Sunday, 25 January 2015

154. Sunday Summary

Hello lovelies.

Sunday's are a great time for reflecting. For many people - including myself - they're the quietest day of the week where we have the most time to look back over the last seven days and focus on how the week has been as a whole.

This week has been a pretty good one for me. I've maintained a pretty positive mindset all week and, in general, felt alright. I thought it would be fun to focus on a few specific areas of my life too...

100 Day Spending Ban - I embarked on yet another a spending ban at the start of this week and, you guessed it, it's a 100 day spending ban. For those of you who haven't read Monday's post, the spending ban includes any form of shopping (apart from the weekly food shop, of course), snacks on the go and, basically, any unnecessary spending. I think I've done fairly well this week; my only slip ups have been a couple of bottles of pop or juice whilst I've been at work, and some Lemongrass incense sticks as we'd ran out. No nail polish! No lipsticks! No books! It's a miracle. I'm really pleased with how I've done, having only spent about £3 on items that I could have done without. 

Pregnancy - I'm now well into my second trimester at 18 and 1/2 weeks (19 weeks as of next Tuesday) and overall it's been a steady week. I've continued to suffer with backache and some twinges in my lower abdomen (I'm putting them down to growing pains) as well as being a little more tired than usual, but I'm still feeling very positive about the whole thing and so thankful for all the support that I've received so far. 

Healthy Lifestyle - Although I haven't really done any exercise (apart from walking up the killer hill to work), I've enquired about Pregnancy Yoga this week so I'm hoping to start classes in a week or so, and S and I have said we will start swimming together once a week as of next week, so I think that's progress - as long as it actually materialises.

In terms of eating, I've enjoyed some really tasty, nutritious meals such as Quorn bolognese with quinoa instead of spaghetti, porridge with berries for breakfast, jacket potatoes and some tasty salads. As a rule I'd say I've been well behaved during the day but, come night time, the hunger pangs kick in and I crave sugar! I've been keeping track of my intake on MyFitnessPal and I've only gone over my calorie and fat goals once this week. 

Fun - It's been a quiet week on my social calendar as it's coming to the end of the month and money is tight to say the least, but I managed to catch up with a friend mid-week for a tasty lunch and a catch up at Wetherspoons, and on Friday I headed over to my mum and her boyfriends' place for (an early) Burns Night supper of haggis, neeps and tatties with my sister, brother and his girlfriend. It was a really fun night and the food was so, so good. On Saturday night, one of S's brothers and his girlfriend (who is also pregnant, but at 25 weeks!) came over for a night in; we watched trashy TV, ate pizza and munched away on sweets. It was perfect. 

Blogging - On Monday, I shared my 100 Day Spending Ban post (which I mentioned earlier in today's summary), on Wednesday I posted a recipe for one of my favourite comfort foods: Toad in the Hole and Friday's post was all about my Pinterest nursery inspiration

Next week is set to be even bigger, busier and better than this week so I can't wait!

Friday, 23 January 2015

153. Nursery Inspiration ft. Pinterest

Hello lovelies.

Although S and I intend to sleep with our baby in our bedroom until he/she is around 6 months old, I still can't help but get carried away looking at beautiful nurseries on Pinterest. I've accumulated a good few pins on my Nursery board and I wanted to share some of my favourites with you today!

I love the subtle nautical theme in this nursery. I think that it would be ideal for either a baby boy or girl (I'm really not into that whole pink is only for girls, blue is only for boys thing). The room looks so bright and airy and the cot is very similar to the one we purchased from Kiddicare recently. I love the idea of the rug on the floor as this would be great for to stimulate the baby as it looks like an interesting, soft texture. 

This cute shelving idea really jumped out at me when I spotted it during a Pinterest browse. I think it's a really fun way of disguising boring shelves and it would work in any room, no matter how big or small. I also think it would be fairly easy to recreate!

Although I'm not sure how expensive this would be to run (or whether it would interfere with a babies sleep), it definitely looks amazing and relatively simple. It gives the baby something to look at when its awake in the night or whilst he/she is being fed and just looks so pretty too. I may have to invest in a few packs of fairy lights to do this nearer the time. 

I think these fun postcards would be a fab way of brightening up a plain wall as well as creating something for the little one to look at and - when he/she is older - learn from. Again, it's super easy, as you would only need the cards, some pegs, some string and a way of hanging it all onto the wall. I really love this idea and think it's something I'll definitely do at some point.

