Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Op Shop Maternity Style

I mentioned in an earlier maternity style post that I have been wearing a lot of my usual clothes throughout pregnancy. Some tops and dresses are easy to translate because I love wearing A-line dresses, and t-shirt material stretches to compensate. Pants and shorts are not so simple, so I have been wearing a lot of maternity pants. Still, I haven't spent much on the clothing! Rather than cross over into the world of drab and dull maternity wear, I have been popping into the Op Shops to add a bit of fun to my wardrobe.

You'll have to forgive me for cutting out my face from the pictures. I just wasn't having a photogenic day!

I've been seeking some maternity style inspiration over on Pinterest, and really loved the blazer trick (Miranda Kerr did it well!) This blazer I bought from the Op Shop last year. The jeans are maternity ones from Big W ($25) and the top is Free Fusion from Target (I think it was $8 on special.) I have a few different colours of this top because they are amazing for going underneath everything. I've been wearing them since I was about 14 weeks I think. They're just so long and comfy!

Would you believe that this shirt cost me $1? I was in Echuca with my sister for the day and we went a little nuts on the $1 rack! I'm still wearing those jeans and the long top.

Yes, I'm still wearing the jeans and white top (Hey, we're not reinventing the wheel!) This came from the Op Shop for $3.50. As baby is coming at the end of Autumn/start of Winter, I didn't mind having it sit in my wardrobe since January. It was handy when we went to Hobart for our anniversary too.

This dress was 'meant to be.' I originally saw it in Big W, but the only one in my size had a hole in it. Months later, I spotted it in an Op Shop in Numurkah. It's gotten me through two winters already and is perfect for layering.

I have worn it quite a few times during pregnancy. It was great at the end of summer because it kept me just that little bit warmer than a thin cotton dress. Now it's great because I can wear it with tights and a cardigan (mustard is my favourite colour to go with this.)

Some things I've tried to keep in mind when selecting tops in particular are:

  1. How long will I be able to wear this for? Am I going to grow out of it soon? (I am a lover of the 'how many dollars per wear' philosophy!)
  2. Will this be practical when I want to breastfeed? I need easy access!
  3. Will this look flattering later on when I am trying to lose my baby belly? Or, will I be horrified when old ladies in the supermarket ask 'When are you due, love?'

 All of these photos were taken at 35 weeks. Not long to go now!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Pregnancy foods: Quinoa and Chia Porridge

During pregnancy you have to avoid lots of different foods. Some are easy enough to give up (not really a fan of flake anyway...), while others are a little more difficult (camembert cheese! I miss you dearly!)

Instead of focusing on the 'do not's of pregnancy, I have tried to consider the 'do's. I've increased my intake of fruit, yoghurt, nuts and have tried to pack as many vegetables into meals as possible. And you can really tell when you've eaten well compared to when you haven't! Some days I will have a feeling as though I can't decide whether I am hungry, or whether I have eaten too much. After considering my diet on these days, I have realised that I am probably full, but not getting the nutrients I need. Even though I take daily pregnancy multi-vitamins and probiotics, I clearly need more. The baby needs more.

I have done some reading on the subject and have tried to find foods that are rich in minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc and iron. Then I saw this Quinoa and Chia Porridge recipe on the Quirky Cooking Thermomix blog, and decided that it was worth a shot!

Because this recipe uses quinoa, it is also high in protein. The mesquite powder and chia add all of the aforementioned minerals too.

Haven't heard of these foods before? Quinoa, mesquite and chia are all considered ancient 'superfoods' from Central and South America. You can buy them in supermarkets these days, in the gluten free/health food aisle. Otherwise try your local health food store.

So the results were pretty great. I substituted a few things. I didn't have almonds, so I used rice milk. I also opted not to add so many toppings. I tried banana and maple syrup to begin with. I added some currants, which were lovely, but probably tipped me over the sugar edge. When I made it again, I put less honey in, then taste tested before adding maple syrup. Otherwise it was too sweet.

On the days I eat this porridge, I feel great about looking after myself and my baby. I think this recipe is going to be a regular throughout autumn and winter!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Making Baby Bath Wash

As I mentioned in my book review post, I have decided to try and make some of my own baby products. At first, I was going to purchase organic products, but I was pretty horrified when I read the labels on them.

I was fortunate to have read Wendyl Nissen's 'Mother's Little Helper' where she outlined recipes for products you can make yourself. I love this idea as they don't seem too hard to make, I know exactly what is going into them and I've found that making your own is pretty darn inexpensive (especially compared to anything with 'organic' in the title!)

What I love about Wendyl is that she clearly cares more about helping people than book sales. If you go to her website, you'll find the exact recipes from the book, completely free.

Last week I decided to try the baby bath wash. It was surprisingly quick and easy to make.

I am a little excited to use it now. It smells like the rose water, but is still quite subtle. I hate overpowering smells, so this one seems to be perfect for my taste.

Do you have any experience making your own baby or beauty products? What have you found?

Monday, 22 April 2013

Baby Sock Cupcakes

I love cute presents. I think the packaging is just as important as the present (All you have to do is take a peek at my Pinterest account...I seriously have a gift wrapping obsession!)

A couple of years ago I purchased a cute little baby present that looked like a sundae. It was made out of a baby's singlet and came with a little ice cream bowl and spoon. There was even a little fake cherry on top. I was in love with it.

I went back to the same store intending to buy a similar gift and was appalled by the high price of them. I'm not sure whether the price went up or I became more stingy...Either way, I decided to have a crack at making my own.

Off I went to K-Mart, where I bought a pack of silicone patty pans and a 3-pack of white baby socks. All up, I think it cost me $5 all up. I only used half of the patty pans too (it was a 6-pack) so I can make more for less again!

