Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Tour : The Revamped Marks & Spencer at Culverhouse Cross

Earlier this evening Spencer and I went along to the newly revamped Marks and Spencer store at Culverhouse Cross, Cardiff. The store has undergone some major changes and is now host to the the largest M&S home range in South Wales, a cafe with over 230 seats indoors & outside seating, a Tasting Kitchen and very impressive fashion departments. 

Being a huge fan of home d├ęcor I couldn't wait to check out their huge home range, and it really didn't disappoint. They have a lot of different collections which are all very on trend and stylish. 


We were given a tour of the newly designed menswear section, both Spencer and I were very impressed with the layout which is perfect for the man who knows what he wants and doesn't want to browse to find it. It is laid out in a simple way which showcases the range of clothes on offer and flows nicely whilst offering a spacious, relaxed shopping environment.


The store officially relaunches tomorrow, 03 September 2014.

I was generously provided with a goody bag, which again shows off some of the range of items available in store, including lovely baby items! 


Thank you Marks & Spencer and Grayling for inviting me along and for the very thoughtful gifts.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Event : Lush Cardiff Summer Blogger Event


On Wednesday evening I was lucky enough to be invited along to Lush Cardiff to be introduced to some Summer essentials including their brand new sun care range. Before the event began I of course had to take a few photos, Lush is such a nice place to take photos, everything is so pretty! 


We were split into groups and taken to different stations to preview a product range. Waterloo Tea Gardens were also waiting for us at each station with a tea and cake to compliment each other. Unfortunately I had severe heartburn this evening (pregnancy joys) so didn't sample much. I couldn't resist trying the chocolate and salted caramel cake which was absolutely beautiful. 


The first station that I visited was the sun care station. Now I have serious baby brain going on at the moment so am struggling to remember everything that we were told on the evening but I do remember that there were some very interesting products in the sun care range. The ones that stuck out to me the most were the Powdered Sunshine and the Sunblock. The Powdered Sunshine has an SPF 15 and is sprinkled onto the skin then rubbed in, I always come back from holidays with a sunburnt scalp so this product will be ideal to sprinkle into my hair and protect my scalp. The Sunblock is literally a block which you apply in the shower, this has an SPF 30, I am particularly fond of this because of the fact that you apply it in the shower, I am a lot less likely to forget about applying my protection if I can do it when I shower. 


The next station was the self-preserving range. You may well recognise some of these products as they are long time favourites of many. These products have now been changed slightly to make them self-preserving by taking out the preservatives and adding substitutions such as honey. The products are still as great as ever, some even better - Charity Pot I'm talking about you, it smells so much better now with a gorgeous floral fragrance. You can read more about the self-preserving range here.


The third and final station was the perfume station. I love the packaging of the perfumes but to be honest I'm not a huge fan of the majority of the fragrances. My favourite of the lot is Vanilla, this is something that I would wear.


I couldn't resist a few purchases as my skin really isn't great since becoming pregnant. My skin has gone from being very oily to being a little bit oily with severe dry patches and very bad acne so I decided to treat myself to a face mask. I was recommended Cosmetic Warrior which contains garlic (!), I used it for the first time today and my skin looked instantly brighter and felt instantly softer. I also decided to purchase the Dream Cream as the skin on my legs is dry and flaky at the moment, this is recommended for people with eczema so will hopefully blitz my dry skin woes. The rest of the products were kindly given to us in our goody bags - thank you to Lush Cardiff and Waterloo Tea for a lovely evening and the generous goodies! 


Monday, 25 August 2014

Pregnancy Journey : Week 13 Symptoms

I can't believe how fast this pregnancy is going, we are now fourteen weeks and in the second trimester.

The tiredness is no where near as difficult to handle. I still struggle with my long working hours, 8:30 - 5:30, I'm usually ready to go home for a nap by around 3pm but I fight through it and am actually managing to stay awake as late as 10pm some evenings, rock 'n' roll!

I'm still suffering with real bad heartburn and carrying my Gaviscon wherever I go. I have started to learn what foods trigger the heartburn, now that I am avoiding those foods I suffer with it a lot less.

