little loves [ oitnb, earworms + microsoft band ]

 

 

Oh Friday, here you are!  You’ve taken your time getting here this week, I’m knackered!  Maybe that’s the fault of the ridiculously late night I had on Saturday celebrating a friend’s birthday (who knew you could party until gone 3am, stone cold sober and 32 weeks pregnant?!), or the fact I had four days in the office dealing with frustrations, or because Hubs has been away for work all week, but I’m glad the weekend is nearly here.  The only thing we have planned is helping out at the nursery to tidy up the garden (to be fair, I don’t think I’ll be getting my hands as dirty this year), so I plan on doing a whole lot of chilling out.

But before then, I want to celebrate the little things that have helped me get through the week…

Read…

…The Weekenders: Travels in the Heart of Africa – a collection of writing about Sudan published back in 2001 when a group of authors and journalists visited the war-torn south of the country.  They then wrote inspired by their time there and published it to raise funds and awareness.  I’m not sure I can say this book has taught me anything more about the political side of the conflict, which still wages on even now, but to be honest I’m more interested in the human aspect and I feel this book has struck a note in that respect.  I’ve never read a short story or writing collection – especially when it’s been written by a number of different authors – and been blown away by every single piece…but to be honest I’ve not really been all that excited reading any of the pieces in this book.  It started off on a high note with Alex Garland’s very short story, but other than that it’s been a bit bland.  I think its mission is stronger than its individual components, which I suppose is fine in a charity effort, but it’s not going to end up on my favourites shelf!  I’m still glad I read it though, as I feel it taught me something.

 

Watched…

Hubs and I have a lot of series that we watch together, and I don’t have many that I watch on my own as our tastes are pretty similar, but I’ve enjoyed having control of the tv this week!  Orange Is The New Black is a show Hubs just wasn’t interested in (although I think he’s kicking himself now that he’s seen the odd bit!).  So I took advantage of having the telly to myself and finished season three this week, which I know means I’m at least two years behind everyone else, but that’s nothing new!  I love OITNB, it’s so funny but it tackles some really important issues.  And, y’know…Alex Voss #girlcrush.

 

Heard…

I’ve been in the office a lot this week, and when I am I treat myself to a cappuccino from our café.  But with that, I run the gauntlet of the dreaded earworm.  God love ’em, I think the women who work in the café are wonderful…but their taste in music is fucking horrific.  I come away from the counter clutching my yummy caffeine hit (don’t judge, one hit a day is my only pregnancy vice), but invariably with a 70’s disco classic lodged in my brain.  This week’s highlight low point has been Yes Sir I Can Boogie

 

Wore

My wardrobe is very limited by pregnancy, but for the party over the weekend I wore a denim-look maternity dress I bought from Asda way before I even started showing.  I’ve only worn it a handful of times – I bought it for work but it creases in quite unflattering ways which made it look a bit scruffy.  But in the dimmed lights it was fine, and I got a lot of compliments from my friends which is always nice!

 

Made…

I always struggle here, with food being the only thing I really make…and I’ve not even done that this week!  With Hubs being away and the kids always being fed by their grandparents when I’m in the office, I didn’t really have incentive to cook.  I was just going to have eggs every night, but my mum has insisted on feeding me instead.  So I suppose you could say I’ve made appreciative noises?!  It’s always nice when someone cooks for you.

 

…& Finally

Clearing out my storage at work in preparation for maternity leave (four weeks to go!), I found the charger for my Microsoft Band.  I’ve been looking for that ruddy thing for ages!  After fighting with it to connect to my new phone, it’s now strapped back on to my wrist…and I’ve been appalled at how inactive I am during the day.  Although I’ve kept up my exercise during this pregnancy, I’ve been moving less during the day as walking is really uncomfortable.  Not much I can do about that now, but I’ll be interested to see how my stats change once I’m out walking with the pram every day!

 

Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat
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thai salmon with jasmine rice [ recipe ]

 

Meal Plan

For the first week in forever, I don’t have a meal plan this week.  I don’t cook for the kids when I’m working – it would be too late for them by the time I get dinner on the table, and the grandparents like to feed them – so I usually just cook for Hubs and I during the week.  But Hubs is working away, and when it’s just me I really can’t be bothered making the effort.  I have leftovers in the freezer, eggs in the fridge and a mum who is always desperate to feed me, so I’m not doing much worth mentioning this week.  I also never made the shepherds pie I had planned for this weekend, so that covers Saturday, and my in-laws can’t make it for Sunday dinner so I’ll probably just decide on the day what to make.  Lunches will be salads as I wont have leftovers to take, and I’ve scored some peanut Nakd bars for my evening treats.

Recipe

When I linked up to #MealPlanningMonday last week, there was some interest in the Thai salmon I’d picked as one of our dishes. I thought I would share the recipe here, as it’s a real favourite with us.  It’s really delicious and sounds quite impressive, but it’s quick and simple and can be done in one pot in less than half an hour!

