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Brand In Focus | Southwood Stores.

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Southwood Stores is an online concept store by Hayley Southwood, where you will find handpicked, quirky, Scandinavian influenced gifts and homewares. Hayley believes passionately about empowering women and has recently launched her own in-house label GRAY, celebrating strong women.

I first came across Hayley and her online shop back in 2013. (I can’t believe it was 3 years ago?! Time sure does fly with a toddler in tow!) At that time, Hayley was the only UK stockist of Hello Apparel; and I went straight ahead and ordered a HELLO Jumper from her, along with one of our most loved prints that sat in Eli’s bedroom, The Mountain Print by Clare Nicholson. I always loved parcels from Hayley, with the attention to detail of packaging and customer care; with some treats even winging their way over to Berlin!

Watching Hayley, via Instagram, over the past few years has been wonderful. Seeing how her little shop has grown and expanded with wicked new products and new brands, through to the launch of her very own clothing label: GRAY By Southwood Stores.  The ethos of Hayley and her shop is to be brave and follow your dreams. And she’s definitely succeeding there – having now opened her very own Southwood Stores showroom – where you can not only have a cuppa with the lady herself, but from here she also offers Social Media / Branding services with sessions operating on-site.

Details of showroom opening times are as follows:

Monday 10am-2.30pm
Wednesday 10am-2.30pm
Friday 10am-2.30pm
First Saturday of the month 11am-2pm

I could buy everything that Southwood Stores have in stock, but here are some of my current favourites hitting the top of my #MoMWishlist:

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WIRE MESH MEMO-BOARD (BLUE) – £55.00

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VINTAGE SCHOOL CHAIRS – £60.00

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PALM LEAVES – £55.00

Back to GRAY By Southwood Stores. Hayley worked really hard to find the right garments for her label – high quality and responsibly made. The slogan graphic prints are also locally screen-printed by a “woman owned business”. I think it’s fantastic that Hayley has stuck to her local roots here too – there’s nothing better than championing your local business community and spreading the love even further afield.

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The sweatshirts are super soft, wash well and have a really flattering fit. I went for the WARRIOR sweatshirt. Because, well, we’re all WARRIORS. “The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us, but those who win battles we know nothing about”. This is something that resonated deeply with me – and I do feel like a proper WARRIOR when I’m wearing my sweatshirt. It’s more than just words, isn’t it? It’s about how these things make you FEEL.

On top of alllllll this, Hayley is also hosting a series of Conversational Meet-Up’s, of like-minded Women. The recent one looked brilliant so look forward to the next Event’s being scheduled. You can find the latest details and tickets, here. 

Hayley is a true inspiration and I look forward to seeing how Southwood Stores continues to grow and evolve! (Oh, and I can’t wait to have a cuppa with her in person at the new showroom soon!). Keep doing what you’re doing Hayley, everything about your being is amazing. Just remember to BREATHE (and get the kettle on!).

 

MM.

*NB: This is in no way a sponsored post. I just wanted to big up a Mama who I think is frikkin amazing*. 

 

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Weekly Update: 41 Weeks Pregnant // We’re overdue!

Well, I definitely DID NOT think I would be writing a weekly pregnancy update at 41 weeks and 1 day pregnant, that is for sure!

But it’s been quite a week so here is my update, thus far.

I had the first of my two ‘Sweeps’ on Wednesday. During my appointment at Broomfield, I met with my lovely Midwife, Caroline and Consultant. Both parties were concerned about the size of Boy – obviously, he’d measured up large for dates since Week 28. But on Wednesday I measured at 44cm (44 weeks pregnant). SO! They both agreed that I should not go past Sunday without having Boy as he’s looking too large now. So another Sweep was also organised for Friday (yesterday), incase the first one didn’t work. I was also tested for MRSA and given the usual checks, all of which were fine.

The first sweep did not work, despite me having really painful period pains and contractions for 10 hours! So feeling a little despondent, back to the hospital we went again yesterday. A second sweep was performed and the Midwife really gave it a good go – she even tickled Boy’s head – which was a bit strange! When we got home I was convinced the sweep had worked! So we had yet ANOTHER curry and bounced on my ball as we watched more Olympic’s 🙂

But no, the second sweep doesn’t appear to have worked either! BOO 🙁

I also just wanted to point out that a sweep really doesn’t hurt. Yes, it was uncomfortable – but it’s going to be. I can honestly not believe that people have said this procedure is painful on forums and other blogs.

