my little pick-me-ups

[dropcap]I [/dropcap]didn’t even know it was Blue Monday today, until I did the morning scroll through Twitter through one bleary eye. In this morning gloom and rain, yeah, it does seem fitting. Last week, I was so optimistic about being productive this week but to tell the truth- this week turned out to be a write off! Whenever I seem to hit a pregnancy milestone or a growth spurt, I turn into a slug. No energy, necessary naps (I practically fall asleep standing up) getting the grumps- basically, all the non fun parts of pregnancy. Blue Monday or not, these are the little things that prop me up when I’m going through a Moaning Myrtle stage…[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”18823″ img_size=”full” css=”.vc_custom_1516882052582{padding-top: 0px !important;}”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1516882163584{padding-top: 120px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 130px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;}”]

I’m slow to start in the morning, because for the zillionth time- me and mornings just don’t get along. So, I’ve tried embracing the little rituals everyday to make me a better human. The little paw taps and meows when the cats descend into the bedroom to wake me up. The first sip from my cup of tea. The first bite of my cereal (currently obsessed with Rice Krispies) Or on rainy days like this, the sound of the rain falling onto the window and feeling snug inside. Even just switching on the radio makes me feel plugged into the world.

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For someone who struggled to get pregnant, I really hate whinging about pregnancy ups and downs. I always said I’d go through whatever discomfort it took if it meant a healthy baby, so when I complain about having another night of restless sleep, backaches, or the umpteenth trip to the loo I try to shake out of it by sitting in the soon to be nursery. I love watching my bump grow bigger each week and I love the tiny, reassuring kicks in my belly in the evening.

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I love a good dig around online on Asos or Zara, but as my bump grew, the less temptation there was for me to score a cheeky outfit. Winter maternity wear is just so blah and to be honest, I felt guilty for buying anything for myself when I felt like I should start collecting baby bits. So my treat-yo-self moments have been scoring finds on eBay, researching what essentials we’ll need and finding them in January sales, and discovering cute little pieces for the baby room. Purchasing Basil the Polar Bear head from kids store Lullabuy made me happier than any Topshop score!

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I suppose as part of my new found nesting instincts, I’ve embraced being a neat freak more than ever. I feel so much better when I’ve tidied or cleaned up a room in the house- even just the one. The other night, over an epically long Whatsapp call with my friends in Dublin, I hand picked all the bits and pieces from my bedroom carpet and it was so satisfying. I might not be able to control how long I can stay awake for or you know, even my pelvic floor, but keeping things clean- that I can do.

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And now Netflix comes to save the day. My favourite way to unwind-usually when I’m in pj’s under the duvet– is to stick on Netflix and catch up on Somebody Feed Phil. I love love loooove food documentaries and this new series follows Phil Rosenthal all over the globe as he explores and eats. He’s a sitcom writer, so he’s funny and endearing and an antidote to the gloom that is mid January. Plus, you’ll want to eat everything he’s eating. (Last night I watched him explore Lisbon and all I want to eat is sardines and pasteis del natas)

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Tea & Toast

 

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]t 6:30am this morning- boom, boom, boom. My neighbour, the one who lives upstairs with a herd of elephants, leaves the house and slams the front door. I’m now wide awake and silently cursing her. I sit up in bed, not quite ready to leave the warmth of the duvet pondering if I should try and get back to sleep. The bin men come soon after, banging the street’s wheelie bins about. It’s our house that they stop outside of to argue about whether or not to pick up the garden waste bags.

Clearly, I was not meant to sleep any further so I get up just as Robin’s alarm clock chimes out.

I’ve always been a little prone to bouts of insomnia, but at this time in pregnancy…oof it’s returned with a vengeance. I toss and turn late into the night, getting up to pee every couple of hours and then find myself blinking awake at the crack of dawn. As someone who just isn’t a morning person, I actually like it when I am up and functional at this hour. The world is waking up, kettles are boiling, slices of bread are toasting, people are up and ready to go about their day. I like the routine and busy hum as the world wakes up.

