Thursday, 30 September 2010

Keeping Busy.

I had decided that I hadn't done much cooking for Freya recently, so went through my Annabel Karmel cook books and drew up some menu plans. The first of my experiments was a boiled egg, which I have never attempted to cook. We don't even possess an egg cup... a Jack Daniels shot glass it is.

Freya was a bit freaked out about the whole egg thing and to be fair it was 'snotty'- practice makes perfect. The afternoon was more of a success. I made oat and raisin cookies to have with milk. I didn't have any wholemeal flour so used Spelt flour instead- good news for my brother Steve who is gluten intolerant. These turned out really goey and lush and so easy to make.

Nicola texted me this week to let me know that the reason Elodie was out of sorts was that she had Measles, and suggested that I get checked out. After speaking to the midwives they said that Measles was really very rare and unlikely to cause me a problem at this stage. It could be 'slapped cheek', which is a viral illness and I would benefit from having bloods taken for Parvo. Hopefully, my back end won't go and Craig won't be forced to have me put down.

After having a couple of days that revolved around Freya and Mooms, I decided to go to Dunhelm Mill with mum to find some bookends. A 'girly' shopping trip, but all we came away with was this egg cup.

We also popped into Hobbycraft- where you always end up spending a fortune on things that you don't need. I got some craft paper to make Freya a name plaque for her door and ended up getting an autumn wreath which I added some little glass toadstools to. A nice distraction from all the other crap that I need to do.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Not Really a Makeover- Just a Tidy Up.

On my big list of things to do before the baby arrives was, sort out the nursery. I was saying to Craig that I remember having a giant list of things to do before Freya arrived... where do these random tasks come from? Craig's reply was something about 'entropy blah blah' (can't remember) My vacuum packing, organising and printing label days are nearly done... pretty much everywhere is done. We just have random gubbins to sell on eBay now. It would be good to get a bit of extra cash to go towards the double buggy.

Here is the nursery before and after...

The cot was full of junk and the base needed putting back up to full height. My wonderful eBay mobile got treated to fresh batteries and is ready to rock. Unfortunately, there is the monitor back again!

The rest of the room was kind of like an attic, where things get left because you are not quite sure if and when you will need them again. Freya's pop up cot was out because Elodie had been over for an afternoon sleep. All the soft toys went for a spin in the washer. Only what is useful is out now.

Just a state really, but then after several hours of sorting, dumping and damp dusting... et voila! I have tried to make it less pink and a little more blue just in case. The nappy stacker has my terry nappies in and that black bag holds my new breast pump. I can think of better things to spend £190 quid on but it will be going on eBay to fund my new cocktail habit in 4 months or so (I kept the original box especially!

Tidy nursery- Check.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

False Starts.

The soft play centre turned out to be a bit of a nightmare...36 weeks pregnant, chasing after a toddler and leaning into ball pools etc. The thing was, if you needed to do something like get a high chair then you had to carry Freya with you otherwise she was just bombing off and jumping on the bottom of slides and generally putting herself in harms way. We had fun but I certainly paid for it.

When we got home, I put Freya to bed and my back was aching so bad I had to get into the bath. Unfortunately, Freya wasn't for sleeping- 20 minutes later I got out, and dripping wet, changed her pooey nappy. Back into the bath. Freya was still shouting because I had left Madam Lapin (Pan) at Nic's- big mistake.

This stinky rabbit with a brown face is Freya's best friend. We had tried to avoid her having a special toy because we have heard lots of stories of real grief when they get lost. However, Freya formed this attachment all by herself... you can't control everything. Maybe it is better to have loved and lost eh? Aimee, Freya's cousin has several rabbits, kind of like this one. She can tell the difference between them all, in case anyone thought the solution was to buy in bulk and substitute rabbits when needed. We have tried to limit Madam Lapin's outings to reduce the risk of losing her, so we have other toys for out and about.

After about an hour, I got out of the bath again to try and settle her, only to find that she had wedged her legs through the bars. I gave it up as a bad job and decided that she could come and sit with me in the bath and have a play.

Unfortunately, I needed to drag my watery carcass back to Nic and Nick's to get 'Pan'. I got a free cup of tea and slice of cake for my troubles and Nick helped me load up the car which was lovely. On return to the house, Craig had managed to shake some of his hangover off, so was charged with sorting Freya's dinner and bed out. While I ran another bath.
I was starting to get concerned at this point, the back ache was worsening, my stomach had tensed up and my undercarriage was aching (too much information maybe) I thought this could be the start of something. I desperately hoped not as being early naturally means that I would have to go into hospital. I stayed in bath another hour, got out and went to bed. Craig brought me some buttered crumpets, green tea and a hot water bottle. Three hours and series two of Phoenix Nights later... all was well. No more soft play for me.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Girls Night In.

