Newborn Essentials | Just Add Ginger

newborn essentials - Just Add Ginger blog

 You never really know what you need for a baby until he/she arrives. Even at a very young age, every baby is different and has their own preferences and quirks. Tune into these and you're on to a winner. Some of the items on this list are more practical, and others handy to have. But in no particular order, here are all the bits and bobs that I think make life with a newborn just that little bit easier.

It was MG who first found out about the Snugglebundl - a piece of baby "kit" that helps you in lifting your newborn, right up until they are a few months old. And without it now, I would be a little bit lost. I use it everyday with Baby Ginger - from picking him up from the floor to easing him into the pram to putting him down at night. It makes him incredibly comfortable and he really enjoys cosying up in it. So much so that we now have two in rotation.

I can't imagine how stressful making up bottles at 3am when you have a screaming baby crying for food used to be. The Tommee Tippee Prep Machine is a lifesaver for those of us who are bottle feeding by getting a bottle ready for you in a matter of minutes. And when you have a baby who gets as hangry as ours, those few minutes make early morning and middle of the night feeds that much more manageable. Granted, at first I was terrified of the thing (you have to b e so careful about what you touch) but now I don't ever have to think twice about how to make up a feed.

Really I think you are supposed to use these pillows if you are breastfeeding, but I use it to bottle feed Baby Ginger. It gives the prefect angle to use to prop him up, and wedges him in nicely for me so that he is always supported. It is also just a great thing to have on the sofa to put baby in for some face-to-face time. You shouldn't leave them in the Boppy for too long of course, or let them sleep in it, but the more your little one is alert and observant, it gives your arms a bit of a break from holding them all the time, and lets them look around at the world.

When it comes to gauging temperature, I am officially shit! I always like to feel warm and snuggly and generally run a little cold. But with babies you have to be so careful with temperature as at such a young age they cannot thermoregulate. The Gro Egg is fab because in essence it is temperature gauging for dummies. With four colour settings, at just one glance it is obvious if the room is too cold, just right,  warm, or too hot. We did initially have a cheap-o paper thermometer to use in our room and the nursery, but when you are always extra careful and a little worried about getting things just right, this dispels all the uncertainty and second guessing.

This can be a tricky one to get right as babies can be quite fickle, but nevertheless a great thing to have to hand, especially when it comes to you needing to get things done. Some bouncers bounce (duh) and some vibrate, some rock, and some just do it all, so there are loads to choose from. Provided you have one your baby likes, you no longer have to worry about leaving a baby who won't go down alone if you want a shower, are desperate for a pee (or more) or seriously need to get some bottles washed. Just take them with you! Baby Ginger has two bouncers which - most of the time - he loves sitting in, and because of this, I am not constantly smelly nor does our house look like a pigsty.

Just like a bouncer, having a play gym to hand with a newborn is incredibly helpful. It doesn't need to have all the bells and whistles in the world, but pick one with things that dangle, rattle, crunch and reflect and baby will always have another source of entertainment. Baby Ginger loves being on his and absolutely loves the star that comes with it because it plays music and lights up. Aside from a clock we have on the wall, that star is the object of his affection, and he will smile and coo up at it for ages.  

Play gyms are usually quite cushioned so are also great for tummy time and a good place to put baby for a few minutes if you are trying desperately to chuck a coffee down your throat or shove in a sandwich. Plus they are incredibly portable so amazing on-the-go entertainment if you ever are travel.

 Mybaby Ho Medics Soundspa On-The-Go Baby Soother / Sleep Aid

This was actually a gift from Sarah - one that has proved invaluable (so much so that I ordered a second one). With buttons that provide a variety of sounds - from heartbeat to waves to birdsong, it caters to whatever your baby may prefer. The handle also makes it a great travel companion. We've attached ours to our crib, car seat and pram to use on walks, car journeys and during the day.

If you have any newborn essentials you think I should know about, let me know in the comments.


Baby Ginger's Birth Story | Just Add Ginger

Baby photos - Just Add Ginger blog

This post has been a long time coming. Originally I wanted to film it and put it up on my YouTube channel, but in all honesty I just haven't had the time. To save you scrolling through reams and reams of my ramblings, I'll try and keep things as brief as possible. 

After a less than successful sweep the day after I turned 40 weeks, to say that I was over being pregnant was a complete understatement. I was ginormous, uncomfortable, and just so ready to get that baby out. Knowing that I was booked in for a C-section at 41 weeks should have made me feel more calm, but instead, I was just working myself up more. Aside from my own grand entrance into this world, I have never been admitted to hospital for anything, and I was completely, totally and 100% freaking out. 

So when I started having extremely mild cramps on 30th March (3 days past my due date) I got so excited. After spending days bumbling round the house in nothing but one of Ryan's t-shirts, no underwear (in case my waters broke) and a dressing gown, I was taking it as a sign. This child was finally ready. Ryan had been on alert all week, ready to dash home from work as soon as he got the call, so on that day, I made sure he definitely wasn't going to let his phone out of his sight. 

