In my pre-child days (when money and time were not quite such scarce resources) I did quite a few different craft classes and went to regular craft evenings too. I hadn’t done anything like that for a while though (and let’s be honest, I have enough half done craft projects lying around already!) but I was really tempted by the Lampshade Making class at local gift / craft / cake / coffee store, Love13. We have a number of DIY projects and room makeovers on the go here at the moment and I’ve found it difficult to find interesting lampshades within a reasonable budget. So this class seemed like a great way to learn a new skill and come away with a finished, unique, usable article!
Store owner Denni runs the class and after a welcome cup of tea and brief introduction we given our lampshade making kits and were able to choose from a choice of lovely Amy Butler fabrics. I went for a yellow and grey floral design as I intended to use the shade for a lamp in our sitting room which is in need of brightening up (think grey sofas, grey walls, grey media unit!).
The kits are essentially the round metal bits for the top and bottom of the shade, a sort of sticky-back plastic that also protects the fabric from the heat of the lightbulb, super sticky double sided tape and am implement to help you tuck the fabric edges in at the end. You can buy the kits at Love13, but but I really welcomed the opportunity to be shown how to do it and have Denni’s guidance throughout the process. There was only one other person on the course that day, which was great for me as I’m a slow crafter and quite often need things explaining twice. I also think that the assembly process works best with two people, it would be rather fiddly to do it on your own.
After we had finished with the super sticky part, we were treated to another cup of tea and a piece of lovely cake – I went for Valentine’s-esque red velvet. We ate our cake whilst we finished off the lampshades which were then wrapped in stylish paper to take home. Of course, I did a bit of extra shopping too before I left.
The lampshade has now replaced a boring cream shade on a lamp in the sitting room. I’m not sure it’s quite to MrS’s taste but as I made it and am totally in love with it – it’s staying!
The class lasts for 2.5 hours and Love13 offer a range of other classes and craft activities too. As well as a weekly Mums, Babies & Bumps coffee morning on a Wednesday which I have my eye on for later in the summer!
5 weeks pregnant
During week 5 I felt fine with no pregnancy symptoms yet. The downside of that is that you feel it is all a bit “in your head” with nothing else to show for it! It was a busy week, my sister came to stay and we celebrated her birthday, I had a business trip to Belgium and just about made it home in time for a birthday dinner for MrS.
The start of week 6 saw another busy weekend and on the Sunday we met with friends in Hyde Park. Whilst we were walking to the Science Museum to shelter from the rain, I started to feel slightly queasy and had a hankering for a nice sit down and a cup of tea. This was the beginning of the morning sickness I’d suffered with whilst pregnant with Seren (from 6 to 19 weeks). Urgh! I’d really struggled with it first time round and wasn’t relishing the prospect of spending the next 3 months feeling awful. Fortunately, the nausea was quite gentle for a week or so with no actual sickness – fortunate as a) Seren had a tummy bug which involved her puking all over me more than once – lovely – and b) it was then her birthday and we had family to stay and her party. I remember collapsing into bed after the party feeling absolutely shattered and grateful that I had the next two weeks off work!
In week 8 the nausea became more heightened and the actual sickness started. I have no idea why it has the name “morning sickness” as mine continued throughout the day and was actually worse in the evening when I’d have to go to bed around 8pm. There doesn’t seem to be a magic cure for it (if you know one, tell me!) apart from the passage of time. When I was pregnant with Seren I favoured drinking milk and Lucozade (not together!) to try to tame the sickness but I didn’t fancy those options this time preferring water and sliced lemon. I do find that eating small amounts regularly keeps the sickness down and energy levels up as high as possible. Last time, I could only stomach dry, bland carbohydrate type food but this time I’ve been able to eat more fruit throughout and have tried to get an energy boost from cereal bars, dried fruit and nuts – as well as the inevitable boiled sweets and mints that help to take “that” taste away! It does help me have something to eat and drink before I get up the morning too – lovely MrS brought me decaf tea and cereal in bed before he went to work. Everyone recommends ginger biscuits, but they didn’t do anything for me!
In week 7 I also had an appointment with my GP to “get into the system” – that’s the way thinks work here – and she referred me to the midwife as well as to the nurse for a flu vaccine.
During my weeks off work, I even tried acupuncture as some studies indicate that it can be helpful for morning sickness (acupressure travel sickness bands are also recommended). Well, when I was lying down thinking about the pins stuck in me, my mind was taken off my nausea! And it definitely did seem to abate for the rest of the afternoon and meant I could eat a rather exotic avocado and prawn lunch! But the 2nd and 3rd sessions didn’t seem to have the same effect unfortunately but hey, it was worth try!
Pregnancy Diaries: Weeks 1-4
Little Star Number Two!
Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s also my birthday although am full of a cold (MrS is poorly too) so I think going to take it easy today and do something lovely next week instead. This might mean I get a little time to do some “selfish” things I need to do at home – like write up this post about the baking LS and I did last weekend!
