The Good, The Bad, The Ugly (and all the things that nobody ever talks about in between!)

For me, trimester 1 is done! Complete! Finished! Ended! I’d love to say I nailed it, but instead I’ll go with I made it!

I’d also love to say that the trimester 1 symptoms are gone and that they were exactly like we read in books, but what’s not often spoken about is the severity and the reality of some of the symptoms and the fact that they don’t just go away when you get to 12 weeks. (That part’s a story for the Trimester 2 blog!) So I’m going to delve into my Trimester 1- you can watch my video diaries here or you can read on for an honest account of my first 12 weeks including all the things that nobody ever warns you about…

One of 8 😛

Let’s start with the facts…

Trimester 1: The first trimester begins on the first day of your last period and lasts until the end of week 12. This means that by the time you know for sure you’re pregnant, you might already be five or six weeks pregnant!

A lot happens during these first three months. The fertilised egg rapidly divides into layers of cells and implants in the wall of your womb where it carries on growing. These layers of cells become an embryo, which is what the baby is called at this stage.

During this trimester, your baby grows faster than at any other time. By six weeks, a heartbeat can usually be heard and by the end of week 12, your baby’s bones, muscles and all the organs of the body have formed. At this point, your baby looks like a tiny human being and is now called a fetus. He or she will even be practising swallowing! (Tommys, 2018)

First Trimester Symptoms (Pampers, 2019)

The symptoms you experience in the first trimester can vary from week to week. Also, the symptoms you experience during this pregnancy might differ from what you experienced in a previous pregnancy.

Here are some of the most common symptoms you might encounter during this trimester:

  • Tender breasts. In the early part of your pregnancy, pregnancy hormones could be making your breasts heavier, and a little sore or tender. You could also experience a tingling sensation. With all that extra blood to carry around your body, your veins may be more visible through your skin. Meanwhile, those hormones may also make your skin, moles and birthmarks or your nipples a little darker. Most of these changes gradually fade away after birth, although your nipples may stay be a little darker than before.
  • Feeling tired or exhausted is particularly common in the first trimester, as your hormones go into overdrive. The best thing you can do is get plenty of rest. Keeping to a healthy diet and doing gentle exercise might also help you feel better. Your doctor or midwife can give you personalised advice on the kind of pregnancy diet to follow to suit your calorie and nutritional needs, and what exercises are safe for you to do at this time.
  • Implantation bleeding. After conception, as the fertilised egg burrows into the lining of your uterus, you may experience some light cramping and spotting. This is more likely to occur around the time of your first missed period. Although, implantation bleeding is nothing to worry about, it’s always safest to get in touch with your doctor if notice any bleeding during your pregnancy.
  • The queasiness (and sometimes vomiting) known as morning sickness usually appears in the first trimester. Contrary to its name, though, it doesn’t strike only in the mornings! Try to think of morning sickness as a reassuring reminder that you are pregnant. You might be able to ease some of the symptoms with a few lifestyle changes, like avoiding food or smells that trigger your nausea, and eating smaller, more frequent meals of plain, low fat foods. You may find cold foods easier to stomach than hot meals. Food or drink that contains ginger may also help take the edge of your queasiness, but ask your doctor, midwife or pharmacist before taking ginger supplements.
  • Frequent urination. The hormonal changes you experience in the first trimester may result in your needing to pee more often than usual in the first trimester of pregnancy. Don’t drink less water, because it’s important to stay hydrated. Instead, you might just need to plan ahead a little more to ensure you always have a loo nearby.
  • Thicker, shinier hair. Some mums-to-be find that the extra oestrogen coursing around their bodies makes their hair more luxuriant in the first trimester. This could be one of the more welcome symptoms of pregnancy!
  • Hormonal acne. An increase in oil production triggered by hormones can clog pores and lead to acne in some mums-to-be.
  • Cravings. It’s not unusual to have hankerings for strange foods when you’re pregnant. Or you may find that you suddenly can’t stomach items that you used to enjoy eating or drinking. It’s usually fine to give in to cravings from time to time, as long as you keep to a healthy diet overall. If you start to crave any non-food items like dirt or coal, tell your doctor or midwife straight away. This could be a sign of an iron deficiency known as pica, which can be dangerous if it isn’t treated straight away. Read more about how to get the right amount of iron and calcium (another important mineral) in your diet.

