Monday, 19 May 2014

And so it continues...

It has been two months since I made this announcement.  After the first 12 weeks d-r-a-g-g-e-d, the last 10 weeks have flown by.  So much so, that when someone asked me a few days ago "How long have you got left?" rather than "How far gone are you?"  my heart nearly exploded out of my chest as the realisation hit that pregnancy is just a small part of the massive changes to come and while in the early days it's all about watching those week numbers grow, it soon changes to watching them go down.  I stumbled over my words as I squeaked out "28 weeks left!" - the baby hormones clearly affecting my mathematic ability, "no, wait, 18!"  Oh my... Eighteen.

The 20 week scan went well.  I actually got two because baby was hiding right behind my belly button on the first one and the sonographer couldn't quite see something to do with the heart.  Thankfully on the second scan, while baby was still being a little awkward, he got to see everything he needed to.  On both occasions baby had their legs firmly crossed.  A surprise it is!  While we wanted to know the gender, I truly am just happy baby is doing well.  It makes buying some things really difficult though, the entire baby market is saturated with gender stereotyping and pinks or blues.  We are building a little stash of gender neutral goodies though, and in the coming weeks we will knuckle down on deciding which "big stuff" we want to buy.

On the whole I am still feeling relatively calm, which in itself is quite unnerving.  I have had a fairly problem-free pregnancy so far.  I have had a little trouble with my left hip hurting at night when lying on it, I am sometimes waking almost in tears as it feels like someone is holding a flaming torch to it.  I have had a little physio and it seems to be helping.  It turns out my left hip was a little dodgy prior to pregnancy (it's not as strong as my freakishly supple right one, apparently!) and it meant that as my ligaments get more supple it's just being a bit of a bitch.  But, it's nothing I can't deal with.  I've had a few niggles but honestly, I am so thankful I have got past the halfway mark and feeling quite good!

20 Week Scan20 Week Scan

 

Things of Note in My Second 3 Months of Pregnancy

  • While I have never been the most confident when it comes to my body pregnancy has thrown so much more into the mix.  There is a part of me that marvels at how my body has managed to do this much already, perhaps the years of criticising and judging of it is a little harsh because right now it is being pretty damn awesome.  On the other hand, the changes are so rapid.  I always wondered why pregnant women, who whinge about weight gain and the way look, cannot just be thankful they are having a baby but now I'm in those shoes I have to say, it is really tough.  I can no longer wear half my clothes and loathe the idea of having to buy more.  I am hoping to last out wearing leggings and dresses until I have to revert to double bed sheet with a head hole cut out.  I am not complaining about weight gain but the changes really are so fast and there is no time for your head to catch up with it.

  • Babies are really small and really big.  I seem to go between looking at baby clothes and thinking "How can I look after something so small and fragile and not hurt it?" and "Oh wow.  That's big to be growing inside  me and then coming out!"

  • While having an anterior placenta is considered normal it does mean the chances of feeling movement can be reduced.  At 22 weeks I still haven't felt any definitive movements though am getting funny sensations most days that I think are probably baby but nothing major yet.  The other night something was blatantly poking my full bladder though, it had to be baby.  I look forward to feeling some reassuring kicks.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Spring in the Home.

Although as I write this the rain is lashing down, Spring is definitely here with some really balmy days mixed in with these April showers.  I am so happy to be finally living in a house that I love and actually having enough space for my things (and new things!)  That, combined with a baby on the way I have been lusting after things to make our current home the best home for all of us.  Here are some of the things I have been lusting after to bring a little bit of Spring into the home.

Ella James Set of Six Milk Bottles In A Crate

Ella James - Set of Six Milk Bottles in a Crate

 

This Modern Life - Ceiling Light - Origami - Moth

This Modern Life - Studio Snowpuppe  'Moth' Ceiling Light - Origami / Gradient Mint

 

Not On The High Street - Grow A Cactus In An Eff

Not On The High Street - Beecycle - Grow a Cactus in an Egg

 

ASDA - Bee Votive Candle Holder

ASDA - Bee Votive Candle

 

House of Fraser - Shabby Chic From the Herb Garden DiffuserHouse of Fraser - Shabby Chic From the Herb Garden Reed Diffuser

 

John Lewis - Botanical Vase

John Lewis - Botanical Vase

Sunday, 20 April 2014

My Bargain ELF Order and Reviews.

E.L.F recently had a 50% sale and I just couldn't resist.  I haven't "hauled" make-up for a very long time, just buying the odd bits here and there as and when I needed them or saw something I really wanted to try.  More specifically, I hadn't bought anything from E.L.F for an eternity so thought it would only be right to make the most of the 50% discount code and fee shipping they were offering.  In total this little haul set me back £15.05 - delivered.  Bargain or what?!

ELF Haul 01MY BOOTY

There was little logic in what I chose.  I browsed the site and just went for the things that appealed to me most.  I didn't need anything (I rarely do!) but tried to choose things I knew I would actually use.  I have to say, the stock levels were fairly good.  I remember last time they had a 50% sale I looked at making an order but so much was out of stock it would really have been a case of ordering for the sake of it.  This time around, a few things were out of stock but generally they had most things in and I ordered right on the last day too.

