My Pregnancy Diary; 30 weeks!

How the hell did that happen? I literally have 9-10 weeks left, depending on when I have my C-section – and wow, look at the bump!

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This week, I’ve had a massive hormone surge! Sunday, I felt awful. Light-headed, sick and I had a horrible metallic taste in my mouth, which apparently is down to a surge in the hormone Oestrogen. Thankfully it has passed now, but for a few days I really didn’t fancy any food, so I’m so grateful for my frozen Ooosh juices, which I keep in the freezer and can defrost as and when I need them. They are cold-pressed, which prevents the loss of nutrients and separation of the ingredients and have such a high-level of fruit and veg in them, I’m confident that on days I don’t feel like eating much, I’m giving bubba plenty of nutrients, especially greens!

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These are also a must for new, busy mums, so check out Scott’s website and drop him a line to see how he can help you. The beauty is that you can mix and match your favorite flavours in your delivery, and it’s as simple as storing them in the freezer and taking one out to defrost for the next day – or for in my case for later on if I’m having one for dinner!  I’m certainly going to make sure I’m stocked up for those early days when you need food – but have very little time or inclination to cook, especially breakfast!

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Back to training; I’m still going. I’m training 6ish times a week, which includes two power walks/slow runs at the weekend. The TRX is helping me greatly when it comes to exercises such as one-legged squats and press ups, and it means I can work with my body weight, which, because it’s so much heavier than I’m used to means I’m not really using any free-weights. I’m determined to train right until the end.

To help me with my training, I’ve also been lucky enough to give the FitBump Box a try, which is a lovely box especially for pregnant women and new mums.IMG_2296 The box comes nicely wrapped and inside features a resistance band, a Pilates cushion and a mini Pilates ball.

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It also gives you access to a private membership area where you’ll get;
* Week by week pregnancy & new mum Pilates workouts (I’m looking forward to doing these after my C-section, where I’m going to have to really ease myself back into training!).
* Weekly food planning, recipes, tension relieving exercises, back pain workouts, postnatal “mummy tummy” cardio and strengthening workouts
and
* a private forum where they cover everything from back pain, pregnancy worries and topics like postnatal ‘mummy tummy’ troubles! Again, it’s going to be great to talk to other mums, and possibly Joanna, the pregnancy & postnatal fitness expert behind the workouts when I’m ready to ease myself back into training and looking to knit my abs back together before I get back to anything hardcore! A bit or reassurance and training advice without having to leave the house!

I’m really looking forward to doing some of the Pilates workouts, as it’s easy to forget your core when pregnant. My core and abs are usually my favourite area to train, but I don’t want to overdo it in pregnancy and risk getting Diastasis Reci – aka my abs splitting into two! It makes it harder to recover and if I rush into working out too quickly I could end up with a permanent pooch!

If you are worried too, then I would certainly recommend doing your research and maybe investing in a box like the FitBump Box, which is expert lead and tried and tested. These tips should help you too;

  • Always focus on the TA or Transverse Abdominus during pregnancy.
  • Avoid exercises laying on your back during pregnancy.
  • Avoid moves such as crunches, planks, and sit ups as these are the prime culprits to Diastasis Recti.
  • Perform each move slowly and controlled to prevent injury or mishaps.
  • ….and, as always talk to your doctor before attempting ANY ab moves during pregnancy.

Keep an eye out for more on how I’m getting on with the workouts and how they are helping me through these final months!

My 17 week bump and current pregnancy workout 

There’s definitely been a trend with my measurements since finding out I was pregnant, and that’s that I’m putting around 1/2 inch on around my waist EVERY WEEK!

So far the butt has only gained half an inch and my chest the same. Everything else like my arms, calves and legs have stayed the same. Please carry on this way body!

We’ve just got back from a break so I missed one week of progress pics, so this is me at 17 weeks.  My body is definitely changing but not as quickly as it did with Lacie! A boy this time perhaps?

So anyway, despite being away how’s my training gone this week?

Good. I managed to hit my 10,000 Fitbit steps everyday (usually 16-17,000), hit the gym most days and been swimming with Lacie too. Here was my view on my walk up to the gym – and this is the gym I paid £10 a day to use. Shocking! It was however, nice to be in a gym environment rather than working out in my hotel room, which btw is completely possible!

I’m also currently working with my favourite PT from KX Life, Gideon Remfry, who has devised me a plan to help work on some of my weaknesses whilst pregnant, as after all, this is the only time I’m ever going to slow down and take the time to lower the intensity & focus on things like my balance, my deep core muscles, posture & the tiny stabiliser muscles in my ankles, knees & glutes. If I can get all these in tip-top shape before the bubba comes then I’ll be ready to smash it once I’m recovered and ready to exercise again post baby.

