Pregnancy and Parenthood Books: My Top 5 Picks

Anyone who knows me will agree that I’m a bit of a control freak. When I first found out I was growing a human inside me, I knew almost nothing about babies and my lack of knowledge with regards to pregnancy, childbirth and raising children meant that I felt it necessary to spend hours on end googling, watching youtube videos, swatting up reading books and more googling. By far, I got the most out of reading books on the subject. They seemed to have the answers to all of my questions in one place as well as giving information, tips and tricks on how to cope with all stages of becoming a mother.

Now that my baby is here, time to read no longer exists. There is an app for this problem, it’s called Audible and it is wonderful. Audiobooks allow me to enjoy some great books hands-free. Listening to other mother’s accounts of their experiences makes me feel a little less alone and a lot more confident knowing I’m not completely insane/ irrational/ emotionally unstable.

Here are a few of the books I have either read or listened to over the past year:

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What to Expect when you’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff

This book does exactly what it says in the title. A detailed explanation of what happens during each week of pregnancy, I highly recommend this book to any pregnant ladies out there. With so much information, I felt much more prepared for each stage of my pregnancy – a thumbs up from me!

 

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Mindful Hypnobirthing: Hypnosis and Mindfulness Techniques for a Calm and Confident Birth by Sophie Fletcher

The hypnobirthing concept is becoming more and more mainstream. Take from it what you will, it’s not for everyone. I found this book so helpful when it came to writing my birth plan and easing any pre-labour nerves I had. There are also some downloadable meditations to go along with this book that you can listen to during pregnancy and birth which are incredibly relaxing. Pregnancy is a very special time and this book was a reminder of this. It helped me to truly feel connected to my body and my growing baby. When it comes to childbirth, things don’t always go to plan but I felt that the reassurance this book gave me really calmed me down during the initial stages of labour – that and lavender essential oil (a godsend!).

 

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First-Time Parent by Lucy Atkins

’The honest guide that’s on your side – what to expect and how to cope brilliantly.’ This was the first book I bought when I found out I was pregnant and decided I needed to have an idea of what I was going to be doing! I was so excited when it arrived but I have to admit it did slightly terrify me when I started reading it and realised just how little I knew. This is a great comprehensive guide on all things parenting from how to hold your baby to breastfeeding to bathing to keeping your baby safe and well. It’s written so well and has some really handy photographic instructions for breastfeeding and swaddling etc. I highly recommend this book to any expectant first time parents.

 

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Happy Mum, Happy Baby: My Adventures into Motherhood by Giovanna Fletcher

I LOVE this book! Giovanna Fletcher (writer, presenter and youtuber) has written this book in such a relatable way. It’s an easy, addictive read detailing her experiences of motherhood. She describes the highs and lows brilliantly. I think this would make an ideal baby shower gift or ‘push present’. I downloaded this book on audible and really enjoyed listening to it when my baby was napping or nursing for the ultimate relaxing experience.

 

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Things I Wish I’d Known by Victoria Young

This was another Audible purchase I did not regret. ‘In this no-holds-barred collection of essays, prominent women, authors, journalists and TV personalities explore the truth about becoming mothers.’ It has the ability to put any new mum’s mind at ease knowing she is not alone in her occasional bouts of hormonal despair! I had a lot of laughs listening to this audiobook and there are also some very moving moments. If you’re in need of a good cuppa and a catch up with friends but everyone is busy, these ladies will give you the pick-me-up you require.

 

I really hope you have the chance to peruse this collection of books, whether you are a new mum, pregnant or in need of a gift for a friend’s baby shower perhaps. If you do, let me know what you thought in the comments. Feel free to share this post with friends or family who might be interested in these little treasures!

Peace and love

Lucy @Rewired 💕🌿

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Maternity Leave Musings…

So… it’s been almost a year since I last posted on Rewired.org.uk. The site had become pretty much exclusively about food, which was super fun and I love coming up with recipes, trying out new ingredients and exploring the world of veganism BUT fast forward a year and so much has happened. Now feels like a good time to add new content and to share a little more with you. There are a few things I want you to know about me and hopefully, through this blog, I can reach out to others with the same or similar experiences, creating a little community of likeminded people – how lovely would that be?! Here are three things that have shaped who I am today:

The D word
The label ‘disabled’ has applied to me since the 27th of February 2014 when I was 26 years old. I had a snowboarding accident and broke my back. My L1 vertebra burst and part of the bone pressed on my spinal cord, leaving me partially paralysed from the waist down. I am now unable to walk unaided although, with a lot of effort, I did manage to get back on my feet with the help of splints and a four wheeled rollator (yes I do look a bit weird walking around town!). As time goes by, I do acknowledge that my determination to walk everywhere has actually disabled me further with regards to how far I can go and how easy places are to access hence I have decided to invest in a posh new wheelchair (more on that in a future post). My aim with regards to the D word is to talk openly about my experiences, good and bad. I want to share information about equipment I have found useful, places I’ve been/want to go and how accessible they are as well as the internal, emotional challenges I face living with a spinal cord injury. I usually choose to laugh instead of cry about my injury – hopefully I can bring some humour to a ‘not so funny’ situation.

