little loves [ chocolat, person of interest + a baby shower ]

 

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve reflected on the things that have brought me joy, and I’m a bit late joining the party today but I wanted to take the chance. My blogging has been a little erratic whilst I finish up work and deal with late pregnancy tiredness, so I’m trying to make a point of writing when I have the time. God knows how erratic it will be once baby boy gets here!

I have three days left of work and then I’m on maternity leave. The midwife came out to our house yesterday to assess the place for our home birth. We’ve unpacked and washed all the clothes, nappies, bedding, steriliser and travel system. Things are getting real, but I’m actually feeling all the calmer for it.

It’s nice to take this chance to reflect on things other than baby and pregnancy though – as you can tell from my last few posts I seem to have a one track mind right now but there actually are other things going on too!

Read…

…Chocolat by Joanne Harris.  Oh, I loved this!  It’s been sitting on my shelf for years, since I saw the film.  I kept putting it off as I’m sure someone somewhere had said it was a difficult read.  I don’t know what they meant by that, as I didn’t find the writing or the subject difficult at all!  It was delicious – funny, captivating, thought provoking and was the literary equivalent of unwrapping and biting into one of the luxury chocolates straight off the pages.  The characters are all so rich, from the self-important and vile priest right down to the imaginary friend rabbit of little Anouk, and I loved the themes of friendship, inclusiveness and questioning of what really is good and evil.

I’ve also read a few blog posts about the BiB awards…which as a newbie blogger seems a million miles removed from what I’m doing.  But it looks exciting, so you never know maybe this time next year I’ll have enough experience to throw my hat in the ring.  If the reaction to my post about what I’ve learned about blogging so far is anything to go by, I’m learning things all the time.  I wish the best of luck to anyone who’s canvasing for votes just now (and to anyone trying to narrow down their favourite bloggers)!

 

Watched…

The last ever Person of Interest *sob*  Hubs and I have watched this since the beginning, and for me it’s never had a slow season.  I love the episode stories, where the team save people identified by a Big Brother-style surveillance machine, and also the overreaching storyline of the team who fight to protect the machine and carry out it’s missions.  There’s some really great female characters in it, which you don’t often see…I was obsessed with Root!  I’ll really miss the show.

I’ve also found myself sucked into One Born Every Minute for the first time in years.  Hubs knows to stay away when I’m watching, as I spend half the time shouting at the telly and the other half blubbing!

 

Heard…

Honestly, I think I’ve found a new addiction – adding music to my birth playlist!  79 songs and counting, which is silly because at the speed I pop my babies out I’ll never get to listen to all the tracks.  But I’m determined that this will be the labour which I finally get to listen to my music. My first was in a hospital and the CD player was broken, my second was so rushed that music didn’t feature, so this time I’m hitting play at the first hint of a twinge.

I’ve also been listening to my hypnobirthing sessions…when I remember.  I need to get more regular with that!

 

 

Wore

I notice I’ve verged back into pregnant/baby territory again…clearly my mind can’t be distracted for long!  But this week I wore a mum-to-be sash, as my wonderful girl tribe threw me a surprise baby shower!  And it really was a surprise – we arrived home from taking the four year old to a party and standing at the front door were my mum, MIL, step-daughter and eight of my friends…and I burst into tears!  Apparently it’s been planned since February, and even Hubs was in on it.  We had a great time eating cake and playing daft games (including a guess-what’s-in-the-nappy one which was pretty gross!), and it was just incredible to have most of my favourite women in the same room.  Some hadn’t met one another, so it was so special to introduce them.  It made me feel so blessed (sorry, can’t bring myself to hashtag).  It’s taken until my 30’s to find my little tribe, but it was worth the wait – I’m so lucky to have them all.

 

Made…

I struggle with this section every time!  I’ve not even cooked anything new this week, so I can’t claim that.  I have decided that one of my maternity leave projects will be to learn to bake, so hopefully I’ll have something to share here if the results aren’t too shameful.  I don’t know what it is about baking, but it’s something I’ve never mastered.  It’s like witchcraft!  But I’m determined to at least make a passable batch of brownies to win the approval of my boys.

