Screen Shot 2019-10-13 at 18.51.31

PREGNANCY & ME // MY POSITIVE BIRTH STORY

Image may contain: one or more people, people sleeping and baby

  • STM
  • Edith (Edie) Lavender Aurora Hill
  • 🌈 Bébé
  • 02/08/2019 at 00:18
  • 40 weeks + 6 days
  • 7 lb 1.5oz
  • Spontaneous labour
  • No pain relief
  • No intervention
  • Gave birth in Triage
  • Stepping Hill Hospital, Manchester, UK

—-

I feel so bloody chuffed to be finally writing a POSITIVE birth story. Despite beginning our Hypnobirthing journey at 25 weeks pregnant, I think its fair to say that I doubted how this labour would pan out. I had a traumatic birth with Eli that lasted 30+ hours due to induction at 42 weeks. I won’t go into the story of Eli’s birth, because I have made ‘peace’ with it now and its not healthy to continue to dwell on it (hiya Mum-Guilt, great to see you again).

So I’ll push the previous history to one side and start from the beginning with Edie’s birth now.


I had initially set out to avoid ALL intervention with this pregnancy, including any sweeps.  I’d had 4 failed sweeps with Eli and felt it was a pretty pointless procedure, in my opinion. I voiced this in my birth preferences and talked through interventions with my community midwife team. Instead, from around 35 weeks I started drinking in my all of the Raspberry Leaf Tea, I started eating 6 dates a day and then when we hit 37 weeks, I started taking a bath on an evening infused with Clary Sage essential oil, I started eating fresh pineapple (including the core, ‘cos Bromelain), I added Clary Sage to the oil diffuser with lavender, we added Clary Sage to Cowshed body oil and massaged it into my bump and ankles (!!), I used my Medela Swing for 5-10 minutes on each breast in an attempt to stimulate oxytocin and continued to go to bed and meditate using my Positive Birth Company MP3′s.

But at my 40 week appointment, I was HOT and beginning to feel a bit fed up. When asked if I still wanted to decline any intervention….I said “sod it” and agreed to a one-time sweep. Just to see…

I was advised if anything was to ‘happen’ it would do so within 48 hours. Obviously, all of the above are old wives tales – Hypnobirthing science aside, of course! Nothing is going to push your body into giving birth. Your baby will come, when your baby is ready.

At 1pm, 48 hours (practically!) to the minute, I started to have what I thought were Braxton Hicks. Eli and I hauled ourselves into my bedroom and I whacked Friends on whilst he played on Minecraft. We had lunch and I kept an eye on the frequency of the surges (contractions). They seemed regular. I opened up the Freya App on my phone and began timing the surges – they were lasting 30 seconds or so and were 6 minutes apart. I convinced myself this wasn’t labour and decided it would be a good idea to tidy the entire house, hoover, clean my bedroom window and then sew up a pair of James’ trousers that I’d been putting off.

Now it was about 4pm and the surges had continued to stay regular throughout all my weird nesting chores. I texted James and asked him to keep an eye on the trains (we’d had dreadful local flooding the day before) but assured him that I was fine and it ‘probably’ wasn’t even real surges. By 5:30, the surges were more frequent and lasting 40-60 seconds. I texted James and asked him to leave work because the surges were lasting longer and had become more powerful (painful). I was really feeling the effects of ‘Up Breathing’ at this point – I couldn’t get through a surge without it.

James got home just after 6:30pm and made me beans on french toast, incase I was in labour. Then he fannied about making tea for himself and Eli. Meanwhile, the Freya App told me I was in established labour…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By 7pm, the surges were less than 3 minutes apart and I was reallllllly feeling it. I had two paracetamol (LOL) and made James get a rush on with eating his tea and sorting Eli out. Of course James was ridiculously laid back about all of this! By 7:30pm I got in the bath and I asked James to ring Maternity Triage to ask for advice. We both spoke to the Midwives on Triage – they were so lovely and advised I should go in to be assessed.

I said my goodbye’s to Eli – and he kissed the bump for the last time. He told me he was proud of me and that I MUST remember to keep breathing! (I did). He grabbed his suitcase, iPad and monkey and off he went on his own adventure next door!

 

Image may contain: one or more people and close-up

 

At 8pm, we were in the car making the 10 minute journey to Stepping Hill Hospital. I had the soothing tone of Siobhan Miller in my headphones and whacked on a eye-mask so I could concentrate – I’d also added Clary Sage and Lavender to one of Eli’s old muslin’s to breathe in. I’d convinced myself I must have been about 5-6cm, especially as the surges were so close together now.

We made it to Triage just after 8:15pm and were immediately seen. I really struggled with the examination due to the frequency and power of my surges. It took my Midwife, Deb, a little while to get me on the bed to be assessed. Eventually she managed and announced that I was JUST 1cm dilated. I couldn’t believe it. If this was barely the beginning, I had absolutely NO IDEA how I could cope with the rest of labour. I had to knock that doubt straight out of my head and by 9pm, we were on our way back home.