ELF Jumbo Eyeshadow StickJUMBO EYESHADOW STICK IN CHECK ME OUT AND FRENCH LACE (£2.95)

ELF Jumbo Eyeshadow Stick Swatches

These jumbo eyeshadow sticks caught my eye because I seem to have reverted to simple washes of colour lately.  I am sure one day I will go back to complex eye looks but for now I like a quick swipe of colour and then go.  French Lace is a beautiful soft pink and Check Me Out is a rich, dark plum.  The staying power isn't that amazing and you will need a primer underneath (they don't make a good primer in themselves) but I actually quite like these for a bit of colour.  They are really shimmery, which I love (but no big chucks of glitter!)  Also, they do not need sharpening, you just twist the end to reveal more product.

 

ELF Lip StainsLIP STAINS IN NUDE NECTAR AND CRIMSON CRUSH (£2.95)

ELF Lip Stain Swatches

I am complete sucker for any lip stains.  I would choose a lip stain over a lipstick any day.  As with any stain you need to be sure your lips are scrubbed and ready for application.  These stains are like a felt-tip which makes application really easy.  It offers you excellent precision and allows you to be sure you get full coverage.  They last well throughout the day, coping with eating and drinking well.  They don't fade in patches which is always a plus!  Crimson Crush is a gorgeous red which I think would suit most skin tones.  Nectar Nude is the 'nudest' of the colours but I would still say it is quite pigmented and on me is almost peachy in tone.  I have read a few reviews about these drying out really quickly.  I've had mine for around a month or so and they are still going strong.  I am definitely going to pick up the other shades at some point.

ELF Mineral Infused MascaraMINERAL INFUSED MASCARA (£3.95)

ELF Mineral Infused Mascara Wand

I needed another new mascara like I need a hole in the head but I think it was something to do with the word "infused" that made me chuck this into my virtual basket, it's a good sounding word that.  I'm glad I did though because for a budget mascara this is excellent.  You can layer this without it clumping and the consistency is just right.  The wand is silicone and therefore is quite soft and rubbery and the bristles are short, this makes application easy and mess free.  The wand manages to grab all my lashes and coasts them evenly.  Do they give me show-stopping, false lash effect lashes?  No.  Do they make my normal lashes look healthy, fuller, longer and my eyes wide awake? Yes.  I wonderful daytime mascara, I only wish it came in a waterproof version.

ELF Smudge Brush and Daily Brush CleanerSMUDGE BRUSH AND DAILY BRUSH CLEANER (£2.50 and £3.95)

The smudge brush is nothing revolutionary or ground-breaking.  It does what it says on the tin.  It's a nice brush and for the price, a complete steal.  It will become a regular in my routine.

The daily brush cleaner was one of the few things I knew I wanted to purchase.  I am a bad brush washer, doing it nowhere near as often as I should, I thought introducing a daily brush cleaner would mean I would be a little less bad.  It's a hard item to review really, it's a brush cleaner!  It certainly cleans my brushes in-between full washes and is anti-bacterial.  It seems to be doing the job and it's nice knowing that I am at least applying my makeup with a clean brush.  A few sprays onto the brush and then swirling it onto some tissues seems to do the job nicely.  I will probably repurchase this one. 

ELF Waterproof Eyeliner Crayon and Moisturizing LipstickWATERPROOF EYELINER CRAYON IN GUNMETAL AND MOISTURIZING LIPSTICK IN WINK PINK (BOTH £3.95)

ELF Waterproof Eyeliner Crayon and Moisturizing Lipstick Swatches

This waterproof eyeliner crayon is probably one of my favourite purchases in this order.  I love a gunmetal colour for the daytime and find I reserve black liners for the evening now.  It is quite thick so makes good for a smoky look.  While it doesn't smudge easily you can smudge it straight after application to create a lovely smoky eye.  Once on for a while it dries really well and takes some good eye makeup remover to budge it.  Sadly, I left the lid off this one (not intentionally!) and after a few days it dried out.  It now no longer works and I am sad.  I must rebuy it (and be more careful net time!)

Finally, the moisturizing lipstick.  Wink pink is a beautiful feminine pink, without being at all bubblegum.  Surprisingly, it is not as glossy as I would expect a moisturising lipstick to be.  While it certainly isn't drying I wouldn't say it particularly hydrates my lips.  I actually really like the slightly matte look is has when on so it gets  a thumbs up from me.  The lipstick is packed with shea and vitamins and smells really quite nice.  It is slightly shimmery (only very slightly!) and leaves your lips looking really healthy.  I intend of picking some of the other colours up in a future order.

Overall I am really pleased with my order.  If completely gutted about the eyeliner - although entirely my fault.  I think over the years the quality of E.L.F products really has improved and most things from their Studio range that I have tried I really like.  They are never going to be able to compete with the luxury and high-end brands but as far as budget beauty goes they are definitely one of, if not my most, favourite brands out there.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Recipe: Red Onion, Pear and Stilton Soup

I have recently discovered that the cafe across the road from where I work does the most amazing homemade soups.  So far I've sampled their Thai Chicken and Sweetcorn (multiple times...) and their Parsnip, Orange and Ginger.  My favourite though has to be their Red Onion, Pear and Stilton soup.  It was so yummy that I had to try and recreate it myself.  I winged it and it worked.  Yummy soup in my belly!

