Project: Decorate the nursery (2)

An update from my previous post about decorating our nursery in prep for Bug’s arrival!

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Before…
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After!

We painted (Rob painted, I made tea) the room Farrow & Ball Cornforth White, which I absolutely love. It’s a really lovely, warm colour (my amateur photos do not do it justice) and, also, smells lovely! Random, but true.

All that is left for Rob to do is paint the doors and radiators. Then we can start putting the furniture in. So far, we have the Rachel Cotbed, which we bought from John Lewis.

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I’m still sold on getting a day bed in there but Rob isn’t sure. Our plan is to get a chest of drawers, changing table and bookcase and then assess the space. It’s quite a large room but I don’t want it to look overcrowded.

In other related news, I think we have narrowed down a name for Baby Bug. We actually have two – one preferred – and will meet him before absolutely finalising it. Very exciting and also, omg choosing baby names is HARD.

Couple more pics below of the nursery:

 

6 weeks of work to go for me!

 

Baby signing and new kitchens!

Kitchen
We’ve decided to have our kitchen replaced. It all started because our tap is leaking so we decided to replace it. But it’s a deliciously gorgeous brown 80s colour which matches our sink, so we would have had to replace the whole sink. Given that faff, and given the general naff 80s-ness of the entire kitchen, we decided to go whole hog and replace the entire thing. Our plan at the moment is to start the works when I start maternity leave so I can ‘project manage’ it as much as required. That should also give us enough time for the inevitable delays.

It’s risky; Bug may come early but what’s life without a little risk?! Above is a pic of the colour/style we’ve decided to go for. I can’t wait for a brand new kitchen and all its clever storage ideas and solutions!

Baby signing
One of my best friends has a one year old baby and she practices baby signing with her. I had never heard of this so I’ve been looking into it a bit more, and I’m intrigued! According to babycentre.co.uk, a baby’s “understanding of language and ability to make gestures” develop much faster than his/her ability to speak – so they can use gestures to express themselves before they can talk. My friend says it really helps her bub to not get too frustrated – obviously it’s all pretty simple stuff but she’s able to communicate if she wants more food, is too hot or cold etc.

I somehow doubt it will negate tantrums completely (HAH) but it does sound like a sensible way of helping a child to express themselves before they can talk. I think my hubby and I are going to try it when our baby comes along and see what we think.

 

Leave
It’s the end of another week and I’m about to hit 30 weeks, which feels like a real milestone. I’ve also agreed the start date of my maternity leave with work, so I now have six more working weeks to go. I made the decision to go with the doctor’s advice and stop at 36 weeks. I’ve found myself really slowing down and feeling a lot more cumbersome over the past couple of weeks so I’m happy with my choice now. It does mean that it’s creeping up very fast!

Happy Friday, everyone. 🙂

29 weeks: Pregnancy Update

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Third trimester bumpalicious
  • Weeks: 29 (NHS) / 28 + 3 (my dates)
  • New developments: Bug is quite boisterous. He’s constantly rolling and poking and kicking and generally making his presence felt. It’s very reassuring, if a little painful at times! Walking is becoming much more tiring now, which is to be expected. My ten minute walk to the station now takes me about 15-20 minutes and I’m knackered when I arrive. Stairs at tube stations are also not my friend anymore.
  • Symptoms: Insomnia has arrived! I’m finding it hard to fall asleep and then, when I manage to, I have to get up again to pee! I’m also finding it difficult to get into a comfortable position. I’m also getting rib pain at the top of my stomach so I’m moving around as much as I can while sitting at my desk to alleviate that.
  • Sickness: Nausea has come back a little bit but no vomming. I’m eating little and often, as is recommended, and that is definitely helping. I’m pretty used to nausea now, I think it’s going to be weird when I give birth and it goes away completely.
  • Cravings: Curries. Bug loves curries.
  • Bump: It’s definitely got bigger (see above).
  • Maternity fashion: Coat issue was fixed because I realised I could still *just about* zip up my lovely warm winter coat. I’ve also got a slightly bigger North Face coat (belonging to my Mum) which I can use. Then I might just hibernate.
  • Anything else: Weird dreams!

7 weeks until my mat leave starts, which is crazy! Happy 2016, everyone. 🙂

When to go on maternity leave?

