Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Nursery Project


Ooh its exciting to get a nursery ready... and I love this idealistic stage before the reality hits and your beautiful nursery gets filled with nappy wipes! (especially true when baby gets to the stage where the best activity is sitting in the cot pulling all the wipes out of the pack you thought they couldn't reach while you think they are sleeping).
We had fun painting this in October... a little early but a lovely way to spend an afternoon when you are excited about being pregnant. It was nice to get the boy involved one afternoon when the girl was out at a birthday party.
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At this stage we hadn't had the 20 week scan so had no idea whether we were going for 'blue' or 'pink'... so chose a beautifully simple theme that would work for either and could easily be tweaked to make it a little boys or a little girls room. I love this 'rain grey' colour for a nice unisex room mainly because I would choose it for a boy or a girl anyway -and so much more beautiful than the traditional unisex beige-brown tones.nursery2
We eagerly awaited the scan and were told to expect a little girl and so the nursery could start taking a few little touches. I've heard too many stories of friends being told the wrong gender so have tried very hard not to go overboard but couldn't resist just a few little dresses! I've also gone with lots of white baby grows, white knitted jumpers and stuck as much as possible with grey and white. I like it when a baby looks like a baby. White things are just so lovely and clean. I also don't want to deal with the fuss of having tonnes of clothes and outfits with particular tights to wear with particular dresses - there is plenty of time for that if they hit the diva stage so sticking to a simple colour scheme and simple baby appropriate items is the way I'm choosing to head forward!
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We've not spent much at all. For the first 7 months of this pregnancy we were scrimping on 1 income and unsure of what would happen once I was on maternity leave so everything has been focused on needing as little as possible, reusing and recycling. The cot used to be Joel's! Its been passed through a few cousins and both of our children and now has a fresh coat of antique white paint. The blankets are all hand me downs and I do love having real knitting that Grandmas have done. One of them dyed a shade of blue accidentally in the wash with a pair of Elijah's shorts - but I quite like it so haven't tried to colour fix it yet! Fred is sitting ready in the cot to continue being a loved teddy bear. He was knitted for me by my Nannan's next door neighbour and finished the day I was born. He's been through many adventures with me and is keen to be good friends with my own children (but will always live right here- with me. I will ALWAYS be his favorite)
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We bought the change table/ chest of drawers off ebay. I was looking at second hand ones for a while but came across a seller 'komfyliving' who would make one for me in the size with number of drawers I wanted and deliver it to into the nursery itself - and untreated so that I didn't need to use a chalk paint on it over any varnish. This cost just £109 and I love it. I've gone for my change bag from John Lewis. I had looked at change bags for a long long time and am just not a fan of plastic baby related accessories or slogans. I realised I was looking for the plainest bag possible so decided just to look for a decent sized handbag and when I read the reviews of this John Lewis one I saw some of the comments said it had been a great change bag or the criticisms were that it had been too big for a normal handbag! Its got 3 main sections and lots of zippy pockets to keep all the bits and pieces well organised.
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I've seen lots of blogs and pins using this idea of a twig as a hanging rail. I love it and its so pretty. Babies don't need many things on hangers but for the few little adorable things you can't look at enough this is a great way to get your 'aesthetic fix' without having to change your child 10 times a day. I found this twig on the school run. I was going to head into the woods on a hunt for a good one - and having done this every Easter and Christmas for a few years now I know that finding the right twig is so much easier said than done. On my way to the woods I was just finishing off chatting to another mum when my eyes fell on this one - right outside the school gate. I think she was quite bemused by how exciting this was for me but it felt as though it had fallen right out of the sky just for me! I think it may have belonged to a dog actually (sorry doggy) and its first use was to be our advent twig for Christmas. After a big scrub with lots of bleach I have it a watered down paint.  It fitted perfectly in our kitchen window for hanging advent envelopes and now it fits perfectly in the nursery.
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We've gone for totally free artwork. Me and the kids stamped these lovely Bible verses onto cuts of wallpaper sample and framed them and the Alice in Wonderland picture is from a magazine shoot in an old Junior magazine that we used for Holly's Mad Hatters tea Party a few years ago... and I quite liked it so we kept it up!IMG_7750

This blanket is my favorite gift. I bought a beautiful Rowan pattern book of baby things when I'd just had Holly 9 years ago and my mother-in-law said she would teach me to knit. I managed some leg warmers and a couple of scarves but this book was just beyond me. A friend of my mums offered to knit me a cot blanket and had sent some patterns for me to look at. I was a bit cheeky and asked her if she thought she might be able to manage this one as I'd loved it for so long. How wonderful of her and in the perfect colour for the nursery. It's just the prettiest thing!
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This beautiful rocking horse was passed on by a friend and this is one of our laundry crates currently being used to store a massive stock of 'Little Lamb' washable nappies. I love these crates. I found them on ebay, sold by a farmer, and we have now a stack of them in the lounge. Each member of the family gets their own (filled with the ironing I do on a Sunday night during Mr Selfridge) to collect and take to put away themselves... and an extra one for towels and bedding. The cute little rabbit storage bag sitting amongst them is prefect to store sudocreme and cotton wool and from Red Apple Tree Crafts on Etsy.
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Right Baby T - we are ready for you to join us now!