 

Mum’s the word
On the 4th of June this year, the biggest, brightest light of my life entered this world – all 5lbs 13oz of him. Reuben is now my favourite human (although my husband is right up there in the rankings too!). Becoming a mum has been the most incredible adventure so far and I’m so excited for all that is yet to come. My world has been turned upside down and I’m loving it. I might not be able to push him in his pram or walk around the house rocking him to sleep but I know I’m the best mum there is for my boy and that he is the perfect son for me. I’ve actually found the challenges of parenthood quite motivating and very rewarding when I overcome them. I want to show everyone that when it comes to raising a child, even with a disability, almost everything is possible – and if something is beyond your ability, there is always another way.

 

Conscious living
It feels like there has been a real shift in recent times when it comes to conscious living. The social movement of veganism is becoming increasingly powerful and it seems that eyes are opening all over the world. This makes me happy. I decided to embrace the vegan diet 2 years ago and never looked back. I definitely still want to share new recipes with you, although when the inspiration comes to discuss vegan-related issues, I will more than likely send the articles over to http://www.livekindly.co (you definitely need to check this website out if you haven’t already). I have found that since going vegan, I have subconsciously become more compassionate and more eager to contribute to the health of the planet and thus live more consciously. Here on Rewired, I will be posting about the little changes I am making over time to lessen my impact on the environment. I will be reviewing cruelty free, vegan products as well as any books, documentaries and anything else I can find of intrigue.

There you have it! I hope you’ll join me here at Rewired, leave a comment, make suggestions, share any ideas you have or all three. I’m excited to get started (again!).

Peace and love

Lucy @Rewired 💕🌿

 

30. Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

 

🍁🍂 Day 30 is here with a special treat for you all and you will NOT believe they are vegan! My husband thought I had bought a cake mix and asked me if I used eggs or butter – pfft as if?! I am so excited to announce my vegan baking success and share it with you. These only take 30 minutes to prepare and bake and taste the bomb 💣

What you will need:
– 100g self raising flour
– 100g light brown sugar
– 2 tbsp cocoa powder
– 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
– 130ml water
– 1 tsp orange extract
– Orange icing (you can make it or buy ready made if you don’t have time)
– candied orange to decorate

Preheat your oven to 180c fan/200c convection oven

Step 1
Sift all of the dry ingredients into a bowl. Melt the coconut oil and add The wet stuff to the dry ingredients. Fold together with a wooden spoon or in a mixer.

Step 2
Spoon your mixture into cupcake cases and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes before decorating.

Step 4
Roll out the icing and cut into circles before placing them on top of the cupcakes. Add some candied orange and they are ready 🍊

Nutritional Spotlight-
I can’t say that these are the healthiest foods you will ever eat, but what I can say is this; it’s far healthier to eat a cake with ingredients like coconut oil (seriously healthy) and cocoa powder than with butter or eggs. Chances are, you’re not going to clog your arteries quite so quickly with these cupcakes and you can relax knowing that you won’t be consuming any funky hormones/antibiotics/infections from animal products *ends rant here*

Happy creating!

Rewired 💕🌿

27. Frozen Cherry and Almond Cupcakes

🍁🍂 Day 27 and we are so close to the weekend I can almost smell it! When I have some extra time I like to experiment in the kitchen (shocker) and this is what I came up with last time. These pretty little things are the perfect balance of naughty and nice as the ingredients are healthy but they taste delicious 😇

What you will need (makes 6):
For the base
– 1/2 cup of peanut butter
– 1 1/4 cup of oats
– 4 tbsp melted coconut oil
– 1/4 cup maple syrup
– 1 tsp almond oil
For the topping
– 1 cup of pitted dark cherries (you can buy these frozen to save the pennies)
– 1 cup coconut milk
– 1 tbsp maple syrup
– 1 tbsp sifted icing sugar

Step 1
Mix all of the ingredients for the base together in a bowl. Add spoonfuls of the mixture to a cupcake baking tray (trying not to get carried away ‘taste testing’ the mixture). Pat the bases down into the holes until they are smooth.

Step 2
Use a blender or a food mixer to combine the topping ingredients together. Pour the smooth liquid over the bases.

