Category: Parenthood

Six Reasons to Ski Slovenia

Skiing is a bug and I have definitely caught it.

For me, there is nothing more thrilling, rejuvenating or exciting than racing down a beautiful, snow covered mountain whilst trying with all my might not to fall and kill myself.

Skiing is a hard sport to master as an adult (which is why it’s ideal to learn as a child) but one that comes with so many rewards; the adrenaline of speed, the satisfaction of getting better and falling less, the warming tingle and ache from working the muscles and the freshness of mountain air in the lungs. Those wonderful evenings by the fire drinking beer, mulled wine and hot toddies with new friends…. sharing stories until dawn in the deafening silence and darkness of the mountain. For me, a winter holiday offers just as much fun and experience as going away in the summer.

One of my favourite countries is Slovenia, which offers fantastic opportunities for skiing. Slovenia is located next to Northern Italy, in between Austria and Croatia. It’s a tiny country, about the size of Wales in the UK, with a population of just over two million. Slovenia has thick, dense forests, a short Adriatic coastline and defined seasons.

I whisked my husband away to Slovenia for a surprise birthday ski trip two years ago, a whirlwind weekend but probably one of our best trips away. We recently returned, less than two years later, with the new miniature addition to our family in tow. At 14 months old, our little boy isn’t quite ready to ski yet but as soon as he’s capable on his feet he will be going in a set of skis! Children seem to learn this sport so quickly and easily, I’ve seen many toddlers more confident on a set of skis than in their shoes.

There are countless reasons why Slovenia is a great option for a ski break, and here are my top six;

  1. Affordability

Flights to the capital, Ljubliana, are offered on budget airlines and car rental is much cheaper than other areas of Europe. Skiing is an expensive sport when you include both equipment rentals and lift passes, and now the Pound isn’t as strong against the Euro, it’s key you get the most for your money. Skiing in the Slovenian Julian Alps is far less expensive than its neighbouring European countries.

  1. Accessibility

Getting to and around Slovenia couldn’t be easier; the flight time from the UK is less than two hours, with the airport in a conveniently–located central location just north of the capital, Ljubliana.

The roads are well-maintained and beautifully quiet. If you stay in a central location like Bled, which is just 30 minutes’ drive from the airport and has its own ski resort, you can then access the bigger resorts of Kranska Gora in 30 minutes and Vogel in just less than an hour.

  1. Aesthetics

I think it’s fair to say any ski resort is beautiful, after all who doesn’t love looking at dramatic, snow-topped mountains against a crystal blue sky? But Slovenia offers some truly stunning scenery beyond its dramatic mountainous landscape.

Huge, sparkling blue lakes and flowing, emerald green rivers surrounded by lush, Christmas-tree forests; the ease of driving around the country offers some incredible opportunities to see the country’s richest aesthetic assets.

Lake Bled boasts a magnificent Gothic island church, one of the most photographed points of Slovenia. And up on the hill in Bled, the famous Bled Castle looks like it has literally been dropped out of a fairy tale.

The resort of Vogel offers some incredible panoramic views of Lake Bohinj, the Triglav mountains and all the way to the Kamnik and Savinja Alps, while Kranjska Gora offers a postcard-perfect Alpine village in the valley amidst the mountains.

  1. No Crowds

Driving in Slovenia feels like you are the only person on the road and even some of the ski resorts are quiet during the week. We skied at Vogel in the middle of February and I was surprised at how peaceful it was. It felt like we were on our own on some of the runs, literally making the first tracks in the snow.

In comparison to the UK, the country as a whole is much quieter than many other areas of Europe, with a population of only two million (compared to 65.8 in the UK) with only 102 people per square mile. England has more than four times more people per square mile than Slovenia with 420 people per square mile. And Wales (which may be a better comparison due to its relative size), also has a slightly higher population, with 149 people per square mile.

  1. Choice of Slopes

Slovenia has an incredible 49 ski resorts, the most popular ones being Maribor, Krvavec, Vogel and Kranjska Gora.

We visited three; Vogel in Bohinj, Kranjska Gora and Straža in Bled.

Straža, on the edge of Lake Bled is a small resort with access right from the town centre of Bled. The slopes offer incredible views of the Lake and the surrounding mountains and is great for beginners, offering mostly easy runs and a ski school.

Kranjska Gora is set in an Alpine village in the North West of the country, very close to the border of Austria. The resort is great for beginners, offering a wonderful ski school and slopes for skiers of all abilities; from small baby slopes to larger off-piste areas where you can avoid the crowds and make fresh tracks in the snow.

