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My Sustainable Maternity Wardrobe

My Sustainable Maternity Wardrobe

As you may or may not know I RARELY write about fashion or style on the blog. I do, however, share lots of pictures of myself and my outfits on Instagram and I’m always surprised at the response, which is overwhelmingly to ask me where I got stuff from.

This is not to brag about my excellent styling skills (which aren’t excellent….) but to explain why I’m writing a post about fashion when I rarely have before.

Because questions mean people need to know, amiright?

My Ethical Style Journey

My ethical style journey is similar to many, perhaps. I’ve never liked shopping, but was a shopaholic as a teen, naturally, and presumed cheap, fast fashion was the only way.

Fast forward to uni and I’d honed my style, in that I knew what suited my shape (pretty much) and liked what I liked. And that was NEVER anything ‘on trend’. At the time I thought this was a hindrance on my part, and that not having fun with fashion would come back to haunt me when I was 80 and couldn’t do that anymore.

Which is total bullshit because a) I can do what I want at whatever age, including aged 80. And b) there’s absolutely no reason why ‘having fun with fashion’ should mean wearing trends we’ve been sold as part of a cynical capitalist ploy to make us think we need more, for less, all the time.

So, as it goes, I am eternally grateful for my inner fashion scrooge.

Quitting fast fashion

Despite the fact I’ve always been a keen budgeter and anti-shopper, I didn’t quit fast fashion until about four years ago. And even then, I didn’t do it very well.

In a previous life I was a retail planner (merchandiser), and for ten years I worked in retail head offices making as much margin as possible while maximising sales and minimising costs. In real terms, this means making money for big retailers by screwing over everyone aside from the board (the consumer and the supply chain.)

So I know a thing or two about retail.

This knowledge is what turned me off the high street, not an intricate understanding of the human and environmental costs.

But either way, quit it I did and as my zero waste curiosity piqued so did my sustainability interest. And that led me into a big black hole of research, books, and, of course, the MUST watch documentary The True Cost.

Where am I at with my sustainable fashion ethos now? Well, I wear what I have first and foremost and have started to really dig deep on mending, altering and styling (not my forte, but fun!)

I choose to thrift/charity shop anything I need (for me, and for Anaïs) and lastly I buy the most ethical I can afford.

I have a lovely list of brands I turn to and I haven’t bought more than a handful of things based purely on the fact buying new is last on my list, so stuff I do buy is few and far between.

So that’s me, and my ethos. Which you didn’t come here for but this is what you’ve got and informs/explains how I’ve gone about building a sustainable maternity wardrobe; not the easiest task to do!

My Sustainable Maternity Style

First off, I want to acknowledge my privilege; I am a standard-size 8-10, average height and live somewhere where I have the option of a LOT of charity/thrift shops.

It’s easier for me to find stuff basically. I have more choice so my rules mightn’t translate into your perfect wardrobe but I hope it’ll help inspire you a bit.

I REALLY recommend seeking out Aja Barber who is a sustainable fashion expert and can talk to plus-sized fashion too; what she doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing. You can find her on Instagram but the good stuff is on her Patreon.

If you’re still with me, here’s how I built my maternity wardrobe.

It’s such a long period of time to think about in one go, I tried not to stress too much about seasonal things and instead opted for items I could wear all year round and layer. 

I also bought little and often, so I didn’t feel burdened with a heap of stuff I then needed to sell or make work. 

Buying second-hand

The first things I picked up were maternity jeans and I was lucky enough to find them in one of my local charity shops.

I frequent them regularly so it was a case of luck, thin privilege and commitment to the cause! 

I got two pairs of jeans; both under bump. One in an autumnal mustard (my pregnancy would span from February to October) and one in blue denim (these were in a tall so I had to alter them, which was easy enough.

I then got a three pack of plain black, stretchy vest tops from Vinted which I knew would be fab for layering and a few maternity bras too (some might find this gross but I don’t care…..it all gets washed, ya know?) 

Sustainable maternity brands

Because the bulk of my pregnancy fell in HOT, sweaty summer I wanted a breastfeeding friendly, cotton/jersey jumpsuit so I bought two. One maternity and one non. 

