Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Yarn Along 2

Yarn along

Currently knitting: the same as last week, I think it's going to take a while! I do need to get my knitting ideas cap on though as Jenny sent through my swap partner for The Geeky Knitter Christmas Craft Swap so I need to get started on that too!

Currently reading:  Still reading Jambusters by Juliet Summers but the latest edition of Mollie Makes also dropped through my letterbox this morning so I'm going to sit down with a cup of tea at some point and enjoy that.

Linking up with Ginny's Yarn Along

Monday, 9 November 2015

Monday Round-Up

Life Lately
Saturday just gone saw the start of the big carnival processions. We went down to Bridgwater and strolled through the floats watching all the last minute preparations then watched the procession at 7pm.

On Sunday we took a trip with my brother to Burnham on Sea to look at the floats in the daylight and then watch the fireworks display in the evening (their carnival procession takes place this evening).

How's the Bump?
30 weeks tomorrow - which seems like such a huge number! Even though I'm not due til January, Andrew keeps nagging me to get my hospital bag packed anyway, just in case. We also bought a mattress for our cot; the cot frame itself is the one me and my brother had back in the 1980's, we just needed to buy the extra bits to go with it. On Sunday we're also off to a second-hand baby market in Frome to see what other bits and pieces we can pick up. And Findina seemed to like listening to all the music played by the floats at the carnivals - she kicked quite a bit (either that or she was thinking "jeez, not this again mum...")

Essential Reading
Sophie's tour of Lanhydrock cycle trails in Cornwall.
Katie's October round-up (complete with dinosaurs, cheesy pizza and a boiler/microwave kitten dress!)
Danielle's outfit post (complete with sunsets and a fab jumper).
Annie's amazing map top - made by her own fair hands!

Meal Planning Monday
Linking up with 'At Home with Mrs M'
Monday 9th - Something from a café or chip shop in Burnham on Sea before the carnival.
Tuesday 10th - Cumberland sausage casserole (done in the slow cooker)
Wednesday 11th - Cheese and bacon lasagne (which makes 6 portions, Wednesday and Thursday's dinner plus 2 portions in the freezer)
Thursday 12th - Cheese and bacon lasagne (as above).
Friday 13th - Something from a café in Weston Super Mare before the carnival.
Saturday 14th - A fry up for breakfast (my uncle is staying for the weekend) and then Lorraine Pascale's Glam Mac and Cheese for dinner (putting 2 portions in the freezer for a rainy day)
Sunday 15th - Bacon sandwiches (to be quick before heading out to the baby market) and possibly a takeaway for dinner (depending on whether my uncle is still with us or not).

How was your weekend?

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Blogs You Should Be Reading

Since becoming pregnant, I've found it really difficult to find the time to comment on blogs; I usually read blog posts on my phone and we all know how much of a faff it is to do any commenting on a mobile.

One thing I haven't found difficult is the actual reading of posts though - even though I may not have commented, there's a long list of blogs where I never fail to read each and every thing published.

So if you're not already following these lovely ladies, sit down with a cup of tea and prepare to enjoy an afternoon of excellent blog reading.

Is That Your Darling run by Jane
Life Outside London run by Michelle (and occasionally Pete & Betty)
Little Apple Tree run by Angela
Crumbs in the Bed run by Kerri
Words That Can Only Be Your Own run by Janet
In My Playroom run by Eileen
Secondhand Susie run by Susie
Through Tasha’s Camera run by Tasha
Floral and Feather run by Zoe
The Life of Dee run by Dee
Sophie Louise Anne run by Sophie
Hook Line and Sink Her run by Katie
World of Joy run by Hazel
Using My Loaf run by Helen
Love In Modern Life run by Chelsea
Polkadot Pink run by Donna
Sophie Cliff run by Sophie
Underland to Wonderland run by Danielle (and occasionally Baker)
The Inelegant Wench run by Rachel
Sunny Sweet Pea run by Jenny
Make Do and Mend run by Laura
Kezzie AG run by Kezzie
Hannah Hotcakes run by Hannah
Lizzie Dripping run by Elizabeth
Elise and Life run by Elise
The Geeky Knitter run by Jenny
Little Miss Katy run by Katy
Oh Leona run by Leona
Dear Ms Leigh run by Rachael
Sarah Rooftops run by Sarah (and her photography blog, Two Days the Same)
A Whole Lot of Chitty Chat run by Anna
Sunshine and Celandines run by Shazza
Dib Dab Debs run by Debs (who's also just started a new blog, Jack Russells and Rainbows)

Happy reading!

