SilDerm Stretch Mark Prevention Oil

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I have been testing various stretch mark creams and oils as I am determined be stretch mark free throughout and post pregnancy!

The SilDerm Stretch Mark Prevention Oil (£9.99 for 30ml and £34.95 for 120ml) contains lavender oil and gotu kola, which helps produce collagen, and tocopherol to prevent future tissue damage.

It also has a very light scent and unlike other oils I have tested, it remains on the skin long enough to ensure the areas you are targeting are hydrated for hours after application. A great product to use morning and night as it isn’t greasy and feels uber soft and silky as you rub it over your growing belly!

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Sleek Technique – The perfect workout in the comfort of your own home

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 13.00.32There was only so long before I found myself at another ballet-inspired class that have become the talking point for so many fitness aficionados. I’ve done them all – BarreTONED, X-tend Barre and BarreCore. but the good thing about this class was that it was all online, and meant I could workout with instructor Flik Swan and three other class participants in the comfort of my own living room!

I bumped into Flik and Vicky of Sleek Technique last week at a press launch and straight away was blown away with their figures and vibrant energy. As ex-professional ballet dancers, their long and sleek figures stood out from the crowd and I couldn’t wait to wait to try one of their classes.

With my laptop set up in my living room, and Flik giving me advice at where to position it so she could see me and I could hear her clearly throughout the class, we plied and pulsed until my legs burnt, and stretched and lengthened until my ex-gymnast flexibility came back to me –  all -while protecting my little baby bump of course!

Flik was great. It felt no different to being in a class studio as she encouraged us and perfected our movements throughout the 30-minute session. She modified my movements to accommodate the baby but still pushed us to work hard and get the most out of the class.

I loved that the class pushed me to within an inch of quitting (especially the plies), then allowed recovery through expert stretching techniques; giving our quivering muscles a rest.

After the class my entire body felt worked, but this is not to say I was in pain –  I was just very aware that I had had a good workout. My legs and arms felt tired but at the same time I felt limber and fully aware of my posture.

I love the concept of this class. It’s great for all levels – including during pregnancy and there are lots of classes to choose from depending what level you are.

I’ll be leaving the Classical Cardio and the full Ballet Bootcamp classes until after my bubba is born – but believe me I will be taking advantage of the classes whilst he or she is born. As it sleeps, there’s no doubt I’ll be getting my workout in without having to leave the house and pay for creches and the like. A very cool concept – that I will definitely be sharing with my Mummy friends.

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http://www.sleektechnique.com

Hay Fever products that are safe to use during pregnancy

If you are anything like me and have hay fever yet are pregnant that you will probably be pretty miserable right now. A stuffy nose, tight chest and itchy eyes aren’t pleasant at the best of times, let alone when sleep and relaxation are at their most important and you keep waking up struggling to breathe. It’s a nightmare.

So I have have been on the hunt for the latest products on the market that are safe to use when expecting. There’s got to be something out there for us – right?

Sterimar Isotonic Nasal Hygiene
This salt water solution is designed to relieve congestion. Literally you stick it in your nostrils and squirt – and it can be used 2-6 times a day. Did it work for me? No I’m afraid not. My stuffy nose didn’t ease at all. In fact it felt like the solution just dripped straight out – giving me to need to use even more tissues. It was quite a powerful squirt too, so didn’t feel nice to use.
http://www.sterimarnasal.co.uk

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HayMax Pure Organic Drug-Free Balm
Similar to Vaseline, this balm is designed to trap pollen before it goes into your nose. You simply dab a little around your nostrils and your good to go.
I loved that this was totally natural, had a lavender smell, which helped me sleep and the fact that I was in control of how much I used.
I found this pretty effective but you do need to remember to reapply every time you blow your nose or sneeze, which was a lot to begin with!
I found it most effective when I put it on in at night before bed, first thing in the morning before the gym and then straight away after the shower. I think this helped loads! I hear James Duigan is a fan too – which is always reassuring!