I can confirm that all of the above, except for the implantation bleeding (not everyone experiences this and because I didn’t, I won’t be discussing!) happened to me during Trimester 1 and I’m going to tell you all about it now.

Just before an early scan!

Tender Breasts: “Pregnancy hormones could be making your breasts heavier, and a little sore or tender.” What this actually means is that pregnancy hormones make your breasts feel like boulders, it hurts to put a bra on or to turn over in bed and your partner touching them is a thing of the past. Running or jumping is no longer an activity that is safe or healthy and you will spend a fortune on bras that are still unlikely to fit.

They were the reason I decided to take a pregnancy test. I’d only been off the mini pill for a matter of weeks and hadn’t had a period when my boobs started to ache so bad that I was waking up in the night every time I moved. I thought maybe my period was due but this was tender breasts like never before and even washing them whilst showering was difficult. We found out we were pregnant, much to our surprise while only about 2 weeks and I think I only made it to 4 and a half before ordering some unflattering maternity sleep bras to keep them in place in bed. Not long after that, my sports bras were digging in and well, a ‘normal’ bra (rare for me anyway!) was an impossible task. I took some measurements, spent a small fortune and for the next seven weeks, the boulders had holders that were supportive. Unfortunately though, now at 13.5 weeks, it’s time to do all this again. The pain and tenderness has gone and I’m getting used to my fried eggs to melons transformation, but I am spilling out of all those bras as they continue to grow. Time to re-mortgage I think so my new found friends have somewhere safe to live again!

Fatigue: Feeling tired or exhausted is particularly common in the first trimester, as your hormones go into overdrive.” This one is pretty accurate. An overwhelming tiredness that leads to irritability and discomfort caused by the hormone changes, I’m sure, but also due to the fact that no matter how tired you are, you just cannot seem to sleep!

I’ve never been a napper. Even after long haul flights or weekends at festivals, I’d manage through the tiredness, keeping myself busy ‘til bedtime. I’ve never felt the need and never really wanted to try. Until now! The fatigue started around 5 weeks and hasn’t gone away. It hits like a tonne of bricks at any time of the day with no warning. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you have planned, those hormones like to remind you with a bit of a bang that they are still working. Black bags under my eyes are now just part of my look and mixing up my words and forgetting things, although now I feel I can blame baby brain, were pretty regular occurrences. I’ve had to teach myself how to nap, and how to slow down. The evenings have been tough. I’d get comfy on the sofa after my shower and no sooner had I sat down was I up and down, lying on the floor, swapping spaces with Mat just to try and get comfy. The tiredness would hit and most nights up until about 3 weeks ago, I was in bed for about 9pm!

I’ll do another post on training during trimester 1 but the term ‘listen to your body’ is key. All of a sudden my ‘max effort’ or ‘full capacity’ felt like it had halved. My resting heart rate increased and during exercise, my heart rate easily reaching my usual ‘working heart rate’ simply during the warm up. It’s been very much about adapting and going with the flow. I’ve trained less in the last 12 weeks than I ever have in my life. I thought I’d struggle to accept that but I guess I know I’m ‘training’ for a way bigger event than I ever have too so working out less frequently, lifting lighter or moving slower is ok.

After one of my first workouts since being pregnant!

Nausea: The queasiness (and sometimes vomiting) known as morning sickness usually appears in the first trimester. Contrary to its name, though, it doesn’t strike only in the mornings! You don’t say! This for me did strike in the mornings but unfortunately for most days, lasted ‘til at least mid afternoon, sometimes later! The other unfortunate thing here is the title. For me it should read  Sickness with Nausea in between.

