Friday, 11 September 2015

Life, Lately August/September 2015


Well hello there!

I skipped my usual 'Life, Lately' post for August - the month seemed to run out before I was ready for it - and although we're not far into September, I'm going to post now about the month so far.

It's been a very strange few weeks. As you might have noticed from me mentioning it IN EVERY POST, I'm now 9 months pregnant and due literally any minute, and time has become a very strange concept. Its both dragging and rushing by, and individual days feel a bit meaningless at the moment.

Despite my current condition, we have actually been quite active lately, so here's a look at what we've been up to.....


Goodbye Work


So I finished work to go on maternity leave at the end of August. I'd left it right up until a week before my due date to go, and although I couldn't physically have carried on any longer as I was getting exhausted, I still found it really hard leaving.

Part of it is how busy we've been. On my last day in the office, I literally worked flat out from 8am - 7pm to tie up loose ends and try to finish projects, so there was no gradual easing into time off.

Going from that, to the biggest concern of each day being what to cook for dinner was a bigger mental struggle than I thought. I got quite blue and depressed on my first week off. After all the excitement of finishing, it felt like there was almost no point getting out of bed each day.

I struggled with the thought of leaving my role for a year, especially as there is currently no maternity cover for me due to a recruitment freeze. All the work I was doing will just stop dead, regardless of how busy we were before- which seems insane.

And with all the budget cuts coming in local government, part of me is worried I won't have a job to come back to, although you are a bit protected while on maternity leave.

My last day was hectic, but lovely. I asked for no fuss - it feels odd when I am planning on going back - but I still got treated to two lovely bouquets of flowers, some very cute elephant baby grows, a posh Wax Lyrical scented candle and a £50 John Lewis voucher, which was extremely kind and generous.

I'll really miss the people I work with especially, but although it seems like a long time to not be at work for, I'm sure the year will fly by once my little man arrives.

The Waiting Game 

 


Part of me thought that with leaving it so late, I'd stop work and immediately have my baby, so its been strange to go overdue and still be sat here, childless! With no little one to look after, the days have been a bit odd.

I know I should be enjoying the freedom and the last bit of peace and quiet, but the truth is that I'm just rubbish at waiting for things, so I've just felt impatient and a bit lost.

I've had a job since I was 16,give or take a few weeks, and always been fairly career focused, so it feels very strange to have nothing going on at the moment, not having to get up in the morning and go to the office. I'm just making cakes, visiting the library a lot, and batch-washing endless amounts of baby grows.


Luckily, for the first week of my leave, my mother in law was also off work, so she kept me entertained with lots of trips out and coffees, plus I spent some time with my little niece and nephew which was lovely.

I'm cycling through every emotion at the moment - from feeling very calm and accepting, to bouts of intense panic about labour. But the longer I go past my due date the more unreal it feels, bizarrely. At the moment, I sort of don't feel that there will ever be a baby!

I'd convinced myself he would come early, and whenever they covered being induced and things at the antenatal classes, I was so sure that wouldn't be me. How wrong can you be? I'm still hoping that things will start naturally, as I hate the idea of  'tricking' my body into labour with chemicals. It seems so harsh and brutal somehow.

Autumn Style

Because of the fact I fit into precisely NOTHING at the moment, I've become quite obsesses with Pinteresting fabulous outfits that I'd love to recreate if I'm ever not the size of a small garden shed.

There's a distinct chill in the air now, and my thoughts are starting to turn to woolly coats, flat boots and oversized scarves. I've always loved autumn clothing the most.

Here are some outfits I'm coveting right now:


 

I love how this look fuses together summer and autumn. The t-shirt dress, with its magenta hue and breezy, baggy shape is a summer staple. But with the addition of structured black accessories it becomes perfect for warmer autumn days. 

I'm a bit obsessed with Chelsea boots right now, and the contrast of them, the black leather pouch bag and black felt fedora with the dress is delicious.