 

…& Finally

I’m tempted to force Hubs to paint my toenails, as I can no longer reach my feet.  But after hearing my friend’s story about when her hubby painted hers in pregnancy (apparently it looked like he’d basically just dipped each toe straight into the pot of polish) I’m a bit scared.  Wish me luck (and pretty tootsies!).

 

 

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what I’ve learned from my first two months of blogging

 

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog recently.  I’ve been trying to devote my spare time to practicing my hypnobirthing breathing and basically just trying to chill out. I’ll blog about that in full when I get round to part two of my birth plans (you can read part one, about why I want a homebirth, here), but I had to get back on here to soothe the nagging guilt about abandoning my blog.

I’ve mentioned previously that I gave blogging a go before, a few years back.  I gave up on it because I found myself struggling with feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy under the shade of the big hitters, the slick pro-bloggers, the celebs of the blogosphere.  It felt a bit pointless to continue something I’d only started as a way to keep my mind active during maternity leave, but which had grown arms and legs and schedules and social media pressure, and which was eating away at my confidence.  This time I’m trying to keep the fun in it and to maintain some perspective, and so thought I’d take this lull to reflect on what I’ve learned since I started this little scrap of the WWW back in March.

 

1.  I am a hobby blogger…and that’s ok

I came to blogging after having an online journal for over ten years.  My experience was sharing rants, anecdotes and the occasional low-res drunken photo with a small group of similarly angsty teenagers.  So I was a bit scared off when I saw that blogging had a professional sheen and competitive, stats-driven side that was all new to me.

I understand now that for many bloggers this isn’t just a creative outlet – it’s how they make their living.  But at the time I panicked, and felt much the same way as I had when as a kid I was accidentally put in a swim class beyond my ability (a mix up, I happened to share a name with a more advanced swimmer)  – out of my depth, scared stiff and nearly drowning.

Now I can appreciate that I was a bit like a middle aged cyclist on a council cycle path trying to compare myself to a young Olympian in a fancy velodrome – similar sport, but vastly different levels of talent, time and equipment!  And you know what?  I’d look shit in one of those lycra suits anyway, so I’m quite happy to trundle along, avoiding the potholes with the other amateurs.

 

2.  There is more than one type of blogger

Hand in hand with the above is that this time around I’m more aware that there are many different types of bloggers. I’ve been heartened finding those who do what they do just…because.  Don’t get me wrong, I love reading blogs by those who collaborate with big organisations and who are practically brands in their own right.  But I’m balancing the pro-bloggers with the hobbyists this time around.

 

3.  Even novice bloggers need a plan

Or maybe that’s just heavily pregnant scatterbrains like me!  But its so easy for me to let days pass me by – I get in tired from work, collapse on the sofa after dinner and ooops…blogging time is over before I’ve even touched the keyboard.  But I’m a stickler for a to-do list, and a plan will help me get new content up on a regular basis.  I need to make blogging routine – nothing too regimented or busy, given that I will soon have a newborn to contend with, but enough to kick me up the arse when I’m tempted by another evening vegetating in front of a box set.

 

4.  Write first, read later

This has two meanings.  My first is when putting together a post – I need to stop editing as I write!  It can take me forever to write a post if I’m constantly tweaking and re-reading (I know, right?  This crap I put up is actually the polished version…you don’t want to see the mess it starts as).  I need to train myself to get the words down first, and worry about prettying them up afterwards.

The second meaning is to get my own blog posts written before I lose myself in reading other blogs.  I’m such a fan of other bloggers that I can be distracted from my own writing by a single intriguing  tweet, fall down the rabbit hole and emerge bleary eyed with my bed calling, having read ten other blog posts but with only my own blank post editor to show for it.