This Friday Craig went out to Manchester for a Sony Ericsson reunion night out, thus leaving Mooms, Freya and myself free to gatecrash Nic and Nick's. What a logistical nightmare. There was all Freya's stuff including the pop up cot which Craig had to teach me how to fold, at half eleven at night. If you twist it the wrong way, it suffers a terminal malfunction apparently. Moomin needed food and her bed packing. She also had to have a bath before being in polite company. After packing all that crap, I could barely be bothered to pack a toothbrush and change of clothes for myself. I managed a bag of maltesers and a bottle of Viogner though.

Becky and James were over from Sheffield with their two children, Faye and Owen. Four children under five to bath and get to bed, sounds chaotic huh? Luckily for us, Nick has a big roll top free standing bath. They all sat in it facing the same way, looking like they were waiting for the 563 to Bolton but job done.

It felt weird as I was for all intents and purposes a single mother while everybody else 'tag-teamed' their children to bed. However, Freya was a peach and I still managed to bag a spot by the fire with a glass of wine in my hand before the others. I feel a little smug that we have ditched our baby monitor as Freya continues to sleep from seven till seven. Poor Elodie continues to struggle with her teeth and was waking three hourly for Calpol. Owen can also be unpredictable at night too.

By nine o clock we were sat round with a chinese and a few beverages, chatting about work colleagues having affairs and other earth shattering stuff. Just what the doctor ordered. I was wearing the white linen maternity pants that Becky had lent me, feeling a bit odd wearing summer clothes in front of the fire (at the end of September)but luckily Becky was also wearing white pants because she wanted to give them their last outing of the year. I completely understood (the strange things women do).

We chatted about my decision for a home birth and other girly things until late, while the men smoked cigars in the garden. The group decided that 1 am was probably a good time to sneak to bed as with four kids upstairs it was a bit like Buckaroo- sooner or later something will disturb one of them and then all hell will break loose. Tomorrow meant the joy of the soft play centre...

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

I Can Breathe Again.

I have noticed today that I can take a full lung full of air. I assume that the baby has dropped, despite still looking the size of a house. I even managed to run up our stairs- It felt great. I can't wait to get back on the treadmill. I have traded the shortness of breath for abdominal discomfort but I really don't care. The end is now in sight.

Some of the girls from work came over today which was a real pick me up. Emily and Amelia (9 months), Kate and Ruby (4 years) and Lisa and William (7 months). It was nice to chat to real working mothers who aren't all 'baby, baby, baby'. Although they do put me to shame. Emily is starting a degree module online tonight. Kate is upping her hours at work to full time. Lisa has enough to cope with four children, one with Aspergers, a 30 hour working week and a hobby rescuing chickens.

Emily made me feel better as she told me that she is not going to any mother and baby groups either as she thinks they are 'all arseholes'. Both Emily and Kate have family nearby just like me - they agreed that there never seems to be time to fit those things in anyway. Freya was great today with having all the extra people around. She played nicely with Ruby and was gentle with the babies. She was a little bit distressed at the sharing side of things but that is par for the course.

She did kick off at being told 'no more fairy cakes' she wailed with real tears for about fifteen minutes- I was proud of myself as I put up with it and tried to distract her till it passed. You can see how that can wear parents down, Em said she would have given in ten minutes earlier! She's gotta learn that's not how you get things in life (Freya not Emily!). The empty cake cases are modeled by the Strawberry Shortcake doll that Emily bought for Freya. Even Craig noticed that she has got a lot hotter since we were kids.

We went up to see Nanny and Gaga after sleeps (hers and mine) to find that mum is still struggling with her stomach and had a bad night. Wish that there was something we can do practically to help...have to have a think.

It's half seven... I have just shampooed the front room carpet. It's a job that has needed doing for a while what with Moomin chewing bones and Freya mashing rusks and chocolate milk in to it. The task was pushed up my to do list by Freya pouring a pint of Coke on to it at bedtime- ah well, done now! The question is what do I do with the rest of my evening? Washing and Ironing, sorting out my picture frame display for the stairwell, organise the nursery or sit on my arse in front of the fire? Answers on a postcard.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

It's a gas, gas, gas.

I am posting whilst the gas man fixes our boiler. The shower has taken to cycling between hot and cold every thirty seconds just to keep things fresh in the morning. If he wasn't here I would be hoo.