Kranjska Gora is a busy resort, so be prepared for long-queues for the lifts. This is partly due to it hosting annual ski jumping and World Cup skiing, but it’s also due to its location; set in a beautiful Alpine village with some fabulous restaurants, cafes, pizzerias and quaint Christmas markets lining the square. Many of these bars, restaurants and hotels sit right at the bottom of the slopes, providing great options for Après-Ski and family-friendly choices for breaks from the slopes during the day.

Vogel, in Bohinj, is accessible by cable car, lifting skiers 1500m up the mountain with incredible views before skiing even begins. Vogel offers some of the best skiing conditions in Slovenia as moisture from the Adriatic hits these mountains first. Even as a beginner; I found skiing through fresh, real snow (as apposed to the added man-made snow on the other resorts) made a huge difference to my skiing experience.

Vogel is great for beginners as it offers nursey slopes and trails to practice on before hitting the bigger runs. While there aren’t as many restaurants on this resort as Kranjska Gora, there are some quaint and cosy places on the mountainside offering quality local food, as well as a huge terrace to enjoy a drink and spectacular views whilst soaking up some winter sun.

  1. Cuisine

You can get exceptional food all across Europe, but not once in our now two visits to Slovenia have we had one meal we were disappointed with. I’m not a picky eater by any means, but after living in San Francisco, traveling to various countries and working in restaurants for years, I like to think I have a fairly sophisticated palate.

Slovenians like to eat good food; their cuisine is influenced by its neighbouring countries of Italy, Austria and Croatia. Traditional food is largely based on meat, seafood and freshwater fish, cereals, beans and dairy. Think steaming hot bean stews, beef broth, fresh pan-seared fish, local meats and cheese, fresh bread, the famous schnitzel sausage and sauerkraut, local forest honey and extra virgin olive oil.

There is an encouraging and sustainable farm-to-table approach in Slovenia and many restaurants only serve their own local wines, all of which I found delicious.

I’m really sensitive to the taste of water and in Slovenia, the tap water has a mineral taste to it, if it indeed tastes like anything at all. But it’s certainly missing that chemical, chlorine note to it that I frequently taste in our water in the UK.

A trip to Slovenia is a convenient, family and budget-friendly way to experience the wonderful culture and culinary delights of this beautiful country in Europe. Check back soon for my reviews on hotels and restaurants in Slovenia.


What about you, have you ever been to Slovenia? Any comments? Share below!


Baby-Proof Travel: Seven Steps to Simplify the Journey

We’ve recently returned from a week-long winter break in Slovenia and despite having an extremely energetic and curious child who hates to sit still, traveling with our one-year-old, Seb, was much easier than I had envisaged. When you have a baby, traveling anywhere becomes all about convenience, minimising stress and being time-effective, and I have to say we managed to achieve that pretty well on this trip.

Somehow, I packed for a week-long holiday for the three of us into two and a half bags (Seb was allowed a very small bag). I packed everything we needed, I had no intention or need to buy anything when we arrived. This was a massive achievement for me as (ashamedly) I’m a hoarder and I take too much stuff everywhere I go.

How was it possible I managed to go away for a week and not check any bags at all?

Clever packing and some very obvious, simple but effective tricks;

  1. Pack Light & Pack Smart

Traveling on budget airlines always ensures appealingly low fares, but unfortunately almost always includes high extras; the airlines make their money by charging these “extras” at extortionate prices at the airport, for example if you are even an ounce over your allocated baggage weight.

My husband insisted we needed to check a large bag to take all our things. I insisted we did not. So in the interest of saving us the £80 it would cost to check ONE bag, (yes ONE 20kg bag cost £80 on top of our fare), I researched exactly what we were allowed, then packed and repacked until I had efficiently gathered all our needs for the week into three bags; mine, my husbands and a small one for Seb.

When you fly with an infant you are (usually – check with airline) allowed to take a collapsible stroller or pushchair free of charge, and one small bag for them, both of which came in very handy for us. We needed a stroller footmuff for Seb as we knew it was cold in Slovenia but we kept it attached on the stroller when we folded it at the gate – one less thing to pack.

Packing to maximise space can be easy when you pack well; rolling clothes instead of folding helps to maximise every bit of space. Three outfit changes were enough for the week (we mixed and matched) and I packed extra under-layers for Seb in case of any accidents. Worst case scenario we could always hand wash anything during the week.

Thankfully, one of my favourite non-toxic soaps come in miniature-size; Dr Bronner’s Mini Castile Liquid Soap is perfect for traveling. One drop goes a really long way, it’s gentle for all the family and even performs great as shampoo.

