The breast clinic: What to expect

Breast pain is one of those things, you never know what it means.  The only way to know for sure is to get checked out, so when I had been suffering persistent breast pain that’s what I did. I worried, I ignored it, I tried to forget about the appointment and I read loads of stuff online. But the only thing that really helped me was the actual breast clinic appointment itself.

 

I’ve heard loads of awful things about our NHS but it’s always come up trumps for me. That includes during pregnancy and beyond with my SVT. Once again the NHS came to the rescue;  I got an appointment with my GP who checked me over, reassured me and then gave me a referral.  Within four weeks I was at the breast clinic seeing a consultant.

breast clinic breast pain what to expect

What happens at the Breast Clinic?

I arrived pretty much dead on the time that my appointment was scheduled, but there were lots of people in the waiting room. I was then given a form to fill out, checking all of my details, filling in anything missing and giving them my medical history and my family’s.  I had contacted my parents to find out if they knew of any breast problems within the family. I figured that whether there was or wasn’t would probably make a difference in the care I received.  This is probably true as I overheard a nurse asking if a lady could have a mammogram because of her family history.

The appointment

I was eventually called to see a consultant and she asked a few questions about the problems, then checked me over. She gave me a thorough examination of both sides, comparing the two to see what is normal for my body.

After seeing her I was given a gown to cover up and sent to another waiting room for an ultrasound – as I’m only 29 I cannot have a mammogram.  I waited there for around an hour before I was called. Lots of people came and went in that time. Luckily I had my kindle and read Giovanna Fletcher’s new book Always With Love which I got so in to I was gutted when they called my name!

The ultrasound was really quick, I had to lie on my side while they scanned – the doctor explained what he was seeing on the screen; healthy breast tissue, milk ducts, muscle, veins, ribs, my heart (but of course I’d already seen that when I had my echocardiogram)…

After I’d had the ultrasound I was sent back to the main waiting room and then called in to see the consultant to discuss the results.  In total I was at the breast clinic for 2.5 hours.

The results

I got the all clear, there is absolutely nothing untoward in my breast, but it is still sore.  The consultant reaffirmed that breast pain is very common and gave me a leaflet which discusses various reasons for breast pain.  She also offered some suggestions of ways to treat it including Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) and cutting out tea, coffee, chocolate and red wine.  There are a few websites that suggest there is a link between caffeine and breast pain, but as I already drink decaf, eat minimal chocolate and don’t drink red wine I am not going to change my diet. The consultant recommended taking EPO once a day because the suggested dose of 3 times a day made me feel nauseas. If that fails, I may just have to live with it.

I was also granted ‘open access’ to the breast clinic, so that if I see any changes or have any more issues I can call them for an appointment instead of going through my GP.

 

Breast pain and breastfeeding & conceiving

I was reassured that the pain I experienced would have absolutely no impact on breastfeeding in the future.  I was also advised that when we decide to start trying to conceive I should stop taking Evening Primrose Oil.

 

For more information about breast pain see the NHS website

 

Remember, if you notice any changes at all in your breasts or feel unusual amounts of pain, make an appointment with your GP.  Don’t forget to check yourself regularly, there’s a handy guide of what to look/feel for at Coppafeel. There’s also a brilliant self awareness campaign on instagram called Know Your Normal.

Bridal Fitness Level : Beginner

Everybody talks ‘wedding diet’ when they’re planning their wedding; cutting out the junk and eating well to lose weight. Well, I kinda went through all of that last year when I finally decided enough was enough I was going to shift this baby/breastfeeding/eating my bodyweight in chocolate weight. So now I’ve turned my attention to getting that wedding body that all brides dream of – less wobble more tone!  I’m a complete beginner (I’m one of those people who don’t understand why anyone would do this for fun!) so my bridal fitness journey starts here.

 

I started a yoga class recently, well, a couple of months ago. I’ve been really enjoying that hour and a half a week of ‘me time’, where everyone knows me as Natalie rather than ‘Oliver’s mummy’. I’ve been enjoying feeling like I’m changing my body too.  Feeling the muscles in my core hurt the next day and making me feel like I might actually be gaining some strength and tone.  But of course, 1.5 hours a week is not going to get me the wedding body.

I’ve been trying to think about how else I can improve on my fitness, strength and body tone during Oliver’s school time and nap times and I looked at various DVD’s and downloaded a yoga app that was recommended to me, but I really lacked the motivation.  I haven’t bought my dress yet (or even been shopping), so maybe that’s why the motivation is low!  As if by magic though, HeyWorkout emailed me asking if I would like a free trial in response for a review or workout diary.  I opted for the 3 month workout diary in hope that it could motivate me to change my ways and get fit (something I have pretty much never been).  So today I did my first workout – I chose ‘Easy Yoga’ to break me in; I was feeling so good I then went on to do the Back & Arms Tone class – well that may have been a mistake because my arms  are like jelly but I feel amazing for doing it!