I started feeling nauseous around 4 weeks. Earlier than most, I believe, and at that stage, made us question whether we might be having twins. (There are two sets of twins in Mat’s direct family so it was a high possibility but an early scan, which I’ll talk about later, confirmed only one!) I wasn’t physically sick until about 5 and a half weeks, and oh how I wish I hadn’t moaned about the nausea at 4! This started with morning sickness; feeling like I was going to vomit the minute I opened my eyes in the morning, followed by around twenty minutes of constant retching before finally being sick and whatever I’d managed to put in my mouth between retches coming straight back up again. In the earlier stages, sometimes I’d be ok once I’d had something to eat; other days I was lulled into a false sense of security and would be at work, often having to make an excuse to clients to run inside for something mid session, having a quick vom, a ginger snap and heading back outside to continue their session. Other days, the nausea and vomiting would last all day long with most days  being sick around 8 times every morning and often upto another 8 times over the course of the day. Some days I’d think I was doing well, only being sick in the morning then feeling good, but a smell could change all of that, making me sick again and changing my whole day. Toast, crackers, biscuits and potatoes were all I could stomach (along with some random foods which I’ll discuss under cravings) and meal times were becoming an issue. Around 6 and a half weeks, I got really dizzy, my blood pressure was on the floor and I was extremely dehydrated. A bit of scare which resulted in me on the bathroom floor, calling Mat who was outside resulted in a call to the GP and the first warning of hospital admission. At that point, the doctor diagnosed me over the phone with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG), which is a condition that affects around 1-3 in every hundred pregnant women. If you want to read more on this check out NHS information here. I was prescribed my first lot of anti sickness medication, which Mat immediately went to collect and was told if I hadn’t managed to consume a certain amount of liquids by that evening, they would like to admit me for monitoring, stronger anti sickness meds and fluids via IV drip. This wasn’t something I really wanted, given that the NHS was just opening back up after the global pandemic so I did everything I could to keep those liquids in and managed (just!) to avoid it.

Full fat, flat coke (my hangover cure) were the fluids of choice; I’m sure not what they would have advised given the lack of nutritional value and caffeine content (around half of the recommended caffeine allowance in pregnancy) but it worked, and has continued to work for me since. Ginger snaps in a tub by my bed help and I have a couple the minute I open my eyes. Then whenever I make it downstairs after the series of retching and vomits, a slice of white bread toasted, with honey and a can of Cola along with an anti sickness tablet would determine how my day would go. If the toast and cola stayed down, it was/is (I’m still doing this!) it would be a good day.

Around week 7, I was prescribed a second type of anti sickness which I was to take along side the first one. This helped a bit, but by the end of week 8 (what is often described as peak week), I was sofa or bed bound most days, clients and sessions were cancelled and the threat of admission was looming once again. A third anti sickness drug was prescribed and the combination of all three meant I was able to have some good days where I could do more than lie on the sofa and run to the bathroom. I even managed to introduce some vegetables and although my diary now started at 1pm, I could work most days.

I haven’t enjoyed pregnancy because of this and if you are in a similar position, or know someone who is, do something about it! Get help. I think I am over the worst of this now but I am still being sick most days and surviving on a very limited diet and a combination of anti sickness tablets. I’m not sure if I have HG or just bad sickness, but it definitely hasn’t been easy. Now I’m not taking anything for granted. Craving carrots or broccoli= WIN! Hoovering my house = WIN! Going for a walk = WIN! Showering, getting dressed and applying mascara = WIN!

Eating biscuits in bed is now normal!

Frequent Urination: The hormonal changes you experience in the first trimester may result in your needing to pee more often than usual in the first trimester of pregnancy. This really means, ordering a SheWee and a urinal bottle and using it in the back of the car or van. It could also mean family and friends questioning you after using their bathroom twice an hour. Or dropping your belongings at the front door so you could run in and wee with the bathroom and front door wide open.

This was worse at the start of Trimester 1 and has eased a lot now but wasn’t easy to manage mid pandemic when many public toilets are still closed! There’s not really much more to say about this other than now planning my days around toilet stops!

Thicker, Shinier Hair: Some mums-to-be find that the extra oestrogen coursing around their bodies makes their hair more luxuriant in the first trimester. This was also the case. However, for someone who’s hair is already pretty thick, this has resulted in a few bottles of plughole unblocker for the shower.

The statement also refers to or is read by most as the hair on your head. What I will tell you however, is that this affects all of the hair on your body. Pre lockdown, I was getting IPL (laser hair removal). I had only had a couple of sessions but it was working really well, and by now, if it wasn’t for lockdown and not being allowed these treatments while pregnant; my legs, underarms and intimate area should have been silky smooth. Now, 13 weeks pregnant, I have two simple choices. Shave every single day, or, turn into a gorilla. When the beauty therapists opened back up a few weeks ago, I decided I would go back to waxing. I used to get waxed regularly, and although I disliked having to grow the hair long enough, I never had any problems. I managed with the pain and I’d go as far as saying it really didn’t phase me.