Monday, 24 March 2014

My Pregnancy Survival Guide


The only thing I remember from my first two pregnancies is the height of labor pain. I knew that I'd heard too many women say that the pain is horrendous but then you forget it and commit to doing it again...so I decided I would lodge that feeling into my brain so that I wouldn't fall for that. The trouble is I'm now 39 weeks pregnant with the fear looming. I don't remember any of the other bits! This time round though I choose a wider variety of survival notes... incase I ever do this again... because who knows...!?

1. Don't bother with the maternity label in clothes. Buying clothes early on is a good idea actually, so that you only buy stuff that you will fit and wear afterwards too. I've had to get a couple of maternity bits and pieces - a winter coat, skinny jeans with one of those unattractive but comfy waistbands (which I've been told are also great for breastfeeding when you want a few layers to cover up bits of body you don't want to show off in public weeks after childbirth) and a dress or two. Other than that I've looked for things like dresses and longer vest tops, a couple of pretty Joules tunics, basic cardigans and scarves that I can layer up and will fit just fine in the months to come post birth. I don't know why I did it but I succumbed to buying one of those maternity wrap dresses. It was mumsy, a weird 90's esq pattern, looked boring snoring on the website... but something in me decided that I might grow up and want to look sensible and pregnant this time round??! I wore it once to the office subconsciously when I knew I wouldn't be seeing many people. I felt like a boring, personality-less, generic lady from a catalogue and hated every moment in it. It wont get worn again- ever. I'm much, much happier in shirts, and cardigans over a long vest with jeans or shorts - I feel like me. Perhaps the best investment has been bump band though - anything which supports some of the weight of your tummy and gives your back a bit of help is well worth the money (and by 'money' I mean £12 from asos) .
2. Remember it's worth it. Right now its worth it. I'm 39 weeks, not sleeping or walking comfortably. I know there is a babies head very lodged right into my pelvis so getting in and out of a car, bending down to sort the washing, getting in and out of bed and generally sitting still at a desk all hurts... but it's still worth it. There was a moment in the first few weeks when tiredness and nausea was getting to me. I couldn't imagine growing a bump that would feel like a baby was even part of what was going on... so at that stage remember that people will be more sympathetic when you start to look pregnant and if you can get away with going to bed at 8pm for a few weeks it will be ok and that feeling of utter exhaustion won't last forever. If you need to puke your way through the first trimester then tell people that you feel that way. The worst part of any of my pregnancies (child-birth not included) was taking the drs advice, the first time round, not to tell anyone until after 12 weeks. Finding suitable puking places is so much more traumatic when you are set on trying to convince everyone around you that you are fine and not-at-all-pregnant.
3. Keep a lot of snacks ready and bottles of water in your handbag/next to your bed at all times. Don't allow your husband to drag you on an 11 mile walk with only a kids lolly to keep your energy levels up. You will go off him by mile 8 and start to fantasize about cherry tomatoes in pasta with anchovies. (Or pack up a meal like that and consume between mile 8-11.) Don't eat sweets to make yourself feel more awake - oranges, rice cakes and bran flakes with lots of full fat milk will be far better and keep the nausea at bay - unless its just that horrid nausea where you'll be sick whatever you have. Don't get that type. Corn flakes at 3am may be a bit odd... but when you were 10 years old that would have been the most exciting thing in the whole world so go with it and enjoy it - it will only last a month or two!
4. Spend your spare money on having nice hair cuts, beauty treatments, gorgeous overnight creams and treats for the bath. You'll be spending a LOT more time in your PJs than normal and not as much money on party shoes so make that PJ time feel a bit more productive and treat yourself before you go through the birth and you'll feel incredibly battered and certainly will not be wanting a bikini wax for quite a while. We had a massive cut in income for the first 6 months of this pregnancy...dying my own hair, no haircuts and feeling v drab didn't help. I've got all my treatments and hair appointments booked in for this final week so that I don't have to figure out how to do those with a newborn for just a little bit longer.
5. Don't worry about nesting too early. I thought I was a bit OTT getting the nursery ready in week 12 but I do like to do things early on. If I'd held off till now I would have run out of energy. Looking after a 7 and 9 year old, working and trying to hand over 9 years of work to other people form while I'm away and carrying a huge tummy around has meant my nesting has worn off a little. I've decorated 5 rooms of the house at various points of the 2nd trimester but I'm not desperate to get out the paints again at the moment.
6. Eat as well as you can. I've been lucky enough to have spent 3 sessions in the last couple of weeks with a nutritionist. The plan was to devise an eating plan to help with weight loss after the birth. After a couple of hours listening about the benefits of B vitamins, calcium and the production of selenium I couldn't hold myself from a cupboard binning session and a big shop at Sainsburys. I know I've really benefited from eating well before but had got lazy more recently. I have no need to wait until I've given birth to banish those nasty sugar cravings and fill my day with filling and healthy snacks. I feel SO MUCH BETTER. Already.
7. Don't wear wooly jumpers. Huge boobs and a huge tummy do not need any more volume adding and you wont be happy when you look in the mirror in one. Christmas jumpers will be here to stay for a few more years so they can afford to take a year off.
8. Think of baby names earlier than 4 days before. Having banned all baby name discussion after both children were writing lists of 100 a day we haven't got back into that topic yet and with 4 days till due day the panic is setting in! We are now pretty much decided between 2... but they are only for one gender and if we get a surprise (it happens so often!) we are well and truly stumped! Time to get onto mumsnet for some help!!