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So what am I doing?

  • Tube walking with a band around the arches of my feet rather than my shins. This helps switch on my glutes and works the tiny stabiliser muscles in my ankles, knees and hips, supersetted with a bird dog exercise to switch on my core and glutes.
  • Seated squats with chest band pulls to open up my chest supersetted with TRX one legged squats for balance & stable glutes.
  • Lunge with back dumbbell rows to keep my upper back strong & posture upright, and gym ball flyers whilst squeezing a Pilates ball in between my legs to hit my inner thighs.

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So far I’m loving the plan and reaping in the benefits. It’s making me really focus on my weaknesses, whilst getting my heart rate up to a safe level. I’ve had to lots of foam rolling and stretching on my glutes too, as I’ve had a nasty trapped nerve, which actually left me stuck at the top of the stairs one night….the fun begins!!

Product of the Week; Anita Baby Belt
When I’m pregnant, I like to feel like everything is tucked away neatly and supported, which is why I love this Anita Baby Belt. I may not have a big bump, but my tummy is a lot bigger than I’m used too, and this supportive belly band is adjustible and great for supporting my baby and bump. It also helps remind me that my bump is there, as I’m definitely running around a lot more during this pregnancy. I’m hoping it will help prevent anymore trapped nerves and stop any pelvis pain, which I did get when pregnant first time round. That’s relaxin for you!

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Creative Play; Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag

I can’t tell you how many toys Lacie has. It’s not been intentional but she gets hand-me-downs from her cousins, then gifts here and there from her grandparents – and from me too. It’s so hard to resist,when  you just want to keep them stimulated and keep their little minds challenged.

Guess what though? I should of brought her some building blocks a LONG time ago. We recently went to a soft play centre and no joke, she sat on the floor for hours with some building bricks. Sod the slides, the racing track, the ball pit and the wendy house, she was super happy just putting bricks together, then taking them apart and then putting them together again. Who would of thought?

So with that, I would like to welcome  you to the newest addition to the toy collection, a Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag. If you haven’t heard of Mega Bloks before they are big blocks for little hands to build and create. I was sent a Big Building Bag of blocks – and thought, what better way to test out these products than after bath time, whilst we wait for Daddy to get home. The time, I usually resort to ‘In The Night Garden’.

And guess what? The TV didn’t go on once that evening and I managed to cook dinner without a toddler wrapped around my legs (can you imagine!?). My husband was impressed that dinner was on the table when he got home and I was impressed that Lacie was super happy to play on the floor and create colourful towers and colour-coded her creations. I challenged her to go all green for one, and all yellow for another. A great way to learn her colours eh?

I found the Mega Bloks really strong and durable, and exceptionally easy for Lacies’ hands to grab and maneuver. I also love the bright primary colours and the bag they come in – again, it’s great for encouraging them to tidy up and count as you put them in….1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 10. We’ll get there!

The Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag is ideal for ages one and up and features 60 First Builders blocks. 

RRP £14.99 

 

How my diet has changed since being a mum 

Since being a mum, life feels like it’s going 1000 miles an hour. When Lacie was first born, my diet was so important. My milk needed to be as high quality as possible, so I was very strict about eating plenty of good protein, good fats and vegetables. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still strict about eating these good foods but my Sunday night food prep sessions are all about making Lacie the best food possible for the week ahead. Think sweet potato muffins, chicken and avocado wraps, banana, avocado, spinach and chia seed porridge and quinoa concoctions. It’s all about getting the right nutrients into Lacie so she’s happy, healthy and benefiting from stable blood sugar levels. 

Sweet potato, strawberries and spinach with coconut. Sounds yuk - but boy, she likes it!

Sweet potato, strawberries and spinach with coconut. Sounds yuk – but boy, she likes it!

So how about me? I’m all for convenience. Protein bars or shakes tend to be my staple breakfast right now (which still ends up being 10:30ish no matter how organised I am!!) pre-cooked and marinated chicken with ready prepared salad bowls for lunch and some CO YO and Paleo Granola or chopped fruit for my afternoon pick me up. I always cook a dinner though, which I eat with Lacie. That tends to be some sort of protein dish with vegetables and salad. Last night for example was salmon with pesto and roasted vegetables. She’ll sit in the kitchen with me whilst I prepare it and we chat and sing. It’s one of my favourite times of day! It doesn’t take long to prepare but I let her try things like pepper sticks and cucumber slices as I chop. 