Step 3
Place your tray into the freezer for at least 3 hours to set. Use a knife to poke the puds out when they have been out of the freezer for about 10 minutes to soften a little.

Nutritional spotlight-
* If you’re like me and you like to know what’s in your food, you will be happy to know that these minis are pretty healthy.
* Rewired isn’t going to count the calories in them for you as there are not enough to be worried about.
* The ingredients in these raw cakes have many health benefits and I will list just a few:
Peanut butter is a wonderful way to introduce good fats and proteins into your diet. You will be helping your heart, your body’s iron absorption, cell development and boosting your metabolism.
Coconut Milk is a great vegan alternative to dairy, rich in fibre and B vitamins.
Maple syrup is my favourite sweetener and it is unrefined and natural so far better for you than sugar or ‘stevia.’ It’s great for skin and digestive function and you maybe surprised to find that it is actually relatively high in calcium – amazing!

Happy creating!

Rewired 💕🌿

16. Apple Turnovers

🍁🍂 All Rainy Sundays should consist of cozying up on the couch with a good book, a cup of tea and a sweet treat. Blogtober day 16 has the perfect recipe for you with these lovely little pastries.

What you will need (makes 4):
– 250g block of jus rol puff pastry
– 3 apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced
– 4 tsp apricot jam
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1 tsp nutmeg
– 2 tsp light brown sugar
– a sprinkling of icing sugar (optional)

Preheat your oven to 180c fan/200c convection oven

Step 1
Dust your kitchen surface with any white flour you have in the house and roll out your pastry. Cut into four segments (rectangles or squares).

Step 2
Distribute the apple slices evenly over half the length of each your pastry segments. Sprinkle the sugar and nutmeg over the apples.

Step 3
Fold the other side of the pastry over the apples and seal with water or vegan butter and press down with a fork.

Step 4
Heat up your jam in a pan on a low to medium heat until it becomes runny in consistency. Brush the top of your turnovers for a shiny glaze.

Step 5
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until golden brown. Dust with cinnamon and icing sugar and tuck in! 😊

Nutritional spotlight-
* If you’re like me and you like to know what’s in your food, you will be happy to know that these turnovers are healthy ones.
* Rewired isn’t going to count the calories in the pastries for you as there are not enough in them to be worried about.
* The ingredients in these tasty treats have many health benefits and I will list just a few:
Cinnamon. What can I say? It’s one of those things that makes food taste like a treat and looks after you without you even realising it. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti inflammatory, great for protection against disease as well as painful conditions such as arthritis. It also has beneficial effect on neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s by protecting neurons and normalising neurotransmitter levels.
– Look up to cinnamon for the benefits nutmeg has to offer as they are very similar. It helps to improve cognitive function whilst simultaneously reducing insomnia and helping with immune function.
Apples are also quite impressive when it comes to the prevention and the fight against disease. Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer with their antioxidants and flavonoids, apples are always a good idea.

Happy creating!

Rewired 💕🌿

Friday Faves

Here are three little treasures I’ve found recently for happiness and health ✌🏻️💕🌿

1. The Body Shop

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For me, living a more conscious life is about making little changes often. Trying to save the planet is too much to take on all at once and I would imagine you are less likely to succeed and more likely to become down trodden with guilt because in this day and age, it’s pretty much impossible to live without doing something that is damaging to your body and/or the environment.
One little step I have taken recently is to buy these beauties from the body shop:

*Coconut milk body lotion
*Coconut shower cream
*Vanilla body mist

They are all vegan (I checked their list of vegan products). Ethics aside, my skin feels softer than ever and I smell like ice cream – yes! I would highly recommend these items to anyone and I’m looking forward to adding to my collection.

2. Big Magic

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Elizabeth Gilbert is a goddess. She is honest and humble and absolutely hilarious. If you’re feeling a little lost on your life path and need a few words of encouragement, Big Magic will be your go to ‘pick-me-up.’

After living in my new home for over 6 months, I finally set up my recording studio in my bedroom and started writing music again. I also downloaded a few photo editing apps to fiddle around with for my food photography. My yoga practice has become part of my daily routine again and I feel more connected to my body now than I have in a long time.

Creative living beyond fear is a reminder that the reason any of us creates anything is because we enjoy it. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in life so far, it’s that happiness is the key to everything. We don’t have to impress anyone, we don’t have to become successful in the eyes of others. Success is found in a life of fulfilment, having friends to laugh with, partners to love, family ties and activities to inspire us. Thank you Elizabeth Gilbert for giving me the kick up the arse I needed!
3. Hot For Food – Mac N Peas!

