock
1 tablespoon Tomato Puree
2 Medium Tomatoes, chopped into chunks (can be skinned before chopping if you prefer)
2 teaspoons Cumin Seeds
1 teaspoon Ground Tumeric
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1 large clove Garlic (I pushed through a garlic press, but can be sliced or grated)
1/2 teaspoon Waitrose Hot Chilli Powder (Or one fresh chilli. Adjust according to taste – the Waitrose Chilli Powder is so powerful, you don’t need a lot! And I like heat!)
2 teaspoons Ginger (I chopped as I like to taste ginger, but can be grated)
1 Medium Onion (Finely Sliced)
3 Spring onions (I had leftover in the fridge)
1 Red pepper (I had leftover in the fridge)
150g Spinach (Torn or roughly chopped)
Splash of Rapeseed oil

Optional – to garnish.
Parsley
1 tablespoon Low Fat Yoghurt
Sliced cucumber

Directions
1) Cook lentils as per packet instructions. For the Sainsbury’s lentils I used, I boiled them rapidly (in cold water) for 10 minutes. Drained and set aside.
2) Add some oil to a frying pan and add the dry spices and cook over a medium heat till the mustard seeds start to pop. I used Rapeseed oil, but know that a lot of people use coconut oil as an even healthier alternative.
3) Add the onion (and spring onions), garlic and ginger and cook gently for 3-5 minutes till the onion starts to soften. Then add the cubed peppers (I just had a pepper leftover in the fridge).
4) Add the tomato puree, stock, fresh tomato and simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary
5) Stir in soft lentils and the spinach and cook for a further 2-3 minutes
6) Serve garnished with a dollop of Low fat yoghurt, sliced cucumber and a sprig of parsley (or coriander would work well too).

ENJOY!

————-

Do you have any 5:2 recipes to share? Get in touch! I’d love to try them out!

MM.

*Recipe adapted from Fiona Maclean’s Red Lentil Dahl recipe, over on London-Unattached.

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What Eli Wore: Happy 9 month birthday!

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What Eli Wore today >>>

Top: Dinosaur Tee, Next, £6. Click here to purchase online.

Bottoms: Navy Shorts (pack of 2), Next, £11. Click here to purchase online.

Head: Hat (pack of 2 hats), Next, £GIFT.

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Today Mr Eli is 9 months old! He has officially now been out as long as he was in! Incredible. What a 9 months it has been. Completely full of up’s and down’s – and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Mr Eli is just an amazing human being – such a character. Our beautiful darling boy xxx

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To celebrate it being sunny, a bank holiday AND Eli’s 9 month birthday, we headed to Southend for the day. Got to make the most of that sunshine! Eli (with a little encouragement from us….) is a huge dinosaur fan. I’d been looking for some ‘cool’ dinosaur items of clothing for a while. But not really seen anything aside from realistic dinosaur graphics (which just look plain scary!) or overly-cartoonish style dinosaur graphics. But when I saw this tee from Next I practically POUNCED on it! It’s a great looking tee – cool dino print on front and back with a little chest pocket. Lovely stuff. Also have to mention these shorts! Because Eli will probably be wearing them a lot over the summer! They’re a 2-pack from Next, £11. Come in Navy and a Cargo-Brown colourway. They’re extremely hardwaring, wash great, wicked quality and made using a heavy cotton so they can be dressed up (with a shirt) or dressed down, like today.

Next have some really good clothing this season for your little man. I tend to go for mini-Daddy style clothing, rather than cute kids clothing. So if you’re after the same kind of thing, give Next a whirl. So so good. Great prices too!

MM.

 

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What Eli Wore: ‘E’ is for Eli.

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What Eli Wore today>>>

‘Ee’ Alphabet t-shirt, American Apparel, £10.

Brown Harem Pants,  Zara Kids – Part of set with cardigan, £GIFT.