Since my makeup brushes take up more space than my actual makeup itself, I carried them separately in one of the huge pockets of my ski coat. It’s amazing what you can fit in the pockets of a ski coat, I can actually fit whole cans of beer in them. (I learned this handy trick a long time ago.)

  1. Wear the Heavy Stuff

Because we were going to a cold country we needed warm clothes but to maximise space we wore our bulkiest items for the flight; thick sweater, ski coat and winter boots. This might sound unpleasant, but we used the stroller to carry everything through the airport (including our coats) and were actually grateful of the extra layers when we stepped out from our tiny plane onto the tarmac in Ljubliana at -3C.

  1. Take a Baby Carrier

The best thing we did on this trip was to take our Ergobaby Carrier. It meant I could carry Seb through the airport and have my hands free while my husband used the stroller to carry our bags and coats. Carrying your baby or toddler in a sling also means they’re restricted, they can’t crawl away and they tend to be happier when they are carried (no sudden meltdowns halfway through security). I use the Ergobaby Original which is possibly my favourite of all baby-related products. It’s made my life so much easier. (Read more here.)

Because the sling has pockets I was able to fit my phone, passport, bank cards and boarding pass, therefore eliminating the need for another bag for myself, and even a few extra nappies. Yes, I even managed to pack nappies; I counted how many Seb needed for each day and stuffed them one-by-one into any remaining space in our tiny suitcases. But having some extra in the sling meant I didn’t need to risk disturbing (and therefore spilling) the entire contents of our full-to-the-brim bags in the airport. If I hadn’t packed nappies I would have simply bought some when we arrived at our destination, but I’m quite picky about the nappies we use so another safe-saving tip would be to simply order them through Amazon and have them delivered to your destination.


  1. Stay at the Airport

This mostly applies for morning flights or if you live a distance from the airport, which unfortunately we do.

Seb’s never been very happy in the car so we didn’t want to face a two-hour journey with him plus the work of getting through the airport, then the flight. So we stayed in a hotel at the airport the night before. When you combine an airport stay with parking it can actually work out only slightly more expensive than parking alone, so for the convenience it’s well worth it.

  1. Check in Online

This is rather obvious and most smaller airlines even charge a penalty for not checking in online, but just having hand luggage and no bag to check meant we went straight through security to the gate, with no one even needing to look at our bulging bags. Once we arrived at the aircraft the stewards gladly took our bigger bags into the hold which meant we didn’t need to have them with us in the cabin. Essentially, we ended up checking our bags for free. Of course this isn’t a guarantee on a flight so otherwise be prepared to fight for space in the overhead bins. If this is the case, having a baby on your lap should get you a little sympathy from nearby passengers.


6.  Arrive Just in Time and Board LAST

I’ve never been one for getting to the airport early, but with a baby even less so. Babies get bored easily so you don’t want to spend half an hour on the aircraft before it actually takes off; by this time your baby will likely be bored and restless. And that’s before you even have to strap them in!

We gave ourselves just enough time to get through security with a few minutes spare to get coffee and use the bathroom, then went straight to the gate. We didn’t hang around the airport long enough to give Seb any time to get out and crawl around, we kept moving. Also, because we got on last they were happy to take our bags into the hold and we just walked straight to our seats, avoiding any queues. Babies hate queues. Unless they’re asleep that is.

7.   Be Prepared for Popping Ears

It can be difficult for a baby on an aircraft when they need to pop their ears, so we need to encourage them to swallow often. I tend to chew gum on take-off and landing but since this isn’t exactly appropriate for a baby (it would look a little trashy to have our baby chewing gum), I fed Seb during this time. Breastfeeding, a bottle, snack or any other drink will work.

This is rather obvious and most smaller airlines even charge a penalty for not checking in online, but just having hand luggage and no bag to check meant we went straight through security to the gate, with no one even needing to look at our bulging bags. Once we arrived at the aircraft the stewards gladly took our bigger bags into the hold which meant we didn’t need to have them with us in the cabin. Essentially, we ended up checking our bags for free. Of course this isn’t a guarantee on a flight so otherwise be prepared to fight for space in the overhead bins. If this is the case, having a baby on your lap should get you a little sympathy from nearby passengers.


Everything we took for a weeks winter holiday

I loved this experience of forcing myself to simplify and minimise my life for a week. Now, if only I could replicate this in my everyday home life….

What about you, any tips for traveling with children you’d like to share? Thoughts or questions? Comment below!

Baby Carrier Review & Guide

Once we understand the benefits to carrying our babies in a sling we are faced with the next big question; which one is best? This is of course unique to each family, budget and need. But after trying a few of the most popular carriers and slings myself, I wanted to review them here. These carriers are tried and tested by me or close mother friends of mine and are only recommended from experience.

