Tuesday, 31 March 2015

174. 28 Week Pregnancy Update

Hello lovelies.

Today I am officially 28 weeks pregnant, which also means I'm now into my third and final trimester, which is seriously scary stuff. From now on, pregnancy should get a bit more intense as the baby grows larger, takes more from me and prepares to make her arrival, so I'm trying my hardest to enjoy the next few weeks as much as I can before discomfort and tiredness becomes a constant occurrence.
So, how do I feel?

Compared to my last update, I feel awful but I know that, in the grand scheme of things, I'm still pretty lucky to feel as good as I do and I know that in a couple of months time I'll regret complaining at just 28 weeks pregnant.

I've been having bouts of dizziness and feeling light headed in the mornings which I'm putting down to the long break without food or water, and my energy levels have definitely begun to deplete - I'm ready for bed by 10pm most nights and even went to bed at 9.30pm on Saturday!

As far as mood and emotions are concerned, I feel pretty stable. I haven't been teary or any more tetchy (irritable) than usual, which I'm sure S is grateful for as you hear some real horror stories of just how grumpy some women get when their pregnant, although I'm sure I'll reach that stage at some point too.

My backache has eased a lot, which I think is down to a change of chair at work, but I'm beginning to suffer from achy ribs, especially first thing in the morning and late in the evening. Ouch. 

How do I look?

I've been gaining at a rate of 1lb a week for the last 4 weeks, after almost 6 months without gaining a single pound, so I'm now 5lbs over my start weight. Of course this means that my BMI has increased but not enough for me to have to go back to see a consultant or get an extra scan, although my BMI will be recalculated again at a later date, and we will have to go from there. 
My bump has popped out a lot beneath my bust now so it is beginning to look a lot more like a pregnancy belly, rather than someone whose just eaten too many chips. 

My skin seems fairly clear and feels lovely and smooth but I have had some new stretchmarks popping up on my stomach - mainly around my belly button, which is a bit of a pain but, to be honest, there's a little person in there so I can't expect my skin not to be stretching! Stretchmarks will fade after a while anyway.

Are we prepared yet?

If you read my Nursery post, you'll have seen that S put the babies cot bed together a few weeks ago, so that now takes pride of place in what was our spare bedroom. The moses basket is assembled in our bedroom and we've managed to accumulate most of what we need - right down to the nappies! - so it's really just clothes and few little bits and pieces that we still need to buy, which we will aim to get done in the next few weeks. 
It's finally beginning to sink in that I'll be leaving work in just over 7 weeks. I've got my rotas up until the start of May and it's crazy to think that, once these next four weeks are done, I won't even have another full month to work. I'm really looking forwards to getting a couple of weeks to myself before the baby arrives, although I'm sure that by then I'll just be praying for the weeks to fly by!


I have the whooping cough vaccination in a fortnight and my antenatal classes will have started by the time I write my 32 week update. I sent off my application for Maternity Allowance, as I haven't been with my current employer for long enough to be paid through them, last week and today I've been tested for anaemia - I'll get my results back tomorrow. Eek! 

Related Posts This Month:

Friday, 27 March 2015

173. Film Review - Still Alice

When I saw that the critically acclaimed Still Alice was showing at my local cinema, I knew that I had to go so me and my Mum headed down to see it last night. I'd been wanting to watch it for a while as I felt that the story line was very different and interesting and sounded just my cup of tea. 

Still Alice tells the story of Alice Howland, a linguistics professor, who discovers at the age of 50 that she has early onset Alzheimer's when she begins to forget words and gets lost on a run around her local area. Worrying that she has a brain tumour, she visits a neurologist where she is diagnosed, after several tests. 

This is an incredibly moving story of a woman, still in her prime with a fantastic career and a beautiful family, coming to terms with such devastating news and it is approached so sensitively and respectfully. The moment when Alice tells her family the news really made a lump in my throat as Julianne Moore's performance was just so believable. The fact that Alice apologises to her family for having this condition, which can be passed on genetically, is heartbreaking and made me really empathise for the character even more as it showed that she cared more for her family and their health, than her own.
Watching Alice deteriorate - at times, incredibly quickly - was pretty hard to watch and the whole cinema remained practically silent, as if holding their breath to see what happened next, throughout the entire film. 

