I loved this brief list of useful sites by Ashley Omelia that I wanted to share it with my followers too. I hope you discover a new useful website or enjoy her blog as much as I do.
Websites All Writers Should Check Out
I loved this brief list of useful sites by Ashley Omelia that I wanted to share it with my followers too. I hope you discover a new useful website or enjoy her blog as much as I do.
Websites All Writers Should Check Out
First, if you don’t know what hypnobirthing is, please click here to read my post about the classes I attended.
I always wanted a natural birth as I don’t enjoy the feeling of not being in control of my body. I don’t like being drunk and I imagine the affect of the drugs would scare me instead of relax me. In addition, there are side affects for mother and baby. For me, they felt like a last resort choice.
When I had my first baby, hypnobirthing was a new idea and costs quite a bit for a private course. My means meant I attended the traditional antenatal class which covered pain relief and caring for your baby. Second time around, the government have found the benefits of hypnobirthing makes it worth offering it for free. This time I was able to go for the cost of a book and free downloadable tracks.
I feel it did work. I only have my personal experience to compare it to. Here are my birthing stories.
On Wednesday, 12 November, I was tired as I’d not had my nap so we went to bed early at 10pm. Almost as soon as I got in bed, my back started to ache & I started needing the loo constantly. At the time I didn’t realise I was in labour.
I decided to sleep on the sofa so I wouldn’t disturb my husband who had work in the morning. After a few hours, I asked to switch places as I couldn’t get comfortable on the sofa – my husband at this point suspected I might be in labour as I crawled into the bedroom like the girl from The Ring.
The discomfort plagued me all night and by 5am I was tired & desperate for something to knock me out so I could sleep. I didn’t think I was in labour as I was still able to talk normally. We called the hospital and I explained the pain and they asked me to come in.
When we got there, the midwife confirmed I was 8cm dilated (almost 9cm). They were confident the baby would arrive soon, I got in the birthing pool and waited but nothing much happened.
I requested Pethidine in the hope I might be able to kip for a bit but I as warned u couldn’t be in the water for that. Instead I tried gas and air but it made me feel dizzy.
I got out for another internal exam. I didn’t like the qualified midwife but thought the Trainee was awesome. The trainee midwife discovered that my cervix has an extra bit of skin preventing me getting to 10cm. I was warned labour could take longer, be harder and painful but the trainee was willing to support me however I wanted. I decided to have the pethidine. The qualified midwife told me most people get a c-section. I carried on trying to deliver my baby myself. The qualified midwife insisted I be put in stirrups so she could keep an eye on my cervix. It made it harder to push.
Then suddenly, I felt like I was on fire down there and was terrified all my holes would become one. The trainee assured me she could see him and with another push he’d be out enough for her to use the forceps. I pushed. She turned to get the forceps but I pushed again and he was out.
I delivered my son at 1:15pm on 13 Nov. I did have a small tear but didn’t need stitches. Labour recorded as 5h.
On Sun, 5 Aug, at 7pm, I kept needing the loo and went for a poo, three times in an hour. This was an early labour sign with my first baby so I asked my hubby to take our son to bed incase my surges (contractions) started.At 8pm he checked how I was and I was chilling watching ‘Orange is the New Black’ but told him to ring his mum and let her know tonight might be the night (she would be having our son).
By 9pm, I was getting regular surges so I downloaded an app to time them. They were every 3 minutes and lasting 40 seconds – after three, the app told me to go to hospital but I decided to watch another episode.
By 10pm, my surges were every 2 minutes and lasting 40 seconds still. I agreed to call the hospital (the app was bleeping at me to go after every surge now). The hospital agreed I ought to come in and be checked.
I then took my time checking my bag and my son’s bag – you can’t really move fast when you need to stop and breathe every 2 mins and it interferes with your train of thought. We dropped my son off at his nana and arrived at the hospital about 11:30pm.
By midnight, I had my checks and hospital agreed I could stay. I was 4cm dilated but as my son was a quick first birth (at 5h) they thought it best to keep me in. We ran the bath and prepared the room. The music wouldn’t play on my kindle but the midwife got us a CD that had relaxing music. I got in the bath which soothed my back and started breathing through my surges.
