Saturday 12 December 2009

Did you know? Mothercare has a blog! and a new Baby and Me club

I came accross this via a recent email campaign and had no idea mothercare were blogging! I couldn't find any obvious links from the mothercare website but you can read it by clicking here -
It's in its early stages but hopefully it will blossom quickly and offer some exciting reads!

Friday 11 December 2009

Christmas tales: the legends of Santa

I'm sat here watching itv's Christmas tales: the legends of Santa with Fiona Phillips and thought it deserved a mention on my Blog because the Santa's grotto they keep showing is our very own one from The Glades, Bromley. But the thing is, watching this program has given me the sillies! ( I can't stop giggling!)

Friday 13 November 2009

Baby Sensory our first session in Bromley with Clare Fletcher

This week we had our first Babysensory session with Clare Fletcher and we had lots of fun!
The session we went to was inside the United Reform Church Hall and I had dressed baby in layers as I was expecting the room to be cool like most church halls- however this one was lovely and warm!
The room was set out in a padded blanketed square for all the mummies, daddies and babies to line up on. There was also a separate area full of toys and a row of chairs.
Plenty of room to put your prams inside and also space to put your belongings - wear nice socks as it's a shoe free area!

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo

Having heard other mums talking about how great the fisherprice jumperoo is and seeing all the glowing reviews it gets online, I decided to get one for my baby.
Firstly I was shocked by the price - I found it to be about £95 on most websites and then I found there were a few variations - rainforest and precious planet being the main ones in the UK along with other brands making similar products.
The more I looked into it, the more I discovered the fantastic
 reviews seem to be for the rainforest jumperoo and not the other ones.

Wednesday 28 October 2009

Maternity Clothes in Bromley - Debenhams

Today I spotted a new area in Debenhams in Bromley - They now have Red Herring Maternity clothes!
Debenhams in located in The Glades shopping centre and the Maternity clothes
 are located on the lower ground floor if you are entering from the glades through the make-up hall, it's about half way down on the left hand side.
There is quite a good selection of fashion pieces and worth a look! I noticed a few sparkley

Wednesday 14 October 2009

Baby Sensory sessions for babies in Bromley

I've just managed to get a place for Baby on the Baby Sensory classes in Bromley.

I have yet to start them and to see for myself how they work, but I have to say I'm very excited about this!
Having heard all about the sessions from friends who have been before and seeing the awards it's won along with the fact that the current term is already full and next term has limited spaces left it's no wonder I'm looking forward to it!

Monday 12 October 2009

ELC's Big Birthday Club

Top Mum Tip!

The Early learning centre have a "Big Birthday Club" Free to join and worth signing up to before your baby is one.

As a member you will get a 20% off coupon to spend in-store at the ELC or Mothercare and also recieve a free birthday gift for your child.

Friday 9 October 2009

The Lavender House Cafe, Sundridge Park, Bromley

A new cafe opened locally to me in Bromley, and no it isn't a fourth Starbucks! The Lavender House Cafe...

This one is full of sweet homemade cupcakes, wholesome soups and man-size sandwiches, there's also a welsh dressers full of cute gifts, wooden toys and cookbooks such as the hummingbird bakery - which I recommend by the way!

Thursday 8 October 2009

Bargain Alert! Sale at Kurt Geiger in Bromley

About a month ago, I had a sneeky peek in Kurt Geiger in The Glades and fancied a pair of boots - the problem being £89 on a pair of non essential boots when your income is maternity pay isn't a very bright idea so I kept walking....
On my next visit, yesterday, I noticed that they had a sale on ...

Thursday 17 September 2009

The Battle of Bathtime! How my baby went from hating bathtime to loving it!

By the time Baby was 9 weeks old, I was starting to really struggle with bathtime! Each and every bath had resulted in hysterical tears from Baby, he did not like baths one little bit.
We were attempting to do a bath every other day with a top and tail wash on the inbetween days and I tried all sorts of tricks to try and get Blake enjoying his baths!

Saturday 12 September 2009

NCT Nearly New sale, Bromley, 26th September 2009

Upcoming Event!

On Saturday 26th September 2009, the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) will be holding one of their popular Nearly New Sales, where you can pop along and buy baby clothes, toys and equipment from parents in second hand but good condition. Pick up a bargain and beat the credit crunch!

At the United Reform Church, Widmore Road - Next to Boots and the bus stop!
From 11am until 12pm

Read more on the NCT website -

See you there!

Emma in Bromley

Monday 7 September 2009

Mother and Baby Group, Southview Surgery, Bromley, travelling abroad with your baby

My GP's surgery (Southview) is running a mother and baby group for new mummy's - it's run by the health visitors, Sarah and Angela who are both lovely!

Today was the first session, it's every monday in September and today we spoke about travelling abroad with our babies.