I loved how realistic the film was. As strong as Alice tries to be by carrying on with her career and daily life, trying to prevent further memory loss by testing herself daily, I'm pleased that it was demonstrated that at some point Alice did have to admit defeat. She wasn't portrayed as a tragic hero, she was portrayed as a normal woman, thrown into an unfair and upsetting, but real, situation.

Without giving away too much of the story, Still Alice is a very sad film but created in the most beautiful way. The acting is top notch, in particular from Julianne Moore and Kristen Stewart - who plays Alice's youngest daughter, Lydia - and the film is easy to follow, whilst still being very informative and insightful into the delicate matter of Alzheimer's disease. 
The only thing that I struggled with was, at times, relating to the characters in the film. They live a very affluent lifestyle, the characters have high-flying careers and are all beautiful, athletic and intelligent. The relationships demonstrated between characters, however, were easy to relate to as were the emotions and topics that were covered.

All in all, I really enjoyed Still Alice. It's not a particularly fast paced film and its definitely not an action-packed epic, but it's a very moving, insightful and delicate account of one woman, and one families', struggle with the devastation that is Alzheimer's disease.

Monday, 23 March 2015

172. Telling Your Workplace That You're Pregnant

Announcing my pregnancy to my boss was one of the most nerve-wracking things I've ever had to do. Much like handing in my notice in my previous job, I put it off for weeks as I had no idea how the people in question would react. 

At around 17 weeks pregnant, I decided that it was about time I bit the bullet and told my boss. I didn't want to string it out, I didn't want the news to somehow makes it way to work from a close friend or family member, and I - in all honesty - didn't know how much longer I'd be able to keep my growing bump a secret for. 

Prior to announcing my news, I scoured the internet for weeks in advance, looking for advice and tips, checking out my rights, researching maternity pay, etc, and I found this so helpful - as well as putting my mind at ease, I also felt much more informed. 

I've compiled a list, from my experience, of things to consider when you're preparing to tell your workplace that you're expecting.

Things To Consider:

- It's important to tell your boss that you're pregnant before you tell all your friends and acquaintances, especially if you work for a small company or somewhere close to home, as it would be awful and look very unprofessional on your part if your boss heard your news from someone other than yourself. 

Legally, you must tell your employer no later than 15 weeks before your baby is due. It's worth taking into account the fact that your employer may have to find suitable cover for you, etc, so try to consider that when choosing when to tell them as they may appreciate being given more notice but don't let anyone push you into telling them before you feel you want to.

- Think about what you want to do after the baby is born. Although you don't have to give a definite answer when you go on your maternity leave, and even if you do - you can change your mind, it's worth thinking about whether you plan to return to work after your baby is born and, if so, when as your boss may be keen to get an idea of how long you're planning to stay away for. If you're entitled to maternity pay from work, chances are you can take up to 12 months maternity leave, although this can vary in each individual case.

- Do it professionally. Tell your boss or supervisor before your tell your work colleagues, make an appointment to speak to the person you're going to tell first in private, don't send an email or tell them the news over the phone - unless that is the only way of contacting your boss. I asked my boss a couple of days in advance if I could meet with her briefly on said day but didn't tell her what it was about. When that day came we went to her office, privately, and I told her my news and intentions. 

- If you have a physical or stressful job, it may be worth telling your boss sooner. If you know that a lot of changes will need to be made in your workplace and for your job role, then speak up. You don't want to be adding any unnecessary risk or stress to a period that is hard enough already.

