Pregnancy Update – 34 Weeks

Hello friends, so I know I said I would document this whole thing and I haven’t… so I thought I would do a quick pregnancy update now I am 34 weeks and 6 weeks away from our due date, before 3 becomes 4.

As I have mentioned in an earlier post the first trimester wasn’t brilliant especially mental health wise, but the second trimester I was so lucky it was great. I just lived a normal life really but with a growing tummy. It’s only been in the last month I have really slowed down – when we take Fudge for a walk Joe is always shocked at how slow I now walk – give me a break mate I’m growing a baby over here!

The fatigue has well and truly set in, the dog thinks I have a ball stuffed up my top, the insomnia has kicked in and the back pain has set in but I can’t complain it’s all going well, we have a healthy baby growing in there.

I had begun to go very dizzy but the midwives didn’t seem concerned. However my blood pressure when I did it was very low and when my full blood count came back I was borderline anaemic. I am not a fan of iron tablets so I bought some Spatone and I am taking 2 sachets per day in orange juice. I may not be able to get my iron levels up to where I would like them for birth but I can stop them from going lower. It’s also all about the spinach, red meat and chia seeds everyday.

I think it was also evident I was doing too much, I would go dizzy and faint when I would push my body too much and try to continue as normal, when really I was heavily pregnant, that couldn’t be sustained so I am doing lots and lots of resting now and feeling better for it.

I wish I could post cute photos of the nursery but unfortunately that is the babies dumping ground (pram, cot, mattress, bath, clothes, nappies, playmate, teddies) because we are also in the process of buying a house. Yes I know who does that… well apparently us. It was too good of an opportunity to miss (we are taking bets on which house we have our home birth in). Now usually I would think this is crazy and feel so stressed not knowing where my baby will be born but I think the hypnobirthing has been helping me feel much calmer, the relaxation must be working. But I have big plans for the nursery in the new place. For now it (sorry for the ‘it’ we don’t know the gender) has it’s moses basket set up in our room and it’s little clothes and essentials all ready for it’s arrival.

But the nesting has set in, I just clean anything, literally… it’s crazy. I have taken to watching cleaning videos and following cleaning profiles on Instagram… don’t ask.

Names have been chosen for both boy and girl… ish. But no nobody knows except for the two of us and no we won’t be telling anyone.

And finally my sister and her husband had their baby boy two and a half weeks ago so we are now an auntie and uncle! So we are getting the practice in now whilst we can. It’s also hilarious, Fudge cannot work the baby out at all, when he hiccups she is so confused.

Jobs for the next few weeks: finish buying a house, finish work, bulk make tons of food for the freezer, enjoy our last weeks as a 3, rest, read as many library books as possible before I don’t have time, enjoy this time carrying a baby inside me.

We can’t wait for baby to come now, once I hit that 37 week mark it’s all about getting labour kick started but as we well know, baby knows best and it knows when the time is right. Can’t wait to meet you little one and see who’s been doing all that kicking around, although your cockapoo sister will be abit gutted to find out it wasn’t a ball under mummies top all along.

Hypnobirthing – What Is It?

Hypnobirthing 101

 

“Well good luck with that” they say. That’s what most people say when I tell them I plan to breath my baby out with no pain relief through learning hypnobirthing tools.

 

I came across hypnobirthing from clients really, during my initial consultations I routinely ask if they have children and if it was a natural birth etc. and all my hypnobirthing mums then continue to tell me all about their amazing births. I have to admit at first I thought hmmmm not sure about that but the more and more women I have met who tell me they ENJOYED their birth, they weren’t scared, they had no pain relief and breathed their baby out. When I got pregnant I thought well I better look into this…

This is not the stuff of ‘One Born Every Minute’ because a hypnobirthing mum is possibly the least dramatic thing to watch ever – it probably wouldn’t make good TV, we have watched many hypnobirths during our classes and on Youtube they are amazing births, go and check it out (if your that way inclined).

I think we have become so used to what we see on TV and films and people’s horror stories from years ago. Once upon a time we used to give birth on a bed with legs in stirrups, how on earth does that make sense? Talk about going again nature and gravity! And dads never used to be allowed in the room let alone be involved. But this is now the 21st century surely we need to move on.

Hypnobirthing requires very little intervention (hopefully) from medical professionals, it is focused on the mum and dad working together to birth the baby. My husband will be very involved to help to calm me down, speaking affirmations and playing relaxing music and all round speaking positive truths to me throughout (unless he faints).