James put candles around the bedroom, closed the curtains then on the oil diffuser went. I kept the Positive Affirmations MP3 going via my headphones, rocked back and forth on my birth ball and we continued to time the surges. By 10pm James noticed that my breathing had changed and kept putting me back on track. Sadly, I couldn’t deal with him massaging my back or doing the light touch we’d planned on – I was completely in the zone, kept my eyes closed, and was doing exactly what my body told me to do.

By 11pm, I couldn’t cope with the sheer power of the surges and there was little to no break between them now. I had to switch off the MP3 at this point because some of the affirmations weren’t totally relevant. Instead, I used my visualisations (of St. Ives beach! and also of the placement of my favourite positive affirmation cards around the house) and I kept repeating my favourite affirmations to  myself: ‘my surges cannot be more powerful than me, because they are me‘ and ‘every surge brings me closer to my baby‘. I got James to ring Triage again, they advised that being in our home environment for as long as possible would be better than going back to the hospital again – especially as it had only been 2 hours since we left (and my waters were still in tact).

Reluctantly, I continued to labour at home – we knew I was in real labour so I turned off my phone and the Freya App which had proven to be so invaluable during and up till this point. By 11:30 I  found I had too much discomfort in my coccyx and it felt like my bladder was overly full – but I couldn’t pass urine (I couldn’t get off the ball to get to the toilet to be truthful!). I’m not gonna lie here, I was in total agony. My breathing had changed once again and I was actively ‘Down Breathing’, James kept trying to bring it back to Up Breathing, but there was no chance. I was screaming out as I reached the peak of each surge now too. It was an animalistic release – which brought me a real relief too.

I was thinking I needed an immediate Epidural – or even better -to be knocked out for a C-Section. I felt like I couldn’t go any longer*. There was no way any other drug would help me now. I needed my baby to come out and we HAD to get to the hospital. Then POW my waters broke. It was a massive gush of warmth down my legs, which I ignored and continued to breathe and bounce. Thankfully, my waters were clear. PHEW.

*I now understand that what I was feeling here was TRANSITION.

Transition is the final phase of the first stage of labour, following early and active labour. At this point, a woman progresses from seven to 10 centimetres, often in less than an hour. The word transition means that her body is making the shift from opening the cervix to the beginning of the baby’s descent.

 

As I’d been induced with Eli and the midwives failed to break my waters on no less than 3 occasions, I had no experience of what it felt like to have your waters break naturally. It was absolutely crackers – it was a big pop towards my public bone and I knew then, that she was coming. James rang Triage and told them we were en route again and my waters had now gone.

It took me about 6 minutes to get from our bedroom to the car on the drive. How I managed to get down the stairs I will never know.

Outside was so eery. It was midnight and there was a low cloud – you could barely see in front of you – it was completely silent. James drove SO carefully to the hospital – I screamed at him “this is one time you’re allowed to rag the car about!”. It was quite honestly like a film.

But he kept his cool. He has since admitted he didn’t think I was much further along than the 1cm, so he was relatively laid back.I do have a reputation for over-dramatising situations – so this isn’t his fault.

We got to the hospital and he parked up. I couldn’t get out of the car. I was screaming through my surges and my body started pushing down. I had no control over the pushing. It’s what my body wanted to do. Once through the hospital entrance, James grabbed a wheelchair. I jumped onto it, on my knees and he dragged me to the lift. There was another woman behind us, who was apparently also pushing. She waited for the next lift.

James tried to get me through the double doors once at Triage, but he was struggling, so I jumped off the wheelchair and ran into a room, stripped all of my clothes off and got on the bed, on all fours. I announced I was Hypnobirthing and pushing.

Deb, my midwife, who I’d seen only 3 hours earlier, was attempting to calm me down so she could assess if I was indeed dilated enough to be pushing. She said she could see the baby’s head and that she was going to coach me through the pushing. Sarah, the second midwife on Triage came in and let us know that the lady behind us was also pushing and she had alerted the Delivery Suite about the two of us. But it was too late for me – I was going to give birth in Triage!

I pushed Edie’s head out in 3 pushes – 2 pushes later she was completely out – shocked, but blinking. She’d been born in the wrong department, 10 minutes after arriving. I scooped her up between my legs and rubbed at her little body. She wasn’t breathing – Deb cut the cord and grabbed a towel to try and rouse Edie. After a minute or so, Edie was taken away to Resuscitation.

 

As we’d not been able to have delayed cord clamping because Edie had rushed into the world, I used my B.R.A.I.N and agreed to having Active Management of the placenta. Deb administered the injection of Syntocinon and began massaging my tummy. A few minutes of surges and pushing later my placenta was delivered. While the placenta was in tact, Deb noticed that out came a gush of meconium with it. This indicated that Edie had passed her first bowel movement with the stress of coming out so quickly.

We were all shell-shocked.

Completely shell-shocked.