- Know your rights. I did a lot of research before I told my boss, so I knew that I couldn't be dismissed but I also knew that I wasn't eligible for maternity pay as I hadn't been employed there for long enough, and I felt pretty clued up and confident discussing my maternity leave with my boss. You shouldn't be made to feel uncomfortable in anyway by your colleagues and your employer should take any necessary measures to ensure your risk of harm is minimised whilst you're at work too, so if there's anything that you think will become a struggle as your pregnancy progresses - tell your boss.

- Do you want to tell your colleagues the news yourself? If so, make sure that your boss knows this. My boss said that she wouldn't tell anyone and that she'd leave it up to me to tell people when I was ready, and I really appreciated this. It meant that I could tell people in my own time and, also, prioritise who I told first. 

Have you ever had to tell your workplace you're leaving to have a baby?
If so, do you have any advice for my readers?

After writing this blog post (whilst looking for an image to use for the post), I found this really interesting article from The Telegraph about breaking the news to your employer. I haven't taken any of my advice from the article, but it has some brilliant points and is worth a read.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

171. Lush: Ultraviolet, Love Lettuce and Shine So Bright

Every once in a while I like to have a little splurge in Lush. Their products are the ultimate pick me up and I feel that using them is an experience in itself. At the start of the month I decided to treat myself to a few new products; the Ultraviolet bubble bar, the Love Lettuce face mask and the Shine So Bright hair balm. Here are my thoughts...
I chose the Ultraviolet bubble bar mainly because of it's funky design, and the fact that it looked a pretty hefty size for the price too! I managed to get a good three bubble baths out of Ultraviolet but I'm sure that, if I'd been a little more cautious, I could have pushed to four or five. The bubble bar dissolved easily and quickly, creating an intense (but lovely) floral aroma that reminded me of Parma Violet sweets. I also underestimated quite how many bubbles it would make, as it totally filled the bath! 
It turned the water a beautiful deep, violet colour and I could smell the scent on my skin for the rest of the night. I'm thoroughly impressed with this lovely bubble bar, which I'd put on a par with the Comforter (the smell isn't as nice, but it creates a lot more bubbles!) and I'm hoping I'll be able to purchase another before the Mothers Day range is discontinued. 
At £4.75 it's not cheap but I feel that the number of baths you can get out of it makes it definitely worth spending that little bit extra. 

Next up, I tried my new favourite Lush product: Love Lettuce. One of my closest friends actually recommended this whilst we were browsing in store a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd give it a go. This is a gorgeous exfoliating face mask which has the most delicious fresh scent and left my skin feeling incredibly smooth and soft after just ten minutes.
I used the amount shown above and this covered my entire face. A little really does go a long way!

It's a clay based mask, claiming to tighten your pores, and is targeted at normal to oily skin - win for me as I'm certainly prone to an oily t-zone! The mask also contains moisturising honey and soothing lavender. It's a super refreshing scent and feels very cooling on the skin; when I washed it off with warm water after ten minutes my skin wasn't as red as it usually is after exfoliating, and it didn't feel irritated at all. My skin honestly feels clearer already and, for that reason, I'm pretty overwhelmed by this product!
Love Lettuce retails at £6.50 for 75g which, to me, sound like a lot of money but now that I've tried it I'd definitely repurchase. I think you can probably get about ten uses out of it which - when you think about it - is pretty good, working out at just 65p per treatment! It's the perfect mid-week pick-me-up.

As I really wanted to get a mix of products, after purchasing a bath product and a skin care product, I decided to go for some hair care, in the form of Shine So Bright hair balm. I suffer from split ends after years of colouring my hair and avoiding hairdresser appointments in an attempt to achieve luxuriously long locks, so this sounded like a God send.

The balm is full of moisturising ingredients such as coconut oil, Candelila wax, shea butter and olive oil, meaning it adds a lot of moisture to those dry ends. Whilst it can't claim to heal split ends, it does claim that it helps to prevent them and nourish those that you've already developed.
My first impressions were that the tin was tiny. I was honestly quite surprised as I'd expected it to be a lot bigger. However, when I opened it up all I could think about was the smell - its  really gorgeous, sweet aroma and, believe me when I say, it lingers. I used it a day ago and I can still smell it on my fingers (YES, I have washed my hands!) and the ends of my hair.

