Monday, 15 July 2013

Stretch Mark Oils

Like any new mum I was concerned about the onslaught of stretch marks that would possibly occur once my bump started expanding (around 75 to 90% of women will get them). And of course, every mum you meet will have an oil, balm or cream that they swore prevented them from appearing (and of course, you;ll go and buy said balm just incase it really does work). But do they? In my experience, oils are great for keeping your bump moisturised to-the-hilt; oils are made up of smaller molecules than creams so are absorbed much more easily into the skin, so they're well worth investing in. However, I'd say it's down to genetics too; if your mum went through two pregnancies and stayed stretch mark-free, it's likely you will too. N.B use your oil on damp skin, you'll find it absorbs easier.

In my case, I got through my first pregnancy with just a few little marks around my belly button (and I had been alternating an oil with a heavy duty body cream every other day - or when I just didn't fancy the oil). And now, at 38 weeks, it looks like it's going the same way. I guess I'm lucky in that respect. Saying that, if it turns out to be more, it's nothing a little self-tan won't fix so I won't worry about it. Either way, I've been trialling a few body oils over the last few weeks. Some I loved ... some were okay-ish but for me, a lot of it is down to the scent - I won't use anything unless it smells good too. Here are some of my favourites:

Weleda Stretch Mark Massage Oil, £15.95 (
This is lovely. It contains sweet almond oil (packed with essential fatty acids) and has a light citrus scent that isn't overpowering, plus, it's all natural too. And it doesn't leave your skin feeling sticky - something I found with a lot of stretch mark oils I've tried.

Mama Mio OMega Body Oil, £23 (
It's not specifically a stretch mark oil but its ingredients (think argan, sweet almond and jojoba oils) make it super hydrating and fab at maintaining your skin's elasticity. Again, sinks in nicely and a little goes a long way though I wasn't sure about the floral and citrus scent.

Pure Mum to Be Stretchmark Oil, £9.50 (
This is from a really lovely (and affordable) range. The ingredients list doesn't boast as many moisturisers though its key ingredient, rosehip oil, is packed with omega's and is brilliant at evening skin tone too. Be wary though; no smaller spout-application means it just pours out of the bottle.

Clarins Body Treatment Oil Firming/Toning, £38 ( 
I've been recommended this so many times and for good reason. It's a huge multi-tasker (firming, toning and hydrating with hazelnut oil, rosemary and mint) but also, it just smells amazing and will genuinely soothe your senses. For me, that alone makes it worth the investment.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Working-It Out

As a regular, if somewhat sporadic, runner, I've been really keen to keep up my fitness levels during my second pregnancy. It's not a weight issue, more that I've wanted to feel as fit and healthy as possible both before and after labour. Plus, I reckon staying even a little bit fit has got to help you during it too, right? With my first baby, I gave the treadmill up weeks in. I was sure all that jiggling about just couldn't be comfortable for baby and really, I didn't feel comfortable either - I was forever pulling up leggings or hitching down sports bras.

That's why I was really intrigued when an email from FittaMamma Maternity ActiveWear appeared in my inbox. The small range of sportswear has been designed especially with mums-to-be in mind; think stretchy fabrics designed to accommodate a steadily growing bump, capri pants complete with a supportive band and unique fabric that keeps you cool even when you feel you've got an in-built heating system, not a baby, somewhere in there.

I tried their Mamma Capris, £44.99 and the Mamma Support Top, £44.99 (pictured) and I've got to say, they were brilliant. Neither rode up or down during my runs (read: ambles) around the park and the extra support they gave was a huge comfort (both physically and psychologically). If, like me, you're keen to keep up some sort of exercise routine during your pregnancies, I'd wholeheartedly recommend them. I just wish I'd came across them sooner.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Morning Sickness Myth

When I got pregnant with baby number one, I remember having a few fleeting weeks of not feeling pregnant at all; obviously there was no bump to be seen but also, I didn’t have any morning sickness. Not even a hint of it. And though I kind of dreaded that part of my pregnancy, I was a little bit gutted that I wasn’t feeling like more than half of us women usually do. I almost expected my GP to tell me I wasn’t really pregnant at all – I’d just eaten some bad sushi or something.

And then I got to week seven. For anyone that hasn’t had morning sickness, your day kind of goes like this: wake up feeling nauseous, forgo usual toast and jam for plain toast, pack essential (read boring) snacks for commute, hunt down nearest bread/pasta/rice based foods for lunch, (repeat again for supper) and avoiding any potential sick-inducing situations whilst you go about your day. The thing is, morning sickness isn’t just relegated to waking but more often than not lasts all day.

Though I would love to tell you what you can do to alleviate it and give some genuine solutions as to what really works, it really is all down to the individual. In fact, one recent study proved that typical remedies (anything from ginger tea to acupuncture) had little effect. So below I’ve popped some of my go-to morning all-day sickness tips; let me know what you think and what worked for you.

What Helped Me

  • I rarely wanted to eat first thing in the morning but sometimes, just nibbling on some oatcakes or plain biscuits kept by my bed warded off any nauseous feelings for a bit.
  • I found plain water hard to drink so added cordial to it to help me keep hydrated. My midwife also suggested ice lollies – and actually, the coldness seemed to work too.
  • My day-to-day diet is carbohydrate-low but during my first (and second pregnancy) all I wanted was bread, rice and pasta. Eat what you like. Don’t worry about it.
  • Ginger tea/biscuits/sweets didn’t work for me. However, my other half got me a little tin of barley sugar sweets and I’m sure they helped. Worth giving them a go.
  • I couldn’t stand perfumed products or just perfume in general. Try switching your usual products for fragrance-free options if you’re sensitive to scents.
  • Snack A Jacks in Salt & Vinegar. I loved these with both pregnancies and I’m sure they warded off the nausea, if only for a little bit. I found anything salty helped – anything sweet I couldn’t really stomach.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Let's start at the very beginning...

When dreaming up this blog I thought again and again about what my very first post would be. After all, the world of babies, beauty and all that encompasses it is a pretty big one. So, I’ve decided that, instead of launching straight into it, I’ll give you a little introduction to me instead. Self-indulgent? Moi?

As a beauty editor I’ve worked with the best make-up artists, beauty therapists, hair stylists and dermatologists (to name a few) so it makes sense that, during my ten years or more in the industry, I’ve picked up some tips. However, during my first pregnancy (in 2010) I found they didn’t really relate; I found myself surfing the web near enough every day to find out whether I could use essential oils or not, if I should be bleaching my hair, if stretch mark creams really work and, ultimately, do I have to buy Bio Oil? And all in-between spending, quite literally, hours looking at the best value and cutest muslin cloths and cool-looking bouncers. Seriously.

Yet somehow, by cleverly incorporating a few pregnancy-based features into the magazines I was working on at the time (and a lot of trial and error), I started to work out what really did the job and what didn’t. And I picked up a whole heap of great advice along the way. All-in-all, it’s made my second pregnancy a lot less, well, stressful and I’ve welcomed it with open (moisturised up-to-the-hilt) arms rather than hiding from it. And as with any mum, the second time round I’m also learning what works for baby too; so yes, I’ve dyed my hair, worn fake tan, had a bikini wax but I’ve also come round to the fact, albeit disparagingly, that, really, I don’t need to spend £100 on that bouncer, even if it does work better with the colour scheme in my house.

If you relate to some of what I’m saying and would, like me, love a blog that gives you an insight into the world of beauty and babies, without all the bull then hopefully, here it is. Let me know what you think.