27 Jul 2021

Pregnancy | The First Trimester

The First Trimester

Whilst I (not-so) patiently wait for this second-trimester ‘glow’ I was promised and has yet to show (whenever you’re ready pal), I thought I might get down some first trimester thoughts before they disappear completely; it’s amazing how quickly the details start to fade. 


I very much enjoy having this blog as my version of a scrapbook and am keen to keep documenting memories here, but I’ve not quite decided how much of the little one is going to be shared online (both before and after they are born) so there may be certain aspects of this that I’ll brush over - particularly around ‘trying’ for a baby because, quite frankly, there is such a thing as TMI when strangers and family members read this blog. 


So, I found out I was pregnant early April time after spending the majority of Easter weekend lying on the sofa wondering why the heck I felt so tired. Peeing on a stick is neither glamorous nor as ‘movie’ like as those clear blue adverts would suggest and whilst I was certain that I wanted a baby, I mostly found the experience underwhelming. Partly because this wasn’t the first time we’d been here and partly because the implications of a positive pregnancy test are so huge, it was almost like my brain couldn’t catch up. So I simply looked at it and went ‘huh, interesting’, waved my (capped) pee-soaked stick in Gary’s face whilst he was chopping veg and then ate dinner in front of the telly. 

We told my immediate family when I was six weeks, my friend Beth at seven weeks and then intended to keep it to ourselves until after the 12-week scan. However, there were a couple of occasions that forced our hand (hard to keep it secret when you're not drinking at your good friend's hen do) so a small handful of people found out earlier but otherwise, we mostly kept to our original plan! 

They say the first three months are the worst but seeing as I’ve not yet experienced an entire pregnancy, I can’t really comment on that at the moment. My first few months of pregnancy, though, seemed to fulfil most of the cliches; relentless nausea, tiredness, heightened sense of smell, gagging inexplicably, bloating and a desire to hide in a duvet cocoon until it all passed. What I wasn’t expecting was how all of the above would make me feel like my personality and creativity were being sucked dry. My days essentially consisted of get through work, lie on the sofa all evening, go to bed. Repeat. If I hadn’t been so preoccupied with not throwing up and the fear of baby not sticking around, I would have been incredibly bored. I don’t think it helped that we were still in lockdown when that test popped up with a ‘pregnant’ and we were so done with being stuck at home. I just didn't feel like myself for a long time and, whilst I know it's perfectly normal, I will freely admit that I was wishing for it to pass. 


Like with most things though: you do get through it. I know a lot of people worry about those first few weeks of pregnancy and I know some have it really rough but in my so-far-average-experience of pregnancy, a fair few of my worries turned out to be unfounded. I didn’t really enjoy those first few weeks and wished the nausea would let up for just.five.freaking.minutes. but neither did I spend all day everyday with my head in a toilet as I’d anticipated in some of my more pessimistic moments. Low points included lying on the bathroom floor at 2am, aggressively searching the supermarket for a packet of pickled onion monster munch, spotting in a public toilet at a beach in Norfolk, trying to pee into a tiny tube in a medical centre (why do they make them so small, WHY) and the sheer bloody amount of burping (which has yet to pass; I’ve basically accepted I am now Pumba).


High points included seeing our little blobby wriggling around and waving their arm stumps on an ultrasound screen at nine weeks, seeing the reactions of our family and friends, meeting my lovely midwife, marvelling at what my body is doing and being blown away by how much baby had grown when we saw them again at our 12-week scan. 


My main learning so far? There is nothing remotely glamorous about pregnancy but it’s a bit of an adventure all the same. I know how lucky we are to be in this position and I cannot wait to meet our little one. 


25 Jul 2021

Home | The Utility Room Renovation

Utility room renovation

 We’ll call this Gary’s Lockdown 3.0 project. It took the best part of two months’ worth of winter weekends and a battle with the plumbing, but the utility room has now been completely renovated. 

Technically, this started back in February 2020 when we had our kitchen done. When they were ripping out the old kitchen, we asked them to rip out the units in the utility room as well, and lay the same flooring we were having laid throughout the rest of the ground floor. It then sat – looking a complete mess – for the best part of a year. We quietly closed the door on it in those brief moments when we’ve been allowed guests round and resolved to get to it at a later date. Hitting the point felt like a bit of a milestone because it was always low on the list of priorities; we’ve made it that far down the list! 

Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation
Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation

We wanted to get the right balance between cute downstairs loo and utility room. It had to have storage, it had to include space for a washer/dryer and it just generally had to be practical. But it’s also a room with no natural daylight (there is a window, but it looks out into the garage) and the bathroom guests are most likely to use – and we ourselves will obviously have to use it on a daily basis – so I didn’t want it to end up some dingy room that you want to spend as little time as possible in because you’re worried about what might be lurking in the corner. I don’t think I have any pictures of the original room, but you can get a sense of the original work top and units by looking at the before photos from our kitchen renovation as they were the same. 

Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation

The image in my head was white and bright with splashes of gold & green whilst not losing any practical elements and keeping it all as cheap as possible. By chance, we had an almost perfect amount of white worktop left over from our kitchen renovation so that was our starting point. We hunted out cheap-but-nice kitchen units (including one for an integrated washing machine) which Gary eventually found in B&Q (one of their cheapest options but I don’t think you’d know) and I went on the hunt for gold door handles and pastel green tiles. I had images of a counter sink which, again, we managed to find pretty cheap and we spent far too long trying to hunt out a decent gold tap, eventually settling on one with a pull-out hose as we thought it could be handy with future kids/pets (countertop and tiles look pretty but are also easily wipeable). 

Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation

Utility Room Renovation

Gary did all of the installing and I will never not be impressed at the way this man can just start sorting the plumbing and tiling like it’s no big deal. I, meanwhile, focused on the finer details (we both work to our strengths), sourcing out a matching green hand towel, gold towel & toilet roll holders and artwork for the walls (including a round gold Oliver Bonas mirror which I love). We got two command broom grippers to go on the back of the door for our broom & mop and there’s just enough of a gap down the side of the units to squeeze in our small hoover and collapsible washing basket. I sourced a daylight-like bulb and an open ‘lampshade’ (again, gold) to try and bring in as much light as possible whilst Gary painted the room white. It definitely doesn’t feel dingy! 


All in all, we love it and I like how it feels like a nice surprise every time I walk in and remember that it’s actually a pleasant place to be in rather than a windowless necessity of a room!

Utility Room Renovation


24 Jul 2021

Photo Diary: Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Back in June, I went to stay with my friend Lizzie in London for the weekend. On Sunday morning, we were up bright(ish) and early(ish) to walk over to Columbia Road Flower Market, something that has been on my London bucket list for yonks now. For a girl who really loves an abundance of pretty flowers and cute shops, it was really my kinda place. I think we got there for around half 9ish and whilst it was busy, it was manageable busy rather than uncomfortably rammed. We spent a long time there, walking back and forth in the sunshine and soaking it all in before getting down to business and deciding what flowers and plants we were going to bring home with us. After a long walk back to Lizzie's flat laden down with huge bunches of flowers (and a large plant destined for Lizzie's balcony), we went and had brunch at The Allotment Kitchen in Stepney City Farm which was like a little city oasis and perfect for brunch on a sunny Sunday morning. Here's a big ol' photo dump of flowers and sunshine: 

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market

Columbia Road Flower Market



11 Jul 2021

Reading Recap: The Books I Read In April, May & June

Book reviews

First trimester nausea/tiredness meant reading has been sloooow over the last few months but here’s what I worked through in between dry heaving over absolutely nothing. 


The Disappearance of Stephanie Mailer - Joel Dicker 


Two mysteries; one in 1994 when the quiet seaside town of Orphea reels from the discovery of four murders and one twenty years later when a journalist approaches the police officers and suggests they got the wrong guy and the real murderer is still out there. But before she can give more details, she vanishes. I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, it was a well laid out mystery and I read until the end because I wanted to know what happened, but on the other I found myself getting bored at times and felt the book could have been a lot shorter. 2/5


The Road Trip - Beth O’Leary 


Beth O’Leary’s third novel follows Addie and Dylan, flashing between the start (and end) of their relationship in France and the awkward road trip they are forced to take together two years later. She is fast becoming an author whose books I’ll buy without even reading the blurb. They are the ultimate feel-good reads but without feeling remotely cheesy. Her characters are always vivid and flawed, she’s not afraid from delving into dark topics and the stories always have the ability to make me laugh & cry. I love them, and The Road Trip was no different. 5/5


A Coat of Yellow Paint - Naomi Davis  


I’ve been reading Naomi’s blog Love Taza for several years now so I automatically picked up her book when it came out. A collection of essays on family, motherhood, careers, infertility, life in general. It’s an easy and enjoyable read, although I would say it’s probably more for those who already read her blog. 3/5


