Thursday, 24 November 2016

Resolving (?) problems in the bedroom and The Blank Wall of Doom

You have seen my post back in April about Problems in the bedroom. I managed to paint 1 1/2 walls before Baby B made his appearance but that left us with the problem of three walls a different colour (and probably mouldy).

Luckily, SBB came to my rescue and set to work with his usual gusto and the walls were treated and painted with 3 layers of insulating paint and 2 top layers of Dulux.

Whilst we had the curtains down he also decided to remove the window trim to go in search of the awful draught around the window. As it happens, the cavity around the windows, which apparently should have been sealed/packed was just empty so he filled it with expanding foam and reattached the trim. Goodbye draught, hello slightly warmer room!

I'm not yet sure if the Thermalmix will do the job - I'll be keeping an eye out for any hint of mould! Temperature wise there seems to be a 6 degree difference between our video monitor next to the door and the Gro-egg in the far corner of the room (dropping to a chilly 15 degrees!). I'm not sure if it's really made a difference to maintaining room temperature as we didn't have the thermometers we have now, but with Baby B sleeping in with us, we've got an extra heater to try and keep it at a steady temperature.

Progress photos:
(Please excuse the mess!! We had to empty out the furniture before moving it)

Finished walls:

This does, however, leave me with a problem. Did you spot it?

I've come to think of it as The Blank Wall of Doom....

....Possibly a little over-dramatically, I'll admit.

I want to fill it with some pictures, but not sure how. I seem to be a persistent procrastinator when it comes to 'dressing' walls. I have a 'art wall' planned for the hallway which has over the last 5 years steamed ahead with the grand total of 1 picture.

So here are the options I'm thinking of (please excuse my terrible photo-shop skills):

The 'H' option

The 'M' option.

This is actually my preferred option, I quite like the idea of the pictures 'draping' across the wall, however I also know I'm a fan of straight lines so the 'H' option appeals to me too. One thing I'm really keen on is to have a mirror over the headboard - this is also partly why the 'M' option appeals because I think an oval mirror or other unusual shape would look really good here, particularly if it was a really old one with the stippling effect that old mirrors have.

Having discussed it with SBB, his preferred option is this: 

One large picture or mirror over the headboard. The simplicity - and minimum of effort - also appeals but I think it might look a little.... boring.
Perhaps it's just because I need another wall to procrastinate over.

Do you have any suggestions, or any favourite options? Let me know! I'm rather stuck... 

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Keeping busy with craft projects part 2

This project is a favourite of mine. I got the idea from Carrots 'n' Cake. I just saw the photos of the kitchen and thought:

I need a shelf next to my oven.

So I bought some wrought iron effect shelf supports from ebay to match the door handles and a length of wood from B&Q.
I then measured and cut the wood to length, levelled and drilled holes in the wall... Okay, I'm lying. I got my Dad to help do the technical stuff while SBB was at work.
But I did varnish the shelf and screw it into place via the pilot holes my Dad had drilled for me... That counts, right?

Ooh, pretty, right?

But what to put on it.....?

I had a selection of storage jars I bought a couple of years ago from Ikea. I'd planned to use them at the flat to 'dress' the kitchen.
I bought some 'blackboard' labels and a chalk pen from Amazon. I debated a little about what to put in the jars, but decided to use them for the three main pastas/rice we use (rather than lentils etc, which I have to sneak past SBB!)

Ta da! It's funny how such simple things can be so pleasing!

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Keeping busy with craft projects part 1

You would be forgiven - entirely - for thinking that our obsession for craft (well, mine) and DIY had waned with impending parenthood and in the bleary early months of babydom. Any mention of my craft projects has been sadly absent so I thought I'd take this opportunity to share some photos of what I've been up to.