The sickness took a turn for the worse at the beginning of this week. I had several days where I was literally being sick all day and night and even had to take a day off work ill. Week 13 left me feeling very down and sorry for myself as I had really hoped that the sickness would have subsided a little by now. Saturday (the last day of week 13) saw me only being sick in the morning and going out for Afternoon Tea and eating my share without feeling nauseous, I'm hoping this is the start of the changing symptoms.

The phlegm, aka pregnancy rhinitis, is still very much there. It is worse in the mornings (when I'm always sick) and on the days that I am being sick more often.

My skin is still dry and I'm still suffering with acne. My foot is also still swollen and painful.

A new symptom to add to the list is pins and needles in my hand in the middle of the night. It is incredibly frustrating and keeps waking me up, Google tells me that this is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and is very common in pregnant women.

As for my weight, so far I have lost six pounds - I've been assured that this is completely normal due to how ill I have been and is nothing to worry about. My belly is definitely getting bigger so baby is growing, I am going to try and remember to include a bump photo on this update next week, but baby brain may result in that being forgotten!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Pregnancy Journey : Symptoms up to Week 13

When we first found out we were pregnant it didn't feel real, I had no symptoms except for tender boobs which is something that I suffer with quite regularly anyway, the few people who I told were shocked because I looked so well, I really doubted the positive tests for a while.

Don't get me wrong, looking back there were a few symptoms before I even knew I was pregnant, but I didn't really associate them with pregnancy at the time. I went off coffee pretty much straight away, I had heartburn more often than usual, I woke up with cramp one night and boy was I tired. So tired that I actually went to the Doctors for an anaemia test!

Then came week seven and suddenly I knew I was pregnant. Ever since week seven I have been sick every single morning without fail, I feel nauseous for the majority of the day, I'm hungry but the thought of most foods makes me feel even more sick. I have good days where I am only sick in the morning and bad days where I am sick several times throughout the day.

I have found that ginger biscuits don't work, in fact they make me even sicker. Plain biscuits don't stop the sickness but are good to nibble on when I can't stomach much else, travel sickness bands don't work for me, not eating anything makes me worse, no matter how much the thought of food makes you feel you must eat.

As for the heartburn I hate to say it but chocolate does make it worse, eating bland foods is the best thing to do, but even then I can still get it really bad. Carrying a bottle of Gaviscon around at all times is a must.

A strange symptom I have experienced and am still experiencing is phlegm. Both my Doctor and Midwife have told me that this will not be linked to my pregnancy and that it must be hay fever. I know my body and I know that I have never experienced anything like this until now. A quick Google search also tells me that this is in fact pregnancy related and is called Pregnancy Rhinitis. The phlegm situation certainly doesn't help with the nausea situation!

My skin has been changing a lot, it has gone from being extremely greasy to being extremely dry, dry to the point that my make-up sits in cracks and I've had to change to using a more intensive moisturiser. 

They say that pregnant people will experience more vivid dreams throughout pregnancy, that has most definitely been the case for me. I've had some very bizarre dreams, some have actually been quite scary. 

I've been waking up to use the loo in the middle of the night, but I have being going to bed a lot earlier than usual so I'm not actually sure if I am peeing more or if this is just because I'm in bed for a longer period of time! 

One of my feet is very swollen, the other is completely fine! It has been swollen since probably around week ten, to the point that even putting a sock on is absolutely agonising.

The first trimester has most definitely been a very miserable trimester for me, bring on trimester two!


Saturday, 9 August 2014

Pregnancy Journey : The Discovery & Appointments, what to expect.

Back on 21 June Spencer and I found out that we were expecting our first child. My period was a week late, which isn't uncommon. We popped a packet of two Tesco pregnancy tests for £3.50 into our trolley along with our weekly shop and eagerly I used one as soon as we had unpacked our shopping. There was a line on it but it was a very faint line so we really weren't sure, we used the second test the next day as they are said to work better in the morning, again we had a very faint line. That day I spent a lot of time on Google, did this mean I was pregnant or not? It made me very restless and anxious, so much so that I couldn't wait to try out a more expensive Clear Blue digital test, thankfully that one confirmed that we were indeed pregnant! 