I do love the kitchen, and I do miss the kitchen. I have so many recipes (check this sugar-free banana bread out!!) stored on my phone that i would love to bake – but these will have to wait until I have a few hours to play around in the kitchen, which doesn’t happen that often. Right now, it’s all about building good habits for Lacie and giving her a taste of all the good foods out there whilst she doesn’t know any different. I’m hoping she’ll get a taste for these foods and they will be her go to foods for the rest of her life. We’ll see. I’m fully aware that there will be parties to go too, and day trips out with Nannies and Nannas!  

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As for me. I’ll carry on eating my meals with either one hand or really quickly (I’m always in demand!) It’s not forever and as long as I have the right fuel inside me to keep doing a good job as a mother then that’s a that matters. It makes me really appreciate food when I do go out for a nice meal or manage to cook something special. 

What do other mums do when it comes to eating around their little ones? I would love to know! I’m off to go and enjoy a chilli with some cauliflower rice. 

10 REASONS YOU’RE NOT LOSING BELLY FAT

Last week  I was asked to help out with a feature for one of my favourite websites ‘Get The Gloss.‘ It’s a must read for everything health, wellness and women related!

The feature I helped with was called “10 REASONS YOU’RE NOT LOSING BELLY FAT,” something that many women can relate too. Here it is! Enjoy…..

Working hard but stomach still not resembling a washboard? It’s time to bring in the experts…

Never mind ‘does my bum look big in this?’, stubborn fat around the tummy is probably the most common bodily bugbear, for both men and women. Shifting it becomes even more of a priority when you consider that, according to NHS Choices, fat collecting around your middle poses more health risks than fat that sits elsewhere:

“We store spare body fat under the skin and also around the vital organs in our abdomen. Fat around the abdomen causes more health problems than, say, fat carried around the bottom or on the thighs. Having a large amount of tummy fat (when compared to having fat around the bottom or thighs) makes you more likely to develop type 2 diabetes and heart problems.”

Hardly joyful news if you have a few pounds to lose, but don’t panic if you’re developing a paunch- the following could explain why you’re accumulating belly fat, and tips from nutritionist and yoga teacher Libby Limon and fitness specialist Lucy Miller could help you to whittle down your waist once and for all.

STRESS
Number one rule for conquering abdominal fat? Don’t stress (in fact, make that a rule for life). Libby explains why anxiety can thwart your weight loss efforts:

Number one rule for conquering abdominal fat? Don’t stress (in fact, make that a rule for life). Libby explains why anxiety can thwart your weight loss efforts:

“Cortisol, the stress hormone, plays a part in laying down central adipose tissue (belly fat), so if you are in a stressed state then it will be very hard to shift. Stress can come from many sources- emotional strain, conflict at work or relationship trouble. Destress by building in yoga practice and mindfulness to your daily routine.”

If you suspect that stress is sabotaging your slimming goals, learn how to master meditation, swot up on calming yoga poses and halt negative thought patterns in their tracks.

SUGAR
It’s currently public enemy number one, and the link between muffin tops and actual muffins is, unfortunately, stronger than ever. Libby lays down the law:

“Cortisol is also implemented, alongside insulin, in blood sugar control, so a high sugar diet can cause belly fat to stick fast even if you’re restricting calories and trying to lose weight (excessive calorie restriction isn’t something I would recommend anyway.”

Personal trainer and obesity campaigner Lucy has some advice for addressing the issue, without going hungry:

“Try to cut down on sugar, saturated fats and white refined foods such as white bread, pasta, rice and potatoes, as they metabolise quickly, resulting in soaring blood sugar levels, which promotes fat storage. Base your diet around lean meats, vegetables and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as those found in nuts and avocados.”

SLEEP DEPRIVATION
It’s the c-word again- Libby underlines that ‘a lack of sleep can have a negative effect on cortisol balance’. If you’re struggling to get some shut eye, get to the root of what’s causing your insomnia and learn how to help yourself nod off using expert wellbeing techniques. If you’re in the following situation, however, you’ll be in no doubt as to what’s causing your sleeplessness…

YOU’RE A NEW MOTHER
First things first, never put pressure on yourself to spring back into shape, and definitely don’t rush things (that goes for weight loss full stop). Your belly has just housed new life and brought a wonder into the world; cut it, and more importantly, yourself, some slack. Up your activity levels slowly– Lucy advocates patience and TLC:

“If you’re a new mum then losing weight from around the tummy can be very hard- hormones take time to settle down and stretched muscles won’t knit back together instantly after pregnancy. it will take time, so give yourself as long as it takes.”

