Thursday 5 September 2019

A first trimester update

I have been so quiet on here, on social media, and to be honest in real life too. Going back to work full time and navigating Arthur’s toddlerdom has been super hectic and juggling it all has not been easy. When you throw in this latest news and the crippling exhaustion and nausea that goes with it, will then you can imagine I have managed very little. Ally and I are cautiously optimistic to be having another baby in January next year and  If you have been on these pages for a while you will know our history with infertility, IVF and miscarriage makes pregnancy a hard journey. It is difficult to trust the process and it can be hard for others around you to understand your approach to it, so we have been keeping our heads down and trying to survive as best we can as we waited for some reassurance that things were as they should be.

We were shocked enough to even be in this situation again. We were never sure if we would be lucky enough to get to try again or if we were going to go back into the IVF world, so to even be at this stage is a huge moment for us that we are still getting our heads around. I think I have always been a bit wary of being pregnant again, not just because of all the general fear about miscarriage and everything that comes with that, but because I have always had this lingering feeling  of how you survive caring for one (or  more) children while being pregnant.  It has always struck me that no one really pays much attention to mothers not on their first pregnancy, like somehow the 'specialness' of the moment is not quite as magic this time around,  and they just get on and struggle through with an even bigger workload than before. Not true in all situations of course but just a general impression I have gotten from watching it happen across the years and I was a little hesitant as I entered into it myself. There is a lot to get my head around going back into this, how it feels to go back off work when I just settled back? How to do another maternity year when perhaps the first one wasn’t for me? What is going to happen to my body in the long run after another baby? How on earth do I manage two of them??

None of this takes away of course from how unbelievably lucky we feel currently to be back in this situation but these are real questions that come to my mind no matter how much we wanted to grow our family, and with the general approach of ‘ they know what they are doing now’ it does feel a little under discussed.

However,  as always those still wishing to have a child are the first in my thoughts as I post this. There are so many layers of infertility and how it stays with you through life. I know I am not alone to have been lucky enough to get to have a child but had their thoughts very quickly went to ‘if there could be another’. That  sounds selfish to those without a first, but you can’t help  but be trapped in that cycle and I guess just like everyone else, those of us who have struggled are still allowed to wish for what they want too

The first trimester has been a blur of extreme exhaustion and permanent intense nausea which has, as expected, been really difficult while trying to be present for Arthur.  Ally has been an unreal support, picking up even more of the slack than he usually does to keep us all afloat. I am  22 weeks  now and I am able to eat more than plain carbs ( by the truckload) but still feeling incredibly tired and incapable of getting much done which is hard when there is still a lot to juggle. Fingers crossed I see that promised second trimester burst of energy sometime soon…..!!

So that has been life lately and once again the blog has taken its usual back seat as life goes on around it. I will be back with updates but mostly over on Instagram again as I attempt to keep up with Arthurs admirable yet insane energy. Welcoming all good thoughts and encouragement that this one is here to join us in January, now to train Arthur to not throw EVERYTHING small and within reach…

Thursday 13 June 2019

Deluxe Pedicure at the Chamomile Sanctuary Spa

As you might have seen in my last review, I had a really fantastic facial treatment at Chamomile Sanctuary Spalast week and have seen great results from it. I was lucky to also be shown the Spa’s new nail room and was given my first ever proper pedicure which I can’t believe I have waited so long to have! I was tickled as I went in and saw the high padded seating bank they have created in this white serene room, I felt like a proper VIP sitting up on there plunging my feet into a bubbly bath. It is the perfect way to relax and just how I pictured a pedicure to be thanks to the movies! It would be so much fun to go with a group of friends to all be sit and pampered at the same time and give your feet the 5 star treatment.

Seeing as I have never actually had a pedicure before, I can say I totally understand it now- my feet look and feel so much better, and just in time for summer too. The therapist buffed and exfoliated them as I enjoyed tea and a biscuit, and then she started work on my poor neglected toenails. Trimmed, filed and ready for colour, you could already see how smooth and healthy they looked. I opted to go for the Vinylux polish as I had previously had that done here in a manicure and was unbelievably impressed with the longevity of it and loved that I didn’t need removed in a special way. My nails were left in great condition once the polish was off and I was hoping it was just the same with a pedicure. I can happily report that a whole month on that my pedicure is still completely perfect, I have gorgeous happy bright pink toes ( shade Tropix) and they have taken all the knocks and scrapes that come from chasing a toddler around. Really impressive stuff and absolutely perfect for having before any holidays or special occasions. ( I have spared you the photos as I might think my feet currently look divine.... but I am well aware they are still FEET!)