So, it looks like we’ll be going back to the hospital tomorrow to have the induction kick-started. I have to call in advance to ensure we have a bed and will be given a Propess Pessary when ready. We’ll be staying in the hospital for at least 6 hours and will be sent home if nothing happens. Then we have to go back within 24 hours for assessment and if nothing else happens, we’ll be having my waters broken and placed on a drip. Which I’m REALLY hoping won’t happen as I desperately wanted a water birth. Water has helped so so much during my pregnancy – I’ve literally not been out the bath! It’s been so helpful for my SPD pains.

So keep your fingers and toes crossed that Boy decides he wants to come naturally tonight, so we don’t have all the hassle tomorrow!

MM.

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Weekly Update: 40 Weeks Pregnant // Today is our DUE DATE.

Last Saturday we went to a wedding! This is us at 39+1 weeks.

Baby size at 40 weeks: 50 cm long.

Baby weight at 40 weeks:  7.6 + lbs

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Well, here we are. The day I didn’t think we’d actually get to! Today is our DUE DATE. Actually cannot believe that Boy hasn’t arrived before now!

I’d convinced ourselves that I’ve been in “slow labour” since Monday of this week. I’ve either been going to bed with VERY regular and quite intense contractions… or waking up at 3:30am with the pains. The pains start off as period style cramps (front and back) and nausea, then I get the tightening across my tummy. I’ve also had the most excruciating stabbing pains in my undercarriage at the same time. It’s been the most frustrating thing EVER. Every night we’ve gone to bed thinking “THIS IS IT!!!”. Last night felt like Christmas Eve and we went to bed incredibly excited! But Christmas hasn’t arrived so far today 🙁

BOOO!

Now I’m going to have a little rant – please excuse me! 🙂

I went for my final Midwife check up yesterday and have to say I wasn’t (and still aren’t!) happy with how it went. Firstly, there was a student midwife left in charge. No other help at all! I’d normally have my assigned midwife, and then a student if she had one that week. So I was really very shocked. Now, I do not mind students or trainee’s to do the usual checks – I’m all for it! How else will people learn, without practical case studies!? But yesterday was my last appointment, I had lots of questions and frankly the midwife just wasn’t experienced enough!

Firstly, she did my blood pressure and it came out as 110/80. Which is about usual for me, as per my notes (which, she did look through after checking each and . She said my blood pressure was HIGH? But this blood pressure is ‘optimal’ if anything! I ignored it.

Then it came to measuring me. Now I’ve measured big the entire time. Last Thursday I measured 42cm (by two different people!). Now I know this is not an exact science and normally don’t read anything into the fundal measurements – especially since we had our growth scan a fortnight ago! But she measured me at *just* 38 weeks. So obviously, I was dubious. I asked her to re-measure me as I can’t have lost 4cm in the space of a week – I’m usually growing 3cm a week! She re-measured me and said “Oh yes, about 40cm”. Whatever.

THEN she went to check Boy’s heart rate. But nothing was registering on the doppler. She started to panic, pulling the probe across my tummy. I showed her where to locate his heart beat. But it still wasn’t registering on the monitor… She blamed the machine and said it must be broken. But it wasn’t broken, SHE HADN’T PUT GEL ON THE PROBE! Struth.

THEN! I asked if she was going to examine me. Especially considering the contractions and pains I’ve been experiencing. She said she wasn’t allowed due to “policy”. I was completely under the illusion that you were given an internal at 40 weeks, to check your cervix/dilation?! Apparently not at my hospital! Or was it the case that she wasn’t supervised?! So frustrated!! And it’s doing nothing for my Oxytocin levels!

So I’m not very happy. At all.

My next appointment will be for my sweep at Broomfield Hospital on Wednesday 1st August. But hey, Boy is DEFINITELY coming this weekend, so we won’t be attending that appointment 😉

 

So what is happening to baby boy this week?