Freya and I had a nice day yesterday walking to feed the ducks etc but my stomach was rock solid all day. Craig was late home from work, so I ended up bathing Freya and I couldn't even bend in the middle. I used one of Freya's toy chairs to sit at the side of the bath. I must have looked like a circus elephant on one of those tiny clown bikes. The discomfort knocked me off my food, which is absurd for me. I managed to rally in the evening and cleared out my wardrobe in attempt to prepare our bedroom for being birth central in a few weeks time. By the time I got to bed at half eleven I was having regular Braxton Hicks which took a couple of hours to go. My body trying to tell me to stop being so anally retentive with tidying and organising the house I guess.

I wanted to write a post about I.T.N.G. In the past two weeks we have discovered the joy that is 'In the night garden'. It's a show in which nothing happens to various characters and then the nothing that happens is fully recapped at the end. This means that the show is actually half an hour long. When you feel ready to fall over with exhaustion, half an hour of dribbling whilst laid on the floor is very restorative. She only gets to watch one a day- so far. You have to restrain yourself from putting more on and actually getting some free time!

It's a little bit weird but captivates children of all ages. It must be bona-fide, it's narrated by Derek Jacobi. Iggle-Piggle is the central character. Freya asks us to 'Phone Piggle' which means to put an episode on (she thinks the remote control is a phone, despite being able to distinguish a mobile from an iPod- go figure). After Piggle has traveled to the night garden, he gets the option of riding on the 'Ni-nonk' or 'Pink-onk' as Freya calls them. She knows the name of all the characters and joins in their little dances.

We now possess are range of merchandise... plastic Makka Pakka helps wash her hair in the bath, she has books, soft toys and we get the magazine that gives you a free crappy toy every two weeks. This little phone is this fortnight's offering. Like father like daughter. She used her lolly stick to  dial the numbers, she's obviously more used to smart phones with a stylus.

Working through the magazine with all it's activities does keep her very happy. It is terribly frustrating watching a toddler colour outside the lines and put the stickers on haphazardly but I'm working through my issues.

The boiler is fixed, hurrah. The shower looks super inviting- really steamy like at a posh gym. I may avail myself of the facilities later when madam is in bed and I am not leaving her doing mischief without supervision.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Frustrating times at the antenatal clinic.

I went to the antenatal clinic on Wednesday as planned only to be told, 'to make a decision on the home birth I would need another scan to see the progression of the fibroids'. Could they have a quick look there and then? Of course not. I would need to come back for the scan and another consultant appointment on Friday. It doesn't seem like a big thing going to the hospital ten minutes down the road. However, when you are desperately trying to time sleeps, nappy changes and food for a toddler it becomes more of a headache. Attempting to keep her busy for more than fifteen minutes is also a bit of a nightmare.

We came back on Friday armed with a small bag of toys and snacks. We got there at about twenty to eleven for our appointment at eleven. I was scanned at ten past...good, good. I was hoping for a really good look at the baby but counter-intuitively the further along you are the worse the scan is because there is no room for the baby to thrash around. The baby was head down with it's back to us, not worth even asking for a four quid print out. The good news being that the fibroids aren't blocking the exit, they are unchanged in size and remain small. Freya happily munched on raisins in the corner throughout.

We then went back out into the clinic and waited an hour and five minutes to be called through. The thing was, nobody else seemed to be called through either. It was like the waiting room for the afterlife in Beetlejuice. It's a shambles of a clinic. Freya by this point is hungry and antsy. I decided to get her out of the confinement of the pushchair to give her a break and found her to be wet. They have no baby changing facilities in the clinic and I wouldn't have been able to hear my name called anyway. So, tough luck kid.

When we finally went through I was seen by a lovely health care assistant  who wrote my name down and went to find me a consultant, this took another thirty minutes. I had brought lollipops to keep Freya quite during the consultation and we were now on our second. She was sticky and hyperactive. The consultant finally arrived and asked if I had been waiting long. I was very British and just said 'Well, yes' with a smile!

Anyway the upshot is that the fibroids are, in her words, 'minuscule'. She couldn't understand why they had asked for a scan but confirmed that there will be no problem with a home birth as long as the midwives agreed.

Margaret, the older midwife who had seen me last,  had been quite abrupt which wasn't encouraging. We had met her when Freya was born, she told us that Freya looked like a canary and shouldn't have come out of hospital so soon.

We had taken a bit of umbridge at the time. Looking at this photo, we were in a bit of denial. In hindsight, you would rather have a competent practitioner who doesn't sugar coat things than a lovely but vacuous midwife. Enter Kimberley.

Kimberley taught our antenatal classes last time. She maintained that babies breathe under water (instead of instinctively holding their breath- as we all know) even when one of the other father's jokingly asked if babies have gills! She also had no idea that epidurals could become infected. However, its her general lack of sense that is so disturbing. When she did a home visit, she did a eight or nine point turn in front of our house (in her Micra that was adorned with big pink heart stickers). Everybody else in the world reverses round the corner into to one of the many side streets because the road is so narrow and busy. Bring back Margaret.