If you’re not feeling like you’re losing anything, try tracking your progress as you go and join a community of other mothers by using the Healthy Selfie app. It’s a great visual tool to reassure you that you are indeed making headway, and the photographic food diaries help you to monitor what you’re eating without exposing your entire Instagram feed to your daily meals. Co-founder Charlotte is even using the app to track the changes she’s experiencing throughout her pregnancy- we’ll report back on her post-baby plan!

Post-baby or not, overdoing it is never good…

OVER EXERCISING
There’s no doubt that slobbing out won’t do anything to diminish belly fat, but going overboard isn’t the answer either, as Libby affirms:

“Physical stresses such as overexercising and endurance exercise can upset cortisol balance. Switch gruelling cardio workouts for 20-30 minute HIIT sessions instead.”

HIIT the ground running (sorry) with these get fit fast workouts.

BELLY BLOATING
If a protruding tum comes with cramps, wind and bowel trouble, an unhappy digestive system is likely to blame and could be making a less than trim tum situation look and feel a lot worse than it is. Your first step is to beating bloat is to identify the cause of your tummy trouble, and Lucy suggests trying a meal tweak to see if it makes a difference:

“Avoid eating fruit after a meal, as fruit can cause food to ferment in your stomach, leading to bloating and lots of gas.”

CORE CONFUSION
The classic sit up has been sold to us as the best ab honer, but incorrect alignment can make them less effective, not to mention damage your back. A sit up alone also won’t burn fat that sits on the stomach. Get sweaty with a cardio blast and then mix up your core toning exercises by following Lucy’s drill:

“Do minute-long planks, three sets of 20 bicycle crunch exercises, two sets of 30 heel digs, three sets of 20 bird dogs and the mighty Turkish get up. These are all great exercises for working your deep core muscles, ab muscles and postural muscles, which will instantly make you look taller and slimmer.”

DUMBBELL DREAD
Traditionally many women skirt round the weightlifting section in the gym, and while body weight resistance training is highly effective, pumping a little iron pays dividends. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you’ll burn, even when resting. which is good news for torching tummy fat. if you’re still hesitant, let performance coach and founder of Twenty Two Training Dalton Wong convince you.

FAT FEAR
It seems logical to assume that fat contributes to fat, but nutritionists are keen to point out that since the “low fat” revolution of the 70s, our waistlines have widened dramatically. As personal trainer and nutritionist Keris Marden and fitness expert and health coach Matt Whitmore point out in The Paleo Primer: A Jump-Start Guide to Losing Body Fat and Living Primally:

“Have you ever wondered what takes the place of the removed fat? Answer: heaps of synthetic, non-food chemicals that wreak havoc on our metabolism and digestion. What’s more, most low-fat and fat-free products contain loads of sugar or artificial sweeteners to make up for the lack of taste.”

For a flatter tummy and lower body weight in general, healthy fats such as coconut oil and avocados could well be your weight loss weapon, as Keris and Matt highlight:

“Fat can play a vital role in weight loss[…] the single most important aim of your nutrition should be to balance your blood sugar levels. Dietary fat helps you accomplish that by slowing down the release of nutrients into the bloodstream, so by all means, add a little olive oil or butter to your meals. This will help regulate your appetite and keep your energy levels consistent.”

Fewer sugar spikes, reduced cake cravings and a drip feed of health-giving nutrients into the body will seriously reduce the incidence of belly swelling binges.

SOMETHING MORE SERIOUS…
If you’re diet and fitness regimes are shipshape, but you’re still not losing any weight, it may be a good idea to seek medical advice. Hormonal disruption can affect fat distribution, so consulting a hormone expert such as Dr Marion Gluck and her team could help, but book an appointment with your GP first for a general health check.

Day 3 of my 21 day diet challenge

Hello day three…it looks like it may be hungry one as I woke up hungry today!

Determined not to venture of track though, I popped Lacie in her running buggy (read my review on the Out ‘n’ About Nipper Sport V4 here) and went out for an hour run before breakfast. There’s a park about 10 minutes from our house, so I walked there as part of my warm up and the set my timer to three minutes running & 30 seconds rest. I did this 10 times before walking back home again. It took about an hour and according to my heart rate monitor I burnt 500 calories.