Beyond Nine make beautiful maternity wear designed to last you beyond the nine months. So it’s all breastfeeding friendly too. I opted for this one, although in hindsight it wasn’t my favourite piece as it doesn’t really suit me as even the small size is HUGE on me at nine months pregnant. 

The next thing I knew I’d need was at least one pair of over bump maternity leggings. The H&M pairs you might pick up en masse are super crappy quality and I guarantee by the end of your pregnancy they’ll be worn ragged. 

So I found a pair of Jojo Maman Bebe (not sustainable, buy second hand) leggings on eBay which is excellent for honing in on specifics (set a saved search so you don’t have to think about it/get tempted to browse!)

ps – Isabella Oliver and Seraphine are both great brands in terms of fit and quality but they aren’t truly sustainable so do what I did and find preloved pieces on eBay/Vinted/Depop instead. 

Non-maternity wear that works

The jumpsuit I LOVED the most was my OmBaby which can also be breastfeeding friendly if I switch it around as it has a lovely low v-back. It isn’t maternity but because of the relaxed fit worked perfectly for me. 

If you simply want a few vest tops, or under bump leggings you could totally just size up non maternity wear. 

I don’t wear a heap of tight stuff anyway, opting for relaxed fits so almost all of my t-shirts and jumpers still work for me which is a huge bonus. 

As your pregnancy progresses you’ll undoubtedly want slip on shoes so bear that in mind. I had some old Birkenstocks and a black pair of slip on trainers too. 

The errors

Like I said, the Beyond Nine jumpsuit isn’t my favourite and I’ll certainly sell it afterwards. But it’ll be helpful in the days after birth (especially if I have another c-section) as it’s loose, breathable and breastfeeding friendly.

I couldn’t afford any ethical activewear so after sticking it out with my pre-preggo stuff I caved at 36 weeks and bought some bamboo Seraphine yoga pants. They were the most ‘ethical’ of the fast fashion brands I could find but still……not truly sustainable. 

I also panic bought a yellow summer top from eBay but only wore it once so I sold it again (same price, yay!)

Not keeping my maternity-wear from pregnancy one was probably the biggest error and I had to rebuy bits I knew I had first time around. VERY frustrating! 

If you’d like a big old maternity style cheat sheet, please do download mine right HERE! 

L x

The Pregnancy Diaries Part Deux: The Third Trimester

The Pregnancy Diaries Part Deux: The Third Trimester

Let’s catch up on what’s been going on in my third trimester, shall we? YES, LET’S! 

29 – 34 WEEKS

This is a fairly huge chunk of time although, in truth, it was genuinely marked by energy and feeling pretty damn good. When I was supposed to be feeling amazing in the second trimester I felt crap, and now I’m in my third trimester I should be feeling shattered and devoid of energy but I’m not! So praise be.

A lot of that is to do with the iron I’ve been taking for my anaemia which has, in turn, cured my restless legs giving me the most amazing nights sleep I’ve had in yonkers. I’ve also been practicing yoga daily, in no small part preparing my body and mind for the marathon of its life but also because I’ve started my 50 hours pregnancy yoga teacher training (timing sounds mad, but it feels so right)

Emotionally, I’m a LOT happier albeit fairly anxious about the birth. Most people seem to think I’m anxious not to have another c-section but I’m not worried about that (I’ve done it, know what it’s like and know the recovery wasn’t hideous for me) – what I AM worried about is the unknown. I’ve laboured for 27 hours with no pain relief (not in a braggy way) but I haven’t experienced transition or the second stage of pushing. And that unknown is fairly scary……not sure why, as I wasn’t remotely frightened the first time around.

Perhaps it’s the onslaught of horror stories you become privy too once inducted into the cult of motherhood, or perhaps it’s the lost innocence of having already given birth. Who knows, but this is something I’ve had to work on through hypnobirthing (which I didn’t do last time.)

35 – 39 WEEKS

 

Well, after feeling VERY SMUG about the fact the dreaded Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) I’d been afflicted with in my first pregnancy hasn’t come back, guess what? It’s back. Luckily I managed to complete my pregnancy yoga teacher training before it kicked in but still….come on. It’s started with twinges, rather than the full on I-CANNOT-WALK horror of last time but I know it’s only a matter of time before things get tricky.