Apparently, Margaret had actually been very positive in the notes, about my suitability  for a home birth. So, I have been given the green light. No new weekend bag for me. I have packed my hospital stuff into an old changing bag.

Next jobs- buy angle poise lamp, charity shop bedding and plastic sheeting from B and Q.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Handmade by Tricia

Mum continues to be busy knitting and has just finished her latest creation, a small white cardigan for the new baby.

The new cardigan is adorned with one of the personalised labels that I ordered from the internet after reading 'The Thrift Book' which has a huge section on handmade gifts. I just love them. They may come in handy, me and mum have decided that we are going to have more of a homemade Christmas and have even started watching Kirstie Alsopp's 'Homemade Christmas' (in September). I made chilli jam and cookie mixes for friends last year because Craig wasn't working and it was probably the most satisfying gift giving that I have had for a while.

Mum knitted so much stuff for Freya that I don't really need anything for the baby at the moment. I even have blue blankets and a blue cardigan from last time because we were convinced that Freya was a boy. We joke that I have got a cardigan that keeps growing with her. It's a little cotton number that is stretching in the wash. She first wore it when I was ten weeks pregnant and it is still too big for her this week. I think that I will pack the new cardigan in my hospital bag.

Craig and I went into the loft to liberate all the newborn baby clothes. I was really disappointed to see that it was all pink. I obviously didn't keep the cheapy unisex stuff that I bought last time. Back to good old ebay to get some white sleepsuits. Finally packing the bag will be exciting.

I am off to see the consultant for my antenatal appointment tomorrow. I hope to find out if I can have a home birth. I have been referred because I have some fibroids which apparently put me at higher risk of post partum haemorrhage. I am not a hippie and am more than happy to accept medical opinion. I have tried to prepare myself for disappointment by promising myself a new 'weekender' bag to take into hospital with me if I do have to go to Burnley. I have my eye on a burgundy mock-croc one in the Next Directory.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Catch Up.

Friday was dad's birthday, so despite it being a 'lie-in' day. I got up at about quarter to eight to make him a cake. This chocolate cake is super tasty, light and easy to make but it contains 150mls of sunflower oil which seems weird. I did get it from the Good Food Website though. The birthday cake was a hit, after three attempts we taught Freya how to blow the candles out...she'll be all prepared for January.

Mum gave me a magazine  article about avoiding emotional meltdowns, one of the twenty things it suggested was, 'find a cake that you can bake well and never cook anythingelse'. This is mine. Sometimes my baking goes tits up and I always blame the oven. I am convinced that our oven heats the room rather than get to the right temperature...this could all be rectified by buying an oven thermometer but I never quite get round to it.

Baking also means that I get to use my favourite gadget... no, not an iPad or Kindle but my KitchenAid mixer. You aren't somebody until you have one of these. Craig bought me mine because I don't think I could have parted with the money- but I do love it. Craig also bought me a KitchenAid spatula and Martha cookbook- fantastic. I do feel rather bad that I never have such inspired ideas for him but he's a man who knows what he wants, he's usually researched it and bought it at some random point in the year, what can I do?

On Sunday, we took 'the girls' for a walk to Sunnyhurst woods. There are three main parks in Darwen, Bold venture, Whitehall and Sunnyhurst. It's nice to take them somewhere different to Bold venture. We ambled past 'The Olde England Kiosk' where we got married.

The weather was slightly better than the rainy day we had in November. It's a nice park, much less structred than Bold ventrue. It has this lovely bandstand which is unfortunately falling into disrepair- but the whole place looks great now that the leaves are turning for autumn.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Who would put themselves through this?

I am writing this post because pregnancy does whizz by too fast and I would like a record of some of it. More importantly, this post will remind me that being pregnant always seems a more attractive proposition than it actually is. I remember looking enviously at my workmate Emily last year, thinking 'aahh wasn't being pregnant lovely'. Right now I feel as though I have a crippling chronic illness that is stopping me doing a lot of things that I would like to do. Having a body that doesn't keep up with your mind is a bit soul destroying. Only six weeks left...

Incidentally, I copied this photo idea from the Martha website, it actually looked nicer in her pictures, but what can you do. The project is also supposed to be done from the beginning of your pregnancy to give you a 'flick book' at the end, making it just a bit pointless for me to start now...but here it is anyway.