Highlights include
 - if your baby is formula fed, you can make up your feeds with bottled water as long as the seal is intact and the sodium level is low, brands such as Evian should be OK
- smother your baby in sunblock (the highest factor you can find such as factor 50 from mothercare) and keep applying it every hour.
- If your baby goes swimming in the pool or sea, wash your baby's skin as soon as baby is out of the water as both seasalt and chlorine are abrasive and can irritate your baby's skin
- make sure your travel insurance covers your baby too.
- if your baby needs a drink of water, take a travel kettle with you and boil bottled water and leave to cool. If outside temperature reaches over 30 degrees, breastfed babies may also need a drink of water too.
-If flying, feed your baby on take off and landing to help equalise baby's ears, and if you are travelling alone and need to go to the loo, always get a crew member to keep an eye on your baby as all crew members have had their police/criminal checks, and even if the person sat next to you seems like the nicest person in the world - you just don't know!

The session was a great way to meet other local mums with their babies and had a good social atmosthere we all had a good chat.
Other weeks will be covering, weaning, sleep, play and development.

Check with your GP's surgery to see if they are also running classes too!

Emma in Bromley

Sunday 6 September 2009

baby visits Soho House, London, & Mamas and Papas

It was decided that I would take Baby into central London to meet hubby from work.
It was the first time I had attempted the train and London alone with baby so I took the maxi cosi car seat attached to the bugaboo wheels as it was too hot for the sling and the pram top is quite large for commuter trains!

It was also somone's leaving drinks so hubby had mentioned popping in for one quick drink in soho, "somewhere on Greek Street" so there I am still in Maternity jeans - which, by the way, are too baggy but I'm still too big for my normal jeans and a maternity top so I can breastfeed and hide my mummy tummy...

Baby looks adorable in a cute little outfit and baby trainers.

The train journey was ok, baby jumped every time the doors opened and there wasn't anywhere to fit the pram but the train was fairly empty so was manageable. The train pulled into central London at 4pm and there were quite a few commuters waiting to get on the train - I had to say "excuse me please" four times before there was enough room to get off the train and through the commuters waiting to board - it was a bit of a struggle to get the pram off the train and nobody helped! I said "all these people and no one helps!" and it was like I was invisible!

Walking through Soho was easier than I thought but even with a baby, black cabs and cyclists are still keen to run you over, fail to signal and block crossings!

Met hubby, showed off baby to his head office and then it was time for a feed - for all of us! I haven't got the hang of breastfeeding in public yet so we went to Mamas and Papas regent street - there is a back entrance on Argyll street which is where the lift is up to the Cafe, it was virtually empty so we got a table in a corner which was perfect and as it's in Mamas and Papas, I didn't feel uncomfortable breast feeding! Food was great, good menu for lite bites and snacks - and there is a childrens menu too!
Next too the Cafe are baby change and feeding rooms - and I'm pleased to say they have the lovely feeding chairs in them that Mamas and Papas sell so get comfy if you don't fancy breastfeeding in the Cafe! (and take note Mothercare and your horrible hard feeding bench - stick a proper feeding chair in your rooms!)

This is when hubby decided to tell me we were going to Soho House for a drink! - to be fair to him, he didn't know what sort of place it was! I've been before but for a conference!

First thought - Oh my god - soo many stairs and no lift, carrying the bugaboo could be hard!
Second thought - Can we take baby in!
Third thought - I look more like a slummy mummy than a yummy mummy in baggy maternity jeans and top!

Firstly, Hubby carried the pram up the first flight of stairs and the staff were lovely and looked after it for us!
Secondly, Of course babies are allowed - it's used by celebs as a party venue for their babies!
Thirdly, Because of baby, nobody actually noticed what I was wearing - babies seem to be the best distraction technique for when you have an "ugly day"!

I have to say, I had the best virgin cocktail/mocktail I've ever had! Virgin vanilla and apple mojito - simply delish!

I'm pleased to say, baby seems to enjoy the high life! had a great time in one of London's best private members bars and showed everyone that life still goes on when you have a baby! I went in feeling like a slummy mummy but having had a great time socialising, showing off my baby and drinking lovely mocktails, I left feeling like a yummy mummy!

Emma in Bromley

Thursday 27 August 2009

Gymboree in Bromley

Tucked away in a corner of The Glades in Bromley is a branch of Gymboree! It's not very noticeable it's hidden between boots and massimo dutti.

Full of classes and fun things to do with your Little ones from age newborn upwards.

Music, arts and crafts and things such as baby signing all take place here.

There's also a soft padded play area too.

Even though it's the school holidays and Bromley was full of little ones today, Gymboree was strangely quiet ...

Then I found out why.... to go to any of the classes, you need to become a member and membership packages start from a whopping £55 a month and keep climbing! You're committed to 12 months! -oh and there is a joining fee too!

This mean that you can't just pop in to an arts and craft session every once in a while, or do the odd class here and there (At that price you would need to do about 3 sessions a week to justify the cost)

NCT members are offered a 20%discount on membership fees and 10% off on the first two months fees if they join in a Babies Gym class as a group of four or more.