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When I got home I had a Protein shake with 1/2 a banana followed by some sourdough bread with almond butter. That certainly knocked the hunger pangs on the head and the combination of protein, carbs & good fats helped my recovery too.

For lunch I had Tomato soup followed by a chicken breast with courgette noodles marinated in homemade pesto made from spinach, avocado, basil & pine nuts and then a apple mid afternoon and a sugar free lolly….it was either that or something extra naughty. I always struggle in the afternoons with cravings!

I always go to the gym on Thursday nights too, so as soon as Lacie was in bed I ventured to my local Virgin Active.
I always run there. It takes 8 minutes, which is perfect for my warm up.
I then did 20 glute raises and 20 deadbugs to switch on my core, followed by 20 Kettlebell lunges holding a 12kg Kettlebell to work my lower body. I did this five times, and not only were my legs burning but my heart rate was nice and high too. This is the strength phase of my workout.

To finish off, I did a nasty met-con finisher, where I did 150 Russian Kettlebell swings using a 12kg Kettlebell. I didn’t however just do 150 straight off. I did as many as I could in a minute, then did 10 jumping lunges and did another load of swings until my buzzer went off. Basically on the minute every minute I did my jumping lunges, then carried on doing my Kettlebell swings inbetween.
The whole thing took me 6 1/2 minutes – it was horrible. The first time I did this though it took me 11 minutes so I’m definitely getting fitter!

I then finished off with some tricep dips and side planks and walked home. I usually run but my legs refused!

When I got home I had a nice hot bath with my favourite Liquid Yoga bath soak followed by a pot of CO YO mixed with some lemon juice and lemon zest. It reminds me of lemon meringue pie…and is a perfect post without treat.

So, I’ve had another great day. I’ve eaten around 1500 calories again but burnt 500 during my run and 400 at the gym – leaving me well under my calorie allowance. I think I may be hungry again tomorrow so will plan a nice big breakfast. I’m thinking protein pancakes! Yum!

Pregnancy fitness: 2nd trimester strength training

I’ve been really lucky to be able to write some informative blogs for the children’s shop Kiddicare. I love this shop and brought most of Lacie’s baby clothing, furniture and pram from here, so its a real honour to be writing for them.
Basically all my blogs are about how to exercise safely through pregnancy. I am going to share all these blogs with you over the next few weeks so all you beautiful pregnant ladies feel confident to carry on exercising. Here’s my fourth blog – ‘Second trimester strength training.’
I remember this was the trimester well; I really got my energy back and felt great. I had my 12-week scan and suddenly my morning (and afternoon) sickness just switched off and I got my energy back.
Yes I had days when I just wanted to stay in bed and sleep so I did it. I did also find that on those tired days that some gentle exercise was great for my energy levels and pulling me out of my lull.

* As always please drop me an email or message me if you need a hand or have any queries…*

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You’re in the prime of pregnancy during weeks 12 to 26, so it’s a great time to maximise your strength workouts to benefit yourself and your bubba.

I have designed this mini workout to help strengthen the joints for your major muscle groups like your legs, upper body and arms and to help reduce the risk of injuries related to the extra force and weight you will be carrying. Working the legs in particular will help offset stress related aches and pains in your knees, lower back and hips.

Remember labour and pushing during delivery can be that little bit easier if you’ve developed strong legs and a powerful core so by during this workout three to four times a week you should be well equipped and prepared for your last trimester.

Most of these moves at home or at a gym with minimal equipment, but just make sure you’re never out of breath or holding your breath, as this can elevate your blood pressure and starve your body of oxygen, which isn’t safe for you or the baby.

Make sure you warm up well with some marching on the spot, and doing moves like arms circles, ankle circles and gentle squats or a walk round the block to prepare your body for exercise – it will take a little bit longer than it used to because your cardiovascular system won’t react as it used too. Give yourself around 10 to 15 minutes and make it very gradual to allow your body to adjust.

The Workout
1. Assisted step into wide squat
Reps 10 each leg
Sets 3
Stand with your feet and knees together, with your right hand resting on a barre, sturdy chair or fixed item like a fireplace or kitchen workout.
Take a large step with your right foot to the right side and lower into a squat with your knees and feet turned out.
Make sure you keep your body upright and that your right knee does not extend past your toes, which will place pressure on your knees.
Push off through your right foot to return to the start to complete one rep.

* A wider squat will accommodate your bump, whilst helping to build strong legs and glutes and tone the inner thighs. Just don’t too low!* Image

2. Tricep dips
Reps 12
Sets 3
Sit on the edge of a bench or chair and place your palms facedown next to your thighs, fingers gripping the edge.
Place your feet on the floor in front of you, knees bent.
Keeping your arms straight, scoot forward until your hips and bottom are in front of the seat.
Bend your elbows and lower your hips until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
Push back to start.

