my pregnancy essentials (so far!)

[dropcap]P[/dropcap]regnancy has been both a wonderful and weird time for me. Wonderful to watch my growing baby belly, and weird the adjustments my body has to go through. I was completely floored by morning sickness in the early days and now in the run up to my third and final trimester, I feel like I’ve got some pregnancy essentials down to make life more comfortable. Funny that having an ever growing bump on your front is actually uncomfortable! but these are the bits and pieces that have made pregnancy a little bit easier so far. I’m sure further down the line I’ll come across or need more bits and bobs to deal but for the first and second trimesters- these are things that I’ve loved.[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1516881689570{padding-top: 100px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 120px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;background-position: center !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”]

I wish I had invested in these sooner, but one of the best things you can buy for yourself at the start is a good maternity bra. Your usual bras will become the enemy (as will shower heads) because your bosoms will be very sore and seemingly enormous overnight. Ditch the underwire (or any wire) asap and give into the world of maternity underwear! I especially like the maternity/nursing bras as they will continue to be useful once baby arrives- but at the moment they keep my ladies in check and in comfort. Not sure I’ll ever wear a normal bra again to be honest! ASOS and New Look do multipacks for a reasonably affordable price and TK Maxx will always have a few well priced gems.

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Morning sickness is the worst. I was a ghost of myself for those first few weeks! My morning sickness survival kit consisted of Sea Band motion sickness wrist bands (they seemed to help, and I was so desperate I’d have tried anything) plus they’re fairly cheap on Amazon. Other remedies like ginger biscuits didn’t do a thing for me however citrus scents really helped- especially lemon. A sniff of a lemon really did help me and I even desperately packed one in my handbag at one point as an emergency measure! I also found that I couldn’t stomach water but fizzy Fanta or Sprite was do-able. Lastly, I used to keep a bag of boiled sweets around to give me a burst of energy as I wasn’t able to eat.

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Dipping back into the murky world of maternity, as my bump booped out (this happened to me early! I was barely 12 weeks when my belly let loose) I had to ditch my faithful jeans for maternity leggings. I actually prefer leggings to maternity jeans because I don’t have to keep pulling them up- also, finding a good pair of maternity jeans is hard. I only felt okay in the Topshop Joni style which seemed to sell out all the time! I also found Over the Bump styles more comfortable as I didn’t have anything restricting my expanding belly. My maternity leggings are from New Look and only have minimal bobbling despite the fact I live in them. However my H&M ones make me feel more pulled in and together and I suspect will last longer as the material is thicker.

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One aversion I’ve experienced that hasn’t gone away after my first trimester is SMELLS. I’m still super sensitive to anything strongly fragranced (and I still can’t light a scented candle) Everyone sings the praises of Palmer’s Cocoa Butter and Bio Oil, but even these scents were too overpowering to my nose. I ended up buying a big sensible bottle of E45 lotion that’s virtually unscented and it’s been fab– 6 months in and I’ve (knock wood) not had a single stretch mark materialise.

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Finding a comfortable sleeping position is still something I struggle with every night (and when you do get comfy you have to get up to use the loo!) Luckily, I didn’t have to splash out any extra cash for a special pregnancy pillow as I already have a bolster pillow- a long, cylindrical shaped pillow that I’ve had for years and have been able to bend around me wherever I needed the support. On nights it hasn’t helped, a cushion between my knees or under my belly has helped too; so for that reason alone I wouldn’t say “go buy a special pregnancy pillow” (unless you really wanted to) but my bolster pillow has certainly helped!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”18857″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” css=”.vc_custom_1516881764538{border-top-width: 2px !important;border-right-width: 2px !important;border-bottom-width: 2px !important;border-left-width: 2px !important;padding-top: 150px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 160px !important;padding-left: 20px !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;border-radius: 2px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_zigzag][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Those have been my essentials! What works for me might now work for everyone, but the relief and comfort a few simple items have provided has been huge. It can feel overwhelming sometimes when you think ohmygod, I’m going to need x, y, z and an entirely new wardrobe but really you don’t need much for yourself; save the pennies for baby clothes and gadgets (which are way more fun)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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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Life Lately | Sunday sunlight, ramen & bump dressing

[dropcap]I [/dropcap]can’t help but start counting my calendar down in terms of weeks now. Hello Week 23! and just shy of officially being 6 months pregnant and in the run up to the third and final trimester. Hang on, I’m just shaking my head here as I can’t believe how fast this has all gone. How has the first week of the new year been for you? For the first time in perhaps ever- I’ve been quite happy considering its January. I don’t have that grey fug leftover from Christmas- in fact, I was quite happy putting away the festive decorations to get on with 2018 at long last. Life lately has been about hunkering  down into layers as the temperature drops, craving hearty meals, and finally being able to stomach glorious, delicious, golden cups of tea AT LAST.[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”18789″ img_size=”full” css=”.vc_custom_1516882952767{padding-top: 0px !important;}”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1516883056035{padding-top: 140px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 180px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;}”]

The other night, I was watching a video on Youtube about ramen in Japan and it kicked off an instant craving for both me and Robin. The next day, we jumped in the car and made a short  drive over to Tonkotsu East in Haggerston to indulge in hot, salty broth and chewy, slurpy noodles. The perfectly soft boiled egg, crunchy green onions and importantly the slurrrrrp and chew of the noodles…so good. I still want another bowl. Ramen, why you so good?!