I’ve been making this one for years, so I don’t even know where it came from and I’ve tweaked it a bit over time.  The flavour really comes from the spice, so you can judge for yourself how much you want to add.  If you can’t find Thai 7 Spice, I would guess Chinese 5 Spice would work well (although it would totally change the dish).

So, on with the recipe…

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managing my pregnancy weight gain with slimmingworld

 

Balance is key to a healthy lifestyle…and so I feel I want to add some balance after my rant about SlimmingWorld the other week.  Because you may be forgiven for thinking I hate every last thing about SW, and that isn’t true.  After all, it has helped me have my healthiest pregnancy ever, and that is not something to be shrugged off.

I went into my first pregnancy blind.  It was unplanned, unprepared for and I didn’t have the first clue about health.  I was an overweight teenager who drank heavily, lived on junk food and the extent of my cooking skills was to fire up the deep fat fryer in my grotty little council-flat kitchen.  I have no idea what my weight gain was, as I didn’t own scales, but I went from a size 16 to a 22 so it’s safe to say it was probably near or even more than 4 stone.

My second pregnancy came ten years later, and I was a much different person as I’d been through my 6.5 stone weight loss journey.  But although I’d achieved that loss and made big changes to the way I ate and lived, that pregnancy came at a time where things were sliding.  I’d made the shift from an active job with time for fitness to a desk job which left me with little (perceived) time for exercise.  The job also made me miserable and I had turned to food, so I ate my way through my pregnancy and put on nearly 3 stone.

This time around, I’m different again.  My knowledge of health and nutrition has grown beyond diet/light/low-fat and I’ve made big advances in my fitness levels too.  That saw me get down to a size 12 less than a year after our four year old was born, and down to a size 10 for my wedding two years ago.  Unfortunately though, some things have not changed – I still struggle with using food as a coping mechanism, and my control around food is tied to my mood and emotions.  So I came into this pregnancy overweight again after a stressful year at work, culminating with both losing my job and having the stress of starting a new one after dropping the pregnancy bomb.  Oh…and then Christmas.  I put on nearly a stone in the first 18 weeks, and it looked as if I was on track to pile on the pounds yet again.

But something clicked in my head.  I’ve never enjoyed my changing body in pregnancy, and always felt self conscious about my weight gains, but as this is my last pregnancy I didn’t want to spend it hating how I looked.    And then there are the health consequences of a bad diet and big weight gain, both for myself and my baby.  I didn’t have the excuse of ignorance this time – if I wasn’t going to be healthy for me I should at least be healthy for my baby.

So that’s where SlimmingWorld came in, and where it has helped me.  I’ve been critical about some of their “free” foods and approaches, and I stand by that.  But following a plan and going to weekly weigh-ins has been key, and that is what SlimmingWorld has given me.  I’ve written before about how I’m more of a Weight Watchers girl and that too gives a plan and weekly weigh-ins, but SlimmingWorld have gone a bit further and had themselves accredited to accept pregnant members.  Having to be mindful about my food and being held accountable at the scales each week have helped me to make good choices whilst also ensuring I don’t overeat – two things I struggle with when left to my own devices.  Two things that are pretty much all you need to nail to maintain a healthy weight.

If I hadn’t been allowed to join a group, I fully believe I’d have carried on putting on weight the way I had when I started.  But thanks to SlimmingWorld (and my own efforts!), at 32 weeks I’ve only put on 3.5lbs since January.  I know I’ll probably gain weight each week from now on, and that will be something to get my head around, but most of that weight will be my little man filling out and getting ready for his arrival.

I’m hoping that after the birth, my overall weight gain will have been less than a stone.  That just blows my mind, how different this pregnancy has been to my others.  And the impact has reached further than the number on the scales.  I feel happier, I have more energy and I’ve been able to keep active.  I’m sleeping almost as well as I did before pregnancy, I’ve had minimal heartburn and no back issues.  And more importantly, I’m enjoying the pregnancy and don’t feel self conscious or bad about my changing body.  I’m hoping this is all gearing me up to the birth I want, and of course a healthy baby!

Life According to MrsShilts
My Petit Canard
Twin Mummy and Daddy
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little loves [ chocolate, jake gyllenhaal + hypnobirthing ]

 

Friday has caught me off guard a bit this week – the days felt as if they were dragging and then all of a sudden here we are nearly at the weekend.  It’s been a bit of a strange week for me anyway, where I’ve alternated between days where I’ve felt I could conquer the world and others where I felt as if I was trying to run through treacle.  The joys of late pregnancy!

