My hyperemesis gravidarum experience

Hyperemesis GravidarumFresh from wedding fever, it’s back to reality (although I’m sure I won’t be able to resist a few more wedding posts) and the news that the Duchess of Cambridge is suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum in her second pregnancy is bringing back some memories.

Pregnancy is amazing. You’re in a continual state of awe that you can do this – that your body can create a new life. You feel your baby moving around inside you and it feels amazing.

Many pregnant women get some kind of sickness or queasiness in pregnancy but for me, it was something else.

I remember being in hospital during my pregnancy with my second child, on a drip which was feeding me the fluids my body needed. I couldn’t even keep down a simple glass of water. Crucially, I’m now ashamed to admit that I was wishing I could stay in hospital for longer, that the doctors would say I had to stay. To me, that would mean I could be looked after, that I wouldn’t have to worry about looking after myself, let alone my family (we already had a 2 year old by then) anymore.

What this tells me is that hyperemesis affected my mind as well as my body. I mean, who wishes they could stay in hospital? But then, why wouldn’t it affect my mind? I couldn’t go about my day as I usually would. Even getting up was an effort. I felt continually ill, was sick every time I tried to eat or drink something and as a result felt I was failing in my duties as a mother to my 2 year old.

And of course, I felt I couldn’t complain about it. I was so lucky to be pregnant a second time after all. There was nothing wrong with my baby, despite me being on the cusp of being classed as an older mother really, at age 36.

I had hyperemesis with both my children (my eldest is now nearly 4 and youngest nearly 2) I might add. It started at around 6 weeks and lasted until 20 weeks, with the worst period being during that 1st trimester.

I say all this and also say that I would do it all again if I’d have known how it would be. The reward is more than you could ever hope for and we have a beautiful family.

But I do feel for poor Kate Middleton. She’s been through it before and must know she’s got some weeks to come of feeling very ill. There must be so much pressure on her.

I wish her well – but I do also look forward to the happy baby news at the end of her pregnancy.

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Our wedding in Didsbury, Manchester

Wedding in Didsbury, ManchesterI’m back! After nearly a year of wedding planning and general quietness on the blog as a result, well – we did it!

Our wedding took place on the 29th August, followed by a Florence honeymoon and was just amazing. I wish we could do it all again.

I’m brimming with blogging ideas now I have some spare time again. I have LOADS to impart about wedding planning with two pre-schoolers in tow, for example (we managed it, in seven months – please send any medals to PO Box Bonkers).

But first, I thought it would be useful to those planning a wedding in and around Manchester to provide a quick run through of all the suppliers, venues and people who helped to make our wedding the best day it could be.

Starting with with our beautiful rings, we can’t recommend Bud Mulki at GIA Diamonds in Didsbury highly enough.  What this guy doesn’t know about diamonds isn’t worth knowing.  My husband had already been to see him several times before he proposed and we then visited him together to make the final choice. He really took his time with us and made sure we were happy with our choice.  We were so impressed, we also bought our wedding rings with him.

Wedding stationery from Elouise Designs.

Wedding stationery from Elouise Designs.

At the beginning of the wedding planning journey, I was floundering slightly in a haze of wedding-world chaos.  I had no clue where to source some lovely, handmade invites, but I knew that I wanted them to involve roses and jasmine flowers (rose and jasmine being the middle names of our two little girls).  I literally googled something like “handmade wedding invitations Manchester’ and Elouise Designs was one of the top hits.  Eleanor is based nearby in Timperley.  She was so lovely from the beginning and I was amazed when I turned up suffering badly from the latest cold, spluttered out my ideas and she made up a sample on the spot which was just what I wanted.  We also bought our orders of service and guest book from her.

Wedding dress from The Case of the Curious Bride

Lourdes wedding dress from The Case of the Curious Bride.