So armed with my new-found knowledge about the pelvis and anatomy of a preggo I’ve been practicing gentle yoga, and resting a whole heap. Yoga Nidra (yogic sleep) has become my new best friend and I’ve been listening to my hypnobirthing tracks daily. The only thing I can’t really change is my daily walk to get my toddler from nursery and the various activities we do together (that are all fairly physical.)

My mood has definitely shifted into a less sunny disposition and I’m feeling all the feelings about the fact I should be in Edinburgh for a friend’s wedding but, alas, I am exhausted both mentally and physically and decide to stay at home feeling sorry for myself. A tricky decision and, spoiler alert, one I come to regret.

As I approach the final hurdle time seems to incomprehensibly slow down and speed up all at the same time. Which leads me to feeling a bit out of sorts about my birth plan (which, FYI, nobody has asked to see as at 39 weeks because the care down in Brighton is LESS THAN ideal………and I’m privileged so God help those less fortunate. Look, the NHS are freaking amazing. They are. And I am PROFOUNDLY grateful to have been born in a country that, once upon a time, believed in a welfare state that grants healthcare to us all for free. But in comparing my care down in Brighton to London it’s been lacking; I was under the care of the perinatal mental health team in London, however here, “I don’t qualify” despite the fact my history is the same, I had post-natal depression AND my anxiety/depression have both got much, much worse throughout pregnancy.

I was also not allowed the mythical ‘birth stories’ chat I hear so many folk talk about (this is where a midwife talks you through the notes of your last birth so you can better understand what happened) because it wasn’t considered ‘traumatic enough’……overall, it’s been an uphill battle to get any support and I’m lucky that I have the emotional privilege (along with everything else) to have fought for midwife changes, birth plan chats etc etc.

But it has definitely taken a toll on my mental health and that’s felt crappy at a time I should be coddling myself in extra support.

That being said, as I approach my estimated due date I feel fairly positive (albeit impatient) that everything will be okay. Trusting in the process, my body and what’s meant to be is hard but with a whole heap of support from friends and my saint of a husband I’m getting there!  

40 – 41 WEEKS

Hello my old friend OVERDUE. As I write I am 40 weeks and five days pregnant which is technically overdue however practically completely normal. In fact, if I moved to France tomorrow I wouldn’t even be due yet (they consider week 41 full term) so…..there’s that.

Although I am insanely excited to meet baby two and feeling all the gratitude for my crazy nesting stint of the past month (SO much has been fixed, cleaned and decluttered) I’m also very aware of the fact I am, in NHS terms, a ticking time bomb. As a home birth VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarian) I’m considered to be more risky than a normal vaginal birth and, as a rule, the NHS don’t like pregnancies to linger beyond 42 weeks.

But like last time, I’m not prepared to have an induction, rather choosing to have extra scans to check baby’s okay if needs be/going straight to a c-section so…..essentially, I’d love everyone to get in the sea and leave me alone 😉

One small thing; I can barely walk. The PGP is now so bad I am both waddling AND limping. Oli’s had to take over picking Anaïs up from nursery (thank GOD) and we spend our afternoons going a little stir crazy at home. But it’s also had it’s sweet moments as we have been able to spend loads of quality one on one time that I know I’ll miss soon enough.

I’ll end this on a happy note (SHOCKER) and say that while this pregnancy has been incredibly tough and I am in a lot of physical pain, I am also feeling intensely blessed. For every ache and pain, and annoying midwife I can count 10 friends who’ve sent me messages of support, dropped flapjacks on my doorstep, added me to a meal rota, prayed for me and generally made life a whole heap better.

And for that I’m TRULY grateful.

See you soon (with a baby hopefully!)

L x

The Pregnancy Diaries Part Deux: The Second Trimester

The Pregnancy Diaries Part Deux: The Second Trimester

Hey hey friends! I’m finally in my third trimester and it truly feels as though I’m on the home strait. Except….I still have a potential three months to go. WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG?!

