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The year of change

This year has been the biggest, most important year of my entire life. A year full of happiness and hope. The year I became a mother to the most beautiful baby boy. The year I ended one chapter of my life to begin another. The year I realised that life doesn't always go the way you think it will and that's perfectly okay.

If you'd asked me this time last year how the year ahead would pan out, I never thought it'd see me become a mother. It's something I've always wanted to be. The one thing I wanted more than anything.

Something else I would never have imagined is that I'd become a single mother. I'm not here to share the ins and outs of it all but it's a big change in my life and something I'm not going to hide or be ashamed of. Things happen for a reason and I've realised that you're never given more than you can handle.

This year I've realised the lengths the important people in my life will go to show their love for me. I've always known how lucky I am to have such a wonderful family and best friend group but this year I've needed them more than ever and they've been there every step of the way. I've grown even closer to them and love them even more than ever before - something I didn't know was possible.

This year I found inner strength I was unaware I had and regained my spark, something I feel had been absent for quite some time. I remembered who I am, what's important. I've realised the life I want is possible.

This year I've fallen in love like never before and realised the love you feel for a tiny human, your tiny human, is like no other. Arthur is everything. A beautiful soul. Pure perfection. I feel so incredibly lucky to have him and will do everything in my power to make sure he has the most wonderful life.

A lot of people throw around the saying 'New Year, New Me' at this time of year but do you know what, I'm actually pretty happy with the current me. I'm not perfect but I know what's important in life and have the most wonderful people to share it with.

At midnight I will kiss my little boy, wish him Happy New Year and welcome 2016 with open arms. I'll think about how lucky I am to have him and how lucky we both are to have a loving family and special people in our lives. Arthur, my little one, we've got a lot to look forward to.


10 thoughts I've had as a new mummy

1. Why does everyone keep buying me baby shoes? Do babies even wear shoes?

2. *Gets out of the shower* What's that dripping on the floor? Oh just my breast milk.

3. I'm a feeding machine. I could literally bottle and sell my milk.

4. Is tea supposed to be hot? ...I've forgotten.

5. Five minute makeup challenge. I've got you down.

6. Why is my back tickling? Oh it's the baby sick running down it!

7. Now which breast did I use last time? *Jiggles them to see which one feels fuller*

8. Why do they make sleepsuits that button down one side? So not convenient for middle-of-the-night changes.

9. Baby outfits, a great idea for your newborn, until you actually have an newborn. Pass me the sleepsuits - so much easier!

10. How did I possibly make something so beautiful?


Arthur's Nursery

Arthur is now 7 weeks old! It's gone so fast but at the same time, I can't remember life without him. I love being able to spend all of my time with him and at night I find myself gazing at him as he snoozes away, wondering how I got so lucky.

Even though Arthur sleeps in my room (and will do until he's at least six months), I wanted him to have his own nursery. As I've mentioned before, my parents gave up a whole floor of their house, to give us our own living space, so I was more than happy to turn my office into a nursery for my little boy. Isn't it just the most beautiful room?

After scouring Pinterest for nursery decor inspiration, I finally decided I wanted to go for mint green walls and white furniture. The paint I chose is Ocean Ripple and the furniture, the Hensvik range from Ikea, made up of a cot bed, changing table and wardrobe with a beautiful scalloped design. The cabinet is also Ikea - a piece that was in my office beforehand.

Arthur's crib sheets are from Dunelm Mill. They have some lovely nursery sets to choose from but for me it had to be the Little Owls and Dumbo sheets, both of which went perfectly with the nursery colour scheme. My friend Hannah also kindly crocheted a gorgeous blanket for Arthur. You can't beat handmade in my opinion!

The stripy giraffe toy from Mothercare (which has been named Derek) seems to be Arthur's favourite toy - especially if he's playing with his Grandad. He loves lying on the bed and knocking Derek over, while he chortles away.

I'm going to be doing separate posts about the Gro-egg and Bunny Night Light, as I've found they're both night time essentials. I actually keep them in my bedroom at the moment but photographed them in Arthur's nursery for the purpose of this post. The beautiful blue Pocket Pennies money box was a present from my best friend Han. All of my spare pound coins are going in there. It's never too early for pocket money!

Although I like quite minimalist decor, I thought it was important to hang a few things on Arthur's walls to give him something to look at. The cloud wall hanger is from Etsy and comes with beautiful crystal drops. It was actually the first thing I purchased for Arthur's nursery.

Arthur also has a gorgeous 'What Little Boys Are Made Of' wall print from my friend Katie, which she bought all the way back from South Africa! It hangs pride of place over Arthur's changing unit.

