Pregnancy Diary – Weeks 25 and 26

Pregnancy seems to be speeding up. I’m sure of it!

I’m now at the stage where I think I’ve honestly forgotten how pregnant I am. I can just about work it out if I use my fingers and consult the diary, but it seems that I’m so busy right now that I don’t just have it instantly to mind.

Exhaustion

What I would say about the last two weeks is that I have felt utterly exhausted. I’m not sure if it’s just down to trying to cram in a lot of stuff with all three kids the first weekend, but by Monday and Tuesday I was no use to anyone.

Pregnancy Diary BBC Proms Royal Albert Hall

The first weekend had been crazy with a visit to the Dunstable Kite Festival, along with a very long day in London. We managed to squeeze in both a children’s festival and a children’s Prom (watch out for the blog post about it very, very soon) into one day. On opposite sides of London. Without very long at all to get between the two. And without any proper plans for lunch. What I learnt was that I need to slow down a bit. And eat properly. Valuable lessons that I’m trying to take forwards into the rest of the school summer holidays.

Lazy days at home

Pregnancy Diary baking with kids

If there is a plus side form overdoing it though it is realising how much my kids like a day in which we do very little. A day full of board games, television, baking and happily pottering about the house. Don’t get me wrong – the house is a tip at the end of it – but I think we all needed a few lazy days like this. It gave us time to reconnect somewhat and spend some quality time together at home.

Master C has got a bit of a thing for board games at the moment, so when he’s not playing with his trains he’s keen to find someone to play either Snake and Ladders or Ludo with him. Something I’m more than happy to agree to. Well, for the first nine or ten times!

Regaining my fitness levels

Another thing that I’ve noticed with this pregnancy is that I’m nowhere near as fit as I was with the last too. Back then I did the school run on foot and just generally seemed to have so much more energy. This time round I’m desperate to go to bed at the end of the day and in comparison walking and exercising very little.

I’m feeling. bit bad about that. Especially since I haven’t even been able to make it to my weekly aqua natal class for about 6 weeks now.

The only regular bit of exercise I have been getting is when I take the kids to their swimming lessons once a week. I’ve made a real effort to start swimming lengths again whilst they have their lessons. It’s a good thing for me to do – mentally and physically – and I’m realising I really do need to make some time to look after myself a bit better. I need to make time to go for walks and do other bits of exercise, as well as eating better too.

As I sit here writing this I have a week where the kids are staying with their Dad, and I’m trying to use it as an opportunity to get properly organised for the rest of the year. With the wedding and the baby I know that the next five or six months are going to be crazily busy and I also know that I need to be on top of things so nothing gets dropped. I just need to make sure I put time in my plans to concentrate on myself too.

Midwife appointment

Speaking of looking after myself, one thing that I do religiously make time for is medical appointments. I have to admit that I don’t understand people who don’t keep regular appointments. You’re responsible for a little life inside you. How can you not make the time to go and see the Doctor or midwife?

I therefore waddled off to the local doctors’ surgery for my 25 week mid-wife appointment, which was short and sweet. Although luckily not as disappointing as the last one was. This time around I did get to listen to the baby’s heartbeat, but to be honest there wasn’t a whole much more to the appointment.

A quick feel of my tummy told the midwife that baby (unsurprisingly) wasn’t head down yet, and all my blood pressure and urine sample were also fine. I’ve already got the next two appointments with her in the diary and at those I’ve been told to expect another set of blood tests and also my Anti-D injection. It seems the way they do Anti-D is different from when I had my son and daughter, so that’s yet another thing I have to get my head around.

Travelling around

I’ve also been making the most of the times when the kids have been staying with their Dad to accompany B on some of his work travels. I generally find that if I stay at home I end up not working that well as I get distracted by the various jobs that need doing instead. I therefore try and find cafes with wifi near where he is working and go with him and concentrate on my work whilst he is at work. I can make a cheap cup of coffee or tea last a good couple of hours if needs be, but it does mean I get so much more done. At the same time I can also make the most of the car journeys for a bit of crochet or sewing (which is like mental therapy to me!) and get to see a bit of the country at the same time.

Brighton

Pregnancy Diary Brighton beach

We were lucky enough to be in Brighton the day before Brighton Pride and loved the carnival atmosphere in the town. I found some gorgeous cafes and shops and even managed to find my wedding dress on a sale rack for the bargain price of £15 whilst there! That afternoon we sat on the beach watching the waves come in and it was just perfect.

Colchester

I also tagged along when he had to go to Colchester, which gave me a perfect excuse to catch up with my blogging friend Mary over a cuppa and piece of cake. We worked out that it’s been about two years since we last managed to catch up in person and it was an excellent reminder of how wonderful some of the blogging friendships I’ve made over the years are. She took me to a lovely vintage tea rooms and we platted a return visit so that we can go to the local board game cafe too. Colchester – we’ll be back!