And of course in so doing, the cramps completely vanished. MG was up that day and I remember sitting in a cafe sipping on my hot chocolate and moaning my guts out. I had literally tried everything to get things going, and I just felt like this pregnancy was never going to end

In the early hours of the Friday morning the cramps came back in full force. The first one I got was so strong it actually woke me up from my sleep. But I simply refused to believe I was having contractions. For starters they weren't across my belly as I was expecting, but bang on my knicker line, and at the end of the day I didn't want to build my hopes up to have them come crashing down. 

The cramps came and went in waves throughout the night and then seemed to dissipate later on in the morning, pretty much as soon as we headed into the Liverpool Women's Hospital for my pre-op. Assuming it had been false labour all along, Ryan and I decided to head out for some lunch to occupy and distract ourselves. It was on that drive during a phone call to my parents, that the "cramps" came back, and really rather strongly (to the point where walking was difficult) but with no seeming consistency. Chugging down a pineapple smoothie, we decided it would be best to get in touch with my midwife in the hopes that she might confirm that things were potentially starting off. 

Which - thank goodness - she said they seemed to be! I was honestly so relieved I could have cried. By this point I had been struggling on for about 15 hours and was absolutely exhausted, so now it was just about playing the waiting game, sleeping, eating, and keeping as hydrated and distracted as possible. I knew there was no point phoning the hospital because nothing had any apparent pattern, and although I was in pain, at this point I was coping on my own.

This was how things went for the next 24 hours really. The pain got worse. I got more and more tired. But there was still no pattern to the cramping. Feeling distraught and very emotional, at about 5am on the Saturday I rang the hospital to basically be told I just had to power through. Even though I knew they would say that, it was still so upsetting to hear. But by 4pm or so I just couldn't cope anymore. Looking back I don't remember much of the pain, but I do remember crying, not being able to sit down, crying out, and dancing around the living room holding on to Ryan. The hospital said we could go in, but to take our time (probably to make sure I was going in dilated enough to be admitted). With bags packed, car seat in, my push playlist blasting out and me singing through contractions whilst sitting on a towel, that is where we went!

Now this is where everything becomes a bit of a blur. In between really strong contractions and grunting my head off it's a bit difficult to remember in what order things happened. I remember my cervix being initially checked and being told I was 3.5cm, being given codeine and paracetamol (and it doing nothing), sucking on gas and air, and then finally being offered diamorphine before spending the rest of the 16 hours I was in labour completely high as a kite. Ryan tells me my contractions were awful. I was getting them every minute and each was lasting two so I just wasn't catching a break. The midwife during the night shift was fabulous and held me so I could sleep a bit, but I was just incredibly uncomfortable. 

Fast forward to the morning, and I recall having a few bites of toast, a sip of tea, then turning to the midwife on duty and saying "there's pressure...there's pressure" before dragging myself up on all fours on the bed to get ready to push. I couldn't tell you how long I was trying to get the baby out, but I'd had my quota of diamorphine was only using gas and air. I must have been pushing for a while because at one point several doctors came in to check on me because I don't think anybody could quite find an accurate reading of baby's heartbeat because of my position. 

Ladies, I am going to be brutally honest. Whereas I can't remember most of my labour pains anymore, what I can vaguely recall is trying for those final few pushes to get baby's head out. And for me they bloody hurt. Just think ring of fire and you'll get the gist. Half afraid and half exhausted, my contractions weren't providing enough support to help me through and I really, really had to focus. Then of course I only went and dropped my gas and air tube so was flying completely solo. Baby's head kept popping in and out like a yo-yo and I was struggling. But it was Ryan's sister who gave me the incentive to get him out. She is a midwife and came in to see us briefly. It was her telling me that she had to go back to work that built up my strength enough again to let her see her nephew be born - that and The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack blasting out in the background. 

Finally at 10.44am on 2nd April (our 1st wedding anniversary) Baby Ginger came into the world - all 6lbs 11oz worth of him. It hadn't hit me that I'd just given birth and I just sat there for a few minutes completely baffled and overwhelmed. Ryan cut the cord and had the first cuddle and that was it. He was here. And I was a mother

I cannot sing the praises of the staff at the Liverpool Women's enough. Every midwife who took care of us was amazing. The ward had a wonderful, calming atmosphere, and nothing was ever too much trouble for anyone. Whereas I was terrified about having a baby, now I wouldn't hesitate to do it again in the future. I think back on my time in labour and feel very emotional to have had such a fabulous experience there, and it would be a real shame if it were to close. 

And as for Baby Ginger now? He's an absolute joy of a baby. We cannot imagine our lives without him and every day he just amazes us. He is our light and love, and I cherish every moment I have with him. He hasn't taught me how to be a mother, but he's helped me realise how strong a person I can be and just what pure adoration is.

To get a play-by-play account of me going into labour, you can watch my vlog below. Click here to find our more about the Liverpool Women's Hospital, and to find out about the Save Liverpool Women's Hospital Campaign, head to this Facebook page.


