Packing For Labour: What’s In My Hospital Bag

The count down is well and truly on now, it is just 8 days until D day but having gone a week over due with both Scarlett and Savannah I am not pinning my hopes on this baby arriving on time!  I am however, slowly but surely getting the house together and sorting things out in preparation for the little ones arrival. So starting with the hospital bag, I wanted to share with you what I would be packing. The items I include may differ slightly from the list you get on Cow & Gate or that have been recommended by your NCT leader, but 3rd time around – I can tell you now that taking photos of loved ones to help you relax in your surroundings are a waste of precious space in your bag…

The Bag…

The Firenze by Pacapod

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Hugely useful with its ample storage space and separate internal bags and compartments.

For Labour…

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1. Hopefully I’ll already be wearing this, but in case time is short – a sports bra to actually labour in is useful. They’ll give you a gown but I’m hoping for another water birth and don’t want to ruin or associate the experience with any of my nice bikinis!

2. Not for everyone, but I found the Tens machine really helpful in the early stages of labour.

3. You could be waiting around for a while so actually an iPod with speakers is really nice to have!

4. These little speakers by X-Mini are fab, it’s all we use at home.

5. Fruit and energy drinks are recommended. I’ll be taking a multi pack of Time Outs and some Hula Hoops.

There isn’t a great deal else I have found useful during labour. I plan to get in there, get in that pool, get the gas and air permanently stuck to my face and pray for a safe delivery!

For Baby…

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1. A couple of muslins from my Faye & Lou rainbow pack.

2. New Born Pampers.

3. Not exactly essential, but this little cuddly lamb by Jelly Kitten is babies first comforter and it would be lovely to have it if there is room in the bag!

4. Babies first outfit! Merino of course, this is from Natural Baby Shower, remember you can get 10% off with code MERINO. I’ll also take a spare baby grow for just in case…

5. Water wipes – far easier than messing around with cotton wool and boiled water for those first few nappy changes. These wipes are just as kind to newborn skin.

6. My brand spanking new baby and blogging camera! The Canon Powershot N2, it has barely been test driven before it is about to take the most important photos of it’s little life! Thank god for the ‘skin smoothing’ feature :)

7. The softest blanket I could find, bamboo and silk by Babes with Babies.

For Me… 

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1. My coming home outfit! The beautiful Finsbury sweater from Sweaty Betty in a fresh spring orange, worn with…

2. Luxury yoga trousers also by Sweaty Betty, these are called the Uttanasana Pants – they are the ultimate in comfort with wide legs and a roll down waist – also the most flattering on a post baby body!

3. Emma Jane maternity bra, the best I have come across for shape, support and ease of use.

4. A couple of pairs of plain black short knickers. Disposable pants are just too depressing…

5. Tangle Teaser.

6. The new tinted moisturiser by ESPA Skincare and my fave Dior lippy to help feel a little fresher!

7. Face wipes.

8. The usual glamorous collection of massive sanitary towels, breast pads, Lansinoh cream and arnica tablets.

9. Travel kit by Dove which includes everything you need for body and hair, you’ll want a good scrub once it’s over!

Oh and your hospital notes! They’ll be useful too…

Finally, hubby is responsible for bringing change for the car park, making sure all electrical items are fully charged and that the new car seat is fitted and ready to go! This time around we have gone for the Cybex Cloud Q which is more like a space capsule from the future then your standard car seat! I was sold on the lie flat function that transforms the car seat into a carry cot, genius!

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Have I missed anything!?

Organising A Baby Shower!

This weekend we celebrated my good friend Lucy’s baby shower with cupcakes, bucks fizz and Maryland cookies. It was actually supposed to be a hen do we were preparing for, but nature has a way of changing these things and that has now been postponed for another year! So, myself and Debbie (the other ‘would have been’ bridesmaid!) wanted to make the afternoon as special as we could for Lucy knowing how drastically her plans had changed from wedding planning to baby planning, and give her an afternoon that was just about her and nothing else.

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Lucy, her mum (and her prediction!) and some of her besties celebrating her special day!

Making it personal…

Baby showers might be a fairly recent trend in the UK, but there are so many online sites catering for this celebration that really make the day personal for the new ‘mum to be’. We decided to keep the day simple and relaxed by hosting at mine and instead put our budget into the personal touches that Lucy could keep for years to come.

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This card made me laugh… IF ONLY!!! I found this online at www.teaandtoast.com

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Baby Shower Photo Booth props from Postbox Party.

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Yummy mint chocolates personalised just for Lucy!