However for a fiver you can use the soft padded play area - this isn't a class or anything and if it's a soft padded play area your after - there is a huuuuge one across the road in the civic centre!

If gymboree let you pay per class, this would be a fantastic place to go but the high membership fees really put me off - not something I can imagine most new mums want to commit to, especially in a credit crunch!

Emma in Bromley

Tuesday 25 August 2009

Mummy bloggers - article on The Independant

The Independant published an article on Mummy bloggers and it makes for an interesting read.
Parts of the article are provoking, such as the suggestion that the blogs are started by lonely mums ( I don't believe this is the main reason) but other parts are great - any support for mummy bloggers is great and I do hope more and more mums will start blogging!
Read the article here ...

Follow up - The journalist has made an entry about all the contraversy this caused on her own blog if you would like to read that too ...

Emma in Bromley

The Baby Cafe

A reader brought to my attention, a drop in coffee morning centre called The Baby Cafe.

The group is set up for pregnant and breastfeeding mums to get together for advice, chat and socialising, I haven't been to one yet, but looks like a great way to meet other mums in your area.

The Baby Cafe has national branches with 2 close to the Bromley area.

Sidcup - Tuesdays 1pm to 3pm
New Community Church, 24 Station Road, Sidcup, Kent, DA15 7DU

Eltham, Greenwich - Wednesdays 10am to 12pm
United Reformed Church, Court Road, Eltham, London, SE9 5AD

Emma in Bromley

Saturday 22 August 2009

Pram-o-cise in Kelsey Park

Pram-o-cise is a new fitness class where you exercise with your pram!

Jacqueline Bundy recently started the class in Kelsey Park on Tuesday 21st July 2009, and the class continues to run every Tuesday from 10.30-11.30am - Meeting at the Main Entrance Gate on Wickham Road.

Jacqueline is a fully qualified instructor and the session involves aerobic and conditioning sections tailored to each individual participants level of fitness. They are designed to help return you to your pre-pregnancy shape (or better!) in a safe and enjoyable environment. It is also a fantastic opportunity to meet and socialise with other new mums.

Mums often socialise over coffee and lunch after sessions and Jacqueline is inviting specialists along to come and join the mums to discuss topics such as Nutrition and Holistic Therapy.

No specialist equipment or prams are required, although trainers and a well fitting sports bra are highly recommended! The cost of the session is £5.

Future plans may also include a Thursday session in Kelsey Park, and a Wednesday session in Biggin Hill ...

If you would like any further information please contact Jacqueline on 07930 87 67 42 or email (Pram-o-cise website is under construction)

Emma in Bromley

Friday 21 August 2009

Breastfeeding in Mothercare, Bromley

There are breastfeeding facilities in Mothercare, situated on Bromley high street.

On the upper level, at the back of the store there are facilities here for mums - There are two rooms, one is a toilet big enough to take your pram in with you, and the other is a baby change room.

The baby change room has a padded bench for breastfeeding mums to use. There is room here for one mum and her pram. The bench is a bit uncomfortable so be prepared to have a stiff back!

Whilst I think it's great that Mothercare have provided an area for breastfeeding mums - I also think it's a shame they didn't think to put one of their own nursing chairs in here! Much more comfortable and also a great way to sell their chairs, especially for the Bromley branch as they don't have the room to put a nursing chair on display on the shop floor and it's an expensive item to take a gamble on and order without seeing it and sitting on one first!

Outside both rooms, just in front of the photo studio is another bench set next to bottle warming facilities for bottle nursing mums too!
You may also like to read my blog post on breastfeeding in The Glades, Bromley and also my entry on breastfeeding in Bluewater
Emma in Bromley

Breastfeeding in The Glades, Bromley

Ok Ok - I know we should be both encouraged and encouraging breastfeeding in public, but lets face it, most of us don't have the balls to do it!

Even with a blanket to cover me, I risk exposure! I have a very wriggly 9 week old baby who I end up wrestling and repositioning in every feed. I'd be mortified if this event was witnessed by the public - especially when said public are the people of the town in which I live!

I found it hard enough to breastfeed in the doctor's waiting room when waiting for baby clinic!

The yummy mummy's of Bromley will be pleased to know that there are 3 designated breastfeeding areas in The Glades and 1 just outside - these are semi - private so you might be joined by other nursing mums...

In The Glades shopping centre there is breastfeeding area in the baby change room on the lower shops level near the pet shop and Rush hair salon. As pictured.

It's got a long slightly padded bench and room for your pram, however this area is very busy and noisy. There is also a toilet cubicle here which is supposed to be big enough for your pram too - I found it to be a tight squeeze. This breastfeeding area is clean but looks a little grubby as you can see where the padded seat has been the victim of school girls apparently in love and armed with marker pens!

There is another breastfeeding area on the 2nd floor car park level but to get to it you need to take the smaller central lifts near optical express and faith shoes.