 

So what is it? Hypnobirthing is not going into a trance it’s simply the art of mastering breathing techniques and relaxation to calm you down so you can handle your labour in a more relaxed manner.

When the body is in pain and we are scared and afraid all the muscles tighten and we enter ‘fight or flight’, the last thing your body cares to do is birth a baby when all your muscles are tight and your in a state of stress. This is how mothers end up with failure to progress. When we are relaxed during pregnancy and feeling in control the chances of having a quicker birth with less (not no pain) is more likely.

Does it really work? – I’ll let you know.

Benefits: the possibility of a less painful birth, no pain relief, bringing your baby into the world in a calm way in a calm environment, therefore in theory giving birth to a calm baby.

My husband and I have two hypnobirthing books which I would recommend, the course we went on was based on the Marie Mongan theory, the original founder of this technique. But if your pregnant and interested I would recommend these – it’s also never too late even if your 36 weeks you can learn some tools to help you during labour.

(I would also HUGELY recommend this book too – it isn’t hypnobirthing but it is how to have the best birth – it covers nutrition, reflexology, massage, affirmations and it has a week by week breakdown of what you can do that week to help ie. a yoga pose to start or a food to help)

I listen to my positive affirmations everyday and listen to the downloaded relaxation I have on my phone, in the bath or when I go to sleep at night.

(A lovely client also lent me these cards to have around the house as little reminders)

Joe and I have been to a course on Hypnobirthing, it was for 5 weeks with 5 other couples and she taught us the breathing techniques (there are three different breaths to use at different times – the calm breath, surge breath and birth breath), the relaxation tapes, we talked about where we wanted to birth our babies eg. home, hospital or birthing centre and the pros and cons of each, breastfeeding, fears, communication, we did our birth preferences (birth plan), massage, aromatherapy, placenta encapsulation, the role of the dad and his jobs during birth – it was a brilliant course. My mum ended up coming to a couple of sessions because Joe had to work away and I think she was a convert (especially the in class meditation we did every week).

This takes practice, we have to practice everyday and you have to believe this is possible and have a good positive approach to it all. The more you do the relaxation the quicker you can get yourself into that state and the deeper your relaxation can go, win win really (it also helps me to sleep – hello third trimester insomnia).

 

Our rough plan is when labour begins, he can time the surges (a better word for contractions which sounds very harsh) and blow up the pool and add the water. We will create a little bed space for me downstairs with a mattress and pillows and blankets, maybe bounce on my ball for a bit, watch some Netflix. When things rank up we may do some massage to calm me down or some relaxation scripts which Joe can read to me, we will put our LED candles out and create a relaxed atmosphere. When the midwife arrives we will ask her to speak in hushed tones but we mainly want to do this together, the midwife can intervene if needed but otherwise it’s just me focusing on staying relaxed. When necessary I will get into the pool and hopefully we will get the water birth we want. Followed by putting the baby on me immediately for skin to skin for a few hours.

We are planning a home birth (see post below) but you can use hypnobirthing in the hospital or birth centre it’s very simple really.

I can honestly say I am looking forward to the birth and thats coming from someone who has always been petrified of the idea of childbirth to the point where I thought theres no way I could have children. When I found I was pregnant I knew I had to look into other methods rather than the usual scary stuff we are fed by the TV. I hope we can tell a positive story to other people who live in fear of a painful awful birth full of screams, drama and lack of control. We are aiming for more a spa sanctuary, less TV drama, I’ll let you know how it goes. Wish us luck.

Why Home Birth?

Why Homebirth?

 

“So which hospital do you think you want to go to to have the baby?” he said.

“Erm I think I want a homebirth” – husband faints on the floor (only joking he knows me too well by now he was probably fully expecting this) but I can’t say he was fully on board to begin with, well who would be it’s not exactly the norm…

We think home birth we may think hippy, we think unsafe we think WHY??!! Just go to hospital where the doctors and nurses and midwives are.

Even before I was pregnant, if I ever had a baby I always fancied the idea of a homebirth. It’s no surprise around here I have had a chronic illness since being 8 years old so I have had my fair share of hospitals and doctors. I just knew I didn’t want to bring my baby into that environment which to me and my memories is a negative space. I feel it’s a very personal choice on where you decide to birth your baby. I have a lot of negative connotations with hospitals from over the years and I just felt I would be much calmer at home.

