little loves [ haim, 13 reasons why + the handmaid’s tale ]

It’s been way too long since I last did a Little Loves post, Fridays come around so soon and I seem to keep missing the boat.  Time is flying by now I’m on maternity leave, I hope it slows down once baby boy arrives as I want the chance to enjoy every second of his babyhood.  And I’m hoping that by next Friday, if I miss linking up my excuse will be because I’m too busy cuddling my newborn!

I’m all-consumed by waiting for his birth, so this is actually a nice chance to reflect on things away from that and talk about something other than pregnancy.

 

Read

Not much to report book-wise, as I spent weeks struggling through Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being.  It just left me cold…hardly a little love!

I spent some time yesterday reading this week’s Stylist though.  I don’t really read any magazines, but I love this free one – it was the highlight of my commuting week and I’m so glad that Hubs remembers to grab me a copy now I’m on maternity leave.  I’m also loving their website, especially this article about an argument that happened on Love Island (which I am proud to say I’ve never seen!) about feminism and paying on dates.

 

Watched

We finally caught up with the world and watched 13 Reasons Why.  We ploughed through it, couldn’t stop watching it – I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was.  The cast, the soundtrack and of course the difficult but very real and relevant issues it tackled were all incredibly well selected and woven into a compelling story with a genius hook.  And as for glamourising suicide, which is a critisism I’ve seen levelled at the show, I don’t agree at all.  If anything I think it did the opposite, because as a viewer you can see all the good that Hannah misses out on by cutting her life short and of the support networks she could have accessed.  Like anyone who saw it, *the* scene in the final episode tore me apart.  A lot of that came down to the fact that I am a mother and saw it from that perspective (to the point of hyperventilation and uncontrollable crying), but I doubt it left any viewer with the opinion that suicide is an easy option, or one without repercussions for those who love you most.  And in general, when you see how self absorbed those who hurt Hannah still were even after hearing how they made her feel, I don’t agree that the series tries to paint suicide as a good way of getting revenge on people either.  It was a great series which tackled an issue which needs more awareness…you can’t get much better than that.

 
We’re now watching The Handmaid’s Tale, which I was so glad Channel 4 picked up.  After reading about it for so long during it’s production I am made up that it’s living up to my expectations.  The book is one of my favourites, and I think it’s an important story to be raising the profile of right now as a lot of the issues in it (reproductive rights, right-wing politics, religious power struggles, feminism and human rights) are so relevant.  If you’ve missed the first few episodes, you should definitely watch it on catch-up and get up to speed for some great Sunday night drama.

 

Heard

I’m quite excited that Haim are due to release a new album this summer, and so when my friend shared this video with me a few weeks back I nearly peed my pants…

I’ve also managed to wrestle the kitchen radio off the teen and discovered Radio X, which replaced my old indie/rock love XFM.  Don’t be put off by the fact Chris Moyles and Johnny Vaughn are on the pay roll – just listen to the choons!  Though I have just Googled and am sad to see they don’t have a single female DJ, which has turned me off a bit…

 

Wore

I’m down to one pair of maternity jeans right now, so I have nothing exciting to put here.  But I did recently get the chance to wear again the maternity evening dress I bought for a wedding.  Our friends’ daughter was christened recently, so I got to dress up for that.  It made me feel a bit more human again, to do my hair and look nice for a while.  No heels, mind you!

 

Made

I actually have something to put here!  I made scones at the weekend, and despite being on the small side (though I’m certain that was the recipe as they rose really well) they were actually pretty good.  And before that I made flapjacks, which were lush.  I’d convinced myself years ago that I couldn’t bake, but I think the problem was that in my healthy quest I was trying to do diet or “clean” baking…which is just crap.  Turns out I can bake pretty well as long as I use real flour, real butter and real (sorry) sugar.  I’m definitely going to embrace real cake from now on.  The healthy part will just be having it in moderation.  I can see baking being a regular thing during my maternity leave!

 

…& finally

My four year old “graduates” from nursery tomorrow.  He’ll still be attending over the summer, but tomorrow is a celebration of them moving on to primary school and this part of their little lives coming to an end.  Provided I don’t go into labour overnight and miss the whole thing, I predict I will be a big blubbering mess!