I really wanted to get a rocking chair for Arthur's nursery, so I'd have somewhere to nurse him in the evenings and read him bed time stories. This white Eames-style rocking chair was the perfect choice. It looks great and even better it's super comfy (way more than I expected it to be!) I added a faux sheepskin from Ikea and Alphabet cushion from Next to make it that little bit more 'Pinterest-worthy.'

No nursery would be complete without toys and Arthur certainly has quite the growing collection, including an abundance of bunny rabbits! I love taking him into the nursery to see his toys and I always make sure to place one on the changing table, by his mat. He always has such a conversation (in baby coos) with them while he's having his nappy done.

The three little prints by Eef Lillemor are from This Modern Life and I absolutely adore them! I had such a hard time picking out my favourites from the collection.

Although I think Arthur's nursery looks so beautiful, there are still a few finishing touches yet to add, including some more prints! These ones are from This Paper Book. I'm planning on sticking them together and hanging them on the wall next to his crib.

I hope you've enjoyed having a quick look at Arthur's nursery! I just want to say a big thank you to my mum for painting it so beautifully, Sarah & Paul for the gorgeous furniture and my dad for taking the time to put it all up for me. It's such a lovely room and I think Arthur will love it.


1st Christmas Memento

Seeing as we will soon be celebrating Arthur's first Christmas with us, I wanted to get something to commemorate this special time. A tradition in the Hunt family household is to put baby's first Christmas socks on the tree (something I still need to buy). But as well as this, I've bought a personalised 1st Christmas decoration for Arthur and his grandparents (my mum and dad) who we live with. I thought it'd make a lovely pre-Christmas gift for them to hang on the tree in the lounge.

I think the handmade wooden star design is so cute. It makes a real statement on our tree and is something we'll be able to hang on it every Christmas from now on. I also really liked being able to choose the names Arthur will call his grandparents (gran and grandad) and have them engraved on the decoration, so it's even more personal.

Do you have any special baubles or decorations with a story on your Christmas tree?


My Calm Birth Story

If you followed my blog throughout my pregnancy, you may be aware that I was following The Calm Birth School course - a hypnobirthing program designed to equip mothers-to-be with the knowledge, confidence and skills to have the calm birth they desire. The online videos were extremely informative and I found listening to the MP3s on a daily basis really empowering. After months of waiting, on the 28th October, it was time to put everything I'd learnt into practice.

It all started with my waters breaking at 2am on Tuesday 27th October. After feeling an intense pain low in my stomach and deciding I better head to the toilet, I got up to find water soaking through my pyjama bottoms. I considered the possibility that I'd wet myself, before realising no, I still needed the toilet and my waters had in fact broken. It wasn't a movie-like gush with a huge puddle but I was pretty damn soaked and the water just kept coming.

I'd hoped that after that my surges (contractions) would come thick and fast but I only seemed to be having the odd few here and there. I'd been told by the hospital to sit tight and that hopefully things would develop naturally but unfortunately that wasn't going to be the case!

Tuesday lunch time, I headed to the birthing unit, as they wanted to check my waters had definitely broken. I was pretty certain my waters had broken, unless I was constantly weeing myself (an unlikely possibility) and as soon as I took my leggings off, the puddle on the floor told them everything they needed to know - no test necessary! I was sent home and told that if my surges didn't progress, I was to come back at 8am the next morning (October 28th) for augmentation (also known as induction) to avoid risk of infection.

I hoped that my surges would progress but it the back of my mind I had a feeling it wasn't going to be the case. Don't get me wrong, I had surges but they were irregular and whilst slightly uncomfortable, they weren't nearly as painful as I thought they should be. So after another broken night, full of anticipation, I headed in to be induced, with my mum by my side.

My actual birthing experience was nothing like I'd planned or imagined. I'd hoped for a water birth or failing that to be able to walk round and keep upright as much as possible during labour but all of that went out the window when the doctor told my midwife I was to be put on constant monitoring. Was it necessary? Now, I'm not so sure but hey-ho, I was so 'in the zone' that nothing could phase me or distract me. I just wanted to meet my little boy. Whatever birthing experience I had, it was going to be perfect.

I can credit my open mind, calmness and positivity to the Calm Birth School. The affirmations I listened to on a daily basis were a constant in my mind and really helped to get me through. A particular favourite was 'my surges cannot be stronger than me, because they are me.' But it was the breathing techniques that were most invaluable to me. Thanks to my hypnobirthing breathing, I was able to get through the majority of my contractions (stimulated by the drip) without any pain relief.