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Prevalin Allergy Nose Spray 
I remember my husband got this for me in a state of emergency. We were supposed to be going to a wedding and I called him crying my eyes out and told him I couldn’t go. My eyes were streaming and my nose was so blocked it was making my few sick. Horrible. I think I got myself a bit worked up and all I wanted was a hayfever tablet but couldn’t just incase I harmed the baby. So he came home with this nose spray. It certainly helped clear things up but you need to stay on top of it and build it up. It’s not a miracle worker but it helps. The spray is supposed to line the inside of the nose, deactivate pollen and get to the root of the problem. It’s designed for pregnant women and kids so isn’t as strong as some things on the market but it did help ease some of my symptoms. The day of the wedding, I did a hot water inhalation and used this. Thank god it helped!

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NasalGuard Allergie Block Topical Gel
Again drug free and suitable for pregnant women and children, this really lightweight gel is designed to to block pollen entering the body through the nose and therefore preventing an allergic reaction.
Like Haymax I found it really effective – and the best thing was that it was so light and transparent that I could wear it over my makeup and it didn’t look shiny or sticky. I found that I used the Haymax before bed, as the lavender helped me sleep, then used this throughout the day – reapplying every 4-6 hours. So far so good. My system is working and I can breathe again!

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Last but not least are my trusted eye drops.
Allclear Eye Drops
Made with from a sterile, preservative-free moistening solution for irritated eyes, containing the herb Eyebright – these drops are totally natural and have again been a life saver for me. As soon as I feel even a slight itch, I whip them open and pop into my eyes and they instantly soothe them. You only get 10 packs per packet which make them pretty expensive but if they do the job and make you happy and comfortable who cares?

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So there we have it. A round up of my pregnancy hay fever remedies. I hope this helps you – drop me an email if you need any advice or want to ask me any questions about them x

Maca Power – Magic Baby Dust?

Have you ever heard of Maca powder? I hadn’t either until I read a book that sang its praises for helping to boost fertility.

So guess what – I went and got some and started added it to my daily morning smoothies and  sprinkling it on my granola and yogurt. Whenever I had the chance it was in my food and working it’s magic.

Maca is basically a root-like cruciferous vegetable from the Andes of Peru. It grows in some of the harshest farmlands in the world, where the soil is rich in volcanic minerals, experiencing freezing temperatures, fierce winds and intense sunlight .

It contains 31 different minerals and 60 different phytonutrients,and is extremely nourishing  for the endocrine system, aiding both the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands (all vital for fertility and hormone balance.)

It also has adaptogenic properties, which means it helps to strengthen the body so it is able to better resist disease and stress, support the adrenal glands and balances the body’s functions.

This wonder-food has been scientifically researched for the use of increasing fertility since 1961 and has been shown to contain specific compounds called glucosinolates which directly can affect fertility for both men and women.

I must admit I stopped taking it as soon as I found out I was pregnant because there have been no studies on the use of maca during pregnancy and as a safety precaution most manufacturers state that their supplements should not be used during pregnancy – it’s not worth the risk. But I’m pretty certain that this superfood really helped me regenerate my body and get everything back working again.

It has a bit of a taste to it – but it can be well hidden in smoothies etc so why not give it a go?

As always, I would recommend speaking to your GP if you are on any medication and treatment as you don’t want it to interfere with anything – just a safety measure – but you should be fine.

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Pregnant or not?

As you can see from my last post – I went a bit crazy with the pregnancy tests – but they were only cheapy ones that I got free with my Ovulation Monitor so I wasn’t sure what to think.

On my way home from Devon, I got straight onto the phone to Vivien and asked her if I should trust them. She said that she’s found that pretty effective in the past and to drive over to hers the following morning and she would check me out.

I did. The next day I drove to Simple Healing in West Sussex and laid on Vivien’s treatment table – she did her thing and said – “Yup – there’s definitely something there. It’s only tiny, but yes I can see something!”

OMG!

I called my husband, who was like “what does this mean?” Men eh!

He came home that night with some super duper digital test and sure enough I was 3 weeks pregnant. I couldn’t believe it. Changing my diet, exercise regime and having treatments like acupuncture and healing with Viv had worked.