Here comes the rant...I am short of breath at rest, I find myself stood or sat and all of a sudden feel like a have climbed stairs and it takes five or six big breaths to get back to normal. This makes me panic a bit. I am experiencing this three or four times a day. I can't climb the stairs without getting a heavy flushing sensation in my arms and legs which usually necessitates a bit of a lie down. As for walking the dog... it is something that I dread because it is like really pushing yourself on a treadmill without the wonderful endorphine release that you get with real exercise.

As well as insomnia, bedtime is an unpleasant experience. I feel decidedly unwell when I lay on my back, this is apparently due to the baby impeding blood flow back to the heart. However, to turn over is an aerobic exercise in itself, requiring that I wake up to do so. My stomach is quite solid now and feels like a bag of spanners. It is often easy to feel a foot or spine pressing upwards- which is as disgusting as it sounds. The baby is very mobile and you can feel lots of kicking and shifting about which is actually a nice feeling. However, these movements are sometimes so strong that it physically rocks my body in the bed. It has to be a boy, yeah?

Saying all this, I have escaped developing cankles and a fat nose. My hair is lovely and thick and I am currently off work for six months. So I must try to keep the bitching to a minimum. It will all be worth it in the end.

I should 'man-up' because this is probably the last time I will ever be in this situation. I always wanted three children because I have good memories of being one of three. Craig has always said he wants two children because his experience of being one of three is more 'two-against-one'. My brother also reminded us that it can make a lot of difference being a two compared to a three child family, when buying cars and holidays etc. Oh well we don't have to decide right away...

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Taking Carrots for a Walk.

At about four in the afternoon, Freya usually becomes bored... she's played with her toys, we have done an activity for the day and she's just kicking about. Mum has a lovely way of rescuing the situation by walking Freya up to see the horses that live at the end of their lane. She takes a carrot with her...if they don't see any horses this carrot travels all the way there and back to the fridge.

One of the people they often see on their travels is Fred, our next door neighbour from Belgrave, with his horse 'Murphy'. He is always so pleased to see Freya and likes her to stroke Murphy, although I think she's often a bit intimidated by Murphy's size. Fred's sister Beryl often walks her dog 'Rags' up to the stables to see them too.

It's funny really, we never really had anything to do with Fred and Beryl. Beryl used be really surly if any mail got delivered to their house- knocking seven bells out of the door and then wordlesslessly chucking the parcel at you. It all changed when Moomin arrived, Beryl just fell in love with her and not long after, got 'Rags' her beautiful Jack Russell bitch. Mooms and Rags have always got along really well. Since then we are chatty with Beryl and even offered to drive Beryl to hospital when Fred was taken in a year or so ago. Ah, the healing power of animals.

Anyway, back to Freya and mum strolling to the stables. When we asked Freya what this was she said...'horses car!' Can't argue with that I guess, although it does conjure images of the horses actually driving...

'Tis the season for Blackberries, or Brambles as my northern companion would have us believe. Freya loves the berries. Nanny usually selects the juicy, shiny black ones. In the meantime, using sleight of hand, Freya has to stuffed as many shriveled brown maggoty berries in her mouth. We are just happy that Freya seems to have a love of all food...even windfall.

The only unfortunate thing about these outings is the proximity of the horse field, which for Mooms is too much to bear. She takes herself off and rolls in any old shite that she can find. This results in an impromptu dunking in Freya's bath-otherwise Craig couldn't have sat in the same room as her.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

A better day after a rubbish night.

Rain, rain go away... I have just wrapped Freya and myself up in waterproof gear to take Mooms out for her daily walk but had to turn back at the end of the garden... as a rule of thumb, if the dog's not enjoying it, you know it is raining too hard.

Craig was working late last night, not by choice I may add. I took the opportunity to catch up with some reading... the dreaded but sainted Gina Ford. For the uninitiated, Gina is a maternity nurse who made her name by inventing the 'Contented Little Baby Routines'. It is a very strict regime that plans a mother's day in 15 minute slots including when to eat. I have always used it more as a framework and in this respect it does help. I have been reading the second book which basically tells you how to cope with a toddler and new baby- it is a scary read. Expressing breast milk whilst sorting Freya's breakfast- ugg. I think it was reading Gina that has given me insomnia. I woke up when Craig came to bed at half past midnight and didn't get back to sleep till 4am. I got up in the end and watched Dr Who whilst trying to finish my knitting.

I thought that the best way to get through the day would be to keep Freya busy. I initially thought that I would brave the local toddler group but was running late so we went to 'Cheeky Monkeys'- the soft play centre. It was a bit of a drive but a fabulous place to go for Freya. I sometimes worry that Freya doesn't spend enough time with other toddlers but seeing her there reassured me that she still doesn't really care. They had a singing class that we sat in and all she was interested in doing was going up on stage and shaking her bum in front of the mirror. There were a couple of really cute kids there and a a really horrible kid that took a car off Freya and then threw it on the ground-his mum didn't look much nicer though.