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Maternity leave start dates – what a nightmare. How are you possibly meant to magically guess how you’re going to feel at the tail-end of your pregnancy and, therefore, when you’re going to feel is the ‘right’ time to start your maternity leave?! I understand that it’s hard for employers, who can’t just wait around for their pregnant staff to either come in or not come into work. But it’s hard for those pregnant staff too.

I had confidently decided to go on maternity leave at 38 weeks. I hadn’t given it a huge amount of thought but had decided that Bug was likely to be late (based on…nothing) and that at-least-two weeks was an adequate amount of time to get all the things ready.

I then had my routine 25 week doctor’s appointment and he raised his eyebrows at my 38 week idea. I have quite a long commute – 1hr10 door to door – including a 25 minute train, two short tube journeys and about a 20 minute walk. He felt I might struggle.

Sooo, back to the drawing board. I’m now unsure whether to go for 22 February, when I’ll be 36 weeks, or 29 February, when I’ll be 37. It’s only a week but I have a feeling that a week at that size/point in pregnancy could feel like a lifetime.

The other factor is that we are considering getting our kitchen redone. The current one was put in when the house was built in the 80s and it’s naff and old. We had thought to get it replaced in a year but, actually, it makes more sense to do it before Bug joins us. If so, our timeline could be to get it done during the last week of February and, if I was already on mat leave by then, I could do a sort of faux project management/sitting around the house job. I think I could be quite good at that. Organising while watching daytime TV.

I am planning to take a year so I feel really lucky in that respect, but I don’t want to squander any of it, y’know? Decisions, decisions.

 

 

Project: Decorate the nursery (1)

Hello! It’s been a while since I updated because life has been super hectic and I’ve also been a bit ill – fabulous combination.

We (read: my husband) have emptied out the room next to ours, which will become the nursery. We used it as a spare room so had to dismantle the bed and get rid of all the paraphernalia (we don’t have a utility room so it had become the ironing space, strewn with crumpled clothes).

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Empty nursery! View from doorway

It’s quite a good sized room so I think it’s going to fit everything I want which includes:

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View from t’other side

The room has a built-in wardrobe, which is handy and my aim is to fit either the changing table or a chest of drawers next to this and behind the door. As to where everything else will go, I have no clue.

We’ve decided to go for the Farrow & Ball Cornforth White (which is actually grey, confusingly) for the walls and a matte white for the doors etc. Husby is going to get onto painting those this weekend – although he has got his annual boys night out with school friends on Saturday so I’m doubtful that he’ll get much done on Sunday.

I also want some little Ikea shelves on the walls, mainly so I can hang my Studio Sappor felt name bunting from it, when I buy it. The shelves and the bunting are all gleefully stolen ideas from the awesome Rock My Family blog. This does remind me, however, that we have to start thinking properly about a name for this little guy because Bug just isn’t going to cut it.

Watch this space for progress pics.

Recent baby buys

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Our Christmas tree!

I had a fabulous weekend of fun (how is it already friday?!) as it was my husband’s birthday. We went to John Lewis and bought a bunch of things for Baby Bug, which was fun and, also, made me feel better/like we were doing something. So, what did we buy?

The Rachel Cotbed from John Lewis. I liked the chunkiness of this cotbed as well as the fact that it turns into what looks like an actual bed, rather than a “this looked better as a cot” type bed, which I’ve seen around.

The mattress thing was all a bit WHAT. We went for the Premium Foam mattress () just because I didn’t actually like any of the spring ones, even though they were more expensive.

We’ve ended up with two bumpers because I’m a bit mental. We got this adorbs Noah’s Ark one because ANIMALS as well as the Airwrap Four-Sided Baby Cot Bumper because it says “SAFER THAN A BUMPER” at the top and so I bought it. It covers all four sides of the cot which, to me, makes sense if the point of the bumper is to stop hands/legs/heads getting caught. Anyway. Panic buys are fun every now and then.

We’re planning to buy a chest of drawers from IKEA (Hemnes for the win) and I’m toying between either another chest of drawers or a changing table like this one. There is a built-in wardrobe in the room also, which is handy.