As if that wasn’t enough as we made our way home, we delayed lunch plans slightly as the heavens opened, but that meant that we happened to be driving past the East Anglian Railway Museum just as our stomachs were rumbling.

Pregnancy Diary East Anglian Railway Museum

Unfortunately the need to get back to pick up the kids meant that we didn’t have time to do the museum itself, but the pair of us loved having lunch in an old railway carriage on one of the platforms as we watched real trains go through the middle of the museum. Yet another reason to return soon.

Norfolk

As if all that wasn’t enough we also managed to squeeze in a quick overnight trip to Norfolk to see B’s family. We figured it was the last chance we’d get before the wedding so we thought we ought to make the effort.

Pregnancy Diary Wells fish and chips

It was very much a flying visit, but no visit to Wells Next The Sea would be complete without fish and chips from French’s. If you’re ever in the area it is the place to go. Don’t let the queue put you off. It’s well worth the wait.

The gorgeous weather also meant that we were desperate to fit in a beach trip and we managed it. Holkham is one of B’s favourite beaches and I totally agree as to why. It’s just so big that even on the busiest of days it doesn’t seem busy. There’s also something completely magical about paddling in the sea and it’s one of those things that I think should be done at every possible opportunity.

Leighton Buzzard Railway

The fortnight finished with a final trip out with the kids to the Leighton Buzzard Railway. Master C is a huge train fan and seeing as Leighton Buzzard is our closest train day out we thought it about time we visited.

Pregnancy Diary Leighton Buzzard Railway

Needless to say the kids had a ball (full write up coming soon on Penny Travels) but once again it reminded me how much days out are exhausting me with this pregnancy. Luckily we were able to change our plans and just stay home the following day, but it was another reminder not to plan too much these holidays.

The one where I turned 40 and took off all my clothes in public

It’s hard to believe that it’s two years since I ventured off to Tea and Tents for the first time, and boy how my life has changed since then. Back then I described it as one of the most inspiring weekends of my life and just being back in the same place and seeing how far I’ve come since then was in a way quite humbling.

The Women’s Institute has helped turn around my life over the last few years. It’s given me confidence, courage and ambition, and without it I don’t think I would have made the changes I have to my life. I realised how unhappy I was and made differences to give me and my kids a better, happier life. The WI as a whole, the experiences I’ve had there and the friends I’ve made are what made all this possible.

Tea and Tents Women's Institute

When I discovered that the 2018 event was the weekend after my 40th birthday it seemed like the perfect time to celebrate with some of my closest girlfriends. What I didn’t realise when I booked my ticket was that I would by then be 24 weeks pregnant. Or that the country would be in the middle of a massive heatwave.

Never fear though – with a paramedic in my WI group, plus my mum and sister living just down the road from Walesby I set off determined to have a fab time and I did just that.

Last time round I was totally disorganised (possibly something to do with the amount of gin I took with me!) but with a clear head I this time planned my activities somewhat more and even booked in for some workshops and activities before I went.

For those unfamiliar with it, Tea and Tents is an unofficial WI festival that runs over three days on a Scout camp in Nottinghamshire. With over 500 women of all different ages and backgrounds, it’s a completely unique experience that I think is one that all WI members should try to see for themselves.

There is so much on offer that even after being more organised I still only feel like I scratched the surface of what there was. But I once again came home from Walesby feeling reinvigorated and motivated in a way that I hadn’t before.

Being pregnant meant that things like axe throwing were off the agenda for me, but instead I aimed to strike more of a mental balance by signing up to a variety of craft activities. I started off the weekend by totally throwing myself into the festival vibe and making a flower crown. How else are you supposed to look when going round a campsite in your pyjamas in a morning?

Tea and Tents Women's Institute Suffragette Flower Crown

I’ve never really been very good with fresh flowers, but Polly was a fantastic tutor and gave us a great workshop showing us how to form the basic crown from wore and then adding on flowers as we wanted to. Bearing in mind we all started off with very similar flowers, it was amazing just how different all the finished crowns were. But that’s individuality for you.

Tea and Tents Women's Institute Stampin Up

I booked onto a card making workshop on a bit of a whim. Mainly because I was looking for something to fill a time slot and because a couple of my friends were going. I’m so glad I did though as I absolutely loved it and came away with a couple of completed cards. It also introduced me to Stampin’ Up and I know I’ll be heading there way to order a few bits for some Christmas card making later in the year.

There were so many sewing and needle felting workshops that I wanted to do, but in the end I went for one simply titled “stitch a suffragette”. With no picture as I guidance it was a bit of a case of booking in the dark, but I’m so glad I did. Run by a mother and daughter team from Old Town Belles WI, it was quite simply one of the most organised workshops I’ve ever been to.