The back of the play area was a bit like a dungeon, quite dark, confined and with various things hanging from the ceiling. This was unfortunately Freya's favourite part. At one point we went round there to find a solitary kid spinning on a turntable- he could have been there for ages. We liked him because he got off and helped Freya get on. After an hour of being made to scramble to the top of a soft ladder and throw myself down a large slide, my bump was aching and the Braxton Hicks contractions were beginning in earnest. Time to slurp our free juice and biscuits and head for home. I drove home with all the windows open and music blaring but Freya still fell asleep, damn it.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

If only I hadn't thrown that sheep...

My mum described my eyes as looking like black eyed peas last night and so offered to take Freya overnight to give me a lie-in. I managed to sleep a bit later than usual but have awoken to the million things buzzing around my head. So, I decided to get up to make a master list (time management for manic mums-good book). I am listening to Norah Jones with a drink of tea and the house is quiet, just like the days before Freya. I feel like all the little jobs need to be done before the new baby arrives, which is nesting I suppose. Some stuff is more important than others i.e. pack hospital bag over painting the shed. Of course, I will need to get Craig on board to help me achieve all this in the next 7 weeks. Oh well least the kids rooms are done.

We went out for a lovely meal last night at MJ's, which is a trendy restaurant attached the Whitehall country house hotel. We hadn't planned on going out for a meal but mum was babysitting and there was bugger all on at the pictures. After several hours of procrastinating about plans, that is what we booked. It nearly didn't happen after a large row following Craig throwing a toy sheep, a beer bottle falling out of the fridge and smashing and me paddling round in broken glass and beer. We pulled it together after I had shouted that I was tired of cleaning this crappy house and being 7 months pregnant and threw myself in the bath to wash the beer off.

When we were sat in the restaurant bar with a couple of glasses of wine Craig remarked 'If only I hadn't thrown that sheep...' which to anyone listening wouldn't have made a great deal of sense. I indulged in a couple of naughty pleasures namely a glass of white wine and some chicken liver pate. They were both fabulous and worth it...sorry kid. I had eaten so much by the end that I felt unwell- don't know if my stomach and baby were compressing my aorta (a little knowledge eh) but was aware of my bounding pulse and being quite short of breath. It wouldn't have taken too much to make me pass out. Poor Craig had to neck his wine which incidentally was just a Rioja and not a Crainza as he had paid for. I am sure there's a post comment coming about the difference!

It was good to go out. I am spending my days in what feels like unattractive clothes and my bump is hanging out of the bottom of most of my tops. I don't have time to do beauty tasks- so my nails are horrible, I have a furry mono-brow and things south of the border have taken on a distinctly 1970's look. Anyway, in honour of going out, I sorted all these problems out and am now typing with the most fabulous black nails.

My time management for mums book does say to 'outsource' so I may book some mobile beauty appointments in the next few weeks. Mum had this woman 'Lisa' come round to her house to do a manicure which turned out really well. So I will have to book a pedicure from her, it's only seven pounds or so. Doing my own toes would be impossible at this point, bending in the middle feels like being at work with scissors in your pocket and you dive pick something up and immediate dull pain ensues. Maybe that's something that only nurses do?

Saturday, 4 September 2010


Craig had decided to take the morning shift again, thus giving me a break from breakfast and dog walking. Once again, it was a beautiful day for coffee in the garden.

Dad had taken the caravan down to Newark yesterday, to see all the family down there. It is going to be a busy weekend there as Cousin Nicola is having her baby induced today. Dad will have removed himself to a fishing lake at a safe distance though. Dad being away means that mum is stranded without a car.

Although we actually live in Darwen, you need to be very fit to make it up the hills from town without motorised assistance. I would like to brag that I once made it up Borough road carrying a giant pumpkin but that was in my twenties. We had errands to do in town, going to the post office and the library, so invited mum along. A productive trip really, managed to get Freya an emergency outfit to keep at nannies for times when nappies just aren't man enough, sorted out posting Becky's tablets and paid my library fines. Nanny bought Freya a toy turtle that she was convinced was a monkey with a hat and we also got a copy of 'Green eggs and Ham' for the bedtime story from the library. Dr Seuss really doesn't make sense but kids love it.

We had a little pootle round the market and found that there was a 1940's event in Darwen this Saturday.

This woman was running the bric-a-brac stall. On asking us when rationing stopped in Britain, I was ashamed not to be able to guess. My mum was two years out by saying '1952' but in actual fact it was 1954. The woman had put together a display showing the quantities of food allowed under rationing.