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Eli wore his brand new American Apparel Alphabet tee to the park last week; teamed with wicked knitted Harem Pants from Zara.

It was the first time it had been warm enough for short sleeves! And it was also the first time Eli played on swings and slides! He absolutely loved it – as you can tell.

I’d always been meaning to buy myself a ‘Cc’ tee from American Apparel… think I’m probably a little bit too old for it now. I’ll stick to my Carrie Claire necklace I think. But Eli looks wicked in his ‘Ee’ tee; of course all of the alphabet tee’s are unisex too. LOVE it.

 

MM.

 

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UNIQLO: Undercover – New Childrenswear.

 

I was browsing Uniqlo.com in search of baggy shirts that would be big enough to fit over my massive bump; when I saw this new range – “Uniqlo Undercover“. A clothing range for families of today, in collaboration between Uniqlo and Jun Takahashi’s UNDERCOVER clothing label. I’d always said how the brand should branch out into Childrenswear – and here it is (albeit limited in styles!).

Here are my favourites – obviously, I’m biased towards Boy clothing now that we’re having a boy, but there are some cute Girls and Unisex styles too!


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Kids U:U Zip up Parka, Green, £49.90. Click here to purchase this style online at Uniqlo.com


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Kids U:U Oxford Shirt, Blue, £19.90. Click here to purchase this style online at Uniqlo.com

Kids U:U V-neck Long Sleeve Cardigan, Blue, £29.90. Click to purchase this style at Uniqlo.com

Kids U:U Rain Coat, Blue, £39.90. Click here to purchase this style online at Uniqlo.com

Kids U:U Cotton V-neck T-shirt, Yellow, £7.90.Click here to purchase this style at Uniqlo.com

 

There are also some Babies styles arriving at Uniqlo.com on 16th April, so keep checking back for those!

MM.

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Marks & Spencer: Mother’s Day must-buy gifts!

Marks and Spencer is always your one-stop shop for Mother’s Day gifts and treats for your Mum….those Mums-to-be in your life too!

Take a look at my gift recommendations below for some inspiration – or maybe purchase a cheeky treat for yourself! You know you deserve it ;o

Classic Collection Pure Silk Lightweight Scarf £9.50, MarksandSpencer.com

The perfect accessory to this season’s styles, this elegant pure silk scarf has a abstract print, adding a luxurious finishing touch to your look. Wear with casual or smart outfits to tie your style together.


Per Una Revere Collar Spotted Pyjamas £19.50, MarksandSpencer.com

Modern, feminine style is combined with soft fabric, making these gorgeous pyjamas stylish and relaxing.

Faux Pearl Dome Drop Earrings £7.50, MarksandSpencer.com

Feminine and elegant, these softly lustrous earrings add an instant touch of sophisticated style.

Crossover V-Neck Sprig Print Jersey Dress £35.00, MarksandSpencer.com

Chic and contemporary, this jersey dress has a sprig print. A fabulous fashionable look.


Kirstie Allsopp Tea Cup, Saucer & Side Plate £15.00, MarksandSpencer.com

Kirstie Allsopp for Marks and Spencer: A pretty porcelain teacup with contrasting saucer and matching side plate. Enjoy afternoon tea in style!


Maternity Pure Cotton Button Through Spot Minishirt From £12.00 – £12.50, MarksandSpencer.com

Marks and Spencers Maternity: Our great value maternity range is designed for style, comfort and functionality, meeting all the needs of mums-to-be. This stylish spot print minishirt has been cut to flatter and the button fastening makes it ideal for nursing after the birth.

Maternity Wrap Plain Jersey Dress £29.50, MarksandSpencer.com

Marks and Spencer Maternity: Relaxed and casual, this wrap style dress is designed to flatter you and your bump. A clever cut gives a neat, comfortable fit with room for growth. Enjoy your pregnancy in style!

MM.

 

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Lifehouse Country Spa Resort – long weekend away…

 

So, Lifehouse Spa!

