Wednesday, February 27

NCT Antenatal Classes Review: Is it worth it?



Our First NCT Antenatal Meeting focused on getting to know our class mates with an introduction and some friendly group work. Learning about breathing, pain relief, how the baby will be born, your options for giving birth.

We found the first NCT class a little slow and were a bit worried for the rest of the sessions. However, we need not of worried as the paced quickened with the rest of the NCT sessions and still allowed plenty of time to chat to the other parents-to-be. 

Over the course we learnt about the different places you can give birth and their pros and cons, a detailed look at the labor process, what happens after baby is born and caring for baby. 

We also had an excellent lesson on feeding and breastfeeding - I was so impressed with the teachers level of knowledge and unbiased approach. 


The cost of NCT classes

NCT is not cheap. We chose a 6 session course held in Epsom that included a 2 hour reunion once babies were born and this cost £285. 

However, if you split this down on a cost per person, each of the 7 sessions will cost us roughly £40 as a couple. Still not the cheapest option but my husband and I treated it like date night - swapping a meal out each week for learning about baby!


Our experience of NCT classes

The main thing we wanted from the classes was the opportunity to meet other parents and to learn some of the basics. Whether you click with the people in the classes is a different matter and we were very lucky to get on great with every single couple - a rare thing I'm sure! 

We all got on so well that before babies had even arrived the boys had done a pub drink, we'd all been out for a Sunday pub lunch as couples and the girls had had multiple coffee trips together. 

This surpassed both our expectation as we'd heard plenty of horror stories around other couples at NCT classes! 


Getting excited about baby together
Something we did anticipate was how nice it was to do something together that would get us both excited about the new arrival. Everything was happening to me so it was really special to see my husband be able to get involved and start to get excited about what was to come. It's easy to forget that nothing has really changed in their world.


Should you do NCT classes?

Before doing NCT classes myself I'd heard a real mixed bag on whether to bother. Some said it was a waste of time and money and they didn't speak to any of the girls in the class. Some found that once babies were born it became a competition on 'whose baby did what first/best'. However, others said they'd made friends for life and loved it. 

In our group, babies are just starting to arrive but I feel that for us, NCT classes were definitely worth the money. It was great to learn some basics, meet new people and see my husband get excited for babies arrival. 

For me, I've just taken the fact that our NCT girls and guys are fun social, people as a massive win... and hopefully it stays that way. 

To find out more about NCT or sign up to a class go www.nct.org.uk

Love 
LauraClaire

Thursday, January 24

Quick & Easy 3 ingredient No-bake Cake Recipe

I LOVE cake

Actually, I LOVE anything sweet. I have the biggest sweet tooth EVER... not very good for my dentist, or for my waistline but hey, life is sweet right? 

At work I'm the first one to cheer when it's a charity bake sale. The only problem is, I'm no baker. Oh believe me I've tried... but the outcome is less than aesthetically pleasing and certainly wouldn't pass a taste test. 

So when the lovely folks at Popcorn Shed sent me box of their delicious luxury popcorn to taste out I set myself a challenge... to create my own 'go-to' recipe for sweet treat sales. With my first baby due in only 7 weeks time I know I'm going to need at least one fail-safe recipe up my sleeve to impress the other mums!






UK brand Popcorn Shed 

So Popcorn Shed are a home-grown UK-based company - something that, if you read my blog regularly, you know I'm very passionate about. It's all about UK talent! 

Set up by two cousins on a mission to make marvelous popcorn with added flavours using premium ingredients. From Pop'n'Choc to Sweet Cheesus their tasty popcorn combos are a win. Pop'n'Choc is to die for BTW. 


No-Bake 3 Ingredient Popcorn Fairy Cakes


As easy as one... two... three.... 


Ingredients: 


  • An 80g box of Salted Caramel Popcorn Shed popcorn
  • A tablespoon of butter 
  • 4 large handfuls of mini marshmallows



Recipe: 

(makes 8 cakes) 

1. Add the butter followed by the mini marshmallows to a pan. Leave to heat on a low setting until everything has melted whilst stirring continuously. 

2. Take off the hob and add to a large bowl along with your popcorn and stir thoroughly. 

3. Add an equal amount of the mix to fairy cake baking cups and leave to cool. Decoration is totally up to you. I sprinkled a cocao nibs for a more adult take on my popcorn fairy cakes but how about trying sprinkles, chocolate buttons or even sherbet!



And the taste?  Scrummy!! 

Love 

LauraClaire

Tuesday, January 22

A Light-hearted look back at my pregnancy-related Google Search history!

