Pregnancy countdown – 41 days and I indulge in….

.a Neom Feel Amazing Treat box – For New & Soon To Be Mums

Wow – I’m now over 34 weeks pregnant and feeling the effects – especially at night time. The day is fine. I’m still active, writing features from my desk, sitting on my Wellness Ball and still training one or two clients (I had my last one today – boo!) but the night is painful. My hips go numb from where I lie on my side – all I want is to lay on my belly. No chance!

They say that at night its best to sleep on your left hand side as this position helps blood and nutrients to flow to your baby and uterus (womb) and helps your kidneys get rid of waste and fluid. You should also avoid laying on your back because the weight of your uterus lies on the spine, back muscles, intestines, and major blood vessels, which can lead to muscle aches and pains, and impaired circulation, which is uncomfortable for you and can reduce circulation to your baby.
Don’t worry I often find myself on my back at night. I just move straight back to my left. You’re body will soon let you know when it’s time to move, just try and get out of the habit of it!

So to help me sleep, this Neom box of goodies, has been a saviour!

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The Cocooning Bath Oil ( 50ml ) is soothing and relaxing. Great for unwinding before bed and helping you to get nice and sleepy so you doze of quicker and easier.

The Cocooning Travel Candle is perfect for having on as you dry yourself off and rub yourself down in the Cocooning Body Oil which will help keep your skin soft and supple, whilst avoiding stretch marks. It’s smells divine too – light and fruity with a hint of Ylang Ylang, Chamomile and Jasmine. Delicious!

It’s so important to really look after yourself at this time of pregnancy as you do tend to forget about yourself and sometimes feel a bit fed up of all the effort of everyday life. Enjoy these last few weeks – I am. Because before I know it I know I will have my little bubba in my arms and missing these long relaxing baths and pampering sessions!

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Three ways to stay stretch mark free during pregnancy

Research suggests that stretch marks, those small, depressed streaks in the skin that appear mainly around the stomach in the later stages of pregnancy have a lot to do with genetics: If your mother or sister got stretch marks during pregnancy, you’re more likely to get them, too. Other studies show that younger moms, particularly teens, are more prone to getting stretch marks.

The key to keeping them at bay is to make sure you don’t pile on the weight too quickly. The recommended amount of weight during pregnancy in most cases, is 25 to 35 pounds. Gaining it slowly may help reduce your chances of getting stretch marks, as will drinking lots of water, which helps keep your skin cells plump and supple.

Foods rich in Vitamin E (seeds and spinach), zinc (beef and lamb) and silica (celery), will also help to form collagen, while Vitamin C (oranges, peppers) in particular is an important antioxidant that helps protect tissue from damage, while helping it to form collagen.

There are also lots of fantastic creams on the market that are designed to be used day and night to keep the skin hydrated and smooth and help build tensile strength.

Here are three of my favourite that I have used everyday of my pregnancy. At 34 weeks, I can safely say that I’ve not got an inkling of a stretch mark – I must be doing something right…

1) Zita West Beautiful Belly Balm
This restorative moisturiser from fertility and pregnancy guru Zita West contains all natural plant extracts, designed to help keep the skin of your stomach in good condition throughout pregnancy.
It’s really rich, smells gorgeous – and is not greasy making it perfect to put on in the morning before you get dressed.
£18.95; www.zitawest.com

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 2) Mama Mio Tummy Rub Stretch Mark Butter
This is great for all over protection from stretch marks as a little goes a long way. It’s made with super-elasticising Omega 3, 6 and 9’s oils to help build your skin’s strength and has a rehydrating shea butter base, making it super thick, and really smooth to apply.
£23; www.mamamio.com

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3) Fushi Really Good Stretch Mark oil
Rubbing anything unnatural on my tummy is a no-no for me, which is why I love this stretch mark oil. It contains Holy Basil, known for its superb skin healing powers and renowned benefits for stretch marks, African Baobab oil, which holds the properties of omega 3, vitamin E and D, and is ideal for scars, blemishes and stretch marks. The oil is a little greasy but keeps my  skin hydrated for hours, which is why I like to put it on last thing at night.
£14.45; www.fushi.co.uk 

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Babymoon Time

This month Health & Fitness Magazine have featured one of my travel write ups on Babymoons – like honeymoons – but for couples who are expecting.

It’s a great time to get some last-minute pampering before the midnight feeds and sleep deprivation kicks in, so please find a PDF of the feature. I’ll be going to Mermaid Maternity Retreat in September and also Turkey in October (I’ll be around 25 weeks and no doubt in some serious need of some R&R), so I’ll let you know my thoughts…

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…Pegnancy is an exciting time, but it can be slightly daunting too, especially if it’s your first. Now, thanks to a new breed of holidays designed for busy, expectant parents, you and your partner can squeeze in one last therapeutic break before your little bundle of joy makes an appearance.