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* A great move for targeting the backs of the arms, plus tricep strength makes it easier to push yourself up and turn yourself over, whilst taking the pressure of your abs.*

3. Ballet Calf Raises
Reps 15
Sets 3
Stand with your heels together so your feet form a V shape and hold onto a barre, sturdy chair or fixed item like a fireplace or kitchen worktop.
Keeping your heels together and toes out wide, engage your abs as you raise up onto your toes.
Pause for a second and lower slowly.

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This exercise will help keep your calve and ankles shapely, especially if you are prone to water retention. It will work your bottom and hips too.*

4. Back Pulls
Reps 12
Sets 3
Loop a resistance band (available from £4.99 at USAPro) at chest height around a door or something like the banisters and walk back until you feel tension in the band with your arms out in front of you.
Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly pull the handles towards chest and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Return slowly to start making sure you take control of the band, which will want to ping back into your starting position.

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* This posture-correcting exercise will work your upper back and help to pull your shoulders back, so you stand up straighter. You may find as you get bigger that your shoulders will roll inwards making you look hunched.*

Plank on your knees

Reps Hold for 30 seconds
Sets 2
Kneel on the floor, then shift your weight forward and place your elbows down on the floor, so they are directly beneath your shoulders. Keep your back straight as you rest on your knees and elbows.
Hold for 30 seconds, keeping your abs tight while you breathe.

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* This move will gently strengthen your core, which will helps protect your lower back, while helping your abs to recover quicker
after birth* 

 Stretch it out

Mermaid stretch
Hold for 10-15 seconds on each side.
Sit up tall with your knees crossed, then place your left hand on the floor next to you and slowly bend over to the left side.
If you feel that you can go in to a deeper stretch, put your elbow down on the floor, and continue to stretch over and hold for 10-15 seconds on each side.
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* This stretch will help the abdominal muscles loosen, especially your side abs (your obliques) which will need to be stretched out to help create space more space for your growing baby.*

Don’t forget!

As always, make sure you get the go-ahead from your doctor before you start exercising and listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right then stop. Make sure you are also fully hydrated and that your exercise in cool and comfortable conditions

Nuna IVVI pushchair review

Last month, my review for the Nuna Pipa carseat was published on Made For Mums, a fast-growing online community where all parents and parents-to-be can share info, support, fun stuff and friends. I feel so privileged to part of a great site, and just love reviewing all these amazing products. 
Since then I have been lucky enough to review another Nuna product, this time a super duper pushchair also known as Nuna IVVI. It’s an exclusive to Kiddicare, another website that I regularly contribute too. Here’s my review…if you are a company and would like me review one of your products, then please email me at miller82uk@yahoo.co.uk

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Nuna IVVI
Nuna, a smart, Dutch inspired brand is run by a father of two who wanted to combine style with durability and functionality. All their products are made using incredibly high end and durable materials and most-importantly are created to grow with your child – there’s nothing worse than having to change your pushchair once they get too big.  

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Nuna, a smart, Dutch inspired brand is run by a father of two who wanted to combine style with durability and functionality. All their products are made using incredibly high end and durable materials and most-importantly are created to grow with your child – there’s nothing worse than having to change your pushchair once they get too big.  

The Nuna IVVI, is a luxury pushchair system and has been designed exclusively for Kiddicare. The best thing about it is that all components are sold separately, which is great if you are short on space and don’t want to have to store something that you may not need or use for the time-being. With its space-age looks, the Nuna IVVI is practical and simple to use.

That said, it will set you back £600 for just the stroller – and will cost an additional £200 for the carrycot, but is it worth that sort of cash?

I tested this with my 3-month-old daughter, Lacie.

Optional extras

  • Carrycot
  • Footmuff
  • Car seat

How was it out of the box?

I was really impressed with how simple it was to put together. You simply pop it out the box, click on the all-terrain wheels and you’re good to go. Changing from forward to rear facing couldn’t be easier, it just clips out and you turn it round and slot it back in, although with a new-born rear-facing was the order of the day. 

What about folding?

The Nuna IVVI’s folding mechanism, like all the other adjustments, feels crisp and precise and the pushchair can be folded with or without the seat attached. It folds simply by sliding two clips either side of the buggy towards you before neatly lowering down, making a neat parcel, which you can then wheel to and fro like a trolley. It stands safely on its own too, so no tough carrying or balancing when loading the car. 
To unfold the buggy, you just pull the handle towards you and flip it open. You can also remove the airless tyres at the click of a button.