Seriously, I feel like the second trimester has absolutely dragged. And that is the total opposite of what everyone told me would happen; “Your pregnancy will fly by because you have a toddler to look after.”

WRONG. I should’ve guessed this though because everyone said the first pregnancy would be slow, and it whizzed by in a haze of smugness (I LOVED pregnancy the first time around. Loved it hard.)

So here goes, this is my diary of the second trimester for your reading pleasures.

13 – 17 WEEKS

After a tricky first trimester I expected to feel that energetic boost come week twelve along with a disappearance of the dreaded morning sickness.

But somehow, I feel more tired than I’ve ever felt in my life and I STILL feel sick. What the actual.

I struggled through my very, very slow runs and my bump started to get heavy and uncomfortable but mostly, I just felt too tired to do any exercise at all. But of a spiral into feeling crap!

That coupled with anxiety and a real low patch left me struggling through the first chunk of my second trimester.

Although HELLO I took a little mini break to Lisbon with hubs so that was nice.

18 – 22 WEEKS

This chunk of my second trimester was marked by sleeplessness. With a toddler who slept ‘well’ from about ten months I honestly have never had to deal with the sleepless nights some have to for years. Well, I’m paying for that now aren’t I? !

Along with the dreaded restless leg syndrome I have also been struck with some fun occasional insomnia which is SUCH a treat. And I find that extreme exhaustion coupled with looking after a toddler is just THE BEST. Agreed?

Okay enough moaning. Good things about being pregnant…. my hair, skin and nails are DREAMY this time around. Who knew? That’s a treat and a half. Especially as I wash my hair about once a year and manage to file my nails less than that 😉

I’ve also started thinking about the birth. Not a lot, because AGES to go but a little. My last birth was a planned home birth ending in an emergency c-section so I’m a bit mixed about it all. The NHS are very pro vbac (vaginal birth after caesarian) but that comes with some risks and the potential of a lot more medicalisation (unless i go against protocol) 

Anyway, as I write this I have a plan. But I’m not super keen to discuss it here just yet so let’s just say I’ve done a HEAP of research and feel a whole heap more prepared than last time on every count.

23-28 WEEKS

So as it goes, along with the news I am magnesium deficient, don’t have enough protein in my diet and a few other things (hello B12!) I am anaemic! Yay. So iron tablets are being dutifully knocked back and even my decaf coffee has been ditched. 

But excitingly, I’ve started to feel better! Yay! I can’t tell you how dreamy it is to get a good night’s sleep when you’ve had weeks of exhaustion. And my energy levels are up too so I’ve clawed back my yoga practice, adding in some workouts and dynamic sessions to add to the daily restorative stuff.

Lastly, I’ve started hypnobirthing! The lovely YesMum gifted me her online course which led me down a rabbit hole of teachers here in Brighton. I found Laura and so far she has basically changed my life. Well, my pregnancy anyway….

I regret not doing hypnobirthing SO much last time around so I’m throwing myself into it now and I have to say I am a TOTAL convert. I had an idea it was just breath work, which I already do through yoga so I dismissed it based on my own half-arsed pre conceptions. But it’s not at all! I finally understand what happened with my last birth, why it went ‘wrong’ and have put things in place to help me if the same thing repeats itself. That’s not to say I think hypnobirthing alone guarantees you to have a perfect birth (sidenote: what the fudge is a perfect birth anyway) but I already know I have tools to cope with the inevitable changes and fun surprises that tend to crop up throughout labour.

Lastly, I start my pregnancy yoga teacher training this month! This is something I’ve wanted to do FOREVER and had planned to do earlier this year but….yeah, surprise baby got in the way and plans had to change. But it all worked out for the best as I’ve had six months to think about what type of yoga teacher I want to be (one who doesn’t namaste or chant…..) and helping women during pregnancy in an accessible way is far more appealing to me than teaching £15 a class iyengar yoga to yuppies. (yuppies like me, admittedly…)

Watch this space for the next chapter of The Pregnancy Diaries or catch up with #bumpwatch on Instagram.