The New Mum Tag | Just Add Ginger

Nursery decor

Being a parent is so many things - and there are always good times and difficult times. To mark this new chapter in my life, and to indulge my curiosity about the experience of other new mums (and dads), I decided to create a brand new blog tag.

I tag Zee and Jo to do this tag too, and anybody else who has had a baby. Leave your answers or links to your posts in the comments so I can check out your answers.

1. When did your baby arrive? 


2. Did you deliver early / were on time / overdue? 

Overdue! And by the end, I was so sick of being pregnant 

3. In three words describe a typical day as a new mum... 

Unpredictable. Rewarding. Challenging.

4. Who do you think your baby looks like? 

I really don't have a clue, and I'm rubbish at saying who babies resemble anyway. But some people say Baby Ginger looks like me, and others Ryan, but I just think he looks like himself

5. What has been one highlight of mummyhood so far? 

When Baby Ginger first smiled. It was at five weeks, and was so unexpected. I captured it on video too which was really special.

6. What aspect has been the hardest?

The beginning. He was really phlegmy and I wasn't able to breastfeed. It made me feel really useless and a bit of a failure. But now to see how much he is thriving makes me so happy! 

7. Have you had any hilarious moments?

When he does pee protests. They can be completely unpredictable, and because he's a boy, it can be really funny and extremely messy... It definitely puts a fun spin on nappy changes.

8. Do you think becoming a mum has changed you? How? 

I am so protective of Baby Ginger - it's so unreal the amount of love I feel for him. It has made me a lot more determined and strong and independent. There's nothing I'm not afraid to try, and I wholeheartedly throw myself into every aspect of caring for him.

9. Do you get mummy guilt? 

All the time. When he cries my heart breaks a little bit. When I go out without him I miss him, and when I know he has painful gas, it makes me feel so helpless.

Is there any piece of equipment you just couldn't live without?

Our Snugglebundl and a white noise machine Sarah bought us. They have been absolute godsends!

10. What's one dream you have for your baby?

That he grows up knowing that whatever he wants to do / whoever he wants to be / ambitions he wants to pursue, I am there to support him and help him with so much love. 

11. What's one piece of advice you would give to other new mums?

Take it all in your stride. Being a mum is so empowering but it is also bloody hard work. There will be really testing times, but there will also be really rewarding times. There are ups and downs all the time, but you are never in it alone. When you are trying to comfort a screaming baby, there is another parent out there doing the exact same thing. When you are at the end of your tether, somebody is struggling too. But the smiles make it all worth it. And never be afraid to ask for help or take time out for you - that's really, really important too!


Family-Friendly Frozen Treats From Icefresh Foods Ltd* | Just Add Ginger

character ice creams

It doesn't really need to be said, but when it comes to puddings, I simply cannot say no. I have the biggest sweet tooth, and whether it's chocolate, cake or ice creams, just say the word and I am there with one million bells on. Which is why when I was contacted asking if I would like to review some of the Icefresh Foods ice creams and desserts, I jumped at the chance. With a brand new baby in our lives, sugary treats have taken the place of a glass of prosecco and become my best friend at the end of a testing day, so getting the opportunity to try something new definitely got my taste buds going! 

I sent Ryan out on the mission to find some of Icefresh Foods' frozen goodies. Popping off to our local Aldi, he came back with several boxes of cute and colourful character iced lollies and ice creams for us to sample. 

Upon opening up the boxes, it really made me happy to see that the lollies were just as cute as they appeared on the packaging. Sometimes images can be a bit deceptive, but these characters did not disappoint. And if it made me happy as a grown up, for a child I can only imagine how happy they would be! Perfectly shaped for little hands, just the right size to avoid a mountain of mess and for us, ideal to chop down quickly before the baby stirs, MG, Ryan and I happily tucked into an ice cream each one evening after dinner, eagerly anticipating just how well these would hit and fulfil our cravings for something sweet.

Character Lolly Review - Just Add Ginger blog

I couldn't get over just how creamy, fluffy and soft my ice cream was. It was melt-in-the-mouth, and bursting full of flavour. It is really annoying when ice creams only hint at the flavour they are meant to be, but for the size they were, these lollies were absolutely jam-packed. Both out of enjoyment, and because they are probably designed for a slightly younger demographic, we all went back for seconds. 

Being the big kids we are, we absolutely have got lots of enjoyment out of having these colourful characters in our freezer. For us they are the perfect size for a little sweet treat, hit the spot when it comes to flavour, and are the ideal consistency for eating when time is of the essence. For families with young children, these would be ideal to crack open on a hot summer's day. pack in a cool bag for a picnic, and bring out as an after-dinner dessert. The character selection is bang on trend with TV shows and films that are popular with children and families. With each box being a couple of pounds, these would be ideal to have in the freezer and use as a grab-and-go pudding for when the weather really starts to get warmer.