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Throughout this baby growing business, there were two things which I went completely off from. Pasta and tea. Whilst I still can’t eat pasta (learnt the hard way the other night when I tried a new lasagna recipe) I CAN however, drink tea again. It doesn’t leave such a funny taste in my mouth or make me feel queasy anymore, so I am slowly easing back into mugs of the magic, golden stuff. It makes early mornings and sunny afternoons that much nicer again. Especially with toast. Did you read my previous post, Tea & Toast? Thoughts? Not the usual way I blog, but it felt very natural to me.

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I’ve struggled to dress my bump throughout my pregnancy. Mostly because it’s the middle of winter and I’ve always struggled to feel cute in the cold weather. I guess my pregnancy uniform has been leggings and an oversized jumper or leggings and a long top. Over Christmas, my sister bought me some maternity wear from H&M, and this stripy top has been in regular rotation ever since- comfy, stretchy and long enough that I don’t have to worry about my knickers flashing through my leggings. My Adidas trainers are pretty much the only shoes I can wear right now- I’ve definitely got the clumsiness that comes with a bump attached to your front (my newly bruised big toe can attest to this) Anything remotely heeled or booted is out of the question! Of course, I had to throw on a massive parka jacket on top of my outfit, so any effort to look cool is immediately squashed *sigh*

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I was excited last week that our Snuzpod arrived. It felt like progress! I’ve also now put an order in to print off a poster of this famous little lyric —->

…and I’ve also got a gold frame on order from Desenio to hang it in! My aim this week is to get the paint samples up and maybe organise/chuck out some of the clutter. I’ve also decided to buy some white storage boxes to hide the things we use but have no space for in store cupboards. My mission is to have a complete nursery by March so that I can spend the last few weeks of pregnancy stress free.

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The best part of this week has been finally feeling baby kicks! Thanks to having an anterior placed placenta, I was told I wouldn’t feel kicks until a bit later than most mums. I first felt a flutter in my 17th week but any twinges I felt after that were so muffled I wasn’t sure if it was a kick or just regular tummy rumbles. But this time, I can definitely say my belly is being used for karate practice. I even managed to catch a couple of glimpses of my stomach moving from it. Of course, the moment she kicks and I grab Robin’s hand to feel it too, she stops. And of course, it’s mostly in the evenings when I’m in my PJ’s that she wakes up and wants to go kung fu fighting.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_zigzag][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text][dropcap]J[/dropcap]anuary is well and truly here. The temperature has dropped, making it harder for me to want to head outside to run errands, but I feel like it’s going to be a productive week! I’ve got an afternoon of Doing Things in and around the City this week, I want to push forward nursery plans a little more, and the first birthday celebrations for this year by the weekend. I’m glad for this sudden burst of energy again as I’ve heard that the third trimester will be tiring and uncomfortable (you mean it hasn’t been so far?!) 

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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.

 

Nursery ideas & inspiration

[dropcap]H[/dropcap]itting both the ‘New Year, Fresh Page‘ feeling and then delving into my first nesting instincts of pregnancy has made me push for getting our spare room, I mean the nursery, ready for our Spring baby. I’m a whisper away from hitting the 6 month mark and at the moment, not only have we not done anything to prepare the room but I’ve been stashing the occasional new baby onesie into a spare handbag because there’s nowhere to put baby’s mini outfits! So, I did what I normally do when I need to streamline my ideas- I hit Pinterest. I actually found it a useful tool when we were renovating the flat enabling me to keep my visuals in one place. From colours to decor, to helping me in keeping with the look I had in mind, it helped loads with giving our home the same palette and style throughout. Also, it has been really satisfying pinning baby things ;)[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”18755″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1516883940512{border-top-width: 2px !important;border-right-width: 2px !important;border-bottom-width: 2px !important;border-left-width: 2px !important;padding-top: 90px !important;padding-right: 30px !important;padding-bottom: 100px !important;padding-left: 30px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !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;border-radius: 2px !important;}”]

I want tones of blush, grey and yellow- nothing overly girly or gender specific- but now that we know we are indeed having a girl, I admit I hit the Farrow and Ball website to buy sample pots of different pinks! The spare room at the moment is very neutral- silver grey carpet, white walls, with a black feature wall and a very cool black geometric ceiling light from Ikea. It’s basically the opposite of baby.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I turned to Farrow and Ball because I loved the finish from when I painted the doors in our flat. I’m also only painting accents rather than the whole room, and found that one tub of paint goes a long way without breaking the bank.