L x

5 Simple Productivity Hacks for Freelance Mama’s (Who Hate Hacks!)

5 Simple Productivity Hacks for Freelance Mama’s (Who Hate Hacks!)

I sorta hate this title. It feels dangerously close to me declaring myself a ‘mumpreneur’ and telling you how you can make your first 10k month using my patented methods.

I’m not gonna do that. Promise.

I’ve been working ‘around’ my little one, who is now two, for around eighteen months and I’ve learned a few things in that time. I’ve tried a few different options, and have had highs and lows in my own productivity…..and yes, the mum guilt has been ever-present throughout.

For clarity, Anaïs goes to nursery and we’ve never done anything different to that bar the occasional stint of grandparent help. I work from home, and my husband works pretty long hours in an office job, albeit a local one, but that means that like most mothers I pick up the slack if/when Anaïs needs to come home early. If you want to learn about other childcare options I wrote a post about freelance childcare options.

I ALSO decided to film a flipping video for this post! It felt like a good idea at the time, mostly because I’d just setup for my Patreon BTS video too. So there you go, a little unexpected treat!

But back to my productivity tips for those who’d rather skip my face waffling on a poorly-edited video.

1 | Childcare

Super obvious statement alert but, erm, have you thought about childcare? Yes, Lucy, you absolute knobhead I have.

Okay so this one is dependant on your situation but as I said, my situation has gone from zero childcare to some childcare (a day a week of grandparents) right through to a whole month of five days of 8-6 a week (that was expensive and nuts!)

Right now, Anaïs goes to nursery 5 days a week from 8-1pm. She naps from around 2-4 so ostensibly I get a full days work. Most days. Although as I write this she is not napping, but painting because…well, she didn’t wanna nap and that’s okay.

Although I don’t have any friends/family to help with childcare I am very lucky to have this setup. It works really well for us as a family and because I work, we also get tax free childcare which is an added bonus. And, as long as I continue to work, we will get 30 free hours of childcare when Anaïs is three. (COUNTING DOWN THE DAYS…..)

I’ve never used a nanny/au pair or a childminder but we have also used our regular babysitters (one of whom works at Anaïs’ nursery) to plu any gaps as and when we need them: usually this is for random work meetings or trips I need to take. That’s the nature of freelance life!

If you’d like to learn about the other options freelancers have I wrote all about it here.

2 | Pomodoro

Unlike my last point, this really is an actual productivity hack. I can’t remember who told me about the Pomodoro method but whoever they are is an absolute angel.

The Pomodoro Technique was created by someone called Francesco Cirillo in the 80s and posits we work best on one thing at a time in bite size chunks.

In theory, it’s working in chunks of 25 minutes with a five-minute break between each chunk. Then, after you’ve done four rounds of Pomodoro chunks you should take a longer break. I take 15 minutes here.

How this works for me is that from 9-12 (I practice yoga/run/have a lie-in when I wake up, shower and start work at 9am….rarely before) I decide on my must-do tasks, then allot them a timeframe: Either one or two ‘PT’s’ aka 25 minute chunks.

This really works for me at the moment because I struggle to do that whole, ‘a day dedicated to this part of my business’ or even batching work. I need to work on things in a really dedicated way knowing I’ll have a break soon.

3 | Prepare

When Anaïs first dropped down to shorter hours I was always getting caught short when it came to getting my bag ready for pickup.

I’d mutter obscenities to myself as I packed a random, unappealing assortment of snacks and often forget my keys/wallet/coat. And I’d leave with a half-finished task, empty belly and stressed mind….which, I’d come straight back to once I got home and Anaïs was down for her nap.

So I now take my daily snack prep seriously. I do it first thing while making my own breakfast and never skip it. Because it just makes life so much easier.

Likewise I prepare my task list ahead of schedule. I use Trello to manage my recurring tasks, adding on new ones as they come in and plot them all out daily too. I know you can get a bit more jazzy with all of this but I keep it simple….I can’t cope with three or four to do lists; I’ve tried and failed multiple times!

4 | Find Your Flow

This has been a massive game changer for me. And before you think I’m going all Jess Lively on you (if you don’t know who that is, please watch this wonderful video where she writes to her intuition. I DIE.)

When I talk about finding your flow I honestly just mean asking yourself when you work best. If that’s convenient, try to only work in that time….or, at least, do your hardest/must-do stuff then.