Tea and Tents Women's Institute Suffragette

With pre-prepared fabric hoops and kits consisting of all the pre-cut pieces of fabric we would need to create our suffragette (as well as detailed written instructions) it really did make the process of creating such an impressive looking piece of embroidery quite simple.

Tea and Tents Women's Institute Suffragette

The two hour session just flew past and I’m so pleased and proud of my finished piece. Another member was telling me about how she was planning to add hers to a suffragette collection of artwork and memorabilia that she had in her downstairs loo and that somehow seemed just strangely perfect.

The other highlight of my weekend couldn’t really be any further away from the stereotypical Women’s Institute image of stitching a suffragette.  After signing up for a swimming session at Walesby I was convinced by some of the other women online to join them in the organised skinny dipping session. And somehow I agreed to this without a drink inside me!

Two years ago there were stories floating around the camp about an impromptu spot of skinny dipping, but this time around it was far more pre-planned. With a lifeguard and everything! Quite what made me sign up to do it I’ll never know. But I’m so glad I did.

Never before have I felt so liberated and free. Naked in an open air swimming pool. My pregnant body fully on display. With a bunch of women that I had never met before, but yet I felt so comfortable. And heck that water was beautifully refreshing when it was so hot outside.

Tea and Tents Women's Institute

What a way to celebrate turning 40!

Just two days before my 40th the blogging world lost one of its brightest stars. Kate from WitWitWoo died suddenly, and we were all left stunned. How could someone so full of life be dead? Kate always told us to live life to the full. Not to worry about what everyone else thought. To wear what we wanted to wear. To be who we wanted to be. The blogging community came together in a way that Kate would have loved so much.

Inspired by T from Mummy Barrow we all decided to make the following weekend by embracing body confidence regardless of our size or shape. Bloggers across the country (and around the world on holiday in may cases) showed off their swimsuit selfies on social media. She would have laughed so hard (especially as many of us realised just how damn hard it is to take a good selfie in swimwear!) but I know she would have also been proud. #BeMoreWitWitWoo has already become a mantra for so many of us, and that’s exactly what I was doing when I went skinny dipping. Take these crazy experiences that life throws at you and embrace them as much as you can.

The final message that I took home from Tea and Tents this time round was being realistic about what is possible in life. A deflated air mattress, a bad bag, and crazy temperatures meant that the camping element wasn’t the easiest of things to deal with. The final night I headed off to my mum’s rather than endure another night under canvas. Although I missed out on some time with my friends (who it seems managed to stagger round most of the campsite making friends into the small hours) I instead slept for a decent length of time, woke without aches and pains, had a loo just down the corridor when the baby decided bouncing on my bladder at 3am was a fun thing to do, and also got a hot shower the next morning. As a result I felt refreshed for my return home – and clean for once too!

Quality Pregnancy Sleep thanks to Dreamgenii

It’s fair to say that I didn’t plan this pregnancy very well when it comes to getting a decent night’s sleep during it. These crazy temperatures mean that everyone has been struggling to sleep – regardless of whether they’re pregnant or not. It’s impossible to sleep when it’s still about 28 degrees in your bedroom, even when you have a fan running and all the windows open. All that means it’s been a bit tough to give the Dreamgenii a fair review until now.

Dreamgenii pregnancy support pillow

I was fascinated when I first saw the Dreamgenii pregnancy support pillow at Blog On back in May as it doesn’t really look like any other pregnancy pillow that I’ve seen. As well as the familiar curved shape it also has an extra bit added on that I’ll come to in a minute.

How to sleep when pregnant

Firstly, one question that I’ve heard people ask, especially those that have never been pregnant, is why you need a special pillow during pregnancy. It’s true that not everyone does, but all three times I’ve been pregnant my sleep has been disrupted by back ache and also some degree of pain in my hips too.

As well as giving you a whole different body shape, pregnancy also affects joints, ligaments and muscles in different ways and for many women that can result in some degree or pain or discomfort. In previous pregnancies I’ve found that sleeping on my side with a pillow tucked between my knees helps somewhat, but it is bulky, cumbersome and not always perfect.

It’s also worth adding here that NHS guidance is for pregnant women to sleep on their side when pregnant, and ideally on their left hand side. Over the year there have been some frightening headlines about the risks of women sleeping on their backs (and as an aside this useful bit of the NHS website helps you understand the facts behind such headlines) but if you’re used to sleeping on your back it can be a hard habit to kick. Especially when you’re asleep and don’t realise you’re doing it!

Dreamgenii’s design

This is exactly where the Dreamgenii’s clever design can help. As well as having a curved section that works as both a knee support and also a bump support the pillow continues with another section. Joined to the end of the main curve is a flat non-padded comfort panel and then a smaller back support cushion section.

Dreamgenii pregnancy support pillow

It’s a bit confusing to describe at first, but basically you lie on your side with the flat comfort panel section under your body. The larger section then goes in front of you, supporting your bump, and the curve continues and goes between your legs. This helps to align your hips straight and stop pain and discomfort there and in the pelvic area.