Another outfit featuring Chelsea boots! This would be great for the office as well as the weekend. A formal black pencil skirt mixed with an oversized grey marl jumper -well played!

Best of all, I bet most of us already have these items in our wardrobes, but this mix looks fresh for the new season.


This is a more dressed down look, but it still has a smart edge. Black skinnies and a chambray skirt are cosied up with the addition of a large grey knit blanket cardigan. 

I'm planning to stuff my wardrobe with cardigans and capes like this for the new season - they're just so snuggly and nonchalant. 

The whole outfit is lifted with leopard print slipper flats, and the LV tote luxes things up nicely. 


These two outfits are variations on  a theme and I love them. They look so effortless and yet pulled together. Its an insanely simple formula, and I adore formulas when it comes to outfits (it takes the pain and confusion out of trying to be stylish). 

Black skinnies +black vest+ killer waistcoat + show-stopping tote. It's letting the accessories take all the limelight. 

The tailored camel sleeveless coat is an absolute beauty and as for the faux-fur number!? Wow. I would probably sell a relative to own that, its sensational - and warm. I love how the beige tone is matched with her Celine bag. 


The preppy formality and sober, mod-meets-heritage style of this look really appeals to me as well. I really like the deeply elegant colour of the wool coat, and the pairing of the tweed mini with the flat brogues. The peek of white shirt collar is also delicious. A perfect autumn outfit.

So that's my pick of the fashion choices for autumn...if only I could fit into any of them...

A Weekend with my Mum


My mum came up for a visit last month as well,so we had a nice long weekend together. She lives down in Cornwall, and I don't get to see her all that much due to the distance - its just such a long journey from where we live.

I haven't seen her while I've been pregnant, so it was nice to spend some time together before the baby comes.

She arrived late on a Thursday after journeying up all day, and after collecting her from the station, we only really had time for a quick cup of tea and a bit of a chat before we were both ready for bed.

On the Friday, it was glorious outside, possibly one of the best days we've had all summer with the weather. So we decided to take a picnic to Rufford Abbey, the site of an old monastery, and have a day out.


Mum and I both absolutely love picnics, so we stocked up on nice bread, olives, smoked salmon, tomatoes, strawberries and all kinds of good things, bundled in the car, and headed out into the countryside.

The weather was amazing all day, so we couldn't have picked a nicer time to go. We sat in the sun and ate our fill, took a gentle stroll around the lake to the mill building, browsed in the gift shop and fed the ducks. It was quite a gentle day, but so nice just to enjoy the sun.

On Saturday, it was a lot more mixed weather with a bit of rain, and we decided to head into town to do some shopping. Mum likes to visit the shops when she's up here, because there's not a lot of choice where she lives.

We also went to Thea Caffea for afternoon tea, which is a gorgeous little tea room hidden up a secret alleyway in town.


They serve all types of specialist teas. Mum had a spicy honey cake served with Greek yoghurt that was delicious, and I had some scones with my Earl Grey. It was really lovely.

Sunday we took it easy -  a nice breakfast of waffles and fresh coffee followed by a walk down to the nature reserve near where we live, then relaxing with the Sunday papers in the garden - I actually fell asleep out there stretched on the grass.

It was a lovely weekend and over too soon. Its sad that I don't get to spend a bit more time with Mum. I've been trying to coax her into using Facebook so she can see lots of pictures of the baby. She's a bit of a technophobe but she's going to give it a go! Would Skype be a step too far?

Four Years Ago


It was our fourth wedding anniversary at the beginning of the month - I'm astonished at how quickly that's gone by. Seriously, where does the time go?

It seems like only yesterday that I was stepping into the beautiful vintage Jaguar we hired and nervously making my way to the church.

Of course, your big day always goes by in such a blur, but I remember just feeling overwhelmed with love from our family and friends and realising that I didn't really care about all the little details you get stuck on before the day, like table settings. Even the vicar getting Seb's name wrong during the ceremony didn't ruin it!