I had heard that the dress could take a while to choose and was warned that I needed to get on with it quickly.  However, I’m a rubbish shopper.  I really didn’t want to be traipsing around endless shops trying dresses on.  A friend had recommended The Case of the Curious Bride and from looking at their website, I realised I loved the style of their dresses.  The Curious Bride was the first shop I visited (in the end, I only visited three) and the dress I chose – Lourdes from their White Threads collection – was the very first I tried on.  I loved it instantly, but thought that I would surely like others more.  Nope – together with my chief bridesmaid, I tried on some other very fancy, embellished dresses, but my mind kept returning to the Lourdes.  I love its simplicity and elegance. But I’ll stop there as I sound like a ponce trying to critique a wedding dress.  Needless to say, I’m in love with it and will be keeping it for my two girls’ future use. Melanie and Eve at the shop are amazing, down to earth and really know their way around a wedding.  They were able to give me advice on accessories and underwear, and even steam-ironed the dress again for me a few days before the wedding.  I’d definitely make this your first stop if you’re marrying in or around Manchester.

Now, I browsed many, many wedding attire sites and looked in quite a few shops to find shoes that suited my dress.  In the end, I found the perfect shoes in high street store Next, which I didn’t expect.  Again, they were simple – ivory satin, a small heel (we don’t want any tripping up down the aisle, do we?) and a lace overlay.

Bridal hair comb from Silver Sixpence in her Shoe

Bridal hair comb from Silver Sixpence in her Shoe

My beautiful, bespoke hair comb was by Nicola at Silver Sixpence in her Shoe.  I first had a consultation with Nicola back in June which was a great experience.  Throughout the wedding planning process, I’ve been amazed by the creativity and inspiration that seems to come naturally to those in the business and Nicola is a good example of this.  She was able to take some vague idea I had and turn it into this gorgeous piece using vintage lace and a lovely vintage brooch she had sourced.

Hair and make up
I’m rubbish with hair, and equally rubbish with makeup.  It’s a testamony to Bethany Jane Davies that she managed to make me look good.  Bethany had explained that I should source some photos online or from magazines of the sort of style I wanted before my trial.  I turned up with three photos I’d found on pinterest, which I had agonised over.  One of these was of a lady with long hair and mine is chin length.  I really did not know what on earth I was doing. Bethany was able to make me look amazing, but still natural and ‘dewy’ (her word, not mine!).  She’s also lovely and made me feel at ease.  Plus she’s great at creating curls in hair that has stubbornly resisted curl of any kind all of its life.

She has also recently opened a vintage beauty salon in Chorlton – I’ll definitely be going there before a night out or occasion sometime.  Plus – she’s getting married herself nex year.  Good luck, Bethany!

The groom
My husband wore a bespoke, handmade suit from Richard Smith Bespoke in Manchester, who also provided handmade ties and pocket squares for the bridal party.  Hubs (got to get that word in once, surely?) can’t speak highly enough of Richard Smith, who was extremely professional, had great ideas and ensured that he was completely satisfied with his suit.

Bridesmaids dresses from Monsoon

My beautiful flower girls in their Monsoon dresses and hand knitted boleros.

Bridesmaids and flower girls
We had one Bridesmaid (we’ve been friends for 33 years, no less) and our two girls, aged nearly 2 and nearly 4 were flowergirls.Pink and purple was the general colour scheme we chose.  The bridesmaid dress was from BHS – a lovely deep purple.  The flowergirls’ dresses could only be from the one and only Monsoon who offer the most beautiful childrenswear.  They were a dusky rose colour, covered in rosebuds.  To top it off, my mum kindly knitted two pink boleros, and we sourced some deep purple hair slides to match the bridesmaid’s dress.

I’m a complete idiot when it comes to cars.  My husband recently asked me what car I would like if we get round to changing ours and my reply was “one that works and has somewhere to plug my iphone in”.

