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Before I gave birth I was gifted with this beautiful teething necklace, bought from the wonderful company Pebbles & Lace. These necklaces have been designed with baby in mind and are perfect for their teething…

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I drop my phone all the time so a stylish phone case is always a must for me. When CaseApp got in touch about their phone cases, I was excited to check out their product range.

One of the best things about CaseApp is that you can create a custom phone case. With the ability to add your own image onto a case, you can choose to have a totally unique case. One option would be to use a favourite photograph of yours to remember a special moment or person.

Not only is there the option to customise a case, they also have a brilliant selection of stylish designs to choose from. The black marble case was my choice, which is always a favourite, who doesn’t love the marble look!?

I also chose a matching marble skin for my MacBook Pro, which I think looks really smart! I love coordinating my phone case with my MacBook Pro. There is an impressive range of MacBook skins available on the site, something to match everyone’s personality!

If you are interested in purchasing a phone case or MacBook skin from CaseApp, I have a 20% discount code for you to use! Type in the code MARIANNESOPHIA20 at the checkout to activate the discount!

For the chance to win a phone case of your choice from CaseApp, give me a follow me on Instagram and look out for the giveaway that I will be hosting this week!

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I want my daughter to grow up knowing her worth is much more than her stunning beauty.

I want my daughter to grow up seeing incredible women achieving their goals.

Please don’t call my daughter a princess, although she is royalty, she doesn’t need a prince to rescue her.

Don’t just buy her dolls and pink ‘girly’ toys. Don’t buy her clothes with messages on that refer to her appearance. Buy her doctor kits and Wonder Woman outfits.

Let her read books about strong female characters who take their future into their own hands.

Let her watch films with characters she can aspire to, let her see a variety of different ethnic groups represented on tv, in books and through toys because we all deserve to have our stories told.

Never underestimate my daughter because she is a girl, she can accomplish anything she wishes.

I know my daughter is beautiful, but don’t only remind her of her beauty. She must not think that how she looks defines her.

I will encourage her to believe in herself. To keep going when she falls down because that is how she will learn.

I want my daughter to feel confident in who she is because there will only ever be one of her and she is incredible.

But most of all I want her to know how much I love her just as she is and that she never has to worry about being ‘good enough’ for anyone, including me.

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I am pleased to announce that my beautiful daughter has arrived! She is now just over two weeks old. I feel incredibly lucky to have her and I can’t believe she is finally here! In just this short period of time, I have experienced so many emotions. So for all the expectant mums out there, here are four things that I have learnt during this time.

1.Be patient, things take time.

Over the last two weeks I have realised that as a new mum, it takes time to learn how to be a Mum, how to understand what your baby wants. Just as any new job, it is a learning process. Part of me thought that I would instantly know and understand what my baby needs and why she is crying, but as with everything you learn these things and get to know your baby. Don’t be hard in yourself, this is completely normal.

It also takes time to heal. Labour is called labour for a reason! I hadn’t anticipated that I would need a recovery period. I had no idea what my body was about to go through. It was unrealistic for me to think that I would be up and about as if nothing had happened the next day. Who knows, maybe for some people this is achievable, but it wasn’t for me. Our bodies need time to heal, especially when running on very little sleep! If I’m completely honest, as a squeamish person, a part of me needs time to mentally recover too.

I also want to remind you to be proud of your body. It may not look the same as it used to just yet but it deserves to be acknowledged and appreciated for all that it has achieved! It has done amazing incredible things and deserves your praise.

 

2.You can’t always predict how things will go.

This is so true with labour, you may have a plan in mind but you may also end up with something totally different. I thought that I wanted to spend a lot of time in a pool but when it came to it, I didn’t end up staying in the pool at all! You just have to do what you need to do to get the job done.

In some ways this is also true after birth, sometimes things don’t always work out as planned. I passionately wanted to breastfeed and I felt so strongly about it. Unfortunately this hasn’t worked out for me and now I am trying to deal with disappointment and some feelings of guilt. This was something that I had always wanted to do and I am just coming to terms with this. But I have to remember that as long as my baby is loved and getting fed, that’s all that matters.

