Pregnancy fitness questions answered by Dr Joanna Helcké

As part of my review for the Dr Joanna Helcké pregnancy fitness programme I was given the chance to ask Jo some pregnancy fitness questions.

It was great to be able to ask Jo questions and get answers from a real expert!  I thought I’d share the answers as I’m sure there are some who have wondered the same thing!  Hope you find them as useful as I did!

Does having had a C-section in the past affect how I should exercise when pregnant second time round? And is there anything I can do to prepare myself for a second caesarean section?

Having previously had a caesarean section won’t require you to modify your antenatal exercise regime per se. However, what it does mean is that you have insight into what it feels like having to both heal after what is effectively major abdominal surgery all whilst looking after a tiny baby. Add a toddler into the mix and things will be even harder.
With this in mind I would be thinking back to those early postnatal days and weeks last time round to remember what felt really tough and then seeing whether you could incorporate certain exercises into your current fitness regime which will “proof”your body and help you through a second round of healing.
Keeping the body generally strong throughout pregnancy is bound to help with recovery. Pregnancy affects posture, of course, but after a C-section the pain caused by the incision is liable to also affect the way you stand – it is only natural to hunch the shoulders forwards when experiencing pain. So working on keeping the back muscles strong in pregnancy will also help when recovering from a C-section.
In the early weeks you will need to take things very gently and your stamina will, no doubt, be adversely affected – that’s when a flight of stairs feels like a mountain! So maintaining a reasonable level of cardiovascular fitness right up to the end of pregnancy – think swimming and power walking – will help tide you over the healing period and hopefully you’ll be able to bounce back more quickly when the time is right.
Last but not least, although having a caesarean means that the pelvic floor muscles (PFM) don’t undergo the trauma of a natural delivery I’d definitely encourage you to get used to doing pelvic floor exercises correctly and through a full range of movement. What I mean by this is that you need to not only be able to draw up on your PFMs but also relax them fully. Once you’ve had your C section you can start up with the PFEs immediately and this encourage the flow of blood to the area, thus helping with healing.
I live in a tropical climate: should this have an effect on exercise in pregnancy?  

General advice is that it isn’t a good idea to get overly hot when pregnant as this can, according to some research, have an adverse impact on your growing baby. If you’ve been living in the Seychelles for many years then perhaps you have acclimatised and don’t find yourself getting quite so hot in the tropical weather there..? Or perhaps it still feels pretty hot and sticky to you (I spent all my childhood in Italy but I never got used to the boiling temperatures and high humidity in August!). Either way, I’d bear this in mind when exercising: don’t overheat, make sure you drive lots of fluids and don’t do your workouts in the full sun. Think cool shade or when outdoors stick to swimming – the water will help take away excess heat from your body.
What is your most recommended exercise for pregnancy?

OK, well I am a great one for believing that there is no such thing as a one size fits all approach. So instead of telling you about the wonders of swimming, aquanatal, pregnancy Pilates (which is what I specialise in), walking or pregnancy yoga, I’d rather say to you that you should do what you genuinely enjoy and what makes you feel HAPPY. All those types of exercise are, indeed, really great options in pregnancy but that doesn’t necessarily mean that everything else is out of bounds.

Pregnancy fitness questioned answered by Dr Joanna Helcké

Aquanatal fitness. Photo credit:

Now I’m going to add a few caveats to that, the first one being that you should always listen to your body. So if, for example, running has always been your passion and if jogging during pregnancy leaves you feeling energised, positive and niggle-free, then by all means, make that your exercise of choice. But if, on the other hand, you find that you are forcing yourself to carry on (perhaps for fear of losing your fitness levels) then you are doing the wrong thing. You need to stop and do something else that suits.
So, in short, although my gut instinct is to tell you that pregnancy Pilates is particularly beneficial for a whole host of reasons (back pain, posture, keeping the abdominals toned…) I also feel that on condition that you listen to your body with honesty, then there are many other options that will keep you feeling happy, healthy and fit.
Pregnancy fitness questions answered by Dr Joanna Helcké


Are there any pregnancy exercise myths you’d like to dispel?

