This time, six months ago…

…I put on a pretty dress, said ‘I do’ to that handsome chap Neil and then took my shoes off and danced around our favourite pub until my feet were sore.

A couple of months later, we were asked to answer a few of questions about having a wedding in Nottingham, so I sent off a few pics, answered the questions and promptly forgot all about it.

…until today, when a colleague mentioned she’d spotted me in a mag whilst she was getting her hair done at the weekend. Turns out another friend had seen it as well, and assumed I knew all about it (I didn’t). What I was expecting was a thumbnail picture and a little blurb in a grubby corner of a weekday issue of the Evening Post. What we got was a double page spread in a wedding supplement. So, if you’re feeling nosy, here’s the double page spread courtesy of the lovely Riah at the Evening Post (click to enlarge):

 

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22 weeks: pillow forts, dog walks, maternity leggings and a box of french fancies

On pregnancy moans – This week, I’ve mostly been moaning about:

  • Needing a new back and hips. These ones are broken. Pass me the WD40 and for god’s sake, let me get a comfortable night’s sleep. In a bid to find a way to sleep through the night without doing a lot of swears, I’ve actually folded a double winter duvet in half and put it on top of my half of the mattress. Then I make what can only be described as a PILLOW FORT down the middle of the bed and sleep on my side/front or side/back pressed against that. I look COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS, like some Princess and the Pea wannabe. It’s incredibly comfy, but I STILL wake up feeling like a robot left out in the rain for too long.
  • Whilst I’m on the subject of sleep, can someone please tell my body clock and brain that it’s not time to be all alert and full of life after my first of many night-time trips for a wee? On a typical night, this involves being WIDE awake when I wake up around 1:30am, starving hungry at 2am, downstairs eating cereal and drinking milk at 2:30am and eventually back to sleep at 3am. By 7am I am usually more grumpy than I would care to admit. On the plus side, two breakfasts 🙂

On dog sitting – When I’ve not been busy moaning, we’ve been dog sitting my family’s pooch whilst they’re off sunning themselves. The last time we had him was 3 months ago, when I was 10 weeks pregnant and spent a long time curled up under a blanket with him on the sofa.  This time round, he’s getting on with our pussy cat a lot better (and by that I mean he’s not tried to eat her. yet. this week), but this might be because he’s got bigger fish to fry with the stags at the local park in rutting season. He has one of those personality disorders where he thinks he’s a lot bigger than he really is. And when I say bigger, I mean BIGGER. Like taking-on-a-stag-and-thinking-he’s-going-to-win size. (He totally wouldn’t win).

My lovely friend Stef was up from London, so her, me and Bec did some good dog walking at the weekend. Four miles is a lot further and a lot more hard work than I remember it being. I used to run 3 miles and not really think much off it, heck, once I ran 13.2 miles and lived to walk as far as the pub afterwards.

In fitter days, just before running the Great North Run in 2010. Neil had run 125 from Manchester to Newcastle prior to running the GNR with me, but that is officially another story.

My friend Bec has recently joined the 21st century and invested in an iPhone. She’s also discovered Instagram and has taken to Instagram-ing everything she does. I blatantly stole these pictures she took on our walk, largely because I was too busy huffing and trying to form sentences to bother taking any pictures.

One of the offending stags. Just out of shot, the Jack Russell makes semi-menacing noises and runs in the stag’s general direction.

The lake and house looking all autumnal.

On being a yoga bore – Also this week, I ate my own body weight (which is a lot more than it once was) in food at Yo! Sushi and got fixed by my wonderful yoga teacher once again. Seriously, if you’re pregnant, go find a prenatal yoga class somewhere near you. I don’t care if you like yoga or not, just go and do it. I didn’t even realise how sore my bones were until I left an hour and a half later feeling a foot taller and a stone lighter. Plus, someone covers you in a blanket and you ‘relax’ (sleep) on the floor for 15 minutes at the end. What more could you want?

Actually, I can’t vouch for the other people in the class doing much actual sleeping, I woke myself up with a snore on 3 occasions in 15 minutes, so chances are I kept them awake too.

This week, my yoga teacher taught me a great move which sorted my hips and back out completely. She called it Stirring the Porridge (click the link for a gif of how to do it). Try it now! OK, maybe don’t try it now if you’re at work. Or on the bus. Or anywhere in public really, but definitely try it.

On buying presents…for me – That brings me nicely up to today. After my ebay bargain hunting of a few weeks ago, I since discovered (through my lack of understanding about how maternity clothes work) that I’d bought some lovely stuff that will look great on me in 3 months time, but now looks about as glamorous as a sack of spuds. After realising I’d worn the same 3 dresses on rotation every day for about 3 weeks, I delved in to ebay once more in a bid to buy some empire line stuff that doesn’t make me look like I’m wearing a Muumuu. Two dresses and £12 later, I’m a happy lady.