The back support cushion section does very much as the name suggests and rests in the small of your back. This is the part of the cushion that I wasn’t all that sure about at first, but it not only supports your back, but also stops you from rolling on to your back when asleep.

How did I sleep?

Let’s totally separate out this crazy summer we’ve been having. In fairness nothing was going to get me a better night’s sleep when it’s so hot. When the temperatures have been lower though, the Dreamgenii has been an absolute dream. I hadn’t really realised just how much I roll around in my sleep until now, but I’ve found that I can use the Dreamgenii to stop me from doing so and I seem to sleep longer and deeper as a result. For daytime naps in particular it has been amazing. I’ve woken up feeling refreshed and not in pain.

Dreamgenii pregnancy support pillow

At night time I still find that I want to swap sides in the night and the Dreamgenii stops me from just doing that in my sleep. Instead I tend to wake up completely, reposition myself and the pillow and then going back to sleep. Trying to position it with the back support section whilst half-asleep took a bit of getting used to, but once I’d got the knack it was easy enough. Then once asleep I stay off my back and tend to sleep deeper too.

What I really like about the Dreamgenii is the additional bump support (this time round my bump aches in a way that I don’t remember having before) and also the lack of general bulk. There’s still room to have my other half snuggle up to me without him feeling pushed out of the way by a pillow!

With a retail price around the £49.99 mark the Dreamgenii does work out a bit more expensive that some other pregnancy support pillows on the market, but I think that is worthwhile for the addition of the back support and the lack of general bulk to the pillow.

Feeding support pillow

What I’ve obviously not been able to test out yet is how good the Dreamgenii is when you use it as a feeding pillow. As I understand it, the idea for this is that you have the comfort panel behind your back and the back support to one side of you, almost locking the rest of the pillow in place in front of you. That way it stops it slipping in someway whilst you feed.

The only bit I can’t get my head around yet is how you work it if you decide to swap sides mid-feed. I’ll admit that it’s over 5 years since I last breastfed, but I’m pretty sure my two did swap sides mid-feed and therefore expect this one might be similar. Will this work with the Dreamgenii. I guess I’ll have to wait a few more months to find out.

The Dreamgenii pregnancy support pillow retails for £49.99 and you can buy one directly from them here. Some of the range are also available online via Amazon.

Disclaimer: I was sent a Dreamgenii for the purposes of this review. All opinions remain my own. This post contains affiliate (and non-affiliate) links.

Pregnancy Diary – Weeks 23 and 24

Can you tell that the school holidays have arrived? Hence all organised work plans just fly out of the window. Combine that with the stupidly hot summer we’re having (remember I’m northern, I prefer the cold!) and it seems I’m behind on absolutely everything right now. Including blogging.

There are moments when this pregnancy feels like it’s going on for ever. And other moments where it feels like only two minutes since we found out. A hell of a lot has happened since then, but there still seems to be so much more to do before we’re organised for this November arrival.

Looking back I’ve been trying to remember what I’ve been up to these last two weeks. A glance at the diary suggests actually quite a lot!

Sorting out the paperwork

Firstly – and possibly most excitingly – was a trip to the local register office. Paperwork all submitted and we’re getting married. Quite soon! We decided there was absolutely no point in hanging around and seeing as we want to do it before this baby arrives we were a little bit limited in free dates in the diary when all three kids would be with us. Luckily it was one of those cases where we came up with a possible date, found the registrar could do it and so could all our immediate family. Hence we booked it. It’s only going to be a small do followed by afternoon tea, but I’m so excited I could burst! I just need to find a dress that’s going to fit and hope that this baby doesn’t decide to make a surprise early appearance.

Turning 40

As if that wasn’t enough excitement for one week, just a couple of days later I celebrated one of those big birthday events that ends in a zero. Yep – somehow 40 has arrived and it’s fair to say that life isn’t at all how I expected it would be at this age. If you’d told me two years ago that I would have celebrated my 40th with a non-alcoholic gin and tonic as pregnant with baby number three I would have laughed at you. But here I am. And I couldn’t be happier.

Pregnancy Diary Weeks 23 24 Birthday Flowers

In the end it was a quiet day. The day before I’d tagged along with B on a work trip to Kent and we managed a couple of hours at Bodiam Castle and a traditional National Trust Cream Tea which was a lovely pre-birthday treat. B managed to get the day off work for my birthday itself, so a lie in followed by lunch out was in order, before the rush of school pick up, swimming lessons and Cubs AGMs in the evening.

Pregnancy Diary Weeks 23 24 National Trust Cream Tea

Luckily B snuck the kids to the supermarket for a spot of cake buying and the appearance of two friends at the AGM picnic meant I had a bit of a celebration there. By the time we got home it was late so there was just chance for that sneaky G&T before bed. It’s a rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle I lead.