 

 

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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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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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meal planning monday

I’m pleased to report that after facing up to falling off the wagon last week, I had a really good week.  Apart from missing Clubbercise on Tuesday because I was knackered, I managed to achieve all my other fitness commitments.  And my eating was on point right up until yesterday where Easter did get the better of me.  I still managed to lose all the weight I’d put on during my indulgent previous week, and I now feel like I’m back on an even keel.

Our favourite dish last week was the Thai salmon with jasmine rice, which I’m not surprised about as we’ve loved that one for years.  I got a few comments on the blog about it too so I’ll be sharing the recipe later in the week.  The Jamaican chicken was lush too.  I was disappointed with the Spanish chicken, it must have been a different recipe to one I’ve used in the past and so there wasn’t much sauce to speak of.  It was still nice, but not as I’d hoped.

I’d said I was going to shake up my snacking too, after realising I’d fallen for the SlimmingWorld Muller Light brainwash.  So I cut them out this week and made sweet potato hummus instead…what a game changer!  Check out the recipe over at Slimming Eats.  I’ve also had frozen grapes and used my healthy extras for Grape Nuts with almond milk, which I am now addicted to!

So I’m sticking to my new snacking, keeping my focus now I’m back on track so all that remains to be asked is…what are we eating this week?

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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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why does the diet always start on monday?


Honesty is something I need this blog to have at it’s core.  It’s important to be honest with yourself when you’re on a health journey, and it’s important to the ethos of this blog that I don’t pretend to have it all sussed out.  I’m trying to find health on my own terms, and with that comes some wrong turns.  Those slip ups are as much a part of my journey and my blog as the successes.

 

I have to ‘fess up – I’ve been off the wagon/plan/radar this past week.

Whether it’s because I don’t deal well with being out of my routine or whether I just used being on holiday as an excuse, I’ve eaten like a crap…and eaten a lot of crap.  I can’t even lie – McDonald’s, Greggs, cakes, chocolate, a big dirty fry-up, pizza, macaroni cheese, doughnuts…all that shit and more has graced my palate in the last seven days.  It was like the healthy switch in my head was flicked to off, and I used that downtime to make bad food choice after bad food choice.

To top it off, I also ignored two of my own mantras – don’t skip weigh-in just because you’ve had a bad week, and don’t wait until Monday, get back on track with your very next meal.  I skipped SlimmingWorld on Thursday, and it’s only now that I’m drawing a line under my gluttony.

I’m trying not to beat myself up about it.  After all, I could have been spending my whole pregnancy eating like that and piled on weight like I have in the past, so one bad week isn’t the end of the world.  But I am angry at myself for undoing some of my good work – I stepped on the scales and it looks as if I’ve gained about 4lbs this week.

 

I can’t turn back time so I just need to look forward.

And that begins with a meal plan and some exercise commitments.  Exercise-wise I’ve done a body weight and stretch session today. If I’m not too knackered after work tomorrow I’ll do a (gentle!) Clubbercise class, and then try to fit in another body weight session when I’m working at home on Thursday.  Hopefully I’ll fit in a session with weights and a yoga dvd over the weekend too, but we’re going to Stirling on Saturday and our youngest is having a friend round on Sunday so I wont hold my breath.

 

You can read on to see our meal plan…

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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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meal planning monday 27-03-2017

Last week’s meal plan – 20th March – went well.  I made every meal I planned to (although we did have a Chinese on Thursday night after weigh-in.  I still made the planned meal but took it for lunch on Friday), and even the new dishes went well.


L-R top-bottom :: tuna with ratatouille, chicken biryani, pork chop with roasted butternut squash, beef goulash, Moroccan chicken, fruit trifle

The beef stroganoff got some interest in the comments, and it was delicious so I’ll be posting the recipe for that later in the week.  Follow me on Bloglovin’, Twitter or Instagram to know when that post goes live.

So what are we eating this week…?  Click the button below to find out!

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meal planning monday 20-03-17


I am a huge advocate of meal planning, not just from a weight loss perspective but also from a sanity and budget one. I literally couldn’t go into a week blind to what I’m going to be eating.  So when I found out there was a link-up about exactly that, I couldn’t not get involved!

I’m also big on keeping things simple.  So I have the same breakfast each day (oats, fromage frais and chopped banana, either microwaved or as overnight oats), my lunches throughout the week are leftovers from the night before, and weekend lunches are usually either soup of lentils, tomatoes and leftover veg, fry-ups tweaked to be healthy, or jacket potatoes with healthy toppings and lots of salad.  I cook a meal each night though, and that is what my meal plan focuses on.

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