My pregnant friends often ask me about this. Hence, I decided to post this easy guide. I have added few things, which I missed because I had no idea that it would be important. As a rule of thumb, it is a great idea to organise your hospital bag when you are about 36 weeks because chances are you are too jittery, exhausted and having a major case of baby brains after that. Keep it ready and let the countdown begin.

Image Via Google Images

Image Via Google Images

For yourself:

An old, comfortable t-shirt dress or loose maxi dress: Labour is messy you don’t need to wear anything fancy to bring out your bundle of joy
Granny knickers: Nobody will care about your lacy Victoria Secret thongs and that includes you and your partner. Just load your bag with some comfy granny (read huge) knickers for birth and immediately afterwards
A light weight cardigan: Hormones have a notorious habit to take you by surprise. One moment you might be sweating profusely and the next you might be feeling chilly. Will come handy to cover those stains too
Massage oil or lotion: Handy if you have to be/ want to be massaged while in labour
Birthing ball: Chances are you won’t be admitted in the hospital till the very end and even then hospitals will have this but keep this in any case (a properly inflated one). Birthing ball was my best friend during those final hours (ok this wont fit your bag but keep it handy)
Books/tablet/music: Chances are you won’t be in ANY MOOD to read or listen to music but it might just come in handy for you and your partner
Socks & slippers: My feet strangely started feeling cold during labour even though it was the hot month of June, socks helped me immensely. Hospital bathrooms aren’t fun carry your own slippers
Dressing gown: Though they will give you this, it is a good idea to carry your own
Prunes, dates or psyllium husk: No one would prepare you for this but going to the bathroom after pushing a tiny person out of you would be the biggest challenge you will face. It is great to up your fibre intake to help you in this Herculean task
Tens machine: Helped me immensely during labour and after childbirth to ease postpartum back ache
Hair ties: You would want to keep your gorgeous tresses in place. Just take my word for this
Snacks & drinks: Labour is an intense process (understatement) you and your partner would need all the energy in the world. Keep nuts, dried fruits, water and isotonic sports drinks handy
A going home outfit: Keep it special but simple. I opted for harem pants and a not so snug t-shirt
Nursing bras/ pads: Even if you don’t plan to breastfeed, this will help you initially
Phone charger: Often forgotten but needed for obvious reasons
Camera: Obviously you want to capture this special moment

For the baby:

Baby suits & vests: Keep about five, just in case you need to be in the hospital
Baby blanket: If it is cold outside
Nappies and wipes: Because they SHOULD go several times
Electric Breast pump: I honestly wish someone had told me that pumping before hand can start the supply without hassle
A light weight cardigan: Again to keep the chill at bay
A snowsuit: For winter babies
Towel/ muslin squares: For cleaning your little person
Formula: Even if you plan to breastfeed, carrying formula can come in handy because it can take some time or days to get the breastmilk supply started
Car seat/Pushchair: To bring the baby home

Hope you enjoyed this parenting post. Let me know if it helped you or your friends. Thanks for reading and please don’t forget to follow me 🙂 

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When I was pregnant, one of the few things I really, really enjoyed flaunting was my hair. It seemed suddenly the hair Gods had answered my prayers and almost overnight I had long, shiny, strong hair that could give any TV commercials and their models a run for their money. (I kid you not!) However, all good things come to an end and since last month I have been having severe episodes of shedding. So I contacted my friend and hair expert Tuc Le Rojas from Just Gorgeous Hair who has so generously shared her tips and suggestions on how you can take control of your postpartum hair loss situation. You might remember this lovely lady from this post here. Without further ado, here is how to take stock of your hair situation.

With the hair expert

With the hair expert

How is Postpartum hair loss caused and can you prevent it?

Hair loss after pregnancy is the sudden shedding sometimes in clumps that many new mothers experience between 3 to 6 months after they give birth. We lose on average about 100 strands a day but not all at once so you don’t notice so much. Your pregnancy hormones keeps hair from falling out that’s why when you are pregnant your hair looks and feels thick, shiny and beautiful. But all good things must come to an end and that includes your new hair. When those pregnancy hormones drop back to normal the extra hair drops too. Once the nursing ( breast feeding) is over; your hair will grow back to normal again.

