“Why should I exercise when I’m pregnant? What kinds of activities are safe for me to do? What precautions should I take? Is there anything in particular I should avoid?” This infographic on staying active during pregnancy from Tommy’s should answer all your questions and reassure you that exercising when you’re pregnant is absolutely safe, healthy and beneficial to both you and your baby. You can also download the pdf copy on their website.
1. Child benefit
You can get child benefit if you’re responsible for a child under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in certain education courses or training programmes). The current rate is £20.50 for the eldest or only child and £13.55 per child for additional children. It’s usually paid every 4 weeks into your bank account. The claim for child benefit can only be backdated for up to 3 months. So, if you’ve just had a baby, make sure you submit your claim before your baby is 3 months old.
Read more about child benefit on Gov.UK.
2. NHS prescriptions and dental care
These are free while you’re pregnant and until your baby is 1 year old. Children also get free prescriptions until they’re 16.
To claim your free prescriptions, ask your doctor or midwife for Form FW8 and send it to your health authority, who in turn, will send you an exemption certificate that lasts for a year after your due date. If you’re only claiming after your baby is born, you’ll need to fill in Form A in leaflet P11 NHS Prescriptions, which you can get from your doctor or JobCentre Plus.
To claim your free dental care, all you have to do is tick the relevant box on the form provided by your dentist or show your exemption certificate.
3. Healthy start vouchers
Basically… free milk, infant formula, fruit and vegetables, and vitamins. Not everyone qualifies though. You’ll qualify if you’re under 18 and pregnant; otherwise, you’ll need to be at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under 4 and you or your family are on certain benefits (for example, income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, etc).
To check if you qualify, visit the NHS Healthy Start website.
4. Tax credits
There are two types of tax credit: child tax credit, which gives financial support for children, and working tax credit, which gives financial support for people in lower-paid jobs. If your household income is more than £26,000 (for a family with one child) or £32,600 (for a family with 2 children), you might not qualify for tax credits. But, whether you can actually get tax credits will depend on your circumstances. Use the tax credit questionnaire and the tax credit calculator as your starting point. If you’re still unsure, call the HMRC Tax Credit Helpline.
If you qualify for working tax credit, you could also get extra tax credits to help with the costs of childcare while you’re working. Read more about childcare and tax credits on Gov.UK.
5. Sure start maternity grant
Sure start maternity grant is a one-off payment of £500 to help towards the costs of having a child. You usually qualify if you’re expecting your first child (or multiple birth and have children already) and you’re on certain benefits (for example, income support, income-based jobseeker’s allowance, etc). You must submit your claim within 11 weeks of your baby’s due date or within 3 months after your baby is born.
Read more about sure start maternity grant on Gov.UK.
If you’re planning to return to work fairly soon after the birth of your baby (like me), you might want to think in advance about childcare as it can take some time for you to find a satisfactory arrangement. For example, if you want to send your baby to the nursery, you’ll want to start looking from as early as the second trimester; from what I heard, places (at both state and private nurseries) get filled up incredibly quickly. Or maybe, nursery is not an option because you may have a demanding career that requires you to work long hours (again, like me) and you just can’t commit yourself to sending and picking up your baby at a fixed hour each day. In that case, you might want to think about hiring someone to look after your baby at home – a nanny, childminder, or perhaps you have a relative who’s willing to help? And of course, you’ll have to consider the costs – whichever way you do it (unless you have an incredibly supportive and generous relative), childcare is expensive! Be prepared to pay around £150 – £200 a week for it, and that’s a conservative figure according to everyone I spoke to (I’m talking about London, of course).
Here are a few websites you can use as a starting point in your research:
- To find a nursery: https://www.gov.uk/find-nursery-school-place
- To find a nanny, childminder, etc: https://www.childcare.co.uk/
- To share a nanny: http://www.thenannysharers.co.uk/ or http://www.nannyshare.co.uk/
7. Life insurance
Now that you have a baby, you probably should start looking into life insurance (if you don’t already have one). You’ve got to think about your family well-being if something should happen to you. There are quite a number of reputable companies out there; so do your research. In the meantime, you could sign up to a £10,000 free life cover which takes effect from the day you apply until your baby’s first birthday from companies such Post Office. Asda used to offer it as well but I can’t seem to find it on their website now.
8. Junior investment
Once you’ve got your life insurance sorted out, you might also want to start thinking about investing for your child’s future with the Junior Individual Savings Account (Junior ISA), be it a cash Junior ISA or a stocks and shares Junior ISA. You can open an account with any banks, building societies, credit unions, friendly societies and stock brokers.
Read more about Junior ISA on Gov.UK.
9. Useful websites you can (and probably should) refer to:
PS: If you’re an employee, you might also be interested in this article: “From bump to baby: your rights and entitlements at work”
I love comfort food, and food that is easy and quick to cook. For me, nothing beats “nasi goreng kampung” (which loosely translates to village-style fried rice) as the ultimate after-work meal for lazy cooks (like me). It literally takes minutes to whip up, especially if you’ve got leftover rice in the fridge; in fact, I wouldn’t cook it with freshly cooked rice (kinda defeats the whole quick meal thing if you’ve got to cook the rice first, and besides, fried rice is best made with leftover rice).