My new PJs. Just wish I looked like this in them.

AND whilst I was killing time before Book Club tonight, I bought some PJs with some M&S vouchers we got for our wedding (happy wedding present, Neil! It’s what you always wanted!). The top has a boob-scoop and is really comfy, if nowhere near as supportive as the more expensive versions from Bravissimo. The bottoms are long enough in the leg for once, but have a fake drawstring waist?! Very annoying, but so soft and comfy, I’ve almost forgiven them. Yes, I put them on within 5 minutes of getting back in the house, what on earth do you take me for?

OK, so whilst I’m admitting all my recent purchases, I might as well come clean about heading back to H&M for another pair of maternity leggings. I bought the first pair in desperation one lunchtime as my other leggings needed constant hitching to keep in place. Ladies, constant legging-hitching in the workplace is SO not a good look. Something HAD to be done. These H&M badboys don’t sag around the knees, and they’re elasticated around the top of the waistband, so they don’t fall down. The holy grail of maternity leggings in my book, and much cheaper than most at £8.

Shall I tell you what I’ve NOT done this week? I’ve not put the cot up like I said I would. I’ve definitely not moved the double bed in to the box room, taken a bump photo or done any of the other things I promised myself I would. I HAVE eaten an entire box of Mr Kipling’s Fiendish Fancies and published my blog on time for once, so not quite a complete failure. 

21 weeks: Beer festivals, house warmings, and the joys of working full time

On beer festivals and housewarmings – As if flying a plane wasn’t enough, 13 of our nearest and dearest descended on our little house for the weekend from all over the country to attend Nottingham’s annal Robin Hood Beer Festival at Nottingham Castle. Beer festivals don’t sound much fun when you don’t get to sample the beer, but thankfully, the paella, hog roast and carrot cake made up for the lack of ale.

Robin Hood Beer Festival – we made a point of sitting in the least photogenic spot in the whole Castle to have this photo taken

It was a bloody good job I’d got my nest on the week before, as every room in the house was filled with air mattresses and sleeping bags. Quite how we fit everyone in, I’m not sure. I was a bit worried about staying awake long enough to enjoy the evening, but it soon became apparent that sleep wasn’t really on the cards as:

  • Our house is apparently not sound proof. At all.
  • Piano playing at 3am is fun if you’re drunk, not so much if you’re sober
  • Sod’s law dictates that after going to sleep at 3am, I will wake up bright as a button and starving hungry at 7am

After a few weeks averaging 10 hours sleep a night, four hours came as a bit of a shock to the system (I’ve had longer naps in the middle of the afternoon), but I was surprisingly alert for the rest of the day – maybe in preparation for getting no sleep once the baby is here?

This weekend was also the first time a lot of our friends had seen the new pad, and in customary fashion, we descended on Wollaton Park (aka Wayne Manor if you’re not from round these parts) to shake off the cobwebs and enjoy the sunshine.

Nursing sore heads (them) and tired eyes (me) the following morning at Wollaton Hall

On the joys of working full time – Usually, I work 3 days a week in one job, and 2 days a week from home at another. After a bit of a switch around, I’m now going to be working 5 days a week in one job, and lunchbreaks/evenings/weekends as needed on the other. Thankfully, my working from home boss is my husband, and my 5 day a week boss has been kind enough to let me work from home one day a week, which helps soften the blow a little. This week is my first week working 5 days, and so far, so good. I can see as I get fatter and closer to February, this might get a little more difficult, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

On flu jabs – I don’t generally like to think of myself as a squeamish person, but I don’t like needles. It’s not the needles themselves, more the sensation of the fluid going in or out of your arm that I take offence to. I’ve given blood once. I went with my husband. He was the one proudly squeezing his bag of blood, commenting on how cool it was. I was the one with tears running down my face and mindlessly shoving Penguin bars in to my mouth. Thanks to travelling to high risk Malaria areas, and the whole ‘being pregnant’ thing, I don’t have to go back in a while which is FINE WITH ME. Anyway, I digress. I had my flu jab this week. As the ‘sticking needles in your arm’ thing goes, it was generally quite acceptable. HOWEVER, I was not a fan of the bruise it left me with, for such a diddly needle. Not only can I now not sleep on my back, or my belly, for the last few days, I’ve been relegated to sleeping on my right side only, which my hips DO NOT LIKE. Grumble grumble grumble (better than getting flu though).

Pre natal yoga – I actually got my (increasingly wobbly) arse in to gear and went to my first pre natal yoga session. It was BLOODY LOVELY. I felt like someone took me apart and put me back together the way I was meant to be.