Tea and Tents

Pregnancy Diary Weeks 23 24 Tea and Tents

The weekend after my birthday is when life got much more exciting though. I headed north for a child free weekend and Tea and Tents. This amazing WI filled weekend deserves a blog post of its own, but needless to say it was fantastic (apart from a deflating air mattress!) and a perfect tonic to the madness of day to day family life. I ticked something major off my (as yet un-finished) 40 things to do when I’m 40 list, but more about that later.

End of Term

Pregnancy Diary Weeks 23 24 Kids end of term

Once I was back from Tea and Tents we had the usual end of term madness. Somehow I’ve managed to get Little Miss C and Master C to the end of Year 3 and Reception at school and I’m so proud of how they’re doing. Despite all the disruption of the last year both had glowing school reports with LMC showing huge strength in reading, writing and French, and Master C in all things mathematical and scientific. They may both be so different in many ways, but I’m proud of both of them.

Birth Choices Clinic

The final bit of this fortnight of pregnancy was a trip with B to the local hospital to attend the birth choices clinic there. As I’ve spoken about before here, a consultant at the hospital has said that I can choose to have an elective C-section if I want to with this baby, but she referred us to the clinic to help us make an informed decision as to what to do. At least we thought we were going to attend the clinic. Right up until that moment when you tell the receptionist why you’re there and she looks at you and says “but there isn’t a birth choices clinic running today”. Argh!

All my medical care at this hospital has been fantastic so far, but I have to say that the admin side of things has been somewhat shoddy. Mistakes in letters, lost notes, cancelled appointments. The list goes on. Luckily a chat with the admin manager about these failings, and an acknowledgement from her that it wasn’t good enough, led to her finding one of the midwife matrons and we ended up with a private session with her to discuss our options instead. I have to say that she was excellent and answered all the questions we had, as well as some that we hadn’t even though of yet.

We think we’ve made our decision now, but babies can be unpredictable things. Who knows what the rest of this pregnancy might be like. So we’re keeping a bit of an open mind for now as to what we’ll do, depending on how things pan out.

And in a nutshell that’s it. Two weeks of busy family life with a couple of big milestones and a whole lot of fun thrown in for good measure. I’m shattered by the end of it though and slightly worried about everything that needs to be done over the next couple of months, but I’m sure well get there. Well, at least I hope we will!

Pregnancy Diary – Week 22

The weeks seem to be rushing past in this pregnancy. When it was all still a big secret in the first trimester it felt like time was dragging, but now that we’re past that point things are going so fast. Before I know it there will be a baby here! Guess I’d better start getting organised…

If anything though, I’ve done absolutely nothing over the last week that can even vaguely count towards getting organised. There’s been a lot of dull practical “life admin” like getting the exhaust fixed on my car and spending ages trying to find a garage with enough gas to re-gas my air conditioning. Really thrilling!

I also found time to take Little Miss C to her first pool party – Brownies end of year celebrations have certainly moved on from the church hall disco of my youth.

Dublin

The lovely Bonn and I also found time for a bit of a mini-holiday. Emphasis on the word mini. We were out of the country for less than 36 hours, but we still somehow managed to have a great time and feel like we’d properly had a break. I realise that I’m not going to be able to fly for much longer so I took advantage of him having a work job over in Ireland to squeeze in a quick trip to Dublin.

Dublin’s a city that we’ve been back to several times over the last year and we’ve made it very much our own. In particular we happened upon a lively little tapas restaurant there on one of our first visits and now we just have to keep going back. Normally we only get chance to squeeze in a quick lunch before rushing back to the airport. This time though we had an overnight stay and a proper dinner out. A rare thing!

Pregnancy Diary Week 22 Dublin

The next day even allowed uptime to be proper tourists. After a trip round Tower Records (honestly we only went in so I could use the loo, yet came out with some vinyl!) we hopped on an opened topped tourist bus. They may seem like a bit of a naff thing to some, but when you want to be a tourist and can’t walk far they’re the perfect solution.

Tapas

It’s my 40th next week so we decided to make it into a proper birthday meal out – knowing that my real birthday will become somewhat lost in a flurry of kids related activities. It was lovely to just for once get the chance to properly relax and enjoy the moment (and the excellent food) rather than rushing off somewhere. If you’re ever in Dublin I definitely recommend finding The Port House Pintxo. Just don’t tell everyone. We kind of like it being our little secret out there.

Bekonscot Model Village

We finished the week with a. trip to Bekonscot Model Village. We’ve visited loads of times before, but this was the first time Bonn had been and Master C in particular was very keen to show him the trains there. Little Miss C actually went on a school trip a couple of weeks ago, but felt that she hadn’t got to see everything she wanted, so was more than happy to return.