Finally, we bought some Farrow & Ball Cornforth White paint – it’s a lovely light grey colour which will go on the walls. Now, all we need to do is get paintin’ and decoratin’…

My best maternity fashion buys

I’ve been getting mah maternity fashion on!

Let’s start with a caveat: I think maternity fashion is a bit shit. Everyone keeps telling me how much it’s improved, which is hugely worrying since I still think it’s a bit shit. It could be that I’m just not used to seeing myself with a bump and so I wouldn’t be happy in anything – but I don’t think it’s just that. I’ve bought a pile of stuff from ASOS and other stuff places and returned probably about 80% of it. Thankfully I’ve still got a few things that fit from pre-pregnancy days, which is good – and I’ve come around to the opinion that a few key pieces should see you quite a long way.

Something else that has taken some getting used to is the lack of colour in maternity wear! I do actually understand this – it makes a lot more sense to get something in black or another neutral colour so it’s versatile. The only issue is I love my bright colours and am so used to wearing pinks, reds, turquoise that I’m missing them. If you’re in the same boat, then an easy fix is to get a few bright-coloured scarves or a cardigan or two – you’ll always use them after bub comes along.

Here’s a run down of my best maternity buys

  • I still love my maternity jeans from Asos. I’m also borrowing some maternity TopShop jeans from my sis in law and a couple of them are super comfy, but I still think my Asos ones are the bees knees.

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    Maternity jeans of awesomeness
  • My Mothercare Ponte Zip Maternity Leggings (that aren’t really leggings just super comfy trousers) are still fricking AWESOME. I would actually buy these if they sold them as normal work trousers because they are THAT comfy (why do most non-blindingly-expensive work trousers have to be made of horrid polyester stratchy stuff?) and super fashionable with the ankle zippers.

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    Fashionable AND work friendly leggings
  • ASOS tights! I bought some crap ones that fall down but then stumbled across these ASOS Maternity 180 Denier Velvet Touch Tights, which are absolutely beauties. They’re nice and thick (it’s winter, guys), very soft and don’t seem to fall down.

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    Maternity tights that don’t fall down!
  • This ASOS Maternity Bodycon Dress is an absolute steal – it’s super comfortable (95% viscose, hello) and a really flattering cut (love the capped sleeves). It’s totally versatile and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Plus it’s only £25 – bargainous! It’s hubs’ birthday tomorrow and we’re going for Christmas drinks then a fancy dinner so I shall be wearing this with boots.

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    Versatile maternity LBD
  • I don’t know why stripes are so awesome when you’re pregnant but they just are. I love this New Look Stripped Tunic, it’s super soft (there’s a comfort theme here), quite long so wearable with trousers or even just tights and easy to dress up or down (I wore it to a dinner party on the weekend).

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    Stripes for the win
  • Finally, this is a total extravagance but my need for colour has forced me to purchase this gorgeous coral v-neck shift dress. I’ve got a couple of Christmas parties, my brother’s birthday and a few other Events coming up so I’m hoping I’ll get my money’s worth out of it. I also have a sister in law who is a similar size so I’ll be able to pass it over to her when the time comes.

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    Coral!

I’m struggling with bras. I haven’t found many maternity/nursing bras that don’t look horrendous under a shirt so any recommendations greatly received!

Pregnancy update: 21 weeks

Baby got clothes. Lots of clothes.
Baby got clothes. Lots of clothes.

Mr Bug told me that my blog was starting to come across slightly Ranty McRanterson so I thought I’d better update with some normal stuff rather than just armchair feminist warrior posts (hah).

On Saturday, we went to see Mr Bug’s sister, S. She and her husband had baby M a year ago and very kindly gave us a whole pile of baby stuff that M has now outgrown or doesn’t use anymore. When I say whole pile I mean a MASSIVE PILE OF STUFF. It was mainly clothes but also a Tommee Tippee bottle steriliser, lots of books on breastfeeding (currently having a nose through Clare Byam-Cook’s) and new babies (I gave this to Mr Bug as he has no clue), a Sleepyhead Pod (I’ve heard great things about this), an Isofix base and car seat (not sure which one, it’s at Rob’s parents’ house) and other stuff that I’ve forgotten.