There were times when I was miserable and hated my less toned body and questioned if things were actually going to work again – but they did and if I can do it anyone can!

Over the next few weeks, watch out for some of the foods I included in my diets, some of my new exercise routines and tips on how I plan to get through this pregnancy as healthy as I possibly can.

I can’t tell you how happy we both are – and how much we owe to the likes of Gideon and Viven for helping us on our journey – its’ been emotional but also such an amazing learning curve!

I’m also happy to help anyone who needs advice or some support. Email me at miller82uk@yahoo.co.uk and I will do what I can to share my knowledge and experiences……

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More Relaxing, More walking, More food – But still soooo tired….

As part of my recovery, it’s been lovely to spend some weekends away with my husband.

For our first wedding anniversary, we ventured to one of favourite places in England – Bovey Castle.

It’s a Country house hotel on Dartmoor in Devon and surrounded by the most gorgeous green landscape – you can’t hear or see a car for miles when peering out your bedroom window.

Although I did use the gym here – which is pretty tiny but all the same still a gym, we also swam in the pool which overlooks the ground, ate at The Edwardian Grill, and went for a two hour country walk through the windy lanes. It was lush – not a car in sight!

I also had the most amazing massage at the SUNDÃRI Spa – an Abhyanga massage, a gentle but firm whole body massage from head to toe using warm medicated oils.

The massage is done in a soft rhythmic way and was a deeply relaxing, rejuvenating experience which definitely helped my stress, anxiety and exhaustion levels.

Even though the massage and the whole weekend was supposed to be targeting my exhaustion levels, I couldn’t understand why I kept falling asleep. Perhaps it was because i was in a nice and relaxed environment – or perhaps it was because something else! I had most certainly cut down on my exercises sessions and intensity, I was sleeping MUCH, MUCH more – so much so I had at least three naps that whole weekend and couldn’t sit around the pool because it was far too warm and making me feel faint and sick.  Something was up, so I investigated. For once I wasn’t disappointed with the results…..

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Simply Healing – Abdominal Healing

Since leaving the wonderful Simply Healing Retreat, I’ve kept in touch with Vivien and been seeing her for extra healing and treatments. One treatment that really stuck out for me was The Abdominal Sacral Massage’s that the retreat offers.

Vivien came across these when she was visiting Hawaii and first became really aware of how well the women looked after each other, groomed each other and supported each other.

One day she came across four women laying their sister or cousin down on a bed of rocks with the sea washing over her gently in waves. I realised that they were using the energy of the waves to massage her body: as the water came in their hands would go one way, and as it went out they would go the other. The whole rhythm of nature and the sea was part of this ritual.

She asked the women why they did this and they said that their sister was trying to have a baby and explained that the lower (sacral) part of the body had become congested and this particular massage helped to decongest it. As part of her healing journey she spent time with this family every Sunday for six weeks to see what the outcome was – and was struck by how keen everyone was to share their traditional techniques with me. She then brought that info back to the UK and sent her therapists on a course in the UK to learn the technique.

I was  lucky enough to have this massage two or three times during my treatment at Simply healing and although it was relaxing, have to say that it was very weird too.  It feels like you are having a deep massage of your womb and organs, and it feels like everything is starting to align and relax internally. No-one ever thinks to massage your insides – it’s usually all about the outsides, which makes this massage pretty unique.

Instantly I felt lighter and that everything was working abit smoother again. More importantly, Nicky, the therapist, showed me where my womb/uterus lay and taught me that I could also massage it myself. If she hadn’t of shown me this, I would have probably ended up massaging my bladder!

Being able to do this myself (not as well as Nicky of course) gave me another tool in my toolbox that I could do myself when taking some time out and relaxing. Boosting your circulation to your womb, ovaries, and fallopian tubes can only boost your chances ever more of naturally conceiving – while also helping bloating and digestive orders to name a few!

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Simply Healing

So after a struggle to eat more, exercise less and take more rest and recovery for over six months, I had no other option that to en-role in a retreat.

