What I have learnt about Gestational Diabetes

one thing that took me by surprise during my pregnancy was being told i had borderline gestational diabetes. i considered myself a healthy, active person, and my body had never really failed me before! basically, because of all the hormones and new stuff happening in my body, i wasn’t as efficient at filtering the sugar so there was excess sugar in my blood, which was then being passed on to my baby. i thankfully could control this by changing my diet, and taking a prick test an hour after each meal, so i was very lucky, but it was still a major adjustment!

paper&pasta gestational diabetes

it’s hard enough just being pregnant and trying to appear with it… i almost went out like this!

not carbs as well?

when I was told I would need to start controlling my diet, i thought, EASY, i’ve never really been that bothered by sugar before, i’ll just go back to being a savoury person. firstly, this does not work when you have; either a tiny sweet toothed person inside you, or pregnancy hormones controlling you! on top of this, i then find out i have to watch my carb intake as “obviously, carbs turn into sugar” what?! do they?! i’ve never dieted before, i had been blessed with a high metabolism, and a very fidgety nature. so suddenly being told i need to check carb portions and change to wholewheat everything, made my task a lot harder! i found out…

– a set of scales in your kitchen is essential, measure everything, 30g for cereal, 50g for dry pasta or rice etc.

-brown rice takes hours to cook and in my opinion never really feels cooked, basmati is a much better option.

-wholewheat pasta can often resemble cardboard, i have found one by Napolina (Wholewheat Mafalda Corta) little rippled rectangles, which is beautiful! (i can only find it in Sainsburys but i’m sure it is sold elsewhere).

-white bread/buns/baps are just out.

-eggs are your friend, they fill you up without giving you a high reading.

-and lastly, check the carb levels in everything, carbs aren’t just the stodgy things, it’s in drinks too!

go careful on the good sugars too!

go careful on the good sugars!

be careful with the good sugars…

the reason my sugars were so high was that i was trying to eat as much ‘good stuff’ as i could… ‘not from concentrate’ juices, lots and lots of fruit, honey and lemon drinks, cereals with added vitamins when i wanted a snack. yea ok, i had also developed a bit of a sweet tooth, so chocolate was fairly big on the agenda, and maybe sometimes ice cream, but i generally had a very good diet. however my body and its needs had changed, so i needed to as-well. i had to wean myself off my morning orange juice (literally had to have a shot glass of it for a while then started to water it down), massively cut down on my fruit intake, (stick to blueberries, raspberries and kiwis, they contain less sugar than say red grapes!) and completely cut out indulgences (if i have had good results and i am still craving sugar in the afternoon i will sometimes allow myself one square of dark chocolate!).

mornings are difficult

i realised all i wanted in the mornings was sweetness. cereal, honey on toast, fruit, orange juice, it woke me up (non coffee or tea drinker), and was such a comfort. but it turns out, that is the worst time to have it. like most gestational diabetes sufferers, mornings are my most sensitive. even a small bowl of plain shredded wheat with light soy milk, both of which have minimal sugar levels in, sent my reading sky high. so even the morning apple was out, and the wholewheat bread with avocado and ham was in, or bacon and eggs… not as comforting! thankfully the afternoons were kinder to me, so as long as it was good sugar, i could have a little treat then, before any of you bring up my photos of fruity mocktails or anything mean!

my birthday lunch, i treated myself with an apple juice!

my birthday lunch, i treated myself with an apple juice!

sugar is mega addictive

so i mentioned weaning myself off orange juice, but i also had to do it in general with my overall sugar dosage. when i managed to cut down on sugar, which took a few weeks of cutting down amounts on a daily basis, i craved it less. WINNER! then you go to a party or go out for a meal, and think to yourself “i’ve been so good, i am going to treat myself with a small amount of chocolate cake” DON’T DO IT!!! introducing a large amount of delicious sugar back into your bloodstream will only make you crave more, and then much more after that, then before you know it you are back where you started, and getting high readings all the time. so once you get to that lovely place where you realise you don’t need sugar, don’t ruin it, think about the health of your lovely little person, or if all else fails, imagine having to give birth to a chubby overweight baby!