Oh my goodness, where shall I start?
-That “moderate exercise” means the same thing for all woman – of course it doesn’t! We all have our individual baseline fitness from which we should measure “moderate”.
-That weight training is somehow dangerous to perform in pregnancy. If you have excellent technique and were already lifting prior to pregnancy then by all means, carry on!
-That the pelvic floor muscles are best worked in isolation. Nope! Recent research by Dr Bruce Crawford (of the Pfilates technique) highlights that the pelvic floor actually works much more effectively if contracted alongside certain movements such as squats, cat stretches and lunges.
-That yoga is THE ultimate exercise to do in pregnancy. No it isn’t. There are lots of forms of exercise which are equally excellent for pregnancy and which all provide their own unique benefits. Yoga is great for posture, breathing for labour and relaxation; walking is fantastic for stamina; Pilates is amazing for back pain and rehabilitating the post-pregnancy tummy muscles; and swimming is a total godsend in the last trimester.
Do you want me to carry on….?!

Dr Joanna Helcke is an expert in pregnancy and postnatal fitness, winner of the UK’s most prestigious fitness award – the 2014 FitPro Award for Excellence in Fitness – and creator of the UK’s first week by week online pregnancy and new mum Pilates programme.

Pregnancy fitness questions answered by Dr Joanna Helcké

Photo credit:

Thanks Jo for answering my questions!

Dr Joanna Helcké online fitness programme review

There are lots of positives about being pregnant in the Seychelles, hello floaty beach dresses ALL the time!!!  But, something that I felt I missed out on when I was pregnant with Arthur, and have been missing out on this time round too, is prenatal fitness classes!

There aren’t any prenatal classes of any kind available here which I think is a shame!!

So, when I was offered the opportunity to review the Dr Joanna Helcké online fitness programme I was really excited!!

Dr. Joanna Helcké is a multi award winning pregnancy and postnatal fitness expert as well as being a Mum of 3.  I definitely feel that it’s nice when any expert in pregnancy, parenting etc has kids of their own!!

When you register for the programme there is a short medical questionnaire to fill out.  This helps the programme be tailored to your own requirements!

Once you are registered and logged in your home page will look a little something like this
Dr Joanna Helcké online fitness programme review
So you have access to:

  • All the videos you have done in the past.
  • This weeks video
  • This weeks “to do” list
  • Meal planner
  • The forum
  • The newsletter

Its nice and easy to use and to navigate around.

I started the programme at week 22 of my pregnancy.
The video for that week was a lovely relaxing 20 minute Pilates work out.  I’ll spare you all from pictures of myself doing this and share pictures of Jo doing the video instead….much better for everyone I think!!
Dr Joanna Helcké online fitness programme review

I really enjoyed the video and found that everything was explained really thoroughly and this meant that I was really confident that I was doing everything correctly and safely!

Jo comes across as really lovely and personable on the videos, she clearly is really intelligent and knows exactly what she’s talking about but without being patronising!!

I have now had three weeks worth of videos and I’m loving it!

The videos are different each week and so far have between 20-30 minutes long which is a perfect length for fitting in with Arthur’s nap time….essential for any stay at home mum!

The videos being different means that not only is it tailored specifically to the stage of pregnancy you’re in but it also keeps things fresh for you too!  You won’t get bored doing the same thing all the time!

I like that there is minimal equipment needed, just a mat (I use my yoga mat) and some pillows.  There are a couple of additional things that can be used, blocks for sitting on (I just used a chair) and a small ball to help but I have found it no problem without.

I’ve found that the intensity for the videos have been just enough each week to know that I’ve done something but without it absolutely wiping me out for the rest of the day, which of course is very important with having Arthur to look after and keep entertained all day!!
Dr Joanna Helcké online fitness programme review

Also each week alongside the video, there’s an additional “to do list” with different hints and tips for extra things you can do to maintain your healthy lifestyle!

I’ve not yet really got involved with the forum that is available on the website so I will be sure to take a look around on there over the next couple of weeks so I can talk about that next time!  I do think it’s nice that this is available alongside the videos!

The cost of the programme is £12 a month.  I think this price is really reasonable.  It can cost this much for an hours class in some places.  With this you can do the videos as often as you like as well as having access to the forum so I really do think it’s good value for money!
You can also take a two week free trial to see if you like it!