Can you tell us how we can control the hair loss?

Although you cannot do anything to prevent it there are steps you can take to help reduce the blow. You can keep your hair healthy by eating well and taking your prenatal supplements post birth too. Be extra gentle during your shedding months to prevent excess hair loss. Shampoo your hair less–reduce it to 2-3 times a week. Always use a good de-tangling conditioner and comb your hair only when the conditioner is on your hair. Use hair bands but not rubber or elastic ones to tie your hair and try not to tie your hair too tight.

How about blow drying and chemical treatments?

Try not to blow-dry your hair frequently or use any chemical based treatments like highlighting, perms, and straightening until the shedding stops.

Will having a hair cut help in postpartum hair loss?

Having your hair cut shorter is a great way to deal with postpartum hair loss as your hair will appear thicker.

When does postpartum hair loss stop and when should one worry? 

It varies from people to people for postpartum hair loss to stop completely. It happens usually within some months (mostly after you stop nursing). Go to your GP if your hair loss is excessive as when associated with other symptoms as it could be a sign of postpartum hypothyroidism.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a great week ahead. Do show me your love with your likes and comments and don’t forget to follow me  🙂

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When I was a teenager, I would often put papaya mash on my face as a face mask. My folks would chide me and say “eat the papaya, it would do you more good.” I slowly developed a taste for the fruit and realised the true meaning of the saying, “You are what you eat.” When you are pregnant, it is sort of impossible to not give in to your temptations but beauty has to begin from inside. So here are my top three favourite foods that are nutritious, tasty and puts beauty back in pregnancy.

healthy recipes for pregnancy

Fruity Crepes: As soon as my first trimester got over, I developed an incorrigible sweet tooth. I found myself finishing half buckets of ice-cream on cold winter nights in one sitting without a trace of guilt. Luckily, our friends invited us for dinner once and served these scrumptious crepes that transported me right to the streets of Paris. I’ve blindly followed this recipe and topped with delicious summer berries, oranges and a dollop of honey. Strawberries are low in calories, packed with Vitamins and has a plethora of antioxidants whilst blue berries are tiny heroes that gives you great skin and hair.

healthy eats for pregnancy

Tomato-basil soup: This is my all-time favourite comfort food. I think life becomes a tad better if you have a bowlful of this soup. What’s more? It is easy to make as well. Heat a teaspoon of olive oil, saute a medium sized roughly chopped onion and few garlic pods, pour one jar of tinned plum tomatoes with all the juice. Season it with salt, pepper and a bit of cayenne pepper (if you like it hot) and cook it for about 6-7 minutes. Cool it for a bit a blend it to a consistency you desire. I like a bit chunky look because it feels more earthy. Again heat it and pour about a mil of water. Let it boil and check for seasoning. Finally, add some fresh or dried basil. Have with a side salad and warm Italian bread. Tomatoes are packed with anti-oxidants that gives your skin a warm glow, it can also stall the process of ageing , is great for your vision and keeps cholesterol in check. So, yum and powerful.

healthy recipes for pregnancy

Home-made (almost) Chicken Burger:  A succulent chicken burger is my favourite treat but going out to eat one would often mean eating other naughty and unwanted things (like fries) so home-made Chicken burgers are my way out. Strictly speaking, this is more about assembling the right things rather than making the Chicken patty from scratch. I have used Birds Eye Garlic and Chicken patty here. Chicken breasts are  packed with proteins so needed when your energy levels suddenly go down and you have to battle weakness out of the blue.  Simply grill burger buns in an oven, cook the patty as per instructions and make an earthy, home made burger with fresh tomatoes, onions (if you want), ice berg lettuce and a dollop of fiery Nandos sauce. You could add mayonnaise and cheese if you wish but I hate both. Have it with a crisp summer salad for a power-packed dinner. Delicious!!

Thank you for reading. Hope you like this “different” maternity and beauty post. Have a great weekend and do give me your likes and comments 🙂

I am on my 30th week of pregnancy and needless to say I am counting.  For some weird reason, my head is filled with thoughts of dread nothing to do with labour or bringing out the baby; flashes of pregnant Elsa Pataky getting mocked at this year’s Oscars and accused for carrying a “beer belly” and not a twin-pregnant bump crosses my mind. I am also reminded how Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai became the butt of all cruel jibes and extreme criticism last year for not “bouncing” back to her former self in a matter of months. Ironically, most of the jibes in both cases came from men or women who choose not to have a baby (absolutely nothing wrong with it though).