Enjoying the ride

Us pregnant women, we could make moaning an Olympic sport. Granted, this is largely to do with having something new and interesting to moan about on a daily basis, you just never get bored! Recently, for instance, I seem to have developed very soft, very downy blonde hairs all over my stomach. I can’t see that it serves a particular purpose, my jumper is more effective at keeping me warm, so I’m just going to go ahead and assume it’s one of those things that the pregnancy gods send us to keep us on our toes. Like nosebleeds. And sniffer-dog-like sense of smell. And nipples that change colour. Need I continue?

Recently, I seem to spend so much of my time frantically researching or moaning about my latest pregnancy woe that I don’t really stop to think about how bloody lucky we’ve been. We got pregnant the first month we stopped trying not to get pregnant, and have, so far had a pretty uneventful and (dare I say it) textbook pregnancy.  It’s even more awesome now I can feel the jabs kicks and squirms in my belly as a gentle reminder that it’s not just me chilling out in front of ‘Take Me Out: The Gossip’, but a whole other person too (who probably has more high-brow taste in television programmes, but hey). There are lots of couples who would probably give their life’s savings and a whole lot more to be in the situation we’re in, and sometimes, I think I forget that.

Pregnancy, and particularly your first pregnancy, is such a time of unknowns and worry, but that in itself is probably to stand us in good stead for a lifetime of worry once the baby is born. With your first, there’s so much you don’t know, and so much conflicting information, another source of anxiety, especially when for the first time in your life, your decision on whether or not to eat that delicious, juicy rare steak doesn’t only take your feelings and well-being in to concern. There’s also so much BIG STUFF to sort out which you’ve probably not got round to getting your head or your arse in gear for, such as:

  • Do you want the tests they offer, and if you do and you don’t get the results you want, what will you do then?
  • How will you both cope financially with one person out of work?
  • How do you feel about one of your’s career taking a backwards step whilst you raise some babies?
  • How will having a baby affect your relationship with one another, and how will you cope?
  • How can you get the house, your lives and your brains ready for impending parenthood?

I can totally see how second time around, pregnancy would be easier in one respect, and more difficult in another. You’ve been there and done it all before, and by that point, you’ve even probably read the childrearing books you were meant to read too. You don’t really care how many grams the foetus weighs this week, mostly because you’ve got OTHER SHIT TO DO, like another child to look after, and you know that the baby will come out when it’s good, ready and fully formed.

So I am hereby putting down the pregnancy books, and am making a vow to stop and smell the roses with my new-found nasal superpowers. I’m halfway through this pregnancy already, and before I know it, little Baby R will be a) not so little anymore and b) 15 years old and hating my guts. So, if you hear me moaning, kindly point me back in the direction of this blog post, and tell me to get over myself*.

 

*depending on my mood and the size of my bottom at the time, doing this may result in being forcibly sat on.

20 weeks: pregnancy hormones, hand-me-downs, nesting and flying lessons

On unstable pregnancy hormones – Every Friday morning, a little box pops up on my phone to tell me that I’m at the start of another week of my pregnancy. This Friday started a bit earlier than usual, with a 5am dash up the motorway to a client meeting in Manchester. When we got out of the meeting, I found out that my very very pregnant friend Jen had a beautiful baby boy in the night called Archie. I told my husband the good news and then promptly burst into tears. I knew how daft it was, but I entirely couldn’t control it. It took my poor husband several minutes and a lot of questioning to work out that:

  • I wasn’t sad
  • I wasn’t mad at him
  • It was nothing he’d done
  • The miracle of birth is a truly wondrous thing

Poor, poor man.

on hand-me-downs – The rest of the weekend was spent up north, chilling out with my husband’s family, which is great as we don’t get to see them nearly enough. We’re lucky enough to have 4 nieces and nephews between 1-6 years old who are a joy to be around. There’s also the added benefit of being on the receiving end of hand-me-downs. I’ve got swaddle blankets, swaddle pods, inflatable play donuts (I have no idea if I’m using the right words for this stuff, can you tell?), changing trays that sit on top of the cot, nappies, Johnson & Johnson baby stuff, receiving blankets and a Moses basket, bouncy chair thing and playmat on the way.

On getting our nest on – On Sunday, our nesting instinct finally kicked in and we cleared the guest room and box room in their entirety. It was only when we cleared the boxes out of the box room we realised that it’s actually big enough for a double bed, which means we have a lot more room to play with (as in, I can buy more baby stuff) than we originally thought.

Do you know what? Baby stuff costs a bomb. I remember the first time I browsed the John Lewis buggy section and saw the price of travel systems. I felt dizzy and had to have a little sit down. £900 for a glorified buggy and car seat? That is a WHOLE lot of money.