You only need to apply the tiniest little amount, otherwise I worry that you'd end up with hair that looks greasy rather than moisturised. I scraped some out using my finger tip and then, using my thumb and forefinger, rubbed it into the ends of my hair. Admittedly I didn't see an instant transformation, but a whole day later, my hair looks a lot sleeker and more manageable than usual.

I'll keep persevering with this product to see if it's worth the money as, so far, I haven't really been blown away and for £4.75 for a miniscule 10g, I'm not convinced it's worth the money just yet.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

170. Preparing For A Baby - The Nursery

Hello lovelies.

As pregnancy begins to overtake my life with the weeks quickly counting down, I thought I'd introduce a few more baby related posts to my blog. I know that this won't appeal to a lot of my readers but I think an equal amount of you will probably love this sort of thing and, in my experience, I've been reading blog post after blog post about pregnancy and babies, to help me get my head around whats about to ensue.

Today I'm going to share a few snaps of our spare bedroom - a.k.a. "The Nursery" - as preparations are now well underway. 
We purchased this gorgeous white sleighbed-style cot bed from Kiddicare a good few months ago for around £250 (it was on offer at the time). It was our most expensive purchase but it's also crucial and will last our little girl until she's about 3 or 4 years old, so it's a worthwhile investment. S put it up earlier this week and it now feels so much more real that, in just a few months, we will have a little baby here although - admittedly - we probably won't be moving the baby into the nursery until around Christmas time, as we plan to have her sleeping in the Moses basket (which my Mum kindly bought us from Babies R Us) in our bedroom for the first few months.
As I'm pretty inept in the DIY stakes, I decided that whilst S cracked on with the cot, I'd put up some decorations in the bedroom. I ordered these cute alphabet stickers on eBay a couple of weeks ago and I was in my element putting them up around the cot. I also created a cute little display using the adorable woodland stickers that I'd found in Babies R Us. Both sets of stickers came in for under £5 in total.
We also bought our pram at around the same time as the cot bed, but we haven't put it together yet (in fact, it's still in the box!) as it seemed so premature to be getting it out already. I think we spent around £150 on the pushchair and that seems pretty reasonable compared to some that I've seen online and heard other mums talk about. There's no way you'd catch me spending close to a thousand pounds on something that is only going to last a year or two! This is the pram we purchased, I love the cute fox print design.
I'm off to IKEA again to purchase another of these versatile Kallax units. I think they're ideal for storing not only the babies clothes but toys, nappies and books too. The cute canvas boxes are also a brilliant optional extra as they add some colour and personality to an otherwise quite bland storage unit. These are only £20 each and the boxes are around £2.50 each, which I think is a great price. 
As well as all the pretty little things, we've also had to - of course - purchase some more essentials, such as a Baby Monitor from Kiddicare, a baby bath from Babies R Us and a little baby seat from Argos which I'm sure will prove a real help once the baby arrives. 

Of course, the nursery is also jam-packed with the likes of nappies, baby wipes, feeding equipment and the likes, but I thought it'd be fun just to share some of the prettier bits and pieces we've bought so far. We've managed to get just about everything and just have the clothes to get now, which - I think - will be one of the funnest things to buy! 

I'll be doing separate posts on both Baby Clothing and My Intentions to Breastfeed nearer the time. Thank-you for reading!

Monday, 16 March 2015

169. My Perfect Day Off - A 'How To' Guide

Hello lovelies.

If you're anything like me, life can get pretty hectic. What with work, friends, partners or dating,running a home, hobbies and all the other, numerous, added extras that help to fill up our diaries, it can be hard to find time for yourself. 

I'm lucky enough to get three days off each week and I like to strive for some sort of balance between keeping on top of housework, running errands, catching up on appointments and what not and spending time with family and friends. It's so easy to just jam-pack your day off full of everything you've been putting off all day, and forget to take some time out just 'be'. 