The theory goes, a womans waters break, she’s doing nicely and progressing well, then she calls up the hospital and they say “yes come in” so her partner takes her in and suddenly she stops progressing, the labour halts and things drastically slow down. She’s gone into a foreign environment, loud and bright lights with lots of people examining her, in a space she doesn’t know… talk about fight or flight, all of her autonomic nervous system is heightened and the last thing her body wants to do is birth a baby.

Whereas at home, it’s your space, you know it, you’re familiar with it and you can watch Friends on Netflix, drink cups of tea and when the time comes jump in the pool to birth.

Now I am absolutely not disregarding hospitals at all for birthing, as I say it is such an individual choice. We now also have two birthing centres near where we live and I was abit tempted, they are in hospitals but there are no doctors if you need them, you would have to be transferred to the delivery ward and there are no drugs but it is in a hospital setting, but I still clung onto my idea of a homebirth.

 

So needless to say, there will be no drugs available to me at home (maybe a paracetamol) but that’s where hypnobirthing comes in (stay tunes folks). I will have a midwife with me and I will be their only priority. But to be honest when you do hypnobirthing it will me my husband and I who birth the baby not the midwives, we have decided to go for as little intervention as possible (unless in an emergency obviously). Every midwife I mention hypnobirthing and home birth to they love it, to them it is pure midwifery, a woman birthing her baby in her natural environment.

We are obviously not being naïve about this, in an emergency we will be going straight to hospital but for now I’ve been given the OK by two consultants that I am low risk and a homebirth should be absolutely fine.

My husband now just needs to collect the pool, practice filling it up in record time, get those protein snacks at the ready and candles, diffuser with lavender and wait for this little one to make an appearance.

We really are praying we get the birth we are hoping for, to be able to give birth then go and get in my own bed with my baby sounds like pure bliss.

I will be speaking about this more in the coming couple of months, I am tempted to post my birth plan on here once I’ve finished it, let me know if you would be interested, it is quite different to usual.

The way I view with my pregnancy, birth and once the baby is here is to stay close to nature, that’s always been my ethos. If my dog had puppies she would go off into a quiet corner and get on with it like every other animal, when did we make birth so clinical? We are women who can grow babies so of course we can birth them it’s simple nature. I might eat my words but for now that’s what we are aiming for fingers crossed we get it.

 

What to eat when your growing a human…

Hello everyone,

I thought a small blog post on what to eat during pregnancy would be helpful for people, with some ideas for mummies to be, or even if your currently trying to get pregnant. If you’re growing a human surely this is the time to have the best nutrition of your life? To really jump on the band wagon and eat the best you can for yourself and for your little one.

Eating well can help with fatigue, morning sickness, headaches, skin, sleep and the list goes on and on and eating well will keep that little baby growing healthy and strong.

If you want your baby to eat well once it’s born, the theory goes feed it well now whilst in the womb, apparently it can taste the flavours which we as mums eat. So if your a sugar head, chances are your baby will love sugar, if you eat bowls of broccoli, chances are you will get a baby who loves his/her veg… can anyone vouch for this?

That little baby is there is a miracle, and we as mums are solely responsible for feeding it and nurturing it and I strongly believe what we eat as mums makes a difference. For example, the baby needs lots of healthy fats and fish to build its neurons in its brain (we all want brainy kids). The fast rate of cell turnover is unbelievable so common sense says that needs alot of nutrients to reach full potential.

Here are my guidelines which I am following during pregnancy, now don’t get me wrong, I eat the odd bar of chocolate and I have the odd takeaway… I’m pregnant give us a break but for the most part I am really committed to growing this tiny human.

 

  • 3 litres of water per day – filtered or bottled if possible
  • 8 veggies per day – salads, soups, smoothies, 1/2 a plate of veggies with your tea – broccoli, kale, carrots etc.
  • Fats everyday (good fat doesn’t make you fat bad fat does!) – avocado, salmon, seabass, mackerel, sardines, olive oil on salads, Kerrygold butter on my veg and to cook with, eggs (boiled or scrambled), coconut oil to cook with
  • Protein with every meal to keep your blood sugar balance and energy balanced – eggs, meats, lentils, hummus, fish, nuts and seeds
  • Snacks – protein balls from Madeline Shaw or Deliciously Ella, flapjacks (see recipe), avocado mashed with chilli flakes and oat cakes, boiled eggs, hummus and cucumber and carrot sticks, smoothie, juices

         

Above – butternut squash soup |  carrot, orange, beetroot and ginger juice | boiled eggs, asparagus with butter on top, oat cakes and mashed avocado with chilli flakes with a lemon and ginger with hot water. 