I'm genuinely proud of our marriage, because good ones take hard work, compromise and understanding and we've come through a lot together.

I really did marry my best friend though, and Seb has one of the most genuine, loving, loyal natures I've ever encountered - although its well hidden!

He was absolutely the right choice. I was never one of those little girls that dreamed about getting married, and in fact I was the one with cold feet and a lot of doubts at times before we did it, but the reality has been amazing.

The past few months, with stuff finally coming together with the house, and now our baby on the way, have been some of the best months of my life. I didn't think we could get much closer, and having been together since I was 18, I've counted him as my family for too long to remember, but the baby has added a whole new level to it all.

So your fourth anniversary is 'fruit and flowers', which seems a bit rubbish really!

We don't do massive gifts like birthdays or Christmas, but I like to get him a little something to go with the theme.

This year I went for a grow-your-own coffee plant - he's an espresso addict and loves growing things - and a personalised espresso cup with chickens on! It made him smile.


With the baby due any minute, I wasn't up to going out, so I made a special dinner at home instead. Bullet steak, parmesan and black truffle oil fries and some sauteed leeks, with molten dark chocolate souffle with vanilla cream for pudding.


He was really appreciative which made me feel like a domestic goddess (who would have thought I'd have that in me!).

We had a lovely evening at home, although my bet that the baby would arrive on our anniversary was sadly way off.

The Housewife Life

 



So I've been settling into full time domestic life! Although I found my first week a bit of a struggle, I've relaxed more now and stopped feeling so down and useless. I guess you get used to anything over time.

It has been great to get a chance to spend more time with family,  hang out with my cat and hens all day and I've also been brushing up my skills in the baking arena, making bread, cakes and plenty of nice dinners for Seb.

I feel bad for him because I'm not sleeping well and waking him up a lot at night, but he has to go off to work whereas I can stay home and nap if I want to. He never complains, so the least I can do is make him some nice food!

Here are some of the things I've been trying my hand at lately: Parmesan, sundried tomato and jalapeno bread rolls, dark chocolate chip and raisin cookies, and handmade Thai prawn fishcakes with chilli noodles and ribbon courgette. Perhaps I should be making a few more curries to get the baby on his way!

I've also been taking the chance to go for lots of long walks to try and help things along. The other day I did a walk along the canal and found I'd done 9,000 steps! There's so many beautiful birds to see and lots of blackberries out already, which I've been collecting for the hens as they love them.


The Big Day


The biggest event lately has of course been my sister in law's Ella's wedding to her lovely groom Mark. I was really glad that we got to go in the end and be a part of her day, as we've never known if it would be possible to make it with the baby imminent.

It was a beautiful day and she looked absolutely stunning. The venue for the ceremony was the cutest little church on a hillside, very romantic, and hormonal me couldn't help but shed a tear or two as Seb walked her down the aisle.

After the wedding ceremony, there was a reception at the Carriage Hall, which was so lovely. First, drinks and canapes in the garden while an acoustic band played and my little niece and nephew had a good dance.

Then, we were treated to a beautiful four course meal that was one of the best I've ever tasted - heritage betroot and goat's cheese tart, sea bass with pea puree (which was outstanding), fillet of beef, and then lemon posset with raspberry sorbet. Yum!



I even had a cheeky glass of champagne after checking with the midwife, which was lovely. We had such a great day and I'm grateful for the lovely family I've inherited through marrying Seb.

Going to the wedding heavily pregnant was a little bit of a challenge though, especially finding something to wear - I've done a post about my pregnant wedding guest outfit here.

The next day, we were invited to Mark's parent's place for a barbecue. It was actually amazingly hot and sunny, and I loved relaxing in the sunshine. We weren't able to stay very late at the reception because I was tired out, so we missed out on all the madness after the band started. Mark ended up finding this quite novel hangover cure at the barbecue the next day....

And that's been life lately - next time I update hopefully I'll be settling into life as a new mum!


  

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