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Beat The Heat This Summer!

Monday, June 19, 2017
Well, the UK is currently basking in what we deem a 'heat wave' - high temperatures close the 30's that we really aren't used to. Now, we all know how to look after ourselves when things get a little warm - but when the temperatures carrying on through the 'warm' into the 'hotter than hell'.. Well, we might need a bit of a reminder.
Nobody is safe from the hot weather - we can all become overwhelmed if we neglect to look after ourselves, but there are a few brackets of people who need to be looked after when this weather hits as they can be at a greater risk:
  • people over the age of 75
  • babies and young children
  • women who are pregnant
  • those with serious, chronic conditions or disabilities
  • people who prescribe to certain medication (specifically beta-blockers, antipsychotic and antihistamines - as these may affect sweating/temperature control)
  • those who are already dehydrated from being ill - make sure those with tummy bugs/sickness bugs are well hydrated
  • people who have a physically active job
These are all pretty obvious, but if you or a loved one fall into one of the above categories then you really do need to be extra careful during a heat wave as heat can be particularly troublesome.
 
Below are some of my top tips for dealing with this weather - please, feel free to leave a comment with your own if you have a heat hack!
 
Check the weather every morning
Stay on top of the weather and check in with local forecasts in a morning. That way, you can dress appropriately and plan ahead - I usually make sure I have two or three bottles of water with me when I know its going to be hot as I don't know how close I'll be to a tap during my work day. When I do get chance to refill, I will - but I'd rather have a little more water on my person than none at all.
 
Checking the weather reports in a morning will also alert you to any travel changes that may happen because of the hot weather - and, if you suffer with a condition such as asthma or hay fever, pollen counts and the air pollution reports can be incredibly helpful.
 
Plan ahead
Planning ahead is essential - if you are planning a day at work, as I said above make sure you have bottles of water with you. Going out for the day with the children? Get a summer kit bag prepared with water, sunscreen and insect repellent. I often keep a little change in the bottom of our summer kit, just in-case we go to a place that has something like an ice cream van available.
 
Watch your caffeine and alcohol intake
Caffeine is a hidden enemy during the hot weather - known for dehydrating you, balance your coffee with a glass of water too to keep your hydration paramount. Try do the same in the beer garden too, as many of us flock to our nations pubs and beer gardens to make the most of the heat - make sure you are taking on as much water as you can while still enjoying a drink or two of your chosen poison.
 
Dress for the weather
I already touched on this a little, but dressing for the weather is another important factor especially at work. While many work places have uniforms, if you can be flexible and wear a t-shirt instead of a shirt please do so. For those who can't mix and match their chosen work attire, it sounds like the perfect excuse to put on your offices air conditioning and keep trekking to the water cooler!
 
Keep your pets happy
As we used to do with our pug Otis, and we still do for the house rabbit - freeze some water bottles, and pop them in the pets bed/hutch so that they can have some relief from the weather too. Make sure water bowls/bottles are always topped up, and try keep them out of the main heat of the day between 12 and 3. A pet can't tell you as easily they are too hot, but you can really make the hot days easier on them.

13 Week Pregnancy Update

Sunday, June 18, 2017
13 weeks is here! Last week was a little bit of a mixed bag, as I posted on Tuesday about my battle with 'severe morning sickness'.. Thankfully, the medication (Stemetil!) has taken hold and I'm much better. That has a huge knock on effect - because I can keep food down I'm sleeping better, which means my general mood is better and I don't feel as bogged down with the 'fog' of exhaustion.
 
We have our second dating scan this week, so we hope to find a more accurate due date for our little one which is incredibly exciting. I'm not going to lie, I can't wait to see them on the screen again! It cements the fact there is a tiny little 'us' growing inside of me, then reminds me how epic this process is. As a woman, I'm in the process of creating another human being and protecting it until the time he or she can come out into the world.. It feels incredible.
 
Milestones this week:
  • baby is up to the size of a peapod (7.4cm) and can weigh up to 23g
  • the part of the brain which is responsible for complex thought (problem solving, memory) is developing
  • baby is now swallowing amniotic fluid and then weeing it out via the kidneys - meaning nutrients are being absorbed such as carbohydrates, protein, glucose and electrolytes
  • sexual organs are developing - if baby is a boy, a penis will be growing and if a girl, her ovaries will have fully developed
  • as the second trimester is begun, nausea and tiredness begin to ease and the pregnancy 'glow' begins to set in
  • hair may feel more full and luxurious
  • the 'bump' will start to blossom more now as baby grows - weight gain may average at almost 1lb a week
So, this week is the first real week of the second trimester. I admit I don't feel as exhausted anymore, but that I feel is partially down to getting my morning sickness under control.. I have noticed I'm much more forgetful at the moment, having lost both mine and Mike's bank cards at separate points this week (they were eventually found!) so I'm hoping I don't do anything too drastic while in the baby fog.
 