 Little cards and envelopes for the guests to write a message to the expectant mum. Have since heard that the 'mum to be' was almost in tears reading them all at home! Available from The Green Gables.

Little cards and envelopes for the guests to write a message to the expectant mum. Have since heard that the ‘mum to be’ was almost in tears reading them all at home! Available from The Green Gables.

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A personalised predictions board, such a special keepsake for the new parents! Available at Postbox Party.

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Cake toppers, straws and table confetti all by Postbox Party

We kept the decor simple with bunting, pom poms and balloons. The yummy cupcakes were made by our friend Michelle and the rest was basically children's party food. I personally don't think you can beat cheese and marmite finger sandwiches.

We kept the decor simple with bunting, pom poms and balloons. The yummy cupcakes were made by our friend Michelle and the rest was basically children’s party food. I personally don’t think you can beat cheese and marmite finger sandwiches.

Games

We had already decided that the day would be more about a good old fashioned girly catch up than a traditional baby shower, but the event just isn’t complete without a couple of games so we snuck in the following to get into the mood!

Guess the Celebrities…

This is my personal adaptation to the celebrity baby game. Rather than print off the popular game and ask people to write down whose baby belongs to who (which can be quite time consuming), simply read out a load of celebrity baby & child names and ask the guests to shout out the celebrity parents – you’ll be surprised how competitive it gets! Especially when a chocolate Lindt ball is given to the first correct call out :)

Measuring the bump!

Often a depressing outcome for that mum to be when she realises all her friends think she is much bigger than she actually is…! But essentially you estimate the size of her new waist line with a ribbon and each person marks their name on their guess. Winner gets a prize (usually more chocolate!) – and the person who is most out gets a booby prize, which on this occasion was a set of ceramic sperm salt and pepper pots.

Some Perfect Gifts Ideas

But of course, the real highlight is watching the excited ‘mum to be’ be spoilt rotten with beautiful gifts! Here are a few gift ideas that are guaranteed to make her smile.

My 1st Years have a wonderful collection of gifts that are so beautifully packaged in a turquoise box and white ribbon. The foot and hand imprint set makes a wonderful keepsake gift.

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Babies First Imprint Kit, My 1st Years, £15

For the ultimate in show stopper gifts – head straight to Babyblooms. These beautiful bouquets are quality baby clothes and accessories disguised as roses. The only downside of this gift is that they are so beautiful you won’t want to pull it apart to use!  They have something for every budget and I just can’t recommend them enough.

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Luxury Rose Bouquet, Babyblooms, from £30

This silk and bamboo Babes with Babies blanket is the ultimate in newborn luxury…

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Silk & Bamboo Baby Blanket, Babes With Babies, £49

One for all the girls to chip in for is this fabulous cashmere newborn set from My 1st Years. You can actually get it personalised with his or her initials for the true royal experience!

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100% Cashmere Ivory Baby Gift Set, My 1st Years, £150

And finally something a little more practical, this is the coolest little nightlight I have come across by Brother Max. It hangs on the door handle so when the child gets a little older, they can take it off and carry it with them to help them see their way to the toilet! How cute is that!

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The Bear Carry and Hang Nightlight by Brother Max, £24.99

For more gift inspiration – check out my original Baby Shower Gifts post here!

Some snaps from the day!

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Lucy opening her gifts! This was a fabulous two tier nappy cake by Babyblooms.

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Spoilt with presents!

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Lucy at 33 weeks wearing her ‘Mum to be’ sash and me at 38 weeks! What a couple of chubbies!

Tips On Choosing The Perfect Pushchair

I’d like to think in the last few years, motherhood has made me a wiser woman and as such, I am more practical with my purchases… er erm. One of the biggest expenses you’ll face when your little bundle of joy enters the world is a new travel system. After several unsuccessful purchases, I can now say with total confidence that what I am about to tell you should be at the forefront of your decision making process when choosing your buggy!

You first of all need to think about your lifestyle and when and how you will use your buggy. Ask yourself the following and do not sacrifice:

Are you an off-roader or a towny? Clarifying this to yourself will automatically halve your options making the search much more bearable! To simplify this – it basically comes down to the wheels…

Will you be driving a lot? If yes, then considering the weight of the buggy is essential – you will be lugging that thing in and out of the boot of your car more than you can imagine. It’s also nice to be able fold it in one and not have to take it apart.

Where will you store the buggy? If you plan on keeping it in the house, you need to check it fits in the door – more relevant to a double buggy but I have been stung by this one and it was a NIGHTMARE lifting out sleeping babies! You will probably want it to be free standing when folded if you plan on keeping it indoors.