I’ll be continuing with the programme so I’ll be sure to do another update soon letting you know how I’m getting on!


*Please note I have been given free access to the Dr Joanna Helcké online fitness programme for the purpose of review but all thoughts and opinions are my own!

TotsBots Easyfit v4 reusable nappy review

The lovely people at TotsBots kindly sent us one of their award winning Easyfit v4 reuseable nappies to review.

Totsbots Easyfit v4 reusable nappy review

We have the ‘Hey Diddle Diddle’ design which is based on the nursery rhyme and it is very cute!!

Tots bots have the liner attached already and they come with an additional booster liner for extra absorbency use that pops on, very easy!  (A little more about the liners in a moment!)
TotsBots Easyfit v4 reusable nappy reviewPUTTING THE NAPPY ON

Putting this nappy on is super quick and easy!

There are poppers to adjust the height/length of the nappy.

At 22 months (and around 12kg) Arthur is big enough that we do not need to use any of the poppers (so he’s on the biggest setting)
The width of the nappy is adjusted with hook and loop (Velcro) and stretches and wraps round to give a lovely fit.  This makes doing it up as quick and easy as a disposable nappy, in fact TotsBots describe this nappy  “as close as cloth gets to disposable”.

The hook and loop fastening is much stronger than the tabs on disposable nappies though making it harder for your baby to remove their nappy (Arthur used to love taking his disposables off especially at night which can have messy consequences!!!)

Most of the time I’ve used the nappy just with the attached liner.  I’ve added the additonal liner a couple of times.  Obviously, with the additional liner in the nappy is bulkier.  I found it a little harder to get as good of a fit with the extra liner in but I think this would just be down to practice!

The TotsBots Easy fit v4 is a really lovely nappy and I love the design of the one we have been sent!  Makes me sing the nursery time every time I put it on Arthur!!!

The stretch and wrap means that the fit is really good which also ensures there’s no excess bulkiness!
They are generally more compact then our baba&boo nappies which adds to the lack of bulk of them, it could be a problem for particularly tall or big babies but at 22 months there’s still room to grow in them for Arthur so can’t see that it would be too much of an issue for most babies!!

Arthur is definitely super comfy running around in his nappy!

TotsBots Easyfit v4 reusable nappy review TotsBots Easyfit V4 reusable nappy review

I think my favourite feature of the TotsBots Easyfit V4 is their new ‘binky’ liners!  They are a combo of mega absorbent bamboo and soft fast drying minky!!
It’s nice to have these combined and they are very good!

So far I’ve only used our easy fit during the day so can’t comment on it’s overnight absorbency but I’m sure with the additional liner that comes with the nappy it would be totally fine!
Being as it’s so hot here Arthur sleeps just in a nappy 99% of the time.  With the fastening being Velcro style I’d be a little nervous of Arthur taking the nappy off in the middle of the night.  Obviously, this wouldn’t be a problem for most people as they’d have pjs on their little ones!!

There are little tabs on the Velcro fastening to make sure to make sure that it doesn’t stick to other things in the wash….they work great!
The nappy washes up perfectly.  The ‘Binky’ liner dries nice and quickly too!

So all in all I think that this is a really great nappy. For us, as I mentioned above, we will probably stick with it as a day time nappy, but it definitely is perfect for that!

DISCLOSURE: I was sent this nappy by TotsBots for the purpose of review, however all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own!

Baba&Boo cloth nappies review

So it’s been about four months now since we received our gorgeous Baba&Boo cloth nappies, and since it was our first time using cloth I thought I’d do a review!

Baba&Boo cloth nappies review

*please note Ive not been paid or compensated in anyway in return for this review all opinions are my own!*

What I loved about Baba&Boo right from the very very beginning was how helpful and approachable everyone was.
Having never used cloth before I had lots of questions.
I was referred to the lovely Sue, who couldn’t be more reassuring, helpful and just lovely!  She made me feel really comfortable with making my selection.
Since the nappies would be coming such a long way to us here in Seychelles this was incredibly important to me, I really wanted to feel confident in what I needed to order!

For me personally, I think this made so much difference in taking the leap into starting with cloth nappies!