I can confirm that waxing in Trimester 1 is unlike any other waxing experience I have ever had. I always thought I would be one of those people who were neat, tidy and smooth down below for labour and the thought of anything otherwise, genuinely made me cringe. I can now safely say, however, that if I’m so big that I cannot shave myself, and Mat isn’t willing to do the deed, I will quite confidently and happily present myself in the labour ward hairy. The pain! That wax was like a brutal attack; it made me clench my fists, I was sweating, I almost kicked the therapist in the chest and I left with only half of the hair removed. This is your warning ladies- do not attempt an intimate wax in late Trimester 1. It is not worth it. I am however, keen to establish if it does get any better during Trimester 2 or 3, as although I’m saying I’ll confidently deliver my baby looking like a gorilla, I know I am not actually that confident and would much prefer to be silky smooth. I am not going to find out for myself though so if there are any ladies in Trimester 2 or 3 who have had a wax and not had to come home and sit in an ice bath, please shout!

Hormonal acne: An increase in oil production triggered by hormones can clog pores and lead to acne in some mums-to-be. I don’t really have much to say on this. I had skin that looked like it’s teenage self for a few weeks but a change in skin care seemed to help. I’ve always been prone to breakouts and pre pregnancy was following a really good skincare regime after seeking advise from a specialist last year. Unfortunately, most of these products contained ingredients not safe in pregnancy and so after a bit of research, found a new love for the brand Tropics. I will post later about pregnancy skin care and share what is working for me!

Cravings: It’s not unusual to have hankerings for strange foods when you’re pregnant. Or you may find that you suddenly can’t stomach items that you used to enjoy eating or drinking. Thankfully, I haven’t had any strange cravings. You hear about some people eating coal or chalk, or deciding they suddenly love liver, but for me it’s been a bit of survival mode on my standard diet of beige carbs with whatever I’ve fancied in between.

I haven’t had a coffee in about 8 weeks and although I still love the smell, the thought of drinking it makes me nauseous. That’s a huge deal for someone who normally survives on it! The other odd thing I’m not really feeling is cheese. Normally, cheese is life. As there are so many cheeses which aren’t safe to eat during pregnancy it was something I was pretty worried about. I’ve been known to have cheese as part of every meal and snack. Other than a bit of halloumi and an even smaller amount of cheddar, I just haven’t felt like it one bit. I do hope that soon I grow to love them again as I really can’t imagine a life without my two favourite C’s!

I’ve been a bit up and down in terms of what I’ve fancied throughout this trimester. To the point that for a while, spending over £80 on foods I ‘might want’ was pretty normal. Mat struggled to get it right too, often returning from the shop with my favourite snacks (Ben and Jerry’s and Reeces to name a few) for me to tell him I didn’t like them. At the beginning of my pregnancy, I wanted salt and vinegar crisps. I couldn’t get enough of them! Then one night, Mat had a packet sat next to me on the sofa and I had to tell him to leave the room, I then left the room to be sick and I haven’t been able to be anywhere near salt and vinegar crisps since. I also went through a phase of having tinned pears on a daily basis, another thing I’m not fussed for now and there was an incident with an Indian takeaway that has resulted in me questioning whether or not I will ever eat a curry again. I’d had a ‘good’ day around week 8 and decided I wanted an Indian takeaway, something that I loved before. In fact, we’d make two curries a week for dinner pretty regularly. Anyway, I devoured this takeaway but at around 11pm, I woke up and was instantly sick. This sickness bout lasted all night and all day and the thought of anything remotely like this, still to this day makes me want to be sick.

I’ll finish this section by saying, if you or someone you know is suffering from sickness in pregnancy, eat whatever you want. Don’t worry about nutrition, just go with it and eat whatever you can stomach and keep down that day. If it changes daily, find something else you might want. Don’t fight it. Eventually, you will be able to add some ‘goodness’ back in and enjoy food again. I’m making slow progress but I’m definitely eating more of a variety now than I was 4 weeks ago!