Do you have any quirky ideas for decorating a nursery?
Or any great pins that you'd like to share?

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

152. Toad in the Hole Recipe

Hello lovelies.

If the weather is anything like it is here where you are then you'll be in the mood for comfort food. Wind, rain, snow and hail can dampen even the most optimistic of peoples' spirits and after a long, miserable January day back at work I'm always hankering for something easy, warm and filling for my dinner. 

To me, Toad in the Hole is a classic. My whole family always had smiles on their faces when we heard that we were having it for tea; who doesn't love sausages? And Yorkshire pudding? Together? Oh wow. And since moving in with S, we've enjoyed this delicious meal a few times, so I thought I'd share my recipe (which is a mixture of several that I've tried and tested) for anyone else out there who loves it - or who has never tried it before!

Ingredients (serves 3 people, or 2 with MASSIVE appetites)
6 sausages of your choice
125g plain flour
2 eggs 
125ml milk
125ml water
Salt & pepper
Oil (I prefer to use FryLight as there is so much fat in sausages already)

Pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees/gas mark 8
Oil a large, deep baking tray and place your sausages in, evenly spaced
Cook the sausages for around 15 minutes or until golden
Whilst cooking the sausages, mix together the rest of your ingredients in a bowl
Add a teaspoon (or two, depending on how spicy you like your food) of mustard and season with salt and pepper to taste
Once the sausages have turned golden, remove the tray from the oven and pour the batter mix in
(It should sizzle as you pour it in, just like it would with a Yorkshire pud)
Return the baking tray to the oven and cook for a further 20-30 minutes or until golden and risen
Serve with whatever you like! We always go for a mountain of veggies and either some mash or roasties and, of course, lashings of gravy!

Monday, 19 January 2015

151. 100 Day Spending Ban

Hello lovelies.

Anyone who knows me will know that by the middle of the month, every month, I am skint. I end up having to borrow money from my savings account just to be able to afford to get the bus or to go for a coffee with a friend (and quite often to buy some make-up or do a little bit of shopping on ASOS... oops!) which, in turn, means that the next month I'm in the same boat as part of my wages goes straight back into my savings to make up for the borrowed money. Only to be borrowed again in a few weeks. Not good.
With a baby on the way, an imminent house move requiring a huge deposit and an upcoming mini break - in the words of one supermarket giant - every penny counts. I can no longer justify working my way through hundreds of pounds in just a couple of weeks, or nipping to the shops and coming back £50 worse off when I only need to buy a bottle of water... its unattainable and unhealthy, not to mention unhelpful

This is why I'm taking part in a 100 day spending ban. Starting from tomorrow - Tuesday, 20th January - until April 29th. Or, to make it easier to remember, from tomorrow until the end of April, meaning that I can't spend a penny (not in the wee-wee sense) until May.
Here are the exceptions and the rules.

- Travel (to and from work or when visiting friends and family)
- Household bills and rent (all my direct debits and standing orders, etc, can continue)
- Socialising with friends/date nights (travel, food/drinks and entertainment are allowed)
- Points that I've accumulated on clubcards, stamp cards, etc can be used if necessary
- Gifts and birthday cards can be bought (or even better - made!)

- No shopping whatsoever other than the big food shop for the house
- I can only buy make-up when I've got none of that particular item left, e.g. foundation
- Never buy a quick lunch from the shop or a snack on the way home - it adds up!
- Hide credit card and do not use it at all
- Try to keep the cost down on social outings too; have lunch at Wetherspoons instead of a nice restaurant, get a pot of tea in Costa rather than an expensive hot chocolate, look for cheap cinema tickets and use websites like Groupon and Wowcher

I guess overall I really just want to curb my spending addiction. I spend far too much money in every aspect of my life, from food to clothes to make-up to meals out. I love spending money, I love buying things and I love having material goods surrounding me. This is a habit I want to break and that is what I'm hoping this challenge will help me to do.

Have you ever attempted a spending ban before?
If so, how did you get on?