I don’t believe in the whole ‘eating for two’ its the size of a plum… but I personally do feel more hungry but as long as it’s all the good stuff I think thats fine.

That’s a really rough idea of the direction to go in. I don’t think the current guidelines are good enough of cereals, breads etc. surely this is the time to eat very nutrient dense foods?

I am putting together some more in depth Nutrition Workshops soon tailored to pregnancy so keep your eyes peeled.

SURPRISE: We’re having a baby!

Well that was a surprise wasn’t it… A baby. A real life human baby.

I wanted to blog this journey and give people another approach to pregnancy and birth. I plan to blog about nutrition for pregnancy, supplements which can be helpful, all things hypnobirthing and home birthing (yep), emotions, books and how to have the most natural, healthy pregnancy (hopefully) you can have for both you and baby.

This is our story: We got married on September 2nd and went off on honeymoon and lived in a bubble of marital bliss for a few weeks. I began to get some warning signs (5 weeks late and horrendous sore boobs – sorry for the overshare but it is a pregnancy post) but I honestly thought it was fine – yes I am stupid and no I know nothing of pregnancy. I had changed my thyroid medication and I assumed my body was dealing with that and my metabolism had changed. Anyway I was down at London Clinic of Nutrition and I was in the middle of my first consult of the day and I felt such an overwhelming feeling of nausea and I thought, OK I am pregnant but I had to carry on and I finished the day feeling awful. I got the train back north and decided to take a test the following morning.

Positive. No questions asked it was a very very strong line. I called my sister in a mad panic (she’s 8 weeks pregnant ahead of me!)

We have decided to be very honest with this journey. This wasn’t part of the plan. Let me tell you friends, these things happen, any contraception is only 99% accurate.

I blame a few things, I’ve never been on the pill so my hormones are pretty balanced, I am healthy and I married a young fertile 22 year old and at the end of the day, we believe God has a plan for us.

I personally was very concerned with how my body would cope with Lyme. I was happy but very worried. Will I pass it on? Will I be able to maintain the pregnancy? How will my health be? Questions galore which nobody can answer. I felt very guilty. The irony is I had begun my own journey to become 100% well so that in maybe a few years I would be in tip top shape to carry a baby.

We had alot of anxiety, alot of worry, we had no idea how pregnant we were but when we saw that baby on the screen on the first scan it was unreal. A baby with a heart beat.

We just had our 20 week scan last week and it’s crazy, it has little arms and legs and fingers and toes and a heart beat and a spine. It’s unbelievable. We decided we didn’t want to know the gender, having a healthy baby is our only concern.

I have mentally struggled alot with the whole thing, which is tough because I feel in society this isn’t spoken about. I feel so overwhelmingly grateful to be pregnant but I don’t feel how everyone tells me I should. Not everyone has the excitement or the positive experience you dream of. But me being me I just threw myself into my diet and preparation for birth and the house. But I do think this needs to be spoken about more, there isn’t a ‘right way’ to feel about this. Mental health is a crazy business and as a newly wed couple we planned a very different next few years. Being selfish, enjoying each other and enjoying married life. We still will have adventures and we still will enjoy married life (I hope!) but we will have a little person with us, a little mini me (or mini Joe).

We are now 24 weeks pregnant and we are so happy to say we are now so thrilled, so happy and really looking forward to this next chapter. We have Hypnobirthing classes next month and we are slowly getting our nursery ready and I have started to wind down for work.

I am so lucky, I have not had any sickness (apart from that one day – weird), no headaches or huge fatigue. I’ve done very well really, as I say I have struggled more mentally. I had some really really black days and I would just cry and cry (let me know if you want a blog post on this it’s hard to know how much detail to go into).

I have a big bump now and a whole new wardrobe, Fudge is thinking I look weird and Joe is busy looking after his team members ready for our new member to arrive on 5th July. See you soon little one. Can’t wait to welcome you home.

Stay tuned…

The Day We Got Married

The Day We Got Married

It happened, the day I NEVER EVER thought would happen happened.

He’s awesome, the day was amazing, everything looked beautiful – take that chronic illness.

Try telling the teenage version of me I would ever get married, that would be kind of a joke. I was written off by the medical establishment, even being in a wheelchair and told to ‘learn to live with it’ well learning to live with it would never have resulted in me getting married or even finding Joe. I’m so glad I looked into Nutrition and the root cause.