 

3.Don’t expect too much from yourself right away

I thought I’d be out and about quite soon but I did not feel up to it at all. I might have a goal for the day and I may or may not achieve this depending on how the day goes. If you manage to shower then that’s great, and if you don’t, then you don’t. Turns out taking care of a tiny human being is a lot of work and you may not have a spare second to even wash! The most important thing is that your baby is being cared for, so don’t worry if your house is a mess. I sleep whenever I get the opportunity! Sleep is so precious to me right now.

 

4. Accept support but when needed

Support is so important and greatly appreciated. Relatives helping out with chores or simply watching your baby whilst you take a shower, neighbours offering you cooked meals, it’s all life saving, all of those little things. But you will also need your space, time for you and your baby alone as your own little family. Remember you’re the Mum now, advice is appreciated but at the end of the day it’s up to you to decide which advice you want to follow.

 

Finally to all the expectant mums out there, I wish you all the best with your labour and everything beyond that! I hope everything goes smoothly for you, remember your are a queen and you can do this. Any words of advice from other Mum’s out there is also greatly appreciated!

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I’m going to admit it, I am nervous about the thought of labour. It’s not far off for me, in fact it could happen any moment now but hopefully not before I finish writing this! To be honest, I think I have every right to be. First of all it is not something that I have ever experienced before and secondly, well, it’s meant to be quite painful. Now I know some people are super laid back and would probably think that maybe this is all a little overboard, but I am a worrier and although it may seem a little over the top, if these things will help me to relax, then for me they are worth doing.

The more I thought about it, the more I realised that I am probably not the only one out there feeling anxious and just maybe somebody else might relate. So for those out there that are feeling this way, I decided to share with you some of the ways that I have been trying to mentally prepare myself for labour.

1: Understanding as much as possible

The saying goes, ‘ignorance is bliss’ but in this situation I can’t relate. One of the things that frightens me about labour is that I will have no control over what is happening to my body. A useful way therefore to combat the feeling of loss of control is to understand as best as possible what my body is doing. Understanding what is happening will help me feel less frightened. One of the highly recommended books out there that provides a great deal of information for every stage of pregnancy is What to Expect When You’re Expecting and I have found it really does contain so much useful information! Last week I read the Labour and Delivery chapter which covers a wide range of scenarios and also breaks down each stage of labour in detail.

Another important thing for me is to make sure that I take the opportunity to ask all my questions at my appointments. Find out as much as you can, the more information that you have, the more equipped you will feel and the better you will understand all your options.

2. Having ideas and options for handling pain

I had never heard of a tens machine before my pregnancy and I only learnt about them at my antenatal class. I can neither recommend or discourage you from using a tens machine as I have not yet tried using it and as I am not a doctor, I can’t give any recommendations or advice on this.

So why have I added this to this list? Well, it just helps to know that I have options when it come to dealing with pain. To know that I have a tens machine ready to use in early labour helps to calm my nerves. You can find out more about tens machines on the NHS website, along with all the other pain relief options. I was able to hire a tens machine through my hospital, this may be an options for you too. Overall it is jus good to know that there are further pain relief options available to me should I need them.

3. Positive media for a positive mind frame

I’ve been hearing a lot about hypnobirthing recently and I like the sound of it! It’s all about staying calm and relaxed. It highlights what happens when you allow your adrenaline to take over rather than allowing the oxytocin to do it’s job. If I had the spare money and time, I would definitely look into taking some classes for this (I left it rather late to start looking into this), but I have tried to take as much on board as possible from researching online.

I have been listening to positive birth affirmations through my headphones in the hope of staying relaxed and positive about labour. Along with listening to this, it is my plan is to play relaxing music to keep myself as calm as possible during the labour (we will see how this goes!).

Another thing that I have been doing is watching positive birth stories on youtube. I am really trying to work on replacing all of those negative thoughts and feelings by watching positive stories (rather than all the bad ones!) One youtube channel that I have found particularly useful for this is by the The Positive Birth Company.

I have also been viewing some beautiful photography by positive birth photographers out there, images stay in your mind, so I have been looking at these and I have found them pretty amazing!