Now, I'd like to get all technical and explain how I did this, but I think it would be too hard. It involved folding the socks in and out to create the frosted look. It took some teasing, but I was happy in the end.

I was glad I used the thicker socks rather than the thinner Bonds socks I had seen, as the thinner ones wouldn't have filled the patty pan. These ones were just right.

Maybe you could try making some confectionery items using baby clothes? I might just try to tackle something else next time...perhaps a sundae of my own? Or some lollypops? A tiered cake? Who knows?!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Maternity Style Snippets

I have been a little slack in photographing my outfits lately. My trusty sidekick is two hours away so she can't take too many photos of me at the moment!

I've tried to get away with wearing my usual clothes for a long time. I'm still able to wear some, but most days now I wear newly purchased clothing. These items aren't necessarily maternity. I will probably write about them later in an Op Shop Style post.

Here's just a quick shot or two of things I have worn lately. These two outfits were from about a month ago.

This dress I wore to a friend's engagement party. I got this dress from the Op Shop a long time ago, and I was so excited that it still fitted me.

This is just a home life shot. I was cooking dinner and harassing my husband for not taking more photos. I was halfway through talking to him when he just whipped out his phone and started taking photos. Serves me right, I guess!

I have become a huge fan of those tank tops some teenage girls wear as dresses. They go with everything. The shirt I bought from K-Mart a couple of years ago now. It has T-shirt ribbing in the sides, so it stretches. Pretty exciting when you're constantly expanding! These pants are maternity ones I got from Big W. They fit well and are really comfy.

I'll be back soon enough with a bit more on maternity style.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Funky Shoe Love

A couple of years ago I decided to buy white canvas shoes and put my own design on them. I started with black marker and went nuts making designs for myself and friends. Then I spotted some coloured permanent markers and decided to give them a go. (Prior to this, I had used a fabric marker but had found that it still wore off after wearing the shoes regularly.)

I drew on a pair of shoes for my younger sister, Mim and I did one for myself. Fast forward a few years and my older sister called me up. She wanted some pretty Converse All Stars for her daughter, but the only ones in her size were plain white. So I had a new project!


Doing these kids ones made me go hunting for the other two pairs. Mim still wears hers, and so do I. We get so many comments about them and it makes me beam :)
My shoes are a bit more worn and grubby!

Mim's shoes are my favourite. I did them after a bit of practice.

Each pair probably took me about three hours to do in the end. It was something enjoyable to do while the TV was on (I get super bored of TV.)

Hope you're having a great weekend!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Helpful Books: Pregnancy and Birth

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was over the moon (understandably.) During that awkward I-know-but-I-can't-tell-everyone-yet phase, I did a fair bit of reading to satisfy my need to think about baby often.

I was overwhelmed by the level of contradictory information I received from pregnancy magazines, so I opted to read books that seemed to align more with my quest to avoid chemicals in my everyday life.

Here are some books I found helpful:

The Complete Organic Pregnancy- Deirdre Dolan and Alexandra Zissu
What I liked about this book was that it was quite specific about what you should avoid eating and putting on your body during pregnancy. It's divided into the different stages of pregnancy, covering postnatal life too. It was an American book, so some of the information was of limited value (e.g. the types of fish you should avoid...half of them aren't available in Australia anyway.) One of the best features about this book is the fact that it contains many, many accounts from people other than the authors. These accounts describe the real challenges and decisions facing new parents, and how the situation panned out for these particular parents. This allowed me as the reader to make up my own mind, based on the anecdotal evidence. I much prefer this to an instructional book, as I know there is not always a 'right' and 'wrong' way of doing things in life.
I bought my paperback copy on Amazon. I've noticed they have a Kindle version out too.

Mother's Little Helper- Wendyl Nissen
This book outlines they way Grandma used to do things (totally up my alley, I know.) I found it quite practical, and there were recipes for yummy foods, remedies for morning sickness and ways of making your own organic baby wipes, lotion and bath wash. The last three I am particularly keen on, because I have recently been reading labels on 'organic' baby products and have been disappointed to say the least. At least if I have a go at making some myself, I know exactly what is and isn't going on my baby.
There were some pieces of advice I chose not to take (e.g. Stimulating nipples is a technique used to assist in labour induction, so I won't be rough-housing mine to prevent cracking/bleeding later on.)
Wendyl is from New Zealand, and I found a lot of products she mentioned are readily available in Australia, which was helpful. I also liked that when I e-mailed her with a question, she replied within a day or two. Knowing you can access the author is also a definite advantage in my opinion. Her website is filled with regular updates for people interested in chemical free living.
I bought my copy of Mother's Little Helper on Mighty Ape.

Baby Love- Robin Barker
This one was given to me by my older sister. She swore by it when she had her three children. Don't be put off by how huge the book looks (it's like two inches thick!) Everything is conveniently divided into chapters, and when curious about certain topics, they are easy to locate.
The information so far (still working my way through this one!) has been very practical and there are multiple suggestions for how to overcome certain obstacles, such as difficulty breastfeeding. There was also a great little section for fathers-to-be. I like this as I often feel like the poor guys get left out and feel helpless. So far the only other literature I have found for men is a booklet given to us at birth class. While it did contain some helpful information, it did describe the baby in terms of a car (e.g. 'When to change the oil', 'understanding your model' and 'things will be easier once you clock up a few kms.') Not entirely endearing, so I appreciating Baby Love speaking about the baby as if it is a human.
I have seen this book at nearly every major bookstore. Alternatively, I am sure you can get a copy online from Booktopia etc.

Reading has made me (hopefully) a little more prepared for what is to come. At birth class and the physio class I attended recently, much of the content was going over what I had read, so that was reassuring as well.

Let's see what the next seven or eight weeks brings!