I am delighted with the changes they have made in the nail room and think it is a beautiful addition to the salon, the team never stop trying to improve and build on their services and the handwork has certainly paid off. As I was sitting in the relaxation room after my treatment I couldn't help but smile when I was joined by two others were absolutely raving about the massages they had just had, with one woman pointing out she has had a lot of them but it was the very best she had experienced. Such high but well deserved praise for Chamomile who never disappoint.

Friday 24 May 2019

The St Enoch Centre Selfie Store

I couldn't let the weekend roll in without posting all the details on the super adorable Selfie Store that the St Enoch Centre have installed as part of their 30th birthday celebrations. I always relate the centre to having fun, my earliest memories of St Enoch was coming through from Perth for my first trip to a big city and getting to go to the Disney Store and it blew my mind! I can only imagine the double whammy now for little ones of seeing the Disney Store and Hamleys in there...a childhood dream.

Turning 30 means some big celebrations and they have pulled out all the stops to create Scotland's first room of its kind- The Selfie Store! This shop located on the first floor at the Buchanan Street end of the centre, has so many fun and inviting areas to take amazing snaps in and not only that but if you use #stenochselfie you could win £250 too! Open Fridays to Sunday 12 to 6 from today until the 9th of Jun, you can climb in a bath of rubber ducks, pop out a giant cake or sit on a garden throne for your snaps and get sharing. It is handily open this bank holiday Monday too which makes it the best rainy day activity for the kids!

The Selfie Store is not the only exciting thing happening there this weekend either, if you spend over £30 in any of the shops you will get a £5 free voucher too- which is pretty amazing!! There was plenty of food for thought (and actually amazing food too thanks to Kimbles who always deliver the best treats), of what you could spend £30 on as we had the chance to have a peek at some of the latest offerings from some of the stores. There is always a brand that surprises me at these events and this year it was Oasis who gave us this stunning cornflower blue lace dress which is an ideal wedding guest number. I love wandering through Debenhams and taking in the mix of designers and brands on offer but Oasis is somewhere I feel I have overlooked until last night!

It was such a fun night celebrating 30 amazing years of the St Enoch Centre and get to toast their success. I am so excited for their future too, with a new cinema and restaurants opening next year there is so much more fun to come- and now Arthur gets to have great first memories of there too!

Tuesday 21 May 2019

Crystal Clear COMCIT facial at the Chamomile Sanctuary Spa

You have heard me wax lyrical about the wonder that is Edinburgh’s Chamomile Sanctuary Spa before as I am continually impressed with the treatments and technologies they offer. I love that they are constantly keeping up with the latest procedures and they are all so passionate about learning so they can offer clients an incredible service.

I was really excited to meet Sarah who was going to be talking me through the Comcit treatment from Crystal Clear which promises to help with a variety of skin issues.  It was created by Sharon Hilditch the head of Crystal Clear after she enjoyed the results from traditional micro needling but found the treatments painful and requiring more downtime than she would like. She wanted to put together a treatment that was just as effective but with no bleeding and little to no downtime. 

COMCIT stands for 'Cryo Oxygen Microchanelling Collagen Induction Therapy', quite the mouthful but in basic terms- a machine is used that pushes 93% pure oxygen through a freezer and into the wand that creates a numbing effect as it is applied around the face. A roller with needles is then passed across the skin to create 'micro channels' to allow maximum penetration of the products. The micro channels the needles create ( when they are of a size 0.5mm and over), makes the skin feel lightly ‘attacked’ and in response it produces collagen as protection as well as increasing cell turnover, which is just what the fine lines, scars and texture of the skin needs to improve. Your skin is then infused with a potent blend of ingredients to help rejuvenate the skin. 

Pretty clever stuff!

Sarah was a joy to talk to as she is so interested in skincare and the treatments she is performing, it makes for such a good insight into your own skin and the issues you might have and what is best recommended for treating them. I loved hearing her insight into COMCIT and the results she has seen, I could have chatted right through the treatment time!