4. Getting visual

Taking some of these positive birth affirmations, I decided to get creative! When I write messages down, they are more likely to stay in my head. I have also created a Pinterest board full of positive birth affirmations, so that if I need some encouragement I can flick through the positive messages. Examples of positive affirmations are:

I have everything it takes to birth my baby.
I choose to be relaxed, calm and confident during my baby’s birth.
My body is capable and strong.
You can do anything for a minute.
The pain that I am feeling cannot compare to the joy coming.
All the strength I need is within me.

Feel free to take a look at my Positive Birth Affirmation Pinterest board for inspiration!

5. Looking ahead to after labour.

This fantastic book was given to me at my baby shower. The idea is that you write letters to your baby so that they can read them in the future. I have been anxious throughout my pregnancy, not wanting anything to go wrong. So this has been such a wonderful way for me to look ahead positively to the future, daring to believe that everything will be okay and that my baby will arrive here safe and sound. Spending time writing a letter is such a refreshing and positive thing to do and we honestly can’t wait to hold our baby in our arms.

I also found these adorable milestone cards online,  I have seen milestone cards used a few times now and I love the idea of them. This is another way that I have been looking ahead to after birth. A great way to remind myself that afterwards I will have a precious beautiful baby in my arms and I can look forward to seeing her achieve all of these milestones! Nothing will compare the joy that I will feel when my baby is born!

6. Aromatherapy

My midwife provided me with some aromatherapy oils that are meant to helpful in labour. My hospital seem to quite like the idea of using aromatherapy. It is yet another sense that we can use to remain calm and aid the progress of labour. I actually haven’t done much research on the effectiveness of aromatherapy, but it definitely is a very interesting concept and I am definitely up for giving it ago.

These are just some of the ways that I am trying to prepare. Even though I kind of feel that nothing will really be able to prepare me fully, if it helps a little bit, then to me it is worth doing! This will probably be my last blog post now before my little one gets here so send your prayers and positive thoughts my way and I will speak to you soon!

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You hear plenty of recommendations when it comes to caring for your skin in pregnancy, but the truth is that you have to work out what suits your skin. What is best for one person will not necessarily work for another. These photos were taken when I was 35 weeks pregnant and at this time more than ever my skin needs to be taken care of.

I have sensitive skin and since I have been pregnant eczema has appeared on my hands which has not been fun. Not only do I need to take care of my hands, but of course my bump (which has grown quite a lot by this stage) as I want to keep it smooth to reduce the likelihood of stretch marks.

One product that often comes up in conversation when discussing skin care in pregnancy is Bio Oil. Hearing good things, I decided to buy some and give it ago! It felt so smooth and smelt great, however with a great smell I find often comes problems. I actually found that Bio Oil irritated my skin, and after a few days of using it, my bump became quite itchy with little red bumps. Noticing the correlation between starting to apply Bio Oil and the irritation on my skin, I stopped using this.

For the eczema on my hands I was initially using an ointment called Epaderm, but I found when using this that my hands never really felt incredibly moisturised, just oily. Depending on what works better with your skin, you will probably either have a preference for either creams or ointments. Creams are definitely better for me, but ointments still do have their use. I have found Epaderm is great for use in the shower! My bump feels so smooth after applying Epaderm in this way, but I decided to stop using it on my skin when dry.

So what has been working for me?

I find that creams always work best on my skin and this has been no different whist pregnant. Sticking to what has always worked for me, I have been using some E45 cream (unfortunately not pictured here as I have run out!) and Nivea cream. I apply these to my hands when they are feeling dry or irritated and I use Nivea on my bump each morning! I love Nivea right now!

It sounds funny but I am so appreciative of good creams for skin care right now, as i’m sure is everyone that experiences eczema or just wants to look after their skin. My bump is feeling very smooth these days which I am pleased about and I will continue to do my best to keep it that way. I am also hoping that my eczema will clear up once the baby arrives, but for now I am just looking forward to meeting my baby!

