The Week That Was… The Coconut!

I’m late posting this update, which pretty much sums up week 28 of pregnancy, when baby was the size of a coconut.

It started out positively purely for the fact that I know exactly what a coconut is and how big they are, so there was none of this uncertainty over how big a bunch of bananas actually is or how a Napa Cabbage is different to an ordinary cabbage. Finally, I had a good idea of how big my baby was. Good start.

I spent a large chunk of the weekend and most evenings this week making blinds for the nursery – I’ll share the finished blinds on the blog soon – which sounds simple enough but my body isn’t quite set up for crawling around on the floor to measure and cut fabric at the moment, so it was exhausting to say the least. Mentally and physically, as I was terrified of cutting the fabric wrong so it took every cell of my baby brain to do it right.

The rest of the week was a blur of heartburn, to-do lists (not all baby related) and tiredness. I don’t know if it was the blinds or the third trimester, but dear god am I feeling knackered.

For the first time, pregnancy hit me this week. Hard. And I know it’s only going to get harder.

Work is really taking it out of me, there’s no replacement on the cards and I’m still having the work piled on which means there’s no slow-down in sight and if I’m being honest I just can’t be arsed any more with the shit and problems I have to deal with every day. Things that seem so important to everyone else, and would have done to me until recently, I just don’t have the energy to care about any more. Which is unlike me, but at the same time a lot is changing in my life so I guess it’s to be expected. Leaving the house at 6am to avoid the traffic is killing me more than ever, by the time it gets to Wednesday morning I’m EXHAUSTED and not sure how I’m going to make it through the week.

On a positive note – because it’s not all bad, there are still beautiful moments all the time – baby is dancing about like there’s no tomorrow and it’s a wonderful feeling. It’s no longer just the odd sporadic kick, I can regularly feel rolling and a strange sensation of all limbs and body parts moving at once, it makes me wonder what exactly they’re getting up to in there. I get frustrated that my husband doesn’t have the patience to keep his hand on my belly long enough to feel the full effect, but I know soon enough it will be clear for all to see, so for now I’m enjoying it being a feeling between me and baby alone.

My post-pregnancy dream feast

I’m 28 weeks into pregnancy now and recently I’ve been thinking a lot about something very important to me. Food.

I’m not talking quantity, I’ve managed to avoid eating for two although I can feel the snack urges creeping back up on me, I’m talking foods which I haven’t eaten since finding out I was expecting. And I’m now starting to dream about them.

So, considering I can think about nothing else at this moment in time, I’ve created my ideal three course menu to both torture myself and to pass to the husband, like a Christmas list, so he can prepare a post-baby feast of everything I can’t currently eat and drink. See it as a push present if you like, because right now there’s nothing I would love more.

Starter

Mussels in a white wine sauce with lots of crusty bread for dipping. With a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Please.

It’s a weird one for some people, I know, but I love mussels and it’s a rare occasion for me turn down a starter of mussels. I also rarely used to drink white wine but since being pregnant it’s the one alcoholic drink I’ve really wanted, which is odd.

The best mussels I’ve ever had was at a sea-front restaurant in Simons Town in Cape Town, where I was lucky enough to travel to for work. We sat in the sun looking out to the sea – I didn’t talk much because I was concentrating so hard on looking for a Great White Shark – and I ate the most amazing mussels with a glass or two of white wine.

Mussels while shark watching (or not, as it happened)
Mussels while shark watching (or not, as it happened)

A close second has to be a seafood feast with a carafe of white wine, in our favourite restaurant at the port of the Old Town of Dubrovnik, Croatia. It wasn’t a starter but maybe knock it down a portion size and we’d be on to a winner.

Seafood platter in Dubrovnik
Seafood platter in Dubrovnik

So yeah, either one of those just to get me started, please,.

Main Course

Fillet steak cooked medium rare, with chunky chips and a big glass of red wine – any type will do, just make it big, red and warm.