Fig 1: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/fetaldevelopment/40weeks/

After months of anticipation, your due date has been and gone, and… you’re still pregnant. It’s frustrating, but lots of women find themselves in this situation. Your baby continues to shed the greasy, white substance (vernix caseosa) which has been protecting his skin. If he shows no sign of making an appearance after another week, he may have slightly dry skin when he arrives.

Your baby has mastered all the skills he’ll need after he’s born. He can instinctively search for his thumb and suck it, just as he will search for your breast for a feed soon after birth.

 

MM.

 

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Weekly Update: 39 Weeks Pregnant.

Here we are at 38 + 1 weeks pregnant at the Day Assessment Unit in Broomfield Hospital.

Baby size at 39 weeks: 50 cm long.

Baby weight at 39 weeks:  7.2 + lbs

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Me and the internet have been having a somewhat long distance relationship the last fortnight! I’ve been absolutely EXHAUSTED. I’ve been getting up around 4-5 times a night for a wee (HOW?!) and been snoozing throughout the day. Aside from when I’ve been having hospital appointments and meeting the girls from my NCT group!

So, I’m just a week away from my due date. I REALLY thought Boy would have arrived by now. Considering how big he is! But clearly, he’s just far too cosy in there.

Last week I went to the doctors about my rash (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy) who was beyond blasé about the whole thing. By Saturday of last week, I’d scratched myself so badly I was drawing blood. I was also struggling with my SPD, so we took a trip up to the Day Assessment Unit at Broomfield to seek their advice. I was taken to an assessment room and hooked up to a monitor for 45 mins. I had lots and lots of tests done. But the doctors were not concerned about my rash – it’s quite common and will disappear after Boy arrives. What they were concerned about was the fact I’m still measuring big! I was measuring just over 41 weeks. So went for a growth scan on Wednesday of this week while we awaited results for late onset Gestational Diabetes. Boy is measuring correctly for 39 weeks… apart from his tummy! He’s a little bit on the chunky side 😀 To us, he sounds absolutely SCRUMMY! The scan, at so far into my pregnancy, was incredible! You could see his spiky hair at the back of his head! But because he was so big and squashed, you really couldn’t see as much as on earlier scans. SO, it’s back to the waiting game!

Boy is still head down (good boy) and is 2/5th palpable – which means only 2/5th’s of his head can now be felt above my pelvis. So that’s good.

We REALLY hope he arrives soon – we’re beyond impatient! 🙁

 

So what is happening to baby boy this week?

Fig 1: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/fetaldevelopment/39weeks/

It’s all about watching and waiting now, as your baby could arrive any day. Your baby could be up to 50cm long, and weigh about 3kg.

The hair on your baby’s head may now be thick, and his fingernails extend beyond his fingertips. They may look long when he’s born. Your baby’s skull bones are not yet fused, which allows them to overlap as he passes through the birth canal during labour. This is the reason your baby’s head may look cone-shaped after birth.

 

MM.

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Weekly Update: 37 Weeks Pregnant // Full Term!

Here we are at 36 + 3 weeks pregnant! Not long now!

Baby size at 37 weeks: 49 cm long.

Baby weight at 37 weeks:  6.1+ lbs

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This week we are FULL TERM! Absolutely ecstatic 😀

So this weekly update comes to you late, again. I had to give the interw3bz the old ‘heave ho’ this last week as I was ACTUALLY resting up! I’m finally listening to what my body wants… Well, I gave in more like.

This week I have somehow managed to develop PUPPP (pruritic uticarial pupules and placques of pregnancy or also known as, polymorphic eruption of pregnancy). With me being small and petite before my pregnancy, my tummy has had a good old stretch into my third trimester, where I started getting stretch marks to my hips, upper thighs and some under my belly button. But that was it…. I had my pregnancy massage last week and noted that some of the stretch marks under my belly button were sore and itchy. Since then, they became REALLY itchy. To point where I have zero self-control and have itched them to the point of bleeding. The stretch marks formed bumpy rashes that have since developed into ‘hive’ like spots. The rashes have spread to my upper and lower (inside) arms, behind my knees and my chest. It’s the most uncomfortable thing ever. PUPPP mixed with SPD has been horrendous. Through false labour into the equation and you have my week pretty much wrapped up!

