Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Chapped Lips - Soothing & Repairing

For the last two weeks my immune system seems to have taken a hit and one of the results has been severely chapped lips. I have never known or had anything like it. I have been barely able to open my mouth, it has felt so tight and dry. My lips have had thick skin peeling off of them and anything that goes near them seems to have stuck like glue. The pain was horrid.

I was desperate for a solution, I tried lanolin based products, my usual balms and nothing worked to improve them. I drunk copious amounts of water in an attempt to rehydrate myself and it all seemed to no avail. Finally, I picked up a little pot of Vaseline Lip Therapy with Aloe Vera and this has been my chapped lips saviour. Instantly soothing it soon got to work softening and repairing my lips back to their usual smooth and luscious self. I also gently buffed my lips to remove the dry skin with a wet flannel (don't pick the skin as you run the risk of infection!)

Vaseline say 

Protects and relieves dry and chapped lips, while locking in moisture to help keep them healthy
Instantly softens and soothes dry lips
Locks in moisture to help lips recover from discomfort
Contains aloe, known to calms and soothe dry irritated skin
Made with triple-purified Vaseline® Petroleum Jelly

It took about 3 days but I finally got there. My lips are pretty much back to normal now thank goodness.

Vaseline Lip Therapy Aloe Vera costs £1.95

Hay fever and Breastfeeding - What can you take?

When I had my first son I found that because I was breastfeeding I didn't get any Hay fever symptoms so I was rather complacent that the same thing would happen this time round. Unfortunately that hasn't been the case. My Hay fever symptoms have returned with a vengeance and when I started to feel pretty unwell with it, I knew I had to get some medicine and fast.

When I was heavily pregnant (first time round) my Doctor wouldn't prescribe me anything at all and so I suffered my way through it until my son was born. This isn't true of all doctors so be aware of this. Now I am breastfeeding I especially do not want to use something that could harm my baby so have looked at things I can use.

During my time blogging I came across an item called Prevalin, it is a nasal spray which claims to be safe to use in pregnancy and breastfeeding and even athletes can use it!  So I picked up a bottle and have been using this when symptoms are bad.

My review of Prevalin Hay Fever Allergy Relief

This deals with symptoms nicely and if my eyes are particularly bad I use this spray which I absolutely swear by to give me instant relief. A little pricey but worth every penny!!

Optrex Actimist 2in1 Eye Spray for Itchy Watery Eyes 

Oh and of course I am never without the obligatory large shades and pack of tissues!

Bettina x

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Birth, Breastfeeding and One Month In - Update

I am absolutely delighted to announce the arrival of the fourth member of our family, our son Elliot who was born on April Fool's Day!

Well what can I say... my last post - the third trimester was on my due date 31/03/2016 and in that post I was contemplating and hoping to avoid any intervention to bring on labour - stretch and sweep or being induced if I went overdue.

I was a little upset that I had reached my due date as my first son was born a day before his due date and there is some evidence that subsequent babies arrive earlier, not in my case.

In the run up to the due date I bounced on my gym/ birthing ball (helping get baby in the right position, not to mention it is a comfortable way to sit). I drank raspberry leaf tea (apparently helps make labour contractions more efficient.. )

I also listened to YouTube Hypnobirthing music and affirmations. I found a great talk that relaxed me and was full of positive suggestions that made me feel confident that going into labour wasn't something to fear and be anxious about. I was really calm the first time round and even though I did end up having an emergency c-section it was a calm and positive experience. I felt far more anxious this time round so went back to the Hypnobirthing as I found it really helped previously and it did really help this time round too to keep me calm, my mind clear and focused on giving birth.

That evening my husband made me a Thai green curry and to go with it he bought some Thai crackers - oh my god, they were so spicy they nearly blew my head off!! My eyes were streaming, I was choking and my throat was on fire!

Now I am not saying that it brought on labour (they say eating a hot curry can bring on labour) as we will never know but..... in the early hours of the morning my waters broke!!

Labour and Birth

In my previous birth I had had to have an emergency c- section due to my son becoming distressed at the pushing stage. This time round after much deliberating and a few meetings with a VBAC nurse and my Consultant I opted to try for a VBAC - Vaginal Birth After C-Section.