Steak feels like a real treat and when it’s done well (as opposed to well done) it’s a dream. The husband and I have a tradition of Christmas Eve Steak Night, we don’t go out or see anyone, we spend the evening at home and cook steak and drink with Prosecco and it’s my favourite tradition so far and one I’m determined to continue even when we have a houseful of children (well, two, tops).

Christmas Eve Steak Night for two
Last year’s Christmas Eve Steak Night for two

I’ve eaten some good steaks in the US, where as you can imagine portions are huge and the meat is good, but my favourite steak has to be at Alma De Cuba in my very own Liverpool. The sauce it comes with is a-mazing, and the fillet steak is juicy, good quality and always cooked perfectly. I didn’t get a photo, I was too busy eating it, but if you’re ever in Liverpool and want a special meal I can’t recommend Alma De Cuba enough for the food, venue, atmosphere and entertainment (Gospel Choir over Sunday brunch or Brazilian Dancers with Friday night cocktails).

Dessert

Cheese board, with extra brie, cranberry sauce and loads of crackers. And more red wine.

THIS.
THIS.

I’ve always been a sweet tooth girl, and both myself and the husband are chocolate monsters. As we’ve got older our palettes have matured (unlike our personalities) and cheese has taken more of a focus in our lives. And soft cheese is something I’ve missed over the last 28 weeks. Particularly soft, melty brie.

So for my ideal feast I’d have to replace the warm chocolate brownie or apple pie (both served with ice cream, FYI) for a cheese board with loads of brie, some sort of fruity sauce, grapes and plenty of crackers – there’s nothing more annoying than not enough crackers for your cheese. Except not enough toast with your pate. Middle class problems, hey.

I can’t say where my best cheese board has been as it’s not something I’ve ever ordered before, so maybe this is the start of a ‘new me’, a baby and a cheese board.

Me, upon being fed all the brie
Me, upon being fed all the brie

Doggy Bag

Realistically, this will all be a shock to my steak and brie-starved stomach, so I might not be able to finish it in one sitting. But waste not want not, foil it up for me and I’ll finish it later to relive the joy all over again.

Mummy in a Tutu

thumbnailsize

Rhyming with Wine
Pink Pear Bear

The Exit Strategy: Hypnobirthing

At 28 weeks (and 3 days) pregnant, I’m into the big 3. The third trimester. And recently my mind has been turning away from the fluffy nursery décor and cute baby clothes (very temporarily) and towards the reality of what’s to come. The Birth.

That ‘I Love Daddy’ romper is definitely cute, and the nursery is painted in the softest of greys to create a light but cosy atmosphere, but there would be no point in any of this if it weren’t for the fact that a baby needs to fill that romper and sleep in that nursery. And that baby has got to get out of me, one way or another, in a matter of weeks.

It ain’t going to stay in there forever!

To say I’m nervous is an understatement, but that makes me no different to rest of the pregnant population. I’m not high risk and I’ve never had a bad hospital experience that I can remember, so I don’t have the fear I’m sure some women have. But I am a wimp, and when I was stung by a wasp last week and my husband commented on how calm I’d been it was the proudest moment of my week, because it really bloody hurt. And if I think that hurt, how will I deal with pushing a watermelon-sized human out of my body?

To prepare myself for birth, I’ve naturally surrounded myself by people who love to share their horror stories of how their friends birth experiences resulted in blood, tears (of the eye kind and the ripping kind), operations and painful recoveries. All really helpful ladies, it’s giving me something to focus on while I try and perfect the humming breath in pregnancy yoga.

I’m generally quite a laid back person, and have been so busy lately I’ve not really had time to dwell on any of the details which is probably for the best, but I have bought a hypnobirthing book – The Hypnobirthing Book by Katharine Graves – which comes with a CD to listen to at night (not when you’re driving, which my friend attempted and was surprised when she felt a little sleepy at the wheel!)

I’m really enjoying yoga and think I have it in me to tap into that ability to zone out and control the pain. And while my main reason for getting into hypnobirthing is to help manage the pain of labour, it’s just as much to give my baby a calm and peaceful welcome to the world. I’ve heard that that a calm Mum creates a calm baby, so I’m making an effort to be as zen as possible through pregnancy and beyond.