It felt like a lifetime before Edie was brought back to us.

 

When she was finally placed in my arms, I relaxed down. I felt the biggest rush of love, EVER. I’d done it. I’d given birth to our daughter, using Hypnobirthing tools and without any pain relief whatsoever. I’d gone from 1cm dilated to giving birth in the space of 3 hours.

I couldn’t believe it.

I still can’t believe it – almost a fortnight on. It still feels like a totally surreal, but serene, experience. Kind of out of body. I can remember every single detail. Which is something I am missing from Eli’s birth, due to the amount of drugs that were administered.

A run-down of my labour – total time is cited as 1 hour, 40 minutes!

Deb finished cleaning me up and then we were taken to the Delivery Suite (ironically). Once there, Edie was taken to the warming cot by my new Midwife Eileen, who took bloods and called a Paediatrician down. There had been issues with the PH gasses of the placenta, meaning Edie needed some extra monitoring. Eileen was an Irish midwife who was just the biggest and brightest soul. She was old school and simply magical.

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and indoor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a struggle with getting the right amount of blood from Edie so more specialists were called. Remembering my Hypnobirthing kept me as calm as I could possibly be. James didn’t leave her side – he held onto her tiny hand while Eileen repeatedly checked my stat’s and then called for a Doctor to repair the 2nd degree tear I’d received. After a fairly shocking Episiotomy (that landed me with blood poisoning and a week back in hospital following Eli’s birth), a specialist was required for the repair job. I finally got my hands on Gas & Air. I did as I was asked and took 10 deep and quick breaths on the gas, I shouted that it didn’t work in that oh so familiar low-tone and then felt that floating feeling. My Doctor, Sarah, started stitching, I could feel it, so I got my breathing in order using Up Breathing and sailed high and free. Bliss.

I didn’t want to hand the gas back, but Eileen made me. She then brought that Tea and Toast… so all was forgiven!

 

 

Image may contain: food
If you know, you know!

 

This experience was so far-removed from my previous labour and recovery. For one, James was addressed at every single opportunity. Which made such a difference.

Eileen ever so sweetly grabbed my toiletry bag from my case and started unpacking the shampoo and conditioner so I could have a shower with everything I needed. It’s such an intense relationship that you form with a Midwife, in such a short time. I felt so overwhelmed with love and support from Eileen – I could actually cry right now, remembering how she cared for me.

We weren’t rushed at all; given all the time we needed, but by 5am, it was time to head to the postnatal ward, MAT2. I went into a wheelchair, pulled by Eileen, holding tightly onto Edie who was now bundled in blankets and her very first baby grow. A red knitted hat was given – this was intentional – we later found out that different coloured hats meant different things. For us, the red hat was a signifier for staff that Edie had needed special care (as well as keeping her little head warm!). We said our goodbye’s to Eileen and settled into the cubicle on the ward. James was even allowed to stay – again, this meant the world to us as he’d been sent straight home following the birth of Eli.

6am and James was snoring in the corner, I watched the sunrise through the gap in the curtains and felt the most intense love for this little human in my arms.

At 6:30am I was introduced to Emma, the Midwife on duty – she took mine and Edie’s stat’s and I was given Paracetamol for the after-pains you experience post-birth. We were also shown to the family kitchen, which was stocked to the brim with breakfast foods and an array of tea’s and coffee – of which James was allowed to access too. I was soon given a menu to choose my main meals for the rest of the day. We were then left to chill for 3 hours until our stat’s were repeated again. I tried to sleep, but it was warm and loud as new patients were added to the ward – along with people having their own stat’s read. I couldn’t stop staring at my new sweet baby girl anyway, so nothing was going to interrupt or impact on that!

By 9am, James wanted  to grab Eli from our amazing neighbours next door and freshen up. At 11am he returned and our glorious children met for the very first time.

 

To say I was emotional at our little family all meeting for the first time, would be a total understatement. I cried the happiest tears I imagine I’ll ever cry. I am so proud and so happy and so full of love, I’m not sure how I haven’t burst yet!

As Edie had needed special care, she was closely monitored by specialists – they found that her temperature was going up and down (only very slightly), but enough to warrant an extra night in hospital.

This was completely fine by me. It was a welcome stay. I wasn’t rushed out – in fact, the nurses told me we could stay as long as we wanted to! This really helped with my anxiety and stress. I felt like we had real personal care here – by professionals who were passionate about our wellbeing. We weren’t just another ‘number’ – which is how we felt at the hospital where we had Eli. (I am trying not to dwell on that past experience!)

Unfortunately, our first night, just us two, was not so successful. Edie screamed the ward down from 11pm until around 6am. I think she was over-tired and nothing I could do would overcome that. Two midwives came to the rescue and she eventually calmed down. I tried my best not to get stressed over it, but when you’re on a ward, its difficult to not worry about everyone else! I ended up walking up and down the hospital corridors for a few hours. As soon as I fell asleep, James and Eli arrived for the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a full day of monitoring to get through before we were allowed to go home. Edie’s temperature eventually stabilised and all my stat’s were good. We then had a the Newborn hearing test and as Edie had received special care, a Paediatrician had to sign her Newborn Check off before we were discharged.