So, anyway, here are what you need:
- Leftover rice
- A handful of dried anchovies
- Cooked and peeled king prawns
- Bird eye / finger chillies (how many depending on how spicy you’d like your rice to be; I usually use 2 chillies for 1 portion of fried rice)
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and slice (or if you’re lazy like me, use the very lazy garlic instead)
- 1 bag of baby spinach
- 3 eggs (or 2 if you don’t want a sunny-side up)
- A bit of light soy sauce and dark soy sauce
- A bit of sunflower oil
And here’s how to cook it:
Microwave the baby spinach (yes, I’m lazy). At the same time, heat some sunflower oil in a wok and fry the dried anchovies, prawns, garlic and chillies for a few minutes. When the anchovies are cooked, drop 2 eggs into the wok and lightly beat them until almost set. Then add the rice and baby spinach. Mix well with a bit of light soy sauce and dark soy sauce (to taste). Plate. Fry your sunny-side up (if you want to). Serve.
“I love this sporty, stylish and fashionable winter coat from Sweaty Betty. I think it’s great for the city and outdoor activities. Don’t you?”
As winter approaches and the weather turns frosty and wetter (not that it hasn’t been wet all along – we live in Britain after all where rain gets featured as one of the top tourist attractions), I’m finding myself entering hibernation mode (involuntarily, of course) more often that I should. Forget outdoor activities, I can’t even bring myself to go to the gym where it’s warm! The thing is though, I prefer exercising outdoor, and I particularly like cycling to work. I can’t stand public transport – whenever I take the bus, I get stuck in traffic; whenever I take the tube, I get stuck underground! Despite the deteriorating weather condition, I still cycle, but I’m forcing myself to do it every time. And that’s the problem, I don’t want to have to force myself to do it, I want to enjoy doing it (like I did in the summer). So, thinking cap on; light-bulb moment achieved: I need to get myself a new clothes (anything) that would make me want to get on my bike. I need to be inspired! I told my husband about it earlier today; his response: “but you’ve got so many exercise clothes already” – men, they never understand, do they?! But you get me, right? Think about that time when you really want to do something just because you’ve bought a killer outfit and you can’t wait to wear it – right, right?? There you go, I knew you’d understand.
When it comes to workout clothes, Sweaty Betty is certainly one of my favourites (if not my favourite). I love their clothes – they’re stylish, comfortable, not too expensive (I don’t think it’s more than the mainstream brands) and the quality is really good. Anyway, look what I found on their website:
They called it the “Winter Warmer Luxe Parka” – “The ultimate weather-proof jacket for day-to-day style and winter commutes, this durable layer is waterproof and windproof with an insulated lining for extra warmth. Drawing in at the waist for a flattering and feminine fit, this luxe parka jacket features a subtle camo-floral print. Reflective seams, velcro cuffs and a back cycle vent ensure maximum functionality.”
I love it! “Ultimate weather-proof” is exactly what I need to brace the wind and rain in this city! “Insulated lining for extra warmth” means it’s winter-ready – very practical! And the style… don’t you just love the style? I think it’s really flattering; it’s sporty yet fashionable. If I had one of these, I’d want to get on my bike and cycle to work even in the frostiest and wettest weather (within reason, of course – I’m not an unreasonable person; I wouldn’t, for example, cycle in a hurricane). Also, I think the reflective seams are a nice touch; it’d help me stay visible on the road. It’s a great parka for outdoor activities, I give you that (I’m thinking: walking, running, cycling, boating? etc). But I also think it’d make a good city wear – I can see myself wearing it over regular clothes, with leggings, jeans, and boots, going about my day (shopping, Starbucks-ing, lunching, walking around town, and in a few months… even pushing my pram with Baby G inside). So stylish!
So… all I want for Christmas is… (or rather, one of the things I want for Christmas is…) the Sweaty Betty Winter Warmer Luxe Parka! It’s a good investment! I think my husband would agree!
Disclosure: this is a non-sponsored post; all opinions are completely my own.
Thought I’d share this. A while ago, I wrote a post about how to shop smart and get your hands on bargains and freebies – for mums-to-be, I mentioned joining the Sainsbury’s Baby and Toddler Club to receive a £5 money off coupon to be spent on any combination of products from the Sainsbury’s Little Ones range. So, I redeemed my coupon yesterday, and these are the products I bought for a mere £.0.35! The original price was £5.35 (£3 for the 4 x 80 fragrance free baby wipes, £1 for the baby lotion, and £.1.35 for the baby nappy cream). Pretty good deal, huh? And I think it’s nice that there isn’t a minimum spend required for you to use your voucher (of course, it’d be silly not to spend at least £5)!
Disclosure: this is a non-sponsored post – I was not financially compensated in anyway and I will not be financially compensated in anyway should you decide to join the Baby and Toddler Club.