I've devised a little guide for how to achieve my the perfect day off. And by 'day off' I really do mean: day off. A day off from chores, a day off from appointments and a day off from people. Sometimes it's nice to be anti-social. I'm definitely not one of those people who goes stir crazy if they spend a day in the house by themselves; nope, I relish in it.

1. Have a lie in
I rarely sleep past 9am but when you've got no plans, it's lovely to stay in bed for that little bit longer. Whether you're actually in a deep slumber or you're snoozing in between checking your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook feed - bed is, undeniably, a great place to begin your day off. 
2. Treat yourself to a tasty breakfast
As you have a bit more time on a day off, it's nice to make a bit of an effort with breakfast. Why not cook up some pancakes and enjoy them with fruit and honey? Or go all out and have a full English! 

3. Catch up on your favourite TV shows
Invest in Netflix or download the BBC iPlayer and 4OD apps. They're a great way to catch up on TV shows that you've missed due to a busy life. My current favourite is The US Office and, as S hates it (what is wrong with him?!), my day off is the ideal time to pull my duvet up on the sofa, grab some snacks and binge-watch a series in a day: no guilt attached.

4. Do something creative
If you want to feel that you've done at least one productive thing on your day off, getting creative is the perfect opportunity. Bake something, write some blog posts or do something crafty like drawing, refurbishing a piece of furniture or playing an instrument.

5. Pamper yourself
Once late afternoon rolls around, why not treat yourself to a bubble bath, a face mask and a manicure? It's a great way to relax for a few hours and it will leave you feeling - and looking! - fantastic. I love the use Lush products for a nice, colourful and beautifully scented bath, and then apply both a face and hair mask whilst I soak in the bath. 
6. Have a treat-filled evening
Now that you're beginning to think about returning to work tomorrow, it's the ideal time to switch off your phone, make yourself (or even better, order) some delicious food, fill up a couple of bowls with snacks and watch a film or read a book either in bed or curled up on the sofa. The perfect end to a perfect day.
That's my dream stay-at-home day off work, what's yours?

Thursday, 12 March 2015

168. From Fugly to Fresh Faced in 30 Seconds (Superdrug BB Cream)

We all have 'those days' where we either a) look crap, b) feel crap or c) both. Today is one of those days for me. I've woken up full of cold with a sore throat after a night of wee-break interrupted sleep and a whole load of new spots on my chin to keep me company on my day off.

As luck would have it, I treated myself to some of Superdrug's own BB Cream in the shade 'Light' yesterday on my lunch break, after a tip off from a friend. Sometimes you can't be bothered to spend twenty minutes applying a full face of make up, for example when you're having a day like I'm having (tired, ugly, poorly, I could go on and on...) and, on days like these, BB Cream is a total lifesaver.
Superdrug's BB Cream claims to act as a 5-in-1 Skin Perfecting Day Cream which conceals imperfections and enhances skin tone, provides 24 hour hydration, antioxidant protection, has UVA/UVB filters and contains SPF 15. It's a win-win situation. Great skin with minimal effort. But is that the case in reality?

I applied a generous blob (seriously, is there a better word for it?) to the entirety of my face, blending it in downwards motions and ensuring it was subtly blended into my neck to avoid the dreaded tide lines, as we called them in school. 

The BB Cream gave my skin a nicer, more even tone without that heavy feeling that you sometimes get with a full face of make up, but it didn't cover up the dark circles under my eyes or any of my particularly prominent spots. I touched it up with a light dusting of powder and was pretty impressed with the result, and in less than a minute too.
I quickly filled in my eyebrows and added a slick of mascara to complete the look and I was good to go. Although I wouldn't head out for a busy day in such minimal make-up, it's perfect for when you need to nip to the shops, you've got a couple of quick appointments to get to, or you're running late for work and just need a helping hand.

Superdrug's own brand range of BB Cream's are currently on offer at better than half price on their website and in-store, at just £3.48 for 50ml. The Light BB Cream is currently out of stock on the website but you can always check out your local store to see if they have it in stock. 