Yummy and moreish, the only thing I would say about the ice creams is eat up, and quickly! Because of the texture of the lollies, they did start to melt pretty quickly. For us, it wasn't so much of an issue (although Yoda did lose his head), for little hands, this might lead to disappointment as the ice cream drops, or may make a little bit of extra mess.

Not just for little ones, Icefresh Foods also have scrummy-looking puds for grown ups too, with both Thorntons and Weight Watchers frozen desserts available. And judging by how delicious we found their character lolly offerings I can only imagine how tasty these other options would be, and will definitely be something I look out for the next time we do our supermarket shop. (Although if you open my freezer throughout the summer months, don't be surprised if you spot a Storm Trooper or three tucked away in there too!)

* I was very kindly sent vouchers to redeem against Icefresh Foods Ltd desserts. This in no way affects my review. All my opinions are always 100% honest and informed by my personal experiences and taste buds


One Handed Mummy Hack: Nappy Changing | Just Add Ginger

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Being a little different has never really stopped me from doing anything. I simply refuse to take "no" as an answer. Which is why I decided to start making one-handed ways videos again - this time, from the stance of a new mummy. I have found it a little tricky to track down resources that provide support, ideas and guidance, so thought it was about time I did something about it. 

Changing a nappy doesn't have to be daunting. All it takes is patience, self-believe and lots of practice. I'm only just about three weeks in to this whole parenting thing and I've got my technique honed to a fine art (excluding pee protests - nobody can prepare you for those.)

Everything is pretty much detailed in this video, but you should also bear in mind a few things that will help you along the way, so no matter where you are, you can calm that screaming baby who needs his nappy changed quickly, relatively quietly, and in a way that suits you. 

- Have a changing station prepared with nappies, nappy bags, wipes, lotions, and anything else you might need both upstairs and downstairs 

- Always have extra clothing to hand for baby...just in case. 

- Talk to baby as you change him. Not only will this help you bond, but it'll keep you calm and a bit more focused too. 

- There's no need to rush. Take your time, breathe, and don't be afraid to start again if you are not 100% happy.

Nappy changing gets a little easier every time I do it. It's so important to remember that just because you may operate in a slightly different way to everyone else doesn't mean you can't manage just as well. That's why I've decided to make these videos, to help quash misconceptions, inspire others who may be struggling to find help or guidance, and to put a positive light on all aspects of parenting.

If you know anybody who would benefit from watching this video, please feel free to share it around. And remember....

Where there's a will there's always a way.


YouTubers You Should Be Following | Just Add Ginger

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With having sometimes feeling a little alone during the past nine months, I found myself frequently turning to YouTube, seeking out vloggers who provided handy tips, advice and support for everything from pregnancy to parenthood. With so many content creators out there, as a new mummy, I wanted to share the top vloggers I have been watching the most.

By far the YouTuber I have been loving the most, Emily's videos are always a great source of the advice, humour, and honesty that I have needed during my pregnancy. Always so down-to-earth and incredibly;y watchable, hers are the videos I watch over and over again. Videos that have been constantly on my "Watch Later" list have been her 'Pregnancy Expectations vs Reality' , 'What's In My Hospital Bag? What To Pack?' , and third trimester updates (although every time I see she has uploaded something new I instantly click to watch it)! 

Kate Murnane | Dollybowbow 

I have been subscribed to Kate's channel for years, way before her first little boy arrived, and have always really enjoyed all the videos she has put out. However, when I found out I was expecting, hers were the pregnancy & mummy videos I remembered the most. Always full of tips, tricks and advice, whenever I have seen a new pregnancy update appear on my subscription list, I know it;s one I'm going to gain a lot from (even though I'm slightly more ahead in my pregnancy now). Plus, her family vlogs are absolutely adorable too!

Again, similarly to Dollybowbow, Tiffany D's pregnancy & mummy videos are some of the ones that really stuck out in my mind, and ones I knew would be really helpful to watch again now that I am also having a baby. A lover of her makeup and fashion videos anyway, I find her such a soothing and captivating watch, that I just get drawn in to her content and can sit for hours just re-watching her weekly pregnancy updates and baby hauls. Hers will definitely be videos I can easily stick on and have in the background during upcoming sleepless nights and restless days and know that I won't ever get bored. 

Mummy-to-be with a YouTuber you love watching? Leave me a link in the comments below.


Chy, Waterloo Review | Just Add Ginger

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I will be the first to admit that Chinese cuisine is not my favourite. Unlike other food, I can find the flavourings of the dishes a little too potent for my palette, and often have difficulty finding enough dishes to try. 

So when the idea came up to head on down to Chy in Waterloo for an early dinner one evening, initially I was a little dubious. I hate being a fussy diner, but I just wasn't sure if there would be anything on the menu that tickled my fancy. However, never one to turn down an outing, I hopped on to the website to take a look at the Set Menu to ensure there would be something I'd be happy ordering.