So, I’ve started reading the book, which sends me straight to sleep but I’m not sure if that’s the effect it’s supposed to have, but am yet to try the CD as I need to find a night where I can get to bed early enough to lie in the dark and let it sink in.

I can’t imagine my husband will be able to take it all that seriously but I’m determined to get him on board because there’s no point in me being all zen if he’s like a shit-scared hyperactive puppy.

You can take hypnobirthing classes, which I imagine are much more effective and will force the other half to get to grips with it, no matter how uncomfortable he might feel to begin with. But they’re not cheap, a few hundred pounds for a course from what I’ve heard, and it’s just not a spend I can justify, especially when it could all go tits up and baby has to come out the sun roof anyway!

So I’ll stick to the book and will get round to the CD soon, and I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going but if anyone’s done hypnobirthing before and would like to share any tips or experiences, please do as I’d love to know more!

Rhyming with Wine
The Diary of an 'Ordinary' Mum
Diary of an imperfect mum
Run Jump Scrap!

The Week That Was… The Bunch of Bananas!

27 weeks pregnant and little Lynch is the size of a bunch of bananas! Filling out nicely, as my expanding belly is testament to.

At the start of the week I had terrible stiffness in my lower back and hips. The kind of feeling when you’ve been on a really long walk, then you take a little break (usually at a pub) and your muscles seize up when you try to walk again. I spent the first few days in work looking like an 80 year old when I tried to get out of my chair. Iteased off as the week went on, and I put it down to the growing bump and the loosening of my hips and changing posture.

I’ve had a few weeks of the baby going to extremes with its movement, from one day of hard kicking to the next day very little at all, with a slight wriggle at bedtime to let me know it’s ok. My midwife told me at this week’s 28 week check up that this hasn’t been anything to worry about because I have a front-lying placenta so I was being somewhat cushioned from much of the movement that was going on in there, but going forwards I shouldn’t ignore it if I notice a lack of movement. I won’t be judged as a panicked, paranoid newbie, it’s a serious signal to your baby’s health.

The advice if I haven’t felt it move in a while, is to drink a glass of ice cold fizzy drink or milk and go to a quiet room to lie down on my left side for an hour. Easier said than done in work, this basically just isn’t possible, but it should kick start some movement. If not, head to the hospital. Luckily this week I’ve felt a huge increase in kicks, wriggles and rolls throughout the day and night, and it’s such a comforting feeling and one I’ll surely notice if it stops.

At my 28 week midwife appointment, it was the usual blood pressure, urine test and heartbeat scan (still one of the best sounds in the world), and this was the first time I’ve had blood taken since my first 8 week booking-in appointment (to check for iron levels) and the first time I’ve had my belly measured. According to my growth chart baby is currently on track and the ideal size. All good.

As I go into the third trimester, I can already feel my body starting to slow down and it’s getting harder to jump out of bed at 6am every morning. And after booking our hospital tour and ante natal classes it’s all starting to hit home that I’m not just pregnant, I’m having a baby,

Oh, and I got a letter from the Liverpool Women’s Hospital and a production company called Dragonfly yesterday advising me that they will be filming the next series of One Born Every Minute over the period that I’ll be in there. To get in touch if we’d be interested in being on the show. Thanks but not for all the tea in China would I go through that experience in front of the nation, not to mention friends, family, colleagues… can you imagine!

How the Aussies have nailed nursery style

Since starting From Day Dot and setting out on my mission to jump head first into the stylish side of pregnancy, I’ve come across so many small businesses and beautiful brands which make it so easy to find inspiration and ideas. Instagram is my go to place to browse, hunt for special finds and share what I’m up to (if you’re not following me, please do!) and that’s where I’ve come across the majority of these small but amazing brands.

While I’ve stumbled across loads of UK businesses who are doing brilliant things (I’ll do a post on a few of my faves soon), what really struck me is the amount of Australian brands which have been front and centre of so much of my nursery inspo-spotting.