This is also a mother's only area inside the baby change room - this is much quieter than the lower shops room and also seems much cleaner too. It may just be the time of the year, but I did find this room to be hot!

There are two wooden benches to chose from and room for your pram.

Situated close to the baby change room is the ladies toilets - inside the ladies toilets is a row of large cubicles which have plenty of room for a pram too. There is also a vending machine outside the baby change room for if you need a drink!

There is also a breastfeeding area inside Marks and Spencers, if you were to go to where the toilets are on the upper level, if you walk past the entrance to the ladies room there is another room to the right which is only for baby change and breastfeeding (there is an extra baby change table in the main ladies toilets).

I haven't used this room yet as there is only space for one nursing mum and it's always been in use when I have gone. The room is quiet and dimly lit.

Outside The Glades a breastfeeding area is available in mothercare - please see my blog post on this.

You may also be interested in my blog post about breastfeeding in Bluewater too.

Emma in Bromley

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Biological Nurturing, cracked nipples and breast pains!

I've been breastfeeding for 7 weeks. My baby is putting on lots of weight and produces an awful lot of poo so I know I'm doing something right!

I had help from the midwives to learn how to get my baby to latch on and have had Eight midwives, two health visitors, a breastfeeding councillor and a home care nurse all tell me that baby latches on perfectly and my positioning is spot on - and yet I am not bragging!

If all the above is right - then how come, 7 weeks on, I still have cracked nipples and ten mins into a feed I get toe curling deep pains? Nobody has been able to tell me what these pains are and I've been checked to make sure it's not thrush or anything.

It was suggested that maybe my nipples just need to toughen up or that I should experiment with different positions. I also bought some nipple guards (although these are not recommended as they can reduce your milk supply) but weirdly they were too big - not only was there lots of shield above where my nipple ends but they are too long to fit in my baby's mouth without choking baby meaning baby is sucking on the very tip of nipple (ouch!)

I'm treating my sore nipples to lansinoh cream, lots and lots of washing in plain water and a little bit of air (cover said nips with tea strainers inside your bra to allow air to circulate!)

Whilst in a state of desperation (almost daily I come close to giving up with breastfeeding) I came across something called Biological Nurturing - believe it or not, there are other positions available besides the three shown to you by the NHS. I got myself into a very comfortable reclined position on the sofa with my feet up and let my baby find my nipple, attach and suckle, there was lots of head bobbing and lifting but once nipple was located, latching on happened at the first attempt!

There was no one arm balancing/ wrestling / repeated attempts before baby settled for a feed for once! (not shown in the NHS guide by the way, but I'm pretty sure the wrestling happens to most of us!)

Although the weird 10 min in pain still occurred, my nipples got a break as there was no pressure on the sore bits!

I'm wondering if the pain I get is because I'm "empty" baby usually suckles on one breast for 45 mins and sometimes a further 15 mins on the other and then goes 2 hours ( sometimes 3 hours!)before next feed... is baby just suckling an empty breast and using me for comfort (a human dummy) and that's what the pain is?

I would recommend reading about Biological Nurturing to other breastfeeding mums who may want to experiment with other positions!

Emma in Bromley

Friday 7 August 2009

Breastfeeding in Bluewater

Bluewater shopping centre in Dartford (20 mins from Bromley) has some really great facilities for breastfeeding mums!

Look out for their family rooms dotted about near the restrooms - these not only have nappy change and toilets big enough to accommodate a pram, shopping and any extra little ones you may have with you... they also have rocking chairs in them for breastfeeding mummy's! The door to the room is lockable so you don't need to worry about other families walking in on you.
The only downside is that they are very popular so you may have to wait a little while for one to come free!
You might also enjoy my blog post on Breastfeeding in The Glades, Bromley.And breastfeeding in Mothercare, Bromley
Emma in Bromley

Monday 13 July 2009

My Labour and Birth Story at PRUH

OK, so I had been up all night with contractions, I'd had no sleep, the night before I had been kept in PRUH (Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough) and had hardly slept so I was already tired before anything started! - Read my earlier post on this!

I'd been having blood pressure problems and suffered from swollen feet, ankles and wrists ohhh and face!

It was 6am and I had been labouring mildly since about 7pm the night before but properly from about midnight. I hadn't realised I was in Labour at first because all my contractions were in my lower back, I didn't know this could happen and didn't have a single contraction across my tummy.

With each contraction I had to bend forward, it was the only thing that helped me ride through them.

When we got to the hospital, I had just got out of the car when I had a contraction, I had to kneel on the carpark floor! and again in the hospital corridor! There was me on the floor leaning onto the wheelchair seat making whale noises - with Hubby balancing all my bags and stuff! - What a sight! Two people passing by took pitty on us and helped get me and all our stuff to the delivery suite, once we had been put into a delivery room, it turns out that the man who had helped in the corridor was my midwife, Jimmy!