But Friday means time to reflect on what has brightened my days this week, and there has been a lot…

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meal planning monday

I’m pleased to report that after facing up to falling off the wagon last week, I had a really good week.  Apart from missing Clubbercise on Tuesday because I was knackered, I managed to achieve all my other fitness commitments.  And my eating was on point right up until yesterday where Easter did get the better of me.  I still managed to lose all the weight I’d put on during my indulgent previous week, and I now feel like I’m back on an even keel.

Our favourite dish last week was the Thai salmon with jasmine rice, which I’m not surprised about as we’ve loved that one for years.  I got a few comments on the blog about it too so I’ll be sharing the recipe later in the week.  The Jamaican chicken was lush too.  I was disappointed with the Spanish chicken, it must have been a different recipe to one I’ve used in the past and so there wasn’t much sauce to speak of.  It was still nice, but not as I’d hoped.

I’d said I was going to shake up my snacking too, after realising I’d fallen for the SlimmingWorld Muller Light brainwash.  So I cut them out this week and made sweet potato hummus instead…what a game changer!  Check out the recipe over at Slimming Eats.  I’ve also had frozen grapes and used my healthy extras for Grape Nuts with almond milk, which I am now addicted to!

So I’m sticking to my new snacking, keeping my focus now I’m back on track so all that remains to be asked is…what are we eating this week?

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why i love swimming when pregnant

 

Last weekend Hubs and I look our youngest to the pool.  I was ashamed to realise how long it’s been since we took him…it was only the second time we’ve been this year, lets put it that way!

It’s funny the difference between my two boys.  The teenager is a competitive swimmer and at his brother’s age was already competent and fearless in the water.  But the four year old point blank refuses to do much more than walk around the splash pool.  And it isn’t because he doesn’t go often enough, as my parents take him most weeks and he did a block of lessons with the nursery at the end of last year.  But despite seeing some of his friends swimming, and us pleading with him, he would only hold on to the side and kick his legs just long enough to prove he could do it.  I don’t know if it’s fear or stubbornness, but I’m hoping the next block of lessons he’s about to start will build his confidence. He’s going to look a little silly if he’s still hanging out in the baby pool by the time puberty hits!

 

Swimming in pregnancy

I was just happy to be in the water.  Well, I say happy…as happy as I could manage whilst wearing the world’s most unflattering item of clothing.  Me and swimsuits haven’t ever got on, but my maternity swimsuit is beyond disgusting.  It’s a throwback to my first pregnancy, so at over 15 years old it’s the oldest item in my wardrobe.  Quite frankly it makes me look like a bunch of deflating beach balls shoved into a shapeless sack, but I’ve had such a drama with maternity clothes as it is that I didn’t have the energy (or budget) to add swimwear to the shitstorm.  Mind you, I regretted that decision as soon as I was faced with the walk of shame between the changing room and pool, and even more so when I had to make the walk back to the splash pool after swimming lengths to find Hubs had struck up conversation with a skinny mum in a bikini…

Hurt pride aside, it was good to be swimming again.  I’ve always loved swimming – it was the only sport I would bother with as a kid, and I was always pretty good at it.  As an adult I’ve not been able to make regular time to get to the pool, but I always make sure I do a few lengths whenever we do take the kids.  I did the Great Scottish Swim in Loch Lomond a few years ago where I found a love of open water swimming too (and a wetsuit is so much more flattering than most cozzies!).

I’ve always made a point of swimming in my pregnancies, even in my first where I was obese and vastly out of shape.  Especially at the end of pregnancy, when maternity leave kicks in and I’ve had a little bit of time for myself before my new baby arrives, I’ve been known to swim numerous times a week.  No wonder I’m planning a pool birth this time around!

 

Why I love swimming in pregnancy

  • I find there’s something about the support water gives my pregnant body that makes me feel normal and human again.  Suddenly I don’t feel so heavy, and I get my freedom of movement back.
  • Being in the water also helps to give me a break from any aches and pains – they just melt away.
  • It’s also great for helping to avoid collecting more of those aches and pains, as it’s a low impact form of exercise.
  • I find it quiets my mind – once I get into the rhythm of movement and breath it’s almost like meditating.
  • I always think it prepares me for birth too – building stamina to get me through labour, and reminding me how to control and focus my breathing.
  • I’ve been able to keep swimming right up until my due date before, which isn’t always possible with many other forms of exercise.

Keeping safe whilst swimming

I’m not an expert, and of course you should always check with your midwife if you are unsure whether swimming is for you, but I have picked up a few helpful tips to make sure I’m safe in the pool when pregnant:

  • Bring a bottle of water.  I drink tons when I’m doing any sort of exercise, but it can be easy to forget about dehydration when you’re soaking wet!
  • Be mindful of overheating.  This is something we are warned about when pregnant, but it’s harder to assess when you feel as if the water is keeping you cool.  Don’t over exert yourself.
  • Breaststroke is probably the best stroke to use.  It’s good for your back as you don’t twist as much as you would in front crawl.  It  also avoids you being on your back, which even in the supportive environment of water can still put pressure on vital blood vessels.  Just be mindful if you suffer SPD, as the leg movement may not be the best option.  In my last pregnancy I switched to a more crawl-style of kick, or focused on using mainly my upper body.
  • Use flip flops or at least hold on to hand rails when walking around the pool area.  A slip or fall is never nice, but in pregnancy you need to be extra careful.