My hubby noticed I was getting tired and suggested I lay on the bed. The midwife felt this would be a get time to do a quick internal exam. It was then she noticed I have a ‘flexi-cervix’. I was still 4cm, but every time I surged, I was about 9-10cm. She could see my water bulging and was convinced she could arrive any minute. My hubby massaged my back while I rested.
I decided to get back in the water as the warmth helped. I got back in. The surges were now stronger so my husband held a pillow at the side of the bath for me to conserve my energy between them. I felt the need to start pushing and used the J-breath to move the baby down.
My hubby suggested I try lying down as I was tired. I went to stand but a surge came, I quickly dipped back down in the water. My waters broke and I could feel the fire sensation and knew her head was in my cervix. I quickly did another long J-breath and my husband lifted her out the water.
I delivered my daughter on Mon, 6 Aug at 4:44am. I didn’t tear and didn’t need stitches. Labour recorded as 2.5h.
For me, it did work – my labour was much quicker and less painful. I didn’t use all the techniques taught but the breathing helped me push her out and stay calm and conserve my energy. It’s certainly worth checking out if you would like to deliver your baby naturally and without drugs.
However, there is no shame in taking whatever pain relief that is offered. The goal is to deliver a healthy baby and you can use whatever tools are available to help you achieve that. For me, those tools were breathing, water, aromatherapy, music and my husband but everyone is different.
What do you think?
Let me know if you did hypnobirthing and if it was beneficial to you? I’d love to read your labour stories too.
Making Books with Emily Rowe and Jeni Smith.
Originally, I hadn’t bought a ticket to this event, at Felixstowe Book Festival 2018, as I thought it was only for children and accompanying adults. When I discovered I could attend, I bought a last minute ticket and I am so glad I did.
This workshop covered different techniques for making books. We were given paper, pens, needle and thread.
We were shown three different techniques. First we created a simple folded book and they showed us how to use this technique to create a thin long book or a short wide book.
Then, we made a shaped book. The design they taught us was in the shape of a house. Inside we cut out doors.
We were encouraged to fill in our books. I choose to turn the ‘house’ book into Noah’s home with easy words for my son to read. Another attendee theirs into a row of beach huts, someone else had the house changing through the seasons and a girl drew each house belonging to her best friends. It was great to see how universal the design was for each person.
For the folded book, we were asked what our favourite word was. Mine is “banana”. We were then challenged to fill our books based on our favourite word. I decided to write about different colour bananas to the tune of “one potato”. Later, I gave the book to Noah to colour in. He was able to read the colours and word banana easily. As a minion fan, he found it funny that it was about bananas.
The final technique we were shown was a stitched book. They taught us how to gather a suitable number of pages and the right size cover. We were shown how to safely make the holes for binding and the pattern to use for the stitch using a waxed thread.
We then had time afterwards to try making any of the methods again or to continue decorating and filling in our books. I made another stitched book and used floral paper from their scraps box. I plan to use this as a notebook to records ideas for a best selling novel!
The scraps box was full of all sorts of different bits of paper ranging from left over card/paper to gift wrap and gift bags to wallpaper. For the cover you need something thicker than the paper used inside. It really demonstrates how creating your own books is very sustainable as you are repurposing stuff you may have otherwise thrown away.
Around the room were several books for anyone wanting to learn more about making books. They recommended:
The event was brilliant. Emily and Jeni worked well together to deliver an engaging and interactive workshop. I hope they continue to return to Felixstowe Book Festival to share their knowledge and enthusiasm of making books.
I had planned to create a video to illustrate how to make these but haven’t had the time. Hopefully, I will one day.
Have you ever made a book – what style do you make and what did you use your creation for? I am hoping to do this with my son to encourage his writing. Please let me know if you’ve got any tips.
Here are the products that I’ve loved this summer.
Sunscreen SPF 50 (RRP £15.99)
This has been one of the hottest summers in a long time and sun safety is important to me.