if you know someone suffering with GD, the nicest and most helpful thing you can do is to replace the social expected birthday cake or just dessert with some safe but still sweet fruits. it is still a massive treat but won't send the person into a week long guilt and high reading battle! i LOVE my family for doing this for me!

if you know someone suffering with GD, the nicest and most helpful thing you can do is to replace the socially expected birthday cake or dessert with some safe but still sweet fruits. it is still a massive treat but won’t send the person into a week long guilt and high reading battle! i LOVE my family for doing this for me!

the media is a bitch

i do always find, if i’m eating out with others, i am much more likely to fail. whether it is your friend saying “you deserve it”, the fact that everyone else is eating whatever the hell they like, or the way sugar is pushed upon us, you become weaker. my goodness, walking around supermarkets, or town, going to the cinema, or watching tv, the media are constantly telling us we should ‘indulge’, we should ‘treat ourselves’ for whatever reason, we ‘deserve’ it! but why? don’t get me wrong, if all goes well and my sugars go back to normal once i have given birth, i will go back to eating chocolate, and ice cream, pain au chocolat and sweet sweet honey. but i will never think of sugar in the same way again, i will not indulge just because someone thinks i deserve it! as now that actually sounds quite threatening, the fact it will be doing my body more harm than good, and i deserve it, doesn’t sound so appealing.

this post is dedicated to avocados. you have always been there for me, filled me up when i was hungry, always been a comfort, and will never turn on me. thank you avocado, you’re the best.


my special Norwich trip…

paper&pasta Norwichin April i managed to finish enough work to warrant having a trip (and mass paper pick up) to lovely Norwich! a very large selection of my favourite people  live in Norwich, and as i went to uni there, i always get an exciting coming home type feeling. often a trip i make on my birthday, i wanted to make it early so i wouldn’t have to do it heavily pregnant!

paper&pasta norwich6instatntly i dragged my lovely friend Katie round some suitable baby type shops, i think she started to get a little excited by all the little person things..

paper&pasta norwich2we very quickly decided to have a sit down and catch up with the crafty Tori, so went to Jamies and had some bloody lovely fruity mocktails…

paper&pasta norwich3then maybe another round with a lunch time dessert!

paper&pasta norwich4

paper&pasta norwich5i loved Jamies, i’m such a sucker for beautiful decor, oh and italian food. the toilets were so beautiful i HAD to to a bump shot!

paper&pasta norwich 7we were then lucky enough to go to Jess’s meet her ridiculously tiny kitten then get all dressed up, go for a lovely italian (where for a moment we were all living together and at uni again) then meet the boys for a few drinks (in my case waters). I ended the night getting to bed far too late, but sitting up with Jess sitting holding my bump for any sign of movement, trying to make sense of life…

what an incredible trip! miss you Norwich!



paper & pasta catch up…


i know, i’ve been useless. it all got a bit too much; being pregnant, making our new home all homely, being self employed and not being able to say no to commissions blah blah blah.

so let me catch you up. back in April, we had some lovely sunny evenings, so we made the most of them, i tagged along with Luke to his golf club and learnt a bit more about the game, and how well he photographs!

paper&pasta golf evening

paper&pasta golf evening2

spot the bump i thought was big at the time!

paper&pasta golf evening3

paper&pasta golf evening4

my shadow was feeling very childish…

seven months in. things i have learnt about being pregnant, part two.

long and stretchy not big and baggy

paper & pasta. things i've learnt about pregnancy, 7 months.

stealing lukes shirt as i’m running out of long things…

when i first found out i was pregnant and would consider buying clothes, i opted for big and baggy, nice loose t-shirts, you know the kind. my thinking was it would last me through most of my pregnancy as it was so wide… WRONG. yes it was useful when i was covering the bloat of early pregnancy, but as soon as i started growing an actual bump, suddenly the t-shirt stopped halfway over my belly… which is not a good look. so if you are in your early pregnancy, and like to buy clothes that last as long as possible, buy long! long, stretchy, fairly tight and preferably cotton or at least soft. and if you want to buy trousers to prepare, buy maternity leggings, they are so comfy, they give you confidence that you are not going to accidentally flash your bump, and they will fit you from the start to the very end, and i dare say a while after.

