new Mum

5 Beautiful Beauty Picks for New and Expectant Mums

 

Today we’ll be tackling a spiritual heavyweight of a topic. One of the most frequently asked of all my FAQs… *drumroll please*

‘What beauty products can I use to get rid of my stretch marks/eye bags/general zombified demeanour during/after pregnancy?’ (AKA What can I buy as a gift for my pregnant or new Mum?)

Heaven knows why anyone would want my opinion on beauty picks, seeing as my leading look for AW17 is a heady hybrid of ‘effing knackered’ and ‘dragged through a hedge backwards’ but here we go..!

[[Aside: I’m not going into the fundamentals here because they’re kinda boring and I’m completely with you on preferring to throw a bit of cash at the situation, but a good start is to drink lots of (preferably filtered) water, eat lots of (ideally organic) fruit and veggies, get plenty of sleep (ha) and do as much of the yogas and meditations as Father Time and your little person will allow. Anyhoo…]]

  1. Boots Botanics All Bright Refreshing Eye Roll On

Boots hibiscus all bright eye roll-on tired pregnancy eyes new MumThis formula contains Hibiscus to give a skin-brightening dose of radiance to any sad puffiness under tired eyes. The metal roller ball feels deliciously cool and I genuinely think shadowy areas look as lightened and tightened as I could reasonably expect from a little tube of gel. The label suggests using twice daily and I did try it straight from the fridge a few times, (bliss) but in real life it lives in my car cup-holder and gets pulled out when I pull up at work, my Mum’s house or any other place where looking like a functional human being is a prerequisite.

Find it
at Boots

 

  1. Lush Therapy Massage Bar

Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 11.23.34This miracle product found fame amongst the yoga Mums when I recommended it for the early beginnings of some stretch marks. The next week they were better, the week after they’d vanished. (Yep, her bump was still getting bigger). Obviously, the idea of a cure-all for stretchies is ridiculous and I don’t find them offensive (nor do I think they’re ‘battle scars of Motherhood’ because I can’t see them as that important or defining a feature…) but this bar is so deeply moisturizing and nourishing it’s probably as close as we can get. Plus it’s free of all the nasties found in a lot of alternatives. Much of the leg-work is done by a blend of cocoa and shea butter, and there’s organic lavender oil to chill you out, and wild orange and neroli to lift the mood.

The lady in the shop also told me it’s gentle enough to apply to baby’s skin, although I’ve never felt the need to use it on my own little dude. This is why the bar features 3 notches and a nobble; apparently 3 out of 4 babies have ‘in-y’ bellybuttons, and 1 has an ‘out-y’. It can go soft or liquefy in warm weather, but – let’s face it – that’s not something we need to worry about around here. At £6.75 I balked a little bit when I first purchased it (hey, big spender), but it gets the job done.

Find it at Lush

 

  1. Lush Ickle Baby Bot BathbombScreen Shot 2017-10-26 at 11.23.50

Another Lush hit, this bathbomb is kind enough for baby’s over 6 months so you can multi-task getting a relaxing, yum-smelling bath whilst bossing the tiny one’s bedtime (or two’s, or three’s, etc. if you’re a Mum of many). At least I presumed I was supposed to be in the bath too…

Bubbles, blue-ness and lavender – it’s soothing for irritated skin and spirits alike. Pretty good valu
for a Lush product at £1.95. It’ll even do 2 baths if you’re feeling frugal.

Find it at Lush

 

  1. Hairburst For New Mums

3 months after giving birth my hair was still a wild, untamable mane. I thought I’d escaped the fabled post-partum fall-out. I was wrong. Just shy of four months, the downfall began. And not just the extra stuff that supposedly grows during Hairburst for new Mums pregnancy breastfeeding vitamin postpartum hair losspregnancy, which is what Google said to expect. As much as I hate the word ‘clumps’, it best describes how I was losing it.

I was FREAKING OUT.

My hairdresser recommended a sea kelp formula but I couldn’t find one that was safe to use whilst breastfeeding so I chickened out and picked this up. It’s pink and vegan and – more importantly – works. First my nails started growing faster and stronger, then the hair situation started to pick up. £19.99 will get you a month’s supply.

 

Find them here

 

  1. TERRANOVA Prenatal Multivitamin Complex

Terranova prenatal vitamins pregnancy supplements yoga diet prenatal postnatal fertilityWe’re all told how vitally important it is to take prenatal vitamins but the commonest mass-marketed
formulas gave me the heebies. They either weren’t ethically made, weren’t plant-based or used folic acid rather than folate*. After many hours of research, I found a company called Terranova, who take their supplements seriously and the ingredients are natural and top quality.
I didn’t stick unconditionally to the two-a-day dosing schedule as I was confident my plant-heavy diet provided all the nutrients me and bubs needed. However, taking them put my mind at ease during busier spells at work, and also made me feel better when my midwives reached the ‘vitamin’ box on their tick list. The capsules didn’t aggrevate my nausea and I feel like they contributed to my high energy levels and general sense of wellbeing. I continued to take the remaining capsules post-natally as they’re safe for use whilst breastfeeding
and think they’re a great boost for those looking to prepare their bodies to conceive in the near future.

Find them  https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00D2R6BOM/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=driftyoga-
21&camp=1634&creative=6738&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=B00D2R6BOM&linkId=fdb5ac6a98c6a06619f25844b48f332d

 

Do let me know how you find any of the above and remember, if you feel like you’re having a completely bleurgh day, people are probably way too busy looking at your cute little bump or bundle to even notice.
I know when I see other newbie Mums I’m usually too blown away by how beautifully they wear Motherhood to see the exhaustion.