My birth plan was basically to use hypnobirthing, have a water birth with gas and air as pain relief. I wanted to avoid drips, catheters, pethadine, epidurals and ventouse, the last thing I wanted was to be stuck on a bed and I'd like vitamin K given by oral drops to my baby as I had read about the possible risks from the injection.

So what happened was that I needed to be strapped to the monitor from the moment I entred the room because of my BP and baby's heart rate - I was stuck on the bed with lots of wires attached to me, every time I had a contraction I needed to be helped forward, the back pain was agony - I actually felt like I was going to be left paralysed. I had gas and air which was fantastic! Really helped me cope with the pain and made me feel a little drunk and provided entertainment for my hubby! I kept feeling like I was blacking out and when I felt aware again I kept saying Hello and saying "drunk" things like I know what's going on it's just my speech has gone funny...

I had brought an icelolly with me in the cool bag and wasted no time at all getting stuck into it! The gas and air gives you such a dry mouth it was a relief to have! Jimmy, the midwife thought it was hilarious that someone had brought an icelolly! Take Icelollys and hand fans with you!

I ended up getting really badly dehydrated to the point that my lips went blue and I had to be hooked up to a drip.
The contraction pains were so intense I ended up having pethadine injected into the top of my leg, this meant that there was no chance of a water birth and things were happening so fast I could hardly think, let alone practice hypnobirthing! and as I was stuck on the bed, I wasn't able to use any yoga poses.
It also turned out that only part of my waters had broken, the rest were in the way and had to be burst for me - with something large and painful. It also turned out that my bladder was too full and in the way too so I ended up with a catheter!

Every time I had a contraction, my baby's heart rate dropped below 100 and the monitor alarm went off which was terrifying- both me and my hubby were scared that baby wasn't going to make it out alive.

I was in complete agony and struggling to push baby out (I'm sure the lack of sleep from the previous 2 nights didn't help!) I was in so much difficulty and baby was getting distressed that I ended up needing the ventouse to help deliver baby. They inject your ummm opening to numb the pain of getting the ventouse in and also when I ripped, I didn't feel the pain but I did feel the action of it happening and all the blood that followed which was a bit unsettling!

When they finally got baby out, I only had him on me for a second, they had to put him on oxygen to get him breathing - we didn't know we had a boy but recognised his features from the 4d scans we had done! The relief was imense when we finally heard him and saw him moving!

I'd lost half a litre of blood there and then and went on to lose another half litre and a huge blood clot (needed two hands to pick it up!) the midwife who came to my rescue told me it was one of the largest she had ever seen!

My baby boy only weighed 5lb 13oz when he was born and was absolutely perfect! Ended up with the vitamin K injection instead of oral drops though!

It's taken me a while to cope with the birth and accept it - It's left me feeling a bit traumatised and shocked - it was much worse than I had anticipated and I since found out that back contractions are rare and much more painful than ones across your tummy.

It was good to be on the labour ward so that everyone could come and visit and see our baby but it was hard for hubby to go home that night and leave us alone - I do think it's hard on partners!

We were out of hospital the next day and the midwives were fantastic, I got help with learning to breastfeed, change my boy's nappy and how to give him a bath!

The food was awful, so take your own cool bag full of drinks and snacks! Breakfast is cereal or a slice of bread (there is no toaster), Lunch was a microwaved hard potato and I'm not sure what the evening meal was - somehow I missed it!

At the pruh the staff were great and everything seemed clean and in order. If I were to have another baby I would go here again! (Although it's too soon to think about putting myself through birth again!)

Emma in Bromley

Friday 3 July 2009

Stop over in PRUH and getting labour started!

In the last few days of my pregnancy I had developed a few small complications, My swollen ankles had swollen even more, my blood pressure was high and I had a level 2 protein reading.

My midwife at the GP's had said to me that if I get even the slightest hint of a headache, that I should call the labour ward at PRUH (Princess Royal University Hospital, Farnborough)

The next day I got a headache, I thought it was just down to a bizzy day and the heavy air pressure but I took the advice of my hubby and phoned the labour ward - who asked me to pop in so they could just check everything was OK.

My blood pressure was all over the place so I had to stay in that night, at one point my bp reached 170/110. I was terrified - I'm not comfortable with hospitals as I had a few operations as a child (childhood kidney disease) and I was put on a ward in a bay with 4 beds, my hubby stayed as long as he could but was not allowed to stay with me - I'd have felt a lot more comfortable if my hubby could have stayed with me!

I didn't get much sleep, it was very noisey on the ward and any sleep I did get was interrupted either for me to be woken for my bp and other readings or by the sounds of others being woken for their monitoring or the cries of babies from other bays, staff talking to each other and various equipment beeping. I would reccommend that if you should need an overnight stay before your baby is born - pack ear plugs!

The next morning the doctors decided that I should be induced in a few days time as although my BP had settled a little in the night they were concerned, they booked me in for induction on monday and told me I had to come back for monitoring over the weekend.