If you're interested in taking part too, Kat has some great tips over at Tales of a Pale Face.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

150. What is it like being fat AND pregnant?

Being fat is never easy; clothes shopping becomes a pain, society bombards you with guilt-inducing media and comments on a daily basis, doctors tell you that many of your health problems could be fixed if you “lose a bit of weight,” you are judged as lazy, unmotivated, greedy and disgusting... I could go on all day.
So what is it like being fat and pregnant?
Photo credit:
When I found out I was pregnant, before I told anybody – including S – I was instantly racked with guilt and worry; I’m too fat to have a baby, I thought to myself. Whenever we, as a couple, had discussed starting a family I’d always said I wouldn’t want to start ‘trying’ until I was a “healthy weight” as I was all too aware that being overweight adds extra risk to the pregnancy, plus I wanted to be able to show off my growing bump without worrying that people might just think I was getting fatter, or that rather than having a beautiful, rounded, protruding bump, my baby bump would simply merge into my pre-existing belly and just look like I was carrying far too much weight. Kind of sad, right? Telling yourself that you can’t have a baby until you’re a desirable, “healthy” size...
I began to research into the risks of being overweight during pregnancy and, quite frankly, scared myself silly. Increased risk of miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, having a large baby, diabetes, the baby being overweight in later life; the lists were endless and they terrified me. For weeks, I had to keep talking myself out of saying “no, we can’t have this baby” – and it almost brings me to tears to think that I thought like that purely because I thought I was too fat to have a baby. 
I made an appointment to see a midwife when I was around 8 weeks pregnant and, despite being incredibly supportive, she again went through all the 'problems' with being overweight during pregnancy and, after I was weighed and my height measured, I was classified as obese and therefore: high risk.
Being high risk means that not only can I not give birth in my local hospital or at home but I have to have specialist consultants with me during the birth, I need extra scans and I am limited in terms of my birthing options. It also sounds terrible, and makes me feel even more nervous about not only the babies health, but mine too. 
However, even with all these odds stacked against me, I've been so lucky so far as nothing has gone wrong. Although I'm only 17 weeks gone and, therefore, still in the early stages I feel so grateful that so far I've not been tested positive for, or suffered from, any of the risks that the midwife and doctor was so worried about. My blood pressure has remained steady and healthy, I haven't piled on the pounds (in fact, I still weigh exactly the same as I did over 3 months ago) and, in general, I feel good. I just hope that it stays like this.
On the other hand, I've started to suffer from stretchmarks. I've had stretchmarks ever since I hit puberty about ten years ago, first appearing on my inner thighs then my breasts and hips as I grew, later on as I gained weight a few of them appeared on my stomach and even faint ones on my upper arms, but when I noticed a few new marks on my stomach a couple of days ago, I almost cried (but then felt ridiculous and almost selfish for doing so.)
I'm so relieved that this is the only issue I've had so far. I'm trying not to let the cosmetic 'imperfections' bother me and focus on mine and the babies health, and I'll keep you all update throughout my pregnancy. I have my 20 week scan in just under three weeks so I'll be sharing a little bit more with you then!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

149. My 2015 Goals & Resolutions

Hello lovelies.

I'm a little late to the 2015 party but hello, welcome, enjoy! Today I'm going to share my 2015 goals and resolutions - better late than never, right? 

Some are very common resolutions that many people will share, whilst others are a bit more specific. If you've read my previous post about my big announcement you'll understand why there aren't any expensive or particularly adventurous/risky goals for this year as I'm going to be a little bit preoccupied...

Learn to drive
This has been on my New Years Resolution list for, hmm, 5 years now? This year I'm determined to fulfill it. My mum has promised me her car (as she is getting a new one next month) if I pass, and having an extra addition to our family has made me desperate to have a car so that we can take trips to the beach, or even just to make getting around that little bit easier. I start my driving lessons again next week and hope to be passed before my bump begins to get in the way!

Eat healthier
As I'm pregnant, I'm obviously not aiming to lose weight currently so I didn't want that to be my goal. I'd simply like to eat and live in a healthier way both for myself and for the baby. I'm aiming to do this by simply cutting out the crap - takeaways, chocolate, general junk. I've ditched the alcohol of course so my diet and portion size, as well as upping my exercise regime, are my next goals. I was really inspired by the beautiful Georgina's #StellaShapeUp challenge, which you can read about here.

Always remove make-up before bed
I'm so bad at this. I'd say I sleep with my make-up on every other night; sometimes I just can't be bothered, sometimes I can't find my face wipes or Micellar water and sometimes I just forget. My skin has been pretty temperamental lately (probably due to all my hormones) so I need to try and avoid any more breakouts, and I think that taking my make-up off before bed will aid this. 