I decided fairly early on that I wasn’t bothered about having the newest or swankiest babygear. Cots definitely fall in to that category. They’re made of wood. How does it possibly matter whether they are new or second hand? How can I possibly justify spending £200 on a new oak cot-which-doubles-up-as-a-boat-which-doubles-up-as-a-freaking-spacerocket? Unsurprisingly, eBay came to the rescue. A quick search for ‘cot’ according to closest to where we live and we found this bad boy. A couple of clicks later, it was ours for £40, and even better, the current owners live just around the corner.

Even better than that, it is made of 7 bits of wood, which means no screws, no flatpacking and allegedly, one person can put it together in 5 minutes. I’ll test this theory next week when we put it up.

On my husband’s birthday  – I very rarely make grand romantic gestures, and when they do, they involve one of three things:

  • food
  • beer
  • something entirely practical and completely unromantic (“I know said you could do with a stapler, so happy birthday!”)

So, seeing as it looks like this is his last birthday before we enter in to the world of babies’n’snuff, I decided to go all out and get him something I know he’s wanted for years and years.

A flying lesson.

This plane was about the size and the age of an original mini

Husband getting his plane on

His view from the plane. If you look closely, you might just see me having a nap in the car park.

After the lesson, we mooched around the Coventry air museum (he loved it, me – not so much), came home to do some DIY and then had a take away. We are getting OLD, yo.

 

19 Weeks: Anatomy scan, Jon Ronson and cake club

Anatomy Scan Pic

This week, we had our anatomy scan. The pictures never do the whole experience justice, but we got a good 20 minutes of looking around the baby to make sure everything was OK, and even got to see the heart beating blood around the different areas of the heart, flashing in blue and red. Everything looks good, and the little one is measuring right on track or slightly above, even with the new dates we’ve been given.

For some reason, since the scan, things have got a bit more real for me. I’m not really interested in reading my pregnancy books any more, I’m more about the baby books. My ebay saved searches for maternity clothes have been replaced with internet research on buggies and the benefits of baby-led weaning. Basically, I’ve finally got used to the idea of being pregnant, and I’m just about getting used to the idea that there’s going to be an ACTUAL BABY AT THE END OF THIS.

Also, that’s it for scans. The next time we see baby R’s face is probably going to be when it’s born and stuff. Weird. Pre-pregnancy, I wondered why people had those weird 4D baby scans when they would meet their child in the flesh in a few weeks time. THEN I remember being around 8 weeks pregnant, and counting the minutes, hours and days until the 12 week scan, thinking ‘I get it now’. The distance between finding out you’re pregnant and getting your first scan is a lifetime. The distance between your 20 week scan and meeting your newborn is considerably longer. Thing is, I can feel the little one doing flips in my tummy every day, and I’m learning what makes it dance (lying down, cup of tea resting on my belly, anything tasty, husband’s head being anywhere near my belly), and suddenly, I don’t feel the need to see a black and white screen again. I’m getting to know the little wriggler’s personality already, and I’m quite looking forward to seeing it’s face for the first time when it’s in my arms, rather than all smushed up on a 4D scan. But that’s how I feel this week. Ask me again in 10 weeks when I’m climbing the walls and doing a pregnancy-crazy, demanding a 4D scan to go with my Nandos.

On getting my belly on – This week, I feel like I might have finally had a growth spurt in the bump department. Things are feeling a little more rounded, and lots of my clothes have finally started to look daft. I can feel a spring clean of my wardrobe going on, waving goodbye to ‘thin’ clothes and summer clothes until next year.

19 week bump

bit different than two weeks ago, yes?

On Jon Ronson – In non-baby related news, Ronson was in town this week to discuss his new book. Husband is very particular about the books he reads, and there are very few that absorb him completely – JR is right up there with his favourites, so we bought tickets and went along with our friend Kerry (baking blogger extraordinaire) and her partner Lee.

Jon Ronson at Broadway Cinema Nottingham

His latest book Lost At Sea is out now. If you haven’t read it already, I’d also consider sticking The Psychopath Test on your ‘To Read’ list. I’m categorically rubbish at book reviews, so I’ll let amazon do the hard work.

On cake club – I help run a cake club in Nottingham. The basic principal is: once a month, we all bake a cake, then we get together and eat all the cake, whilst raising a bit of money for charity. Over the past year or so, we’ve raised around £2,500 for various charities, and the size of my bottom has increased due to the number of cakes consumed. September’s event was held upstairs at a restaurant in Nottingham, and was sold out with 35 attendees and a whole load of cake. Here’s a photo one of the other organisers took – lookit all those tasty tasty calories.

September’s Cake Club Fothergill’s Nottingham (image courtesy of @cakeclubnotts)