I look forward to seeing how the rest of this week goes!

The Day We Lost Our Camera...

Thursday, June 15, 2017
A few weeks ago, you probably saw more than one despondent tweet from myself explaining we would be taking a break from vlogging for a while - because we had 'lost' our beloved camera. Well, I say we - I wasn't there - I just had to deal with the messy aftermath.
 
Mike had taken one of his friends to Walton Gardens (a favourite haunt of ours) to get some sunshine and to stretch his legs. His friend is a wheelchair user, so having an accessible, flat space to wander is essential - the gardens really don't disappoint in that regard and I will recommend them to anyone wanting to have a day surrounded by beautiful flowers. Oh, and they have a petting zoo filled with fluffy animals, featuring the wonderful baby goats at this time of year!
When Mike and his friend went to leave, Mike packed the wheelchair into the car boot and immediately got in, starting the engine. He didn't think of looking down to the back of the car, where he had placed the camera bag as he had wrestled the wheelchair into the boot... Meaning as he drove off, it was left.
 
Right there in the car park.
 
Asking him about it when he came home empty handed, he swore he'd heard a noise as he'd backed out of the parking space, cementing our fears - he'd run the camera over. Our £700 baby, under a BMW's back tyres. Probably front tyres too, crunch crunch. Apparently, he didn't realise he'd come away empty handed until he was almost home and he knew hope was lost.. I can't explain how much something material the camera means. All our memories are shot through that camera, and we have such plans with it - the future did seem a bit bleaker without it in our possession. Birthdays, anniversaries, our impending child - everything would have been snapped and tucked away onto the blog or into Facebook albums under memories. Now what?
 
In desperation, Mike messaged the gardens. We didn't hold out much hope, and we knew it would be futile. If he had run over the bag, it would be in pieces - unsalvageable. If it had somehow survived the car by going between the wheels (what are the chances?!) then surely someone would have picked it up and we'd have made their day. We wouldn't begrudge anyone discovering the bag and it's contents, who decided to keep it and make their own memories. Money is a commodity not everyone has and we'd really splurged together on it a good few years ago when we'd started taking photography and blogging a little more seriously. At least if it did survive the BMW, it would be being just as cherished with someone else.
 
After the weekend, a familiar sound pinged on Mike's Facebook.
 
It was Walton Gardens, a ranger named Liz, responding to Mike's plea. A bag had been found, and it did indeed contain a camera - we could go pick it up as soon as we were able!
 
Obviously we dropped everything and headed over to the gardens. I went in for the bag, as I wanted to see if everything was in one piece before Mike got a chance to - he already felt guilty enough. As I approached, some of the café staff asked if I was 'the one who caused a bomb scare' - I must have given them a confused look, but they rang up to the main office and said the woman had arrived for the camera.
 
Turns out, the bag had caused a scare - being a black camera bag, it did look a little conspicuous.. And some wonderful, considerate soul had seen it lying in the car park and moved it next to a bin. When the ranger explained, she said she had 'opened the flap with a stick' to see what was going on, and quickly realised that it was something precious - whisking it away to the main office before heading home for the weekend. She was light hearted about the situation as it had been a complete accident, but I did spend a good ten minutes apologising and begging for forgiveness!
 
So, a bomb scare and a long weekend of booting up old outdated cameras later.. We have our pride and joy back. Thank you, good people of Warrington for moving it out of the way of danger. Thank you Liz, for checking it out and realising it was a treasured item. Thank you for the office staff at Walton Gardens for looking after the camera over the weekend... And I'm so so sorry we caused such a scare!

My Battle With Severe Morning Sickness

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Oh boy.
 
When I read about pregnancy, pre-pregnancy I didn't think much of it. A bit of nausea? Easy! I survived the norovirus in schools (barely), I can cope with a little bit of feeling sick. I really want to slap my past self for thinking that.
 
At 12 weeks into my own pregnancy, I feel 'green' - no other word can describe it. It feels like I have motion sickness, but all the time. Even in bed at night. The knock on effect of that is my lack of sleep, which in turn runs me down and makes me weak - again, fuelling that sick feeling. I really did feel like I was under such a cloud of sickness and exhaustion, I've felt nothing like it before.
I've been battling this since week 9, but I just carried on trying to ignore the fact it was impacting on my health - I'd go to work, take frequent trips to the bathroom and get through the day. Some days I won't actually vomit - I just feel on the very cusp of doing so every hour of every day. Other days, I can't stop bringing everything up, from my breakfast to sips of water.