She kicked off with cleansing and exfoliating my skin so she could get a good look at the problem areas and decide what products would suit me best.  It was the vitamin C serums we decided I needed to help with my pigmentation and brightness issues. She used the 0.5mm needles alongside a Hylauronic Acid packed with plant stem cells, to help with dehydration and then more vitamin C to penetrate the skin.  More cryo oxygen is used to help calm any redness and further push the serum into the skin. She then used a beautiful Super Repair Mask with lavender and moringa to nourish my skin and it smelt just divine. We finished off with applying a skin brightening complex, the hydracell moisturiser and some SPF 40 which is essential after treatments like this.

The whole process was pretty much pain free, there is the tiny niggle as the roller is passed across certain areas but the oxygen has done such a good numbing job that it is barely there. I was really impressed with how normal my face looked afterwards, I have had a full micro needling done before and this was nothing like it. I had the tiniest touch of redness as I left but to anyone else it will have appeared as nothing, I headed straight to the shops afterwards and didn't feel at all self conscious. Sarah advised that usually the best results are seen in the days afterwards as the skin heals fully and now a week on I can really see that. My skin has felt more nourished than it had recently and certainly much brighter. The instant effect is certainly the plumpness and youthfulness you experience but the days after allowed me to appreciate that my skin appeared much clearer and generally brighter as well as being a much softer texture.

I love that the treatment can be tailored to various issues and I can totally see how a course of treatments could have a huge effect on texture and tone. I really feel like I learned a lot with having this and it has reminded me how much change you can see when you have something as beneficial as this, done.

Image result for crystal clear comcit

My skin has changed a lot since having the baby and in the tiring year since, so it was good to chat with someone who can help pinpoint just what you might need to keep it looking its best. She had some recommendations on another treatment on offer at Chamomile which will help with the some of the more clogged areas of my skin so I will be reading up on that next! This COMCIT treatment has been a really fantastic experience and I think Crystal Clear have achieved just what they set out to do.

I might have also have a cheeky little look at the Spa’s new nail room while I was there so I shall be back with a little post to fill you in on that next.

*This visit was gifted in exchange for a full and honest review. Opinions are as always, my own.*

Thursday 14 March 2019

The New Normal

I wrestled with this post for 2 whole months, Specsavers had generously fixed me up with a new pair of glasses for it which was originally pitched as a mum makeover type piece. To give you context, I am due back to work next month as my maternity leave comes to an end, and boy is this a time of such mixed emotions. Settling Arthur into his new long term routine aside, the emotional impact it can have on a mum can be huge. Do I even know who I am anymore? Can I get us ready in time in the morning? Am I capable of interacting with adults or will I sing twinkle twinkle at them? What do I put in a bag if not Sophie the giraffe and 6 types of rice cakes?

I kept panicking that I hadn't had a moments peace to put make up on, have my hair cut, find clothes and good lighting and get the photos needed to illustrate the post to showcase my new specs, but then I realised.... Why does it need to be an uber shiny version of me, when that is just not real life? By doing all that am I not just perpetuating the idea that mum's have it all together and look how we can juggle it all while looking fabulous! When for me,this is far from the reality and Specsavers hadn't ask me to get all dolled up in order to show off the gorgeous Boss frames I chose. I just felt that I should. When I got these glasses, I was the same tired, sweaty, unmade up face that I have been all year, but when I picked these beauties out they brought me exactly the renewed confidence I was looking for without needing to add a full face of make up and a blow dry. I wanted to look more polished without actually having to add any steps to my already mad schedule, and I wanted to feel grown up and not just someone's mum. These really made me feel more me than I had in a long time.

I had been previously in a flap about the 'me' who was returning to work. I haven't worn make up past mascara and eyebrow make up all year, no foundation, blusher or any of the little products I would usually apply and do you know what, I have loved it! Aside from having no time to fit it in anyway, it has just felt right for me. But I realised I was panicking about returning to work and having to go back to the usual face I would apply before. But why did that make me uneasy? So with a rare hour off on a Saturday morning while Ally was out on  a walk with Arthur, I thought just do it now, take the photos and get on with it. So I treated myself and dabbed on a tiny bit of highlighter and plonked myself in front of a window and snapped away. Seeing how my new frames add a boldness to my semi bare face has reminded me that I don't have to be anything other than what makes me happy. The wild post-partum baby hair, the patchy skin, hormonal spots etc are all who I am and that is just fine. I should celebrate who I am comfortable being now, and top that with a damn fine pair of specs!!
As always I was just delighted with the service down at Specsavers Trongate. I had been warned my eyesight  might change when pregnant buuut post baby I definitely noticed things were no longer looking crisp. However I wasn't expecting the huge change that my sight had gone through and turns out my prescription had changed hugely. I was delighted when the optician showed me my new lenses and the difference was mad.  It is well worth getting checked post baby.