The Aussies seem to have a slightly Scandi-style but with a really fun and soft side to it, not quite so clean and bold as the Scandinavians but just as beautiful and so well styled. It’s one reason why the Internet is so great, we’d never have even seen or heard of these guys before, let alone be able to share and shop with them!

So to show you what I mean, I’ve done a round up of just a few of the brands from Down Under which have caught my eye…

Fox and Wilder

Think natural woods, bright whites, soft colours and a bit of black, and you’ve got the Fox and Wilder idea. I first came across them and fell in love when I saw this musical mint green hot air balloon mobile (on Instagram, of course) which nailed two of the nursery decor trends I’d recently posted about – my Mint Green, Grey and Gold colour palette, and the Hot Air Balloon trend.

Fox and Wilder Hot Air balloon mobile

After a quick browse of their site I came across this Kids Clothes Rail which looked so cool and the set up was styled to perfection.

fox and wilder childrens clothes rail

And, Hot Air Balloon Mobiles aside, that’s what really caught my eye with Fox and Wilder – their amazing ability to style a nursery and make you want to regram it to death before buying everything in sight. And they must know this is a strong point since they’ve added a Product Styling Service to their website, to help other brands style up their products for photography to give them the best chance of having the ‘Fox and Wilder effect’ and selling out of everything they have in stock.

Little Connoisseur

Maybe not the best name for direct traffic (it took me a good few goes to spell the name before I gave up and copy and pasted it) but a gem of an Instagram account if you’re looking for some good inspiration for your nursery. I mean, can we just take a minute…

little connoisseur girls playroom

little connoisseur girls nursery decor

yellow and blue baby nursery

Little Connoisseur sell just a few products, which aren’t cheap but are clearly premium and perfect for gifts if you’re looking to splash out on a lucky friend or family member. Decorative cushions and old school wooden spinning tops, in plush fabrics, soft colours, gold trims and a bit of personalisation to make it extra special.

The Little Fox Designs

With a store on Etsy, this little brand sells handmade crib sheets with a range to suit Stokke size and a range for standard cot sizes. I came across them on Instagram (seeing a trend here?) and won my first every social media competition when I entered their giveaway to win this monochrome grid print crib sheet. Receiving this in last week’s post, all the way from Aus, was a highlight of my week!

the little fox monochrome crib sheet

And with so many other designs in fun prints and fabrics which don’t appear to be available anywhere on this side of the world (if they are, can someone point me in the right direction?) – the cactus print is a definite favourite of mine – I just wish they also catered for adult-sized beds!

Little Fox Designs Paint Drops Crib Sheet

cactus print crib sheet

Fillyboo

It’s not all about decor, Fillyboo are a boho inspired maternity fashion company who use loads of customer generated content (technical term there) on their social media and their website, which is inspiring in itself because boy do they have some good looking customers.

This was the image that brought Fillyboo to my attention…

fillyboo maternity

A regram from For The Dreamers, who has the most envy-inducing blog I’ve ever seen, the room is a stunner and so is the outfit – the whole thing is just a dream.

fillyboo maternity daffodil dress

So if you’re into your boho style, especially if your pregnant during the summer months, check out Fillyboo – who do worldwide shipping – to get a special occasion number or a see-you-through-the-season investment piece.

Do you have any other Australian brands on your watch list that I should know about?

Rhyming with Wine
The Diary of an 'Ordinary' Mum
Home Etc

Diary of an imperfect mum

Run Jump Scrap!

The Week That Was… The Butternut Squash!

Week 26 of pregnancy, and baby was the size of a Butternut Squash (finally a vegetable I’m familiar with). I’m a little confused as to whether this was the last week of my second trimester or not as everything I read seems to say differently and it ranges between 27 and 29 weeks. Answers on a postcard, or in the comments box below.

Anyway the week started off well with the husband completing his mission on the nursery and building all furniture in a two day DIY frenzy. I don’t know why he does this as we have so long to go, but after we got back from our babymoon in Wales he used his spare day at home to get on with the painting. And once that was done he couldn’t resist spending the next day building the wardrobe, the cot bed and the changing unit, leaving the tiny box room only when I dragged him out for food. He was ever so proud of himself though, and it looks great so I ain’t complaining. All that’s needed now is for it to be filled with pretty and practical stuff. That’s where I step in, I guess!