 

5.  But always read…and comment

I’m not the most savvy networker, and building relationships with other bloggers is something I’ve just not mastered.  But reading and commenting on other blogs has helped me feel more like part of the community, and I like to think/hope that some of those bloggers will head over here too.  I know how good I feel if someone comments on my blog, so I like to make sure I’m spreading some of that love and positivity myself.  Hopefully in time that will lead to some friendships, and maybe even some readers.

 

6.  Social media is a WTF

I don’t know if I will ever crack the beast that is social media.  Twitter is like a bunch of people shouting into a void, I only realise a moment was Instagram-worthy once it’s passed me by, and I don’t even know what a Snapchat is.  I’ve been putting pressure on myself to jump into the rapids of social media, but it’s like that swimming lesson all over again.  So I think for now, I’ll just stick to working on my blog and joining in with linkies.

Speaking of which…

 

7.  I love linkies

Whilst its clear that not everyone plays fair, linkies have been by far the best way for me to get my posts noticed.  And also to feed my blog reading addiction, but that’s maybe not always a good thing (see #4).  Some linkies are better than others for people reading and commenting, and I think those will be the ones I focus on to help get me established.

 

8.  My blog is already evolving

I started this as a place to chart my health efforts, but already I’ve found that I can’t talk about health without talking about my pregnancy.  And I’m actually enjoying bringing my role as a mother into my blog.  I think it’s way too early to try to force myself into a niche…maybe I wont ever have one.  And I’m not going to avoid certain topics just because they don’t fit.

 

9.  I need to take more photos

And to use this as an opportunity to really get to grips with what my camera can do.  There’s nothing worse than delaying a post because I don’t have an image to go with it, and using stock pictures makes me feel like I’m cheating a bit!  I’m going to be realistic, I’m probably never going to have the beautiful sorts of images I drool over on other blogs and a flat lay sounds more like a crap shag than something I could carry off, but I’m going to have fun trying.

 

10.  I’m excited about what the next few months will bring

Ok, so there will be a new baby in that time, which is the most exciting thing ever.  But blog-wise, I’m just curious to see what I can make of this place.  Hopefully I can get some more readers, and start to feel more comfortable and confident about what I’m doing here!

 

 

Help a girl out – do you have any tips for a newbie like me?  Or maybe you could just lend me some moral support by following me on Twitter or Bloglovin’ – who knows, your blog could be my next addiction!

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little loves [ oitnb, earworms + microsoft band ]

 

 

Oh Friday, here you are!  You’ve taken your time getting here this week, I’m knackered!  Maybe that’s the fault of the ridiculously late night I had on Saturday celebrating a friend’s birthday (who knew you could party until gone 3am, stone cold sober and 32 weeks pregnant?!), or the fact I had four days in the office dealing with frustrations, or because Hubs has been away for work all week, but I’m glad the weekend is nearly here.  The only thing we have planned is helping out at the nursery to tidy up the garden (to be fair, I don’t think I’ll be getting my hands as dirty this year), so I plan on doing a whole lot of chilling out.

But before then, I want to celebrate the little things that have helped me get through the week…

Read…

…The Weekenders: Travels in the Heart of Africa – a collection of writing about Sudan published back in 2001 when a group of authors and journalists visited the war-torn south of the country.  They then wrote inspired by their time there and published it to raise funds and awareness.  I’m not sure I can say this book has taught me anything more about the political side of the conflict, which still wages on even now, but to be honest I’m more interested in the human aspect and I feel this book has struck a note in that respect.  I’ve never read a short story or writing collection – especially when it’s been written by a number of different authors – and been blown away by every single piece…but to be honest I’ve not really been all that excited reading any of the pieces in this book.  It started off on a high note with Alex Garland’s very short story, but other than that it’s been a bit bland.  I think its mission is stronger than its individual components, which I suppose is fine in a charity effort, but it’s not going to end up on my favourites shelf!  I’m still glad I read it though, as I feel it taught me something.