Throughout the hours, my drip was increased and so the surges got more and more painful but I remained calm and in the zone. The midwife and student midwife kept telling me how well I was doing and how calm I was. I remember another midwife coming into the room several times and commenting on how peaceful it was. She said it was a nice room to be in and the calmest on the unit, which made me feel even more determined to carry on with my breathing and remain strong. It was only for my last few contractions that I needed gas & air.

Finally when it came to pushing, which I believe must have been around 18:45  (such a long day) I decided to put down the gas & air and just go for it. I knew I was going to need to use all my strength to push down on the bed, so holding a mouth piece certainly wasn't an option for me. Pushing was tough and although I kept being assured that I was doing well and they could see baby, it was just taking so long to get him out. After around 2 hours of pushing and a change of midwives, my new midwife told me that she was going to have to get the doctor, as I may need a little help getting my baby out. I really didn't want forceps but at that point I was so tired and getting to the point where I was willing to try anything.

The doctor arrived shortly after and upon examining me and seeing how close I was to getting Arthur out, he thought an episiotomy would do it. Thankfully he was right! A cut was made (which isn't half as bad as you'd think it would be) and with a couple of pushes Arthur was here, pulled out by the lovely student midwife! 28th October at 21:13.

Arthur was placed straight onto me and in that moment, nothing else mattered. I didn't care that it'd been (almost) 44 hours since my waters broke, I didn't care that my surges had been the most painful thing I've ever experienced or that I'd torn the muscles in my arms and legs pushing, we'd done it, as a team. Me, Arthur and my mum, who I couldn't have managed without. She was the best birthing partner I could have wished for. She helped to keep me calm and was strong for me when I couldn't be, telling me not to have the drugs I found myself asking for and instead carry on with my breathing techniques.

Looking at Arthur, I couldn't believe how beautiful he was or that he was actually here. The baby rolling around inside my huge bump had become the baby in my arms. It was so amazing and something I will never forget. I definitely recommend having skin to skin with your baby for as long as they'll let you after giving birth because those first moments are so magical.

Even though I didn't get to have my water birth, I didn't get my own contractions and I didn't have the birth I'd planned, it was still a calm and beautiful birth. Don't get me wrong, the pain was intense and the hours pushing felt longer than any other hours before but I felt calm, strong and empowered. Without the breathing techniques that kept me going, I dare say that I'd have needed other pain relief or maybe even required even more help getting Arthur out.

If you're considering hypnobirthing, I honestly think it'll be the best thing you do in your pregnancy and strongly urge you to look into The Calm Birth School. The knowledge you will gain and techniques you will learn will greatly assist you in labour and any other stressful situations you find yourself in. My experience taught me that a perfect birth isn't always the birth you imagine in your head but you have the power to make it calm and beautiful.


M&S Vanille Épicée candle

Whilst I love both Christmas and candles, I can't say I like traditional Christmas candles all that much. Cinnamon, orange, pine - they're just not scents I really warm too. But when I saw the Vanille Épicée candle at Marks and Spencer, I knew I'd found the Christmas candle for me.

As the name suggests, Vanille Épicée is a spiced vanilla candle with a spicy, sweet scent. It incorporates notes of cinnamon, orange and mandarin but as secondary notes to the spiced vanilla, I actually find them really pleasant. It's a Christmas scent that is warm and inviting but not at all overpowering. I've been burning it in my living room and bathroom and I've received so many compliments from visiting friends!

At £7.50, I'd say it's fairly reasonable for a 200g candle and you can pick it up as part of Marks and Spencer's 3 for 2 gift offer. I'd snap it up quickly though as it's Limited Edition! There's also a number of other lovely looking products in the La Maison De Senteurs range, including a hand wash and hand cream duo with the same spiced vanilla scent. Anything from this range would make wonderful Christmas gifts, as not only are they quality products but also beautifully packaged. I think the candles in particular have a real high end look to them.

I've got to say M&S has been fantastic for Christmas gifts this year - I've already placed two orders! There's so many great gifts on offer, from home fragrances and candles to cruelty-free beauty. The products are very reasonably priced and with offers like 3 for 2, you can save so much money on Christmas presents for your friends and family.

Typically when it came to publishing this post, the Vanille Épicée candle was out of stock but keep an eye out incase it's restocked before Christmas! I'm not sure it will be with it being Limited Edition but there's certainly other beautiful candles in the range for you to choose from, as well as other products with the Vanille Épicée scent.

What's your favourite Christmas candle?

Black Musk - My new scent

A new chapter in life means making a change. Some changes can be big, whereas others are small - like a new signature scent for instance.

The Body Shop's Black Musk, released early November, has quickly become my go-to fragrance. It's sweet without being sickly and has a certain depth to it. It's sexy, sophisticated and addictive. A grown up version of the vanilla scented perfumes I've long been drawn to.