Anyway, loads of super kind people and clients have asked about the day so I thought I would do a blog post with some pics (because thats what people really want to see right).

I got ready with my 4 bridesmaids which was super cute and special, my 4 girls who have stood by me and never let me down. We drank champagne and had our hair and make up done.

We had a 3pm wedding at our church which was super special, it was full of family and friends and church family, all the children we teach at church each week came down all dressed up and we had our vicar do the service which was such a special touch because he is so dear to both of us. We then had a close friend do the talk, he was great, and we had friends sing with the band. We have alot of very talented friends. (I became a Christian 7 year ago – you will have to scroll back in blogs to find that story). The day before(!!) we decided Fudge probably shouldn’t walk me down the isle, I mean, what if she did decide to have toilet time half way down the isle, not a high chance but not a chance I want to take when she has anxiety problems, with 200 people in a church, a full band and an organ… yeah anything could have happened. So I put together a video montage which nobody knew about. It began the night before the wedding and Fudge going to bed, then she got up, ran into the shower, ran downstairs, got in the car, ran to the church and then it said “here comes mummy” not to blow my own trumpet but it was really really cute. They played that for the congregation before I walked down the isle, it went down well.

 

We had Prosecco and cake (gluten free) on the church lawn with photos in the sunshine.

Later on in the day we all (100 of us) went to the Barn at Scorton and had our venue there, it was perfect. It’s a barn conversion/extension which is done in a modern, old wood kind of way with huge chandeliers. The weather was amazing (we haven’t had another day like it since the sun shined all day). The venue is really relaxed which we wanted and everyone enjoyed it. We had a serve yourself kind of meal (with a side of avocado… no seriously we did).

 

Then comes the party, it was so much fun to have all our friends and family in one room drinking way too much gin from the gin bar. We had the big doors open to the outside space and gorgeous views.

We feel so blessed it’s crazy. When we spoke afterwards, neither of us were nervous, my bridesmaids and dad were so nervous before we walked down the isle but I was as cool as a cucumber it just felt so right.

We have since moved in together and set up home and that is really special aswell. To start our lives together properly with little Fudge is an adventure everyday.

 

And no, no babies for a long time, we plan to enjoy life and travel before we even THINK about that.

We are happy and healthy and that is such a blessing, I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

5 healthier options to Easter Eggs

How many different easter eggs do the supermarkets stock! There is so much choice it sends my head spinning, but this year I wanted to give some lovely different ideas you could give to those you love rather than a chocolate hollow egg, or alternatively things you could alternatively ask for.

I am aware a lot of my readers/clients struggle with chronic illness so I wanted to give some other options to be able to avoid  sugar this easter. Sit your family/friends down and explain your trying to stay away from sugar to aid your recovery and you would appreciate their help to not buy you any sugar and maybe to think of some alternatives…

I love Easter eggs by the way but its the sheer amount we buy, why do I need 5-6 easter eggs? I don’t. I love the Greens and Blacks dark chocolate easter egg, that is my egg of choice but there are loads of alternatives especially when you are committed to your  recovery and health.

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  1. Flowers – tulips are so beautiful in spring, I would be thrilled if someone bought me a bunch of tulips rather than a chocolate egg which will give me bad side effects and make me feel lame. I would love to buy someone a bunch of flowers. Knowing that I am bringing them joy and not inhibiting their health.
  2. Deliciously Ella ball – I am loving the almond and cacao one. Dream.
  3. A tub of coconut oil – well thats always an amazing gift right?
  4. A new book or cook book
  5. Some beautiful beauty care – Origins, Neals Yard I love, as well as Burts Bees lip sticks

 

Let me know what you think, otherwise enjoy this Easter time.

Enjoy family time, Easter is so much more than eating our body weight in chocolate right.

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The Day I Gave Up on the NHS

I have found myself having a lot of conversations with my parents recently about when I first became ill. I don’t remember most of it, I think it was such a horrible time my brain has wiped a lot of the information and memories. But I feel naturally alot of our conversations have drifted into why they chose to go down an alternative route and how they made those difficult decisions, how it felt to have a very poorly child and how they dealt with that.

For those who don’t know I became very very poorly aged 13 – up until then I was a pretty normal child, I was very bright, sociable and ‘normal’ I guess. Until I got a virus and basically never got better, a once happy child was confined to bed most of the day, in a wheelchair for part of the time and couldn’t attend school, my dad had to carry me up and down stairs and I couldn’t even dress myself.