I relented and made an appointment with my GP this week, on a day where nothing was staying inside. I sat in his office on the verge of tears because I was so frustrated - and embarrassed - at having to explain to him I was there because of 'morning sickness', a symptom of pregnancy most women encounter and deal with without even breaking a sweat. Thankfully, instead of turning me away and telling me to get over it, he sympathised and congratulated me for making the step to coming in - immediately prescribing some anti-sickness medication. He initially wanted me on bed rest for 2 weeks, but a few days in I feel much better than I did before. I've been able to get some sleep, I've been able to get some food and water in my belly and that in turn is such a positive.

'Severe Morning Sickness' is what I'm experiencing. Or rather, Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Judging by the write ups that this condition has, I'm really glad I made the choice to visit the GP when I did - I don't see my Midwife for another week, by that point I'd have been in a complete mess! Apparently HG is caused by the changing hormones during pregnancy, and effects 1 in every 100 women - and the earlier you begin treatment, the better chance the medication has of taking effect quickly. It isn't a sign of weakness, and don't compare your pregnancy to other women during theirs - see your GP and get some help.

12 Week Pregnancy Update

Sunday, June 11, 2017


So now, I'm (approximately) at the twelve week point in my pregnancy today. Obviously, we don't know for sure - in my previous post I explain exactly why - but I'm going to try keep a weekly progress update of my pregnancy so I can look back and reminisce and now seems a good point to begin. This is also a lovely way to keep my family in Bradford updated, as the trek over the Pennines isn't always possible - and I want to try keep them as included in this pregnancy as I can.
 
Morning sickness is wearing me out at the moment - a constant feel of nausea, almost like being motion sick but all the time. I'm eating as often as I can, although its generally only little portions of food. Many times I've cooked all day to prepare for Mike coming home from work, sat down with him to eat and found myself unable to actually put food in my mouth without my gag reflex kicking in. Not pleasant!
 
I haven't had cravings as such yet.. I've had the opposite, like being completely repulsed by things I'd usually covet like hot tea and coffee! Even the smell of coffee at the moment is enough to bring on those waves of nausea, so I've been drinking water and fizzy pop - not ideal, but the bubbles distract myself from the sick feeling.
 
I'm feeling pretty good in myself - at the twelve week point, it all becomes a little more real doesn't it? - and I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead. I have a few things I need to sort out in life before I focus on my baby end-game. Having found myself rewriting my CV at 30, my stress levels are bubbling away but I'm doing my best to not internalise them like I usually do as it wouldn't be good for me or babe right now. When one door closes, another opens - and if a door doesn't open, it isn't your door!

How To Stay Safe When Travelling Solo

Sunday, June 11, 2017
As a woman, we want to be able to do everything. We want to conquer the world. When it comes to world travel, we often don’t consider travelling without friends or family because of the risks in the world we currently live in. It’s not a fun fact about the world, but it can be an ugly place, which means constant vigilance on safety is so incredibly important - and not just for women. Today I'm exploring some of the safety rules we should all keep in mind when it comes to exploring solo.

When we talk about safety on holiday, we don’t just mean looking both ways when crossing a busy road where the cars are on the opposite side. We’re talking about adhering to stricter rules when travelling abroad, including ensuring you have the right visas and travel authorizations. That’s not because you may be an unsafe person to travel, but the rules are so much tighter than they used to be. There are new rules coming into effect for some people that mean that there are extra travel authorizations necessary to enter some European countries.


 
There are certain countries that need ETIAS applications, so before you decide on your holiday destination, you should check if yours is on that list. Once you’ve sorted your documentation and insurance for travel, you’re in a much better position to decide on a safe place to visit. We’ve put together some travel safety tips for your holiday this year, so check these out so you can be as safe as possible while away:
 
  • RESEARCH. Wherever you plan to go on holiday, do some thorough research. Don’t just check the risks of terrorism, but do safety checks on the resort you plan to stay. Check out reviews on TripAdvisor and check out the local transport links so you can be safe as you explore a new area.
  • VALUABLES. As with anywhere, you should keep valuables with you at all times. Obviously, try to leave valuables behind where you can, but strap that camera and your phone to you at all times. You should also ensure you utilise the safe at the hotel for any cash you don’t want to carry around with you. Carry your bag on your front if you plan to go out anywhere – this lessens the risk of being pick pocketed.
  • VULNERABLE. When you announce to people that you are travelling alone, you leave yourself vulnerable. If a stranger on your travels asks you if you have visited the place you are in before, always say ‘no, WE love it here’. By lying and saying ‘we’, you are pretending you aren’t alone. There’s not always anything sinister in a question, but there is no need to advertise you aren’t accompanied.
  • REVIEW. Wherever you decide to travel, check out the reviews of the local area. Where possible, get opinions from friends, colleagues and family about the places you want to go so you know they are likely to be safe. •Vigilance. Be aware of the police force and medical services wherever you are going. Work out on a map the closest help you can get if you get into difficulty – you can feel more prepared this way and enjoy your holiday more!