We were told that around 15-20 nappies would be good for full time use and to try a few bamboo inserts for night time boosting!

We ordered 15 nappies (each comes with two microfibre inserts), 6 bamboo inserts (for night time use) and 1 large nappy bag for storing dirties until wash time!  I loved that each nappy already came with inserts it made it very simple to order!

When our nappies arrived (baba&boo ship worldwide!) we were instantly excited!  The colours and patterns were so bright and funky we couldn’t wait to start using them!

Baba&Boo cloth nappies review

As much as I wanted to get going straight away I was sensible and pre-washed them to help with absorbency.  I think I pre-washed them 4 times, back to back cycles and then line dried them.

So I was a little worried about getting this bit right.  Honestly I massively over complicated it all in my head before they arrived!
It was not difficult at all though.  There are lots of poppers on the baba&boo nappies but don’t let that scare you, you really don’t have to do too much!
There are essentially two stages:

Baba&Boo cloth nappies review how to use

Baba&boo cloth nappies review

When I put them on for the first time I realised when I got Arthur down off the changing table they were a little loose around the top so adjusted them quickly and really easily and he was good to go!!
This was a big reason I wanted to switch to cloth in the first place…..I found that all disposables, even ones that claimed you could readjust the tabs never worked as well if you didn’t get it bang on first time and then you had a poorly fitting nappy that would leak in no time!

I like that these are all poppers as it means you are going to get the same fit every time!!
Arthur is big enough now that we don’t pop any of the ‘height’ poppers shut.

As soon as Arthur had his nappy on, we were in LOVE!  He looks so so cute in them!!
Living here, Arthur pretty much lives in just a nappy year round and so it’s so nice to see him in a funky and fun nappy rather than an ugly disposable!!!
I really think that Baba&Boo have the best looking cloth nappies around!!

Baba&Boo cloth nappy review

Something I wasn’t sure about was whether he would still fit in his size shorts (when he does wear them!) or if we would have to go the next size up due to bulk!  We have not found this to be the case at all!
Actually we don’t really notice any difference as at the moment during the day Arthur just has one liner in and so they really are no more bulky then a disposable.
Even with two liners in we can’t really notice a difference under clothes!

I found that right from the first time we used them the nappies were a lot more absorbent then I thought they would be!  The bamboo liners took a little longer to reach their full absorbency but Sue had told us that this would be the case so we were prepared!
We found that after around 8-12 washes all our liners were great!

I think we waited around a week before we decided to take the plunge and try our Baba&Boo cloth nappies over night!  This was mainly due to having some disposables left over, but also as I was nervous about disrupting Arthur’s sleep!!

For a night time nappy we use one microfibre insert and two bamboo inserts!  It does 12 hours no problem!!!

I have been so pleased with how our Baba&Boo nappies wash up, they are still looking brand new!
Of course we are at an advantage living somewhere as warm as we do, however, they do dry nice and quick on the line!
To wash Baba & Boo nappies you take the liners out and chuck them all in the machine! Having the liners seperate to the nappy helps with the drying time!
With 15 nappies we are washing every other day which works totally fine for us.

So that’s my review of Baba&Boo nappies! As you can tell I’m pretty much in love with our Baba&Boo nappies!

Review: One Piece Sunsuit from

Not every day is like a holiday here, there’s normal daily stuff to do, yep, even in paradise!!

But living in the Seychelles means we are out and about in the sun a lot!!  This makes sun protection something that is very high on my priority list!

We are lucky that Arthur doesn’t mind too much having sun cream put on.  He’s pretty used to it!  But for me when we are going to be out in the sun I love Arthur to be able to have an even more reliable form of sun protection.

The times we are in the sun for the longest is at the swimming pool or at the beach.  The best thing we can do to protect him from the sun is to wear UV Swimwear!
With UV Swimwear, Arthur has continual sun protection that doesn’t come off from sweat or swimming!

I was delighted when offered me a one piece sun suit for Arthur to review.  We had one when Arthur was a bit smaller but have more recently been using Rash vests and shorts (still UV of course!)

This lovely O’Neil one piece sunsuit is perfect! The benefit of having a one piece is that there is no risk of a top riding up or shorts falling down to expose skin to the sun!

