Monthly Archives

December 2018

The Low Down on Down Below

By | The Body Space | No Comments

It’s a fact of life that having a baby has a huge impact on a woman’s body and not always a good one. Our boobs get huge and then saggy, we get a mummy belly that never seems to quite go away and our pelvic floor often seems to forget what it’s supposed to do and we can start getting embarrassing leaks. But all is not lost! As a Women’s Health Physio, I see lots of women who struggle with pelvic floor problems and what’s great, is almost always, there are things I can do to dramatically help ease their symptoms or eradicate them all together.

Leaking a bit of wee when you laugh, cough or jump might be common after having a baby but nothing about it’s normal and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! There’s plenty that can be done to help and that all starts by seeing a Women’s Health Physio. “A whatey what physio?” I hear you say. Well we are a small subsect of physios that specialise in treating the pelvic floor.

So what do you need to know about the pelvic floor and why is it so darn important? Well think of it as a sling of muscle that goes from your tailbone to your pubic bone. It’s role is to literally hold up your abdominal content and help control weeing, pooing and it also goes a long way towards having a cracking orgasm! When you’re busy growing a tiny human, your pelvic floor can hold up to an extra 4-5kg in weight and that’s no small feat. So regardless of how you have your baby, that pelvic floor has had a tough time throughout pregnancy.

When you come to have your baby (vaginally or via C-section) the pelvic floor gets a bit of a hammering. Whether it be from a big old head passing through it (maybe even a set of forceps or a ventouse thrown in for good measure) or poor communication with the brain afterwards because it’s closest ally, the deep tummy muscles just got cut having a C-section, the pelvic floor just isn’t firing on all cylinder afterwards and needs some much deserved TLC!

So what should happen? In an ideal world, every woman in the UK would have a pelvic floor assessment and rehab after having a baby. In reality, almost every woman gets told a bit of pelvic floor weakness is normal after having a baby and it’ll probably get better in time!

Here are the stats (MacArthur et al 2012):

· If you’re incontinent a few months after giving birth, there’s a high chance you still will be 10 years

· 1 in 3 women have a pelvic floor problem

· 45% of all mothers will experience urine incontinence within 7 years of giving birth

Frankly, that sucks and what’s even worse, is it’s so preventable! If 6 weeks after having your baby you’re having a bit of a leak (or before that if you having a full wee), ask your GP for a Women’s Health Physio referral. If you can afford to go privately, then that’s a good option too, if nothing else because our poor NHS physios are hugely stretched and resources are low. Don’t always expect your GP to know much about Women’s Health Physios too – we are a hugely untapped source, mainly due to lack of public and doctor’s awareness.

But aren’t pelvic floor exercises meant to sort all this out? Well yes and no. Many women have what we call an over active pelvic floor. Imagine your calf in cramp – hurts a lot right? Well, same sort of thing can happen with the pelvic floor. It can get tighter and tighter, unable to relax fully. This can cause symptoms such as constipation, back and pelvic pain, pain during sex, tummy ache….to name but a few. If you try do the normal pelvic floor exercise when you’re overactive, all you do is make it worse. Instead you have to teach it relax before you can then start strengthen it! So having your pelvic floor checked first before you start your exercises really is very important.

Pelvic floor problems extend way beyond leaking wee. They can include uncontrollable flatulence, being incontinent of poo, terrible pain in the pelvis or vagina (the list goes on) – all of which can be helped by physio. We can also help with pelvic organ prolapse, with statistics showing pelvic floor physiotherapy exercises are more effective than surgery in most cases of pelvic organ prolapse (when your uterus, bladder or rectum push into the vaginal space).

Our main message, please don’t suffer in silence. With 1:3 women struggling with this stuff, you are in excellent company. There is help out there so please ask your GP to refer you or google your nearest Women’s Health Physio. Spread the world and help us to make the UK a drier place!!

You can find more from our women’s health physio’s on the Total Health Physiotherapy website and Facebook page.

Why your children NEED you to practice regular self-care

By | General, The Support Space | No Comments

Self-care, it’s one of those things we can often put at the bottom of our to do list, but at The Mummy Space, we feel it is not only better for you but also better for your child/ren if your needs bubble up to the top of the priority list, not just occasionally but actually pretty regularly.

Of course we’re not suggesting you neglect your little one/s for the sake of getting your nails done,  but we do think your child/ren benefit from witnessing your own self care as much, if not more than you do.  Here’s our thinking…..

  1. Your daughter sees you caring for yourself and learns that she is important and she must look after herself too.
  2. Your son sees you keep fit, attend to your hobbies and get out with your friends and learns that his partner has the right to do these things too – he is a better partner for it and will have  happier relationships.
  3. All your children see you take time out for yourself, they  learn that you respect yourself and they will respect you too.
  4. You take out time to look after your fitness , then to your children,  keeping fit and looking after your health is a normal thing for adults to do – in turn they look after themselves and  it is a life long habit.
  5. You get some time out to do something you love or see a friend you value and you are a happier Mummy – your child wants this more than anything else in the world, the consequence it, they are happier too.
  6. Your partner sees you valuing yourself and he/she is more likely to value you also – you have a better relationship and your children feel more secure and enjoy a more harmonious home.