Did you like the style?

The buggy comes in four colours, ‘Caviar’, ‘Safari’, ‘Ruby’ and ‘Graphite.’ All colours are lavish yet understated making each of them?perfect for both boys and girls.

How is it to push?

The Nuna IVVI’s is comfortable to push. It glides along swiftly, and is easy to steer even on uneven terrain – but tight turns were tougher due to the size. The lockable front swivel wheels handle the bumpiest of surfaces beautifully, whilst its suspension technology also helps to absorb the biggest of bumps, making it perfect for even the lightest of sleepers. The pushchair can be pushed easily with one hand too – and the adjustable push bar made it comfortable for my 6ft 2 husband. No excuses now!

What about the hood?

The hood is fab too, it folds right down to cover your little one, and has an extendable canopy with a flip out eyeshade, which is extremely easy to use when baby needs shading from the sun. There is also a ‘peek-a-boo’ window at the back, allowing you to check on your sleeping baby. This, like everything else, has been well considered and is held in place easily with discrete magnets.

How comfortable was it?

The chair is lengthy and I’ve no doubt it would be suitable for my baby for a long time. My 3-month-old went off to sleep quickly and looked so comfortable with the well-padded and luxurious liner. Her head was also well supported by the head hugger and although she looked small in such a big seat, I was satisfied that she was extremely snug and secure. The lap restraint bar seems to be pretty low, but like everything else it can be easily tilted, opened, or removed completely with a few clicks.

What did you think of the storage basket?

I loved the well-structured shopping basket at the base, too. It has two compartments, which are easily accessible and huge…perfect for holding shopping and her change bag yet secure enough for holding my handbag and purse.

How compact and portable was it?

I found it pretty awkward when shopping in small shops and getting in and out of doors. The back wheels are very wide and I got caught up on something or crashed into things very easily – my steering probably didn’t help!

At only 5ft 2, I also felt the pushchair was very dominating and got lots of “Gosh that’s big” comments. It was also difficult putting it into the boot of my small corsa. It was easier to pop it on the back seat, rather than take the wheels off each time I wanted to go in the car, meaning my back seats had to be protected from any muck that had accumulated on the wheels. I also wouldn’t be comfortable getting on and off of trains and buses with it, especially in busy cities like London.Thankfully, I live it Kent with big quiet footpaths, which made it perfect for walking with.

Is it good value for money?

It’s pretty expensive too. At £600 for just the pushchair, you’ll also need to fork out for a footmuff in the winter, which retails at £70, the (see review: http://www.madeformums.com/reviews/car-seats/from-birth/nuna-pipa/review/1617.html) carrycot which is £200 and if required the Pipa carseat , which is £150 and comes with adapters that fit on the pushchair’s frame, again very easily.

Who is the Nuna IVVI best for?

Parents who love to walk everywhere, and want a smooth, plush ride for them and their little ones.

In a nutshell

The Nuna IVVI has been thoughtfully designed. It’s a joy to push in spacious areas and the great outdoors, but it’s expensive. You do however get what you pay for and will benefit from a robust, long-lasting pushchair that looks modern and comfortable for you and your little angel. Just don’t expect it to be pretty. It’s more contemporary than attractive but has lots of user-friendly features, which don’t require a manual to utilise. 

* If you like what I write – please don’t hesitate to get in touch regarding commissions, reviews, giveaways and promotions* 

 

Newborn swimming lessons at Virgin Active

As soon as Lacie had her first set of injections we were in the pool like a shot.
I’ve never been a keen swimmer so it’s important that we get Lacie as comfortable in the water as soon as possible. It’s also important for me to learn how to confidently hold her and play with her in the water, which is why we signed up to the Ducklings Programme at Virgin Active.

The 18-week programme are primarily designed to introduce very young children to the water so I signed up straight away and got my NCT friends to sign up too. There are four of us in the class and we are all friends which is great. It’s lovely seeing them every week and Lacie gets to learn new skills with her friends which is lovely. Hopefully one day they will all go swimming together and play nicely and confidently in the water.

So far we’ve only had two lessons but I’m so much more confident with her already. We’ve been taught how to get in the water safely with a new born, how to hold them so they can swim on their front and back, and we’ve already submerged them. Lacie wasn’t bothered at all as she went under. What a proud mum!!