Toast. My belly definitely wants some toast right now.  Two pieces of medium cut bread that I can’t wait to slather in butter and jam. We don’t have a toaster. I know! What the what?! Basic kitchen appliance. We have a waste disposal and a boiling water tap, but god forbid you want a tasty toast snack which means heating up the grill and waiting a long….long…long 5 minutes for it to toast Warburton’s finest.

As the bread starts to turn a golden brown, I quickly throw a teabag into a mug.

Tea without sugar is actually nice.  This baby does not have a sweet tooth- another sign that she clearly takes after her dad already.

“Alexa, turn on Heart radio” 

In my old office, I’d switch on Radio One in the morning to let Grimmy shout me awake with some awful auto tuned playlist but at home, Heart FM’s ear friendly cheesiness is the one.

I sip my tea. I watch the sky outside get brighter. I feed one cat and let the other one out to (probably) terrorise next door’s vegetable patch. I think about the tube, already packed with commuters. I pat my belly, glad baby is tucked up cosy in there.

Good morning Friday. I hope you’re a good one today.

 

My new Photography website

[dropcap]D[/dropcap]o you hear that? that’s the sound of crickets on the Awkward blog. There’s a good excuse why it went quiet for a week- I built another website! A photography one, and I love it. Awhile ago on Twitter I asked for a few blogger volunteers to do some photo shoots and Sade from In My Sunday Best came through- we spent a really great hour in the City, taking pictures in a churchyard park.

As we know, outfit photos on the Awkward blog are rare. That’s more to do with avoiding looking like a three chinned doughnut- I never know what to do with my hands– but when it comes to photographing someone else? Ahhh. Looking on the outside in is where I get it.

So, I finally did something about it. I brushed aside the doubts and just went for it and built myself a photography website, so here we go! Angela Shek is now live.[vc_row][vc_column][vc_masonry_media_grid gap=”4″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1503655485977-dc8f1912-938f-7″ include=”18484,18483,18482,18480,18476,18475,18017,17973,18229,18203,16206,15212,6710″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

okay, I’ll stop- but you get the idea!

I want to be a straightforward, easygoing, and importantly, an affordable blog photographer; and I want to create beautiful images not just for my blog, but for anyone else too.

^^Thank you to the lovely Sade for giving up her time on a Sunday afternoon to help me start off my portfolio^^

Click below to see my new website…

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Dad’s birthday & Sunbury & Dogs

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t was my Dad’s 70th birthday over the weekend. Not everyone is here at the moment, so to celebrate for now, we had a small party for the weekend. The last time my sister Amelia and I put a birthday surprise together for my Dad was for his 50th- it involved hiding an apple pie in my bedroom for 2 days, French onion soup (though neither of us had ever made French onion soup) and turning off the electricity to trick him into coming downstairs. This affair wasn’t quite so Mission Impossible; we had cake, parcels of Sri Lankan Lamprais, and a walk through Sunbury along the river (the same one we do every Christmas)[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”18242″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I told my sister a few days before that ‘I’m sleeping over at yours’ (me, inviting myself along since 1982) with the intention of getting up early the next day to hit the shops to get food and decorations…except, we didn’t. A late night watching of The Lost Boys (only the best movie, ever) and a leisurely morning eating pancakes and playing with my nieces meant that time ran away and the ONE time my parents happened to be on time…

…but it worked out perfectly fine. Also, we bought the deadliest candle in Tesco. This thing could have signalled to passing ships it was so bright and flamey and to think  I nearly put all three on the cake.