So that’s the things people talk about in more detail than it’s normally discussed. There’s a couple of extras though that I’m adding in that really got me thinking; bowel movements and keeping pregnancy a secret. Let’s go:

Bowel movements: Probably a controversial talking point at the best of times and during pregnancy it’s no different. It’s apparently normal for pregnant women to experience constipation. It’s less common, but still relatively normal for pregnant women to experience diarrhoea. (NHS, 2020)

I got both. Yes, every day without fail, in between retching or vomiting, I had diarrhoea with very little warning. There’s really no need to go into any detail here, but for those of you who’ve asked why we haven’t been out enjoying our new campervan since we got it, there really is only one place to be if you’re having sickness and diarrhoea and that isn’t a PortaPotty or a communal campsite bathroom.

So that’s my morning routine covered, I was also lucky enough to experience the other end of the poop scale, albeit thankfully, not regularly. There were numerous evenings mid trimester 1 where I’d be rolling about the living room floor, eating copious amounts of fruit salad and Googling how to treat constipation. This isn’t something I’ve been bothered with much, but I can confirm it hurts, it is uncomfortable and it didn’t ease easily.

Thankfully, I’m now a lot better in both areas. I guess the re-introduction to non beige carbs and the sickness easing a bit is helping but after this pregnancy, let’s just say I won’t ever take my stomach of steel for granted again!

Keeping pregnancy a secret: Hiding all of the above has got to be the hardest part of the first trimester. We traditionally keep it a secret until after the twelve week scan to make sure everything is ok, which I understand, however, I also think it’s very beneficial to tell close family and friends in advance of this because let’s face it, if everything wasn’t ok, you’d probably welcome their love and support. In addition to close family and a couple of friends, by around week 4 of my pregnancy, my skin specialist, my personal trainer and my business coach all knew. By around week 8, my beautician, my hairdresser and a couple of clients knew. (My hair cut and colour, the dreadful wax and my lack of energy in training sessions were all important to me!)

Not only was I struggling to hide my vomiting and frequent urination, I was expanding rapidly. I should have mentioned; I went up 3 bra sizes and 8 cm in a matter of weeks, but for someone who had a pretty flat stomach, the growing bump (or bread bloat as it was in the early weeks) meant clothes weren’t fitting properly anywhere. I was wearing Mat’s clothes to work, his pyjamas to chill and the thought of finding something to wear for upcoming events was causing me stress. My car was like Postman Pat’s van with the number of parcels I got delivered and then had to return in an attempt to find something to wear for a garden party hen day. My normal clothes wouldn’t button up, the size bigger I had ordered in advance was now gaping open and the next size up fitted around my chest and midline but was hanging off my shoulders. I turned to maternity options, (which I will write another post on I’m sure) but there is nothing in my usual style and I felt like I looked pregnant. I ended up telling a few of the girls I would be with before the event, at around 11 weeks (5 days before my scan) because my alternative was genuinely making a rubbish excuse and not going.

Maybe it’s easier to hide for some or maybe my hormones and lack of sleep and nutrition made me over think things, but I can honestly say, the relief at 12 weeks when we found out everything was ok and we could share our news was real! What felt like the biggest and hardest secret ever to keep was out in the open! The best thing about this though, being able to finally talk about how I feel. That was the hardest part; going through this and not being able to really tell anyone how I actually felt.

My girls and I after me telling them my news at 11 weeks weeks and eventually finding something to wear for this hen day!

 

So that’s it. The longest blog post I have ever written but by far the most honest. This wasn’t written to scare anyone off becoming pregnant, it wasn’t written for sympathy. Instead, it was written to highlight the reality of what a lot of women unfortunately go through. The best thing about writing it though; being able to talk openly.

I’ve been honest; I haven’t enjoyed the first trimester but it certainly hasn’t all been bad. There have been some fun times, some memorable times and some ‘pinch yourself’ moments. I’ve moaned a lot (sorry Mat, Mum and sister!) but all the while I’ve remembered the good that is going to come from this. All of this; the good, the bad, the ugly and all the things that nobody ever talks about has been absolutely worth it! Our baby isn’t even here yet and I’m sure I still have a bit of a journey before he or she arrives, but the love I feel for our little baby bear, my wee bumpie is indescribable. We cannot wait to become parents, to start the next chapter of our lives as a family and bring our little one up surrounded by love and happiness.

Now, Trimester 2; if you wouldn’t mind being a wee bit kinder to me and show me where to find that pregnancy glow everyone speaks about, I’d be very grateful!

Thank you so much for reading,

Lou x

The team is expanding!