BABYBJÖRN Original Baby Carrier

I bought the Baby Bjorn Original when my baby, Seb, was about three months old as it’s one of the most popular carriers out there. But in my opinion it’s just due to the length of time it’s been on the market as opposed to its functionality as a baby carrier.

If your baby weighs more than a bag of sugar, then expect backache, unfortunately.


  • In itself it’s lightweight and very user-friendly; it literally clasps together in two pieces making it quick and convenient
  • Easy to clean, wipe-down fabric


  • One important factor of the Baby Bjorn Original is the position it leaves the baby’s hips. When carrying a baby their legs need to be in a frog position, bottom down and knees up, with legs up at a 90-degree angle and thighs supported. The Baby Bjorn Original does not allow for this; carrying a baby in this carrier leaves their legs dangling down freely, much more so than do some other carriers.
    My husband with Seb in the Baby Bjorn Original

    While there is no direct evidence to suggest this can cause hip dysplasia in babies, it isn’t the most supportive carrier on the market, for baby or wearer. I did not learn the correct way to carry a baby in a carrier until after I had bought the Baby Bjorn and having a breech baby, it did concern me (See more on this here)

  • No waist support = Backache. Aside from the baby’s position, for long-term wearing of an older baby, I found it useless as it provides the wearer very little support. Even with a younger baby, when you’re recovering from birth and your stomach muscles aren’t functioning like normal, you need something more supportive, one that will distribute the baby’s weight more evenly using your whole body strength

BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier One

While we’re on Baby Bjorn, a good friend of mine swears by the Baby Bjorn One so I think it’s worth a mention, even though I haven’t tried it personally. Just to note, it’s quite a structured carrier, not a sling.


  • The One does allow for more support on baby’s thighs to enable the correct hip-positioning.
  • Baby can face inwards or outwards and it can be used as a back carrier
  • Easy to breastfeed in
  • It does have waist support, designed to prevent the backache that is quite unavoidable in its older model, the Baby Bjorn Original
  • Comes in a range of colours


  • Much more expensive than the Baby Bjorn Original
  • Apparently it doesn’t wash that well

Hana BAMBOO Baby Wrap

I love this type of sling for carrying a baby. Essentially it’s just a huge piece of material that you wrap and wrap until it creates a space to place your baby. Initially it looks complicated to put on but after practicing a few times, it does become easy, although slightly time-consuming.


  • Great for newborn – this is a really safe, secure and warm environment for a newborn to be close to their parent while allowing the wearer to be hands-free
  • Great for longer wearing, it’s really supportive for the wearer so it can feel comfortable for a good few hours
  • No buckles or clasps to tend with, it’s just one huge piece of material and is easy to transport
  • Offers excellent value for money
  • Easy to breastfeed in


The Hana Baby Wrap
  • As it’s a lot of material it can make the wearer hot and sweaty, not great for an older baby, or for use in the warmer months (when I used this indoors at home when Seb was tiny I stripped him down to just his nappy and vest to avoid him overheating)
  • It’s somewhat time-consuming to put on and take off, not great when your baby is screaming and you have to put them down to assemble the wrap, or if your baby suddenly decides to vomit a days-worth of milk all over you while in the sling. It takes a while to unwrap yourself from it so unfortunately, there is no way to avoid or protect yourself from getting completely covered by any lovely baby excretory products
  • Once baby falls asleep it can be tricky to take them out without waking them

Ring Sling Baby Sling

The ring sling is a great option for an older baby or toddler. For those times when they’re around 10 months old and can’t decide if they want to be picked up or put down, or when you’re trying to make dinner and they are demanding your attention; the ring sling is a versatile piece of fabric that is quick to put on and doesn’t require buckles. I have to admit I’m fairly new to this sling and haven’t had it long enough to review it extensively. I will update this post in a month or so with more of an opinion!


  • Quick and easy, great for carrying a toddler on your hip whilst keeping hands free
  • Simple and lightweight with just two rings, no buckles


  • Doesn’t feel quite as secure as some other slings

Ergobaby Baby Carrier Original

This is by far my favourite of all the slings I’ve tried. This carrier has been a life-saver for me in so many ways, for the entire almost-year we’ve had it. I didn’t need to buy the infant insert for Seb when I bought this so unfortunately I can’t comment on this as a newborn carrier. But friends who have used the infant insert, say it functions really well and keeps the baby in a safe and secure position.