 

I’m getting a bit too tired come the end of the day to make it to my weekly Clubbercise class, so I’m thinking now is the time to add swimming into my fitness plan.  I wish more than anything there were Aquanatal classes near me, as I think they’d be a great thing to get into, but I’m happy enough churning out the lengths.  Even in my nasty swimsuit.

Twin Mummy and Daddy
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#littleloves [ toni morrison, nearly naked feet + a cute food diary ]

I love that Friday has come around again.  Plus, I have a three day weekend ahead of me once I finish up tonight.  Admittedly that weekend does contain a play date, a kid’s birthday party and a swim meet, so neither restful nor my idea of bliss, but at least it doesn’t include work and takes me one step closer to maternity leave.  I’m now past the 30 week mark!

After all the fun of London and Legoland last week, this has been a routine and not very exciting seven days.  But that isn’t to say there haven’t been some highlights, so check out what Little Loves have brightened my days this week…

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my pregnancy at 30 weeks

 

So that’s me through my 30th week of pregnancy, and I’ve been pretty crap at keeping any sort of record.  With my teenager I kept a journal for most of the time, and with my four year old I took a bump pic each week.  This time around, nada.  I had a pregnancy book which I bought last time and never got round to filling in, so I figured I’d use it this time around.  But when I sat down to do it, I wasn’t crazy about a lot of the sections…it felt too forced.  I want to make some sort of effort though, given that this is going to be the last time I manufacture a tiny human.

And would you look at this – now I have a blog to do it in.

I warn you now though, I’m no earth mother who thinks the miracle of pregnancy is a wonder to meditate upon.  I’m basically a cranky bitch, and I’m quite looking forward to getting to the finish line.  But I’ll try to sprinkle in some positives…

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why does the diet always start on monday?


Honesty is something I need this blog to have at it’s core.  It’s important to be honest with yourself when you’re on a health journey, and it’s important to the ethos of this blog that I don’t pretend to have it all sussed out.  I’m trying to find health on my own terms, and with that comes some wrong turns.  Those slip ups are as much a part of my journey and my blog as the successes.

 

I have to ‘fess up – I’ve been off the wagon/plan/radar this past week.

Whether it’s because I don’t deal well with being out of my routine or whether I just used being on holiday as an excuse, I’ve eaten like a crap…and eaten a lot of crap.  I can’t even lie – McDonald’s, Greggs, cakes, chocolate, a big dirty fry-up, pizza, macaroni cheese, doughnuts…all that shit and more has graced my palate in the last seven days.  It was like the healthy switch in my head was flicked to off, and I used that downtime to make bad food choice after bad food choice.

To top it off, I also ignored two of my own mantras – don’t skip weigh-in just because you’ve had a bad week, and don’t wait until Monday, get back on track with your very next meal.  I skipped SlimmingWorld on Thursday, and it’s only now that I’m drawing a line under my gluttony.

I’m trying not to beat myself up about it.  After all, I could have been spending my whole pregnancy eating like that and piled on weight like I have in the past, so one bad week isn’t the end of the world.  But I am angry at myself for undoing some of my good work – I stepped on the scales and it looks as if I’ve gained about 4lbs this week.

 

I can’t turn back time so I just need to look forward.

And that begins with a meal plan and some exercise commitments.  Exercise-wise I’ve done a body weight and stretch session today. If I’m not too knackered after work tomorrow I’ll do a (gentle!) Clubbercise class, and then try to fit in another body weight session when I’m working at home on Thursday.  Hopefully I’ll fit in a session with weights and a yoga dvd over the weekend too, but we’re going to Stirling on Saturday and our youngest is having a friend round on Sunday so I wont hold my breath.

 

You can read on to see our meal plan…

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#littleloves [ legoland, yellow ponchos + making memories ]

 

We have been making the most of the spring holidays this week, and spent a few days in London on a sort of family baby-moon.  Legoland was our main destination, but we managed to cram in a fair bit in three days.  So that’s why there’s been some radio silence on the blog this week, and why most of my Little Loves today will have a bit of a theme!

Legoland was really great, and I might do a blog post on that alone.  I had been a bit worried how a 30 week pregnant woman would cope with a theme park, but we had an amazing day.  I coped well with the whole trip actually, even though we clocked up over 8 miles on foot each day, so I’m very proud of myself.

Little Loves focuses on the small touches that have made the past week sparkle, and there have been quite a few so lets get started…

 

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