A few little tips I’ve learnt already is;
* To take the carseat. This means I can get Lacie changed then pop her in the car-seat as I get myself changed too.
I have the Nuna Pipa seat, which I love.  You can read my review here…..

Screen Shot 2014-05-02 at 17.37.42* I’ve also learnt to take a spare towel. One for Lacie as she gets out the pool and then one to dry her with. I didn’t do this the first time we went and had to use my towel to dry her. I recently brought this poncho, (£11.99; http://www.mothercare.com) which Lacie loves to snuggle up to as soon as she gets out the pool. It has a hood that keeps her head warm and its made with soft cotton fabric that wicks excess water and dries Lacie really quickly. 

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* Lastly I always dress Lacie in a super cool swimming costume. She looks super cute and as she’s the only girl in the class I like her to look extra girlie. I get her swimsuits from Mothercare. Here my three favourites. We will take them on our first family holiday too.

1)Whale Swimsuit; £9
I love the frill detail around the waist and neckline. The turquoise colour is just lovely too!

lacie whale

Baby K Swimsuit and Turban; £15
This cute cozy from the Baby K range has a matching turban, which is very 80’s – she hasn’t worn the turban yet but it will be great on holiday when it comes to protecting her hear from the sun.

Bbay K swim suit

Lastly this Disney Minnie Mouse Swimsuit; £9
is just adorable. I’m sure Lacie is going to be a big fan of Minnie Mouse when she’s older and I just love the frilly sleeves and waist line. It looks so sweet on.

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I tend to wear a Tankini in the pool, which is really easy to get changed in and out of but recently I came across the new Speedo Sculpture range, which smoothes and supports your body in all the right places.
I love the Crystalsun suit (£60; http://www.store.speedo.co.uk) , which gives me flattering and feminine shape, thanks to the bandeau shape neckline, which enhances my tiny bust, an the lower leg, which elongates my short body. The gentle gathers are also perfect for visually disguising any post-pregnancy lumps and bumps. Its not easy getting into the pool after you’ve had a baby, I felt very self-conscious.

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To sign up to baby swimming lessons have a chat to your nearest Virgin Active. They are super helpful and will make sure your little one goes into the right class for the age and ability level.

 

 

 

Pregnancy countdown – 39 days to go and I’ve done myself…

A new eating plan….

Now I’m nearing my last month of pregnancy I’m conscious that I need to feed my growing baby loads of healthy nutrients – despite the fact that I constantly feel bloated and to be honest a bit sick. It’s hard to over-eat but I don’t want to under eat either (not much chance of that!)

So I’ve written myself a plan of action of what I will be eating over the next few weeks. I’ve decided that little and often works best for us….here is the plan.

7am Green juice BEFORE gym

9:30am Spinach Omelette with grated hard goats cheese

12:30 Homemade soup or salad with lean protein and 1/2 avocado

3:30pm Sunwarrior protein shake with coconut milk and banana and cinnamon

7pm  Protein like salmon, chicken, turkey etc with salad or roasted veggies

7:30pm Chopped apple with cinnamon and almond butter.

8pm – Herbal tea.

I really love the Sunwarrior protein as it tastes like chocolate and sorts out my cravings, which always tend to pop up in the afternoon. It’s really tasty with the banana too and the coconut milk makes it really creamy.

Some other great snacks to keep me satisfied until dinner are;
* LoveRaw Superfood Energy Bar. They come in various flavours – my fav being Rosehip and Lemon. It’s really tangy and has no added sugar, grains or dairy.
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* UpRaw Bars – they are high protein and are made with wide array of wholesome ingredients such as walnuts, whey protein powder, desiccated coconut, honey and cocoa powder. Again these are wheat, dairy and sugar-free and really chocolatey.
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* CO YO – a coconut milk yogurt that is vegan, sugar-free, dairy free and soy-free. It’s super creamy and tastes wonderful with raspberries and banana with a few sliced nuts on top.
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Grenade® Reload Protein Flapjacks – again a protein rich snack that is satisfies my sweet tooth with any nasty refined sugars. I find this really dense and filling – so sometimes I can only have half – depending on how hungry I actually am.
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You may have noticed that all of these snacks are high in protein. This is because foods rich in protein take longer to digest and do not cause a high spike in your blood glucose levels like carbs can.
The amino acids that make up protein are also the building blocks of your body’s cells – and of your baby’s body as well.
It’s vital that we get enough protein throughout pregnancy, especially during the second and third trimesters, when your baby is growing the fastest and your breasts and organs are getting bigger to accommodate the needs of your growing baby.