Pregnancy Diary Week 22 Bekonscot

I was also keen as I’d seen some tweets about a new section to the village and I was excited about seeing the village’s first underground station and funicular which had officially opened only a few days before.

It’s far to say we had an absolute blast. Trying to bend down to see some of the details is a tad tricky with a bit of a bump though! Look out for a full review soon over on Penny Travels.

Tots 100 Pregnancy Round Up

It’s not only been a week of days out and travel though. In between there has been plenty of work and also pulling together the latest Tots 100 Pregnancy Round Up. It’s live over on the Tots site if you want to go and have a read.

Pregnancy Diary – Week 21

Flippin’ heck! This heat. I’m from the north. I find heat hard work at the best of times. Add pregnancy into the mix and I’m really struggling.

Christmas in July

If anything’s set to guarantee hot weather it seems to be Christmas in July events. For those readers that are not bloggers or do not work in PR or marketting I probably ought to explain. Basically, most brands use July as the time to launch their Christmas ranges. Many of them hold big events to do so, often in London, and they invite media types to come and see what they are planning. All these events usually overlap time wise and so you end up with a week, or more, or Christmas in July.

It’s usually a fantastic, if slightly surreal, week. Imagine fake snow, Christmas music, copious amounts of festive food and decorations when it’s nearly 30 degrees and brilliant sunshine outside. It certainly messes with your head a bit.

Pregnancy Diary Week 21 Christmas in July Lidl

This year I’ve only really done a quiet Christmas in July. Partly down to feeling huge, and also down to lack of time this year. Last week saw me head on a train to London though to celebrate with Lidl. As I’ve come to expect with companies that sell food there was the tradition Christmas table laden with delicious food, but oh my, it was torture!

Christmas Food & Drink wish list

I hadn’t realised just how much I’m looking forward to celebrating Christmas this year. It will be the first Christmas in our new home. The first one with a new baby. And the first one with a new husband (oh yes – there was a surprise involving a diamond this week too!) It’s also going to be a Christmas at which I can eat and drink to my heart’s content. Well I can within reason. I’m fully expecting to be breastfeeding and dealing with a six week old baby then, but I also plan to enjoy myself.

Pregnancy Diary week 21 Lidl Christmas in July Cheese

Lidl had put on a magnificent Christmas spread, but there was so much that I wanted to sample but couldn’t right now. I’ve started writing a Christmas food and drink wish list based on the event and all the things there that I wanted to try, but can’t eat or drink at the moment. I mean, how dare they have a whole room devoted to cheese and whisky? Do they not realise how cruel they were being inviting a pregnant blogger along? I’m certainly saving the champagne and voucher from the event goodie bag until I do a pre-Christmas shop there.

Day to Day Life

Christmas wasn’t the only thing in the diary last week though. Little Miss C had a day at a local community event with her Cub pack and I also braved the sun again for Master C’s school sports day.

Pregnancy Diary Week 21 Dunstable Downs tea

Regular school runs and mum taxi duty left me feeling frazzled at times, but luckily B and I managed to carve out a bit of time for the two of us with a post school run breakfast up at the Dunstable Downs. I love it up there and the cool morning air was perfect for sitting and being calm for a while, before starting on our new set of exciting plans.

House progress

As if starting to think about Christmas wasn’t enough, this last week also saw Bonn and I make huge progress with the house finally. Having my sister and (Ikea and DIY loving ) brother in law to stay was possibly the kick up the backside I needed. Finally I have a dishwasher installed in my kitchen rather than just taking up space in the corner. This gave me the excuse to finally look on eBay at vintage kitchen units and I have some exciting news coming up on that too. As if no longer having to wash up by hand wasn’t exciting enough!

Inside the kitchen wasn’t the only area getting some attention. Our garden had a rickety old summerhouse thing in it when we bought the house. We were hoping we might be able to restore it in some way, but a more detailed look meant that it wasn’t to be. Luckily a bargain spot in B&M meant that I now have a gorgeous new place to sit for a morning cuppa and a spot of sewing in the garden. Another thing deserving of a separate blog post.

Pregnancy Diary week 21 garden arbour

Despite all the progress, this pregnancy is making me feel quite useless in many ways. There is so much physical stuff that I want to be cracking on with and doing, but my body just won’t let me. This last week, just hanging the washing out some days did me in for the next hour. I need to work on looking after myself a bit more and resting more, so that I can then use the time I have to maximum advantage. There’s so so much I want to get done before this baby arrives, but only 24 hours in a day it seems!

Pregnancy Diary – Week 20

Flippin’ heck it’s hot out there! Especially when you have your own “bun in the oven”. Pregnancy is hard work when it’s this warm.

That’s probably the main thing I have to say about the last week of being pregnant. I’m really struggling in this heat. It’s making everything so much harder.  I’m finding sleeping at nighttime almost impossible too so I’m tired, grumpy and a bit snappy. Then again so are the kids as they’re not sleeping well either.