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

167. Book Review - Salt & Honey by Candi Miller

Charity shops are one of my favourite places to find a new book. Over the years, I've found - and read - so many amazing second hand books, costing just a fraction of their usual price, in charity shops. Knowing that the money you spend goes to a great cause, whilst the original money spent initially buying the book brand new has gone to the author, is also a great motivator to go and buy a big wad of books at a time. This is what I always do.
I spotted Salt & Honey in a charity shop where my Grandma lives and, drawn in by the colourful cover (what can I say, I'm a sucker for bright colours!) and the exciting blurb, I decided to give Candi Miller a go for the first time.

Books based in different countries, different eras and around controversial or poignant social issues always interest me, which is one of the reasons that I thought Salt & Honey sounded so right for me.
Set during the apartheid, Salt & Honey tells the story of Koba, a young girl, daughter of a Kalahari bushman, who is torn away from her family during a hunting trip that goes tragically wrong. Koba is sent to live with a white, farming family who plan to return her to her tribe once they raise the money for the epic journey. 
Miller writes so beautifully and sensitively of love, family and heritage, and this book is so different to anything I have ever read. The relationship between Koba and Mannie, the white families teenage son, is incredibly honest and relatable to young adults but without all the cliches and fairy tale endings. 

The portrayal of the two groups of people - the Kalahari tribesmen and the white settlers - is interesting and, I would imagine, fairly accurate but I can't help that think that the nature of the Kalahari tribes people were somewhat romanticised, as I think usually happens in novels that tell the story of a 'faraway land' and its people.

The use of Afrikaans dialect intrigued me, although I wish that I had known that there was a glossary at the end of the book before I started reading,  which included the definitions of these words, as I got about halfway through before I noticed it. 
The book isn't particularly fast-paced and it is spanned over several years, as we see Koba grow from a child into a young woman, but at no point does the narrative seem unnecessary or irrelevant. 

This is a highly emotive and honest account of what life and love entailed during the apartheid, and I'd recommend it to anybody with an interest in social history or a romantic story, but with a twist.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

166. 24 Week Pregnancy Update

Hello lovelies.

I'm now well into my 24th week of pregnancy, and it's now just 16 weeks until this baby is due to make her much anticipated appearance. It's all starting to feel very real and different, so I thought I'd share a quick update, before I come into my third (and final) trimester in a couple of weeks.

So, how do I feel?
I feel very much the same as I did a few weeks ago; my backache is persistent and constant but I'm just so used to it now that it doesn't affect me as much, but I can only imagine it'll get worse and worse. Energy wise, I don't feel too different to normal at the moment but, by the end of the day, I'm so ready for bed. I'm managing to balance work and a social life and time for myself though; I'm trying to make the most of having time to myself before the baby arrives. 

How do I look?
I've gained a couple of pounds in the last fortnight and I'm now 1lb over my start weight which doesn't sound like much, but I can really see the difference. My tummy is definitely more rounded and people are beginning to notice it. My skin flared up quite badly a week or so ago, but that seems to be getting back under control. I've noticed that my nails are quite flaky which is a shame as I was expecting them to be super strong and gorgeous, but apparently it can go either way!
My bump isn't particularly obvious when I'm wearing dresses but in tight clothing it's definitely prominent, although I'm still at the stage where I just look like I've eaten a bit too much! o.O

Are we prepared yet?
It still hasn't quite sunk in that in a few months it will no longer be just me and S, but me, S and our baby girl. I think that from now on it really will start to sink in as I'm beginning to show, and we've bought the majority of what we needed for our baby. I'll do a post in a few weeks to show the bits and pieces that we've picked up so far, and then a clothes post nearer the time - I love having a snoop at what people have been buying, so maybe you will too!

Have I had any weird cravings?
This is the question I've been asked most during my pregnancy. Almost every day someone asks me if there's anything odd that I've been wanting and the truth is: no. I feel almost disappointed that I haven't been craving coal or crisps with chocolate sauce or something else bizarre, but I've been pretty content with cold milk, marmite on toast and chip shop chips, oh and a lot of chocolate.