UV one piece sunsuit review

uv one piece sunsuit review

uv one piece sunsuit review

As you can see this is a little bit big right now but that’s just fine. Something I recently learned, and I guess it makes perfect sense, is that if a UV material is stretched out (i.e. Too small) then it looses it’s “ultraviolet protective factor” which of course reduces it’s safety!

All the UV wear we have for Arthur has a UPF of 50+ this is the maximum level that can be produced in fabrics.
We of course team this up with sunscreen of SPF 50+ to ensure our little guy has as much protection from the sun as possible!

If you are looking for a one piece sunsuit do check out the range at the Beach Factory they deliver worldwide and have a great range of cool brands such as O’Neil, Rip Curl and Quiksilver, which is great because we want our little ones to look cool as well as being protected right!?


*I was sent the O’Neil one piece sunsuit for the purpose of a review but all the opinions are my own!*

Learning french Rosetta Stone update 1

Learning French Rosetta Stone update 1

So it’s been a little over a month since I started learning french with my Rosetta Stone french course. I have to say straight away that I’ve not been able to do as much as I have wanted due to massive internet issues this end (one of the woes of tropical island life!!) Aside from the issues we had with the internet, when I have been able to get on and do some french I’ve really been enjoying it!! I’m also finding that it’s giving me more confidence when I go to my French Lesson once a week at school. The course really focuses on reading and speaking which for me is perfect! Being able to write in French is definitely lower down on my priority. The units are each broken down into 4 lessons which are 30 minutes long….this is perfect for me to get some practice in during Arthur’s nap time! Learning french update 1 Rosetta stone The whole thing is really visual and simple to use with nice big pictures and so far, you either have to click to select the right answer or speak to say the right answer (this can be reading off the screen or from memory depending on the type of question). Learning french update 1 Rosetta Stone click answer Learning french update 1 Rosetta Stone speak answer The last segment of each unit is a review which is broken down Into a story scenario which you again click and talk your way through. I’ve been amazed and impressed each time how much I remember (particularly since I’ve not been able to use as often as I’d like up to now!) I literally only figured out yesterday that there are also even smaller sections you can break it down into this includes a writing section. To me this is the one area that could do with some improvement. You can just type your answer straight in until you need to either use capital letters or accents such as è or é when you then need to start clicking the on screen keyboard. It’s just not the most user friendly part of the programme. Learning french update 1 writing To be honest though, this is such a small part of it that it doesn’t effect it for me at all. Particularly as my focus really is the speaking and reading. I have yet to schedule a live chat with a french speaker through Rosetta Stone, mostly because of the internet issues we’ve had last month but more recently due to not being able to find a suitable time slot but I’ll get there with that! I’m now able to get on more regularly since we have sorted out our internet and I’m really enjoying it! I really can tell that there’s an improvement in my French after even a short time! I’ll be back in a month for another update! If you want to give learning a language a go then check out the Rosetta Stone website there is also a free demo on there for you to have a go yourself!!       **I’ve been given the use of Rosetta Stone for free for the purpose of review but all the opinions and thoughts are my own! **

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Learning French

A few months ago I wrote about starting french lessons! The classes are enjoyable and I feel like I am making progress but the problem is that I can only make one out of the two classes a week and sometimes not even that if mark had to work late.
Of course if I want to really learn a language I need to be practicing a lot more consistently then that and preferably get more help then just once a week!

A couple of weeks ago I saw a tweet asking about wanting to learn a new language and I replied. Much to my excitement I have now been given the opportunity to try out the Rosetta Stone language course. The company is very well renowned and with lots of really positive reviews! I could choose any language I wanted, but of course I chose French! It’s nice to be able to practice french at home and I will be able to chat with a French speaker regularly as part of the package which is bound to be very helpful!

I’m really excited to see how I get on with the course. I’ll continue to go to my french lessons at the school once a week, and I’m hoping that the two combined together will really do a lot to improve my French! Of course the ultimate goal would be that I can speak enough French to help Arthur speak French too!

Learning french

To help me keep track of my progress I’ll do a monthly post letting you know how I’m getting on!

Wish me luck!


Disclosure: I have been given the use of Rosetta Stone french online course for free for the purpose of review but all the opinions given are honest and my own



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