The entire chest of drawers above is rammed full – two drawers for 0-3 months, one drawer for 3-6 months, bottom drawer for blankets and sleeping bags and then, upstairs, another drawer full of 6-12 months. I’ll devote a bit more time in later posts to the various things we’ve picked up.

  • Weeks: 21 + 1 (NHS) / 20 + 3 (my dates)
  • New developments: Bug is now moving enough that kicks can be felt on the outside! Mr Bug felt one and his face was a picture, it was as if he had momentarily forgotten there was a baby in there and didn’t know know what was happening. I can now see that I’m going to be obsessing over kicks from now until birth. Bug tends to be active in the afternoon, late evening and very early morning.
  • Sickness: Still nauseous all the time but the level is low enough that I can get on with most things. Mornings are still a struggle as that’s when I feel nauseous enough to throw up. Some toast and steady breathing usually rectifies that.
  • Last vom: Monday 2 November – over a week ago! *Cue dancing banana*
  • Cravings: I’m still all about the carbs and unhealthy foods. I’m trying to eat other stuff but, because of the nausea, I’m just going with what my body wants. This may mean I’m the size of a house by EDD but, after HG, I really don’t care.
  • Bump: It’s definitely getting bigger! Will do a bump pic soon.
  • Maternity fashion: Rob’s sister gave me some dresses and jeans from when she was pregnant, which is amazing. Most of them are Top Shop or Next. I’m still absolutely loving my Mothercare work trousers and my Asos jeans. My biggest fashion issue at the moment is a coat – or a lack of coat. None of my current ones fit over bump and I’m not someone who enjoys the cold so having bump exposed is Not Ideal. I’m going to have a go with a thick scarf but, if not, I may have to invest in a maternity-type coat. I always said I wouldn’t because it feels like a waste of money, buuut winter is coming (insert GoT gif).
  • Anything else: I woke up today with a sore throat. Boo.

On Thursday, Mr Bug and I, along with Mr Bug’s parents, are off to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. My parents live there at the moment so we thought it would be nice to visit them and do some sight-seeing. Of course, this was before I got pregnant and had HG! Just to be safe, I won’t be going on any of the tours (around Lalibela and Axum – super jealous) but will be living it up in Addis for 10 days. If you fancy seeing snaps, please follow me on Instagram – my username is @katinda.

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Mummuddlingthrough

F*** the guilt, ladies

Scared baby against crazy mother

I often see comments and posts about how being a Mum means you feel guilty all the time. As a Mum-to-be, I found that intriguing yet, even without being a Mum, I understood the sentiment. I was also heartened to see that there’s a real ‘push’ against making Mums feel guilty in the parenting blogosphere – a movement away from judging and denouncing and more toward being supportive and inclusive.

That’s awesome. But why is it necessary in the first place? What is it about being a Mum that means we have to accept being under the spotlight and prepared (and ready) to justify our parenting decisions, whether they’re related to how we give birth, where our child sleeps, whether we breastfeed or not, or anything else (that has absolutely zero to do with anyone else in the entire world). The reality seems to be that you’re going to feel shit no matter what you do because, whatever decision you do make, there will be people who do it Differently and then you’ll either feel guilty or they’ll try and make you feel guilty, and it’s a whole mess of judgey pants and guilty pants, and you have to roll your eyes and ignore it if you can.

But there’s something quite important about this guilt – it’s actually not about being a Mum; it’s about being a woman. Women are brought up primed to feel guilty. We are taught to internalise everything, to look at our own behaviour, to see what WE can change or do differently/better. Men are not taught this. Men are taught that they can be confident, that they can be in control, that being assertive is awesome (assertive isn’t even a word men have to use, it’s just ‘being a man’), and they don’t have to worry about labels like “bossy” or “feisty”.

Let’s take one of the most extreme, horrendous examples of this: sexual assault and rape. Women are told to be careful; don’t drink too much; don’t wear short skirts; don’t flirt. Men are told…well, what exactly are men told? Nothing much. The focus has historically been on women to consider their actions rather than on men to just, y’know, not rape. Happily, things *are* changing and we’re taking steps away from the vomit-inducing “don’t get too drunk on a night out, ladies” to messages like the awesome Tea and Consent video from Thames Valley Police. Consent is everything but it has absolutely NOT been the overriding focus in cases of rape and sexual violence – women have been the focus.