I've been trying to eat fairly healthily, partcularily at lunchtime, but the evenings are toughest as I'm always tempted to go for chocolate or ice cream rather than fruit!

I had my GTT (glucose tolerance test) on Monday which is used to diagnose whether or not gestational diabetes has developed during pregnancy, it's usually tested between 24-28 weeks if you're overweight, have a family history of diabetes, have had diabetes in a previous pregnancy or are of a certain ethnicity. It involves fasting overnight then having your bloods taken, drinking a sugary drink and waiting two hours before having your bloods taken again. I'm yet to hear back from the hospital about my results (they stressed that it could take up to two weeks) but I'm feeling hopeful that I don't have diabetes, although if I do it's not the end of the world at all, apparently it affects almost 20% of pregnant women in the UK.

At my 24 week midwife check up, the midwife measured my bump for the first time and said the baby is lying oblique (apparently this means diagonally, with her head in my hip and her feet towards my ribs on the other side) and measuring at 26 weeks; meaning she's either a big'un, has just had a growth spurt or my due date isn't quite right. It's good to know that she's growing though and I'm sure she has just had a big spurt as a couple of weeks ago I wasn't feeling her moving every day, but now I do and S has even felt her move with his hand on my belly, which was pretty amazing. 

This week I also had to book in for my antenatal classes which seemed a bit mad, as they're not until May, but I'm genuinely really excited to get started with them. I've signed up to the breastfeeding class, a couple of Birth & Beyond workshops which aim to prepare you for once the baby arrives, and a class about birthing ideas. I guess I can't put off thinking about labour any longer!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

165. Welcome To Our New Home

Hello lovelies.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter, or read my Sunday Summary, will know (and no doubt be bored to death by the fact that) I moved into a new flat with my boyfriend last Monday. We'd been living in our old place for six months but, with a baby on the way, we'd realised it was just too small, the location wasn't ideal as it was at the bottom of a killer hill (it takes about 2 minutes but I swear it's like 90 degrees!) which I had to walk up twice a day to work, and the flat was littered with damp. So, yeah, not ideal

After a couple of months of searching, we found a gorgeous terraced, ground floor flat in a more central location and - thankfully! - passed our credit checks and were accepted. The next few weeks were spent frantically packing and cleaning up the flat, as well as swapping over all our bills and informing everyone of our new address (seriously that's the worst bit... who knew you needed to tell so many people/businesses!?). Finally, "Moving Day" arrived and my wonderful mum and dad helped us out immensely by transporting all our belongings to our new flat. 

We've now been in for a week and are feeling so incredibly settled and 'at home', I can truly see us being here for years; it's just perfect for us. I thought I'd share a few quick snaps of the place, just in case any of you are as nosey as I am!
Our living area is pretty open plan with a wide hallway leading from the front door into the living, dining and cooking areas. We managed to pick up a leather sofa bed which - near enough - matched our current sofa and armchair online, as well as this gorgeous dining table from a friend, and a few bits and bobs from the legendary IKEA. I really love the living and dining areas as they feel so cosy and the (working!) open fire adds a touch of history too. 
Our bedroom may as well be renamed as a butterfly sanctuary as I've carried the butterfly theme on from our last flat too. It's a bit weird as I actually really don't like butterflies, or anything that flies in fact, but I think they're so pretty. The bedroom is fairly small and as we have a huge cot to go in, we've not been able to fit much in, but I think it's a nice, relaxing space. The bedspread was from Homebase and everything else came with us from our previous flat.
Although the kitchen remains quite small, it's a vast improvement on our old kitchen which was tiny and only had about three cupboards. We're actually struggling to fill the cupboards now as there are so many! It's a compact enough space to keep clean, but big enough that we can prepare meals for several people, and keep all our appliances within arms reach.
Ignore the jam-packed laundry basket in this photo, please! The bathroom is so spacious and light, it's perfect as - once our baby girl arrives - there is now space for her to sit in her bouncer on the floor whilst I'm in the bath, without any risk of me standing on her (which would definitely have happened in our old flat!). There is also lots of cupboard space which is ideal for my hoard of bath products. 
This is the spare bedroom/nursery-to-be which currently acts as a dressing room for S and I, as we don't currently have space in our bedroom for a chest of drawers or wardrobe. In time, she will have this room as her own so we're planning on moving the wardrobe into our bedroom in place of the cot, and this will give her plenty of room for playing and crawling practice, once she's old enough. I can't wait to decorate the walls with stickers, pictures and get lots of interesting textures and colours incorporated into the room for her.