Everything was signed off and we were given the A-OK to head home in the evening!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got home and all our neighbours came out to greet us. We had fish and chips and we all slept mega soundly. It was just the perfect start to our new family life.

In complete honesty, I would not have had the same pregnancy OR indeed  birth experience without The Positive Birth Company. I may not have had any of the TEN birth scenario’s that I wrote preferences for, or planned for (didn’t get to use the LED tea lights, playlist, oils or massage, birth pool or delayed cord clamping) but this was still such an incredibly positive birth.  An amazing labour and birth and so far, postpartum period.

From the Digital Course to reading the daily positive birth stories, I would not have been able to do it without the PBC and the Freya App. I felt so prepared and at ease this time around. I was genuinely excited for Edie’s birth and I’ve probably never felt more ‘zen’ in my entire life – which is quite the statement, coming from me. I feel a peace with both my birth experiences and the Hypnobirthing tools I learned will live with me forever!  I’ve even used several affirmations and the breathing techniques since having Edie.

I have never, felt so empowered and strong and brave in my entire life – and I doubt I ever will feel like this ever again.

So thank you Siobhan and the PBC for allowing me to have confidence in myself and my own decisions. I cannot recommend The Positive Birth Company enough. From our little family of four to you Siobhan, THANK YOU!

C
✖️✖️✖️

 

EDIE LAVENDER AURORA HILL
02/08/2019 at 00:18
7lb 1.5oz

 

 


For clarity, I was kindly #gifted The Digital Course by The Positive Birth Company. This is not a sponsored, paid post or an ad.

I only shout about items that I genuinely believe in, so be safe in the knowledge that I’m in love The PBC!

Screen Shot 2019-10-13 at 18.51.31

PREGNANCY & ME // THE DUE WINDOW

As I sit  bounce on my birth ball and write this post, I am currently 40 weeks and 2 days pregnant.

The “Any news?” and the “How are you feeling today…. ?” and the “Any twinges?” and the “Any sign of movement?” and the “Do you think it’ll be today?” and even the “ARE YOU IN LABOUR?!” messages are coming in thick and fast. In fact, they’ve been coming in thick and fast since around 35 weeks. Granted, the influx of messages this past week isn’t helped by my stint on BBC Radio 1 with Scott Mills & Chris Stark; that was my bad. But also, imagine this, 5 weeks of daily messages that aren’t really helping with my precious Oxytocin* levels.

*Oxytocin is the ‘love hormone’. The hormone we release when we feel good. This exact same hormone is responsible for every single surge we experience during labour. The hormone that drives your labour is Oxytocin – so we want to ensure our body is filled with Oxytocin!

I know the messages are well meaning and I know they’re from a good place, mostly of excitement for us all, which is lovely! Even when its from the random ‘friend’ with whom you’re “friends” with on Facebook, but haven’t spoken to since you left school or the SECURITY GUARD in sodding Waitrose! I’ve been polite and responded with my favourite affirmation, “My baby will come when my baby is ready”. – Which I know has caused some annoyance, but it is a true statement and it’s my go-to affirmation! Let’s be honest though, we really aren’t going to forget to message or indeed announce the arrival of our little babe. Honestly, we won’t…. Unless the messages and calls and comments keep coming, in which case, maybe we won’t tell you anything  😉 (To say that, The First Fourty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing a New Mother is looking very favourable right now, would not be an understatement 😉 haha)

So, with this all in mind, my phone is either on silent or on Do Not Disturb…or perhaps I’m resting/nesting/napping/busy hanging with Eli. And if I do happen to open a message regarding the imminent arrival of our little one, even if its sent under the clever guise of “How are you doing today? Not as hot, which must be great for you!“, then I’m truthfully sorry, but I just cannot reply to these messages or comments any longer. James will update you instead. I’ve already taken myself away from social media (if you hadn’t noticed). The pressure of going into the later stages of my ‘due window’ and receiving daily communications like the above is driving me to distraction. I was tempted to switch my phone off completely… but I would assume that reaching the answer phone would only stir up additional excitement. So Do Not Disturb and having James monitor my messages it is. This might sound drastic or even dramatic, but in the most polite of terms, I have to put myself first now. I struggle with anxiety, and I’m dealing with all-sorts in me head as it is, so from my own personal perspective, this is just something that I need to do.

Being ‘overdue’ is exactly why we should be given a DUE WINDOW – or a ‘due month’. Every NHS provider here in the UK will allow a woman to reach 42 weeks before any medical assistance. And even then, we can decline intervention of any kind, unless there is a medical necessity of course. Therefore your ‘due window’ ranges from 37 weeks to 42 weeks. As my sister pointed out the other day, women have been giving birth for millions of years without assistance – they’ve also been giving birth without a specific time slot for the baby’s arrival too.