At 2.20am I woke up to the sensation of my waters breaking, this was a new experience for me as in my previous pregnancy my waters were broken in hospital. I pottered around and got the last few bits for my hospital bag. At 3am I woke up my husband with the exciting news, I then called the Labour Ward. As I was not having contractions I was told to go back to sleep and call back at 6am to be reassessed. Well very soon I started getting very uncomfortable with contractions starting and I couldn't sleep. I called back and was told to come in. At 6am I arrived at the hospital and shown to my room where I was taken to be monitored and assessed to see if I was indeed in labour.

I could see the baby's heartbeat and my vital stats too and I could see each time I was having a contraction, as well as obviously feeling them!

At 7am following an internal examination it was confirmed I was indeed in labour at 4cm - the contractions were coming thick and fast at every 2 minutes...and I was transferred into my Labour room and greeted by the midwife who was going to be with me throughout my labour. The pain was intense and almost unrelenting, finally I was allowed to have Gas and Air!

Very soon (or so it felt) I was feeling the need to push, I was now 9cm gone. Amazing.

It wasn't easy, I am sure a few times I asked to be knocked out so they could just get the baby out...

And then baby got distressed and they had to get it out quickly. I was whisked to theatre for an attempted forceps delivery. I had two attempts to push the baby out or I was going to have to have another emergency c-section. I remember thinking 'Oh no not again!' but I just wanted my baby to be delivered safely so I just went with it all (well what else can you do really?)

I was given a spinal and all pain disappeared in an instant, the need to push was gone. One of my theatre team told me when to push (very strange when you literally cannot feel a thing!) and luckily the baby was delivered without the need for a c-section. I got my VBAC afterall!

At 10.20am the baby made an appearance.

It was a baby boy! We had wondered if we were expecting a girl this time round (we wanted a surprise so did not ask at the scan) but we were overwhelmed with love and relief for this gorgeous, tiny baby boy before us.

I was taken to the recovery room, enjoyed skin to skin and a first feed with our new son and then was given the utterly welcome tea and toast that you are promised as a mother who has just undergone labour! It tasted every bit as good as I imagined it would.

Despite being really well prepared this time round for labour with snacks and bottles of water, I didn't actually get to open any of it. Things happened so fast, there wasn't really an opportunity to eat although I did manage to have sips of water.

I stayed in hospital for 2 nights. I had to wait for the sensation to come back to my legs, go to the toilet with no problems and get assistance with trying to breastfeed. They also do newborn checks and ensure that there are no complications with the mother. So on Sunday we had this tiny, helpless newborn to take home and look after!

Breastfeeding and how we are doing one month in...

I found breastfeeding extremely hard last time round. My son was fairly small, I had had a c-section as well which meant trying to get comfortable was hard. I persevered mainly because I am stubborn and I remember that things did get easier as the weeks went on. I fed him for over 11 months.

I wanted to give it a go again this time round as I just felt a different baby could mean that things would be easier this time round. I also didn't have a c-section to contend with so was in a great frame of mind.

Well I can tell you it hasn't been a walk in the park. Elliot was born even smaller than my first son. We both struggled to get the hold and the perfect latch right. Despite getting help when in hospital and it all making sense, no soon as the helper had left we were back to square one. He was a hungry little baby and got so frustrated as did I.

It hurt like hell,  a horrendous searing pain that made me want to swear, he also had a super strong clamping mechanism. I was super sore all the time and upset that it was so hard once again. There were many tears and a huge struggle to keep going.

When I got home, I read all the leaflets given to me, I got advice from the Midwives, I got advice from the Health Visitor. I watched endless youtube videos and we stumbled along in the hope that it would all click into place when he gets bigger and his latch gets wider. Meanwhile I slapped on the Lansinoh cream (a must buy if you are breastfeeding) to soothe and protect after feeds.

However, we must have been doing something right as by 2 weeks old he had gained 9 1/2 ounces! A great gain for a breastfed baby that mummy had no idea whether he was doing well or not!!!

He is now four weeks old - I wouldn't say we have completely cracked breastfeeding but we are almost there which makes me feel good. E is getting bigger, his latch is getting wider. Feeds are (almost) everytime pain free and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. He is still feeding for 20-30 minutes every 2 to 3 hours but this can increase in the evening when he seems super hungry and cluster feeds for what feels like the entire evening. Oh and growth spurts - same again - super hungry baby who is constantly nursing, less sleep and generally fussiness..