Therefore it seemed reasonable to pass this element of wedding planning over to my Dad and husband.  They chose Classic Elegance Cars based in Rossendale, and the car was a Mercedes E Class. It was very nice, had a pink bow on the front and was driven by a nice chap called Bob who was also very patient with us as we took our time drinking prosecco and having photos taken after the service.

Wedding flowers from Laura Coleman

Wedding bouquet from Laura Coleman Flowers.

My lovely flowers were by Laura Coleman Flowers.  There’s a theme beginning to emerge here – I know nothing about flowers.  I just knew I wished to incorporate roses and jasmine.  Laura and I met in the pub for my initial consultation and I do remember rolling home a little merrier than when I set off.  Laura created a handtied bouquet for me, bouquet for the bridesmaid, really cute little posies for the flowergirls together with baskets of rose petals, buttonholes and corsages for the bridal party and pew ends for the church.  They incorporated Ocean Song roses, Secret Garden roses, Norma Jean roses, Bombastic Spray roses, Earl Grey roses, blue and white Delphinium tendrils, white Hydrangea, Purple Flowering Mint, pink Astilbe, Pincushion Flower and Amni alongside Eucalyptus, miniature variegated Pittosporum and Jasmine foliages.Phew! As you can see, the effect against my dress was really striking.


St James Church, Didsbury

Onto the main event!  The service took place at the beautiful St James Church, a real credit to Didsbury and Manchester and a Grade II listed building.  The church is part of the St James and Emmanuel parish and they are expert wedding planners, taking care of us and our arrangements from the beginning of the process.  From a great marriage preparation day to a calming rehearsal session and beautiful ceremony by the Rev Nick Bundock, we highly recommend getting married here.

We served prosecco at the church immediately after the ceremony and then all headed over to Didsbury House Hotel for the reception.  This is a great boutique hotel in Didsbury with stunning features and a relaxed feel.  They offer many options for weddings and are so accomplished and professional – they really looked after us and our guests had the most amazing time.  There’s lots of comfortable seating for everyone and great bar and terrace areas.  We opted for their barbeque as we wanted to keep things informal (no seating plan – yay!).  This was cooked on their terrace then brought indoors and served buffet style which worked really well.  Speeches took place on their grand staircase which the guests also loved.  I should add that the bridesmaid and I stayed the night before the wedding and got ready there in the morning.  My husband and I also stayed in the bridal suite on the wedding night – I want to go back there (hint…anniversary…)!  What a stunning room, with separate lounge, bedroom and bathroom on the top floor of the hotel.  I was determined to use those roll top baths, adjacent to each other in the bathroom, no matter what time we escaped the party. So there we were at 2am having a good old soak!

Hand crafted rose and jasmine themed wedding cake.

Hand crafted rose and jasmine themed wedding cake.

A special mention to my mother-in-law here, who made our fanastic wedding cake, with layers of fruit cake, lemon sponge and rose-flavoured sponge.  The cake was so beautifully decorated with delicate roses and jasmine flowers.  I’m in awe!  We received so many comments from our guests on how lovely it was.

Chocolate dessert table from Cocoa Cabana, Didsbury

Chocolate dessert table from Cocoa Cabana, Didsbury.

Chocolate dessert table
We also sourced a chocolate dessert table from Cocoa Cabana in Didsbury.  I’m surprised anyone could eat anything by this stage, but most of this disappeared.  Sarah at Cocoa Cabana is another creative force – she specially developed a gin and rose truffle and a jasmine green tea truffle just for us.  The table also included a range of other truffles, brownies, marshmallows and macaroons (note that in my initial consultation, the lovely Sarah gave me a brownie to try and a nice, big latte…bonus!).

Favour boxes
Next to the dessert table, we included a sign saying “eat today ot take away” and provided some purple favour boxes from Paper Themes.  As it happened – most people ‘ate it today’ anyway, but it was a nice thought!