Friday, 6 November 2015

National Fertility Awareness Week - We Are #1in6

It's National Fertility Awareness Week this week and this year the campaign is all about the 1 in 6 statistic.

1 in 6 couples will struggle to become parents. That could be for any number of reasons with infertility and miscarriage being two of the most common (and also two things people don't like talking about). It's very rare for a couple to have a "perfect" conception or a "perfect" pregnancy yet society assumes it's dead easy for all of that to happen.

We were (and until January next year I suppose, still are) the 1 in 6. This shot was taken at a family wedding in September 2012: 10 months after we'd started trying; 3 months after we found out we had both female factor infertility (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and male factor infertility (low sperm count); 4 months before our GP would refer us to the local fertility clinic to start more (invasive) investigations and another 2 years and 8 months til we'd see a positive pregnancy test.

Our tale's not unusual though; we're just one of the hundreds and thousands of couples out there who have a slightly longer and more winding journey to becoming a parent. This excellent video, 'Expecting Life' by fertility specialist Emma Cannon (whose book, 'The Baby Making Bible' is well worth a read - I borrowed it from the library back in 2012) highlights just a few more...

Since becoming pregnant though, I don't know how to describe myself: am I still classed as infertile? Post-infertile? Technically-pregnant-but-unable-to-conceive-again?

I feel as if I need to tell everyone I meet that this bump in front of them wasn't easy to achieve, that we didn't just decide one day to make a baby, jump into bed and then wham-bam-thank-you-mam, it happened. Someone did actually say to me at work (when I'd started showing and people knew), "was it planned?" Well, apart from the fact that's a rather personal question to ask, it did at least give me the chance to fill them in on the whole back story (which I don't think they were expecting to hear). And I've lost count of the amount of people who tell me about their friends who had IVF only to go on and conceive naturally as the IVF treatment "reset" their body - to which I always reply, "well it might reset mine but it's unlikely to have reset Andrew's!".

Weirdly though (and you all know how much I like research and information), I can't find any books written from a perspective of being pregnant after having been through that struggle. There's a few odd chapters or paragraphs in generic pregnancy books but nothing that decent - which is surprising considering the amount of people who don't have that easy pain-free journey. I guess there must be lots of people who worry throughout their pregnancy but there also seems to be lots of people who go out and buy baby things with wild abandon the moment they see those two lines on a stick. I still don't feel completely reassured myself; each day that passes is a little bit easier but at the back of my mind is still the fact that if anything happens, we can't just try again like a "normal" couple.

Perhaps I should write a book - there's clearly a gap in the market!
As a brief disclosure, I was asked if I could include the video in my post by the lady working with Emma Cannon but I had already planned on writing all about the #1in6 campaign anyway. I didn't receive any gifts or compensation and all words, pictures and opinions are my own.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

A Photo Every Hour - Saturday 23rd May - Instagram vs. Reality

So ignoring the fact that this post is what...6 months overdue? Well, as the clichéd phrase goes, better late than never, ha.

On the photo an hour day in May, I was 5 weeks and 4 days pregnant. We'd only just found out the previous Friday that our frozen embryo transfer had actually worked and morning sickness was just beginning to make an appearance. Our families knew and a couple of close friends but to the outside world, it was just a normal May bank holiday.

8am on Instagram - a perfect Saturday morning of bacon sarnies and reading The Simple Things.
8am in reality - bacon sandwiches seemed to be about the only thing I could keep down and I couldn't really concentrate enough to read much of the magazine.

9am on Instagram - A gorgeous sunny day on our way to a steam rally.
9am in reality - Usually I would've stayed on site at the steam rally, but what with feeling ill (and Andrew not wanting me to ride in his rather bumpy 1952 lorry) I stayed home and just went for the day.