One last thing... I thought I was totally prepared for the lack of sleep because I barely slept at night in pregnancy. Well NOTHING prepares you for the lack of sleep with a newborn. At least when I wasn't sleeping in pregnancy I could just lie down and try and relax. When you have a newborn you have a little life that is completely dependent on you, it may need feeding, changing or just a cuddle and it cries...a lot. You cannot relax and you certainly cannot sleep no matter how tired you are...

Exhausted, delirious, happy, frustrated , utterly thrilling. I wouldn't change it for the world!

Bettina x

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

REN Keep Young and Beautiful Instant Brightening Beauty Shot Eye Lift Review

REN Keep Young and Beautiful Instant Brightening Beauty Shot Eye Lift has to be one of the longest product names for a tiny bottle of loveliness but don't let that put you off. The product and the packaging are excellent.

I was sent this product to try after a recent 30 plus blogs twitter chat and it was timely. I am a new mum (baby was born just under 4 weeks ago) but I have been sleep deprived for months now! I couldn't think of a better person to give this a try....

What REN say 

A light gel-serum that instantly lifts and dramatically brightens the delicate eye area. Visibly diminishes dark circles and puffiness. A liquid matrix of Hyaluronans lifts and tightens. Regular use will reduce the appearance of fine lines and crow’s feet, improving the overall look of the eye contour.
Instantly lifts and brightens the entire eye contour 

Reduces dark circles, puffiness and crow’s feet

Skin type:

All skin types.

How to use:
Apply a small amount over the eye contour and eyelid. Gently massage without rubbing until absorbed. Reapply over moisturiser or make up throughout the day for an instant lift.

My thoughts 
First up I love the pump action bottle for ease of use and it is easy to control how much product to dispense.

I adore the delicate rose scent which makes this beauty shot eye gel/serum very pleasant to use.

The eye gel is a wonderfully light fluid that absorbs well into the skin leaving no residue. I like to apply my concealer on top of this and it hydrate the area beautifully and the concealer doesn't sit in the lines or creases. Instant Brightening Beauty Shot Eye Lift does exactly what it promises - brightens and smooths the eye area so you look instantly less sleep deprived and just makes the general eye area look so much better. Where my eyes look tired and crepey before use, this perks them up nicely and any dry crepiness is banished.

I am loving using this as part of my skincare routine.

I give this product a huge thumbs up :)

REN Keep Young and Beautiful Instant Brightening Beauty Shot Eye Lift 15ml costs £30

Thursday, 31 March 2016

The Third Trimester - Weeks 28-40 - Part 2

Weeks 28 -33 were pretty much unremarkable and similar to the latter stages of the first half of the Third Trimester.

My iron levels were found to be low after the 28 week blood test and I was taking Floradix but I found it was making me feel ill rather than energising me. I have since switched to taking SpaTone and what a difference it has made to how I feel and boosting my energy levels. I highly recommend it.

The baby bump is bigger and far more noticeable and so it should be as I am almost there!

I am trying to keep active by walking as much as I can but since week 33 the SPD pain has ramped up a bit and baby is still loving sitting/pushing against my bladder..

Since 35 weeks I have been experiencing really heavy legs without any swelling (I keep checking!). This has made walking quite an effort as it feels like I am dragging lead weights around. The baby is also very active but does like to wedge itself into painful positions, nothing really new there!

36 weeks - all the above still applies... My lovely school mum friends surprised me with cake and gifts - isn't the cake above just the cutest?! It tasted incredibly good too.

37 weeks - So baby is now deemed to be term and no longer premature, baby can come any day now!!

I have been measured for nursing bras, both baby and my hospital bags are ready - we just need to build the crib and we are ready for baby's arrival :)

38 weeks - Bump seems huge now! I really feel quite heavy.

I have also acquired puffy feet (oh the glamour!) Weighted legs are still a feature and walking any distance is incredibly uncomfortable.

There isn't much room in there now and the baby's movements are even stronger if that is even possible... I feel it stretching from my ribs right down to my bladder area. I have even had the baby push out something that feels quite bony out of my rib area, to the family's amusement.

At times it lays in a position that sends shooting pains down my legs and this can last for a good 15 minutes where I think that my hips are going to disengage from my legs, scary I can tell you.

The baby's room is painted, the drawers are in place and the crib is built... we are almost there!!