Also known as babymoons, these holidays are designed to give mums-to- be and couples a final bit of indulgence before baby is born. Think massages, pre-natal yoga, birth preparation classes, manicures and pedicures. Whether you want to stay in the UK or travel further afield, the babymoon is designed to pamper you and prepare you for parenthood. Here’s our pick of the best.

Kempinski Hotel, Barbaros Bay, Bodrum, Turkey
Enjoy romantic date nights on the Kempinski Babymoon Package, where you and your partner can spend time soaking up the Turkish sunshine. The seven-night stay includes six different treatments for the expectant mum, including a soothing facial and nurturing pregnancy massage, an olive oil and salt body polish and a 25-minute foot recovery treatment, plus there’s a holistic massage for dad-to-be. You can also immerse yourselves in private yoga sessions, breathing exercise sessions and water aerobics classes.

Perched on the cliffs overlooking the beautiful Barbaros Bay, you can also indulge in romantic meals in one of four restaurants before retiring to your stunning, sea-view room. Gorgeous!

Price: From €1,340 for seven nights for double occupancy.
Contact: kempinski.com

Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily
If want to continue your fitness regime with your bump, this three-night holiday at the luxury Verdura Golf & Spa Resort won’t disappoint.

Set on the south coast of Sicily, Verdura boasts two, 18-hole championship golf courses and one nine-hole course; six tennis courts; a full- size football pitch; a 60m infinity swimming pool; a fully-equipped gym, plus running trails that meander through olive and lemon
groves. The package includes a spa treatment of your choice, and a candle-lit three-course meal at the à la carte restaurant, so you
can wind-down after an active day in the Mediterranean sunshine.
Price: Rooms start at £1,023 for three nights. Contact: Visit luxefamilytravel.com or call
020 8144 3939.

Armathwaite Hall Country House Hotel and Spa, Keswick
If work and baby preparation is beginning to take its toll, and you’re in need of a bit of ‘you’ time, chill out in the Lake District with the de-stressing Armathwaite Hall Precious Moments Babymoon Spa Break, and let the stunning location and tranquil lake views work their magic.

A two-night stay at this traditional country house hotel will restore your energy and inner calm, thanks to the 60-minute New Life massage and relaxing spa facilities, including an infinity pool, outdoor hot tub, hush tranquility room and stretch classes. And if the weather turns chilly, snuggle up by a cosy log fire. Bliss! Price: £600 per room for two nights. Contact: Visit armathwaite-hall.com or call 01768 776551.

Essential Escapes, Almyra, Cyprus
When you’re pregnant, it is easy to forget about yourself; you’re so busy getting ready for motherhood, you neglect the all-important task of looking after number one. If you need to

get away from it all, and find some time to rejuvenate, take a short trip Cyprus and let this tranquil hotel help you find some balance and a deep sense of inner peace.

The three-night Nurturing Mum-To-Be Package includes a 90-minute massage designed to ease aches and pains, alleviate fluid retention and increase blood circulation;
a Mandarin Vanilla Manicure and Deep Sea Oxygen Facial, plus a soothing foot treatment. Outdoor yoga sessions and as many strolls on

the white sands of Paphos beach as you can possibly manage, are also thrown in. Price: From £1,670 or £1,060 for sole occupancy. Contact: essentialescapes. com or call 020 7284 3344

Mermaid Maternity Retreat, London
Based in London’s Chelsea, this non-medical maternity retreat provides all-round support to pregnant women and their families.

Nutritionists can offer advice on supplements so your growing bump gets off to a healthy start,
mid-wives are on hand to answer any concerns you may have about getting the hang of nappy changing or the potential complications of breast feeding, while holistic therapists including acupuncturists, osteopaths and reflexologists ensure you’re in optimal health throughout your pregnancy.

And if it’s the period after the birth that concerns you, you can stay after you’ve had the baby, too, to support your recovery post-delivery, and provide guidance and advice on settling and bonding with your new baby. Price: From £595 per night.
Contact: mermaid.co.uk or call 020 7199 3220.

Whatley Manor, Malmesbury, Cotswolds
If your pregnancy’s too advanced for plane travel, or you’d rather stay closer to home, head to Whatley Manor. This luxury hotel tucked away in the rolling Cotswolds offers a Half-Day Mother-To-Be Spa Experience, where you can enjoy extensive spa facilities along with a 60-minute Ila pregnancy treatment. There’s a hydrotherapy pool, tepidarium, relaxing wave sensory room and salt scrub showers.

If you have a bit more time, make a weekend of it and stay a few nights to make the most
of the cinema, beautifully manicured gardens and two-Michelin-starred restaurant, The Dining Room. A real treat!

Price: £105 for Mother-To-Be Half Day Spa Experience and from £305 per room B&B. Contact: whatleymanor.com or call 01666 822888.

 

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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

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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