What I love about this product is the twisty caps to open and close meaning you never worry about loosing the lid. Being able to spray makes application quick and I can reach everywhere easily. It is clear, so I don’t get white streaks and it doesn’t stain my clothes.
The Kids bottle is my 4y old son’s but when my sensitive one runs out, I have used his. The kids one smells great with a fruity scent – an added bonus. We have reordered both more than once this summer!
The product is free of nasty chemicals, has a broad spectrum protection and recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, it’s non-sticky and biodegradable. Plus, it’s water resistant for up to 80 minutes!
Summer Mist (RRP £13.00)
The frangipani flower on the front of the bottle is my wedding flower and first attracted me to the product.
What I love is that this summer scent is designed to stay fresh in the heat with ingredients that are photosensitive. It has a beautiful light fruity scent that isn’t overpowering. All the ingredients are natural and will leave skin soft and not sticky.
Sun Protection Lip Balm SPF 15 (RRP £4.99)
This lip product is moisturising and protective in the sun. The zinc oxide in it, is a natural sun protection and I think it does lighten my lip slightly but I like the look. It is meant to have a flavour but I can’t smell or taste it so it’s very light. All the ingredients and organic.
Flash Defence Anti-Pollution Mist (mine is a sample/travel size. The full 60ml RRP £24.00)
I have been loving facial mists this summer to keep myself cool but this one was my favourite.
In addition to refreshing my skin and being free of harmful chemicals, this product protects your skin from pollution and boosts your defences. I don’t live in a high pollution area but it made my skin feel great and I noticed a difference.
Natural Deodeant (RRP £5.99)
I have been using the pink Lavender and Vanilla one for a while now and love the scent. Sometimes, I think lavender can smell a bit old fashioned but this is a gentle clean smell.
I decided to give the melon and cucumber one a go. The cucumber smell is stronger than the melon, it gives off a refreshing unisex scent.
At first, I found it strange that it felt like I was spraying my underarm with water as it feels wet. My old deodorant coated my pit in a dry powder. I gave it a go and I am so glad I did. It is gentle on the skin under there which is often forgotten and doesn’t make me feel itchy whereas my old deodeant did.
Smelling fresh all day in the heat without irritated skin makes summer so much better so it made my list.
Ari Meghlen has written a very personal post loaded with tips from his experience using social media for marketing his writing.
This article is full of realistic advice for those that are struggling to juggle it all. Afterall, as writers, our projects should come first. This is how to balance the two.
How to work with your social media platforms
There are loads of things you need to do before your baby arrives but here I list the top three things to do, for you.
There are lots of lovely treatment bundles offered for pregnant women. However, you can choose individual treatments and make your own bundle.
I choose to get a manicure as I didn’t want my nails to ruin my newborn’s pictures. I got a pedicure as I struggle to reach my feet now and a foot massage really helps bring down the swelling. I got a lash lift & tint so I don’t need to worry about mascara when going makeup free.
I like treatments that make my life easier. Although, now she is late I may need to get my nails redone.
NB: You may need to remove nail polish at hospital if you need certain procedures, for example a c-section.
I knew as I get more pregnant I would find it harder to do things but I still wanted to make memories with my son. We had a lovely day out with friends at Colchester zoo. It was hard walking around but the smile on his face made it worthwhile.
Towards the end of my pregnancy I’ve planned activities for my son to go out with his grandparents. He had a week crash course in swimming with his Grandma, a Festival day with his granddad and next week he’s out with his nanny. This has enabled him to have fun and for me to rest a little. I’m so grateful for the supportive network I have around me.
When he went to the festival, my husband and I got to have a lovely childfree meal together. We also did some chores I was struggling to get done at home and although the house isn’t looking spotless, it does look so much better.
Some couples go on a baby moon (last holiday as a couple before baby arrived). I would like to have done this with my husband but we needed to use our time off work to cover the absence of childcare during school holidays and didn’t have enough days left for anything else. However, we were going to Centre Parcs when I found out I was pregnant so you could say we had a family moon (last holiday as a family before adding another child).