We had booked this little break away after having all the scans and tests a few weeks ago. We’d decided that we would need a relax after such a rollercoaster couple of weeks…

Being 19 weeks pregnant, we jut wanted to go somewhere where we could relax and chill out for a few days. Get away from it all. A spa was perfect. I literally spent 3 days alternating between the swimming pool and jacuzzi (Hydrotherapy Pool). Unfortunately, all of the treatments were too expensive for our budget… in fact, they were just overpriced in general.

I’m well aware that this review is just going to sound like a right moan! It was our first trip to a Spa though, so we would have expected a bit more in some areas. Albeit, we had a wonderful time and would return tomorrow! But with hindsight of course ;o

Pro’s

– Drinks were relatively cheap.

– Comfortable bed.

– Contemporary room with lovely bathroom and great views of the gardens. Usual coffee and tea making facilities.

– Lovely staff – all very polite and always had a smile.

– Easy place to relax.

– Food was great, restaurant quality.

– Great swimming pool and hydrotherapy pool. Can’t review the Steam, Sauna or Salt Inhalations rooms as I can’t use them being pregnant… but DP absolutely loved all three. So they kept him quiet! 😀

– Loved the Orchids Bar area too… must recommend the bread and olives. Best olives I’ve ever eaten! Amazing! Just £2.00 too!

– Very very nice gardens… it was absolutely blowing a gale outside and raining but this did not deter us! We borrowed some Hunter wellies from reception and had a great walk right around the gardens.

 

Con’s

– We weren’t given a ‘welcome’ note or shown around the complex. So didn’t know what facilities we could and couldn’t use.

– Because of the above, we didn’t know we had a safe in the room, until we were messing on with a rather ambiguous looking drawer underneath the TV!

– Again, because we weren’t given a ‘welcome’ note, we didn’t know that you could order Room Service.

– Couldn’t lock the door to the room.

– No bath in the room – albeit, the shower was incredible. I still could have done with a soak before bed!

– Treatments are expensive and need to be booked well in advance. Many people were left disappointment upon arrival when all appointments were booked up.

– Pregnant ladies cannot use Sauna, Steam room or Salt Inhalation rooms as they raise the body temperature too much.

– Packages that exclude food are very expensive. A lunchtime meal (main and starter) will be around £45 for a couple with one wine and one soft drink. An evening meal is per the set menu, £35 for 3 courses or £28.50 for 2 courses.

– Menu’s left a lot to be desired for someone who is both pregnant and doesn’t eat fish or mushrooms! I ended up having the same evening meal on both nights of our stay because the menu didn’t change… and the Duck dish was the only one that didn’t contain fish or mushrooms! There was also a £3 additional supplement on this.

– There were no decaff teabags! I also wasn’t given an alternative… would have definitely thought there would be decaffeinated everything with it being a health spa!

– No soft drinks menu! Just Wine and Cocktail lists… which isn’t great when you can’t drink! Imagine if you’re an alcoholic visiting for a detox!

– Restaurant was basic-looking; for such an ambitious menu, it was a shame that the restaurant was more like a canteen in a Sainsbury’s with cheap chairs and tables. The chairs of which offered zero support for a pregnant lady.

– There were no bottles of water for free, or even for sale! So it was a case of having to get up every 5 minutes to go to the water fountain in the corner of the ‘Wet Area’. Which is quite annoying when you’re pregnant and just want to lay down, but of course, you need to keep hydrated.

– Although this spa is relatively new, (about a year old), we did notice lots of signs of wear and tear. I actually stood on a piece of broken glass in the Hydrotherapy Pool! Turns out, upon further inspection, lots of the mosaic tiles were cracked and broken, but glued back together. Again, when looking up from the jacuzzi, the ceiling paint was peeling…

It was such a shame there were these little niggles – we really did enjoy ourselves though! Honestly! And we would go back… just hopefully when they have a different menu! 🙂

 

MM.