Pregnancy Diary Morrisons Mojito Mocktail

All I really want to do is find somewhere cool to sit and watch the world go round with an ice filled drink. The discovery that Morrisons sell a range of pre-mixed mocktails has been revolutionary. They really do taste like the real thing and I’ll be back to buy more very soon.

It’s amazing what a difference a mid-afternoon nap is though. Over the last week I think I’ve napped more afternoons than not, and I’m so glad I am. The Dreamgenii that I mentioned last week has been brilliant for these day time naps in particular.

Last week was also the week that we were hoping to find out the gender of our baby. We went off to our 20 week scan looking forward to finding out if we were having a boy or a girl – even if we were still undecided as to whether or not we’d tell people that we knew or not. What quickly became obvious though was that this little one is going to want the final say on things. They kept their legs firmly together for the whole duration of the scan!

I’m pleased to report that everything looked fine on the scan. All the things that they check at this stage on the anomaly scan appeared to be fine, even if it did take me having to go and have a walk and a drink in the middle as it wouldn’t cooperate to let the sonographer see the spine properly at first! Are you noticing a pattern here. A baby who is already uncooperative and calling the shots. Hmmmm….

Week 20 was also the week when Bonn and I managed to squeeze in a mid-week weekend away. That might be stretching the truth a little bit. What we did manage was a night away in Birmingham. We’d had tickets to see the Flight of the Conchords back in March, but after Bret broke his hand the gig was delayed by 3 months.

Pregnancy Diary GWR Centenary Lounge

In a way, the rearranged date actually worked much better for us (we’d moved house two days before the original date) so we made the most of it to enjoy a night in a hotel with air conditioning! We’d enough hotel loyalty points from work trips to make it a free night in a hotel too. Even better. Jerome and Bret were definitely worth the wait. The show itself was amazing.

Pregnancy Diary GWR Centenary Lounge

Despite the crazy heat we managed to squeeze in a nice wander around some old haunts of mine there and also geek out over the Centenary Lounge at Birmingham Moor Street station. A must for any fellow train and tea lovers out there. Especially when you see their range of GWR crockery!

I’m hoping week 21 means the the start of slowing down a little bit. Oh and some cooler nights too. I’m not sure how much longer I can go on without sleep this side fo giving birth.

Pregnancy Diary – Week 19

I can’t quite believe that I’m already nearly at the half way stage of this pregnancy. With two kids already and a hectic life-style the last 4 and a half months seem to have flown by.

Calm and Sunshine

Pregnancy Diary Week 19

Compared to many weeks it’s actually been a relatively calm one. A week of calm and sunshine. A few busy evenings where the kids need to be in different places, miles apart at the same time, but otherwise relatively quiet.

That’s probably for the best though as I seem to have picked up a nasty cough thingy that Master C has been brewing for a couple of weeks. I’m normally absolutely fine with stuff like that, but a cough that is so violent it makes your bump hurt is far from ideal. Add with it the hay fever and incredibly hot weather we’re having and I seem to spend most of my time coughing, sneezing or dealing with nose bleeds. Still, I dont want to moan. Things could be far worse.

I’m also still just so, so, so tired. When I can I’ve been having a sneaky afternoon nap, but even still I find myself falling asleep on the sofa once the kids are in bed at night. I blame the heat.

It might also be something to do with this little one never being still! I’ve been feeling him or her move since about ten weeks and they never seem to stop. Again, it’s a good thing, but I’m shattered. When using the doppler to listen at home I’m always amazed at how much you can hear the baby moving around as well.

Dreamgenii

One thing that I am really hoping will improve my sleep is the Dreamgenii that I’ve been sent to review. I was introduced to Dreamgenii at Blog On back in May and was intrigued at this strange looking pregnancy pillow. In previous pregnancies I’ve just had a normal pillow between my knees to try to stop pain my my hips and pelvis. Dreamgenii gives you that and so much more. I’ll be honest and say it’s taking a bit of getting used to – especially at night as I’m someone who rolls over a lot in my sleep – but for nap times it’s been a game changer so far. Rather than waking up feeling stiff or in pain, I actually feel refreshed. Far, far better! I’ll be trying it for a couple more weeks before getting a full review up.

For now though I’m just looking forward to hopefully shaking off this cough, and also my 20 week scan. It feels like an age since my first one, and I’m looking forward to seeing my baby again.

If you want to read some of my previous pregnancy diaries then take a look here.

Pregnancy Diary – Week 18

I’m a bit slow in writing this week’s pregnancy update. Mainly because I sort of didn’t feel that I had much to say. In a way it was quite a mundane week with the usual schools runs, swimming lessons, Brownies, Cubs and work. But in a way it also wasn’t.