Bear, just chilling in his soon-to-be bed
Bear, just chilling in his soon-to-be bed

I’ll do a post soon on the furniture, but we went for the Mothercare Padstow 2-piece nursery furniture set for the cot bed and changing unit, which was on sale so was a bit of a bargain, and as it’s such a small room we went for the IKEA Pax single wardrobe which we bought in the extra shallow size so that it fit neatly in the corner without hanging over the edge of the window. We added the IKEA Vikedal door which is a frameless mirrored hinge door to make the room look extra spacious and light. And it worked a treat!

IKEA PAx Single wardrobe, camouflaged in the corner
IKEA Pax Single wardrobe, camouflaged in the corner
Now to fill it with cute things!
Now to fill it with cute things!

We also picked up the mattress for the cot bed, also from Mothercare and which we bought after being sent an email advertising the half price offer, reducing it from £160 to £80. It was the Mothercare Adaptive Purotex Pocket Spring Cot Bed Mattress (try saying that after a glass of wine) and as total novices in this game, we did a little research which suggested it would be fine, and took the plunge. Who can resist a half price offer like that after all?

In other exciting news this week, my first ever prize arrived all the way from Australia! I entered my first Instagram competition, run by The Little Fox Designs, who I came across on my hunt for mint green inspiration – they had the most perfect mint green triangle crib sheet – and what do you know, I won! It was for this beautiful little monochrome grid print crib sheet, which will look perfect in the nursery whether Baby Lynch is a boy or a girl. You must check The Little Fox Designs out if you’re looking for some individual fitted sheets in the most gorgeous, fun fabrics.

My first ever prize!
My first ever prize!

 

Symptoms this week have been gradually creeping up on me. Heartburn has reared it ugly hot head again and I seem to get it every afternoon as I leave work, so the drive home is even more like hell than I’m used to. Milk just ain’t cutting it anymore – funnily enough, ice cream seems to do the trick – but I’m going to have to get on the hard stuff. Gaviscon is at the top of this week’s shopping list.

Since we went away to Wales and did all that walking, I’ve become more aware of how much slower and heavier my body feels. I am carrying a more sizeable bump around now so it’s to be expected I guess, but I’m definitely feeling the effects of being home to this growing person, and I can feel myself becoming much more tired with every day. Still, I’m powering through as I don’t have much choice, especially in work where they still haven’t advertised my replacement and are still piling new work on as though I’m not going to be leaving in nine weeks.

Nine little weeks. Bring it on!

A babymoon staycation

At 25 weeks pregnant (otherwise known as the Week of the Napa Cabbage), we had a week off together and used it for a mini babymoon – a little trip away, our last as a twosome.

The idea was a few days of relaxation – ideally this would have been done in the sun, on a beach, a flight away from home, but it was summer holidays and those last minute deals never really came to light, so we booked a few nights in North Wales – a short drive but far enough away from home to make us forget about work, emails and what we needed for this week’s food shop.

We headed along the coast to Llandudno where we stayed for two nights and used it as a base to walk along the pretty bay front, take the tram up the Great Orme, visit nearby Conwy and day trip to the beautiful Bodnant Gardens. It was lovely to spend time together and not think about work or rushing around doing daily life. We have a habit of walking to excess whenever we go away, and this was no exception, so I was completely exhausted by the end of every day and three days post-holiday, I’m still recovering. Mentally relaxing, physically not so much.

Fresh air and coastal style
Fresh air and coastal style
Being a total tourist in sunny Llandudno
Being a total tourist in sunny Llandudno
Bodnant Gardens
Taking a break in peaceful Bodnant Gardens

The only downside was the hotel we had booked was awful – I am going to name and shame, it was the Headlands Hotel. A Fawlty-Towers style place where there was only one member of staff at any time (she was the receptionist, the waitress, quite possibly the breakfast chef and cleaner too, and the dingiest, most run down decor I’ve seen in a hotel that could actually be beautiful. There was a reason for this though. Oh, and when I asked about decaf coffee at breakfast she looked as though I’d just spoken an alien language. No coffee at breakfast, no happy Sarah.