 

Bridal Fitness Current Level : Beginner

 

I can’t wait to share my progress with you.  I’ll have to take some unflattering photos and get some measurements for my first progress report and use those to figure out a target and how I’ll split my time and which areas I will focus on – although it pretty much all needs work, ok, there’s no pretty much about it, I’m lazy and I need a kick up the wobbly bottom to get moving!

Be sure to check back next week to read my detailed plan of how I aim to get the perfect bridal body and get wedding dress ready with my new bridal fitness regime.

bridal fitness level beginner 800px

 

If you’d like to try Hey Workout for a 14 day free trial click here

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What if it doesn’t all go to plan?

This is one of those posts where I’m not sure if I’ll hit publish, but it’s something I feel like I need to write to control my thoughts.

Breast Pain

Recently I’ve been having a health problem – breast pain, it’s been persistent, as in it hasn’t gone away for around 2 months now.  I’ve been to the GP and I now have a referral to go to the breast clinic in just over a week.  I tried not to think about it and took the Evening Primrose Oil that the GP suggested.  There aren’t any lumps, but I have experienced other changes in my breasts, all of which I’m not sure if they are related to stopping breastfeeding after nearly 2 years and losing weight or if there is something more serious.

Either way, sometimes a health issue hits you and you suddenly start to think about the ‘what ifs’.  A few years ago I had recurrent abdominal pain and had to have my ovaries scanned; R and I hadn’t been together long (about a year) but it made us have the conversation about ‘what if’ in relation to kids.  We discussed worst case scenarios and discussed adoption and every other option we could think of.  In the end we settled on ‘we would deal with whatever was thrown at us’.  Luckily there wasn’t anything sinister in the scans and I’m still not sure why I had such awful abdominal pains, but it was something that made us think.

This time around, we have Oliver.  We always said we wanted to have a reasonably big gap between children and then when he proposed we said we would wait until after the wedding.  Oliver is desperate for a baby brother or sister (he’s favouring a brother at the moment and apparently they will have bunk beds) and we have taken for granted the idea that we will have another baby and it will happen when we expect it to.

But what if it doesn’t all go to plan?

The issue with my breast pain has really made me stop and think about all of the assumptions that I made previously;

That I’d have another baby.

That I’d breastfeed again.

That I’d breastfeed until self weaning again.

Then I might have another baby after that and do it all over again.

But What if it doesn’t all go to plan?

What if the problem in my breast is more serious than we hoped?

What if I can’t have any more children?

What if I can never give Oliver that brother or sister that he longs for?

What if I will never be able to breastfeed again?

 

It’s hard being in limbo, it’s the not knowing that makes you think about the worst case scenario.  Almost like a defence mechanism to prepare yourself, just in case.  I don’t have the answers to any of my questions, and yet again it’s one of those things that I will just have to wait and see.  The sheer fact I’ve had these thoughts has changed my perspective on it all though.  I feel even more lucky that Oliver surprised us, because what if we had got to now without any children?  What if I had never got to feel that closeness, that bond and that love.  What if I never knew what it was to be a mother.  What if I never got to prove myself wrong?

 

breast pain-what if it doesnt all go to plan

Solo Parenting without being a Single Parent

It’s that time of year again.  County show and outdoor event season.  The only reason I wince when I see the sun starting to shine and the temperature get warmer.  When R gets his shorts out I know it’s only a matter of time before he’s off for weeks at a time working away.  Of course, I can only be happy that he is working hard and providing enough money for me to stay at home and look after Oliver, but I won’t lie, I do dread the solo parenting bit.

It’s at this time of year my respect for single parents goes through the roof.  It’s really bloody hard when this small person relies only on you.  Last year was especially hard.  Oliver was a bit of a late talker so his understanding was not really there when I explained that Daddy would be home on whichever day.  We tried a few things last year to help us cope while Daddy was away.

 

What I’m Planning to Do This Year

This time will be a little different though; Oliver is older, I can actually drive and he understands so much more as well as being able to express himself better than he has ever been able to.  He can tell me he’s sad, or angry or upset or if he just needs a cuddle.  That in itself will make a huge difference.

Helping Oliver Cope

One of the things I will be implementing again is using the calendar.  I think Oliver really enjoyed crossing off the days.   I’m hoping we might have a few days out too, being able to drive means I can technically take Oliver out by myself, but it’s one of the things that I really struggle with, mentally.  I’m hoping that he might also see a little bit more of Nana, Grandad and Aunty M.