We told both sets of parents, my sister and Spencer's brother straight away, I couldn't keep it to myself! We decided not to tell the majority of people until after our scan, though I did tell my bosses in work for health and safety reasons. A few people also guessed as me not smoking or drinking was rather suspicious! 

I booked a Doctors appointment the day after finding out. They didn't really do much at the Doctors, they gave us an estimated due date based on the first day of my last period, which I had already worked out using the NHS calculator. They gave me a little leaflet detailing foods that I should avoid and that type of thing, prescribed me some Folic Acid and asked me to leave a urine sample with the receptionist. They didn't test the pregnancy as "the shop bought ones are pretty much the same as what they do now so there is no need". I also left my details with the receptionist so that she could pass them onto my Midwife. 

My Midwife rang me a few days later to book me in for an appointment at my house. We had to wait a little while for the appointment as she was going away on holiday, as we had a little wait she went ahead and requested our scan before the appointment so as not to hold things up. 

The Midwife appointment was pretty much a form filling in exercise, she went through a load of questions with myself and Spencer, focusing mainly on our health history and both of our families health histories. We were also asked if we were blood relatives. She talked us through the Downs Syndrome screening test. We were given a Bounty pack full of information, some samples and money off vouchers and told what to expect at our various appointments. To be honest there was so much information I forgot most of it as soon as she left. 

Our scan date came around quite quickly, we were booked in for when we were estimated at 11 weeks and 3 days. I had to take a urine sample with me and drink a pint of water one hour before the appointment. Thankfully the scan was at our local hospital which is literally a two minute walk from our door so it wasn't too painful travelling there with a full bladder! When we arrived I was given another urine pot and told that I had to do another sample after the scan, so many urine samples! 

The scan itself was absolutely amazing, we saw our little baby wiggling around in my tummy and also heard his/her very rapid heartbeat. It blows my mind to think that all of this is happening inside me. Words really cannot explain how you feel upon the first glimpse of your baby on that screen. They measured and dated us at 11 weeks and 5 days, only two days difference to our estimated date. Our due date is now the 21st February 2015, a day before Spencer's Birthday. 

We were asked if we wanted the Downs Syndrome screening which we both declined. It wouldn't make any difference to us if the baby did have Downs so we didn't want to have potentially risky procedures to find out. I had my weight, height and blood pressure taken and also had a lot of blood taken, they tested for Rubella susceptibility, Hepatitis B, HIV, blood group & antibodies, Sickle cell and thalassaemi and I will receive the results in the post. I was given some pregnancy vitamins and sent on my merry way with my scan photos and a very happy feeling. 

Talking of scan photos, they cost £3 each, though ours kindly charged us for two and gave us four. You need pound coins to put into a machine to buy them. Thankfully our Midwife warned us about this in advance but so many other people didn't know and had to dash up to the local shop for change. 

My next pregnancy post will be talking about my symptoms so far.

Please note that I am based in Wales and my experiences may be different to other parts of the country.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Gift Idea/Review : JewelCandle


When I first heard about JewelCandles I thought it was such a great idea, a candle that burns down to reveal either a pair of earings or a ring, a gift within a gift that no lady could resist! The candles are 100% handmade and contain a jewellery item worth between £10 - £250. They come in a wide range of scents and currently have three main design choices.


I could not wait to get burning my candle and reveal my second gift in the form of a pair of earings. My candle burnt for approximately nine hours (around five hours in one sitting, four the next) before I was able to retrieve my little foil package with my tweezers.


These were the beautiful earings sitting inside my parcel. I'm unsure of the value but they seem to be of decent quality.

Overall I really rate my JewelCandle experience, the earings were pretty and the scent delicious without being too overpowering. I would guess that my earings are probably nearer to the £10 mark than the £250 range but I am more than happy with this, £16.95 for a pair of quality earings and a candle is quite the bargain in my opinion. 

To see what others have received in their candles visit the JewelCandle facebook page.

If you would like to treat yourself  to your very own JewelCandle use code slice20 by 31 August 2014 to receive a 20% discount.