What kind of car do you have? Boot space is critical with kids. Yes you might just be able to squeeze the buggy you like into the car. But where will the scooters go? And the helmets? And the toy prams that you’ll need to take everywhere? And the picnic blanket for just incase? And the wellies? And the (you get the idea)…

Do you have other kids and what are their needs? Scarlett was 18 months when Savannah was born so a double buggy was essential for us. But from about 2.5yrs old a buggy board should be sufficient for shorter walks. Also if you have other kids, you’ll need to comfortably be able to steer one handed whilst you drag the resistant sibling. When you test for this, make sure the buggy is weighted with a child – it makes a huge difference!

Are you having a summer baby? If so, an oversized shade makes all the difference. Those little umbrellas look sweet but can be a real nuisance so it’s handy being able to rely on the attached hood for total protection from the sun.

If you can break your requirements down like this, then I suggest taking your answers to a recommended retailer and seeing what they offer as suitable options. I’m obviously carrying out a search of my own with the imminent arrival of baby number three and after extensive research and sampling, these are the top buggies of 2015 that I personally recommend giving a go!

Stokke Scoot, £529

Best for: URBAN LIVING

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It is easy to get blindsided by how seriously cool this pushchair looks but I promise you, it ticks every other box in my ‘essential must-haves’ too! It is total luxury to push and so easy to manoeuvre which is number one on my list of things to consider with two other small people in tow! It has a large basket which since moving to a town centre is a real necessity for my shopping as we tend to walk everywhere. It folds without having to remove anything which is honestly all I will consider since experiencing the alternatives, and it can comfortably be carried with one hand when down which just makes life easier when getting it in and out of the car.

Mamas & Papas Armadillo Flip XT, £479

Best for: COUNTRY LIFESTYLE

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The Flip XT is the latest in the Armadillo collection and is of the highest spec making it suitable for you outdoorsy types with its chunky wheels, but it’s how wonderfully compact this buggy is when collapsed which is the real selling feature. It is the world’s most compact fold and is unbelievably lightweight for such a sturdy buggy that is suitable from birth. This particular pushchair (as the name gives-away), allows you to flip the seat to be forward or rear facing and actually collapse in either direction without having to remove anything which is a total timesaver! Whilst this buggy is marketed at being suitable for outdoors, this really is one of those rare all-rounders and there isn’t anything negative I can say about it.

Baby Jogger City Mini Double, £499

Best for: THE ULTIMATE DOUBLE

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I can’t rate this buggy enough. The folding mechanism makes collapsing the buggy really easy and it is incredibly compact when folded so takes up very little space in the boot. It is narrow enough to go through single doors and pretty much all department store shopping aisles (essential), has really great hoods that completely cover the girls come rain or shine (with little windows so they can see me!) but the best thing for me is that the girls are sat side by side which greatly reduces the ‘I want to sit there!’ ‘NO I WANT TO SIT THERE!’ scenario… I actually bought ours in Boots on a triple rewards offer and had enough in points to get a load of matching accessories so this is definitely one worth shopping around for!

Styling Your Bump For Spring

There have been some major changes occuring this week… The Uggs have been replaced with loafers (more so because I can no longer get them on), I am back to walking the 100 yards to Scarlett’s nursery instead of shamelessly driving it, and last years daffodils have made a fresh appearance in my garden pots! Yep Spring has well and truly sprung and with a new season comes a new collection of clothes so check out my top picks from the virtual high street to style that gorgeous bump of yours!

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Keeping it tranquil for Spring!

1. JoJo Maman Bébé – This is such a great cardigan that can be worn a number of ways to flatter your growing bump. When left open, it has that gorgeous waterfall effect that gives instant relaxed style to a jeans and vest combo.

2. Isabella Oliver – I love this simple sweater dress, it will fast become a wardrobe staple worn with converse trainers and a brightly coloured scarf.

3. Charlotte’s Web – This gorgeous chunky ring can also be worn on a long chain as a necklace for simple statement jewellery.

4. Marks & Spencer – The most lethal shop on the planet… I only went in for hot cross buns! These little loafers come in a selection of colours and I can see myself living in these for SS15.

5. Isabella Oliver – Such an elegant tunic that can be worn so easily with leggings, jeggings or simply a tan! Just remember to invest in a stylish maternity belt, it’ll be your style saviour for the summer months.

6. Madderson London – The brand favoured with pregnant celebrities – even Kate Middleton is regularly spotted in their beautiful tunics! This silk kaftan can be dressed up with skinny jeans and super high heels for special occasions or worn relaxed over your bikini on the beach!