Monday, 17 March 2014

My food intentions...

Have I really got just one more proper week at work left?! Since Golddigger Trust began in 2005 I have lived and breathed it and never not been there... 9 months off is looming and is such a strange concept that I'm both nervous about and looking forward to. 

I know this time I'm really having to gear myself up for a big life change. I could balance work with a 2nd baby because the second baby just slots into the familiar flow when he arrives 2 years after the first baby. You know what you are doing with the baby... the 2 year old is the challenge. This time I've a 9 and 7 year old with totally different needs and demands. I do HAVE to get them to school on time and ferry them to their after school clubs. I don't get to spend time with my newborn and Pjs in equal measures. So its keeping me calm to know that as life is about to get interesting I also don't have to juggle my job in that mixture, at least for a little while. 

Food is the focus of my obsession this week. Being at home a little more means I can gain control of the fridge and cupboards and 'Operation Superfood' begins. I've been meeting with an amazing well of nutritional information and advice (http://rosiesnutrition.blogspot.co.uk/ is her blog and well worth reading and making a shopping list off the back of) Rosie has been talking me through foods that will be great support for me and baby through breast feeding and filling my food planner with snacks I can eat as much as I need to to get me through sleepless nights. This week on Secret Eaters the experiment found that we eat more and make worse food choices when we've had uninterrupted sleep - so all crap is being eradicated from the house well before we get to that. Rosie has just delivered me a 2 week meal plan to follow and s ready made shopping list to go with it. Since that is all planned out for me I may need to start on Christmas early... my list addiction has one less job to do! 

I am SO passionate about eating well. I am much stricter with the children than I am with myself. I always make sure they have a great packed lunch and are filled with good stuff so that they don't ever complain that we don't have crisps, chocolate, sweets (and they've never been anywhere near a Mcdonalds) and we always sit down to a veg filled main family meal but I'm far more prone to grabbing a cuppa soup for lunch at work or cooking far too basic food for myself if I'm not cooking for the family. I'm very guilty of trying to restrict calories in the day and then turning to Haribo in the evenings to power through the tiredness. No more. I am going to be a good mum of 3... and being well, full of energy and displaying good eating habits has just got to help with that. Plus right now, at 38 weeks pregnant, and for however long I manage to breast feed for, my baby is fed by what I eat... so powder with a bit of water in is just not a real food. 

The cost involved in eating uber well has always been a bit of an issue. I flit between eating well and eating cheap. The two are not mutually exclusive but I probably wont manage to shop at Sainsburys for a week for £25 on this plan. I love it though that the foods our body actually needs are fairly simple. The supermarket is full of aisles of packaging, processed, created foods that we can completely bypass and simply keep a stock of a few grains, a selection of fresh fruits and veg and some nuts, oils and seeds. I will not be surprised if our grocery bills are still pretty low - and with the satisfaction of knowing we are all healthier and happier because if it. 

Today's happiness comes as a mixed bean salad - Adouki beans, haricot beans, chickpeas, red pepper, chilli, tomato, sundried tomato, olives, corriander, mint (fresh from the garden) olive oil, lemon juice and white ine vinegar, bulgar wheat and quinoa... 100 more happy points than a cheese sandwich. :-)