Three rashers of bacon...absolutely crazy. It looked like what Craig would use for one meal. I think it would be so interesting to try and manage on rations for a week. In reality, you would need extra support and information like when Giles Coren and Sue Perkins did their 'Supersizers' show.  As far as I understand it most people had an allotment and maybe a chicken to bulk out the supplies. We don't even have a deformed carrot from our garden this year. Incidentally, this photo shows a picture of the spitfire that people of Darwen 'clubbed together' to buy for the war effort. This type of thing makes mum mad. The poorest people give all they can, while fat politicians waste the money elsewhere. Luckily, there was a raving lunatic shouting at us, 'to open the bloody door' for him to distract her thoughts. Mum then bought some fish for her lunch from a stall that had the amusing tag line 'If it swims... we can get it'. That tickled me.

Friday, 3 September 2010

The rest of my week.

After 'crying-through-dinner-gate', my lovely sister sent me this beautiful bunch of flowers.  I feel a bit of a fraud as there really is nothing wrong. Nothing that a four hour labour and a cocktail won't fix anyway. Thank you Becks.

Wednesday night is Craig's night to play 'Dungeons and Dragons' which always leaves me with a bit of free time. I decided to fill it by finishing off the ironing whilst watching old episodes of Jonathan Creek. My brother Steve, had perfect timing and phoned just as I put the first pair of pants on the board. He rang to let us know that he had passed this mad professional exam that he had to do. Unfortunately, he needed to spend a lot of time revising while we were all away together in Carnforth. Worth the agony now though. If he had failed he would have need to resit the whole course which has been made harder as I understood it. Jammy git. I did manage to do the ironing in the end.

Thursday morning was heralded by Freya Squawking loudly. I should have known it was going to be one of those days. She was mischievous all day. As fast as you could put something back that she had grabbed, she had grabbed something else, namely my stack of tea towels dumped in favour of eating cereals out the box. I walked her all the way round the park and made her walk up a large flight of stairs up from the waterfall. Feeling pretty smug- I put her to bed thinking 'see you in two hours kid'. Unfortunately, I had made the rookie mistake of not waiting for her to poo after her lunch. One hour later she was singing in her cot- poo up to the eyeballs. One of those days when I was so glad to see Craig at half five. How do single mother's cope?

So after a fraught day, we relaxed on the couch with man's best friend. Only  we discovered that Mooms now had a new best friend crawling through her fur. We only found one of what ever it was but it was enough to get us off the couch, Frontline, worm her and put her in her basket before she knew what was happening. Hopefully, that will be the end of that saga. There is always a bit of shame having to tell others that you found a flea on your dog, like informing previous partners that you have syphillis.

Bank Holiday Monday.

On bank holiday monday we had plans to meet up with our friends Nic and Nick. I am always constantly late but since having Freya it is not unusual to be an hour late- this drives Craig to distraction. Luckily, Elodie makes Nic and Nick's world just as chaotic, so we never even notice the time anymore. Everything is always laid back with these guys- so it is a pleasure to go.

As far as hostessing goes, they put us to shame with homemade bread and cakes on the menu and there is always the offer of real coffee or booze. They have a beautiful house which is a converted chapel, which has recently seen the addition of a conservatory and a long awaited log burning stove. The guys are very driven and decorating seems to happen very quickly- frustratingly different to the glacial pace that things move at in Belgrave. Still, a very aspirational house. They have a newly built log store which I am super envious of, should have got a picture really (next time).

We ended up taking Moomin and Chilli, their little Australian silky terrier up onto the field for a bit of 'chase chase me'. Up on the field, that is literally ten seconds walk away, we met Nicky Chilli's dog sitter and another woman who's dog grabbed Chilli by the neck. All the dog's seemed to have fun though and it tired Mooms out at least.

It can be ages between visits to Nic and Nick's so we actually had a bit of a birthday pressie exchange. Nicola had got me some plants from work. Nic works with some really scary people but as part of their 'scary people' therapy, they grow plants which you can buy. I got these lovely specimens- must look up what the succulent looking things are called and buy a little cauldron to plant them in.

Last year we had a bit of a foray into growing your own. Emily from work had dropped of some free cuttings/ seeds etc whilst I was on mat leave. I dug the new vegetable patch over whilst I was heavily pregnant just so the seeds would not go to waste. I cursed Emily at the time but the gardening was really fun.

I guess with that in mind Nic and Nick got Craig this pressie along with a bottle of wine.

We have grown nothing this year, unless you count the children but there is always next season. The vegetable patch is very barren at the mo. It probably needs digging over with some of our compost, covering with membrane and bark and sticking a pot on it just to make it look presentable over the winter.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Herding Cats.