For me. first thing is when I get my most techy stuff done; I’m talking podcast and video editing, planning, dealing with course stuff or editing photos etc etc etc. Writing comes easier a bit later in the day, so that’s when I sketch out blog posts, podcast scripts, newsletters or Instagram captions.

And, realistically, at approx 5pm I may as well go to sleep. I never work past this time unless I really have to. Mostly because I can’t…..my kid would never let me work while she played independently, which is fine by me!

5 | Do Less Stuff

This is a tricky one and I’m still reminding myself to take on less stuff every damn day. But saying no, keeping a clearer diary and definitely saying no to projects that aren’t going to serve me in whatever season I’m in.

This might mean my social life is a bit dry sometimes and it often means I say no to free stuff offered in exchange for Instagram coverage. Not because I’m against it (especially not with smaller brands) but because it’s gonna cut into my very precious time!

And lastly, lower the damn bar. Especially when you have extra-curricular work stuff like……pregnancy, house moves etc etc etc. You know the drill with adulting!

L x

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How to Survive Flying with a Toddler

How to Survive Flying with a Toddler

If you’d told me I wouldn’t enjoy travelling once I’d had kids I would have laughed. And probably told you to sod off, because I would DEFINITELY still love travelling…..the baby will fit in with my life and nothing will kill my wanderlust.

So when the exact opposite happened and a baby did, in fact, kill my wanderlust I was less than impressed. Actually, I was gutted.

Travel is such a big part of my life, my identity, that me without it has been as big an adjustment as me without London.

The baby will fit in with my life….

And something I’ve never discussed openly is how I’ve developed an irrational fear of travel since having Anaïs, something I never expected to happen, something I feel embarrassed about and endlessly ashamed of.

I never wanted Anaïs to grow up with a parent so scared of travel our only holidays were a short drive away. I know that sounds privileged, because, well….it is. But my early years were filled with travel, if not adventure, so I wanted the same for her.

And my therapist told me I was increasingly making my world smaller and that, my friend, is not great for anxiety!

Which is why I thought it was SUCH a bloody great idea to snake in one big long-haul family trip to one of my favourite countries before Anaïs hit two and we had to start paying full price for her seat.

My beloved suitcase

BIG MISTAKE NUMBER ONE

Ever made your toddler sit on your lap for 11 hours? Yes? Did you survive?!

Didn’t think so.

Error number two was trying to scrimp and save money by buying an indirect flight.

Mistakes number three – three-hundred were…..I mean, there really are too many, but let’s talk about the good stuff now shall we?

We had an amazing time. Yes, the flight was pure, unadulterated hell. But the holiday was amazing and Anaïs took it all in her stride. She napped at the same times, slept pretty well at night and overall….loved every minute.

She charmed the pants off everyone she met, from security guards to armed police and, although she might not remember picking flowers at the market or dodging rickshaws and rolling around on the beach, we will. And that is worth the HELLISH flight for sure.

So how did we survive it?

Here are my tips for flying with a toddler

For context, we flew to India on an indirect flight when Anaïs was about 21 months old. Door to door, the total travel time was about 20 hours each way. with the flights lasting between 2 (Mumbai to Goa) and 11 hours (Mumbai to London.)

The flight

The main event, as it were, the flight took up way too much of my attention. A bit like how first-time parents focus on the birth then fumble their way through the fourth trimester blind (just me?!), the flight felt like a monumental effort.

When really, it’s the smallest chunk of your entire holiday.

I thought about so many little things, over-preparing and fretting yet I still made a HEAP of errors and now feel I would do quite a few things differently.

Here are a few things to consider:

Seat or no seat? Before your toddler is two they don’t have to buy a full-price seat (but you pay taxes, which is a small amount variable by country) so we opted for this choice because cheap!!!

However, that means whether your baby is 2 month or 22 months they have to sit on your lap, at least for take-off and landing.

