Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Spare Oom Dreamin

It’s nearly time to spend endless hours among the plants, birds and critters in spare oom. Soon the blanket will be out permanently with books ready to read, picnics ready to be eaten, and a little squirmy buddy to introduce to the outside world. 

The list of improvements to our spare room are ongoing, but here are a few things I’ve been dreaming of recently:

Paint it black - our little shed would look amazing with a darkened touch

Curling up with little buddy in an extra large, cozy egg chair

Hanging a little flora or fauna amongst recycled bottles and ceramics

Stringing up lights for those warm nights

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

A little party for little buddy

A couple weeks ago we threw a little shindig in anticipation of little buddy’s arrival. Far from the traditional baby shower, I really wanted T to be there - after all, he played a big hand in making this little family of ours grow. And why stop there? We extended invites to those people who make us feel most loved and have held our hands throughout this journey. Who needs a ‘girl-only’ crowd when you can have a crowd full of love?

The table was set with fresh florals, recycled and vintage glass jars & pottery, and homemade pom poms (which I made for little man’s gender reveal). While visiting my family in Iowa, I adored these flags that mama used to decorate my niece and nephew’s room with. Even though T & I didn’t know we’d successfully make an Iowa baby (!), I decided to buy some for our little buddy. A few months down the line (and a huge belly later) they played a key leading role in the look of our party.

On the menu:

- vanilla cake with chocolate fudge icing. decorated with fresh flowers, woodland creatures, and handmade 'oh boy' cake topper (baked and decorated by me!)
- my signature sugar cookies: daisies, rosebuds, ‘Oh Boy’ & ‘B’ scripted cookies
- popcorn bar & candy filling station (subtly chosen in boyish colours)
- T’s savoury pork meatballs with pasta & a mini sandwich selection (bless that boy!)
- freshly cut veggies
- tea and coffee station

Friends and family also loaded us with finger sandwiches, scrumptious baked goods (have you heard of fifteens?!), cheese twists, potato salad, etc - there was enough food to entertain for days!

As a keepsake from the day, we left out a book for loved ones to fill out their guesses on:

- baby names (favourite guessed include: Buddy, Elvis, Tiny)
- birth date & weight (14lbs & 2 weeks late wasn’t a nice answer!)
- who & what little buddy will look like (Jarvis Cocker? What have I been up to??)

The day was laid back/emotional/fuelled by food/filled with love. 
All of the above. 

A special thanks to all who made our day wonderful (whether near or far). You know who you are. We love ya'll so much.Xx

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

This, That, and Vegan Pancakes

A warming sun has made his big debut over the last couple of weeks, bringing happiness and light to this home of ours. It’s wonderfully calming on those days I’ve spent achey-hipped, indoors. Sash windows cracked open airing out and waking up this winter-tired house. Hello lovely spring. We’ve been waiting for you.

My mind is a little bit of everywhere at the moment. Flitting from baby, to wedding, to garden, to home diy (mainly painting, which I’ve been advised not to do), then back to baby. An endless circle of to dos. Big to dos. Exciting to dos. Wish I could do to dos. 

But! I stumbled upon a wonderful recipe for the perfect fluffy american pancake. (yayyy comfort food!) Rather than baking a batch of cookies and eating them all to myself (although the fatty in me wants it!), I thought I’d treat myself and little man to something a little better for our ever expanding body. Topped with bananas, honey, blueberries and pistachios one day. And bananas, honey and almond flakes the next. The batter makes 6 pancakes. Go ahead and give them a try:

1 1/4c Self Raising Flour
2tbsp Sugar
1/2tsp Salt
1 1/4c Water
1tbsp Sunflower Oil

Mix the ingredients well in a bowl. Spoon the batter onto a heated skillet. When tiny bubbles appear all over your cake and the edges look solid, flip that bad boy. Heat the other side until browned.

Add toppings and enjoy.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Turning it all around

Iron deficiency has been a silent beast lurking around inside me for years. Admittedly, it’s something I’ve always shrugged my shoulders at and carried on without thinking of until we started trying for a little buddy. With a wake up call from the midwife yesterday I know that I need to shift things up another gear. (Not to worry, little man isn’t affected - he’s draining me of all my irony goods, including the supplements I've been taking. I just need to top them up for my own benefit or else I'll be in the dreaded 'high risk' category of pregnancy. A very scary thought.) 

With two bulky grocery bags and a waddle home, today is the day I turn things around. Here’s a little list of ingredients to help you form your own iron army:

- Legumes: chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils
- Nuts: cashews and pistachios top my list
- Leafy greens: spinach and kale - soooo happy that I have the taste for greens again!
- Red Meat: beef and lamb (muscles, scallops and liver pack the biggest punch). Being a recovering vegetarian and living in a ‘no red meat’ zone, this is the last category to step into my diet. I’ll be balancing my chicken with a bit of steak from now on.
- Organic Dark Chocolate: Montezuma’s is a favourite! Sorry creme eggs, I’ll be shelving you for a while.