The only real pregnancy related event of note was a consultant visit at the hospital. I have to admit that my experiences of the local hospital haven’t been great so far. Mainly due to things like them losing my handheld pregnancy notes (I thought that was my job!) but I have to admit that it only seems to be the admin there causing problems rather than any of the medical staff. Now that we’ve found a visitor’s car park that seemed to be some closely guarded secret until now appointments there have also become a whole lot easier!

This appointment isn’t due to any problems or complications, but more to talk about the aftermath of my son’s birth and my birth choices following it. I’ve always assumed I’d give birth naturally this time round, but after Master C’s birth left me needing surgery my midwife thought it worth talking through with the consultant.

I’m not going to go into gory details here, but it’s safe to say my son left his mark when he arrived, but without my medical notes from the hospital in question the consultant only has my hazy recollection of everything to base her decisions on. Her view was that without a crystal ball she can’t exactly say how it will be to give birth naturally again. It could all be fine, but at the same time she is more than happy to agree for me to have a c-section instead. The choice is mine. She is not recommending one over the other and made very clear that it is a choice.

Now I have to say that it wasn’t a choice that I was expecting to have. I expected that she’d listen to my story, tell me I couldn’t have the water as pain relief that I wanted and tell me not to have an ambition birth plan and send me on my way. As a result, it’s a choice I’m not sure how to make.

Pregnancy Diary Circus Skills

Assuming nothing else changes medically, both delivery methods have their pros and cons. Not only for me medically, but also for the impact, or potential impact, on my existing children, partner and work. There’s no right or wrong choice, but it’s one that we’ve got to make.

Luckily, the hospital run a birth options clinic where we can talk everything through with a midwife prior to making the decision. My consultant referred me to this clinic and also provided me with a pile of literature on caesarians to read. I’m in no rush to make a decision – I have until I”m 36 weeks to finally decide – but it’s still a big decision to make.

If only I had that crystal ball to know how each option might turn out.

Completely unrelated photo of the week from the circus skills workshop that Little Miss C attended with Brownies. For no reason other than it made me smile.

Improving underwater confidence with Zoggs

I’m a firm believer in children learning to swim. It’s just a life skill that all kids should have. That’s why I’ve always insisted in Little Miss C and Master C attending swimming lessons – even those weeks when it’s cold and seems like more hassle than it’s worth to get there in time. They attend weekly lessons at the local pool and each week put on their coloured hats complete with Zoggs logo on the side.

I’ve written before about how my opinions of Zoggs have been changed over the last year – and I certainly no longer look at them as just a logo on a swim hat. The last year has also seem both kids come on in leaps and bounds in the pool. Master C is already up to ASA Stage 3 and LMC spends her half an hour doing lengths of the 25m pool in Stage 6.

I’m incredibly proud of both of them, but it has made that half hour of “fun swimming” that we all do together around their lesson a bit more challenging for me. Their confidence levels are such that they want to be all over the place and under the water as much as possible. With my changed (and changing weekly) buoyancy status(!) it’s getting a bit harder to keep up with them. Luckily Zoggs have come to the rescue once more.

I’m keen to keep encouraging them in the water – especially when it comes to going underwater. Master C might have bit of a way to go in terms of refining his swimming strokes, but I’m keep to capture the enthusiasm he has right now. I saw another family in the pool using a set of Zoggs Dive Sticks and had one of those lightbulb moments about how perfect they would be for us right now.

Zoggs dive stick dive rings

Thanks to Zoggs the last few weeks I’ve gone to the pool with a bag full of their dive sticks and dive rings and it has totally changed how the kids use that family swimming time we have together. I always like that precious time in the pool together (away from distractions) and they have made it even better.

We now spend our time with me coming up with various competitions and challenged for the kids to do with the dive toys. It might be something like “find me a ring and a stick of a matching colour” and then I throw everything into the water in different directions. The kids then love going off to see who can complete the challenge first. There’s a great competitive spirit between them, and all the time they’re also improving their underwater swimming.

Zoggs wonder woman swimming costume dive sticks

As for the toys themselves – they’re lovely bright colours, very tactile and the quality that you know and expect from Zoggs. For slightly older kids who need a little bit more stimulation and motivation when swimming for fun they’re perfect. Each toy has holes in specific places so that when in the water they fill with it, and then sink to the bottom of the pool. When you take them out the water then pours back out of the holes again.

Zoggs Wonder Woman swimming costume

If new swimming toys wasn’t enough LMC has also decided that now that she’s in Stage 6 it’s time for a slightly more grown up swimming costume. Zoggs to the rescue once again with their amazing Wonder Woman swimming costume. It has to be one of the coolest costumes I’ve ever seen, as well as being perfectly practical for all the swimming that she’s doing. My only complaint is that they haven’t made one yet in maternity sizes! I’m pretty sure everyone in my aquanatal class would have one if they could.

Disclaimer: We were sent the Zoggs products featured in this post. All opinions remain my own. This post contains affiliate links.