  • The Ergobaby has a really solid waist support band to prevent backache and padded shoulder straps for comfort
  • Very easy and quick to put on with buckles – easy to take off when baby falls asleep
  • Made with lightweight cotton material so less risk of parent or baby overheating compared to other slings, and folds well for easy transport
  • Once on, the carrier creates a “seat” for the baby which allows for correct leg and hip positioning
  • Ease of breastfeeding – I found it so easy to breastfeed discreetly in this sling, when Seb was small and even when he grew much bigger
  • My favourite aspect – a hood. This became immensely useful to me when Seb was going through a “distracted by everything” phase and wouldn’t feed or sleep without a fight. Putting him in the sling with the hood over his head allowed me to shut out his world and feed him discreetly without any distractions, which always ensured he would fall asleep. I could then gently take him out and put him down allowing me some much needed free time while he napped. For a baby that would otherwise NEVER fall asleep without me, this became a lifesaving tool to get him to sleep.

    Seb in the Ergobaby Original 
  • The hood also meant I was less likely to drop food on his head if I attempted to eat anything whilst carrying him (soup is NOT a babywearing-friendly food to attempt)
  • The hood offers weather protection (I didn’t realise how handy this was until I got caught out with Seb in the sun and had forgotten his hat)
  • Option to wear baby inward-facing, on the hip and back
  • Comes in a range of colours


  • No option for wearing baby forward-facing. This didn’t prove to be a problem for me but of course it depends on how you want to carry your baby. Even though he’s now a toddler, I still carry Seb a lot and I find it really calms him down if he’s being a bit rambunctious in a situation, or if he’s upset or just wants a cuddle. So I don’t really feel the need to have him facing outwards at this age since he is physically able to roam free and explore his world the rest of the time. At around five months I think it can be nice for baby to have an option to see the world whilst still experiencing the security and attachment of being held by their parent, so an outward facing option may be useful
  • Quite tricky to put the baby on your back (without help)
  • Expense – this is not the cheapest carrier on the market (but WELL worth the money, in my opinion)

Ergobaby Baby Carrier 360

When I had decided on the Ergobaby brand, I was then stuck with the dilemma of the original or the 360. They are very similar but the 360 –

  • Has the option to wear baby forward-facing
  • Is more expensive
  • Can’t take as much weight as the original
  • Has Velcro straps

And this last difference is what deterred me from buying it over the Ergo Original. I desperately needed a few Seb-free moments during the day and his sleep time was my only opportunity, so having anything that could potentially make noise and wake him during the transition from carrier to bed was a huge no-go for me. However, a good friend of mine who has the 360 has said that she can take her sleeping baby out of the carrier without needing to undo the Velcro straps. So then I guess it’s just down to personal preference of whether you want your baby to have a forward-facing option. And since this wasn’t a huge necessity for us, I chose the slightly cheaper option and I can honestly say it’s absolutely been our best purchase since Seb was born, and will likely last us many years to come.

What about you? Any experience of baby carriers you’d like to share or questions on them? Any you’ve found worked really well, or didn’t for that matter? Comment below!

Sling the Pram – The Benefits of Baby Wearing

Babies love to be carried. This is a blanket statement that applies to all little humans, it’s in their nature to want to be close and connected to their parents or carers at all times.

When my son, Sebastian, was born, I very quickly learned the necessity of baby wearing. I was not at all prepared for how much bodily contact a newborn baby needs, it was quite literally 24/7 in our experience. Seb never wanted to be put down.

Having a sling was a Godsend for me, it allowed me to keep Seb close, supporting his weight evenly whilst giving me my hands back – to attempt to fold the laundry or actually make myself a cup of tea; those things you take for granted until you have a newborn baby.

What Exactly is Baby Wearing?

Baby wearing is the practice of wearing or carrying a baby in a sling or other form of carrier. Although Dr. William Sears, American pediatrician and author of more than 30 parenting books, coined the term in the 1980’s, baby wearing isn’t some new concept designed by hippy mothers who hate prams, it’s been practiced for centuries all around the world and is still the method of choice by many parents for carrying a baby. Parents have long used a variety of cloths, shawls, scarves and even bed sheets to carry and snuggle their little ones whilst having their hands free to work.

The Rise and Fall of Baby Wearing

Baby wearing lost much of its popularity in industrialised countries with the invention of the first horse-drawn baby carriage, invented in 1733 by William Kent, for the Duke of Devonshire to transport his young children around. Baby carriages then became a luxury item only the wealthiest parents could afford and people stopped carrying their babies as often in an effort to follow this “luxury” trend.

This, along with the ensuing movement intent on making a baby independent by not holding them as often, therefore not giving them the physical closeness and attention they need in an effort to not “spoil the baby”, baby wearing dropped widely in popularity, particularly in industrialised countries.

