maternity shoot, if in doubt, do it.

PAPER&PASTA Helen Kirkman photos1 copy

only four months ago i was the size of a house and bursting with excitment. i am so glad i took so many photos as it’s sometimes hard to believe it all really happened!

but as nice as it is to have my Instagram bump selfies, i am so glad we got to have a shoot with the beautiful Helen Kirkman. it was such a lovely time of the day, in what was a lovely summer, i’m so happy we captured it. these are a few of my favourites…

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PAPER&PASTA Helen Kirkman Shoot3

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PAPER&PASTA Helen Kirkman Shoot7if you are looking at these wondering if you should bother doing a maternity shoot, questioning if you need one. obviously, it is not something that you need, but something that if you invest either a little time and/or money in now, you can be happy you did for the rest of your life, and that person inside you might enjoy them too!

if you are in the UK, i can highly recommend Helen, i was nervous about posing and being cheesy or awkward but she was so relaxed and fun i completely forgot about it.

have a look at her website HERE. go on, have a look, and while you’re there give her a ‘Like’ or a ‘Follow’, she’s a good egg she deserves it.

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don’t forget to take lots of photos…

the next few posts are probably going to be a baby bump overload, but i followed everyone’s advice and took lots of photos, now i don’t know what to do with them all!

this was one i MADE Luke do with me (using pregnant hormone sad face, not aggressive force- he’s fine)…

Big Bump Photos! PAPER & PASTA

i was inspired by one of my favourite photos of my nana…

Stella Photo booth shots. PAPER&PASTA

i love it as it is such an insight into her character when she was young. after seeing this, i decided that at every milestone in my life i would take a photo booth picture to remember it . so this is my first!

things i have learnt about being pregnant… full term

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one of the main things i was worried about, with the whole being pregnant thing, was the actual birth. i remember hearing heavily pregnant women saying they “can’t wait till they give birth” and i thought i would never wish to hurry along something so scary! but it becomes inevitable, it is something you have to do, so you first accept it, then prepare, then sit and wait for it to happen. there is also the combination of being able to turn over in bed, tie your own shoelaces, AND meet the person you have made which makes it all a bit more exciting!

Preparations, Full Term. PAPER & PASTA

people are not discreet. being pregnant has changed the way people act around me. from knowing instantly if someone knows your secret; stop sneaking looks at my stomach i’m not going to start showing for months! to becoming a focal point; i have never received so many smiles from strangers. to a talking point; “wow you are big, how much longer to go? girl or boy?”. which in the last couple of weeks just turns into stares and nudges. most of the time, this extra attention was lovely, it made moving around easier, everyone is happy for you and trying to help you out, and you can get away with anything!!

Belly Shot. PAPER & PASTA

pregnancy doesn’t have to become you. when i pictured being pregnant (which i admit i did a lot, for a very long time) i thought eventually i would become a big bloated elephant and not feel like myself anymore. and actually i was sort of looking forward to it, a new identity, having a good old moan about my swollen ankles. but it never happened, i always felt like me, with a massive beach ball attached to my front. i still had the same thoughts, wanted to wear the same type of clothes and do the same things i had done before… as long as i ate every few hours and always had water!

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essential things i didn’t realise i’d need… a foam mattress topper, many many pillows, a chair placed in every spot i stand up in for longer than a minute, chocolate ice cream, cooling spray, a midnight cold water paddle and the need to dress up nice and go out!

everyone tells you, make the most of your freedom, get as much sleep as you can, and take lots of photos, and i’m glad i did… or i don’t think i’d quite believe it!

Full Term. PAPER & PASTA

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.

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?

NO.

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

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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!