The obsession on due dates is mind-blowing. The pressure on women to give birth by an exact date is ridiculous. Dates can be wrong, really wrong. My cycle following my miscarriage went from being a standard 28 days to anything up to 35 days. I don’t know the exact moment I ovulated and I don’t know the exact moment I conceived this little babe. My body is not a robot, and neither is my baby. So how on earth is the baby meant to know when to arrive?! She doesn’t get an alarm clock in there that goes off at 40 weeks.  In actual fact, here in the UK, only 3-5% of babies are born on their ‘due date’. Thats potentially 97% of women going into the later stages of their own due window. This is quite commonplace. And even though I’ve been doing alllllllll of the old wives tales (Curry, Pineapple – of which has now severely blistered my tongue, x3 cups of Raspberry Leaf Tea a day, 6 dates a day etc), NOTHING will kickstart labour unless the mother is relaxed, calm and at ease. Any slight stress or apprehension, (darling family and friends, I am really sorry, but the messages are included here) WILL stop labour from starting. This most certainly happened with Eli so I have been doing EVERYTHING I can to avoid the trauma of Eli’s labour and birth happening a second time around – with Hypnobirthing playing the integral part here <<<< That will be my next post.

So, until I’m stress-free and relaxed, my baby will not release the hormone, Fibronectin. Yes, this is getting very Science, but as I said, this is not down to me, this is all precise science. Fibronectin is the protein produced by the baby which is released into the amniotic sac. This protein is then picked up by the cervix and given the go ahead to start labour. My baby quite literally knows when and how to be born.

Here is a list of things keeping me busy in the meantime:

  • “My baby will come when my baby is ready” – by literal means, as mentioned above. I trust that my baby and my body will work together when the time is right. My baby is cosy and healthy and safe in there right now. She’s still kicking the crap out of my ribs and undercarriage. So thats the main thing!
  • Napping.
  • Cleaning and tidying, again.
  • Probably re-packing my hospital bags for the 100th time.
  • Waking every hour during the night to empty what appears to be a full bladder that comes from god only knows where.
  • Ordering a take away because its too hot and I’m too tired to cook.
  • Enjoying the final days/weeks of my pregnancy – I feel so lucky to have had these last 9 months with my bump (despite the sickness, the additional appointments, the SPD and despite the hot, hot heat!). If this is the last time I’m pregnant, I really want to treasure it in the final stages.
  • Practicing my Hypnobirthing affirmations and Up/Down breathing.
  • Over-using my birth ball.
Bathing in Clary Sage, eating all the chocolate and drinking all the faux-prosecco!

 

  • Likely to be nagging delegating jobs to James.
  • Most importantly of all, I’m cherishing being able to hang out with our nearly 7 year old boy who’s life is also about to be turned upside down when his little sister finally decides to arrive. The Summer holidays have fallen at just the right time for us – so I’m treating these final days, just us two, as a real luxury.

I know and understand its difficult to be patient when you’re excited for us – we’re desperately trying to be patient too! And also please know, that this post isn’t meant to cause offence, its more just a way to update you all with were we’re at. I apologise profusely if this does offend; this is sincerely not my intention and I really hope you can all understand. We honestly appreciate all of the kind words and messages; I will look back over everything when the babe is here 🙂 James will also be in touch when anything of significance happens. And we promise we won’t forget to let you know when she does to decide to arrive Earthside.

Which you never know, could always be sooner than we think 🙂

C
✖️✖️✖️

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2019-10-13 at 18.51.31

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.

—-

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

—–

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
✖️✖️✖️

 

Screen Shot 2019-10-13 at 18.51.31

THURSDAY KIDS | Kids’ Style: 16/06

IMG_1223

• T H U R S D A Y. K I D S •
Feat some of my current faves:
✖️Bag // @tibaandmarl
✖️Tee // @nor_folk
✖️Hareems // @stitched_up_apparel
✖️Feet // @vans_europe

MM.

 

Screen Shot 2019-10-13 at 18.51.31

Brand In Focus | Southwood Stores.

IMG_7438

Southwood Stores is an online concept store by Hayley Southwood, where you will find handpicked, quirky, Scandinavian influenced gifts and homewares. Hayley believes passionately about empowering women and has recently launched her own in-house label GRAY, celebrating strong women.

I first came across Hayley and her online shop back in 2013. (I can’t believe it was 3 years ago?! Time sure does fly with a toddler in tow!) At that time, Hayley was the only UK stockist of Hello Apparel; and I went straight ahead and ordered a HELLO Jumper from her, along with one of our most loved prints that sat in Eli’s bedroom, The Mountain Print by Clare Nicholson. I always loved parcels from Hayley, with the attention to detail of packaging and customer care; with some treats even winging their way over to Berlin!