But in countries that may not have been so highly affected by the movement to avoid holding their babies so much, baby wearing is still the most convenient, practical and effective way of transporting and caring for an infant.

Interestingly, prams that have recently been marketed for sale in Africa failed miserably. Where mothers all across the country are seen carrying their babies on their backs, they said the idea of putting a baby in a pram would actually be bad for the baby. Many African pediatricians think the pram may even damage the relationship between mother and child, with a literal sense of “pushing the baby away” in a pram, as opposed to the warmth and comfort of being held and carried. (Read the article here.)

Benefits to Baby

Studies have shown that babies who are held and carried often during the day (that is more often than feeding and as a response to crying), display less crying and fussing and show increased contentment, particularly during the evening hours which is often the most challenging time with a new baby. Crying is exhausting for both baby and parents, and may cause long-term damage as the baby’s developing brain is continually flooded with stress hormones.

In indigenous countries where it is the norm for a baby to be held and carried for most of the day, a baby may only cry for minutes during the day, as opposed to the hours of crying we commonly see in Western countries.

As mothers we carry our babies for almost a year in the warmth and security of our bodies. In utero, our breathing and heartbeat are their constant, familiar companions; baby wearing allows us to replicate this contact and closeness. Baby wearing calms the baby and helps their brains develop; as they spend less time crying and fussing they spend more time in quiet alertness, learning about their world from the security, warmth and closeness of their parent.

Benefits to Mother

One of the things I missed the most being a new mother is the gym; but carrying my baby to the shops or whilst walking through our local farmers market, on public transport or through an airport (this is when I was probably the most thankful for our sling!), my goodness does it feel like I’ve done a workout at the end of the day! You are weight-lifting, sometimes combined with doing squats if you need to get them to sleep. In my opinion, if you want to lose the baby weight trust two things, breastfeeding and baby wearing.

The sling became my main source of transport for Seb when he was small because he hated the car. Any journey in the car became really stressful for both him and me, so I stopped driving anywhere I could take the bus or train. While a stroller can be very useful when you have an older baby (and it also works as a great bag-carrier), when you have a tiny baby who is too small for a stroller, the pram can be quite bulky on public transport and to push around the shops. Instead I would put Seb in the sling, use a small backpack for our needs and get on the bus, where he would sleep and I would enjoy not having to drive with a screaming and distressed baby.

While baby wearing tends to be the more frequently used method of comforting a fussy baby, any baby will benefit from being held and carried during the day. It’s a cheap, practical, convenient and comforting way to carry your baby with benefits to both mother/father and baby.



Do you have any comments you’d like to share from your experience on baby wearing? Have you found it a helpful asset to parenthood? Comment below!

How to Have a Naturally Healthy Pregnancy

I would love to write a how-to guide that would ensure all future pregnancies across the world are exactly like my title says. But as we are all individual, I can’t. But, I do honestly believe that simple steps I took during my pregnancy did help; I turned a supposed “sickening, aching and exhausting” time in my life into one of genuine health, happiness and energy.

I loved being pregnant, it is such a magical time for any woman to experience, to be one with nature and marvel at the little miracle growing every day inside her body, and I don’t believe that sickness and exhaustion are things we should just accept as part of the course.

There is so much to write about here (a book or e-guide might be better!), so please excuse me if there are areas where it’s pretty clear I’m being brief. But in an effort to not take up too much time or space in your already busy day whilst growing or planning to grow a human (I figure, why else would you be reading this?!), I want to simply highlight my most important aspects.


I cannot stress enough the importance of exercise in pregnancy, even if it’s just walking every day. Exercise gets your body pumping fresh oxygen around your body and most importantly, through the placenta to your baby. It keeps your joints and muscles supple and mobile, helps to maintain your strength for dealing with the extra weight on your body and helps to keep your skin clear. If you’re used to working out, pregnancy shouldn’t stop you; you may need to tailor your workouts to accommodate your bump but most things are safe to continue (with the exception of things like skiing, water sports and horse riding, etc.) Be sensible.

During my pregnancy I continued doing my barefoot, squat-intensive workout at the gym twice per week and took up swimming instead of running, which I vowed to commit to at least twice a week. Rain or shine, warm or cold, I swam (outside in a supposedly heated pool). There were plenty of days I would much rather have laid on the sofa eating warm buttered toast while watching Friends but there wasn’t a single time I pushed myself to go swimming and regretted it. I even swam on my due date (huge), energised and excited.

The 12 days of anticipation that ensued though brought with them some backache (hence the “almost” in this posts title), and I found myself doing exactly what I had fought so hard against during my entire pregnancy, lying on the sofa eating hot buttered toast and watching Friends. Still, I had 40 weeks of regular exercise under my belt and thought it was time for a little balance before my little one finally made an appearance.