Thankfully I was able to hone in on several dishes that sounded right up my street and wouldn't be too overbearing or contain ingredients that are strictly off-limits for the time being. Always one to plan ahead, I narrowed my order down to the chicken and sweetcorn soup, prawn toast, and sweet and sour chicken. Excitedly nervous, and with a tummy growling for food, we headed down to give Chy a try.

Just Add Ginger blog

Just Add Ginger blog

South Road in Waterloo is a relatively new commodity when it comes to dining experiences. I've only ever popped in to a few of the restaurants before, and with so many on the one street, it can be difficult to pick somewhere out. Situated on the end of a parade of places to ear, Chy instantly makes it mark by looking incredibly sleek and sophisticated from the outside. The interior follows suit, with beautiful décor creating an intimate yet elegant atmosphere. It was also lovely to see quite a number of tables already full, with couples and families dining happily and chatting away in a low buzz. 

We were served almost instantly, with drinks and food orders taken, and it wasn't long before our first course came out. For being on the set menu, it was a nice surprise to see such a generous size portion of soup arrive, accompanied by a bowl of prawn crackers to share (something I had to really try and remember - prawn crackers are just too yummy)! The soup was really flavourful, and unlike some I have had in the past, not too salty. I guzzled down nearly all the bowl, only leaving a bit at the bottom to ensure I had enough room for the other courses. Had this been the only starter course, I wouldn't have readily woolfed it down!

Prawn toast soon followed after our soup bowls were collected. Three pieces of delicious-looking sesame-coated toast sat waiting for me alongside a sweet chilli dip. Jam-packed full of succulent prawns, and with a crispy coating to complement, I really wish there had been more than just three portions on my plate - they barely touched the surface of the plate before they had completely vanished! I could have gone back for more and more, and were definitely some of the best prawn toast offerings I've ever tasted.

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Last up from the set menu was my sweet and sour chicken accompanied by a portion of rice. Looking appetising, and smelling equally as yummy, the only downside to this dish was that I stupidly forgot to check to see if it came with any vegetables. My own mistake, I picked out a majority of the peppers and put them on Ryan's plate for him to enjoy. Although this made the plate much more appealing for me, it did mean that the plate looked a little empty. But having the rice to hand definitely helped bulk out the dish, and once again I was really impressed with the amount of flavour the sweet and sour sauce had - a far cry from that artificial flavour that some sweet and sour dishes have when you order them from takeaway menus.

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You would have thought that after all that food we would have been full. But no. Instead of admitting defeat, it wouldn't be a complete meal without something for pudding. Not available on the set menu, we ordered from the main dessert menu - me opting for the cheesecake, and Ryan for banana fritters. 

Rich and creamy, my cheesecake was bursting with sweetness from the strawberry sauce and ice cream, working brilliantly with the unique taste of the marscapone in the cheesecake filling. A generous size for a dessert, like with all the dishes I had ordered, this didn't last very long. Ryan in turn really enjoyed his fritters, which were absolutely ginormous. 

Going to Chy really changed my mind about Chinese food. Although the early bird set menu was only a small selection, I did take a peek at the main menu choices and there were quite a number that I would go for. The prices are also really reasonable. At £12.95 pp for the set menu, and all other dishes coming in under £20 (even for the specials), I can see this soon becoming a family date night hotspot. 

To find out more about Chy, their other chains in the city, or to take a peek at the menus, click here.


Post Pregnancy Wishlist | Just Add Ginger

post-pregnancy wishlist - Just Add Ginger blog

By the time I have popped out a child, it will have been almost a year since I bought many clothes in my pre-pregnancy size and style. In place of skinny jeans and bodycon dresses I now find myself - most days - opting for looser fitting garments, leggings, and empire lines. So when it comes to a Spring wardrobe, me and my future self are pretty much at a loss of what I am actually going to wear. Especially when you throw bodily changes into the mix. My boobs may grow even more, and I obviously won't have a baby bump anymore. Thinking about how I'm going to easily adopt my style without breaking the bank is something that is currently boggling my mind.

Thankfully, there are a few pieces out there that have caught my eye that I think will easily help me transition back, mixing in with my plethora of tank tops, floaty tops and swing dresses easily, and meaning that even though my core staples will remain the same, I'll be able to inject a little bit more "me" back into the mix.

Post Pregnancy Wishlist | Just Add Ginger

Pretty much for my entire pregnancy I have been coveting something from the Joanie website. However, with these usually being super-cute slim-fitting jumpers, so far I have refrained from making an order. However, when I spotted this gorgeous pinafore, I knew that some how, some day, it would have to find its way into my wardrobe. It'll look sweet with sweaters and make a pretty overlay for blouses, whilst still hiding any wobbly bits I may still be getting used to. Determined to hold back a little longer, you can only imagine my absolute delight to be told by Joanie that I had won a dress for #NationalDressDay and that this little beauty would be on its way to me. Requesting a size 12 for boob and bum growth allowance, I can't wait to style this up for Spring!