Afterwards, we took the dogs out for a walk- my Dad and Amelia in their walking boots and wellies and me…in Robin’s old flip flops. Jumping over cow pats in flip flops, that’s just how I roll.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”18236″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”18238″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”18229″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1516889775513{padding-top: 170px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 210px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;}”]

This is Bella, everybody’s favourite princess. In dog years, she’s in her 90s. Apparently I babysat her when I was at uni but let her run around pooping everywhere and I have zero recollection of this, which means I was most definitely living my best student life at the time.

She also didn’t want to go on our walk and kept running back towards home. She was chased down and in the end, she had to be carried the rest of the way.

The field near my sister’s house is home to a dozen cows over the summer months. They graze in the grass, and generally have a grand old time in their holiday home (and this is why you should wear boots in the field!) 

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I love houses with names.

Ly Rose

The Old Vicarage

The Old Manor Farm

In my neighbourhood, the only signs outside houses are Beware of Dog and No Junk Mail and this is why I love walking through Sunbury.

At the end of the road, lies the river, a quiet hub of barges and boats

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And this is why I can never be a fashion blogger.

Hair in a knot, wrinkly trousers and my husband’s old and slightly too big flip flops.

I’m going to do the very British thing of wailing HOW IS THIS SUMMER? It was chilly and definitely chunky jumper weather and felt more like Autumn than the middle of summer. When we got married this time a couple of years ago, it was sweltering

Rant over. Please look at the pretty cow.

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A shortcut through the field again, past the herd of cows, and home again.

Years ago, my sister put old reels of film that my Dad made in the 70’s and 80’s onto DVD, so we sat and watched it again. My Dad rocked a mean pair of sideburns and my Mum and sisters’s outfits were so cool.

It was a nice day- I mean, cake always means a nice day- but I love family days.

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This year’s Blogger’s Blog Awards

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]hit the bed. Those were my first thoughts as I picked up my phone to see why so many notifications kept flashing across the screen. Best Lifestyle Blog…Blogger’s Blog Awards. My mouth gaped open like my pet goldfish. Moments earlier, I was engrossed in Moana (specifically that scene where Moana’s nutty Grandma is dancing in the sea with the manta rays)  A mistake, surely. But there it was, at the bottom- The Awkward Blog, nominated. Get in, you weirdo! [vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”18187″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” css=”.vc_custom_1501837182198{border-top-width: 3px !important;border-right-width: 3px !important;border-bottom-width: 3px !important;border-left-width: 3px !important;padding-top: 40px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 40px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;border-left-color: #f1f1f1 !important;border-left-style: solid !important;border-right-color: #f1f1f1 !important;border-right-style: solid !important;border-top-color: #f1f1f1 !important;border-top-style: solid !important;border-bottom-color: #f1f1f1 !important;border-bottom-style: solid !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

I have imposter syndrome for the nomination. I still don’t really believe anyone reads this blog regularly apart from my Mum (who leaves an emoji or a ‘well done’ on posts she likes on Facebook) 

I am that person that awkward memes are made of.

I will be the person at the party stroking the cat or dog.

I’m the person who says things like shit the bed

The one that feeds squirrels in the park, who will be wearing checkerboard Vans until she’s 80, the one that chewed gum throughout her wedding vows.

I’m not wild or crazy (but maybe one day I will tell you the story about making illegal booze runs)

I don’t do heels, I don’t do cocktails, I can barely string a coherent sentence together and I call everyone dude even though, you know, they might be called Doris and using a mobility scooter. It’s happened.

So, to those that voted for me, thank you. You have made this Janis Ian happy.

Voting is now open until the 10th September

VOTE HERE

And well, shit the bed guys. Thank you x

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everyday faces

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n my journey into work this morning, dripping with sweat and nursing a dripping nose (heat and hayfever, what a lottery win) I noted the usual faces I share the train carriage with. The same people, catching the 8:43 from Highbury & Islington, everyday.

The young guy in the suit, who must obviously work in an air conditioned office, reading his latest book. Always a paperback, never a Kindle (currently on A Song of Fire and Ice)

The man with the ginger ponytail (who I like to think works in I.T) 

The middle aged woman, who I am friendly with in that smile and hold the door for each other kind of way (She’s an Audible user) 

The sulking bald guy, who will knock his mother over if it meant he got to be first on the train.