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*By the way of a disclaimer I want to note here, I think the NHS is great* – But the problem is it was set up for broken bones and to have babies, the NHS wasn’t set up to deal with the complex illnesses a lot of people in the UK now suffer with in the 21st century. Alot of which I believe is down to our lifestyle and environments (but thats for another day).

In the beginning of my illness the NHS did all the necessary testing obviously they eradicated any more sinister problems for my symptoms and pulled me into hospital, sent me to a psychologist (was I just faking it), a pyhsio (was I really as weak as I was saying I was), ‘hospital school’ (was I able to study), they sent me to multiple specialists in the North West, but they just could not figure out what was wrong with me. After 6 months of this (which is pretty standard protocol) they labelled me with ME/CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).

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Now here is the big point… what is CFS? Seriously? Diabetes is a problem (in an incredibly simplistic form) with blood sugar and insulin. Heart disease is a heart issue but chronic fatigue? It is merely a label. It doesn’t mean anything. Because what is the cause of the fatigue? Why has a 13 year olds body just shut down? What is the root cause? And unfortunately the NHS does not have the funding to get to the root cause of this issue and they can’t help everyone.

Currently the protocol on the NHS is, if someone has CFS he/she is offered graded exercise (GET) or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – both good options which are really helpful but they aren’t going to do that much if your root cause is your digestion and you aren’t absorbing any food. Or your adrenals are exhausted so you have no stress hormones or adrenaline, or your body is so toxic it can’t function optimally. Do you see where this is going?

I remember in my teens going every 6 months to the CFS clinic, I used to beg my mum to not send me because every time they would say “keep doing what your doing and come back in 6 months” – what was I doing? Nothing. I wasn’t doing anything to help because I didn’t know what could help. I was lying on a sofa in my house, not at school, crying most of the day, a very very lonely, sad teenage girl. With no answers.

My parents did a lot of soul searching and decided to find someone who can help in an alternative way. They had to pay. But they decided they would do what it took to get me better even if it meant paying with their own money. Yes the NHS is free at the point of access and yes it is amazing and yes they save lives but… they can’t help everyone. And when you have a complex illness we sometimes have to look elsewhere for answers if we are determined and committed to recovery.

When I started working on my health outside of the NHS I started to find the root cause, I had a lot a lot alot of different things going on. But I also had Lyme Disease, an infection in my blood. Boom... that was the main root cause. You see someone can have severe fatigue but why? We have to ask why… and when you work on that then there is no reason why we can’t fully recover.

There is a financial cost but even now, I will go without other things to make sure I can pay for my supplements and to ensure I have a lifestyle where I stay well. I eat good food, I do spend alot on food but it keeps me well. I have adapted my lifestyle to spend less on other things and I spend alot on the things I know help me and keep me well.

I really don’t want this to be a post on being negative about our NHS, as I said they are amazing. They save lives and we are so fortunate to have the NHS in this country. What I am saying is if you are suffering with chronic illness, maybe it is time to look elsewhere if you are passionate to get better. Do your research, there is alot of free information out there. Do some soul searching. Ask for help. Acknowledge they can’t help everyone but you are going to recover and take control and today is day one…

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Read:

The China Study by Colin Campbell

Why Cant I Get Better by Richard Horowitz

http://www.drmyhill.co.uk 

Weddings, Spring + Self Employment

It’s spring yay. I love it, I absolute love the lighter nights (as does Fudge, we love our 6pm strolls) and I just love how happier I feel people are. Soon the clocks will be going forwards, then its Easter, then it’s summer which I love and then whats happening? Oh yes… I’m getting married.

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I’ve not blogged about this or featured it on my social media all that much to be honest but it’s such a huge part of my life right now I thought I would do a nice little update for you all.

The wedding date is 2nd September (less than 6 months) and wow time is just going so quickly. I have always been worried for when it came to planning a wedding, I would always say to my mum “Well how will I do that, the stress will obviously make me ill” and here we are in the throws of wedding planning. OK so I did have a dip when we first got engaged I was so overwhelmed and we were venue shopping and budgeting and we had an engagement party plus it was a super busy time at work and I just got my new job with CNM and arghh it all came at once, which is always the way right. But we made a decision to plan the simplest wedding ever. Which, well… has kind of happened, apart from my one bridesmaid turning into four. Oops. But seriously, we have kept it simple. I’m trying to keep the stress to an absolute minimum because for Joe and I it isn’t about the wedding, or our ‘one perfect day’ it is about our lives together, the marriage itself

We are also Christians, so it’s not just the wedding to look forward to, we are also looking for a home to move into after the wedding and furniture and registering for gifts (I cannot wait to go around John Lewis with the beeper thing – hello best day ever) and then moving in together, oh and did I mention my fiancé is finishing his degree. Yeah, we don’t do things by halves.