With a mix of dark cruelty-free musk, Bambinella pear and black vanilla notes, it's powerful, without being too obvious and is a scent I simply can't get enough of. I've also found that it lasts much longer than some of the more expensive perfumes I've used in the past and the fact it's not tested on animals gets it an even bigger thumbs up from me.

I don't know about you but no matter how much I like a fragrance, if it's not packaged up to perfection, I'm not going to buy it. Whilst in the past, I've favoured over-the-top perfume bottles like Marc Jacob's Lola, now I much prefer the simple, sleek and minimalist packaging of The Body Shop's Black Musk. It's attractive and eye catching with a shiny black apothecary-style bottle that contrasts beautifully against hot pink labelling. It looks great out on display and is also a decent size for throwing (or should I say placing gently) in your handbag.

The Body Shop's Black Must perfume comes in three different forms: Eau De Toilette (£18.00), Perfume Oil (£18.00) and my personal preference, Eau De Parfum (£22.00). It's very well priced and easily rivals some of the more high end fragrances out there in terms of it's scent, aesthetical value and longevity. If you're looking for the perfect fragrance to add to your Christmas list or buy for someone special, Black Musk certainly won't disappoint.

Have you tried this perfume or any other fragrances by The Body Shop?


November Favourites 2015

It's my second to last favourites post of the year and although I've missed a few months here and there, it's still a post I really enjoy putting together.

First up we have the HoneyMania Bubble Bath Melt from The Body Shop. This has to be one of the best smelling, most luxurious bath products I've tried. It's £8 for a 300ml pot and a little goes a long way, so you really get your money's worth. The product itself has a gorgeous creamy texture and it leaves my skin feeling so, so soft. Even though as a new mummy, I only have quick baths these days, I still get a lot of enjoyment out of them, thanks to products like this!

The Cherry Dry Shampoo by Batiste has also become a firm favourite and a new mummy must-have! If I don't have time to wash and blow dry my hair, I simply use this to give my hair another day's wear (so to speak!) Sure you have to rub it in well or it leaves white patches but in terms of getting rid of the grease, it's spot on.

Of course, there's only so many days you can go without washing your hair (mine only tends to last three) so on my hair washing days I've been using the Soap & Glory Glad Hair Day shampoo - something I actually purchased to go in my hospital bag. This has a fresh and fruity scent that is really pleasant and is also suitable for every wash, as it has a no build-up formula. I absolutely love Soap & Glory and the fact they don't test on animals also gets them bonus points from me!

I've not really had a lot of time for makeup since Arthur was born but over the last week or so I've adapted my 'getting ready' routine and managed to throw a few things on my face. I've found multi-purpose products like the Bobbi Brown Brightening Blush to be so useful. Great for adding a flush of colour to the apples of the cheeks and a shimmering highlight to my (non-existent) cheekbones, it's become a staple in my super quick everyday makeup routine.

Last but not least, we have a product I never thought I'd be including in a favourites post and that's a nipple balm. I've been breastfeeding Arthur and although he's latching on and feeding well, that area definitely needs a little extra TLC. The Keep Calm Nipple Balm from Mama Mio contains a blend of medical grade lanolin, organic coconut, olive oils and shea butter. It's both protective and soothing on the nipples and is also safe to use with baby - you don't even need to wipe it off! I'm sure there are probably other great nipple balms out there that are cheaper in price but for me, this is definitely worth the £12 and I will soon be repurchasing it so I don't run out!

So there we have my November favourites. Next month I will be doing a round up of my favourite products of 2015, so be sure to keep an eye out for it!

What was your favourite product in November?

The Best is Yet to Come

When it comes to jewellery, I'm very particular about what I like and don't like. I much prefer dainty pieces to statement jewellery and if it's rose gold, well then I'm probably sold. So when I saw this beautiful necklace by Dolly Bow Bow, I knew I had to make it mine. Aside from the beautiful rose gold wishbone design, I also loved the fact it was called 'The Best is Yet to Come necklace.'

I bought the necklace mid-way through my pregnancy as a reminder that the best was yet to come - my little boy. I'm so fond of this necklace and have been wearing it every day. I even wore it when I gave birth! Arthur also seems to have taken a liking to it already, so I'm having to be extra careful when he reaches out for it. I think he's going to be a magpie for shiny things, just like his mummy!

Dolly Bow Bow have so many gorgeous pieces of dainty jewellery for you to choose and everything is priced very reasonably. If you're looking for the perfect stocking filler for a jewellery lover this Christmas, I definitely recommend having a look on the website. There's even a Winter Dolly Box that features a number of pieces and would make a lovely gift for someone special.

Do you have a favourite piece of jewellery?