Me Time

Another thing that’s different, at least until the summer holidays, is that Oliver will be at preschool.  It gives me a chance for a bit of me time and to collect myself and my thoughts.  On Thursdays I go to yoga and then for a coffee (actually a decaf tea) with the other ladies from class.  I intend to start doing more yoga at home on other days too.  It really helps me be calm and refocus my thoughts.  I also bought a mindfulness book recently which I’d love to get in to

Housework

Now that Oliver is at preschool I have more of a routine with my cleaning schedule.  I am much happier with how the house looks now than I was this time last year.  We also got a dishwasher in the last year, which helps rather a lot!  The other thing will be to be kind to myself and let myself have the occasional off day where we have pasta sauce from a jar instead of everything needing to be cooked from scratch.

Oliver Time

I have to remember that above all, Oliver needs quality time and extra cuddles, extra play and extra silliness.  Sometimes he just needs a bit of time to wrestle with me or time to cuddle me, or be silly on snapchat with me.  He just needs me sometimes.

snapchat-solo-parenting-silly-

 

Do you have any tips on solo parenting when your partner is away?  If you have any magical secrets I’d love to hear them!

surviving solo parenting

 

Babyblooms Skincare Gifts : Review

My friendship with Natalie at Plutonium Sox is founded for a love of similar things, one of them is ethical products!  Since forging our online friendship she has really given me the push to go further with the ethical choices I make, particularly when it comes to Palm Oil products.  That’s where Babyblooms comes in!  They sent both Natalie and I a lovely set of skincare gifts.  Natalie featured them in one of her Palm Oil free round-ups.

 

Of course the first thing I loved about them was the fact that they are palm oil free and made of lovely natural ingredients.  But what about as a gift for a new mum?  I thought they were fantastic!

Soothing Body Lotion & Replenishing Hand Cream

I get dry, cracked hands and my entire body is prone to eczema.  Since moving away from palm oil and chemical laden products I’ve been using coconut oil as a moisturiser, which is great, but it does take a while to soak in to your skin and you have to melt it in your hands before smoothing it on.  That’s OK for me because I tend to shower when Oliver is at nursery so I’m not in a major hurry.  However, when Oliver was smaller I used to virtually have to jump in and out of the shower in the same leap so having a body lotion like this that soaks in to your skin almost instantly and leaves it feeling soft would be amazing.  The same goes for the hand cream, I also noticed that unlike other hand creams my hands didn’t sting after using this one, and my hands get REALLY dry and sore.

This is a regular sight for me unfortunately – and one of the reasons I usually hide my hands in photographs.  It’s the one part of getting engaged I really hated, everyone wanted to see my hand!

The sign of a hard day’s cleaning. My poor hands 😭😵😢😞 #housewife #springcleaning #easterpreparations

A photo posted by Natalie Streets (@diaryofuem) on

Face cream

The rejuvenating facial moisturiser was just as good too.  It comes in a 60ml pot, but you really only need a tiny amount.  I usually use the ‘simple’ branded day cream, but I need much more of that in comparison to the babyblooms face cream. Something I noticed about my 50ml pot of ‘simple’ was that there is an awful amount of packaging to make it look bigger than it actually is – with this baby blooms it’s in a jar – you see exactly what you’re getting!

Lip balm

I am a sucker for lip balm, in fact I use it almost every night before bed, I have fairly full lips which I know I might not have forever so I like them to look and good.  I don’t wear make-up unless it’s a special occasion so smooth, moisturised lips are really important to me.  The only downside for me is that I like my lip balm to be in a tube, I have long nails so as soon as you get any way down the pot it gets stuck under your nail, but for most people I am sure that is not a problem.  I’m just fussy!

Baby care cream

Oliver isn’t a baby any more (sob!) and we have been potty training so nappy rash isn’t of a major concern, but both he and I suffer with a little bit of eczema and it’s SO gentle on it.

babyblooms skincare new mum gift idea

 

One of the things I love about all of these creams is that they smell divine but you know that there aren’t any harsh perfumes in there, just essential oils.  Well, that and knowing that you’re helping reduce the impact of palm oil on our environment and it’s completely cruelty free loveliness that you’re spreading over your skin.

 

These skincare gifts are amazing, and while the price is a little more than I would usually spend they are definitely worth it.  I’d consider them a perfect gift for a second time mum who has pretty much everything she will need already – you can’t go wrong with a bit of pampering!!