The dress is chosen (absolutely in love) the bridesmaids have chosen their dresses, the venue is sorted, church is booked, photographer and videographer booked, honeymoon sorted, it’s all going well. Next up, invites, flowers and bridal shower (nobody was keen on my yoga, healthy eating, food demo idea – I clearly need new friends).

I have days of feeling completely overwhelmed – I am abit of a worrier and I try to avoid stress at all costs because I know what it does to me, but most days I’m OK. This is a huge thing for me, I’ve never done anything as big as this and my health can’t always be relied on… but thankfully I know what to do to stay on track and I have amazing people to keep me grounded.

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The biggest question… Fudge the flower girl?

I just can’t believe it really. Often I will ask him are you sure about this. I’m not offering him any guarantees. I could relapse anytime (there shouldn’t be a reason why I would but you never know with Lyme Disease). Surely he wants to marry a girl who doesn’t make him eat kale everyday (for detox benefits – which he doesn’t appreciate my fun facts) and who’s idea of fun is sitting in watching Netflix food documentaries with a herbal tea and my Cockapoo?

I really never ever thought I’d ever be planning a wedding. Ever. I never thought I would find someone who would want me for life. I feel very very blessed.

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I’m feeling super grateful at the moment aswell to be self employed, I am loving work. I have such lovely clients, I enjoy my days off at the moment and being able to go on holiday when I want. No day is ever the same, today I went to the city to meet with a prospective student for CNM, did lots of client protocols in a coffee shop, enjoyed the sunshine in the garden and took Fudge for a walk.

At the moment in the background I am going through a rebranding and a new website with loads of great useful content for you all, I am binge listening to the Minimalist podcasts, spring cleaning all my stuff to move out, trying to find new funky retreat venues as well as finding a breakfast club venue, whilst also debating youtube? Cringe? And looking forward to the Paris ILADS conference. It’s all go over here. I need a team. Seriously, who wants to work for me…

Thats it for now folks, lots happening. Counting my blessings everyday.

Keep doing what you doing to be the best version of you everyday.

Go grab a glass of water

Make double your evening meal for lunch tomorrow

Eat an avocado… seriously. Well why not?

Amchara – Retreat Review

Last week I was lucky enough to go over to Gozo to Amchara’s juicing retreat. They very kindly invited me to spend the week with them and to do some education for their clients, I was thrilled to accept (and I dragged my mum along for a small girls holiday and a week of healing).

I was really keen to go obviously and work with them but also for my own health. I have been very open with the fact I have Lyme Disease and I wondered how a full detox would help me, and plus it’s also great to do a detox 2x per year anyway so I was very excited. And hello… it’s Malta.

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The Retreat

Amchara have a retreat over here down in Somerset but there also have a retreat over in Gozo, which is an island just off Malta.

We arrived in Malta and one of their drivers picked us up and drove us to the shore where we hopped on a quick ferry ride (45mins) to Gozo. Gozo is just beautiful, it is a tiny island, and I loved it because it is a very slow way of life over there. I cannot tell you how many Brits we came into contact with on Gozo, they all seem to be moving there for the calmness and slower pace of life – very tempting.

Amchara is like a hotel, they own it all and they have people coming in and going all through the week. It isn’t a retreat where they hire it for one week and you have to go for that one week, it’s a dip in and out kind of place.

They have a purpose built yoga studio (with yoga space on the roof with amazing views) and a health centre with a spa. They have an outside pool with sea water, a jacuzzi, an infra red sauna, steam room, fire pit for the summer nights, cinema room, talk room, it is all absolutely gorgeous.

A typical day would be:

8am: Yoga

9am: Juice

11am: Walk for an hour

12pm: Juice

12:30pm: Talk of the day

3pm: Juice and sometimes a food demo

4pm: Yoga

5pm: Meditation

6pm: Soup
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 There are breaks in the day where you can go off and explore but to be honest I was really boring and I sat by the pool and relaxed and read my book and my mum had some treatments in the spa. At the end of the day some of the guests went and watched films in the movie room but I love sleep, I was in bed every night at 8:30 (I told you I was boring).