Red Onion, Pear and Stilton Soup

 
Ingredients

2 small red onions.
4 ripe pears.
150g stilton.
750ml vegetable stock.
1 tbsp butter.
1 tbsp brown sugar.

Salt & pepper to taste.

Getting Down To Business

1. Finely chop the onions and gently fry them in the butter until softened (but not brown!)  Stir in the sugar.

2. Core the pears and chop them finely.  No need to peel.  Stir these into the onions and keep it on a low heat.  Let the pears soften and get all juicy and mushy.

3. Season with salt and pepper.

4. After about 8-10 minutes of softening the pears and onions add the stock and stir well. 

5.  Whilst simmering crumble in all of the stilton.  It will start to melt down quickly.  Just keep on stirring.

6.  To keep life simple and washing up minimal I use my hand blender and blend the lot together in the pan.  Alternatively you could empty it into a separate blender.  Blend, blend, blend.

7. EAT!

It's ridiculously easy and although only a few ingredients, there are some really strong flavours that work well together making a really tasty, creamy soup.  Depending on how juicy your pears are and how thick you like your soup once blended you may want to add a little more stock/water. My pears were slightly over-ripe so the 750ml was just right and I like a thick soup. 

Let me know if you try it!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Like a kitten but less furry...

When I cast my mind back to last Summer and I think of the rut I felt I was in, the monotonous repeated chain of events that seemed to form my life, I quite truly couldn't be further from that feeling now.  I wrote about the hectic end to last year here and it seems that life is just going to keep on going full throttle.

Say hello...

12 Week Baby Scan

Keeping a secret as big as this quiet is difficult.  We have known since I was five weeks.  I have had to undergo tests and appointments incognito (I knew that fake moustache would come in handy!)  But seriously, it has been about 2 months of lying and make believing, skirting around the truth and making out that I have just been having lots of late nights.  Thankfully I have suffered with virtually no morning sickness.  While I know many expecting mothers would want to throw mouldy fruit at me in sheer envy, it can make for a very unnerving experience at times.  Had I imagined it all?  Was something wrong because my head wasn't placed firmly down the toilet basin?  Of course I have had plenty of other symptoms but everyone always thinks of sickness first - a lot of the other symptoms have been more subtle.  Tell you something though,  I could win a medal for sleeping.  My new found ability to sleep forever and day appeared at around 4 weeks.  Although my mind was yet to know I was pregnant, my body certainly did.  Rumour has it that in the coming few weeks I will find all my energy again and I shall glow like a beautiful glow worm.  I will believe this when it happens.

I am a born worrier.  Over the coming months I am going to learn to worry less.  I must.  I need to be 100% in control throughout this experience.  I suppose like many other first time expectant mothers, it is the unknown that is the most frightening.  What is normal?  Is this normal?  What happens if it all 'goes wrong'?  Surely it will all go wrong?  Can I actually do this?  I really have to push it out of there?

For now I am taking comfort in that my 12 week scan went well.  We saw a baby with a head, two flailing arms and two flailing legs.  And most importantly, a beating heart.  I am taking comfort that millions of women over thousands of years have done this and it's all been just dandy for all them.   I do very much believe that things happen for a reason and so I will just keep on taking it one day at a time.

Things of Note in My First 3 Months of Pregnancy
  • "Oh congratulations, was it planned/were you trying?" seems to be quite a common question when we have first told people.  I find that a little strange and quite personal to be honest.  None of your business really.  We are expecting a baby and we are very happy.  Thank you very much.

  • Not everyone suffers with morning sickness.  In fact, since starting to tell people I know who have had children themselves quite a few of them have had a relatively symptom free pregnancy, especially in the first few months.

  • My hormones are fucking mental.  They are off the scale.  I got blind rage at about 2am because Ben ate more than what I deemed his fair share of a pizza a few hours before.  A pizza that if I am honest I wasn't hugely bothered about eating.  I also now cry uncontrollably at most television and any cute animal.

  • I thought all the medical people I have met (so far!) were going to be horrible to me.  Maybe because I am overweight.  Maybe because they knew we *whispers* had sex.  Maybe because I am young (I am not, I'm 26 but I don't feel I've grown up since I was about 18.)  I don't really know why.  Everyone has been lovely though.  I need to get over myself, don't I?

  • Working in quite a physically active job and knowing you are pregnant at 5 weeks is tough.  It is even harder when you have only been in that job for about 4 weeks before finding out you are going to be living a life of sleepless nights and dirty nappies.  Everything is out in the open now.  Although deep down I know that it is the right thing, it's been scary telling people at work.

  • Once you know you are pregnant you see pregnant people everywhere.  Honestly, I think half the female population of Plymouth are expecting babies.  Bumps abound!