to the left to the left

pregnant or not, but most helpful when you are, i’ve learnt you should sleep on your left side (with a pillow between your knees). it is better for your circulation, improving blood flow to the baby. it takes pressure of your back. prevents your uterus applying pressure on your liver and helps heartburn! obviously, if you’re a turner like me, it is not bad for you or baby if you turn to your right (just don’t do it too quickly or stay on your back if you are pregnant!) but the benefits of the left are so attractive, it’s something to keep in mind!

bump size

paper & pasta. things i've learnt about pregnancy, 7 months. bump size

awesome (polar) bear mum knitted us, and my growing bump…

to the many people, most of which i know, but some complete strangers, who ask how long i have left who HILARIOUSLY then ask “are you sure it’s not twins?!” when they see i’m fairly big, i’m talking to you. i looked into it, as it worried me, am i too big bump wise? is the baby too big? is something wrong?


having a big bump does not always relate to having a big baby. it depends on many factors and is different for everyone. it can be affected by;

HEIGHT, the taller you are the more the baby can spread out, so often the smaller the bump.

WEIGHT, if you are thin it is likely to show more.

FITNESS, if you had mega strong stomach muscles before getting pregnant, the longer they will hold the baby in, or in my case if you didn’t, the quicker they will give way (and make a weird triangle shape when you tense them up!)

FLUID, it’s not just baby in there, the amniotic fluid that surrounds your baby can differ.

another reason i have decided to no longer let it worry me was a recent realisation i had. every few weeks or so i google the week i’m on to browse the many websites that give you useful facts about whats going on in there, what type of fruit your baby is the size of, what you can expect symptom wise etc etc. this week when i googled it, google images came up on top, filled with photos of tiny babies who were prematurely born for whatever reason, who needed to spend a few months in hospital to continue to grow, but were eventually fine! if i were to have my baby now, it would still be a tiny person, completely baby shaped and everything. so of course i’m starting to get big! there is a proper little person in there! which leads me onto my next point nicely…

don’t stress so much

paper & pasta. things i've learnt about pregnancy, 7 months. don't stress

alpro soy chocolate and strawberries, yum.

yes i’ve spoken about this before, but it is so easily done, especially when you are pregnant, so i needed the reminder.

having a baby at the most convenient time in your life, with a husband, a big beautiful house, lots of money, being perfectly fit, and maintaining a strictly healthy and nutritious balanced diet, i should think is pretty impossible. or if possible, i should think comes with a heck load of other side affects (pressure and stress being the main ones). but if something about your life is not in this ideal of ‘perfect’ it could be easy to worry about. one of my main stresses, other than money, is my diet, i am generally a healthy eater, but if i fancy something, god help anyone that tries to stop me, and it now seems, baby like sugar. especially chocolate! having to avoid eating too much sugar over christmas AND easter has been tricky, and i have failed, a lot. so then i get the guilts, will my baby be hyper? will he/she come out obese or addicted to chocolate?? you can get the guilts over so many things, money, stability, knowledge… but if you find yourself agonising over all these things that you can’t really control, then you are potentially stressing out the baby, and for what? if you are sat worrying that you can’t do enough for your baby, then i think you can be pretty certain that you already have the most important job covered. if you are already so in love with your baby that you worry over these things, it is pretty likely you and baby will be fine. wanting the best for someone can one day mean giving the best to someone, but not always vice versa. wouldn’t you rather have one parent, or two of the same sex, who loves you that much, than having two perfect parents who might not care, but are super healthy with lots of money?

also if you try to act too different to who you actually are then won’t that be a boring and very impersonal upbringing? you can be pretty certain that they will have a few of your bad habits, through nature or nurture. i’m afraid they will never be perfect, however much you try.

i think ultimately, if your intentions are good, they will enjoy their story. i love that i have the crappy little table that fit in my parents tiny house when they had me, and i love the photo of ‘baby me’ having a bath in the kitchen sink as they were having work done and nothing was ready in time. if you start a story how you would like it to end, or how other people think it should be, then it won’t be a very interesting read will it?

so try your best, keep your intentions good, but don’t stress!