I have really struggled with this. Often I am so busy with Noah I forget about myself. I also feel huge, not well and tired which make me not in the mood to have my photo taken.
We tried a family day out at the beach and took pictures but my belly popped out in an unsightly way that made me look like Onslow from Keeping Up Appearances.
Fortunately, I finally got some pictures when I hit the 40 weeks milestone by simply taking some pics at home.
If you can afford a professional shoot then go for it. I did with my first and love the photos taken but the hidden costs made it way more expensive than I anticipated which is why I didn’t go for it this time. Click here for my tips on booking a shoot.
I hope you found my list useful. I’d love to hear what you did, for you, before baby arrived.
<insert social icon pics>
I’ve really impressed myself with how regular I have been posting to my blog and exceeded my own expectations. However, with my circumstances changing I know that will be difficult to maintain. I have looked at my current schedule and played around with some ideas to find something that is manageable.
I really enjoy the way Word Press makes it easy to share others bloggers posts. It enables me to support other bloggers build their audience and to enable my readers to discover more great blogs.
Recently, I posted encouraging anyone that wanted me to feature them to let me know as I’m worried I’ll have limits time to find the articles myself. Some great bloggers have stepped up to help me continue this feature. If you’d like to be features, please comment on my ”Help Me” post.
This feature will continue to be fortnightly on a Monday.
My blog started off as being about writing fiction and it is still my passion to continue to cover this. Although, over the years this feature has become more varied and now covers blogging, books and literature festivals.
Through my son I have fallen in love with Childrens books all over again and I would like to cover this more in future and may even dare to do a YouTube channel *eek*. Let’s focus first on keeping the blog current and taking care of my young family.
This feature will be fortnightly on Tuesdays.
Originally, this feature started to support fellow fair skinned girls discover the palest foundation.
Then, I discovered leading brands were testing on animals so I started paying more attention to my products.
Then my son ate my make-up! I was horrified by the chemicals in it (luckily he was fine). A friend had gifted him organic baby products and he was the only one at baby group without dry skin or cradle cap and I started to question ingredients in products and switching to organic.
I will continue to share my finds fortnightly on Thursdays, although currently whilst on maternity pay I have cancelled my subscription boxes and it’s likely to include a few more baby products.
In recent months, I’ve started sharing more personal posts. These are likely to be on parenting as that is what I will be doing mostly over the coming months. It will also include goal setting and achievements.
These will be fortnightly on Saturdays.
Throughout the year, there are events that I enjoy taking part in like NaNoWriMo/NaPoWriMo. Or when I set myself personal challenges like 14 poems for Valentines day or to raise awareness of Mental Health month.
I hope to be able to continue to take part in these events and will post sporadically inline with the events requirements. These posts will be in addition to the above when taking place.
It’s a cruelty free beauty subscription box and contains a selection of five products – skincare, body care, makeup and occasionally a sweet treat too. Plus, a 50p donation from the sale of each box goes to an animal friendly charity (Animal Free Research). In addition, you earn loyalty points for each purchase which can then be used for money off future boxes.
Cost: £13.50 (+£3.95 P&P) subscription, UK
Refer a friend scheme: Every time you refer three friends, you get a free The Pip Box. If you’d like to sign up, use my friend link: https://www.thepipbox.co.uk/refer/Aliso-SJFXKEDD
The box came with an information card to tell me all about the products inside and their value.
Green People: Sun Lotion SPF 15 (sheet lists price as £6)
As a redhead, I do appreciate sun lotion although this SPF is a lot lower than I use. I will likely give this to my husband or wait until it is mot quite so hot to use.
The product has natural ingredients for UV filters, antioxidants and tan accelerator. It came with a booklet about their other sun products including a Childrens range.
Make-up Eraser: Mini Travel Cloth (sheet lists price as £5)
The sample version hasn’t got the seen edges and warns it may fray. Instantly loved the redhead mermaid on the packaging.
It is for removing makeup using only water. I’ve added it to my hospital bag as it sounds like a great idea. Although, I’m barely wearing makeup at the moment.
On their site they have other designs including some with pretty patterns.