Cheese tower
Unfortunately I haven’t yet got any photographs of the delectable cheese tower from The Cheese Hamlet in Didsbury.  Cheese, as my readers may already know, is one of my favourite all time items.  I like all cheese.  The tower served as our evening buffet, served with crackers and chutneys.  The Cheese Hamlet provided us with a Cornish Yarg, a Colston Bassett Mature Stilton, a Rachel Goats Cheese, a Godminster Organic Mature Cheddar and Neufchatel Hearts.  We enjoyed eating it.

The band actually MADE the reception. They were brilliant.  They are iPanic, based in Liverpool and play at Mulligan’s in Manchester every month, where my husband first saw them.  They played a range of covers which got absolutely everyone dancing – the floor in the hotel was shaking!

Our photographer was Lee Fretter photography.  We wanted a photographer we felt comfortable around, as he would be with us all day.  Lee really put us at ease from when we first met him – he’s a real pleasure to be around and has fantastic ideas about his photography.  We cannot wait to see the official photographs from the wedding – he showed me a few on his viewfinder throughout the day and they were stunning!

So there is a run down of all the people who made our wedding day special.  A big thank you to everyone – and to our guests of course who made it so much fun!

Honeymoon champagne

Honeymoon champagne…don’t mind if we do…

Our honeymoon deserves another, future blog post. We chose Florence, Italy and had the most amazing time.  Culture, excellent Italian food and lots and lots of lovely red wine…hmmm….

Forget-me-not-Friday #62


Today’s Forget-me-not-Friday is about my nearly-two-year-old’s developing grasp of language…which in turn means she can give her older sister what for.

Nearly-four-year-old: “You pushed me!”

Nearly-two-year-old, matter of factly but still in babyish voice: “I didn’t push you”

Nearly-four-year-old, startled and indignant at this sudden eloquence in her little sister “You DID push me!”

Nearly-two-year-old, quietly defiant: “I didn’t push you..”

…and so on. We were in the supermarket at the time. The checkout was *interesting*.

Finally, here’s a photo of my lovely nearly-two-year-old at the dentist. She surprised me by being very, very good.IMG_4492


Forget-me-not-Friday #61


This is no lie…fiancée reported that our nearly-four year old actually said this and had the video to prove it…

Nearly four year old: “Daddy, what colour is love?”

Daddy: “I’m not sure, what colour do you think it is?”

Nearly four year old: “Erm…I think it is all of the colours. All of the colours in the rainbow!”

Wedding preparations and Revive Active

Revive Active Health Supplement

It’s two and a half weeks from our wedding day…eeek!!! We’ve reached a stage where everything is hand and all the planning is done and dusted.

It’s countdown time. There are some nerves flying around – typical things: “will everything go to plan on the day?”, “will everyone enjoy it?” and of course most importantly “will there be enough cheese to go around from the cheese tower?”

Cheese anxiety aside, one of the most important issues which must affect any bride is health and wellbeing. No-one wants a horrible cold or virus on their wedding day. A bride (and groom!) wishes to feel at their best.

Earlier this year I reviewed a health supplement called Revive Active at a time when I really needed it. It was the New Year, a time when I feel sluggish and when lots of bugs and viruses fly around and I was reliably informed that this supplement was full of lots of healthy vitamins, minerals and other ingredients.

The supplement is delivered in handy daily sachets, which I took in a glass of apple juice before breakfast in the morning. I had seven days worth to take and was looking forward to seeing some results, especially given the benefits listed on their website, as below:

  • Natural sustained energy. No caffeine or sugar, and meant to be good for burnout or fatigue. I had recently written a post on how I feel I suffer from burnout, so this is perfect for me.
  • Heart health. Contains CoQ10, L’Carnitine, Vitamin E and Magnesium, all beneficial to the cardiovascular system. Most of us are aware of the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in this country, so anything that helps can only be a good thing.
  • Rejuvenation. Well I need this, looking at my eye bags. Revive Active is rich in antioxidants including, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium. With all the sleep disturbance I suffer as a mum of two preschoolers, I have to admit I was particularly excited about this bit.
  • Mental clarity and focus. Yes please! I really needed this. I wrote that I had put a bag of rubbish in the fridge by mistake. Apparently, Vitamin C and Vitamin B12 in the supplement help to retain mental clarity.
  • Healthy Immune System. Yes, yes and yes. As I’m writing this, I realise I’ve written many blog posts lamenting most of these states. Mum of pre-schoolers = colds galore. The website tells us that Vitamins A, C, E and B help maintain a healthy immune system.

During my trial of the supplement I was really impressed by the benefits I felt: more clear-headed and more energy. I also noted that both my children had colds which I would normally catch just by glancing in their direction, but I didn’t.

It’s expensive: six months supply would set you back £49.95 per month, or £59.85 for one month.

However, I felt that it was worth it – for example if you’re recovering from some nasty bug or infection and are really struggling, if you suffer from heart problems, persistent tiredness or…have your wedding in the not too distant future!

So here I am again – avidly whisking up my supplement powder each morning.  I do feel much better already, as wedding planning has taken it’s toll this year and I was feeling so tired.

I’m not the only one who loves this supplement – check out 52 year old Linda Barker’s recent interview on her use of Revive, and these testimonials.

Visit the Revive Active website for more information, to order directly and view stockists.

Disclosure:  I received the Revive Active Supplement free of charge in return for writing this review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Vegetable eating in kids: the parents’ Holy Grail

20140803-193559-70559688.jpg Sunday tea time: I’m cooking salmon for the girls and decide to add noodles because they love them and think that they’re essentially ‘grown up spaghetti’, particularly when I add a bit of soy sauce and lemon.

I was musing on how to get them to eat a vegetable element to the meal, and had one of those rare moments in parenting: the “I’ve just had such a good idea that I’m going to be openly really smug about it” moment.

Small plastic pots, with chopped cucumber and celery, placed neatly to the side of the noodle dish. “Look! Your VERY OWN little pot filled with lovely things!”. They ate the lot. And that wouldn’t have happened if I had just plonked them in the dish (instead I would have got “Urghh! I don’t want that” or my littlest one would have simply flung them on the floor disinterestedly).

And I think that’s the key to vegetable eating in my girls – try and do something different and exciting. It’s not easy, but I’ve realised that I do more ‘vegetable magic’ than I thought.

Besides the vegetable pots which are the current hit (until they become passé – probably within the week), here are some of my current means of ensuring veg eating:

  • Telling them it makes better cartwheels: I mean, every kid wants to do ace cartwheels, surely? And eating copious amounts of carrot is a certain way to the best cartwheels around.
  • Varying how the veg looks on the plate: Smiley faces worked for a while – cucumber slices for the eyes, sweet corn noses, tomato smiles etc. Until nearly-4 year old decided it was ‘scary’. Now I try and make a princess.
  • Trying new, exotic vegetables: This works for about 1 day. Maybe 2 if you’re lucky. But if you’re really struggling this week, try something they haven’t eaten in ages and rave about it like it’s the best thing ever and “Mummy used to eat this when she was a little girl” and it tastes “a lot like cheese” etc.
  • Hiding it: Usually in pasta sauce. I have an ace homemade pasta sauce going which has a tomato, onion and garlic base, and then I just add whichever vegetables I happen to have in and whizz it up in the blender, as smoooooth as possible. “Hmmm, this is yummy, Mummy!”. I know…
  • Saving it for supper: Supper has been a popular thing in our house this year. If my little ones leave their veg at tea time, it suddenly becomes the most appetising thing they’ve ever seen when it’s in a different bowl, and eaten in their bed whilst having stories read to them. Amazing.

    Anyone else any ideas? Mine are good for now but I’m sure the day will soon come when my little ones are wise to my tricks…

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