 

  • Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
  • Exercise in Pregnancy
  • October Workout 11
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
  • October Workout 10
  • Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3
  • The Grahams for Graham

    When I was younger, my Dad used to set off most weekends on a hillwalking adventure. He’s bagged a fair few Scottish mountains, so when we were trying to decide how best to raise money for Maggie’s Centre Fife, I suggested climbing all the Munros. My Dad thought it was a great idea although when we discussed it during his most recent chemo appointment, he said, “It’s a shame you’ll miss some of the smaller hills because they’re sometimes my favourites.” That got us thinking, and it was actually my Mum who suggested we do the Grahams instead. Very quickly, The Grahams for Graham became the letter G of our A to Z for Maggie’s challenge.

    I’ve always enjoyed being outdoors; the views from the summit of a Scottish mountain, even the mist, wind and horizontal rain on a typical Scottish day adds to the experience, but recently, with my hip injury, hills have been something I have avoided. In fact, walking is something I have avoided. I think that’s why it seems like a good idea. It’s a challenge, and if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t feel happy asking people to sponsor me to do it. My hip has been great; I have stuck to a rehab plan and taken a step away from the things I was told would aggravate it. Here’s hoping that being sensible for the last six months has worked and I can complete this challenge!

    I also want to make this a social challenge, something that others, whether close friends or family or complete strangers can be involved in. The Great Outdoors, in my opinion, offers something that you can’t get elsewhere; a sense of wellbeing, an energy boost, a sense of achievement and a positive outlook. These are things that many of us often lack and I would love to think that by coming out and walking with us for a day, people can learn from it, use it to relax, gain confidence, find the motivation to do something else or improve their fitness by getting involved. We aren’t putting a time on this one; Cancer is probably as unpredictable as the weather and these are just two factors that may cause our plans to change at the last minute and our completion moving further into the future.

    There are 219 Grahams in Scotland; spread over the whole country, including 7 of the islands. Grahams are peaks which are between 2000ft/609.6m and 2500ft/762m with a drop of at least 150m between each peak. (SMC, 2018)

    The Grahams are found in the most beautiful, scenic, often remote parts of Scotland so not only are we looking to complete them, we want to make the most of the beautiful surroundings too. I will always post on social media when we are going and we would love to have you join us. All we would ask if you’re joining us is that you either make a donation or share our JustGiving page, tell your own friends and family what you’re doing and encourage them to donate.  We will make sure we always have a brew kit, banter and everything we need to keep you safe and enjoy your day in the outdoors!

  • Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
  • Exercise in Pregnancy
  • October Workout 11
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
  • October Workout 10
  • Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3
  • Positive vibes only…

    It sure has been a while since I last blogged!

    I suppose life took over and in the midst of enjoying myself, working a lot and being generally out of routine, writing wasn’t the first thing on my mind.

    I wish I could say I was writing now because I had something exciting and positive to blog about but unfortunately it’s more a case of trying to create positives out of a bit of a rubbish situation. A couple of months ago, I received some devastating news that would change everything. My Dad was diagnosed with cancer; a rare form in his liver. My Dad; one of the fittest 56 year olds I know; who’d been in Singapore, climbing Munro’s and camping only weeks before. I won’t bore you with the whole story so in short, what originally was fatigue, feeling weak and then latterly query gallstones, rapidly became a cancer diagnosis. Bad enough, until only two days later we were told that it couldn’t be cured. My partner has been through both his parents being ill and two of my close friends have been through this with their Dad’s. A friend of mine, whom I’d worked closely with to fund raise and raise awareness of bowel cancer, passed away only a few years back, and another friend was fighting a long battle with the disease*. However, hearing the news about my own Dad was so much harder. I thought I could relate and understand my friends, but now I know I really didn’t have a clue!

    My Dad is now undergoing chemo and compared to many others, is doing very well in terms of side effects and management. What we don’t know yet though is what difference it will make, what quality of life he can have and how long we can continue making memories together and I suppose that’s why I’m writing again. News like that can change a person, cause a person to give up and loose hope but my Dad’s attitude is the opposite and while the reality not easy to accept, he is positive, determined and willing to put up the fight and it would be wrong for me or anyone else to do anything different! He/we have a solid network of family and friends and right now, it’s about spending as much time as we can together and enjoying ourselves.