So what could be causing the PUPPP? Well, PUPPP is more common in mothers with large fundal measurements and/or those who are carrying large babies, twins, and triplets. Certain studies reveal that this condition is more frequent in women carrying boys, although no formal research has been conducted. Statistics cite that 70% percent of PUPPP sufferers deliver boys.

Well, as I have documented throughout my updates, baby boy bump has always measured large (around 5 weeks bigger than the average measurements). In fact, at my last midwife appointment he was described as “larger than average”. So this all adds up. I’ve only been able to lather myself in E45 cream and continued to take Piriton which I was prescribed for my Hayfever. I’ve also tried E45 oil in luke-warm baths (hot water can irritate the rash and make you even more itchy!). It doesn’t seem to be getting any better to be quite truthful, but allegedly it’s another one of those pregnancy ailments that just magically disappear when you finally pop! So fingers crossed!

So as you can probably tell, I am not a happy bunny all-in-all.

So what is happening to baby boy this week?

Fig 1: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/fetaldevelopment/37weeks/

Your baby is now considered to be “full term”. That means they are capable of feeding and breathing outside the womb without any medical assistance. Your baby is starting to look nice and plump, and will continue putting weight on steadily until they’re born. The new fat stores are keeping their body temperature about 0.3-0.5°C above yours. They’ll need to be wrapped up warmly after they’re born though, otherwise their bare wet skin will lose heat rapidly. Your baby is also showing all the reflexes they will have as a newborn, curling their fingers and toes tightly around objects (grasp reflex) and turning their head and opening their mouth when something touches their cheek (rooting reflex). They’ll need this last reflex to find your nipple once they’re born.
Your baby’s head is now cradled in your pelvic cavity – surrounded and protected by your pelvic bones. This position clears some much-needed space for his growing legs and buttocks. Many babies now have a full head of hair, with locks up to 3.5cm long. And then, of course, some babies don’t have any hair at all. Speaking of hair, most of the downy coat of lanugo that covered your baby from 26 weeks has disappeared, and so has most of the vernix caseosa, the protective whitish substance that also covered him.

 

MM.

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Weekly Update: 36 Weeks Pregnant

Fig 1: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy/fetaldevelopment/36weeks/

Baby size at 36 weeks: 47 cm long.
Baby weight at 36weeks:  5.9+ lbs

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So this has been my first week away from work… it’s been strange. It feels like I’m just on holiday at the minute and have to go back next week! Very surreal.

I’ve had a busy week this week, despite trying to relax. On Monday I went to see a Physio regarding my SPD. There’s literally nothing we can do. I just have to suck it up basically. But the Physio did say that because of the way my coccyx has moved, it’s actually in a better position for labour – along with the fact that all of my ligaments have softened early. It should all make for a more comfortable birth (FINGERS CROSSED!!).

On Tuesday I had a Mummy-To-Be massage! It was incredible! I will be writing a separate post on this.

Wednesday we had a tumble dryer delivered! Considering the weather, we can’t really use the whirlygig (as much as I’d love to!) and we just won’t have the space to hang the laundry to dry around the house soon – so it made sense! Especially as I’ll be washing A LOT more soon!

Yesterday I had my standard Midwife appointment. Baby boy is still measuring up big – 38 and half weeks! The Midwife also pointed out that Baby Boy feels “larger than average”. OH DEAR. She also said that she thinks he may weigh something in the region of 9 and half lbs at full term. OUCH. I’m only 5 ft 1, so it’s absolutely no wonder I’ve been in agony with my pelvis! He’s a heavy boy! Baby Boy has also slid further into my pelvis and is sitting “low”. Aside from that, everything is absolutely normal.

I then met up with some of the lovely ladies from my NCT group and we went along to a session called ‘Bumps and Babes’ in Brentwood. The four of us were the only bumps there… but there were lots of babes! It was so so nice to catch up with the girls from my group, outside of the group and without partners! But it was also great to observe new mum’s and their beautiful babies for the afternoon. It was a great insight into how babies behave and react in the early early months… and made us all feel a lot more positive about taking our brand new baba’s out. Added bonus was coffee and cake! Yummy. Will hopefully be able to go next week too.

Feeling-wise, I’m still suffering with my SPD. It’s really painful after walking… and when I get up first thing. I’ve had another increase in Braxton Hicks and been getting stabbing pains in my undercarriage – apparently all normal.