Then there’s me. The one with a tissue literally glued to her nose, with bright red headphones just in case I need to step in as an emergency beacon one day.

Ahh, these strangers. My commuter buddies.

The way home though, is different. I never see the same face twice on the way home.

I read somewhere that the people we see in our dreams, are people we’ve passed by in our daily lives and that our brain just stores this information in some tiny nook. Now that is some kind of tiny nook, but also if that is true or not, how amazing is that theory?  There you are, just minding your own business walking along to the supermarket, whilst your brain sneakily screenshots everyone’s face around you.

I watched a documentary recently about Scotland Yard and their team of Super Recognisers. That is an actual, serious, crime fighting thing. People who have a talent and ability to recognise faces. Funnily enough, it was The New Yorker that wrote a piece about these super recognisers in the Met that reminded me. People watching, a required talent and skill- how about that?!

Tomorrow’s journey on the 8:43, I’ll be there, red headphones and all, squinting at my commuter buds and wondering if I’d recognise them away from our train carriage.

Edinburgh for Easter

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[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he last few days running up to the long Easter break, a panic settled in. We had no plans. A flurry of text messages later, Edinburgh was booked. Two days later, we were on the early morning flight to Scotland. We booked our one night stay at Fraser Suites, just off the Royal Mile- easy, walkable access to everywhere we needed to go for our brief visit and a lovely view over the city centre (except, if you’d seen my Insta Stories, the view out of our window was a stone wall, hah!) There were no plans, no itineraries, nothing serious apart from catchups with friends. It was just a nice, simple break away from London.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16622″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16624″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16617″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16616″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1516896710330{padding-top: 180px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 200px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;}”]

On Saturday, the weather was beautiful. It was sunny and a little brisk, but the air felt fresh. Big blue skies had me feeling like Spring was here! Woo! We took a walk up to Edinburgh Castle – a few minutes walk from our hotel- and took the scenic route down the hill and into town for a coffee.

Later that night, we had sushi for dinner, and went for a stroll before heading back to the hotel because my god I did not pack well for a night in Scotland. I wore all the layers I had brought in my carry on and a last minute wooly hat ‘just in case’ and I was still freezing.

London got me spoilt on the weather front (but probably because of all the pollution, sooooo….)

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16629″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16609″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16627″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I woke up on Sunday and Winter had returned. It was wet, it was windy, it was not ideal walking outside all day weather, but after a cute little breakfast at the cafe next door to us (Saint Giles fyi- super cosy and good tea!) I honestly didn’t mind.

The plan was to visit Edinburgh Castle for a couple of hours- my only tip, book tickets in advance! The queue to buy tickets on the day was enormous whereas we were inside the castle grounds within 10 minutes of collecting ours. We got ours directly from the website here, for £17 each. This seems steep, but there is a lot to explore inside so it actually seems fair.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16632″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16630″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16599″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16607″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16595″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16596″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16657″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16605″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]We wandered in and around the whole ground- The Scottish War Museum, The Scottish Crown Jewels, and into the Great Hall too.

So- Potterheads. This is where you’d be in your element. JK Rowling must have gotten loads of her inspiration for the magical wizarding world here.

The sword in the Scottish Crown Jewel exhibit? Sword of Gryffindor.

The Great Hall? Well, The Great Hall (all it’d need is the House tables)

Even the way the castle juts out of the side of the hill, looks like it could be Hogwarts.

Before we left Edinburgh, we met with some friends, browsed a few shops and were soon back on the bus at Waverley station towards the airport. I was back home in London by 10pm, with my feet up and a mug of tea in my hand AND with Monday to savour at home.

Short and sweet. Thanks Edinburgh. It was braw ;)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16658″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16659″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row]