Watching Hayley, via Instagram, over the past few years has been wonderful. Seeing how her little shop has grown and expanded with wicked new products and new brands, through to the launch of her very own clothing label: GRAY By Southwood Stores.  The ethos of Hayley and her shop is to be brave and follow your dreams. And she’s definitely succeeding there – having now opened her very own Southwood Stores showroom – where you can not only have a cuppa with the lady herself, but from here she also offers Social Media / Branding services with sessions operating on-site.

Details of showroom opening times are as follows:

Monday 10am-2.30pm
Wednesday 10am-2.30pm
Friday 10am-2.30pm
First Saturday of the month 11am-2pm

I could buy everything that Southwood Stores have in stock, but here are some of my current favourites hitting the top of my #MoMWishlist:

blue-wire-mesh1-600x600_1024x1024

WIRE MESH MEMO-BOARD (BLUE) – £55.00

vintage_chairs_1024x1024

VINTAGE SCHOOL CHAIRS – £60.00

two_pqlm_leaves_1024x1024

PALM LEAVES – £55.00

Back to GRAY By Southwood Stores. Hayley worked really hard to find the right garments for her label – high quality and responsibly made. The slogan graphic prints are also locally screen-printed by a “woman owned business”. I think it’s fantastic that Hayley has stuck to her local roots here too – there’s nothing better than championing your local business community and spreading the love even further afield.

11374184_1510264382633133_76556493_n

The sweatshirts are super soft, wash well and have a really flattering fit. I went for the WARRIOR sweatshirt. Because, well, we’re all WARRIORS. “The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us, but those who win battles we know nothing about”. This is something that resonated deeply with me – and I do feel like a proper WARRIOR when I’m wearing my sweatshirt. It’s more than just words, isn’t it? It’s about how these things make you FEEL.

On top of alllllll this, Hayley is also hosting a series of Conversational Meet-Up’s, of like-minded Women. The recent one looked brilliant so look forward to the next Event’s being scheduled. You can find the latest details and tickets, here. 

Hayley is a true inspiration and I look forward to seeing how Southwood Stores continues to grow and evolve! (Oh, and I can’t wait to have a cuppa with her in person at the new showroom soon!). Keep doing what you’re doing Hayley, everything about your being is amazing. Just remember to BREATHE (and get the kettle on!).

 

MM.

*NB: This is in no way a sponsored post. I just wanted to big up a Mama who I think is frikkin amazing*. 

 

Screen Shot 2019-10-13 at 18.51.31

Love. Want. NEED: Bella Freud | The 1970 Jumper.

IMG_6454
London jewellery designer, Sheherazade Goldsmith, wearing Bella Freud at home: Credit The Telegraph.


I first saw this jumper around 2 years ago. It was being adorned by the likes of Kate and Alexa; and like my favourite fashion-people I’d also lusted after the monochrome version of the now infamous 1970 slogan jumper. Much to my family and mates’ disgust confusion dislike, we’re big fans of the 1970’s. Fans of the fashion, music and most predominantly, the design and (Mid Century) interiors of the era. So this jumper struck more than *just* sartorial chord with me. But then I saw a Telegraph article on (aptly named) jewellery designer Sheherazade Goldsmith, and she was wearing a red version of my favourite woollen piece. Be still my beating heart…

So from then, I lusted for the red colourway. The super-soft Merino Wool. The cut and design. The design itself takes its signature motif from a book clipping that Freud used to wear pinned onto a plain jumper.

I do have splashes of colour in my mostly-black wardrobe and I would tend to go for red or green, unless its a vintage or leopard print (or red or green variations of leopard print!) of course.

So the red 1970 Jumper by the lovely Bella Freud is firmly on my NEED list. More or less at the top.

If you so desire, you can own this seemingly cult classic by clicking the link here: Bella Freud at Selfridges.com

Which colourway would you go for?

tumblr_nuig12MHki1s722apo1_1280

bella_models_oct1518008

tumblr_nuigavhHED1s722apo1_1280

1970_jumper_cactusgreen

#MoMWishList

MM.

 

About Bella Freud:

Freud was born in London, England. She is the daughter of Bernardine Coverley and artist Lucian Freud and great granddaughter of the inventor of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud.

She is renowned for her signature jumpers Je t’aime Jane, Ginsberg is God and 1970. Fans of Bella Freud include Alexa Chung, Laura Bailey, Kate Moss and Alison Mosshart.

Bella launched her eponymous label in 1990. Her first collection featured sexy knitted dresses in bookish colours, mini tailored suits and a small selection of shoes and bags. Bella went on to win Most Innovative Designer at the London Fashion Awards in 1991 and produced a Super 8 short film ‘Day at the Races’ as an alternative to a fashion show. Bella’s second film ‘More Clothes’ directed by Kate Garner was shot on 35mm film and showcased the SS 1992 collection.

Seasonal catwalk shows followed, then in 1999 Bella began her fashion film collaboration with John Malkovich, co writing and producing three short films: Strap Hanging, Lady Behave, and Hideous Man. In 2001 Bella also collaborated with rock icon Anita Pallenberg on Memo, a limited edition magazine featuring the AW2000 collection, inspired by the film Performance.