In the meantime I was advised to see if I could get labour started using other methods and was offered a sweep - which I had.

OMG! the sweep hurt like h3ll and was a lot more uncomfortable than I was expecting (They said it was like a smear test) I wasn't dilated at all so it was very painful and left me feeling rather bruised and uncomfortable!

After I was discharged from hospital we decided to see what we could do to get things going.

We went for a walk to our favourite Indian restaurant in Bromley (The papadom) - I had Chicken Tikka Buhna and a few pineapple juices.

Before we had even left the restaurant, my show had started! and I had very mild lower back pains but I suffer IBS and put it down to food and tiredness. We walked back to the car and took the route home with the most speed humps - as I was still feeling bruised from the sweep it was quite uncomfortable!

When we went to bed, I was still having mild back cramps and they were getting stronger, I also had to go to the loo with an upset tummy - it felt very much like IBS and I wasn't getting any pains accross the front. I was struggling to get comfy in bed or sleep, I ended up going downstairs and was getting those back cramps every 10 mins, I couldn't sleep and by this point it was midnight and I started to suspect I was in Labour but was confused as I thought contractions happened across your front (turns out that for a few of us, we get contractions in our backs!) The pains in my back kept getting worse and I laboured downstairs until about 6am, each time I got a contraction, because they were in my back I had to roll forward over my birthing ball or go on all fours on the floor. When the pains were coming every 3 mins and were very painful (the noises I was making, I wondered if the neighbours thought we were having noisey sex!), I told hubby it was time to go!

Whilst my hubby was phoning the labour ward my waters broke they kind of gently gushed out if that makes sense! Hubby made the calls to our parents and packed me into the car and off we went to the hospital.

If you would like to read more about my Labour, please read my Labour story entry...

Emma in Bromley

Monday 15 June 2009

Pregnancy Yoga in Bromley

I didn't used to be a yoga fan, having tried a few regular yoga sessions in the past, I found yoga to be a little on the dull side as I used to be a semi professional dancer and just enjoy the energy in dance so much I didn't really appreciate the serenity of yoga.

However, just before I became pregnant I had been giving yoga and pilates another chance and enjoyed following a dvd at home.

I'm keen on natural birth techniques, where I can, I eat organically and avoid Parabens in cosmetics and artificial sweetners in food/drink. I've been following a few hypnobirth techniques and would like a water birth.

I was keen to have a go at Pregnancy Yoga and was pleased to come across a class in Bromley, As far as I could tell from my research there is only the one teacher in Bromley with classes taking place on Tuesdays, one at 5pm and one later in the evening. If Tuesday isn't a good day for you then Bromley doesn't have any other choices!

The sessions take place at St Mark's Church Hall on Westmoreland Road near Bromley South train station with teacher Zoe Knott.

I went along for a 5pm session and was surprised to find that the session was full and really busy - I had chosen the earlier session expecting it to be quieter than the evening session.

Zoe was a fantastic tutor and I really enjoyed the session, I got the feeling that it would be a great way to meet other mums and everyone seemed really friendly. There were people there from around about the 16 week mark with small hardly there bumps to ladies who were over due and ready to pop so no need to worry about your bump size! (and Yes! there is a toilet & changing area)

You need to wear layers and socks (Matching socks are optional!) unless you have well manicured toes! If you don't have your own yoga mat, not to worry Zoe had spares that you can either borrow or buy - and take a bottle of water along with you.

In the kitchen there was a whole hive of local information and pregnancy resources which was great to see and at the end of the session, there was a "show and tell" from one of the ladies who had been going to pregnancy yoga who had come in to tell her positive birth story (and pass round a very lovely cute baby for people to see)

The session lasted for about an hour and a half and I would have loved to continue going. - Unfortunately, as I was made redundant, it wasn't something I could afford to do whilst in that situation. I left the session feeling full of energy and very positive with practical techniques to do at home, and I have been practicing pregnancy yoga via a dvd at home - it's not the same and if you can, I would fully recommend going along to the class as you get the benefit of a trained tutor to help you get into the correct position and the opportunity to meet new friends.

If you are interested in going along to one of Zoe's pregnancy yoga sessions, you can contact her by email
Whilst I found the session fantastic, I have to say that besides the session Zoe offers, Bromley has no other pregnancy Yoga, pregnancy Pilates or aquanatal sessions available - which, considering both the size of Bromley and also how popular the sessions with Zoe are is a bit of a shocker! I spent a very long time trying to find pregnancy pilates and aquanatal classes but was unsuccessful.
Please do let me know if you know of any other pregnancy sessions in Bromley. 

Near by Sidcup, Keston and Beckenham have pregnancy yoga teachers too.

Beckenham Pregnancy Yoga

Keston yoga - YogaBarn

Emma in Bromley

Tuesday 9 June 2009

The truth about morning sickness

I'm going to take you back in time a bit here to when I was suffering morning sickness, and OMG! was I suffering!