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Going vegan is one of the best decisions I ever made. I have found it incredibly easy and also really exciting coming up with new recipes and sharing them with friends and family (although I do have to tell my friends that I’m okay with it if they unfollow me on Instagram as it’s mainly pictures of food and that’s not everyone’s cup of tea).

As we are on the topic of Instagram, I love trawling through pictures of food and picking up tips and ideas for my next meal. I also love YouTube for this. Most online vegan ‘youtubers‘ really annoy me but I’m a little bit obsessed with Hot For Food‘s channel. Last week I tried their Mac N Peas recipe and OH MY. Wow. It’s so simple and easy to follow and the result is the most comforting, indulgent dinner I think a vegan can have. A massive thumbs up from me and I dare you to give it a go yourself, you deserve it! https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=510fDkRzNz4

Happy creating!

Rewired 💕🌿

To Juice or not to Juice?

This idea of a juice fast or cleanse or whatever you would like to call it, has always sounded rather appalling to me. I love food, probably to the point where I’m a little obsessive. I spend a lot of time thinking about what my next meal will be and it brings me a great deal of happiness. I love to cook, I love to eat, I even love just looking at pictures of food on Instagram for inspiration!

All that being said, talking to a few friends about the subject, I found myself convinced that this was something I needed to do, if only to find out if I could benefit from it. My digestion is severely compromised following a spinal cord injury back in 2014. Due to paralysis, it takes me a lot longer to digest food than ‘normal’ people. Although I know it’s unlikely I’ll be able to speed up my digestion as the damage is done, I wondered if juicing might flush out any unwanted toxins or blockages to see if I could feel a little lighter (not weight-wise, just the usual bloating, having a sluggish tummy etc). Having already gone vegan a few months ago, I have noticed a massive difference but I still want to give everything a go to be the best I can be.

I watched Jason Vale’s documentary on his website after being recommended by some lovely people and that was enough to get me excited. So many people have had great experiences from the juice cleanse with pain relief and digestion, energy levels etc. I am already healthy and active, this was going to be a cakewalk…

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My juicing diary

Day 1

First juice of the day was horrendous. I think I got my quantities wrong with the spirulina. Very wrong! I’ve Been looking at pictures of vegan food on Instagram and getting hungry… Seriously need to get on my bike and get distracted! This is only day one – I’ve been so pumped about this I’m a little concerned about the fact I am not enjoying the juices so far. However, I will persevere and try again tomorrow.

 

Day 2

Still day dreaming about starchy carbs. Feeling better about the flavours. It’s just a real pain to do the actual juicing as it takes over an hour and a half to get through it all. Plus I have to wash the machine twice as it gets filled up and stops working after about 7 juices… Definitely feeling better though, no symptoms of IBS – first day in years!

 

Day 3

Hard day. Very tired and a little light headed. There is a definite need to keep drinking water in between juices if exercising. Feeling a little fed up and wanting real food that I can eat instead of drink. Highlights were the addition of banana and dairy free yoghurt to one of the juices. Delicious! Also more filling. Disappointing having a normal juice afterwards though! So green! Happy knowing there’s not long left to go due to weekend plans cutting it short. I would recommend people from the uk just get it delivered, saves money on the food shop, buying a juicer and blender as well as saving you 1.5 hours every night or morning making them all up….

Day 4

Still hungry! I feel like if you are healthy and active and are interested in juicing, maybe just try 2 days at a time. I’m not sure how much more beneficial the extra days will be unless you have weight problems or issues with pain etc. My stomach feels so empty and exercising its quite tiring which is very unusual for me. Also, I have become quite irritable and snappy. My beautiful and supportive fiancé has been joining me on my juicing journey and he too is becoming a real grump. All I can hear are our bellies rumbling when we sit down on the sofa to relax, our hunger is audible!

So we decided that today would be the end of our juice cleanse. I don’t feel bad for essentially ‘giving up.’ Sometimes we have to listen to our bodies. The fiancé and I had started to lose too much weight and that’s not what we wanted to achieve, I’m 48 kg anyway so I don’t want to be losing any more. Tonight we treated ourselves to some soup made from our left over veggies (yay more liquidised food!) which was so yummy and a little bread on the side just because why not?

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In conclusion, I believe the juice cleanse is a great thing to do for people who either have a bad diet, aren’t exercising regularly, suffer from pain or other medical conditions. I also think it helped me for the first few days to get rid of my sluggish tummy especially after a week of hen party shenanigans. Would I do it again? Yes but for only one or two days at a time. I love food and eat well, I don’t need to deprive myself of what makes me happy and healthy for that matter. To anyone considering doing a juice fast I would say to take it easy, go at your own pace. Maybe try a day or two first and see how you feel. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself as this is quite a dramatic change to make even if it’s not for a long period of time. Good luck!

Rewired 💕🌿

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