    Since the diagnosis, we have all been to visit the Maggie’s Centre in Kirkcaldy. Maggie’s are there for the whole family offering a range of support and advice; from a friendly face to legal advice, and the atmosphere within the building is amazing! The moment I walked in on my first visit, I felt welcome and at ease. Since then, my Dad has made use of the services Maggie’s offer and although we are still in the midst of a long journey and haven’t visited as much as we would like, I already feel like I want to give something back. Fundraising is a focus, a challenge and to me, part of the journey to come and an opportunity to do something positive during hard times.

    I will be raising money for Maggie’s both by undertaking personal physical challenges/events and running community events through my business to engage others in the hope that we can raise awareness and have some fun in doing so.  I’ll be writing about the highs and the lows, the training involved, the events and everything in between (except for gory details and the emotional part; that will be kept personal) but I would love it if you followed our journey and support my family and I to raise some funds for something so close to our hearts.

    * My colleague, my friend and one of my inspirations passed away last week after a very long fight. Her attitude was one that should be adopted by everyone; positivity, determination and resilience through adversity are characteristics to be admired and if I can have even a fraction of her strength and courage, I will be happy. I am so proud to have worked with her, learned from her and called her my friend.

    Sleep tight MF xxx

  • Trimester 2: Another rollercoaster ride!
  • Exercise in Pregnancy
  • October Workout 11
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 4
  • October Workout 10
  • Omni Bumps- Upper Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 4
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Upper Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Lower Body 3
  • Omni Bumps Workout- Full Body 3
  • THE HIGHS AND LOWS OF VAN LIFE (and Kiki’s new clothes!)

    ‘Van life.’

    It took a while for me to get used to that phrase, and indeed used to the concept but it’s very quickly grown on me and now Kiki is part of the family.

    Initially, van life as an idea was something I was keen to be part of , but in reality, I didn’t think it was for me. Packing light, no electricity, no running water and no toilet facilities; all things I could do and enjoy for short periods of time, but all things I knew I wasn’t very good at for any length of time!

    The first few trips away in Kiki were for one night, and these were generally one night of very little sleep and anxiety. The idea was to go away to a remote location, do something (walk, run, climb etc), cook food and then completely relax. Now, I know I am not the best at relaxing anyway; it takes a lot for me to completely switch off, but I certainly wasn’t very good at it an in environment I was unsure of and had no real knowledge of the ‘etiquette’.

    Fast forward a year or so, and progress has been made. I can now pack well, use a camping stove with ease and actually cook pretty decent, nutritious meals in one pot. I can also feel clean enough using only a packet of baby wipes and occasionally a kitchen basin and a bar of soap. Oh, I can now poo outside too and feel comfortable doing so. Yes. I said it! I’ve also learned how to relax and can safely say, I switch off and forget about real life for a period of time. Life without a phone is something everyone should do at least once a week, and in fact, after our most recent trip, we have now introduced periods of ‘phone ban’ whilst at home. Let’s face it, how many of us get caught up in social media without even realising we’ve just wasted an hour of our lives. We all do it, but who cares what someone you haven’t spoken to in real life for over a month had for their dinner, or how your best friends Mum took her first selfie? Van life encourages you to forget all of that.

    There’s still something bothering me, amidst all the relaxation and learning and that is where we set up camp. Now, until recently, my main concern was that Kiki didn’t have any curtains. I never liked the idea of parking in a car park with other vans or being on a campsite with other vans and tents. People could see in, and we could see out. The fishbowl effect and lack of privacy made me feel uneasy. I always liked the idea of parking somewhere so remote where nobody else would even think of going, and that is what we did. This came with it’s own exposure though and as I lay in the van, looking out into the woods or down towards the sea or whatever beautiful location we’d eventually found after driving around for hours consulting with the OS Map app, darkness falls and of course, I let my mind wander, completely relaxed and find myself thinking about what might be lingering in the darkness. I think I watch too many crime dramas and these locations just look like somewhere a body would be hidden or someone would be attacked. Poor Mat just couldn’t win with the choice of location so thinking this was something that I thought I could change easily which would make the vulnerability of being exposed disappear, Kiki got herself some new tartan curtains.