The Prison Healer - Lynette Noni 


Kiva Meridan has worked as a healer at the notorious death prison Zalindov for ten years. Her only goal is to stay alive in the hope that one day she will be rescued. One day the infamous Rebel Queen arrives at the prison and Kiva receives the message: Don’t let her die. We are coming. The queen is sentenced to the Trial by Ordeal: a series of challenges against air, fire, water and earth. Kiva volunteers to take her place; if she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted freedom. But no one has ever survived. I loved this story; the complex fantasy world was created really well and immediately drew me in. The characters jump from the page and I loved the two twists; particularly the big one at the end. Can’t wait for the next in the series, due out later this year. 5/5 


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series - Stieg Larsson 


This was a re-read; I’ve read this trilogy a few times over the years. I’m sure many people have heard of these now; they follow Lizbeth Salandar, a computer hacker, and Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative journalist in a complicated story about cold murder cases, violence against women, government corruption, and the power of the media. I’ve always thought that they are brilliant (although they should come with every trigger warning in the book) and would highly recommend if you’ve never read. 5/5


Happy reading folks x 

9 Jul 2021

Little Gems: 36

Recent happy things

Currently sat on the sofa with the football on the tv (I’m sure you’ll be shooketh to know that this was not my choice of viewing). Like everyone, our lives have taken a knock over the last 18 months and whilst I started this year determined to keep writing blog posts because I think it important to document memories even in the rough times, the reality of the first trimester of pregnancy immediately following a long winter lockdown meant everything just felt a bit too much


SO, I’m taking it back to the blog origins: those old school little gems posts. Because getting back to basics and celebrating the small, happy things is the best way to kick things back into action. 


Seeing people. I don’t think I’m over the novelty yet; it is so nice to have been able to catch up with loved ones… although does anyone else feel bloody knackered afterwards? My body clearly hasn’t caught up with the fact that socialising is back in. 


Wedding anniversary. Take two and this year, we could actually go out so we’re on the up. The weather was glorious so we went out for pizza and mocktails and sat out on a restaurant terrace in the shadow of the cathedral, before grabbing an ice cream and going for a walk along the river. It was lovely. 


12 week scan. Our offspring was not playing ball and, despite some veerrry dignified hip thrusting and star jumping, would not get in the right position to do their screening tests but it was still amazing seeing them on the screen. Those ickle feet, omg. 


Columbia road flower market. I spent a weekend in London, staying at a friends, and along with some excellent food, baby clothes browsing and luxury manicures, we went to Columbia Road flower market which has been on my bucket list for yonks. The weather was dreamy, there were peonies everywhere (our faves) and it was just so much fun. 


The cinema. I went to the cinema with my dad and sister for the first time since February 2020 and I have so missed it. Absolutely loved returning to a big bag of popcorn, settling down in a comfy chair and the lights going out. We saw A Quiet Place 2 and I can recommend (although we spent half the time jumping!). 


Grey’s Anatomy. Literally a couple of days before I found out I was pregnant, when I was feeling really tired, I decided to give Grey’s Anatomy a whirl having never watching it before (I know) and I think it might become my pregnancy/newborn watch. I stick it on when I don’t have much energy and anticipate it might be a good one for those sleepy not-getting-out-of bed newborn days. And I have 17 series to keep me going… 


Sushi date. A new sushi place has opened in town and Gary and I took ourselves for a quick lunchtime date recently; definite perk of working from home. I love veggie sushi so am excited that we have a new local place. 


Baby heartbeat. I got to hear this at my 16 week appointment and my lovely midwife passed me my phone and asked if I wanted to record it which was just the nicest thing. Love that I have it to listen to. 


My gal Beth who has basically been my personal pregnancy cheerleader. She messages me every new pregnancy week, counting with me and has always answered all my weird and wonderful questions (mostly ‘wtf is this…’). Bloody love her. 


Holiday plans. I keep wondering why I feel so worn out and whilst, I know I know, pregnancy is tiring; I’m also fairly convinced that the lack of time off this year has finally caught up with me. Luckily, we have two weeks off at the end of this month and - brace yourself - actually have a (UK) holiday booked. The sceptical part of me still can’t quite believe we may really be able to go away but the closer we get, the more I allow myself to start hoping! 


Hope you're well dear reader.