 

 

Potty Training Boys : The Poo Diaries

Recently we were faced with a dilemma.  The poo problem.  Potty training boys is definitely not for the faint hearted.  I wrote about potty training a strong willed toddler way back; a lot has happened since then but at the same time not a lot.  Oliver is now completely dry in the day – meaning he will do weeks in the toilet including rarely having accidents during naps where he will usually wake if he needs the toilet.

However.  We experienced a poo problem!!

Oliver had pooped on the potty a handful of times and got himself really worked up about it all.

We tried EVERYTHING

  1. Nappy on sitting on the potty
  2. Nappy inside the potty
  3. Hugging and reassuring him while he sat on the potty
  4. Buying special ‘big boy wipes’
  5. Chocolate rewards
  6. Toy rewards
  7. High 5’s and loads of praise
  8. Poo songs
  9. Poo stories
  10. Poo YouTube Videos – thanks Dr Ranj in particular!
  11. Giving him space
  12. Hoping he will do it in his own time.

This went on for months.  He has been consistently dry since around Christmas.  His original reason for not wanting to do it was that he didn’t like sitting on the toilet, but he progressed from only doing stand up wees to doing sit down wees too (we got him a special travel loo seat so that he had a familiar seat everywhere we went)

Potty training boys is hard.

Apparently it’s very common when potty training boys for them to dislike doing poos on the potty or toilet.  Apparently it’s a different sensation for them compared to girls where it’s similar.

 

But then….

I don’t want to jinx the progress, but I am so happy that Oliver has pooped on the toilet THREE DAYS IN A ROW!!

potty training boys poo diaries

 

I honestly couldn’t be happier or prouder than I am right now.  I also noticed that his nappy only had one or two wees in when I changed it this morning too, so perhaps he will be completely out of nappies some day soon.  For now I’ll cherish the little bits of him still being my baby though.

 

 

I’ve Been Away…

I’ve been away for a little while.  I know I’m not consistent anyway, so you probably didn’t notice!  I’ve been feeling a little snowed under, with the wedding planning, trying to organise our house and plan for renovations while also panicking about our income and how we are going to pay for all of the above.  I felt I needed the break so that I would be able to actually apply myself to my blog and figuring out the income part.

 

I wrote a little while ago that I wanted to organise our spare room-office combo.  The good news is we have sort of done it!  I am sitting here typing this on my lovely mac mini – the bad news is I am still trying to figure out how mac works and using an actual proper keyboard and mouse while sitting at a desk looking up at a screen instead of on the sofa looking down at a screen is a bit strange having used a laptop for so long.

 

The spare room-office definitely is not a pretty looking room yet, but I am sure it won’t be long until I have put my stamp on it.  It is now at least a functional space where R and I can both work – I’ve already noticed the difference in how productive I have been.

 

Hopefully this is the start of a beautiful relationship and I can become much more productive in planning my wedding and blogging!

 

Hatch Cards Review and Giveaway

I was recently sent some Hatch Cards to review, I’d never heard of them or knew anything about these kinds of cards, I’m so behind on the times.  R informs that augmented reality is like, sooo right now!  Well, actually he said “it’s really taking off at the moment”.  He works in event AV so tech is his ‘thang’.

What are Hatch Cards?

Hatch Cards are birthday cards aimed at kids that have a code on them that brings the card to life – augmented reality.  You scan the code in the top right corner with an app called Zappar (download it in your preferred store) then move the phone above the card so that you can see the whole picture, the card then ‘comes to life’ with a happy birthday song and an animation.

 

After you’ve watched the video there’s an option to replay it or play some games.

 

The idea of Hatch Cards is brilliant, kids never look at birthday cards.  In fact it was recently my friend’s daughter’s birthday and after her party we went back to the house where we saw her opening her cards and presents.  The card she spent the longest time looking at was the card from us – the Hatch Card.  We chose a super girl card because she LOVES superheroes and was even dressed as Batgirl at her party.

 

Other than the supergirl card we chose the penguin card and the cat card.  They all have different songs and animations and are really fun for kids.  Oliver has loved watching them.  They’re officially aimed at around 6 year olds but actually I think they’re great for little ones too, Oliver can’t read yet so he can only look at the pictures on his cards so for a card to be even a tiny bit interactive it is really great – they go from something to look at for 5 seconds to something that is actually appreciated and understood.

hatch cards augmented reality card

 

You can buy Hatch Cards online for £2.99.  Or if you’d like to be in with the chance to win some for yourself you can enter my giveaway below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

T’s and C’s – Competition Closes 19th April 2016, a winner will be picked at random by the computer.  A blog post comment is mandatory, entries without a comment will not be counted.  Hatch Cards will be sent from Hatch Cards directly, your details will be passed on to them so that you can choose which 6 cards you would like.