From March 2000 to 2003 Bella consulted for British heritage brand Jaeger, rejuvenating their image and bringing British dressing to a younger audience.

Bella’s love of film continued and in 2013 she art directed the short film Je T’Ecoute, produced by Laura Bailey starring Lara Stone, which screened at White Cube Bermondsey. Bella’s directorial debut ‘Girl Boils Egg’ is a two minute film featuring Punk, commissioned by Nick Knight for SHOWstudio.com.

2013 also saw the development of the RTW collections and expansion into the beauty market. The Bella Freud Eau de Parfum collection was launched in 2014 and has gained a cult following.

Screen Shot 2019-10-13 at 18.51.31

Kids’ Footwear | New Balance Trainers / Sneakers / Sneaks.

IMG_5835
A few years ago we lived and worked in East London. We saw a lot of trends, styles, brands, come and go. But it was practically overnight that I spotted guys wearing NEW BALANCE trainers; and I’m not gonna lie, I was like “how are they even making a come back?!”. As a kid, New Balance were always a trainer that I saw as being fit for purpose, like for playing Tennis in or something else sporty!

A few more weeks went by, seeing more and more colours of sneaks popping up; and then I saw a pair of Bordeaux Red (my favourite wine no less) New Balance 574’s in the window of Albam, Spitalfields. I fell in love. I wanted them for myself, even though they were Men’s. I knew right then that my opinion on New Balance had been overturned, forever. And rightly so.

Fast forward 5 years and my almost 4 year old is loving life in his very own pair of All-Black 574’s.

For those who don’t perhaps know, Eli was born with several medical conditions – Talipes, Torticollis and Hypermobility. From before he was even born, Eli endured some pretty intense tests, scans, physio and corrective treatments (Ponseti method). He came out the other side meeting the milestones that all his pals met, at the same age (and some he hit even sooner than anticipated!). While, on the outset Eli looks ‘fixed’, you can’t help but notice just how clumsy he can be, how off-balance he can be and how crazily flexible he can be! He’s super-active and he never did learn to *just* walk – he quite literally got up one day and RAN. Eli also doesn’t sleep well – never has – since being a newborn. We sometimes excuse his lack of sleep with, “he just doesn’t want to miss out”, “he’s being a typical toddler”. But the older he’s getting, the more convinced we are that it could well be his conditions waking him and giving him jip. He’s commented recently on his feet and knee’s being sore. We were told that it’s likely he could grow up with Migraines and will get early onset Arthritis due to the flexibility of his joints. (We have his next check-up with his consultant in June).

When Eli did start running walking we struggled to find suitable footwear that supported him fully, that would aid against relapse and would keep him upright. With this all in mind, I wanted to highlight how good these trainers are for his feet; and his balance (no pun intended). They’re a great fit for him, just narrow enough. They tie quite tightly, with no rubbing at any points. They keep him more sturdy than any other footwear he has, yet they’re really lightweight. They’ve worn exceptionally well and actually still look brand new. Eli has commented that they’re “my comfy adventure shoes”. And I think that says it all! He’s really happy with them – he runs like the wind in them – and looks pretty cool too.

IMG_7663

11374171_997022047011162_750911766_n

 

I ordered Eli’s 574’s from OFFICE and had them delivered within the week to Berlin. They have a massive range of Kids’ New Balance styles, in loads of wicked colours. There are also velcro versions for smaller feet… or for feet that love untying those shoe laces! You can shop the full range online here.

 

MM.

 

Screen Shot 2019-10-13 at 18.51.31

What Eli Wore: Dinosaur costume | H & M.

IMG_2807

What Eli Wore: Dinosaur Costume

Brand: H & M

Price: £17.99 / 24.99€

Sizes available: 2 years – 10 years.

——

It’s no secret, Mr Eli quite literally lives and breathes Dinosaurs. Some of that love is potentially down to us as his parents – we did force the SCIENCE upon him encourage it from before he was even born; you know, the dinosaur prints here and there, the odd toy figure, a couple of books, DVD’s… (and had even meticulously planned that first trip to the Natural History Museum for when he was JUST the right age, of course. And, incidentally, it was the “BEST DAY EVER!” when we took him for his 3rd birthday). He was destined to be our little Science Boy. THANKFULLY, Eli is fully appreciative of our efforts and is 110% fully immersed and committed. If he’s not acting his role as Chief Explorer then he’s THE dinosaur that’s being searched for. (It’s sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two roles… and sometimes, just for laughs, he merges them into one, to keep me on my toes!).

hmprodhmprod (2)

hmprod (1)

Eli did have a dinosaur onesie from his Auntie, but he outgrew it a little while ago and I’ve looked for something similar since. I couldn’t believe my luck when I stumbled across this gem in H&M at Alexanderplatz before Christmas. It was under the tree waiting for him on the big day… but looked massive. The sizing is quite broad, I’d bought a size 2-4 years. So, I whacked it in his wardrobe shortly after Christmas and expected we’d get it out again during Summer at some point. Yesterday he’d retrieved it himself and brought it over to me, whispering “Mummy, I think this is a real dinosaur!”. We tried it on, et voilà, it looked wicked! Eli was indeed instantly transformed to REAL DINOSAUR status – complete with sound effects and some pretty scary actions!