Frames wise there was the usual stonking range, including a new one to me Eco Eyewear, every frame in there was just a little dream. Colour, texture and beautiful shapes, really fantastic for using with their famous 2 for 1 deal. Seeing as I was going back to work though I wanted a pair that was smart, goes with everything but still with a bit of interest. Step in the Boss Orange frames and they were all so sleek. I couldn't resist this pair with their business in the front, party on the sides appeal thanks to their subtle tortoiseshell legs. I love how they frame my mostly make up free face and just make me feel pulled together even when on the inside I feel far from it!! Exactly what a pair of glasses should be able to do.

Thank you specsavers for helping me realise that a maw makeover didn't need to be glitz and glamour, just a more polished, happier version of yourself who happens to be a mum!

Tuesday 12 March 2019

Glasgow Reviewed; Mindful Parenting at The Wee Retreat

As most people reading will know, this last year has been a time of change for me. Having a baby is no walk in the park and it has taught me a huge amount about myself whilst I experienced the various challenges it presents  pretty much daily (sometimes hourly!) I was so lucky that in among all the madness I met Vicky from The Wee Retreat and through attending classes with her, she has helped me navigate a lot of these challenges and I definitely feel the positive changes in so many areas of my life. 

If you missed my review of my first mindfulness course with The Wee Retreat then you can catch it here. I was delighted to  be invited back to meet a new group of people and do The Mindful Parenting Course, and it has been such a refreshing and valuable experience. As I said in my last post, The Wee Retreat has settled in to beautiful new premises in the southside of Glasgow and Vicky is now able to offer a truly phenomenal range of classes, courses and experiences from this bright and airy space that feels like the perfect space to try something new.

This course is aimed at parents with children of any age as each week we discussed topics that we then applied to our circumstance and experiences. The group was a calm, warm and private space for people to share what they felt comfortable with as Vicky led us skillfully through ideas and discussion to help us address and often reframe our parenting approaches. With a background in education psychology, her passion and knowledge in this area just shines through, she is always able to really hear a problem and help you dial down to the possible root and how you might make things less overwhelming.

On week one we jotted down a few notes on ourselves as parents and it is so interesting to compare how we felt at the end of the course in comparison. It was heartening to hear everyone in the group return each week and share how they had tried out new techniques or ideas and found themselves much happier with their relationships and their general mood. Some weeks I would find it also helped me see areas for change that I was previously blind to, or simply ignoring. Tackling these then felt easier as Vicky had provided me with the right tools to be able to look closer at what I was really feeling and how I might deal with it.

Of course mindfulness practice is still at the root of the whole session and we would have a guided meditation in various forms throughout the course. Whether you are new to mindfulness completely or have dabbled in the past, Vicky still walks through the process and ties the aspects of parenting and meditation together and I can now see how well they complement each other and how important taking that time for yourself can be when trying to raise little ones. The whole experience was both powerful and empowering, while providing a safe and joyful place to come together and learn from others. It felt so unique and well put together, I highly recommend giving it a go if you are a new parent or just looking to work through your role as a parent and your relationship with a child.

The new spring timetable is now live for all the hugely exciting new things on offer at The Wee Retreat and I was super excited when Vicky told me she is now offering the Beginners Mindfulness Course as a 4 day retreat to allow for anyone who cannot commit to various weeks in a row. There is also the next 8 week course running from this Thursday from 7 to 9 which is fab for anyone who wants to try after work. ( details for sign up is here

From candlelit evening meditations to book clubs and workshops , there really is an incredible spectrum of things to try and I applaud Vicky for welcoming such a great variety of activities to the building. I know how many people it is already benefiting and I cannot wait to see where The Wee Retreat takes us next. The Spring timetable is just loaded with opportunity to try something new and if parenting is an area you want to spend some time on then I would absolutely sign up for the next Mindful Parenting course.
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