We don’t do a huge amount of baking together, perhaps about once a month. I do find it a little stressful to be honest but, like most things involving small children, if you lower your usual standards and expectations and substantially increase your patience levels, then it can be fun. LS LOVES baking! She gets to do it at nursery and with nana too. We have surfeit of lovely homemade jam at the moment so I decided our next baking activity would involve using some of it up and whilst my initial thoughts involved simple jam tarts or a swiss roll, I then came across this recipe for Jammie (or Jamie) Dodgers which looked simple enough to follow.
We followed the recipe pretty much exactly and after I’d whizzed the butter and sugar in the food mixer, LS enjoyed giving it an extra stir. Baking is a complete sensory experience for her and she also likes to smell, taste and feel the mixture with her hands too. I tried to stop her eating it though once the raw egg had been added! She liked running her hands through the flour when it was being sifted too. At this stage it was probably a bit too hard for her to stir the heavy mixture so I did this. I think a little too much butter may have been eaten as I found it didn’t come together to a dough very well until I added a little extra melted butter.
After an hour we got the mixture out of the fridge to roll it and LS declared it to be a “BIG play dough”! We went through the different biscuits cutters we have, talked about the different shapes and after a bit of persuading on my part, settled on Valentine-esque hearts. We took it turns to roll out and cut out the heart biscuits – lots of patience required for this part! We didn’t have a smaller heart cutter for the middles so improvised using a cake decoration flower cutter which I think looks cute.
The biscuits cooked a little quicker than the time indicated on the recipe and once cooled we sandwiched together using raspberry jam.
It wasn’t until the next day that the important business of eating them got underway and I was really pleased with how well they turned out – taste and texture wise – it’s a great recipe. LS declared them to be deeeeelicious!
Image from www.peppapiglive.com
After the success of our trip to see In the Night Garden Live back in the summer, we booked to see Peppa Pig’s Big Splash at the Criterion theatre in London just after Christmas. I’m not sure whether LS was more excited about seeing Peppa Pig or riding on a choo choo train, both things rate pretty highly on her current “love” list – she says “I love you Peppa” to the TV screen. Although our journey was very straightforward (the theatre is right opposite Piccadilly Circus station), we still opted to take the buggy with us. We wanted to walk further afield to have lunch and in case LS wanted to nap (you never know these days). I’d been warned that the buggy storing scenario was a bit of as hassle at the theatre but, perhaps as we were sat really near where the buggies were stored, this was another straightforward thing. There weren’t that many buggies either, unlike at the In the Night Garden show, so we didn’t have to wait to reclaim ours.
When it came to the show itself, I can confirm that LS thoroughly enjoyed it and it certainly kept her attention for the full 90 minutes of the performance. She wasn’t too keen on sitting on the theatre seat but hopped in between mine & MrS’s laps. Apart from the standing up stamping bits! There was lots of audience participation and the audience were continually referred to as Peppa’s friends. A small detail, but this has made a big impression on LS and she now frequently refers to her “friends” and by that I mean not just her actual friends but her cuddly toys and Peppa and her gang as well. Muddy puddles were, of course, involved heavily in the plot and this meant that the audience got splashed! The majority of the characters were puppets with the person operating the puppets being clearly visible. I know this detail has put some parents off the live show, thinking that their children might get confused by the puppet / puppeteer set up. LS either didn’t notice this, or in didn’t impact her enjoyment of the show – she didn’t mention it.
Photo credit: Dan Tsantilis
We managed to escape without buying any merchandise though if I went again I think I’d buy a light up windmill on entering the theatre. There were lots of children with these and LS kept asking “where’s my one?”. She didn’t mention it when we were leaving though, phew.
Peppa Pig’s Big Splash is on at theatres up and down the country until October and I think it’s a must for little Peppa fans!
MrS spent Saturday stripping wallpaper in the room that will be the baby’s nursery (more on that another time) so LS & I decided to get out of his way and make the most of the sunshine with a walk around Forty Hall. By the time we got there it was nearly lunchtime so we had a stroll around the lake before going to see if the cafe had reopened (it had closed pending new owners) so we could grab some lunch.
It had re-opened! Back in November in fact, although it still seemed to be getting into it’s groove. And boy was it a change to the old cafe which was run by the local council and slightly utilitarian in approach offering simple toasties and jacket potatoes.
The new Nice Green Cafe, sister cafe to one of the same name at St Marks Regents Park, Primrose Hill, couldn’t be more different. The room is now decked out in a vintagey, whimsical style with bunting, fairy lights and cutlery kept in old golden syrup tins. There was a mini chess board laid out on our table which LS took an interest in (until I put it away as she decided the best way to play was to push all of the pieces off of the board).
The menu offered soup, mini tarts and a half jacket sweet potato with feta and olives. No special kids’ menu (that I could see) which might put some families off but LS will eat anything really. We opted to share an onion tart, the sweet potato and a flapjack. I had a cappuccino and LS had an apple juice (in a paper cup, no kids’ cartons).