 

Watched…

Hubs and I have a lot of series that we watch together, and I don’t have many that I watch on my own as our tastes are pretty similar, but I’ve enjoyed having control of the tv this week!  Orange Is The New Black is a show Hubs just wasn’t interested in (although I think he’s kicking himself now that he’s seen the odd bit!).  So I took advantage of having the telly to myself and finished season three this week, which I know means I’m at least two years behind everyone else, but that’s nothing new!  I love OITNB, it’s so funny but it tackles some really important issues.  And, y’know…Alex Voss #girlcrush.

 

Heard…

I’ve been in the office a lot this week, and when I am I treat myself to a cappuccino from our café.  But with that, I run the gauntlet of the dreaded earworm.  God love ’em, I think the women who work in the café are wonderful…but their taste in music is fucking horrific.  I come away from the counter clutching my yummy caffeine hit (don’t judge, one hit a day is my only pregnancy vice), but invariably with a 70’s disco classic lodged in my brain.  This week’s highlight low point has been Yes Sir I Can Boogie

 

Wore

My wardrobe is very limited by pregnancy, but for the party over the weekend I wore a denim-look maternity dress I bought from Asda way before I even started showing.  I’ve only worn it a handful of times – I bought it for work but it creases in quite unflattering ways which made it look a bit scruffy.  But in the dimmed lights it was fine, and I got a lot of compliments from my friends which is always nice!

 

Made…

I always struggle here, with food being the only thing I really make…and I’ve not even done that this week!  With Hubs being away and the kids always being fed by their grandparents when I’m in the office, I didn’t really have incentive to cook.  I was just going to have eggs every night, but my mum has insisted on feeding me instead.  So I suppose you could say I’ve made appreciative noises?!  It’s always nice when someone cooks for you.

 

…& Finally

Clearing out my storage at work in preparation for maternity leave (four weeks to go!), I found the charger for my Microsoft Band.  I’ve been looking for that ruddy thing for ages!  After fighting with it to connect to my new phone, it’s now strapped back on to my wrist…and I’ve been appalled at how inactive I am during the day.  Although I’ve kept up my exercise during this pregnancy, I’ve been moving less during the day as walking is really uncomfortable.  Not much I can do about that now, but I’ll be interested to see how my stats change once I’m out walking with the pram every day!

 

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little loves [ chocolate, jake gyllenhaal + hypnobirthing ]

 

Friday has caught me off guard a bit this week – the days felt as if they were dragging and then all of a sudden here we are nearly at the weekend.  It’s been a bit of a strange week for me anyway, where I’ve alternated between days where I’ve felt I could conquer the world and others where I felt as if I was trying to run through treacle.  The joys of late pregnancy!

But Friday means time to reflect on what has brightened my days this week, and there has been a lot…

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#littleloves [ toni morrison, nearly naked feet + a cute food diary ]

I love that Friday has come around again.  Plus, I have a three day weekend ahead of me once I finish up tonight.  Admittedly that weekend does contain a play date, a kid’s birthday party and a swim meet, so neither restful nor my idea of bliss, but at least it doesn’t include work and takes me one step closer to maternity leave.  I’m now past the 30 week mark!

After all the fun of London and Legoland last week, this has been a routine and not very exciting seven days.  But that isn’t to say there haven’t been some highlights, so check out what Little Loves have brightened my days this week…

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#littleloves [ legoland, yellow ponchos + making memories ]

 

We have been making the most of the spring holidays this week, and spent a few days in London on a sort of family baby-moon.  Legoland was our main destination, but we managed to cram in a fair bit in three days.  So that’s why there’s been some radio silence on the blog this week, and why most of my Little Loves today will have a bit of a theme!

Legoland was really great, and I might do a blog post on that alone.  I had been a bit worried how a 30 week pregnant woman would cope with a theme park, but we had an amazing day.  I coped well with the whole trip actually, even though we clocked up over 8 miles on foot each day, so I’m very proud of myself.

Little Loves focuses on the small touches that have made the past week sparkle, and there have been quite a few so lets get started…

 

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