(just so you know… i am trying to control the chocolate thing)

things i am glad i have learnt recently…

cloth app


Paper & Pasta emma daniels

i’m not usually a fashion or outfit app kind of girl, but being pregnant (having a new figure) and being even more forgetful, this one sounded like a life saver! you take a photo of your outfit (if you like it) everyday. you can choose categories for the outfit ie everyday or evening, and then it allows you to tag words that you think will be helpful… pregnant, cold weather, comfy, fancy, whatever! so the next time you are standing in front of your wardrobe wondering how on earth to dress yourself, you can look at all the outfits with the appropriate tags. you can also share these photos if you are particularly proud of them… i did not.

i asked my brother what he wanted for his birthday “anything from Threadless”…

and so it began. Threadless is a printing company who print on t-shirts and other products using designs by an artist community of two million. anyone can submit a design, vote for a design or buy a design which can be printed onto lots of different things! the thing is, they’re in the US, so whilst it is good value, getting it over here could be a bit pricey if you don’t buy a fair few things at a time… so i did, whoops! it was worth it though, i got some awesome designs!

Washable cleansing pads


this isn’t strictly a new find, but i have recently fallen back in love with them, so it counts. to cleanse, tone and moisturise twice a day, can get expensive, and feels bad for my environmental conscience throwing away so many cotton pads. so i looked into other options and found these at Nigel’s eco store (the photo was also from Nigel’s eco store). personally i only use them with the toner, as i find they get too dirty too quick thanks to my mascara. but my god, they are lovely, you can use a side a time, and they feel like they get much deeper and maybe even exfoliate a little, in a lovely soft way. you can then just chuck them in the wash and use them again and again, perfect!

pregnancy yoga

as soon as i thought i might have been pregnant i avoided yoga, which was silly, as i’m sure no harm could have been done that early on, it probably would have helped, but subconsciously i did. so when i found a local pregnancy yoga course i jumped at the chance. i wanted to know what was good for me and what was best avoided, to be able to work with my body to prepare for the big day, rather than sit and cry into my ice-cream about how scary it was going to be. so i signed up for a 5 week course. i not only learnt an incredible amount, i got to talk (and stay in contact) with other pregnant ladies at different stages in their pregnancy. if you’re thinking of going, just do it, i’m feeling so much better about the idea of birth now…

if you are in the suffolk area i recommend the lovely Debs… who also does baby massage and yoga for when you are on the other side!

has anyone discovered anything they would like to shout about? feel free to leave a tip in the comment box!

it will always be summer in my heart…

the last month or so has been hectic, tiring, and very cold. i got a massive rush of last minute paper cuts mostly all for this weekend, on top of the nerve racking newness of being pregnant and trying to cope with a new house and no wifi!

so this sunny friday evening is such a relief i wanted to share it with you. whilst looking to update my paper cut commission blog i came across this cut i made for the Suffolk Craft Society to sell in their Gallery2 (i’m pretty sure there is still one there if you like it?). i designed it when winter was looming and the summer felt very far away. now look at us, spring is teasing us on a daily basis! it’ll be here as soon as we stop looking… so lets all relax this weekend, or go crazy, your call…
it will always be summer in my heart, paper&pasta


it will always be summer, paper&pasta

i made something today… easy frosted windows

easy frosted windows paper&pasta

i didn’t want the people over the road to see me get changed, or judge me for sleeping in, but i love having a light filled room. i could get some net curtains, and while some of them are beautiful (i have a dotty net curtain from Ikea that i am in love with) they can often block quite a lot of light, and need a regular wash to keep them looking and feeling clean. they also become totally useless as soon as your room becomes a fraction lighter than outside (which is sometimes a good thing as you can nose into peoples houses and see how they have decorated, which is a bad habit of mine). so when i moved into our flat i tried to figure out a way to get around this. i love the frosted window look as it feels so fresh, modern and clean, but being a renter, and broke, it is/was not an option. my solution was to use drawing pins to attach a thick white bin liner to the window frame. it was all good, until the summer, when the cats were chasing a rouge fly and accidentally tore holes in it! (i wasn’t mad as pest control is how they pay their way… that and comic value).