    The most recent trip away for New Year came with the surprise of being on a campsite. One with running water and showers (albeit cold) but in the lead up to our planned 3 day hike with only sleeping bags and bivvys, it was welcomed. We were also in the company of the Stathams; who with their palace of a van (VW Transporter) and baby Oliver, we brought in the New Year. Kiki’s new clothes (the curtains), did their job extremely well and it was the first time in van history, I could safely say I was 100% relaxed. Not only did they do their job in taking away the fish bowl effect, but they gave Kiki some insulation and created a cosy and ambient atmosphere. Complete with battery operated fairy lights and a bottle of red, it was bliss!

    On returning from our wet and windy expedition in the Welsh mountains, Kiki again, was my saviour. My love for van life was growing and as the thought of going home and back to work loomed, I didn’t really want this holiday to end. Until the journey home!

    We had decided to break the journey up and travel back to Scotland over the next couple of days. Wales to Peak District then Peak District to North Yorkshire/Lake District then home seemed a lot less stressful than the M6 for 7 hours in one go. We decided to avoid campsites for the first night and so scanned the OS map app for some options. Feeling chilled about this, knowing that we have the protection of our tartan curtains, I, for, the first time, got involved in the decision making. A quiet carpark set back from the road with what we thought would be lovely views was option 1. It was a building site. Moving on to option 2… another small car park next to a reservoir with a close by sailing club. Again, nice views and the sound of water always wins points. On arrival, about twenty cars, public toilets and clearly a meeting point for lots of people. We agreed a running club, to make me feel better, but I am still convinced they were meeting for other reasons.

    So onto our final option, a secluded car park next to another reservoir and the start point for a woodland trail. By this point it was dark and we were hungry, so seeing the empty car park, surrounded by trees and a small waterfall, I decided it would be the perfect place to park. Mat did say again, just in the passing, that he sometimes thinks busier carparks are better because nobody would bother you. He also mentioned that it would be a weird place for people to come at night, but I, thinking I had found us a perfect spot, started making myself comfortable. Another spot with zero signal and slowly dying batteries so we cooked food, wrote in our van diary (more on this in a bit) and listened to a podcast, with the curtains closed of course. Again, complete bliss!

    Just as we were getting ready to go to bed, I see the light of another car shine through the curtains. Thinking that someone was just turning, or was lost, I tried not to think about any other reason for them to be there. However, the car parked over the opposite side of the carpark, turned the lights off and just sat there for about 15 minutes. The inside light remained on. Yeah, you guessed it, my relaxed state soon turned to my wandering mind and an irrational list of reasons why they were there. We couldn’t see inside the car, and so I had no idea how many people there were, what they were doing or even if they were still in the car. We decided to go with kids having a smoke and as they left, I tried to absorb myself back into the podcast. Mat, trying to help me relax again, explained that kids would be more scared of us in a van than we should be of them. Then, half an hour later, another car appeared, parked up in the same spot, turned all of the lights off, inside too, and stayed there for an hour! In that hour, I honestly think I wrote a best selling crime novel in my head, helped by Mat, who by this point, had his axe in hand, my knife next to me and was neighbourhood watching so bad that Kiki’s new curtains were twitching. That night, I think I may have managed to sleep for about 3 hours and in the morning, suddenly I felt less relaxed than I did at home. Not only had I been re writing my crime novel, but my brain was full of work, lists of things I had to do and the chilled feeling I had wanted at the end of our holiday was some how sucked away, leaving me feeling anxious and tired. I think it’s safe to say that Mat may have had a point about quiet spots and I think I will leave the decision making up to him for a while at least. Now that Kiki has curtains, what difference does it make, right?

    After that night, and to be honest, the weather played a part in our decision, we went for breakfast in a hotel and then started the drive home. We had planned to stop and do the Yorkshire 3 Peaks but we decided that in order to give it our best shot (we’ve got goals for this challenge!), we should go home and come back another day. The thought of our own bed, a shower and a few days of chilled, slow pace working, rather than one day of manic, stressful and rushed work was more appealing and probably the best way to start our busy 2018 schedule.

    The growing love for van life continues and I am already excited about our next adventure. Kiki now has a van diary and our aim is to fill some pages at least once a month with details and stories from our adventures. Spending more time in the van, and making time for at least one trip a month will really help keep our batteries charged and stress levels low in 2018. Who knows, maybe I’ll share some of Kiki’s diaries on here!?

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