Which isn’t super realistic if you have an active toddler who doesn’t understand why they have to be strapped to you for what can be a big chunk of time (factor in taxi-ing to and from the runway, possible delays….turbulence etc etc)

However, paying XX dollars for a seat for your little one mightn’t be an option for you so I’d simply say; go with what you can afford and a basic rule of thumb is that pre-crawlers are easy and fine to sit on your lap but it gets far harder afterwards.

Direct vs indirect? Again, this is a matter of what you can afford as much as what is available on your particular route.

For short-haul flights it’s very likely you’ll be flying direct or, at least, it’ll be available to you for a reasonably small extra cost.

Long-haul flights are trickier, particularly when you’re travelling somewhere a bit off-the-beaten-path without an airport, or not on a route serviced by your fave airline you might plump for the indirect route option.

Some folk prefer this option because it breaks up a long flight and gives everyone a chance to stretch their legs.

But I’d strongly advise you take note of the ‘flight-to-faff’ ratio coined by my friend Elle. The basic premise is that your flight faffery shouldn’t outweigh your holiday time. So, for example, if your trip is seven days but your flight lasts three days because of the time difference and stopover time; this is a negative flight-to-faff ration and you should reconsider your route.

For me? A long, direct flight is preferable to two shorter ones where the logistical faffery is doubled and wriggly-toddler-on-lap-time increased.

Book the best you can afford

Overall, I’d say a lot of your decision making comes down to personal preference as well as your budget. My privilege allows me the luxury of booking the options I want (although, I still picked the cheapest and wrong ones) so I’d choose my favourite airline (read more about that below), a direct flight at a nice time with seats for us all.

I’m not moneybags though, so it’s all economy….but still, the little tweaks count.

And a note on timings. EVERYONE said to book a night flight so Anaïs would know it’s bedtime and sleep.

This is BULLSHIT.

Night flights don’t mimic the calm of your child’s bedroom, so what actually happens is that everyone’s asleep and cross you are keeping them awake, your kid is overtired and confused and the flight attendants aren’t around as much because everyone should be asleep.

It’s hideous.

Book a daytime flight, unless your tot can fit in the in-flight bassinet and you are confident a night-flight is the best option regardless.

Best airlines

Anaïs first flight was with British Airways, who I totally recommend for kids because they get a cute little high-flyers booklet with their airmiles and get to meet the pilot (after the flight.)

However lots of other airlines do a similar thing and these are my personal favourites.

The airport

Lots of airports have play areas, with varying quality (The one at Heathrow T4 is right by the smoking area….grim) so always seek these out. It gave Anaïs time to blow off some steam and was a chance for us to chill out for a bit too.

We also utilised the family-friendly security lines which are less intimidating than the usual and the queues are more chilled out too. Although we were travelling outside of school holidays so…..perhaps we got lucky!

Don’t allow too much time. We allowed WAY too much time which led to a very grumpy toddler ready to sleep with no way of doing so. It was late at night so she was already past her bedtime (see: ‘no night flights’ for this error) and, in hindsight, there was no need to

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The stuff

This is a pretty easy one to be honest because almost everything people said here was uniform AND true.

Snacks, snacks and more snacks were key. I packed way too many but it didn’t feel like a waste because….well, the potential to run out was a very real and hideous possibility.

You could order some bits and bobs to collect at the airport after security which I did with pouches and formula milk.

I sectioned my snacks in two, one bag in my carry-on and the other in our checked luggage and then sectioned even more. I made sure Anaïs couldn’t stumble across a giant bag, and hid everything in little pockets, mini bags as well as easy-access in my own bag.

We didn’t take loads of toys but the ones we did take were new (for the excitement factor) and not precious (the plane is not a great place to lose stuff!)

We took a few sticker books, and a water-pen colouring book because of the lack of mess, and MY WORD, what a brilliant invention they both are. Anaïs absolutely loved playing with stickers which kept her amused for the longest time of anything.

We don’t have any screen-time rules at home, but Anaïs hadn’t ever used an iPad before which was accidentally brilliant. I bought a cheap plastic case, downloaded a few games (Bing was a clear winner) and the Peter Rabbit film too.

We also bought a set of kiddy earphones in case there was something to watch on the in-flight entertainment as well as for the iPad; they are made for little ears and only go up to a safe volume too.