Calamine– a very pale pink and my first choice so far to repaint the black alcove.

Middleton Pink – a pastel pink that might be too girly and saccharine for my taste but I’d like to see and compare.

Cinder Rose– a wild card pick! If the pale tones are too subtle in the room, maybe this will pop instead.

Purbeck Stone– the same grey colour we’ve used throughout the flat and would compliment everything.

Citron– a golden yellow that I’m using as an accent colour reference. I like that it’s not too mustard toned or too in your face. A few decorative items in this colour would be enough to provide those pops of yellow I’d like.

I have a thing for polka dot bedding at the moment, and I’d like to find some for the crib- especially something like the black and white print that H&M came out with earlier in the year.

A sheepskin rug or two will soften the room up and for no particular reason other than ‘ooh, pretty‘ are gold star garlands and felt cloud mobiles. I’ve also got some brass animal hooks from Anthropologie that I’ve had for ages that could be put to use too.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1516883994879{padding-top: 100px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 100px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;}”]

I have always wanted baby animal prints for the nursery, especially ones from the Animal Print Shop- however, those babies are £££. So, I might get one or two small sized ones and on the main wall get a gold framed print of “Hold Me Closer Tiny Dancer” in a large size- maybe A0?

I’ve also always wanted a felt animal bust too. Okay, I really mean, I’ve always wanted a felt flamingo on the wall, because of course. There’s a few on Etsy so I’m confident I’ll find the one soon! I’m also in love with Land of Nod, a US based online shop that luckily ships to the UK. I think the pencil cushion and metallic star would look sweet in the baby’s crib.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”18763″ img_size=”full” css=”.vc_custom_1516884007582{padding-top: 0px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1514908643786{border-top-width: 2px !important;border-right-width: 2px !important;border-bottom-width: 2px !important;border-left-width: 2px !important;padding-top: 30px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;padding-left: 20px !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;border-radius: 2px !important;}”]That’s my ‘look’ and inspiration for the baby room, pretty much!

Animals, stars, and a quirky thing or two with soft textiles.

There’s a lot to do which I try to stay calm over- we’ve got to remove the day bed (my most urgent to do) replace the curtains (I hate the current ones, they were just a temporary measure over the summer) rehome some bits that were dumped in there (ahem, drying racks and sports bags) and start making it a baby room- a crib, a changing station, somewhere to put her clothes, and I’d like to track down a rocking chair to nurse in.

I think once I start painting areas, I’ll feel better about the situation. Just planning and prepping mood boards makes me feel a million times more productive already! I really want to make it baby ready so I can get mentally ready for baby’s arrival- important when you are prone to panic and anxiety attacks! (on that note, I need to update my pregnancy diaries!)

 

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Merry and Bright and Braxton Hicks

[dropcap]C[/dropcap]hristmas 2017, over and out. I hope yours was full of merriness and brightness and even if it wasn’t, that’s okay too. I like this inbetween period- that weird limbo when Christmas is over but you’re still at home alternating between the Quality Street and Celebration tubs. My Christmas Day was nice despite burning myself on the oven tray twice and risking a vomathon trying to ensure I ate a morsel each of Christmas dinner into my squashed stomach.Even though Christmas is great on the day, I think it’s the run up and this limbo period afterwards that I enjoy. The time spent with family, the fact that everyone kind of switches off from the rat race to wear paper hats all day over three kinds of pudding. Boxing Day was Christmas Day 2 with the whole family- although instead of a walk through the field and by the river like every year before, I was napping on my sister’s sofa because 1) Braxton Hicks decided that day was the day it wanted to shout hello and 2) it was raining heavily.

So pregnancy. I am so thankful we’re having a baby but man. Man. Pregnancy is hard. When you hear that before you’re pregnant, you’re just like okay sure. But no. I am grabbing you by the shoulders here and eyeballing you to say pregnancy is hard. My husband had to tie up my shoelaces the other day because I couldn’t bend down properly to do it myself. I mean, I can bend down, but suddenly I feel like I’m squeezing every organ and baby inside of me including my lungs and oh please just do it for me instead please?  Sneezing is a deadly game of is my pelvic floor ready for this or not? Your back hurts and you’re not sure why, walking 10 steps will have you breathing like a little hobgoblin, and you will no longer be able to blame your other half for using up all the loo roll because guess what, yes it’s you that’s the culprit now. And this is all after you’ve spent weeks wanting to throw up all day. I can’t believe my mother did this four times. FOUR. What a nutcase.

Everyone is rounding up their year, and it’s usually something I do too- but I don’t know, how do I sum up 2017? The beginning of big change? Everything we did or every trip we went on, always had an air of ‘is this it, the last of just us two?’ (at least for me anyway, I’m sure Robin would side eye)

But now next year two will become three at long last, and I have no doubt that life will be thrown upside down for a while; I am A-OK with that.

Happy New Year everyone x