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Please note the views expressed are of my own opinion. I am not a qualified professional. My views should not take the place of your doctor, your dermatologist, or any other health care professional.  You should always check your pregnancy skin care routine with your doctor first.

On my recent blogspot Baby Announcement, I revealed that I was expecting a baby! Before having my 20 week scan, myself and my partner decided that we were going to find out the gender of our baby.  We wanted to know more about our baby and we really couldn’t wait 40 weeks! I made plans that I was going to bake some cupcakes after my scan, just as a little way to celebrate my growing babe. Although I don’t agree with treating children differently based on their gender, I still wanted to celebrate my baby’s gender because it is still a beautiful thing.

I am in no way an expert at baking, I am not a regular baker but I did my best! I relied on a recipe from a lovely friend of mine and I looked for some inspiration online to plan how I wanted to decorate the cakes. To achieve the multicoloured buttercream icing I used a combination of blue and pink colouring and put this inside a disposable piping bag. Making things look pretty is always the fun part for me, although the eating part is obviously the best!

To reveal the gender, I cored the cupcakes and placed coloured smarties in the middle. Unfortunately when I did this, I found that the colour of the smarties came off (oops!) and they ended up a purple colour! Luckily this didn’t bother me too much as in a way it made the cupcakes gender neutral and it was really quite a funny moment considering the cupcakes were meant to reveal the gender! If you are really wanting to make an impression, perhaps don’t use smarties unless you are planning on eating them straight away. You can opt for some coloured sponge instead or there are many alternatives .

 I was pleased with my efforts, the cupcakes looked cute and tasted good, but most importantly it like a lovely way to celebrate my growing baby girl. x

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These photographs were taken when I was at 22 weeks pregnant. I am now at 27 weeks plus 6 days and wow has my bump grown since! Still I wanted to share these images as they are the first I have taken with my baby bump.

Fashion can be challenging when you’re pregnant, not because there aren’t maternity clothes out there but because I don’t want to buy a lot of clothes that I will only wear for a short time. With a baby on the way, I have much more important things to be saving my money for!

Investigate your closet

I had a look through my wardrobe for clothes that weren’t a great fit before, due to them being too big. I wanted to make use of any baggy clothes that I could whilst I could still fit into them! Some of my trousers had a zip down the side, allowing me to wear them that extra bit longer! These are now out of the question as I am much too big, but they were useful for a period of time.

Hand me downs

Lucky enough my Mum gave me a few tops and cardigans that I could wear for a while. When she can’t find clothes in her size, she tends to buy them in a larger size with the intention of getting them altered. Well she had a few that she hadn’t altered and they were nice, so she let me borrow them! The top that I am wearing is one of them.

Consider the season

It is heading into winder, which means baggy jumpers. Even if they are not quite as baggy as they were before, they still work for now. It doesn’t hurt to get a few new jumpers either, as you can get away with wearing them again as a baggy jumper! With the cold weather approaching, I felt it was important to purchase some thick maternity tights and a maternity coat since my other coats no longer close!

When you are pregnant, you are going to have to buy a few new clothes. I decided to limit my purchases to the things I need rather than go on a shopping spree. I didn’t want to get a whole new wardrobe, but knew I had to get some essentials. You need to be comfortable when you are growing a little human!

Please do share any tips that you may have and your shopping recommendation for maternity clothes! I would also like to find out what the must haves are for a new mum to have?

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On a recent visit to the MAC store, I ended up falling for two lipsticks that I couldn’t let out of my sight! After trying them both out, I am happy with my purchases and don’t regret them one bit!

Please Me

I fell in love with Please Me because it is just such a simple and pretty shade. It is a nice natural pink colour and I do always love a matte lipstick. The matte finish lends itself to the pigmentation, which is great as it is a very complimentary shade. It is a lovely alternative to a bold lip colour for when you want more of a pretty soft look!

Pearly One

Pearly One is definitely a statement lipstick! I actually fell in love with the entire metallic lipstick range by MAC, oh they are so beautiful! I decided to purchase Pearly One as I loved the versatility of it! It would be great on top of another lipstick, but I also wanted to try it as a highlighter too! The sparkle is stunning!

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