7. JoJo Maman Bébé – You really can’t go wrong with a breton stripe dress. Accessorised with a large tote it’s the perfect get-up for instant chic style.

8. Isabella Oliver – Invest in quality vests, they are so much more flattering around the bust!

9. Zara – And of course a faithful scarf to add a splash of colour to simple outfits. Tie Dye is still very much in…

The New Mamas & Papas SS15 Collection

It’s a bit of a picture heavy post this week, what can I say – the sun was shining! But aside from just sharing some family snaps of our day spent in Windsor, I wanted to give you the heads up on the wonderful Mamas and Papas SS15 collection of children’s clothes.

Here are a few items from the range for girls that I really love :)

Pretty in pinks…

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Or bold in reds…

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The collection makes mixing and matching very easy which is essential with the amount of washing I do these days!

Scarlett and Savannah were asked to try out a few pieces from the latest collection, and just like mummy are clearly fans of Spring Stripes choosing to wear these beautiful little dresses on our day out.

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The girls were most impressed with the castle and were desperate to get inside to meet Anna and Elsa…

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Here I am at 37 weeks – the count down is well and truly on! Honestly, looking at these photos I don’t even know how I am managing to stand up straight!

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Just love these little moments of true sisterly love – long may it last!

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Obviously I was not going to fit into one of these tiny little tea cups.

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Before heading home, we were all treated to ice creams at the Garden Cafe!

What I love about Mamas & Papas is that they dress kids like kids and not teenagers to be. Everything in their latest collection is bursting with vibrancy and colour and the cut of their clothes mean even the smartest of little dresses don’t interfere with play time!

Mother’s Day Giveaway: WIN 1 of 3 Hurley Burley Personalised Leather Key Rings!

To celebrate Mother’s Day, we have teamed up with Hurley Burley – a fabulous online boutique specialising in personalised silver jewellery and accessories, to offer three Scarlett and Me readers the chance to WIN one of the beautiful leather heart key rings featured on my Mother’s Day Gift Ideas post. You can choose from the selection of colours below, and have the stirling silver heart charm engraved on both sides with words of your choice! The most perfect gift this Mother’s Day :) Click on the images for further details and more photos.

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The key ring will arrive beautifully gift wrapped in Hurley Burley’s signature blue box tied with a silk ribbon, and will be with your mum in time for Mother’s Day.

And now for your chance to WIN…

Remember as usual, each way will count as a new entry!

  • Share this post on your Facebook page via the icon below
  • Comment below including the colour of the key ring you would like to win
  • Follow this blog via email or by hitting the blue follow icon

The 3 extremely lucky winners will be selected on Tuesday 10th March so that their mums can receive their prizes in time for Mother’s Day! 

Best of luck! 

xx

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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Mothering Sunday is a day to take time out of our busy schedules and appreciate all of the lovely things that our mums do for us.  It is a day for her to sleep in, relax in a hot bath and enjoy a lunch that she didn’t have to cook! To make her day even more special, here are some gorgeous gifts that I think any mum would be delighted to receive on her special day as way of saying thanks :)

Hurley Burley Personalised Key Ring £29.50

A beautiful soft leather heart key ring with a sterling silver charm that can be personalised with a message just for Mum. Available in a selection of colours but I know my mum would love it in red to match the roof on her little car!

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ESPA Mum To Be Collection £78

Ok so it is a little pricey but hey, mums are worth it right? This beautiful collection consists of the Nourishing Shower Cream, Smooth and Firm Body Butter and Nourishing Body Oil, all of which feel simply divine to apply and are recommended during pregnancy and shortly after. You can read a full review of these products here.

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ESPA are actually giving one of these luxury collections away on their official site – click here to enter! 

Bloom & Wild Flower Subscription £50

A subscription for flowers? Genius! What a wonderful way to treat your mum month after month so that she doesn’t forget how lovely she is! From a single bunch to a years subscription, you can choose from a selection of flowers and opt to have them hand tied or laid loose in a beautiful box. The collections are so beautiful and your mum will receive a different bouquet each time. The price above is an example of a 3 month subscription.

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Nanshy Masterful Collection Make up Brush Set £49.95

This is a truly brilliant collection of professional make up brushes and would make the ultimate gift for a mum into make up! I can’t rate the quality of these brushes enough, they are a real luxury to use and it is also worth mentioning that these brushes are vegan and 100% cruelty free with the PETA seal of approval and a huge thumbs up from me.

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Smythson Stationery, £35 

Totally fell in love with this little notepad. No description needed.

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