PRO’s: So, its a great price for a play-costume. The detailing is brilliant – especially the detachable padded tail and golden spiked spine. The print is spot on and kind of shimmers. It’s flowing and comfy – slight elasticated hems and a zip cover at neckline. Machine washable at 30c.

CON’s: It makes Eli sweat – its that sort of sweaty polyester material; could have done with being lined.

We’re properly chuffed with this outfit and know we’ll get LOADS of daily wear out of it. And I think he makes a pretty cool REAL DINOSAUR!

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 23.36.34

You can shop this natty little number on the following sites: UK and DE.

MM.

#WhatEliWore

Screen Shot 2019-10-13 at 18.51.31

REVIEW | Meadham Kirchhoff x AMAZON.

Photo 21-11-2013 14 02 23

Following the amazingly successful sweater collaboration last year, Meadham Kirchhoff and online retailer, Amazon, have joined forces again for this incredible 4-piece silk scarf collection.

London Fashion Week design duo Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff are famed for their rebellious take on fashion. This second collaboration with Amazon Fashion is an exclusive collection of four distinctive scarves, in the spirit of the designers’ main catwalk collections.

I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to get involved with this collaboration as I’d very much enjoyed their initial offering with Amazon – and we all know how Meadham Kirchhoff flies out of Topshop!

My absolute favourite scarf from this collection is ‘PEARLS’. The print is so pretty, and of course, I love all things gold.  I really like how it’s been styled on the model too (take a look at all the below photos for some unique scarf styling!).

Meadham-Kirchhoff-ss13-collaboration-pearl-scarf-amazon

Each silk scarf is pretty massive and measures 120cm x 120cm! So LOTS of value for the £75.00 price tag. These scarves are all limited edition and can only be purchased from Amazon Fashion, here: MEADHAM KIRCHHOFF FOR AMAZON FASHION. PLUS, if you’re UK based you already qualify for FREE delivery – BOOM!

Meadham-Kirchhoff-Launches-Capsule-Collection-For-Amazon-3b

“Pearl scarf is an ornate design of baroque gold detailing and drop pearls that we featured in our S/S 13 collection”.
Click here to purchase the PEARL scarf.

Meadham-Kirchhoff-Launches-Capsule-Collection-For-Amazon-2b
“The Drawings scarf is a visual archive of Edward’s sketches from the ‘Cosmology of Women’ Autumn’11 show”. 
Click here to purchase the DRAWINGS scarf.

Meadham-Kirchhoff-Launches-Capsule-Collection-For-Amazon-4b
“The Curtains scarf features signature imagery from our Spring/Summer ’13 collection, in this case opulent swaggered curtains with ornate gold fringes”.
Click here to purchase the CURTAINS scarf.

Meadham-Kirchhoff-collaboration-amazon-scarf-ballerina-
“The Ballerina scarf features the tiny ballerina motif from our Autumn/Winter ’13 collection in a fresh new colourway. The artwork originates from a vintage silk scarf”.
Click here to purchase the BALLERINA scarf.

Which is your favourite scarf? And are there any different ways you’d style any of these scarves?

MM.

 

NB: I was sent the Meadham Kirchhoff x Amazon ‘PEARL’ scarf, for free, for the purposes of this review.  All opinions in this review are my own and are 100% honest. 

Screen Shot 2019-10-13 at 18.51.31

BRAND IN FOCUS | Hello Apparel.

Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 19.55.07

I LOVE finding new Childrenswear brands. Hello Apparel has been on my radar for a little while – I just haven’t gotten round to writing up my Brand In Focus for them!

Hello Merch is an independent company started in 2008 by Sam Means as an outlet for artists to manufacture and sell merchandise online and on tour, without giving up their rights by signing major label-style merch contracts. Hello Apparel is available for Adults as well as kids; although, I think the kids range is much cooler! ;o

Unfortunately, Hello Merch is just available for import at the minute. But the ever so lucky Southwood Stores will be the ONLY UK stockist very, very soon! So keep your eyes peeled! I actually cannot wait!

Here are my favourite pieces, that I’d love to dress Mr Eli in!

NCC_6579_1024x1024NCC_7032_1024x1024
Hello (Kids) Navy Raglan Pullover, $35.00.

hacoloronesiesall_1024x1024
Hello Individual Onesies,$18.00.

helloblacktriarrow_1024x1024
Arrows (Kids) Black Tri-Blend T-Shirt,$22.00.

hellohappy123r_1024x1024
Sunglasses (Kids) Raglan Tri-Blend Shirt,$24.00.

 

MM.