Summer Holiday Boredom Busters

Saturday, June 10, 2017
Yes, they still a way away yet, but those summer holidays are starting to loom in the distance. That means many people are beginning to scratch their heads and think about what they can do with the little one to break up those long summer weeks and keep them entertained. In fact, coming up with enough ideas can be a real brain teaser. But keep reading, as there are some suggestions below that you can use with my blessing.
 
ART PROJECTS 

One of the most fun things to do with the kids in the holidays is to allow them to express their creative sides. Of course how you do this is up to you, but you may want to think about the amount of space you have, and how much mess you are willing to clear up before deciding on an activity.


On the low clear up end of the scale, why not download them a drawing program for their smartphone or iPad, which they can use with a stylus? Then they can create and even use real painting techniques without creating any mess at all.

Or, if you are up for something more hands on, why not make use of the hopefully, sunny weather and take the little ones outside to do some bubble painting in the garden?
 
SUMMER HOLIDAYS

Another way of breaking the holidays up into more manageable chunks is to book a summer trip abroad.
 
Many families pack up their suitcases, grab their suncream, and their shades at the end of July, into August in readiness for a summer break. But travelling with kids is very different to travelling as a couple or alone. There is so much to prepare before you go and so much to think about. It can actually be pretty stressful.
 
To minimise the stress as much as possible, it’s best to can be well prepared before you go. That means deciding which items of clothing to take, and getting them washed and ironed in plenty of time. It also means sorting out any documentation like Visas, Visa waivers or international travel insurance before you go. So you have less to worry about while you are on your trip.


MINI BREAKS

Now, it may be that you’d love to go on a two week all inclusive, where the kids can play in the pool all the time. But your finances just can't stretch that far. However, don’t worry as all is not lost. You can still break up the monotony of the holidays by taking more affordable mini breaks in the UK. There are some fantastic places to explore in this fair isle. Including the beautiful windswept North, the amazing coastal areas, the exciting and bustling major cities of Manchester, Liverpool, and London.

DAYS OUT

It can also be a great boredom breaker to arrange individual days out during the summer. As this give you all something to look forward to and will stop cabin fever setting in. Try activities like zoos, farms and theme parks for maximum fun. Or you could even try some famous historical site with castles and forts to look around.

Visiting America Soon? Here Are Some Places You Don’t Want to Miss

Friday, June 09, 2017
If you’re planning on visiting the United States in the next few months for summer, then there are probably countless locations on your list that you want to visit. It’s difficult to narrow it down to just a handful of choices and the States isn’t a place that you want to visit just once. You’ll have to visit dozens of times to get the most out of everything, so to start you off, here’s a list of locations to visit in America that you don’t want to miss.


 
Colorado

Colorado is home to Denver, the ‘mile high ‘city that is filled with museums and sports stadiums, which is also the capital of this beautiful state. There are national parks to explore and even locations to go skiing. It’s easy to visit as well. There are plenty of connecting flights and you can even visit the jewel of Colorado, Aspen via application website. With so much to do and so many sights to see in Colorado, you’ll find yourself lost in the natural beauty and entertainment.
 
Florida

Florida is a state that many people know about. There’s Orlando, home to Walt Disney World and also Universal Studios. There’s the iconic Miami, famous for its beaches and art. Florida is a beautiful location that has inspired many classic American television shows, but it’s also a magical place to take the children due to the numerous kid-friendly attractions on offer. This makes it the perfect family holiday destination and it’s a state not to be missed while your children are still young.

Texas

Texas is actually the second largest state in the United States. Its location gives it scorching hot temperatures, and it’s also one of the most multicultural states thanks to its Spanish influences. Of course, we can’t forget that it’s also home to Space Center Houston, an iconic landmark for anyone that’s interested in space travel. With so much history in this state, it’ll be like taking a trip through the past as you explore all of the beautiful sights and sounds.

New York

New York is an iconic location that can’t be missed on your journey through America. It’s home to the statue that everyone knows and loves—the Statue of Liberty. In addition, you’ll also get to tour the bustling streets of New York in bus tours, and there’s also Central Park to visit, an important and interesting location that lays at the heart of New York. With so many different cultures blending into a single city, you’ll be spoiled for choice for what you want to eat as well.

Nevada

How could we forget Nevada? Perhaps the most popular destination in Nevada is Las Vegas, known for its incredible nightlife and enormous casinos. If you plan to come to Las Vegas, then make sure you’re financially prepared because no one leaves without spending a least a bit of money at the tables or machines. But if gambling isn’t for you, then don’t forget that there are plenty of beaches, luxury resorts and even museums.
 
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