so when moving into a proper house i came upon the same problem. this time i wanted to do it properly, i was aware you could get a type of thermal plastic that peels onto the window, how perfect would it be if i could find something that not only kept in heat and gave me privacy but also peels away mark free?? but thats just it, perfect isn’t my forte at the moment, i have no internet to allow for adequate research (not that organised), and i no longer thrive on working myself to the bone (pregnant and tired) so this is my makeshift version…

easy frosted windows tools paper&pasta

i used some cheap gold drawing pins from The Range and a cheap plain shower curtain from Dunelm Mill. tool wise all I needed was a little hammer, my scalpel (although don’t worry if you don’t have one) and some good scissors!

easy frosted windows close up paper&pasta

first of all, i measured and allowed for a fold on each side etc, but this was far too much stress, unless you have the nerves of a saint (which i no longer do) don’t bother. just cut a slightly bigger rectangle than you think you will need, start with the straight edge of the original curtain then pull tight and attach in each corner, then in the middle. i then used my scalpel and some good scissors to neatly trim away the excess. it is easy, cheap, practical, and in my opinion, looks alright!

easy frosted windows, close up2 paper&pasta

hello there. i’m mostly packing this week…

i will start posting ‘i made something today’ every week if i can, but at the moment all i am doing is packing and trying to keep up with work, so making things are taking a side step! once i have moved i will be making and revamping LOTS of things whilst nesting so i will have lots of things to share!

until then, here is squidge who is loving the stupid amount of boxes around the flat at the moment, as small spaces are her favourite…

packing up studio. paper & pasta

and this is a photo of my very bare looking studio, which i sorted and packed yesterday. boy packing is achy business when you’re preggers!

>> both these photos where taken on my iphone and instagrammed, see some more i have taken HERE

things i have learnt about virgin coconut oil…

i have been using virgin coconut oil in the bath for a few years after hearing it was good for your skin. but recently, due to my fondness of Pinterest, i have noticed it is ‘kind of a big deal’. after doing some research, yes mostly of the Pinterest kind, i have realised i massively underestimated the little pot that sits in my bathroom, now it follows me around the house! here is what i learnt…

things i have learnt about coconut oil. paper & pasta

coconut oil is incredible for your skin

use it as lip balm to soothe dry lips. add a few tablespoons to bathwater to moisturise (i wouldn’t do this every day or you will constantly be scrubbing your bath), i add some to my exfoliating glove before exfoliating. you can use it instead of shaving cream, this is especially good for sensitive skin, or simply rub it all over when you get out of the bath/shower. blend it with sugar and make an exfoliating scrub. blend it with baking soda and use it to clear up acne. dab it under your eyes and let the antioxidants fight those wrinkles and bags. it can even remove make up (apparently making your eyelashes longer) and clean old make up brushes!

coconut oil can also look after your hair

rub it into your tips to naturally condition and repair damaged hair. It can help fight dry scalp or dandruff by using as a hair mask (but only if you have really dry hair! i once used it in the bath on my skin and put my hair under before getting out, i had to rewash my hair as it looked so oily!). you can use it in place of moose or gel by dabbing a small amount over very dry or frizzy hair, apparently giving it a lovely shine!

use it inside as well as out

it is safe to heat up to high temperatures when frying (i have learnt some olive oils are not) so use it in place of other oils to have a much healthier stir fry. i have recently been brave enough to try it (i hate coconut) and while i don’t think i could sit and eat it off the spoon like i can Nutella or Marmite, i was pleasantly surprised by how little it tastes of coconut and how sweet but fresh it is! being dairy free, i now use it when cooking vegetables i would usually cook with butter (leek etc) as it is has the same sweetening effect. there are lots of recipes online for sweet but healthy desserts containing the stuff! it is proven to be a natural energy booster, when feeling tired you can have a spoonful to wake you up. it is recommended you have a spoonful when taking vitamins or supplements as it can help improve absorption, or with your meal to aid digestion.

it is your friend when pregnant

if you are brave enough, take it when suffering with morning sickness to balance out blood sugar, control diabetes and help keep sickness at bay. rub it onto your belly to prevent stretch marks and itchy skin. in the weeks leading up to labour you can rub it in your ‘danger area’ to prevent tearing. you can even take a spoonful to help with that pesky heartburn, and indigestion!