Lastly, don’t worry too much. At most, the flight will be a day long…….and believe me, it’s 100% worth it for the holiday!

L x

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The Pregnancy Diaries Part Deux: The First Trimester

The Pregnancy Diaries Part Deux: The First Trimester

Here we go again! With my first pregnancy I wrote these diaries every week from about 12 weeks such was my energy levels and enthusiasm for documenting the joys of pregnancy.

Catch up with The Pregnancy Diaries (part one) here.

This time around the premise is a little different. The pregnancy was unplanned-ish, the timing is crap and I’ve been looking after a toddler throughout pregnancy so…..yep, not as much time to bloom, as it were.

But this won’t be all doom and gloom, I promise. I just won’t be sharing my pregnancy as frequently as I did last time.

I’ve plumped for writing a post for each trimester, as well as the ever popular birth story too (seriously, anyone else love a birth story as much as I do?!)

So here goes. Pregnancy Part Deux: The Embryo Fights Back

Each pregnancy is different?

Pregnancy this time around is sorta same same but different; there have been both highs and lows I didn’t experience the first time around yet a confidence and calm I didn’t have either.

Overall, the symptoms have remained very similar. I had morning sickness from about 8-11 weeks then it stopped as suddenly as it began giving way to bone-tired exhaustion which, this time around has been an absolute killer.

With no family support and a husband who works long hours the tiredness of pregnancy is far tougher than I expected. Getting Anaïs to and from nursery is a joint effort, happily but bedtime tends to be my lucky treat 😉

My tips to get through the first trimester with a toddler in tow?

cBeebies, endless snacks and zero pressure to be any kind of model parent. It’s really only a few weeks where I needed to give up any semblance of caring about parenting properly so even though I felt unnecessarily guilty at the time, in the grand scheme of Anaïs’ life I’m sure she’ll forgot these lost weeks.

Pin me for later

The Highs

Not feeling so anxious: The first time felt so monumental I allowed every horror story, every stat about how common miscarriage is and hardly told anyone, “just in case”.

This time around, I wasn’t so fussed. I already have a dreamy little dot so if it came to it and I miscarried? I’d be upset, of course, but the grief would be somewhat softened by the blessing of our healthy toddler.

I’m excited for Anaïs to be a big sister and can’t wait to see them playing together, fighting and scheming. I don’t have a relationship with my sister so, I’m sure, psychologically I’m aiming to live vicariously through my kids. That’s okay though, right?

I’m also HELLA excited to buy STUFF! Last pregnancy I was such a minimalist earth mama I refused to buy most things (although, let’s talk about the privilege of how much I got for free shall we?)

But this time I can’t wait to get a new nappy bag, buggy and baby carrier. ALSO TINY CLOTHES.

The lows

A bout of depression and struggles with my body image: Last time around my depression got a lot better in pregnancy and I only needed to go back to therapy/drugs when Anaïs was about seven months old.

This time though, I really struggled with persistent low moods from weeks eight through to about twelve. Which, I’m not gonna lie, was incredibly hard.

My changing body, so welcomed last time, felt terrifying. I put the battery back in our scales and started weighing myself daily again, cross referencing against Dr Google’s answer to my frantically typed, “How much weight should I put on at 8, 9, 10 weeks pregnant”.

I also ditched yoga and started running regularly agan (I never run in the winter, because…..grim). A weird way to do it given most people take up yoga in pregnancy…..

I was due to start my yoga teacher training pregnancy in April,and have quite an advanced practice so, for me to continue while having to adapt to my growing bump felt a bit……well, disappointing.

I did pregnancy yoga throughout my last pregnancy but haven’t felt keen to spend a heap of money to have a nap each week (I’m not much of a restorative yoga fan anymore!)

But I’m thinking about getting back into my practice and perhaps going to my usual class so….watch this space. I guess yoga feels quite snore to me at the moment as practicing reminds me of what I can’t do, what I’ve lost. The antithesis of a mindful practice.

The lols

Gas. I had to sleep in a separate room I was so windy.

Et voila. I’m currently 16.5 weeks pregnant so you have a wee while before your next installment but hopefully it’ll be a bit more cheery than this one!

Until next time.

L x