I’m using this example to show that we live in a society that will blame a woman for something terrible happening to her because of someone else’s horrific actions – an extreme example but an important one. And women will take this blame; they will blame other women; they will accept that status quo because we are socially conditioned to do so. We grow up being expected to judge other women on everything because we are judged in turn. We grow up unsure, insecure, always examining our own actions, afraid. And then, when we become Mums, all of that insecurity, that fear, is magnified a million times because, if we make mistakes, we aren’t just harming ourselves, we’re harming the little person or little people that we want to protect more than anything in the whole world. That, to us, is unforgivable. We worry that we will fail those little people, no matter how much we love them because we are always responsible, it’s always our fault and we should always do better.

This was really brought home to me during a recent #matexp twitter chat. One sentiment, which blew my mind, was from women who felt as though they had ‘failed’ at giving birth. The reasons for this feeling of failure varied hugely but, oh my god, can we take a moment to consider how insane that is? These are women who have managed to successfully give birth to their babies and yet they feel as though what they did wasn’t quite good enough. I haven’t given birth yet and I’m really quite scared (er, petrified!) of it. To me, any woman who has managed to give birth to her baby – IN WHATEVER WAY THAT HAPPENED – is a freakin’ rockstar. It breaks my heart that they, themselves, don’t feel that way because of these ridiculous and impossible pressures and standards that society places on women – especially when it comes to pregnancy and parenting. This is where we need to push back, to be more assertive, and to tell the world to stop effing judging and start supporting each and every mother and the choices that she makes.

Birth is the most visceral example but there’s breastfeeding, sleeping, weaning, using dummies…the list goes on and on. Every decision that you make will be one that you make fearing that someone will think you’re a damn idiot for making it. But this all stems from our insecurities, our conditioning, our expectation that we will be judged and should judge others – it’s a really shit, anti-feminist self-fulfilling prophecy. If I decide not to give my kid a dummy and I shout really loudly about it then hopefully others will agree with me and no one will tell me that I’m a bad Mum because, as I haven’t been allowed to feel confident in the decisions that I make my entire life, I really don’t want anyone to tell me I’m a bad Mum and, if anyone else does something differently (like, er, give their kid a dummy) that will make me feel like one because they’ve made a different decision to me and what does that say about me and OH MY GOD THE SKY IS FALLING IN.

Seriously f*** that. It’s time for ALL of us to feel confident in what we’re doing with our own bloody children and supporting other Mums in their choices, even if they’re different from ours. If my mate wants to have an elective caesarian and I’m all about my natural birth then that’s freaking awesome and I can’t wait to meet her afterward and toast to how awesome we both are over a well-deserved glass of Prosecco. As is clear in this post, there is a wider, social sickness of condemning and undermining women that we can’t expect to fight all on our own – but we’re starting with the little things, the parental support networks, the confidence-building (our own and others), the empathy and understanding. Hopefully from that, other things with flow.

Vive la difference.

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Mummuddlingthrough
The Twinkle Diaries

Our 20 week scan!

20 weeks old!

I’m 20 weeks pregnant today, wohoo. Yesterday, we had our 20 week scan, which all went very well. Baby Bug was being a bit uncooperative and kept putting his hands over his face/above his head and moving *just* when the sonographer was trying to grab an image. Attaboy, a rebel from the start. We had to go for a little walk but, thankfully, the sonographer got everything she needed so we don’t have to go back. It was great seeing him on screen because he is finally starting to look like a human rather than a cute little alien.

I was pretty nervous going into the 20 week scan because this can be the point where parents-to-be can hear bad news. We aren’t special because we had the all-clear at this stage; we are just lucky. I took a moment, after the scan and with Mr Bug, to actively NOT take our good news for granted. I breathed a sigh of relief and thought about how I would have felt it we had heard something terrible. I really hope that doesn’t sound weird and morbid – I just wanted to be part of the ‘team’ for everyone who has ever suffered pregnancy loss. They were with me today.

Today, we’re off to see Mr Bug’s sister. She has a one year old boy and has kindly offered to give us a bunch of stuff that they no longer need. Then, tonight, Mr Bug wants to see the new Bond film in the cinema. I’ll be going for the popcorn. Have a fab weekend, everyone!

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