We do live in a funny world where we expect newbie mums to suddenly become alpha mothers with a perfect waistline. Because anything less than that is an unworthy sight, apparently. I do have my moments of doubt, moments when I think I look like a baby elephant and that my prized legs would never be the same again. But accepting my body comes naturally to me—I was a size UK 12 when I was my biggest and a size UK 6 when I was the smallest (just few months before my pregnancy). Surprisingly, the earth did not shatter or my brains and smarts did not stop working when I was a 12. Life (and a bloody good one at that), went on.

Pregnancy_test_result

Till now, I have only felt wonderment towards my own blossoming curves. If at all, pregnancy has brought in greater respect and appreciation to the wonderful, goddess-like female form. And every time, the sliver of doubt enters my mind, I quickly remind myself of what my hubby and my BFF often tells me, “A life chose to live and develop there, enjoy it, nurture it, treat it like the blessing it is.” Truer words have not been spoken.

Almost everyone will tell you that pregnancy is a wonderful journey what no one will tell you that it is equally challenging. Throughout these 40 weeks (that is almost 10 months) you experience some or other pain, you experience massive mood swings that makes your regular PMS seem like a cake walk and yet this little life develops from the size of a rice grain to a full-fledged human being; oblivious to everything.

I still don’t know how us women get the strength to go through this journey but one thing I am sure of is this: those who call the female gender the weaker sex should definitely get their brains tested because my friends there is nothing “weak” about this whole journey.  As American actress Betty White famously said, “Why do people say “grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”And the journey is over only after an intensive (mostly) period of labour; after a good amount of pounding. Isn’t it incredible that only if us women decide to go through this journey; life as we know would perpetuate?

To me, it has been (so far) a rather powerful journey. But as they say with great power comes great responsibility. I would loath if my child is enslaved to the weighing scale ever; or if she or he fails to understand that we are more than our bodies; that there are so many things that makes a person attractive and that beauty is not just restricted to some size numbers.

I have begun to accept the stretched skin, the stripes and even the scars I will get because I know pregnancy is only the dress rehearsal to parenthood that will teach me to yield and adapt. Most women tell me that eventually you forget about the stretch marks, the squishy belly and expanding thighs; because there is a lifetime of selflessness and compassion to be learnt. Suddenly, “bouncing” back to your former shape seems last of the challenge that motherhood bestows, isn’t it?

Now, despite knowing this truth; if someone has the nerve to critise the wonderful female body and not give it the respect it deserves, this is what I will tell them, “Why don’t you try squeezing something the size of a watermelon out of an opening the size of a lemon and see how hot YOU look?”

Well, we all know the answer to that one ;).

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According to colour authority Pantone, the official colour for  2014 is Radiant Orchid. Radiant Orchid has already been featured in many SS14 catwalks and is only showing signs of rising more and more. The colour is the love child of pink and purple and apparently Pantone picked it for its “beguiling charm that can intrigue the eye and spark the imagination.”

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Image credit: Google Images

If you want to incorporate this lovely colour in your daily life, I suggest start with a nail polish and lipstick. I checked various brands and here are my favourites:

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For nails, I have used Revlon’s Orchid Shade (#555) . A pink shade, it has a micro flecks in silver that gives out a lovely shimmer. I have also used Barry M’s  Silk Nail Effect (SKNP6) for a purple/lilac shade. It’s a pretty pastel shade that gives chic matte sheen.

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For lips, I am using Mac’s Up the Amp–a lavender violet shade that has just the right amount of pink and purple. I was using the shade even before Radiant Orchid became the on-trend shade. Pantone further describes that this shade with its enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health. Do I agree?

My verdict: As a lover of pink, purple, fuchsia and lilac, I definitely give this trend my seal of approval. I will gladly wear this trend both in day and night. I already have a wardrobe with these colours so it is only natural that I incorporate more of it now. To me, this shade is all that Pantone promises to be. I am loving it, are you?

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