The important thing here isn’t about becoming super fit or lean and toned during pregnancy, or pushing yourself to do heavy cardio, it is about movement. If all you can manage is a 20-minute walk (ideally in the fresh, clean air, not along your local high street) and a few yoga stretches per day, it all helps.


Your body is a vessel for the miracle of new human life and it is vitally important you nourish it with all the vitamins, minerals, fats, protein and carbohydrates it needs to function at its best. God knew what he was doing when he formed us to carry on the human race, if your body is deficient in certain areas your baby won’t suffer, it will take everything it needs from you. But YOU will. So overcompensate if you feel the need, you can never eat too many vegetables and fruits at this stage. Listen to your body.

I craved fruit during my pregnancy, particularly oranges and bananas which I’d hardly eaten before, my body clearly needed vitamin C and potassium. Cravings are your body’s way of saying you are lacking in something. But you can make healthy choices with your cravings, for example craving a McDonalds cheeseburger? Maybe you need some iron, make yourself a homemade steak sandwich. Craving ice cream? Try frozen berries and coconut yoghurt (add cacao powder to make it chocolate flavoured). This is a prefect dessert option as it contains minerals, vitamins and wonderful healthy fats and probiotics from the coconut yoghurt. There is something so satisfying about munching on sweet frozen berries.

To provide some inspiration, a typical food day for me would be;


  • Hot lemon water, goats milk kefir, goats milk yoghurt with banana, blueberries and mixed seeds – pumpkin, sesame and sunflower.
  • Or banana pancakes made with gluten free flour and coconut milk, with bacon.
  • Or gluten free oatmeal with berries.


  • Salad mix of spinach, rocket and watercress with chicken breast or fresh sardine or mackerel fillets, avocado, pomegranate seeds, sauerkraut or raw slaw, chickpeas, sliced almonds, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Slice of organic rye toast with KerryGold butter (from grass-fed cows).
  • Falafal with hummus, salad and pita bread


  • Steamed salmon stir fry with quinoa or brown rice noodles
  • Or Shephard’s Pie made with sweet potato and swede mash
  • Or chicken or fish curry with coconut milk and lentils


  • Coconut yoghurt with frozen berries and cacao powder
  • Two pieces organic dark chocolate


  • Apple and almond butter
  • Oatcakes with humus or avocado dip
  • Homemade banana bread or muffins.

Drinks – water, water, water. Two litres per day is optimum, do not allow yourself to feel thirsty if you can help it so drink as much water as you can, alongside decaf herbal tea. Lemon and Ginger, Peppermint or Raspberry Leaf are all great in pregnancy.*

*Some herbs such as nettle and raspberry leaf can act as a uterine tonic (they help nourish and “tone” the uterus, great for labour!) However, I avoided these herbs during the first semester. While there is no solid evidence of them causing harm in early pregnancy, since they work to tone the uterus I thought it best to avoid them in the early stages while the baby was forming.


I used to take a range of supplements but when I discovered I was pregnant I cut them down to just three; a wholefood multivitamin, fish oil and probiotics.

Vitamins and supplements are a multi-million-pound industry but most people don’t realise that synthetic supplements aren’t really providing much, if any, benefit. Some can even do harm. Everything you ingest has to be processed by your liver and if your liver thinks something is a foreign substance, it will work hard to break it down and expel it. If your vitamins come in the form of a food source and are taken with food, your body can recognise it as such and thus it is more easily utilised. I like Nature’s Own Pregnancy Support (60 Tablets) which I took every day throughout my entire pregnancy, not just the first three months, and continue whilst breastfeeding.

About Folic Acid 

Folic acid is actually a synthetic form of Vitamin B9, it is not naturally found in the human body. L-Methylfolate is the biologically active form of Vitamin B, which is a vital compound used for DNA synthesis and the formation of healthy cells, especially red blood cells. It comes from foods like spinach, watercress, citrus fruits and beans. This compound is a key chemical used in the beginning stages of pregnancy and is crucial for baby’s brain and spine development. Deficiencies in folate have been known to cause spina bifida in babies. Look for Methlyfolate, not just the words Folic Acid on your multivitamin. Current RDA guidelines in the UK are 400mg.

Fish Oil

There is an entire human brain developing inside your body so you want to give it all the support you can. 200mg per day DHA contributes to the normal brain development of a foetus and breastfed infants. There is currently some controversy around the sourcing and potential toxins in cod liver oil, so after some research I chose a fish oil supplement from sardine and anchovy. I like Natures Own 550mg Fish Oil 60 Capsules


While babies are mostly sterile in the womb, studies have shown that beneficial bacteria can be passed from mother to the foetus and that probiotic supplementation of the mother during and after pregnancy has been shown to alter the infant’s microbiome, increasing the abundance of beneficial bacteria.