39 weeks - I am not going to lie, this week has been a struggle - the pressure building down below is quite something. The nightly toilet breaks are getting to be harder too, getting out of bed comfortably and walking is so painful. The pain sometimes just to turn over in bed has me biting my pillow, and this pain can go on for up to half an hour until baby decides to move...

A few days ago I felt regular pains and pressure and we all got excited to think it could be contractions but alas it wasn't labour - this has happened a fair few times now but it goes away after about an hour. It can happen a few times a day.

Bump seems lower now too, are things imminent?

Emotions - I have had a few crying spells, full on sobbing fests. Apparently this is completely normal as your hormones prepare for labour and is caused by a drop in progesterone.

40 weeks - Today is my due date with no sign of baby making an appearance... I guess I will be having an April baby afterall!!

Bettina x

Friday, 18 March 2016

Easter With Hotel Chocolat - Caramel Chocolate Scrambled Easter Egg

Think gorgeous and tasty Easter Eggs and Easter chocolate treats and I automatically head to Hotel Chocolat. In the past I have enjoyed Hotel Chocolat's deluxe egg Rocky Road To Caramel and my young son has had the Egg on Toast amongst others...

This year Hotel Chocolat invited me to choose an egg to review and as I have a real love of caramel tasting chocolate I chose the delightfully sounding Caramel Chocolate Scrambled Easter Egg 

It features one generously sized caramel chocolate Easter Egg and a packet of 6 bite size scrambled pralines - smooth praline encased in deliciously sweet caramel chocolate.

Unfortunately for me I made the mistake of showing my seven year old the Easter Egg and he asked (very nicely!) if we could have an early Easter...  Who am I to deny my little boy ... well it turns out he adores caramel chocolate and he pretty much devoured the Easter Egg, Hotel Chocolat you have a real fan of yours right here, he LOVED it! Declaring it yummy indeed. As it was a good size egg and fairly rich we did manage to eek the egg out over 3 days which I reckon is great value. I did manage to have a sneaky piece or too - oh by the way I must mention that allow the egg is hollow it is fairly strong, it took a fair few attempts to crack it!!

I ensured the pralines were safely ensconced in my possession so that I could enjoy them in peace with a cup of tea for elevenses once he was safely deposited in school. These taste every bit as good as they look. Crispy sweet caramel chocolate on the outside with a deliciously smooth praline inside, these are sophisticated and grown up, oh how I enjoyed my tea break :)

Well we were both completely sold on the Caramel Chocolate Scrambled Easter Egg and I think it is fabulous value and worth every penny at just £15. 

However, I recommend that you should definitely make a visit to a Hotel Chocolat near you or visit their website as there is a huge selection of Easter Eggs & Kiddie treats, something for every budget and taste.

Happy Easter!

*PR Sample

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

My Favourite Beauty Products Of 2015

For my favourite beauty/makeup products of 2015 I went for the products I reached out for the most in my makeup bag...and unsurprisingly the products took in my eyes, cheeks and lips!

You would have had to have lived under a shell not to notice the trend for contouring (made really famous by Kim Kardashian) and not being blessed with lovely cheekbones this has been one trend that I have been embracing in a small way.

I love to accentuate/fake my cheekbones with the extremely affordable SEVENTEEN Define & Conquer Contour Kit which costs just £5.99 from Boots. It is a really simple way of defining and illuminating the face contours and comes with a handy instruction sheet to help you.

I simply adore a good nude lippie, lord knows I have plenty in varying shades but as you can see by how much the one above has been used,  this is my favourite everyday shade and formula - Max Factor Colour Elixir in shade Simply Nude and coming in at £7.99 is the perfect price for everyday use. My lips but better.

Finally, readers of BeautySwot will know that I don't use fake lashes or inserts so I am always on the look out for mascaras and products that enhance my natural lashes... Estee Lauder's Little Black Primer was an absolute essential last year with its multi uses. Promising to tint, amplify and set it does it all. Use alone for pretty and natural lashes, use as a primer under your mascara to give the 'wow factor' to your mascara. It thickens lashes, lifts and lengthens. My favourite use is to set the mascara you are wearing with a final coat of the LBP. It makes the mascara waterproof which is absolutely essential for me in the Summer as I suffer from Hay Fever. I also used it at my sister's wedding and there were many tears of joy but my mascara stayed firmly in place. A brilliant, brilliant product. It costs £20 but is worth every penny.

So there you have it, my favourite products of 2015. What were yours?


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