 

So what is happening to baby boy this week?

Any time now, your baby might start to move down lower in the pelvis, getting ready to be born. This is called ‘lightening’. Your little one weighs around 6lb this week and is about 47cm long.

MM.

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Lifehouse Country Spa Resort – long weekend away…

 

So, Lifehouse Spa!

We had booked this little break away after having all the scans and tests a few weeks ago. We’d decided that we would need a relax after such a rollercoaster couple of weeks…

Being 19 weeks pregnant, we jut wanted to go somewhere where we could relax and chill out for a few days. Get away from it all. A spa was perfect. I literally spent 3 days alternating between the swimming pool and jacuzzi (Hydrotherapy Pool). Unfortunately, all of the treatments were too expensive for our budget… in fact, they were just overpriced in general.

I’m well aware that this review is just going to sound like a right moan! It was our first trip to a Spa though, so we would have expected a bit more in some areas. Albeit, we had a wonderful time and would return tomorrow! But with hindsight of course ;o

Pro’s

– Drinks were relatively cheap.

– Comfortable bed.

– Contemporary room with lovely bathroom and great views of the gardens. Usual coffee and tea making facilities.

– Lovely staff – all very polite and always had a smile.

– Easy place to relax.

– Food was great, restaurant quality.

– Great swimming pool and hydrotherapy pool. Can’t review the Steam, Sauna or Salt Inhalations rooms as I can’t use them being pregnant… but DP absolutely loved all three. So they kept him quiet! 😀

– Loved the Orchids Bar area too… must recommend the bread and olives. Best olives I’ve ever eaten! Amazing! Just £2.00 too!

– Very very nice gardens… it was absolutely blowing a gale outside and raining but this did not deter us! We borrowed some Hunter wellies from reception and had a great walk right around the gardens.

 

Con’s

– We weren’t given a ‘welcome’ note or shown around the complex. So didn’t know what facilities we could and couldn’t use.

– Because of the above, we didn’t know we had a safe in the room, until we were messing on with a rather ambiguous looking drawer underneath the TV!

– Again, because we weren’t given a ‘welcome’ note, we didn’t know that you could order Room Service.

– Couldn’t lock the door to the room.

– No bath in the room – albeit, the shower was incredible. I still could have done with a soak before bed!

– Treatments are expensive and need to be booked well in advance. Many people were left disappointment upon arrival when all appointments were booked up.

– Pregnant ladies cannot use Sauna, Steam room or Salt Inhalation rooms as they raise the body temperature too much.

– Packages that exclude food are very expensive. A lunchtime meal (main and starter) will be around £45 for a couple with one wine and one soft drink. An evening meal is per the set menu, £35 for 3 courses or £28.50 for 2 courses.

– Menu’s left a lot to be desired for someone who is both pregnant and doesn’t eat fish or mushrooms! I ended up having the same evening meal on both nights of our stay because the menu didn’t change… and the Duck dish was the only one that didn’t contain fish or mushrooms! There was also a £3 additional supplement on this.

– There were no decaff teabags! I also wasn’t given an alternative… would have definitely thought there would be decaffeinated everything with it being a health spa!

– No soft drinks menu! Just Wine and Cocktail lists… which isn’t great when you can’t drink! Imagine if you’re an alcoholic visiting for a detox!

– Restaurant was basic-looking; for such an ambitious menu, it was a shame that the restaurant was more like a canteen in a Sainsbury’s with cheap chairs and tables. The chairs of which offered zero support for a pregnant lady.

– There were no bottles of water for free, or even for sale! So it was a case of having to get up every 5 minutes to go to the water fountain in the corner of the ‘Wet Area’. Which is quite annoying when you’re pregnant and just want to lay down, but of course, you need to keep hydrated.

– Although this spa is relatively new, (about a year old), we did notice lots of signs of wear and tear. I actually stood on a piece of broken glass in the Hydrotherapy Pool! Turns out, upon further inspection, lots of the mosaic tiles were cracked and broken, but glued back together. Again, when looking up from the jacuzzi, the ceiling paint was peeling…

It was such a shame there were these little niggles – we really did enjoy ourselves though! Honestly! And we would go back… just hopefully when they have a different menu! 🙂

 

MM.