A girl of simple taste when it comes to style, I really loved the laid-back look pre-pregnancy and enjoyed nothing more than turning to my staples of block-colour tops, distressed denim or leggings and ankle boots. Which is why I think this oversized jacket from Boohoo makes such a statement piece to incorporate into my wardrobe. If I am breastfeeding, I'll be living in tops and dresses that I can easily manoeuvre, so having something to slip on over the top like this that adds a little bit more drama and edge will mean that even though I may be living in the same clothes for a while, I'll always be able to switch up my styling.

When it comes to Spring colours, I have definitely found myself jumping on board the blush pink train. I think it is such a pretty shade (surprising even myself) and can't wait to inject a little more colour - if somewhat subdued - into my closet. With the possibility of needing to free the boob on the horizon, nursing fashion is not entirely out of my head. Putting my contempt for high street maternity fashion to one side, I have fallen for this sweet scalloped nursing dress from ASOS. Even though it's quite formal a piece, and I have no events planned, I think this will look lovely across the Spring and Summer seasons by simple sliding on a pair of gladiator flats and a thin knit cardigan, or even on a colder days a pair of statement embroidered boots and the denim jacket from Boohoo.

Now I'm not stupid. I know that there may be days where all I want to do is slob around in sweatpants and a oversized mens jumper (you should see me now), with a faint scent of sour milk lingering around me and no motivation whatsoever for anything. However, at the moment I still like to see myself doing that with a touch more elegance. Oversized styles have always been a big part of my dress sense, which is why I was drawn to this QED top on the New Look website. I think the structure is really interesting, and whereas I have no idea if it would suit me, on lazy days where I find myself just not giving a shit, something like this will not only come in really handy, but also help me easily retain some semblance of normalcy.

What's on your current wardrobe wishlist?


Date Night At Piccola | Just Add Ginger

Piccola Italian restaurant Litherland - Just Add Ginger blog

One of the only sad things about our move was that we were no longer going to be near our beloved Yukti. Having such an amazing restaurant round the corner was such a luxury that I wasn't sure we'd ever have a similar "local" situation again. So when Piccola opened, I knew it would eventually be somewhere we had to try. Not quite on our doorstep, but close enough, I kept everything crossed that it would fill the void that moving further away from one of our favourite restaurants would leave. 

Saying "thank you" to Ryan provided the perfect opportunity for our first date night since the move. He has put up with so much from me over the past nine months (and still is) that I just wanted to both express my gratitude and apologise in advance for calling him all the names under the sun / wanting to bite him whilst we're in the delivery suite.

Every time we drive passed Piccola it looks full to the brim - even on a weekday, and upon arriving for our date night, it was just the same. With ambient lighting that created a cosy yet classy atmosphere, and the buzz of chatter in the background, it immediately evoked a romantic yet energetic vibe. With staff constantly checking on tables, delivering food and drinks and taking orders, it could have easily became chaotic, but I think the staff were so well organised that everything seemed to be ticking by in a calm and collected manner. After a short-ish wait at the bar (about 15 minutes) we were shown to our table and given menus to peruse. Having visited the restaurant on one previous occasion, and being a little restricted by the menu options, it didn't take me long to decide what to go for. Ryan was quick to decide too, and our order was taken pretty swiftly considering how busy the place was. 

Piccola Italian restaurant Litherland - Just Add Ginger blog

Piccola Italian restaurant Litherland - Just Add Ginger blog

To start us off, Ryan went for the Spinach and Taleggio Arancini, whereas I decided I really wanted the Caprese Salad side dish as my starter of choice (a majority of the starters either featured cured meats, were shellfish, or contained things I have gone off). Both dishes were ample size to whet our appetites for the main course, and jam-packed full of flavour. The addition of spring onions to my salad were a happy and zingy touch, and Ryan's arancini were crispy coated and perfectly cooked in the middle, with the cheese trickling out upon slicing. The pesto was a great sauce to dip each arancini ball in to (and to my delight the grilled peppers were only a faint note in the background). 

Piccola Italian restaurant Litherland - Just Add Ginger blog

Piccola Italian restaurant Litherland - Just Add Ginger blog

Acknowledging past experience, and with the thought in mind that I was 99.9% going to be ordering a dessert (blogger's prerogative) I decided to go for a small portion main course, and went for the Pappardelle Ragu Di Angelo (pasta with a slow cooked lamb ragu). Ryan chose a large portion of the Pappardelle Di Manzo (pasta with a slow cooked beef ragu). Both of these dishes we had sampled on our previous visit, and had been very impressed. With past experience on our side, I was interested to see how the consistency of quality held up. 

I definitely wasn't disappointed with my dish. After waiting a short time for it to arrive (again I was really impressed as the restaurant was still full of diners), I tucked in anxiously to find that the lamb was like butter, sliding apart underneath my fork willingly. The sauce was flavourful and rich without being overbearing, and the pasta cooked to perfection. Ryan I think was just as happy with his dish - neither of us offered one another a sampling of our dishes, which is always a good sign. The only thing that I was unsure about was the portion sizing. My small dish of pasta looked almost as big as Ryan's large portion. I was a little perplexed, but with the main courses being quite reasonably priced, there wasn't enough cause for me to draw attention to the fact. 