Lunch came to £18 which is quite possibly on the expensive side of the scale for Enfield. The food was lovely though and whilst we might not quite be in the target demographic, we will come back. The cafe reminded me of the type of place I’d frequent in my child-free days when I lived in hipper parts of town and I think it’s a very welcome addition to Enfield. I hope it sticks around!
Of course you don’t actually know you are pregnant for the first approximately 4 weeks and you aren’t actually pregnant for the first approximately 2 weeks of that (just in case this is all new to you, pregnancies are dated from the first day of your last period, not from when you actually conceive 10-14 ish days later!).
So, we were already 3 weeks and 4 days into the pregnancy by the time we found out (just to confuse things more the test in the picture shows 2-3 weeks pregnant as it dates from when you actually conceive not from the last period date!). I waited until the date my next period was due to do the test as have never had any luck testing earlier. It was the Tuesday after the August bank holiday weekend and MrS was due to leave the house at 6.30am to get to work. I didn’t want to do the test when he was out so I got up at 5am, did the test, told MrS the good news then went back to sleep! I prefer to use the digital tests that actually say “pregnant” or “not pregnant” rather then having to work out if there really is a line in the magic box on the other types of tests. Then ensued a nervous couple of days before I could relax wondering if everything would be OK and that this pregnancy would be a “sticky” one.
We had found out we were pregnant with LS on the 29th December 2010. I had been testing using early tests since the 23rd and with each negative result, I convinced myself more and more that I wasn’t pregnant that month (and therefore ate a little more Brie and drank a little more wine, oops!). I got the positive test using a regular “blue line” based test and had the “is that a line? I think it’s a line!” conversation with MrS. After the personal training session I had already booked in (those were the days!), I went to buy a digital test! That test confirmed things and I spent the next couple of days in a “oh my gosh I’m pregnant” haze. I bought the week-by-week pregnancy bible book (which to be honest, I still haven’t read, preferring the week-by-week update emails from Babycentre) and Tess Daly’s The Baby Diaries. I really enjoyed Tess’s book as prefer real life stories, I must go back and re-read the chapter on 2nd time around pregnancies!
We’d planned to go on a walk on Boxing Day but torrential rain and some necessary waiting in for Green Flag to come and charge our car battery as someone (ok, me) left a light on, put paid to that. But we did manage to get to Trent Park the following weekend and as my sister was staying with us, she came too.
We decided not to take the buggy as LS is often preferring to walk these days. Not on that day though, which necessitated a lot of carrying, and being thankful for the ratio of 3 adults to 1 toddler. It was a beautiful, cold but bright day and it was lovely to see all the families out, typically with kids with brand new bikes, scooters and rollerblades. I did wonder if we should have taken LS’s brand new scooter with us too, but I am such a wuss about her riding it, I think she will only be allowed to go up and down the kitchen on it until spring.
We started out in the new woodland play area.
Before, heading over to WRAS to say Merry Christmas to the animals and use their play area.
Followed by restorative tea and cakes in their cafe of course!
Photo from our holiday to Bude last year, as you can’t beat sitting on a beach looking out to sea whilst making life plans
1. The new arrival in spring time and how he or she fits into our family life is undoubtedly going to be the main focus for 2014! And will undoubtedly lead on to . . .
2. Nesting. I’ll be taking the bulk of 2014 as maternity leave so will be spending more time at home with my little ones. We have a couple of decorating projects to complete before spring, the new nursery, a big girl’s room for LS and tackling the spare room too. Not to mention a few downstairs rooms to finish off at some point!
3. Celebrating. My guilty pleasure this Christmas has been reading Pippa Middleton’s party planning book Celebrate. The bits I’ve especially enjoyed are the ideas for making simple family celebrations such as birthday breakfasts, picnics, Valentine’s Day and Easter, extra special. Her ideas include craft ideas for children and straightforward recipes. I’m feeling inspired to add a little oomph to these celebrations in our house! And now I’m suffering less with pregnancy hormones, I’d like to so some more cooking, baking and crafting in general both with LS and just for me.
4. Recording life. Obviously I blog and I also take 1000s of photos and am very good at sharing the best of those on social media (though need to get better at the boring stuff like cataloguing and back ups!). Something I don’t do is take video footage, it just never occurs to me to do which is ridiculous when you think how easy it is these days. So. I’d like to take more videos of LS playing and singing etc as I know these days will race past.
5. Being positive. I’m naturally a “glass half empty” person. Present me with an opportunity and I’ll immediately think of the risks and pitfalls. Recently I’ve found myself naturally gravitating towards those “glass half full” types who seem naturally optimistic and also appear to be happier and more successful which I’m sure is no coincidence. I’d like to try to be more like them especially as I think this type of character trait is often learned from those around us when we are children, hence my behaviour impacts LS’s development.
I hope you have a wonderful 2014, whatever your plans are!