Education

The education part was my realm, I am so passionate about teaching people the ‘why’s’… why should we eat well, how does it really impact our digestion and our brain, why do you feel sluggish, why can’t you sleep at night etc etc. and people loved it, a lot came to me and said thank you and have emailed me since. Finally they understand the ‘WHY’S’ and I think when we understand exactly why and how, we can then be motivated to stay away from that food. A small example is 4pm tiredness, if you have regular snacks though the day which have protein in them you can avoid that 4pm slump, no energy, cravings, headaches etc. it is actually incredibly simple, when you have the education behind it.

Your Retreat

Honestly, stress doesn’t exist at Amchara. I spoke to some of the guests who had been to other juicing retreats all over the world and they agreed Amchara was definitely the best for full relaxation and the care you receive. Everyone is very calm, there is no shouting and hustle and bustle, it’s all very laid back. When I was there, there was only about 10 people, so it was a nice number to be able to chat to people and share your health experiences.

When you arrive at the retreat you have for a health consultation and thats to discuss your health conditions and how you want the detox to go, they formulate you a plan, take your weight, blood pressure etc. and then throughout the week they are always asking how you are doing, you can check in with the staff members and they were all so lovely.

In the kitchen we had juice 3x per day and soup in an evening but into the detox on day 3 I began to feel very very poorly (which is normal it happens to everyone and you come out the other side, usually it is fatigue and migraines etc) however I was working on the retreat so I couldn’t be too ill! So again, the staff checked in with me and I went onto raw food and oh
wow! Oh wow is all I can say, absolutely beautiful raw food. Chia pudding, courgette with tomato sauce and cashew cream sauce (dairy free), sushi veggie rolls it was amazing! I swear there are little Deliciously Ella chefs in that kitchen. Beautiful beautiful food, all natural, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free AKA REAL FOOD.

Even though I was working through the week I fully amerced myself in the detox experience and get involved with the other clients there and it was brilliant.

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Why should I go to Amchara?

If you want to switch off, unwind, gain some perspective, shut off the world for a week, heal your body, learn about health, swim, have spa treatments, explore, sleep, relax, be looked after – Amchara is the place.

I felt different coming home, I really felt relaxed and ready to face the world and life and it’s very inevitable stressors. I felt equipped. I personally wanted to come home and do more yoga and I have, and I wanted to eat a vegetarian diet and I have. Doing a detox really has kicked me into being motivated and equipped.

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One negative… turned into a positive

My only feedback to them was the aftercare, I think they would benefit from having some type of aftercare already in place for people when they return to the UK. For example, you go on a detox, you feel amazing after a week, your skin has cleared up you have more energy, digestion has calmed down, your stress levels have reduced, your concentration is better but then… you go back home, everyone thinks your abit odd for drinking juice all week and doing yoga all week, you go back to work and your old diet. People were abit worried about returning to the ‘real world’ and how they would feel.

But… that is where people like me step in. Lets be honest unless we educate ourselves or invest in getting help it is hard to ‘go on a diet’ or ‘eat healthy’ and even harder when we have no clue what that actually is or what it looks like. ‘Diet starts on Monday’ – why? Why is this Monday any different? Investing in a fully trained Nutritional Therapist is money well spend if you are serious about achieving those goals, they help you, support you, tailor a plan to you which is realistic to your life right now, they give you recipes, meal ideas etc. and support. I think thats the main thing people need right?

So here is the opportunity to work with both myself and Amchara, if you book to go to Amchara in Gozo (which by the way you absolutely should) I can offer you the before and after care.

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Initial consultation and one follow up appointment 20% off 

FREE TREATMENT AT AMCHARA 

Book your Nutritional Consultation before you fly off for when you get home to stay motivated and achieve your long-term goals.

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From start to finish they really looked after us, it’s the small details, we even got a little goody bag to go home with to avoid rubbish airport food (kale chips, crudités, homemade humous, raw brownies and fruit) – I never recommend brands or companies I don’t completely love or believe in or agree with and I love Amchara. Their ethos is the same as mine, their approach is the same as mine. Thank you for creating such a gorgeous space and experience, I’ll be back soon.

A big thank you to Nay, Kirstie, Rhiannon, David, Emily, Victoria and last but not least Danielle who made me fall in love with yoga (twice a day) and now I can do it back in the UK and have some ‘me time’ everyday.

www.amchara.com

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