Don't waste money
I'm terrible for nipping out on my lunch break to browse the shops and coming back half an hour later having spent £30 on stuff that I just did. not. need. Namely nail polish, lipsticks, bottles of fizzy drinks, random items of clothing and cookbooks. S and I are saving like mad at the moment for our upcoming house move and our new arrival, so every penny counts. I'm hoping to combat this bad habit by avoiding the shops on my break and prioritising my money better.

Do more fun stuff
Ask anyone, I constantly complain of being 'bored' or having nothing to do. Just check my Twitter feed for the proof. I live in a relatively small town in a rural area and don't drive so my options are - at first glance - limited, but I know that with a bit of imagination and some forward planning I can find new things to do. I've already come up with a list of hobbies that I'd love to develop so I'll be looking into them and sharing my findings with you over the next couple of weeks.

Complain less
This is pretty self explanatory. I complain a lot. I always seem to find something negative in everything and this is not only a bad habit but a personality trait that I want to do away with. I feel so bad for S and everyday I'm moaning about one thing or another, no matter how trivial, so I'm going to try to bite my tongue and think of something positive or grateful to say rather than something critical and negative.

Take better care of myself
I mean this in both a physical and emotional sense. As mentioned earlier, I want to improve my health and my skin, have more fun and be less negative - all of these things, plus extras such as spending more time with friends and family, taking time out to just relax and pamper myself and doing what I want, will help towards a feeling of happiness and general well-being.

Read all the books on my to read shelf
Before buying any more books, I'd like to get through to 30 or so books that I've accumulated over the last couple of years. I'm an avid reader anyway and I'm always part way through a book, but I tend to pick up new books or borrow them from friends before looking at the books I already have, so I aim to work my way through (and probably review many of) the books on my shelves this year.

Cook or bake 52 new recipes
Have you ever seen the film Julie & Julia, starring Meryl Streep? It's about a young woman who feels bored and trapped in the monotony of her life; inspired by her favourite cook - Julia Childs - she takes on the challenge of cooking her way through one of Julia's cookbooks, and blogging about it, in just a year. It inspired me to try some new recipes this year. I love cooking and baking so this one should be fun as well as a challenge. 52 recipes obviously works out as one a week and I'll aim to share them with you on here - so far I've not tried anything new but I'm hoping to cook up a storm next week with one of Jamie Oliver's recipes.

Go on holiday
Whether it's a weekend away before the baby arrives, a mid-week break with the baby in tow or a night away in a fancy hotel as a little break from sleep-interrupted nights whilst the baby stays with family, I think it's important that S and I pamper ourselves a little bit this year as it's going to be a busy one. We had an amazing holiday last year and a fun one the year before, so I think I'd be a bit gutted if we didn't get one this year too. 

What did you think of my resolutions?
Are any of them the same as yours?

If you've written a post about your goals and resolutions for 2015, please let me know as I'd love to read them.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

148. OnlyBecci's BIG Announcement!

Hello lovelies.

Long time no see, right? Once again, my apologies as life - as it so often does - got in the way. I've been adapting to a new job (when I say new, I mean I started four months ago), a new home (as mentioned in my previous post) and, basically, I've been pretty busy which is always good. 

As you may have guessed from the oh-so-subtle title of this post; I have a big announcement to make.

Yep, that's right - I've got a little one on the way! 

We found out almost three months ago that we were expecting and, to be honest, both S and I are still adjusting to the fact even now at 16 weeks pregnant. It was the hardest secret to keep as we chose not to even tell our families until we reached the 12 week mark as I was so worried that the worst case scenario might just become a reality.

Although this little bean was a total surprise we're over the moon and I can't wait for June 23rd to roll around so that we can meet the little one in person.

I'm so grateful to be able to say that it's been pretty plain sailing so far; I had a lot of morning sickness in the first 12 weeks but, other than that, everything else has been bearable. I'm yet to gain any weight but, as I'm overweight to begin with, I think this is probably a good thing and the midwives have shown no concern yet. 

So far we have only told family and close friends (even my work place don't know just yet but I'm planning on telling them this week or next) and they've all (bar the odd one) been incredibly supportive and helpful. They understand that the baby was unplanned but that we're in a stable relationship, we live together and are able to financially support ourselves, so - in my mind - it's a pretty good basis.

I've been keeping a pregnancy journal and I'm keen to introduce parts of that to the blog as I feel it would be nice to share, to some degree, my pregnancy journey and to be able to look back and reflect upon what I've written on here at a later date.

We're due our 20 week scan in the first week of February so I'll share some more photographs with you then, but for now I'll love you and leave you.