After typing in 'Why do I keep getting ill all the time?' into Google I knew I'd gone a little insane with my pregnancy questions. 

So I thought why not take a look back at all the questions I've been mindlessly popping in Google Search between the 2nd Trimester and start of the 3rd Trimester... If you're a first time mum I'm sure you can feel me on this one! 

Here's my hilarious look back through my Google Search History for the past 3 months - all the first time pregnancy questions and my take on the answers!



What can I not eat during pregnancy?

All the good things like pate and cured meats... and gin and tonic! But Lion-Approved eggs are now fine apparently. 

Should I do NCT classes?

I mean come on, how is Google going to know this one! The short answer is that I decided to do NCT classes and I think they're well worth it, my bunch of ladies are great fun. 

What are the Grobag togs?

They're the thickness of the baby sleeping bag - so how warm they will need to be depending on the temperature of the room. 

Can I exercise during pregnancy?

Having had CIN3 and needing the LETZ procedure about 5 years ago I was very worried about how exercise could effect my chance of miscarriage. You totally can exercise, just know your own body and keep it light. 

How do I get rid of heart burn?

I've been lucky with heart burn so far. Only a few occurrences that have started to strike since week 30. I haven't taken anything for it - just plenty of water and smaller portions. 

Why do I keep getting ill?!!

What a fantastic question Laura! Hah! You kept getting ill because your immune system was working over drive as your body built a baby - simple. 

What pram should I get?

I scoured the market, pushed a million different makes and landed on the Egg stroller with the newborn insert. Not the cheapest option but I got mine second-hand and in great condition. The perks? It folds down small enough to fit in my car, is considerably sturdier than other premium models I tried and I love the design. 

What car seat should I get?

I'm yet to actually buy one yet but I think we've decided on a combination car seat that stays in the car. They last much longer and can adapt with your child as they grow. I've also heard that 360 spin designs are a godsend. 

What pregnancy books should I read?

There is so much choice here but I ended up reading The New Contented Little Baby Book by Gina Ford and liked her take on things. 

What pregnancy apps should I download?

I use the Babycentre, Bounty App and The Ovia App. 

Will I get an outie belly button?

I was paranoid about this for some reason. I still haven't got one. 

When will my bump start to show?

Anywhere from 12-14 weeks. Here's me at exactly 12 weeks on my 30th Birthday with a little bump.  


How much weight should I put on?

They say around 2 stone is about the average though some friends put on double that and went on to lose it all afterwards. 

What do I really need to buy and what can I leave out?

I found speaking to friends with babies and YouTube to be the best answer for this.

What baby bits should I buy?

There are plenty of guides online to help answer this one. 

Gifts for mum at baby showers?

I was asked to write a list of baby bits for my baby shower to give to the girlies coming. It made me think of gifts that would be good for mum-to-be too. Here's my top 5 gifts for mum-to-be

Whats the best baby travel system?

In my opinion I like the Egg travel system. 

What are the top baby names?
How do I prepare for birth?
What does labour feel like?


How to tell if your baby is moving less?

They recommended sitting or lying quietly and counting the number of times baby moves in an hour if you're ever worried. If you notice anything different you should always contact your midwife. My baby tends to be sleepy during the day and come alive between 9 and 10pm... a sign of things to come perhaps! Eek!

How do you dress baby for cold weather?
What are the baby clothes sizes?
Which nappies are the best and cheapest?


How can I avoid stretch marks when pregnant?

I think it can almost be down to genetics as to whether you're more likely to get stretch marks but you can certainly put things in place to help yourself. I applied stretch mark oil every night and if I was ever out of the bath. I also used MamaMio tummy rub butter which I've reviewed here


Where is the serial number on an egg stoller?

It's on the side of the leg.

Where does the rain cover fit on an egg stroller?

It's supposed to fit in the little compartment below the feet but its a tight squeeze. 

How do I use the newborn insert on an egg stoller?

Yep, can you tell I was trying to assemble the darn thing!


How to lengthen the straps on an egg stroller?

The Egg instruction manual helps

What baby magazines are good to read?


When did you leave your baby for the first time?

This really depends on the mum. Most forum group mums said that they stayed with baby for at least 2 months before leaving them overnight I found. 


So, soon-to-be-mamas out there... do you agree? What's your Google Search history looking like at the moment. 

Kinda nice to know you're not the only one frantically searching random pregnancy queries 20 times a day too? I hope so :) 

Love 

LauraClaire
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