Yes I could be stricter on myself but it’s hard when you are a perfectionist and conditioned to eat very clean (and probably not enough) and follow your usual exercise routine. It’s the only way I know and has been for a long time – habits are hard to break – especially the ones that are drummed into us as good!

I’d seen my specialist a few times and although my womb lining was going up very very slowly, he expected more in the time frame we had been working on. He upped my dosage of Tamoxifen which is a drug used to help with ovulation and female fertility and again told me that I needed to rest more. I remember him specifically saying – there is no healthy womb without healthy adrenals and given that I was still smashing mine into the ground, I didn’t have much hope.

So….I booked myself on a Fertility Enhancement Plan at Simply Healing Detox Retreat. The retreat has a long history of successfully helping couples in their quest for a child and offers the very best in juice combinations and stimulating body treatments that will aid your chances of conceiving.

There number one priority is to help you de-stress, relax your mind, and enhance you mentally and physically, it was an opportunity that I couldn’t miss.

After speaking to Vivien who explained that the detox would  clear my body of old toxins, chemicals, negative thoughts, and leave you more positive, lighter and healthier, I couldn’t wait to go. A whole five days of working on my fertility and getting some much needed R&R.

The house was lovely. On arrival I was instantly welcomed by roaring fires and friendly staff, including Vivien who whisked me away to a room and talked about my history and why I was there.

During our chat I had my first fruit and vegetable juice, a pro-biotic and some clay to help fill my tummy and start the detox process, then it was early to bed.

Throughout my five days at the retreat I did NO exercise apart from the odd morning walk with the rest of the group and 10 minutes a day on the Reviber Plus which helps boost your metabolism and stimulate your lymph glands. We lived off five juices a day and a potassium broth in the evening, which was nice and warm – it reminded me of a hot evening meal – minus the chewing (and bread). We also had lots of early nights, watched a few Dvds and read plenty of magazines & books.

Throughout the week, I also had lots of treatments including a Colonic3 x Abdominal Sacral Fertility Massages, which can relieve the symptoms of polycystic ovaries, endometriosis and tilted uterus, a one to One Nutritional Consultation, some hypnotherapy, which deals with emotional issues, negative beliefs and frees your conscious mind, some reflexology, which helps stimulate the reproductive glands, a Nutritional Group Talk and a few Meditation and Relaxation sessions.

The most amazing thing that happened to me in the week was that i had some healing with Vivien.  Vivien, who has been working as a healer and teacher for many years worked on thickening my womb lining during our session. It was a weird experience. As I lay on the bed her hands hoovered over my stomach and womb area and automatically I felt a magnetic, heat type sensation. The session only lasted for 20 minutes or so but I felt more positive when I jumped off the bed. The next day, I was allowed out of the retreat for a few hours to see my specialist. This isn’t usually allowed but appointments with my doctor are hard to get so my husband came and picked me up and took me to my appointment.

As usual my doctor scanned me – and OMG my womb lining had near enough doubled since seeing him four weeks ago. It had gone from 2mm (stupidly low) to 5mm. I couldn’t believe it – I couldn’t wait to go back and tell Vivien.

The next day I got my period! The first one in over 18 months – again I couldn’t believe it.

Before I left the retreat – feeling like a new women, Vivien gave me one more healing session, where again she worked on my womb lining and calming my mind and body down. Because my levels had gone up so much, my specialist wanted to see me again in a weeks time, so Vivien wanted to do as much as she could before my next appointment.

I would recommend this place to ANYBODY!

Yes it’s expensive but so is IVF. Vivien and her staff are wonderful and you really feel like you are being proactive here. I learnt so much about my body and mind and must admit it was a wake up call. It proved to me that if you nurture your body then it will work properly. Yes, I had some extra help from Vivien with the healing, but I am so grateful that she taught me to take time out, listen to my body and feed it lots of quality ingredients. if you do then you will see results – and I’m definitely a results-driven person!
I’m definitely going to carry on juicing when I get home and will continue to drive the hour journey to see her as much as I can.

I had instant results from this place – and haven’t looked back since!

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