These are the reasons we feel you need to give yourself time to keep fit, see your friends and keep up with a hobby – it’s not just for your sake, it’s a really important part of their happiness and learning too.

Anna Coe

How to Eat More Mindfully this Christmas

By | General | No Comments

The festive season usually brings more opportunities to eat, drink and be merry. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with that, it can be difficult to avoid the yo-yo of overindulging at Christmas followed by over-restriction once the new year comes. As a Nutritionist I hate hearing foods referred to as good or bad and the automatic associations of guilt with foods we enjoy indulging in from time to time.

I’m a firm believer that we should value all foods as an important, enjoyable and integral part of the diet. It’s not about good v’s bad, guilt-free v’s guilty or treats v’s superfoods. Christmas doesn’t have to be about non-stop stuffing our faces and lounging on the sofa. It is possible to create balance, even at times of celebrations, and to enjoy the food and festivities of Christmas without feelings of guilt or dissatisfaction.

Here’s my tip of how to do exactly that….

  • Allow yourself the mince pies, chocolates and mulled wine if that’s what you want. Telling yourself not to eat the things you want usually ends up in overcompensating by eating more of other foods and inevitably we still go back to the mince pies or chocolates because that’s what we wanted in the first place. Try not to think of these foods as ‘bad’ choices. There is absolutely no shame in enjoying the things you enjoy.  
  • If you’re not hungry, but finding it hard to avoid mindlessly snacking on food at a party just because it’s there, simply try moving a little further away once you’ve had enough. Research suggests that we consume less when food is moved further away.
  • It can be easy to overeat at buffets or parties when the food keeps coming. Pay attention to the food you’re eating. Enjoy each mouthful and take it all in. Not just the taste but the look, feel and smell of the food too. Paying attention to what you’re eating can help you to enjoy each bite and be more mindful of when you have had enough.
  • Variety is key and that doesn’t stop at Christmas. It may be a boring old message but variety is always important. Fill your plate with a variety of foods (ones you like!) and go for a rainbow of colours where possible.
  • A traditional Christmas dinner of turkey, roast potatoes and vegetables is about as balanced as they come. Enjoy your roast with all the trimmings. Revel in each mouthful and aim to recognise how full you are feeling. Being more in-tune with your hunger and fullness cues is a big achievement for mindful eating.
  • If you’re worried about over doing to booze try alternating every alcoholic drink with a glass of water.
  • Don’t neglect the power of movement and exercise. Not only is physical activity good for your body but it’s good for the mind too. Even something as simple as a short walk down the road can help to boost your mood and prepare you for another games of charades with great aunt Margaret!

Why I don’t like Facial Wipes…

By | Beauty | No Comments

We’re entering the thick of party season and I’ll bet you anything you’ve gone to bed without taking your makeup off at all, or have resorted to a wipe….we’ve all been there. I’m an advocate of thorough cleansing, preferably a double cleanse, but today I want to take about facial wipes, and why I really don’t like them!

Don’t get me wrong, they serve a purpose for a few scenarios; going swimming/gym during your lunch break, camping/festivals, travelling where access to running water is scarce, hospital bag if movement is going to be restricted….you get my drift.  However, I would argue, that aside the swimming and mountain treks a proper cleanse would be preferable and far more enjoyable in circumstances that are less so.

So why am I anti-wipes? I’ll be honest, there have been occasions when a wipe has been the only option to remove dirt and makeup and as a mum I can generally be called upon to have some on my person to clear up daily messes and sticky hands. However, when it comes to facial wipes I do have some issues. In the interests of providing some honest feedback (it has been a long while since a wipe touched my face) I recently tested a couple of well-known brands, and here’s what I found.

I didn’t particularly enjoy the experience of taking my makeup off with a wipe, it stung my eyes, left my face feeling sensitive and while my skin felt wet, it was neither hydrated nor nourished.  Once the moisture from the wipe had dried off my skin felt tight and sensitive, and after about half an hour, really dry. By the end of the week my skin had actually broken out in little pimples in areas where I don’t usually suffer from breakouts, not fun.

They didn’t effectively remove my makeup! Day to day I wear SPF and a little makeup.  Somehow they simply mushed the dirt and makeup around my face, and failed to actually effectively remove it…How many wipes do you think it takes to take a full face of makeup off properly? I’ll tell you…five.  Five wipes to take off around 90% off, I’ve had some clients admit to using just one (ONE!!!) wipe for a ‘thorough’ whole facial cleanse…I just can’t even talk about it. Don’t get me started on the packaging.