10am on Instagram - We'd arrived at the steam rally and it was still sunny.
10am in reality - Well, this was pretty much the same, we'd arrived and I was trying to drink a cup of tea whilst wearing those seasickness bands around my wrists.

11am on Instagram - Looking at all the old vintage vehicles.
11am in reality - I'd begun to feel a bit better so we took a quick walk around the site.

12pm on Instagram - Still looking round at all the exhibits.
12pm in reality - Just on our way back to Andrew's parents caravan for a sit down because I felt absolutely shattered.

1pm on Instagram - Tea and cake in vintage china at a stall on site.
1pm in reality - We met up with some friends (who knew the news) and I did actually manage to eat a whole piece of cake and not feel too bad.

2pm on Instagram - Shiny vintage vehicles (this one is Andrew's)
2pm in reality - I popped out from the caravan to take the picture before going back for a nap.

3pm on Instagram - Still a lovely sunny day.
3pm in reality - Same as before, it was a case of taking a nice-looking picture and then going back for a sit down.

4pm on Instagram - Afternoon tea.
4pm in reality - Much the same, just tea.

5pm on Instagram - Sunny days and country lanes (just leaving the rally site).
5pm in reality - We were actually running a bit late as we had a wedding evening do to attend later on and still had to buy a card on the way home.

6pm on Instagram - Country fields.
6pm in reality - Dashing home to get changed and wrap the present up before the party.

7pm on Instagram - Snack food.
7pm in reality - I really fancied salty stuff at that point so Andrew bought a savoury snack selection and crisps from M&S for me to try.

8pm on Instagram - Red shoes and red dress for the party.
8pm in reality - I was struggling to find a nice outfit that would a) have long sleeves and hid the fact I was wearing seasickness bands and b) not be too tight across my stomach because I already felt like anything tight was a no-no. Oh and add that to the fact that the party was 20 minutes away and we were supposed to arrive at 7.30pm.

9pm on Instagram - Party balloons.
9pm in reality - The smell of food was overwhelming and the venue was rather hot, I kept having to nip to the toilet and outside for some fresh air!

10pm on Instagram - A happy bride and groom with their family.
10pm in reality - Wondering what's the earliest we could escape from the party without looking conspicuous so I could go home and sleep.

11pm on Instagram - On the way home. 
11pm in reality - On the way home, thank goodness!

So yep, Instagram isn't always what it seems - especially on that occasion!
Jane compiled the round-up that month - if you fancy seeing who took part 6 months ago, pop over here and take a look!

Also, check out what I was up to in...

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Yarn Along 1

One of the things I've really enjoyed reading over the last few months are the 'Yarn Along' posts - a weekly Wednesday knitting and reading update started by Ginny from Small Things.

Elise and Jenny seem to make the most amazing knitted and crocheted patterns and I've spotted Hazel and Char joining in recently as well. I do have a Ravelry account (if anyone fancies adding me) but I think I need to get a bit more organised on there with my projects and uploading pictures.

So I thought I'd jump on the proverbial (yarn-bombed) bandwagon and share a little bit of what I'm making and reading as well. I can't promise a post every week but let's give it a go and see how far we get.

Currently knitting: a present for my sister-in-law for Christmas which I can't reveal 100% in case she's reading!

Recently though, look what I've made! An actual item of clothing! Okay, so it's for a baby but still, something which someone could properly wear! It still needs pressing and I need to sew some poppers onto the front (and don't look too closely at the seams) but I'm quite chuffed with my first attempt anyway.

And this little (or large) fella made his way up north to Spartacus Rooftops, complete with a 'Very Hungry Caterpillar' book. Sarah very kindly sent me (and Findina) a fab package of baby bits and pieces so I made a little something as a thank you gift in return. The pattern for him can be found on Ravelry.

Currently reading:  Jambusters by Juliet Summers.
The story of the Women's Institute during the Second World War and the book which inspired the ITV series, 'Home Fires'. I'm only about 30 pages in so far but it seems to be a fascinating read; I'm a fan of reading mass observation-type stuff anyway and this is filled with quotes and interviews from people who were actually there.