Piccola Italian restaurant Litherland - Just Add Ginger blog

Glad that my small portion plan had paid off, it didn't take me long to decide what to have for dessert. The Chocolate And Salted Caramel Mousse had been calling to me from the start (I can't resist anything with "chocolate" in the name). Ryan opted for the same, and once again, within a matter of minutes after ordering our puddings were with us. Creamy, thick and rich, this dessert definitely wasn't a choice for the faint-hearted. Deceptive in its size, I needed a break halfway through. All the flavours worked in perfect harmony, and it was with glee that hidden at the bottom was a thin layer of salted caramel sauce that added an extra sweetness to the dish. It was the perfect way to finish off the meal, and is definitely something I would order again.

It is of course impossible to compare Italian cuisine to Indian, however, in Piccola I think we have found our close by Yukti substitute. Within ideal travelling distance, and with really reasonable pricing (every main is under £15.00) it's going to be the perfect place for future parents-only escapes, and family outings alike.

To find out more about Piccola or to book a table, click here


The Lonely Road To Mummyhood | Just Add Ginger

The Lonely Road - Just Add Ginger blog

Before you dive in to reading this post, please bear in mind that these are just my own personal feelings. Having never been pregnant before, I am sharing all the things I have felt along this journey in as open and honest a way as possible. This post stays true to that mantra. 

Pregnancy is.... 

Pregnancy is so many things. Pregnancy is exciting. It is frightening. It is shocking. Pregnancy is testing, trying, a beauty and a blessing. But there is one thing that I never thought pregnancy would be. Pregnancy is lonely.

Not that I'm not used to being alone. I grew up as an only child with no brothers or sisters for company. This is where my imagination comes from. If I didn't have anybody to talk to, I would create friends, write stories, and surround myself with toys who I filled with as much life as if they were real, living things. Away from home, I made friends. At school. On holiday. Language barriers never an issue, abroad I'd find children of a similar age and just mesh with them. We didn't have a clue what was going on, but friendships were created. My friends, although not many, became an extension of my own family. 

It is still the case to this day. I love my friends wholeheartedly and beyond measure. When they hurt, I hurt. When they are happy, I celebrate with them. I cherish each and every one and if I ever think I have hurt them, well....I'm pretty much inconsolable. Without them I would be lost. I wouldn't be me. I wouldn't be whole anymore. The phrase "sisters before misters" resonates powerfully with me, and with everything we have been through, I never take friendships for granted. 

Which is why writing this post is incredibly difficult for me.  Blame it on the third trimester emotions, but for the past nine months I have found myself not knowing where to place me anymore. And it is something I haven't been able to articulate, thus separating myself from my friends. Unintentionally of course, but it is something that has made me realise that the road to mummyhood is not only a blessing, it is also bloody lonely. 

There have been only two others in my friendship circle who have had babies. And they made this journey a few years ago. So going into this, I was on my own from the start. It's no secret that the first and even part of the second trimester were very frightening times for both me and Ryan. But I underplayed, turning to Google for answers because there weren't really a lot of people I could talk to. From unexplained bleeding to amniotic bands to secondary sacs, changes in movement patterns impromptu visits to the EPAU, it all became a bit much. I let my constant longing for positivity take over, and felt the need to put on a brave face, only letting Ryan see how much it was getting to me and take the brunt of my distraught state. I didn't want to burden people with my worries. I didn't want to admit I wasn't coping very well. 

It's partly down to me. I'm too stubborn and independent to admit when I need support. I don't like to ask. But it wasn't and still isn't easy to ask people for what I really need. Especially now. Some of you may know, and some may not, but my coming into this world wasn't the best experience, and now that the finish line for my pregnancy is near, I am in a constant state of fear that something will go wrong. It is something that made me so scared at the start that immediately I was put down to go and see a consultant midwife who would help me write my birth preferences and help squash my concerns. Oh, and to put a cherry on top of this great situation, I am also not the biggest fan of hospitals, so, as you can imagine, as I inch closer to D-day, I feel more and more out of my depth with no idea what to expect. 

It is a time where I need the pregnancy and me to be seen as separate. And it is a situation where I think it can be difficult to make the distinction. Yes, my mummy hat will soon be on, but that doesn't mean it can't ever be removed. Underneath it all I am still the girl who lives for champagne Fridays, loves dancing until her toes go numb, and makes jokes that nobody finds funny. Does being a parent mean that that girl has to go away? For good? I'm scared of being forgotten as the person I was but instead will be seen as the hat I wear. Will she be lost forever? 

It's unquestionable that soon she will take second rung. The baby will be the centre of attention. I expect that. I want that. A first grandson for every parent of ours, and the newest baby for my friendship circle. But after the cooing, the cuddles, and the kisses, will I start to feel like me again? Will this pang of loneliness linger? Or will I be able to go back to popping open the prosecco occasionally, giggling over celebrity crushes and past nights out with my friends? Can that separation of lives ever be made again? 