Let’s talk bank balances, because when I talk to people about skincare I often hear that it’s too expensive to invest in good, effective products. I’m here to tell you that it needn’t break the bank. There are loads of affordable product lines out there that offer good quality products.  Facial wipes are actually way more expensive longer term than buying a bottle of cleanser. On average packet of facial wipes contains approximately 30 wipes and costs between £2-5 (there are cheaper non-branded options). If used properly, you’re actually getting less than a weeks’ worth of product per pack! On average that’s around £180-£200 (60ish packets) a year, on a product that doesn’t even clean your face properly.  A good quality mid-range cleanser will cost around £20 and last you 3-4 months. You do the maths. Of course there are cheaper and equally more expensive options, it really depends on what you’re after.

So my advice? Keep the wipes for emergencies and have a look at investing in a product that will look after your skin. Most beauty therapists will happily talk to clients about where to start, offer free skin consultations and nearly all brands offer samples so you can try before you buy.  We only have one skin, it’s worth looking after.

Don’t forget to cleanse! Ana x

Festive Foods for the Whole Family

By | General | No Comments

My Christmas wouldn’t be the same without mulled wine, mince pies and chocolates hanging from the tree but I don’t want it to only be about those things.

For my kids, especially, I will always strive to make this time of year a happy and memorable one. A trip to the grotto, advent calendars, carols around the tree and Christmas parties galore, sure, but it troubles me when every one of these festivities results oodles of sweets and chocolates. I’m not saying never give the sugary foods but why do we do it so much more at times of celebrations? Doesn’t associating celebrations with sugar make the sweet foods more exciting and more desirable? Doesn’t it instil the idea that celebrations are a time to put usual eating habits aside and fuel up on whatever takes your fancy?

I believe we can encourage our children to build positive relationships with food by having a balanced approach all year round. Let’s use celebrations as a time to get creative with all types of food not a time to push aside healthy eating habits in favour of buckets of chocolates.  

If you fancy having a go at some balanced food creations this Christmas here’s a little inspiration for you..

Fruit Tree

A great centre piece for your festive spread this colourful fruit tree is perfect for nibbling on and a good reminder that just because it’s Christmas the 5-a-day message should not be ignored.

Santa Face

These appetising Santas are made using a round cracker, salami slice shaped into a Santa hat, cream cheese piping for the beard and hat trim, celery slices for a moustache and currants for the eyes and nose. Top tip – mixed the cream cheese with a little natural yoghurt first to make it easier to work with and put a dot of the mixture on the back of the salami slice to help it stick to the cracker.

Cheesy Rudolph

Soft cheese triangles with pretzel antlers, currant eyes and red pepper for the all-important red nose. These tasty snacks are almost too cute to eat and super easy to make too.

Pitta Bread Christmas Tree

Spread a whole pitta bread with mashed avocado or guacamole then using a pastry cutter or sharp knife cut into a Christmas tree shape. It’s beast to spread on the avocado first as you will get a cleaner finish to the shape of the tree. We used red pepper for star on top of the tree but you could use whatever fruit or vegetable works best for you. Then complete the decoration by using a tube of tomato puree pipe on some tinsel.

Fruity Mince Pies

Who doesn’t love a mince pie at Christmas? Check out my mince pie recipe with added carrot and apple for extra taste and juiciness as well as added fibre and nutrients

Fruit Mince Pies
Pastry375g wholemeal plain flour260g unsalted butter1 egg yolk plus a beaten egg for glazing1 tbsp cold waterFilling1 small jar of mincemeat (300g)2 carrots finely grated2 dessert apples finely grated


Preheat oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C. Grease 24 holes of 2 12 hole bun tins

Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs or mix in a food processor.  

Add the egg yolk and mix until the pastry comes together to form a ball. If needed add the cold water at this stage to help bring the pastry together

Avoid handling the pastry too much as it can make the pastry become tough.

Wrap the pastry in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Finely grate the carrots and apples, you can leave the skins on, and add to the mincemeat – mix well.

Once rested roll out the pastry and cut out 24 round bases for each pie plus 24 small stars for the top.

Spoon a heaped teaspoon of the mincemeat mixture into each pie and top with the stars.

Glaze each star with a beaten egg and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry has browned and the filing is bubbling and caramelised.

Leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto wire racks

The pies can be kept in an airtight container for 4-5 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

And remember festive games, songs, dressing up and decorations are just as much part of the fun.

12 Mummy Tips for Christmas

By | General | No Comments

Christmas can be a stressful time of year, there is so much going on – from parties, planning the big day, present buying – not to mention school admin goes into overdrive so how can you take away some of the stress?

We think you need to plan, plan and plan some more. With planning in advance you can take away a lot of the thinking on the spot and that way much of the stress.  Don’t forget, it’s your Christmas too.

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