I think the point of a diary is that you jot down your thoughts in the evening before you go to bed, clearing your mind etc. I haven't quite managed to do that- I am always a couple of days behind. With that in mind, here's how Sunday was...

I got home from my last shift to find Craggy up and cooking my favourite breakfast, also requested by Becky: American style pancakes with bacon and maple syrup. It is seriously the breakfast of kings (probably Henry the eighth judging by the amount of fat and calories). It's not a breakfast that you would have regularly due to the faff of cooking and the cost. Last time Craig bought maple syrup from Sainsbury's he discovered that ml for ml it is cheaper to buy Jack Daniels. That would be a whole other breakfast...

Over breakfast we made plans for the day. Becks was travelling back to Dundee as Serge was coming home from a stag do in Prague. Craig seemed less thrilled at my suggestion of him going to the local boot fair. He was right in saying that it is more my thing than his but... suck it up, Freya needs a bike. Craig's friend Lee had told him this very week that if you want children's toys go to the boot fairs.

After saying my farewells to Becks managed to drag myself to bed finally, 25hrs after getting up. Becky managed to leave lots of stuff as usual, this time she remembered a chiminea but forgot her tablets. Least she will be warm in the garden as her health fails!

Despite their only being six cars at the car boot, Craig found exactly what we wanted. It is a little tricycle with a handle for pushing, a safety strap for wobbly toddlers and it was only a tenner. When I got up, we decided to kill a few birds with one stone; test drive the bike, check the water level at the Entwistle and walk our podgy pooch.

This turned out to be a lovely walk. Its so nice when all the family are happy, a lot of the time someone's not happy i.e. the dog has to stay home when we go to the shops, Freya gets bored when I am doing the chores and I pull my hair out when I am having to do everything for Freya and the dog. For us all to be happy is rare occasion.

I called this post 'herding cats' because that is how Craig described walking with a toddler. Apparently, it is an old phrase meaning something is difficult but I thought it summed up walking with Freya nicely (and quite literally).

Time to take a nap with 'The Doctor'...

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The Finished Article.

Freya is finally in her grown up room which has also meant that a lot of her toys have left our living room and reside in this bedroom. I am all for adult space. Here are the 'after' shots...

So, we have the changing area at the back underneath her 'Tree of Life' poster. We got the poster free off the TV to celebrate 200 years since Darwin published his findings, I think. I am sure Craig will correct me if I am wrong  seeing as he is  a massive Chuck D fan. I am sure she is the only 19 month old to be able to say the word spirochete and point to it on a poster. Of course this will only ever be useful if she wants to study tropical medicine, hey ho. The little glo light is actually a bug. We also got a flower glo light which I preferred but when you don't know the sex of your next baby you have to hedge your bets somewhat.

She has some soft floor cushions for reading on or for me when I want to gatecrash Daddy's story time. Craig thought the storage system was a bit ugly but it holds all the crap.

Here is the refurbished second hand cot that was more hassle than it was worth. It took us about two months to get round to sanding out the dog chew marks (the first owners, not Mooms) and painting it. I agree with Craig that it was tedious but I do like to 'make do and mend'. You get something lovely and personal out of someone else's rubbish. It's all those American blogs I read, obviously. Freya looks absolutely tiny in it but loves it. She was really excited when we first finished it, and kept saying 'new bed' over and over. The leaf canopy also makes it super cosy.


This is her laundry bin that is low enough for her to put her own stuff in... start 'em early is what I say. She also has a throne which she is too young for but just for her to get used to it. 

This part of the room actually looks pretty grown up, but we didn't want to go too child mad. I would love the story telling chair to be a leather winged armchair just like in the movies but will have to save up or keep my beady eye out for a second hand one on flea-bay.


This is a perfect clock for Freya, it's not going to teach her to tell the time but the girl does love butterflies. Its more for any adults wanting to know what ungodly time she has woken us up. I'd love to say it was a 'one-off' but actually I found it in the Next directory for an extortionate amount of money.

Craig was a bit disappointed with the rug because there are better ones out there but this is made of proper wool and feels lovely underfoot compared to the ones that feel like astroturf. Her early learning centre cars are a perfect fit- so tough.
This final picture is of the beautiful pram blanket that Emily from work has knitted the new baby but I just had to get a shot of it. We have been so lucky with blankets and cross stitches that people have made for Freya a lot of which still reside in the nursery. As an aside you can also see her new grown up cow cup on the windowsill. She now has Horlicks from that cup before bed- this was Craig's invention to get rid of the bottle before the new baby turns up and there are all kinds of envy issues. Well thought out big fella.