It's name is a big fat lie - it should be called "spontaneous sickness" - it can attack at anytime with no warning!

I started with it at about week 6 and it didn't ease off until week 14. And let me tell you, it was hell! From the moment I woke up, I would have my head down the toilet dry heaving my empty tummy until I thought I'd cracked my ribs and produced a tiny glob of goo.

Everyone was giving me tips - try dry crackers, try ginger, try this and try that... it was enough advice to drive you crazy and none of the tips worked for me - I now can't even stomach the smell of ginger anymore!

For me I eventually found that nibbling a dry rich tea biscuit and sipping lemonade (the "homemade" sort) helped a little bit. It's a case of trial and error as there is no magic cure I'm affraid.

Getting ready for work was tough (before I got made redundant - grrr) I'd be dizzy and feeling sick in the shower and cleaning my teeth made me puke up the little bit of lemonade I'd managed to have.

Being lucky enough to have had a trip to New York early in pregnancy meant I had a stash of airline sick bags (Thank you Virgin Atlantic!) in my handbag and I can't tell you enough how handy these were! I'm sorry to my fellow packed commuter train passengers as there were several times when I needed to use a bag on the train! I had a constant supply of polo mints and I found that sea sickness travel bands helped a little sometimes.

Once my train arrived at charring cross, it was a race against time to make it to the ladies room with my 30p for the turnstile at the ready in the 50/50 chance of making it before I recreated the "wafer thin mint" scene from Monty Python.

By the time I arrived at work, I was exhausted and drained and already had a puke toll of 4, but by this time I actually felt like eating and made myself toast.

At various random stages through out the day I would have to leg it to the ladies room and as I hadn't made it public knowledge at this point that I was pregnant, it was pretty hard to do it quietly!

I did find that Pret's honey popcorn was great to nibble on when I couldn't face the thought of eating but desperately needed to eat! I seemed to constantly have a bag on the go for months!

One moment I was fine, the next I felt awful and had my sick bag at the ready! However, there were a few moments where I was caught short and left a sobbing, giggling mess where I didn't know if I was laughing or crying.

Que, The Old Navy store in New York, were shopping in the basement and I suddenly need to be sick, I look around in pure horror as I look for a bin, a toilet an anything... Then I spot the answer to my prayers- there is a restroom sign, I leg it over with lightning speed as I'm already holding a mouthful of goo with a worried hubby in tow but then I panic - it's a mensroom! I wildly point at the door and hubby understands to check if anyone is in it but too late! disaster strikes and the "wafer thin mint" scene is a reality all over the floor (this time it's a puzzling bright pink colour!) the mensroom was empty so I make a run for it and spend a further ten mins puking my guts out and emerge with mascara streaked down my cheeks and an embarrassing mess to try and tidy up (no idea why I was so worried about my mess, after all I was in a smelly dirty mensroom!). Needless to say, we didn't buy anything and quickly left the store!

There is also the incident with the shoes - Sitting at home watching TV with my hubby in the evening, having a lovely relaxing time but had a sudden sickness attack and legged it up the stairs but I didn't quite make it to the bathroom and what followed was a bright orange stinky mess all over the landing carpet, the walls and to my horror, my husband's work shoes! I had to scrub those shoes so many times with dettol to try and get all the chunks and smell out - only I failed and Hubby had to buy a new pair of work shoes....

After about week 14, the sickness did mostly go, however I still get the odd attack - even now it can happen randomly and at any time.

Emma in Bromley

Monday 8 June 2009

Credit Crunch - Surviving Redundancy whilst Pregnant

I'm degree educated and experienced to a senior level in what I do - after all, I've been doing it professionally for over 8 years!

So I took on a challenge for a smaller company, I turned around their online marketing strategy and improved their best ever month from £2,000 to £15,000 with the smallest budget I had ever had to play with and the smallest team I've ever had - Just me and a part time work experience student.

Here I am, proving how successful the brand could be, I'd just had the next 6 month marketing budget approved and have several on and off line campaigns in full swing, including printed ads in Vogue and online campaigns with sheerluxe and quintessentially to name a few, and the success of a printed brochure.

Things are looking good, some parts of the company are not doing so well thanks to the credit crunch, but the brand I'm working on is doing well and my campaigns are showing great results.

I'm at my happiest - I've just found out I'm pregnant with my first baby and off to New York for a week to celebrate my first wedding anniversary.

On the Monday that I returned to work from New York, I walk into a terrified office - what on earth could have happened in a week! Turns out - an awful lot! The company shares were no longer trading and emergency administrators were in the building, by lunch time, half the company had been sent home on "gardening leave" whilst the rest of us tried to carry on as normal. We hadn't been told anything officially but via the receptionist, I hear rumours of the company being in administration, I work closely with one of the company's directors - who informs me that if we are, no one has told her.