Room Challenge: Spare Room-Office

Pretty much the only room in our house that doesn’t require a lot of effort (for the moment at least) is our spare room-office.  It’s a room that can be ‘made do with’ for the next year or two, when it will be re-purposed (oooh cryptic!).  It’s remained almost untouched since we moved in.  In fact it has only been used as a dumping ground and occasional space for my mother-in-law to sleep when she looks after Oliver until late at night or when she dropped us at the airport at silly-o-clock.  So this week, although it wasn’t on our Home Improvement for 2016 list our challenge is to sort through it!

 

I felt the need to blog about it so that it really forces me to get started.  R is working on Monday and Tuesday so I want to get started and clear it a bit so that he can get in on Wednesday to do a few bits and bobs.

Our To Do list includes

  • A lot of shredding
  • Throwing out junk
  • Put up a curtain rail and finally put up curtains so that we can take down the hideous broken blind
  • Put up a shelf/shelves
  • Set up our computer and printer
  • Organise paperwork
  • Utilise the space as efficiently as possible

I won’t lie, the finished product won’t be something you coo over on Pinterest or Instagram, but it will be good enough to work from which is somewhat of an improvement on it’s current state…

room challenge-spare room-office

 

We do have grand plans for the room, but that involves a lot of plumbing, electrical work a lot of DIY and a reasonable amount of money spent.  It’s not something we need to do right now, but we do need it to be functional and there is no shame in that.

 

I’ll be sure to post a photo when we are finished, I’m sure that myself and R will be fighting over it!

 

Do you have a spare room-office combo?  Do you have any tips on how to make the most of the small amount of space available?

Pinterest Worthy Bridesmaid Proposals

Now that we have started to seriously start planning our wedding I have been thinking about who I want to be my bridesmaids (totally acting like I hadn’t chosen them before R even proposed).  Who will be the people I need by my side on that big day doing the important jobs?  Now that I have decided who those lucky ladies are, I thought what with me being a) a blogger and b) Pinterest addicted I should think a little outside of the box and ask my best girls to be my maids in a more outstanding fashion than a text message.  Obviously I asked my fellow bloggers for ideas on Pinterest worthy bridesmaid proposals; here are a few of the ideas I got:

 

pinterest worthy bridesmaid proposals

Charlotte from Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen made these amazing fortune cookies as a fun way to propose, but this would completely work with bridesmaids too.

bridesmaid proposal fortune cookie

 

Remie at Remie’s Luxury Blog proposed to one of her bridesmaids via a blog post.  A whole blog post dedicated to why she wanted her BFF to be her maid – truly wonderful!

Codie of Codiekinz decided that she would make a cute little gift to propose to her bridesmaids.

Cute-and-EasyDIY-Bridesmaid-Proposal-682x1024

 

Meanwhile, Laura at Mummy Lala got her hopes up when her friend sent a wrapped up present with “Will you be…” written on it, hoping for a marriage proposal from her other half, but was actually proposed to by her best friend who wanted her to be a bridesmaid.  Disappointment and excitement all at once!

Alex from Lamb and Bear decided to send her maids some balloons – only when it was blown up did it reveal her special message, “will you be my bridesmaid?”

bridesmaid balloon writing

Laura at Wafflemama gave two of her bridesmaids a card which resulted in lots of squealing.  Her other bridesmaid was her BFF who didn’t require asking, it was an unsaid promise of everlasting friendship – Laura even promised that she could wear black, but if she misbehaved there’d be a large bow on her bottom!  That is the sign of true friendship

Like Laura, Deborah at Super Busy Mum bought some really cute cards from etsy to propose to her bridesmaids.  Etsy is a fab marketplace for finding unique items that you wouldn’t find on the high street. One of the most fabulous items I found while looking for bridesmaid proposals was this balloon pop kit from Petite25

bridesmaid proposal balloon pop kit petite 25 etsy

 

If you fancy a bit of DIY, Ali at According to Ali made her own DIY Bridesmaid Proposal Box

diy bridesmaid proposal box

But what to put in these boxes?  Mode Lily has some fabulous recommendations for what to put in a beauty box for your maids.

Laura at Top Style Advice included some goodies and a personalised card.

bridesmaid proposal box idea inside

 

Alternatively, you could be like Lucy at The Parent Game who just asked over Facebook, or Azaria who just got drunk and asked in a nightclub loo – now that seems like much less effort!

To see more ideas of how to propose to your bridesmaids check out my Pinterest board here.

 

Have you proposed to your bridesmaids?  Did you keep it simple or do something extravagant?  I will be posting how I proposed to my bridesmaids when I’ve actually done it!