We weren’t expecting luxury as we knew we’d done it on a budget, but we also weren’t expecting dogs, and that’s exactly what we got. More specifically a dog in the room directly below us which obviously wasn’t happy with being left alone and let us all know about it by howling all day and all night until the (inconsiderate) owners came back. That, along with the unbearably old bed (we slept directly on springs), curtains which didn’t fit the windows and were so thin that we were wide awake by 4.30, and the knowledge that there was dust stuck down to every surface in the room, including the bed, meant we got no sleep. I had a meltdown over this being our last holiday together and we’re spending it in a shit hole. It sounds bratty but I just felt a little sad, and angry at the hotel for saying they didn’t allow pets when they did, and of course I was overly tired at this point which is never a good emotional state to be in.

By the time I’d woken up from my hour-long doze after the first night, the husband had already been online to book a new hotel down the road and get us the hell out of there. We made our complaints, checked out, and checked in to our new hotel before breakfast had even ended – the gorgeous Escape Boutique Hotel, where we spent our second night in a quiet, clean and beautiful Coastal-theme room, with no howling dogs and a bed I could have stayed in forever. We had the warmest welcome by the owner, despite us being at least 5 hours early for check-in, and that alone made all the difference. A little hospitality, cleanliness and GREAT breakfast goes a long way.

Our Coastal theme room at the Escape Boutique Hotel
Our Coastal theme room at the Escape Boutique Hotel
Coastal hotel decor
Coastal hotel decor

After two nights on the coast, we headed back towards Liverpool and stopped for our third and final night at the Kinmel Spa Hotel in Abergele. The idea was to have one day of total relaxation, where we could roll from the pool to the restaurant to our bed with minimal effort. And that’s exactly what we did.

Located in the country, it’s a lovely little spa which has been open for just over a year. With an underground pool and hydrotherapy pool (which I obviously couldn’t use, along with the sauna and steam room), and a tranquility room which had floor to ceiling windows and a view over the fields and hills in the distance (and the A55 but let’s ignore that), we enjoyed a day of lying down doing nothing, interrupted only by a delicious lunch at the in-spa Thai restaurant, Ching Mai, and the treatments we’d booked – a deep tissue full body massage for him and a a deep tissue leg and foot massage, plus a pedicure for me. Bliss.

The Kinspa Hotel  Spa in Abergele
The Kinspa Hotel Spa in Abergele
The view from the bed I claimed for the day
The view from the bed I claimed for the day
Fabulous food at the spa Chiang Mai restaurant

I also debuted my Asos Maternity Swimsuit for the first time. After much research into maternity swimwear on the high street, I selected the bold stripe number from Asos and despite not loving the idea of being in a swimsuit for this first time this year, let alone as a preggo lady, I felt really comfortable and happy in it. I would NEVER normally do swimsuit selfies, I’ve only just gotten used to doing fully clothed versions, but I banged on about this swimsuit so much – and I did say I would share the good, the bad and the ugly of our slide into parenthood, and this definitely fits at least one of those profiles! So here it is…

I draw the line at showing thigh, for everyones sake
I draw the line at showing thigh, for everyones sake

We then shuffled over to the hotel where we changed and enjoyed a three course dinner in the Brasserie restaurant before getting a solid night’s sleep ahead of a good buffet breakfast and the drive home the following day.

My first preggo pedicure from the Kinmel Spa
My first preggo pedicure from the Kinmel Spa
Babymoon
Our final trip as a twosome, our first pic as a threesome

I’d bought the Kinmel stay as a Groupon offer where we got the night’s stay, breakfast, three course meal and use of the spa for a bargain price. It’s always worth checking out these offer sites if you’re looking for a little stay-
cation, you never know what gems you might uncover.

So while it might not have been the perfect most relaxing baby moon of all time, it had everything we needed – time alone, time to rest and a bit of sun to make us forget that we were only an hour from home!

Diary of an imperfect mum