Try to remember not to eat these ingredients alongside dairy & breads, as the iron will be swallowed up and lost forever...this is a rule that I've only just learned and need to live by. (Obviously don't cut those ingredients from your diet, just eat them at separate times.)

Fingers crossed to healthier blood.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Day I Ate Two Brunches (or thoughts on the last day of my second trimester)

It’s half-term which means my other half has the week off, so we’re filling it up with a bit of life admin and ‘us’ time.

We spent the day wandering Camden, Primrose, Regents Park, Soho & Highgate. An all together nine mile walk - something we’ve grown accustomed to on our Sundays together over the last three months. The day was fuelled by brunch from our local Hilly Kitchen. Strong black americano with scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and toast for him. Decaf cappuccino and fresh orange juice with poached eggs, french toast with lashings of maple syrup, blueberries, bananas, and strawberries for me.

Upon mopping up the maple syrup remnants with my last bite of french toast, T’s eyes shifted towards my empty plate and he asked “Is that going to fill you up? Would you like another one?” To which I sheepishly responded “Yes please.” I mopped up that plate too.

Two brunches. Two.

Admittedly, this is the second time this week that I have had two back to back breakfasts. Two days ago it was a heaping bowl of bran and dried fruits, quickly followed by an omelette of egg, cheddar, and fresh juicy tomatoes. 

Is this what will become of me over the next three months? At least it beats the first three and a half months of eating nothing but beige: Plain pasta. Cream Crackers. Cheddar. Jackie P’s (no toppings). Oranges. Shreddies. On repeat. But oddly, never rice. Get behind me satan!

All in all, the second trimester has been good to me. Here are a few points of note from weeks 14 to 27:

- An appetite to be proud of. Hello wonderful world of colour. I missed you.

- After two miscarriages (the first at 12 weeks. the second at 5 weeks.), it is okay to still think your pregnancy is not viable even after that life changing 13 week scan. It’s okay to be cautious. But try to be positive too. It’s a fine line, but it can be a good line. (Lazing around in the Kefalonian sun during that 12th week works wonders for the nerves too)

- At your 20 week scan, if you don’t want to know the gender, you probably don’t want to see the scan. Our boy is definitely all boy. He showed us from the get go. ;)

- I have become a human pin cushion. Blood tests, flu jabs, acupuncture. Oh my!

- Once your belly swells, people will freely tell you their pregnancy stories without sugar coating them. And ohhhhh the advice they give. Be prepared to hear things you cannot unhear and try to disregard all the crazy comments. Although, apparently boys are better than girls, according to the Muswell Hill mum massive. I’ll take that.

- “You’re blooming!” roughly translates to “wow, you’re HUGE!” Or so I think?

- Hello hip pain. Hello free acupuncture. (Definitely take advantage of all the free treatments & classes the hospital has to offer. God bless the NHS.)

- I no longer have a belly button. Not even an outtie. My stomach is a vast heaping plain.

- My boobs are stuck between needing a new home, and not being large enough for the next cup size. To think I used to be happy flinging my bra off at the end of the day to free those puppies. Now I need to fling it off just to breathe!

- Hello tiny lung capacity. Look what’s happening to me!! 

- Little buddy loves a bit of 3am exercise. Right hooks to the ribs and a game of “Mama! here’s my foot!” (It’s okay to be a little freaked out by the alien-esque movement of your belly)

-It’s absolutely adorable watching your partner try on baby carriers because you’re too big to model them yourself.

The list goes on and on. 

Here’s to the home stretch (and double brunches).

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

My Beauty Favourites

I’ve never been one for a major beauty routine. To me, taking time out for yourself is the most important thing you can do to give yourself a healthy glow. If you can, add a little time to your commute to get some fresh air (I sometimes miss those morning walks from Victoria Station to Oxford Street). Or sink into a nice bubbly tub surrounded by candles after a long day’s work.

Just like anyone else, there are a few basic essentials I need to ensure I feel my best self during the day.

One. Aveda phomollient adds a little bit of bedhead to my hair (I still cannot get away without a daily hair wash. hello grease city)

Two. Mama Mio tummy rub butter and boob tube. Moisturising has always been at the top of my routine and boy do I need it now more than ever with this ever expanding belly of mine. I’m still crossing my fingers that those stretch marks don’t pop up to say hello. These creams seem to have a bit of magic in them so far.

Three. Penhaligon’s candles for bath time wind downs. T-bone and I have recently been gifted the tea trio set and it smells divine.

Four. Rose salve. My winter lips and cracked fingers thank me for this. 

Five. Mac lipsticks (in ruby woo & chili). Even if I have to run out of the house with a dreaded greasy hair bun, I just pop on a little lippy and my mood is automatically lifted. There's something about red lippy that makes you feel like you can run the world.

Six. My eyes have always hated make up. Eyeliner ends up all over the place and shadow never sticks in place for too long. Mascara is the only go to I have to wake up these koala peepers. I stick with Benefit’s They’re Real for a little lift to my lashes.

What is your beauty routine?