once baby is here you can use to soothe nappy rash, eczema, and remove cradle cap. it is also your best friend whilst nursing. not only can eating it increase your milk flow, but a little oil dabbed inside the babys mouth, as well as applying it to nipples before breastfeeding can be a massive help. and don’t forget to use it afterwards if you are cracked or sore.

you can also use it around the house

you will need one for the bathroom, kitchen and nursery, but you can also use it in the first aid and tool box. it can be used on cuts and bruises to speed up healing, it can help sooth chicken pox, bee stings and bug bites, treat infections, and help to prevent nosebleeds (by applying a thin layer inside your nostrils).

you can mix it with lemon juice to use as furniture polish. use instead of WD-40. remove gum from hair, season cast iron pans, treat leather, polish metal, mix with baking soda to make a cleaner, AND condition wooden cutting boards.

there are many more, but you get the idea? i have been using it for a few weeks after learning all this and can tell you I am feeling softer, shinier and healthier!

if you would like to learn EVEN more about coconut oil here are few good sites…

21 mom and baby friendly uses for coconut oil…

10 ways to add coconut oil to your beauty routine…

coconut eye cream…

experimental beauty: coconut oil for dieting, moisturizing & wellness…

things i learnt from my mother…


do what you love

when i was at high school i remember working really hard, i was somehow provided with quite a good work ethic (i’ll have to find out the secret to that one for the years to come). i was always told, work as hard as you can during your high school years, get as good a result as you can for your GCSE’s. then after that, pick what you actually enjoy to do, something you can get excited about, then do that really well. she used to say there was no point me doing something that pays an incredible wage if i hate what i do. so even though now i dream of buying a house and popping to Italy for a month and eating my weight in pasta, i’m glad i have a job that i can still get excited about. and you never know, maybe in a few years holidays could be a reality again!

don’t worry about what you can’t control

this is something that Mum still says to me, and that i now remind her. it wastes valuable energy to worry and stress about something. sometimes thats a good thing, it could make you work harder and think things through more. but if you have no control over the thing you are worrying about, whats the point? maybe plan and prepare yourself for each circumstance, but anything other than that is just pointless, wasteful, and harmful to your poor nerves!


look after your skin.

at the age of ten i was told by my mum and grandma that it was time for me to start using face cream. i think it took a few years for it to become regular practice, but it is now something i could not live without. Mum has incredible skin, i’m sure good genes and not worshipping the sun have helped, but the main reason is the care she takes every day. she taught me to cleanse, tone and moisturise every morning and evening, and preached that if i kept it up i wouldn’t have to fall into the trap of wearing masses of make up to cover up unloved skin, therefore producing even worse skin that feels sorry for itself hidden away from the outside world. yes it’s a hassle and yes people tease me that i’m an old lady, but as with so many things, if you show you care and look after something, it in turn, will look after you.

other special influences

this wouldn’t be a motherhood themed post if i didn’t include the other women who have influenced my life. my step mother Carla is from Peru. she has thankfully dragged our very shy and very english family out of the Victorian ages and taught us to be a bit more open. she first started making her mark when suggesting to Dad that he should show me and my brother more affection… “KISS HER!” and “KISS HIM!” were screamed as we were saying our goodbyes. now we have that down, she has dug a little deeper. many years ago when discussing my love life with her (sometimes in a peruvian accent questions can sound like demands.. ) and i said that i loved someone, but that it was scary and complicated, she replied, “either you love or you don’t. if you do, you should throw yourself in, and don’t worry about what happens. if it breaks your heart, it will break it, you will survive, and at least you will then know that you tried everything, that it just didn’t work” i took her advice and i am glad.

lastly i would like to mention my great grandmother Evelyn. she was awesome, she did yoga, she married an italian, she was beautiful (she looked very glamourous in the old photos) and she made her own clothes on her own Singer sewing machine… i think she influenced me a lot as i was growing up. one thing i remember her saying to me when i was very young, which could have been a very straight forward piece of advice, but that i have now also taken to mean more; when commenting on the fact that in her old age she had got a bit of a hunchback (you know the type that very old ladies get?) she told me “emma when you walk down the street, don’t always bend over and check where you are walking, remember to stand up straight and look around”.

women are pretty wise.