Peony: Matcha BB Powder SPF 15 (sheet lists price as £16.99)
I love make-up with spf so I am looking forward to trying this powder to reduce shine and add some protection. It is a talc-free too.
Vintage Cosmetics: Betty false eyelashes (sheet lists price as £6)
They claim to give you almond shape eyes and can be used up to four times. I’m hoping to get a family pic done once baby is here and will use these lashes to give me that extra oomph at the shoot. They offer free shipping to UK and US.
La Ritzy: Black eye pencil (she lists price as £15)
I tried it right away and it gave a rich black colour and applied smoothly. It didn’t irritate my sensitive eyes. The brand is vegan and paraben free.
This is how I got on using the products from my June box:
Zerreau: Coconut Towel Off Shampoo (sheet lists price as £3.99)
There were some great videos of others using this but for me it wasn’t great. It made my hair looking cleaner but I didn’t like the feel. I’m sure I’ll use it up but I won’t buy it. It’s not for me.
Dermadeli: Rejuvinating Toner (sheet lists price as £1.50)
It is empty! That’s got to be a sign that I loved it. I used it on hot days to freshen my face and on a few occasions my husband and son asked for a quick spritz. I plan buy this again – may even get the bigger size.
LaRitzy: NUE Eyeshadow Palette (sheet lists prove as £35.99)
I’m not in love with this palette and won’t buy again. I found the colours were not very pigmented and didn’t show up well on my pale skin.
Hurraw: Sun Lip Balm SPF15 (sheet lists price as £3.99)
I was very pleased with this product. The SPF causes a slight paleness to the lip but it feels good and I like that it has protection. This is a favourite.
The Vintage Cosmetics: Matchbox Mini Emery Boards (sheet lists price as £3.95)
I’ve not needed to use these yet but they are a useful product to have and will get used in time.
Chewsy: 100% Natural Chewing Gum (sheet lists price as £1.25)
This sticky gum tasted yum. It didn’t last long as I ate it quickly. I’ve not seen it in shops and I doubt I’d order it online but I would love to have it again.
I’ve cancelled my subscription – only because I’m not on maternity leave and need to be more careful with my spending. I will resubscribe to The Pip Box in the future as I really like the reward scheme, supporting a charity and discovering cruelty-free brands.
I plan to look back over my past boxes and work out what was great or not.
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. You set yourself a word count goal and attempt to write often (ideally daily).
I thought NaNoWriMo was only in November. November is full of birthdays and we often take a family vacation which means I get very little time to write that month. It turns out there are now more months throughout the year to take the challenge and July is one of those.
Sadly, I did not achieve my goal of 25k. It was rather ambitious considering I’ve had a lot on this month with:
Things I hadn’t anticipated affecting my goal:
As I’ve not done this challenge before I had no idea what was a realistic goal. I decided on 25k as I felt that would be achievable and yet also challenging. Perhaps, ordinarily that would have been true but I hadn’t anticipated the germs about to invade my home or how tired pregnancy and keeping up with work and a 4 year old would make me.
Putting that aside, I am super impressed with what I have achieved *pats myself on the back*. I’ve also identified from my daily word counts that certain days I am more productive and other days I don’t write at all. It could be that these are the days that I am working on my blog posts.
At points, I fell back in love with my story and was excited and proud about scenes I created. Other times, it was a struggle and I know I’ll need to return to fix some parts lacking in lustre. I also discovered I don’t have to write my novel in chapter order, I can skip ahead and return to parts later and this sometimes makes things more clearer.
I also managed to keep up with my blog posts (just about), however, I have drafted a new schedule to reduce posting as I think blogging will be more challenging with a newborn. I’ve also agreed to keep writing for Ginger Parrot and they’ve added me to their team page – this is a big achievement for me and I don’t want to let them down.
Novel writing is my first love and I’m hoping that in the coming months I will find a way to make more time for this. I don’t quite know how yet but perhaps setting myself monthly word count goals would be a good start. I think I’ll start low and try to beat it each month…
Did you do the NaNoWriMo challenge? How do you manage to juggle life and your writing goals? I would love to hear how you got on.