The next morning I walk into the office, start up my computer and read my emails - I find out through the Drapers website that we are in fact in administration - what does this mean? no one knows, no one has been told by anyone in the company - is it true? it doesn't seem right that we should find out from Drapers and not by anyone in the company.

Without warning, my company website is taken down - The Director I report to still hasn't been told anything officially so we decide as a precaution to cancel and refund any outstanding orders and prepare for the worst.

At 5pm, everyone in the company is called into the meeting room and by everyone, I mean everyone from Directors to Cleaners there are about 70 of us from 6 brands. Three people we have never seen before introduce themselves as administrators, inform us all that we are in fact in administration, the company no longer exists and we are all redundant with immediate effect. We're given a form to fill in for redundancy from the insolvency agency - we're told that we will not get paid at the end of the month by the company but will receive money from the insolvency agency, however this is capped at a low rate so no one will actually get paid for what they have already earned and are owed. We are then told to hand in our security passes and that we can no longer access the building.
I'm 12 weeks pregnant and in a real state - a week ago I was at my happiest and under the impression that all was well with my job.

What do I do now?! I was told to sign on as unemployed - which I did - this takes almost 3 weeks to sort out and by "signing on" you go through a soul shattering experience, how hard it is to fight off depression and not allow yourself to hit rock bottom. The Job Centre isn't familiar with online marketing and want to pigeon hole me as "IT support" I'm also advised to go for a junior office administration role...

I'm starting to show, I have a neat little bump and I'm really determined - I've never been unemployed before - in fact with my experience I'm often poached by head hunters!

However - How different the world is when you are pregnant - the expression on the face of the interviewers when they clock your bump is one of pure disappointment. Having worked closely with recruitment agencies before - both to find work and also to find staff, I'm shocked at how many tell me in confidence that it will be near impossible to find something now I look pregnant.

I ended up being on contribution based job seekers allowance - which is very tough as you are not entitled to other benefits such as a reduction in council tax, cheaper education or sure start pregnancy grants, which you get if your are on income based jobseekers allowance.

I've gone from a very good salary to just under £60 a week, It wasn't something I had foreseen so I have no savings, every penny I was earning was paying off debts, I put myself through university and was paying off a whopping £20k debt, also in debt from our recent wedding and we bought a house - a neglected house as that was what we could afford - everything I had was going into re-plastering, replacing mouldy carpets, sorting out damp etc... As much as my salary was, I wasn't living a life of luxury as every penny was claimed for, I don't even own a designer handbag.

Now my income wasn't even enough to cover my basic bills, the pressure on my husband was unbearable and shattering as it means him working ridiculously long shifts and hours, often having at most one day off a week and working 14 hour days. I felt such bad guilt over something I couldn't control, felt nervous of how we were going to survive - what if we couldn't pay our mortgage, How are we going to buy things for the baby - there go my dreams of doing pregnancy yoga and the things I was looking forward to in pregnancy.

This went on for so long, I was forced to swap to maternity allowance - which on one hand is great because at least it's more than job seekers allowance but on the other hand is hard as you are forced to take it at 26 weeks - that's just over half way through your pregnancy and a lot earlier than I would have been starting it had I been employed - It makes you feel like you are officially useless and unfit to work in the eyes of the government. Maternity allowance (MA), by the way, takes about 6 weeks to sort out! You get paid a backlog in one go of what's owed to you and I also applied for the health in pregnancy grant (Hip), which takes about 5 weeks to sort out - it's worth £190 and it's available to almost all pregnant ladies in the UK. (And that is how we went from a moldy carpet in the baby's room to a brand new one!)

On one hand I've had to do everything I can to fight off depression, deal with being broke beyond broke building up even more debt, felt the guilt of adding extra pressure to my husband, given up the dreams of doing things for a happy pregnancy such as the yoga classes and pregnancy massage and buying the things I wanted to provide for my baby - I had to save up £6 to buy the hungry caterpiller book to read to my unborn baby. Some days are so soul shattering that I would curl up in a ball and cry my eyes out.

But on the other hand, I've had a fairly easy pregnancy and been able to rest as much as I've needed too and get things done in the house and prepare for the baby to arrive. My husband has been a fantastic support and I'm so grateful to have him as a partner. I'm not sure my pregnancy would have been as straight forward had I still been in a high pressured job, with it's hour long commute on a packed train and office hours which often run over way beyond the half five clocking out time. Constantly being monitored on my performance and reporting to the board.

It's tough to survive redundancy at the best of times, let alone when you are pregnant - but it can be done, if you find yourself in the same situation - Chin up, keep positive and try to see the good side to the situation.

Emma in Bromley

Thursday 21 May 2009

Maternity Clothes in Bromley

When I first started to need maternity clothes, I had a hard time finding them in Bromley but it just turned out that I needed to look harder!

Next - On Bromley high street. Towards the back of the store currently on the left hand side, there is a small stand with a selection of Maternity clothes - good for basic jeans and tees with the odd fashion piece thrown in.