I suppose I'm scared of losing my friends. I'm scared that things will have to change and I'll be left behind. Because I already feel that has happened ever so slightly. And this is where this has sprung from. Combine my stubborn Capricorn nature and my inability to travel to see loved ones as much as I used to, I miss everybody. But I just can't build up the courage to admit that to anyone. A simple "would you mind popping over to see me for a cup of tea" has turned into the hardest question to ask because at the end of the day, everyone has their own lives, their own issues and their own plans, and I don't want to get in the way.

The road to mummyhood is paved with so many blessings, and so many slabs of scary thoughts that it can be hard to keep it together without tripping up over something. And feeling lonely is where I have stumbled the most. So to all friends, loved ones and family member of a mummy-to-be, please remember the girl she once was, as well as seeing her as the parent she has and wants to be.


What's In My Hospital Bag | Just Add Ginger

Baby boy nursery decor - Just Add Ginger blog

I've always been one for a little bit of early organisation. The minute we moved into the new house I knew that packing my hospital bag was high on the agenda. And now, with D-Day just around the corner (quite literally) I wanted to share everything that I will be taking in with me when it's time for Baby Ginger to be born.

hospital bag contents - Just Add Ginger blog

For Mummy (In Labour & After Delivery):

. My notes - pregnancy and birth preferences. 
. A towel - just in case I need / want a shower. 
. Nighties - with thin straps. They are lightweight and easy to pull down for breastfeeding access post-birth. 
. PJ bottoms - to wear walking round the hospital (I'm hoping to stay as mobile as possible).
. Dressing gown - for comfort. 
. Cosy socks - for keeping my feet warm. I have heard they can get cold during labour.
. Slippers - just to wear during active labour or walking around the ward. I'm taking my Crocs with me to wear around the hospital.
. Bikini top - part of my birth preferences is to get into a birthing pool. 
. Disposable knickers - I've heard these make the early post-birth moments easier.
. Maternity pads - because things will get messy! 
. Massive underwear - oversized for comfort. And dark because I don't want to know what's going on down there! 
. Nursing bras - the sexiest things I will ever own. 
. Boppy pillow - to help make breastfeeding easier.
. Going home clothes - Leggings, a soft jumper, nursing friendly top and comfy socks.

hospital bag contents - Just Add Ginger blog

For Mummy (Washing & Pampering): 

Wash Bag:

. Deodorant - because like it or not, I'm probably going to stink.
. Shampoo & body wash - see above! 
. Water spray - for use during labour to help keep me cool.
. Cooling foot cream - a little luxury, but if it helps me keep cool, I'll try anything. 
. Face wipes - for removing make up. 
. Toothbrushes and toothpaste - for Ryan and I to use.
. Hairbrush - a small compact one in case I want to get my hair out my face. 
. Hair ties and scrunchies - for getting my hair out the way. 
. Lipbalm - I've heard that your lips can get really dry in labour, especially if you use gas and air. 
. Breastpads - for leaky moments. 

Make Up Bag:

Just in case I want to freshen up a little bit. I expect a lot of people will want to take photos, and I don't want to look like a ghost.

. Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation 
. Benefit Hoola Bronzer 
. Urban Decay Brow Tamer Gel 
. Revlon Volume & Length Mascara
. Makeup brushes 
. Fleur de Force eyeshadow quad
. Concealer
. Eyebrow pencil 
. Soap & Glory lipstick 
. Makeup Revolution blusher 
. Autograph highlighter stick

hospital bag contents - Just Add Ginger blog

Extras For Mummy:

. Headphones - so I can listen to my Push Playlist and hypnobirthing tracks. 
. A book - I doubt I'll feel like reading, but am bringing one of my favourite books just in case. 
. Playing cards - as entertainment for Ryan and I.
. Disposable camera - so that we are not relying on having charge in a camera or on a phone. 
. Extra scrunchies - you can never be too prepared! 
. Cereal bars - for midnight energy (I'll also be popping in some energy drinks too). 

hospital bag contents - Just Add Ginger blog

For Baby: 

Baby has his own changing bag, but these are overflow things that wouldn't fit... 

. Towels - for if he needs a wash / cleaning up. 
. Blanket - it's soft and snuggly and will look really cute in photos. He has a cellular in his own little bag too. 
. Nappies - a massive pack - you can never be too prepared. 
. Cotton wool - for early nappy changing. 
. Water wipes - I personally will find these easier to use than cotton wool. 
. Baby milk - in case Baby has problems latching / I have issues breastfeeding.


This may at first seem like a really extensive list, but I have taken guidance from the Liverpool Women's Hospital website, as well as guidance from other mums and professionals before adding some creature comforts for myself. I'd always check with your hospital what to bring in with you when having a baby, as all hospitals are different. 

If there's anything else you think I should be bringing in my hospital bag, or if you'd like to see what's inside Baby's bag too, let me know in the comments.