Linking up with Ginny's Yarn Along

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

A Tuesday Round-Up

So...over at Rosalilium, she's running her 'Blog Every Day' challenge again. I had this wonderful idea that perhaps, just perhaps, that would be a way for me to catch up on all the posts I have hanging around in my drafts folder.

So let's just ignore the fact that Tuesday is already 3 days into November (and yep, I'm actually writing this on Friday). And move on.

I used to do a little Monday post of what had happened over the weekend and I do still like the idea of a Monday round-up; a sort of allsorts post with a mixture of stuff. So here goes...

Life Lately
Weekends have been full of carnivals (the big one, Bridgwater is on Saturday) and weekdays seem to fly by so fast. We went to London for a mini 'babymoon' and saw 'Xanadu the Musical' at Southwark Playhouse (definitely recommended, the campest night in a theatre you'll ever have) and visited The Baby Show at Olympia. We ended up coming home with heaps of freebies from the show but more importantly, we bought our pram (an ABC Design Cobra if you're interested). One of the things we did at The Baby Show as well was a practical baby care workshop (which involved this scary looking thing!)

I've also signed up for 3 online Christmas swaps: Char's Blogger Secret Santa Swap (the deadline's passed for this one, sorry); Jenny's The Geeky Knitter Christmas Craft Swap (sign up by Friday 6th November!); and Janet's Thrifty Christmas Gift Swap (sign up by Sunday 8th November).

How's the Bump?
Umm, bigger is probably the word. 29 weeks this week and suddenly I feel very large. I've been doing pregnancy yoga which is great for stretching and having a general chill-out and me and Andrew are doing a hypnobirthing course as well. My plans for birth are basically "whatever", as in I have no firm plans; instead what I'd like is a bit box of mental tips, tricks and techniques so depending on how I feel when I get there, I can call up whatever bit of info I need.

We've also booked our NCT course, booked our tour of the hospital ward, practised putting the pram up and down, practised putting the car seat in the car, put the cot up and partially arranged the nursery. Oh and I'm doing 4 day weeks at work to use up my annual leave before Christmas (which is great!).

Essential Reading
Standard Issue on why Pulp's 'Different Class' album is fabulous.
Rosalilium's 100 ideas for things to do this Christmas.
Sarah's posts with Matilda the dragon and her gorgeous Halloween footprint ghosts.
Sophie's rolo brownies - yum!
And that gorgeous lady, Michelle, did an outfit post (which obviously, Pete and Betty gatecrashed).

Meal-Planning Monday (or Tuesday, or even Friday in this case)
Clare and Dee both take part in 'Meal Planning Monday' inspired by 'At Home with Mrs M'. I used to be very organised and plan all our meals but during the first trimester of pregnancy, that kind of went out the window. I'm back planning meals now though and also thinking of what to store in the freezer for January!

Monday 2nd - Chicken fajitas and sweet potato wedges
Tuesday 3rd - Maddie haddock
Wednesday 4th - Mousakka (using half on Wednesday and half on Thursday)
Thursday 5th - Mousakka (leftover from Wednesday)
Friday 6th - Goulash with dumplings (made in the slow cooker)
Saturday 7th - Fry up for breakfast and takeaway in the evening (at Bridgwater carnival)
Sunday 8th - Bacon and eggs kedgeree-style for breakfast and dinner at The Bay View café in Burnham on Sea (before the fireworks display)

Thanks to... (this is going to go back a while)
Sarah Rooftops for the lovely package of baby bits she sent down (and her truly lovely positive comments).
Jane for mentioning my news back in the summer on her blog (and for keeping up with photo an hour, even when I've been flagging).
Elise, Alex, Gwen and Denise for a lovely breakfast in Edinburgh back in August.
Elise for the fabulous little yellow booties she knitted for Findus.
Danielle for mentioning my Findus news (and some photo an hour posts I think) in her weekly round-up.
Dee for the shout-out in her favourite blogs post (and if you're reading Dee, I hope you're doing okay)
Angela for the cake and excellent natter at Farringtons back in September (and the gorgeous handmade over-the-shoulder dribble bibs).
Michelle for the smiley cheery tweets and the brilliant blog posts she writes.
All of you lovely lot for the comments we received when we finally published our Findus news.
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