We also have a small, enclosed yard to the rear of the property but, seriously, how do you get a good photograph of a yard?! Can anybody tell me? We're yet to spruce the place up as the weather has been so dismal that there seems little point in potting plants or investing in a table and chairs, but I can't wait until the summer when we can make the most of it.

So, what do you think of our new place?
Do you have a post sharing some photos of your home? 
If so, let me know in the comments as I'm always looking for interiors inspiration!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

164. Sunday Summary

Hello lovelies.

Can you believe that's another month over and done with? February is finished and March has arrived. This year is going incredibly (and scarily) fast; March marks my seventh month in my 'new job' and just 16 weeks until our baby girl is due to make an appearance. Before we know it it'll be Christmas again!

I'm writing today's post from my lovely new flat, which we moved into on Monday - remind me never to move house again when pregnant, it is a nightmare. As Monday was taken up mainly by packing up the remainder of our previous flats contents, lugging boxes around and putting together flat-pack furniture, I ended up in bed by about 10pm, flat out with horrendous backache. That'll teach me.
Tuesday was a more enjoyable, but equally tiring day, as my Dad and I headed over to IKEA for some retail therapy. I ended up spending a small fortune on some gorgeous new bits and pieces for the flat, before treating myself to a McDonalds and heading home where we continued to put together flat pack, and then relaxed with a couple of episodes of Better Call Saul.
The best day of the week by far was Wednesday when I visited a couple of friends, Carys and Hannah, in Newcastle for a catch up, accompanied by copious amounts of tea and cake, including some delicious brownies from Newcastle's very own The Brownie Bar. Now you know why that was the best day of the week! Even missing two trains on the way home couldn't dampen my spirits.
Me & the gorgeous Carys post delicious gluten free cake

Thursday was spent chilling in the new house and finishing off unpacking our books, DVDs and clothes into the new storage furniture. It wasn't much fun but I'm so pleased it's done as the place really feels like home now.
Lemon Meringue brownie from The Brownie Bar

Friday meant I was back to work but thankfully the day went quickly and smoothly and S and I spent the evening baking sticky toffee pudding, coconut and lime cake and - as always - relaxing. It was Friday night when I felt the baby move the most I've ever felt before too, which was literally breath taking. I think she was turning around as the movements went on for about fifteen minutes and were so strong that I could physically see my stomach move, as well as feel it with my hand. Incredible.
Once work was over on Saturday, S's mum and her boyfriend came over for the night. We were joined by one of S's brothers and his girlfriend too, so we had a few hours of watching tele and walking the dogs before S, his mum, her boyfriend and I settled in for an evening of Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, The Jonathan Ross Show and a huge bowl of spaghetti and meatballs each. It was, in my eyes, the perfect way to spend our first Saturday night in the flat.

Today started with a bubble bath, followed by a full English cooked by S, as we all played Rayman on the Xbox (don't ask...). Once they'd left, we began cooking a Sunday dinner for S's dad and grandma, which we all really enjoyed. It's been so nice having people round to visit and see the new place, we're so proud of how we've got it looking in such a short space of time, and it's a much more sociable space for us to enjoy with our family and friends. 

This Week On The Blog:
I wrote about mental health issues in students in partnership with The Priory

Next Week On The Blog:
A sneaky peek at our new flat
My 24 week pregnancy update