Lots of love, as always,

Sal x

 

* Folic acid is a synthetic form of vitamin B9 also known as pteroylmonoglutamic acid. It isn’t metabolized to the acive form of B9 in the same way as natural folate, so has the potential to build up in its unmetabolised form. Studies have even found in otherwise fasted people. This excess has been associated with certain health problems and there’s speculation about the correlation between folic acid intake and childhood cancers. Whilst folic acid is cheap to manufacture and stable in mass-produced foods and has undoubtedly reduced rates of neonatal neural deficits, we’re perhaps a little too accepting of its presence in our food supply. It’s always worth doing your own research into what you’re personally comfortable with.

 

** The above amazon links are affiliate links. Clicking them costs no extra, but kicks back some spare change to the website to help out! It’s very much appreciated.

An Easy Meditation to Help You Get Some Sleep (or just restore some calm and balance…)

Insomnia hit me like a truck – more mentally and physically drained than I thought possible. And I’m not alone. More of us than ever before are finding it harder to switch off and get the rest we need, and it has a knock on effect on our general health, relationships, performance at work and our happiness.

(Writing this, I’m sat in a cafe where two ladies are talking across the aisle about how they aren’t sleeping very well…)

I’ve had a lot of requests for a technique to help with sleep lately – mostly, but not exclusively, from very pregnant students and Mums adjusting to life with new babies and (even more trying…!) freshly minted toddlers. I also slept soundly until my little one came along. There was nowhere I couldn’t drop off. Public transport, under a desk, on occasion a stable… It was my favourite superpower. Then the yoga baby came along. Suddenly, if you’re not struggling with a bladder the size of an espresso cup, you’re such an awkward shape that there’s no feasible way of getting comfortable and then there’s a tiny, adorable, exceedingly vulnerable person-let to watch out for. All night. Every night. (Does this read like there’s a lot of teething going on in my house…?)

Even when bubs is sleeping soundly, I often find myself awake just incase. A more traditional insomnia. I’m not sure why my body refuses to sleep because goodness knows I’m shattered, but I finally understand what it’s like when you’re lying there, body primed for a disaster that isn’t coming, mind repeatedly circling problems that will likely only ever exist in your imagination.

This meditation is a great starting point for those trying to get some more sleep, pregnant or not. All you need to do is find a copy of the wordless audio track (details below).

There’s something profoundly comforting about having sounds to follow when you’re lying in the dark. It’s somehow easier to let your mind go all the way to sleep – perhaps because you give up trying to. Even if the worst happens and you find yourself awake at the end, there’s a quality to the rest you’ll have given your body and mind that means you’re bound to feel more refreshed and less panicked about the fact that you’re not in full on slumber.

The technique’s full title is ‘Osho’s chakra sounds meditation’. And it’s not as New-Age far-out as it sounds!

Osho was a prominent, if controversial, modern mystic and spiritual teacher who passed on in 1990. His prolific teachings cover a myriad of topics but usually focus on full-force living, creativity, joy and love. I should probably note here that he didn’t prescribe this technique for sleep in particular, it’s just when I’ve found it most useful.

The full meditation takes an hour, but it’s split into 15 minute modules if that sounds like too much to deal with for starters. Keep your eyes closed for as long as you choose to participate.

  • It opens with 3 repetitions of a 15 minute sequence. If you’re hoping to drop off lie down, ideally on your back with spine in line, but otherwise take a comfortable seat. Check in as you would before relaxing in a yoga class – deep breaths down towards the belly and checking muscles such as the jaw and hips are relaxed.
  • There’s also the option to hum, chant or sing along or move if the feeling takes you, but obviously this might not help too much with insomnia.
  • The track starts with a low tone for the root or Muladhara The sounds then lift in sequence through each of the 7 chakras. While each little piece of music plays you focus on the physical location of the chakra in the body and anything which might come up for you. Your focus is on the sound and the feeling. Perhaps you can feel the energy of the sound pulsing or vibrating in that area of your body, or even the innate vibration of the chakra as a centre of energy inside you.
  • When the tone moves higher, you move onto the next chakra up until you reach the crown. Here the tones start to descend, and you move your attention back down through each chakra along with the sounds until a short period of silence indicates the end of the cycle. If you can, allow for a space between your thoughts.
  • Don’t worry if your attention strays and you lose track of where you’re up to in the sequence. Just place your focus where you think it should be and then catch up when you either get to the top (the crown) or the bottom (the root, followed by a pause).
  • After another 2 repetitions of this sequence, the final – and possibly the most intimidating – track plays. 15 minutes of silence. Be still, keep the eyes closed and try to become witness to the thoughts and feelings that arise without judgement. This is difficult, but it doesn’t matter what you experience at this stage in the meditation – just that you allow yourself the time and stillness to actually have an experience!

If you’re unsure the 7 most commonly referenced chakras are:

1. base chakra – the reproductive, lower pelvis

  1. sacral chakra – just below the navel
  2. solar plexus chakra – above the navel, below the breastbone
  3. heart chakra – the middle of the chest, at the level of the physical heart
  4. throat chakra – the middle of the throat
  5. third eye chakra – deep-set, between the eyebrows 

7. crown chakra – top of the head

I got the tracks at https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/osho-chakra-sounds-meditation/id315292727 so I could put them on my phone on a sleeper timer but I’m sure you could also dig them up on YouTube…

Let me know what you think if you do give them a try!

With love,

Sal x

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