I took Bio-Kult Advanced Multi-Strain Formula – 120 Capsules all throughout my pregnancy as it has the greatest diversity of strains, as well as drinking goats milk kefir daily. Kefir is also wonderful for post-birth recovery as it supports healing and can alleviate constipation. Generally, I find probiotics really helpful at alleviating IBS symptoms, which can also unfortunately become more prominent for some during pregnancy.

  1. Sleep

What I find most ironic about having a baby is that you spend countless hours and methods trying to get your baby to sleep, whilst at the same time desperately trying to keep yourself awake! If I had been really, honestly prepared for how little sleep I would be faced with having a baby I would have prioritised it a whole lot more in pregnancy.

Don’t sacrifice your sleep. It is so important for yourself and for your growing baby. Sometimes I did struggle to sleep during my pregnancy, either from discomfort, a very active baby at night or because I was anxious about birth and becoming a mother for the first time, but in those moments I found deep breathing incredibly helpful; breathing in for a count of four and out for a count of six.

My house is full of salt lamps and at night, I find their orange glow and warmth particularly calming. Two hours before bed I turn on a filter on my phone called EasyEyes which reduces blue light. I try to restrict my phone use as much as possible at night and read a book. I also diffuse Frankincense and Lavender essential oils, both known for their calming and soothing properties.

  1. Environment

Minimising toxic exposure to chemicals is important at any time in our life, but even more so when you are growing a tiny human. Bisphenol A, (BPA) is one of our most widely used chemicals and can be found on every day products like water bottles, metal food cans and store receipts. BPA can act as an endocrine-disrupter, mimicking or blocking hormones naturally produced in and needed by the body. BPA has been linked to several health problems later in life such as asthma, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, infertility, anxiety and depression.

I hate plastic water bottles, they are so bad for us and then they end up dumped in our oceans. It is much kinder on the body and the environment to avoid them as much as possible. Investing in a quality water filter and a reusable glass or stainless-steel bottle is a great way to do this. This glass bottle by Lakeland is covered with a spongy sleeve to make carrying glass a little more practical.

As well as avoiding bottled water, we can limit our exposure to BPA by avoiding taking store receipts or getting them on email, avoiding canned foods and plastic-packaged foods (I know this is challenging).

However, it’s not only what we ingest that has an effect on our body. The skin is actually our largest organ and everything we put on our skin has the potential to be absorbed. Be particularly careful of parabens and hard-to-pronounce chemicals in store-bought lotions and creams. It’s really easy and actually cheaper to make your own moisturising cream with shea butter, coconut oil and essential oils, which have numerous health benefits as well as helping to avoid the use of chemicals. And for the household, thankfully, brands like Ecover and Method make it easy to switch to gentler alternatives to common (and unfortunately highly toxic) household cleaners.


When we are busy with work and maybe other children, it can be so difficult to prioritise ourselves and our health often takes a back seat on our immensely fast journey through life. But pregnancy is such a short journey and likely the most important and exciting one we can take. Nine months is no time and every decision we make can impact the future. I believe that health is one of the greatest gifts we can give to ourselves and the little miracle growing inside of us.


Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information on the use of supplements is based on personal opinion and experience, it is not advice and should not be treated as such. Always seek advice from a medical professional when undertaking a new exercise regime.






Baby Oat and Raisin Bars


I call these Baby Oat and Raisin bars because they are an excellent and nutritious snack for baby, are great as finger food and are so easy to make, containing just five ingredients. But since my boy is so fussy at the moment, he wouldn’t even try them so my husband and I ended up scoffing the whole lot for breakfast. They are perfect with a cup of morning Joe and are a great on-the-go breakfast option.

I have made these with gluten free oats, buckwheat flakes and quinoa flakes, the latter of which really didn’t work, they fell apart easily and tasted a little odd. I find the oats very chewy so good for grown-ups, whereas the buckwheat is a little softer and less grainy so may be easier to chew for those without a full set of teeth. This recipe makes about 10 finger-sized bars.

200g Gluten Free Oats / Buckwheat Flakes

80g Raisins

100ml Organic Apple Juice

4 tbsp Coconut Oil (melted)

2 tbsp Honey *

1tsp Cinnamon (optional)

*For babies over one year old

Mix ingredients in a large bowl then transfer to an oiled baking tray and cook on 200 degrees C for 15 minutes, or until golden on top. Cool and slice into squares or bars for serving or storing.