Nursery lamp shade

The nursery is forest themed - I've yet to share the final photo of the mural, but it's rather fabulous if I do say so myself! 
Anyway, I searched for a forest themed shade for the ceiling light but the only one I could find was about £40 from John Lewis. A tad too expensive! So instead I bought a cheap uplighter from Dunelm Mill and covered the metal point with some paper leaves left over from our wedding. 
Simple, yet oh-so-satisfying.
Front door wreath

I do love a door wreath, but haven't ever shifted myself into gear to make one for Christmas - let alone a generic one. However, I have a thing about shoes indoors. Specifically, on my carpets. Call me a weirdo, call me a germaphobe... I don't care. Just don't walk shoes over my carpet.
The inspiration for this came from Hobbycraft - one of the newsletters they send out via email - the one in the photo was for Christmas, but it got me thinking.
I bought a polystyrene wreath, a ball of wool, decorative moss, twine ribbon and a slate sign. I used acrylic paint to paint the words.
It gives me warm fuzzies whenever I open the front door.

Nursery drawers

Eh.... So not really crafting, but a little piece of fun none-the-less. I'm not very good at measuring or cutting straight, so the liners are a little wonky, but they inject some fun into putting away/taking out the baby's clothes every day. 
And all for less than £1 from Card Factory!

Monday, 15 August 2016

Things you shouldn't say to a pregnant woman

I'm not sure what it is about pregnancy that kicks common sense out the window - and I'm not talking about the woman. I'm talking about other people.
If you search the internet you can find numerous blog posts and forum discussions about the ridiculous, and sometimes just plain rude, things pregnant women have had said to them.
So here, in no particular order, are some of things that I had said to me:

  • Has it not sunk in yet?
This was said to me a lot and throughout the pregnancy. Usually because when asked how I was I would say I was fine. It seemed to be the general opinion that just because I wasn't riding an emotional roller coaster or freaking out about A, B  or C that the reason was I simply hadn't come to terms with the fact that I was pregnant.
  • I think you'll find....
A favourite saying of my mother's and I had it from a few other people too. This was said to me rather imperiously about various things, one of which was during the argument I had with my mother about buying a baby bath.
"I think you'll find you'll need one," my mother intoned in Mama's & Papa's. Well, my son is 3 months old and I haven't needed one yet. (So there!)
  • You're getting big/your bump's grown etc
I spent many days suppressing sarcastic answers to this. People would always say it to me with such surprise. It was even worse when said to someone else about me. In fact I once had two people have an entire conversation about me, my pregnancy and what I was likely to experience as a parent and how I'd cope with it over the top of my head as though I weren't there.
  • It's scary (in reference to growing bump)
This wasn't said to me by a man, surprisingly, but by a woman. She would say it to me every. Single. Week.
Erm, no, actually I'm not spawning a harbinger of doom. I'm growing a beautiful baby and it's wonderful.
  • You've got all this to look forward to
A popular thing for people with older children to say, but considering it was said to me by a woman whose younger daughter and son that she had with her current husband hated her older son by her first marriage and she was telling me a story of how they'd hidden dog poo around his room when they went on holiday to Centre Parcs and poked holes in all his condoms oh, and that her younger son was too stupid not to take drugs...
Well, what are the chances?
  • Are you nervous [about labour]? I'd be petrified
Said to me by a man, so perhaps I can excuse his ignorance of the process, but I'm not sure about letting him off for saying it to a first-time mother.
  • Wow, you're organised/prepared
At 8 months pregnant should it really be that surprising that I'd bought all my cloth nappies and packed my hospital bag and set up the nursery etc etc...?
  • Was it planned?
Think about what you're actually asking me, here. I mean, really....
  • Oh, so you're keeping it a secret
We had this a few times when people asked the gender and we said we didn't know. This was immediately greeted, rather irritably, by the above statement. Erm, no, I'm not lying about this just to spite you - we have in fact elected to wait to find out the gender of our baby.
  • Oh bless her, she's nesting!
Again said about me to someone else. Honestly, as I'm just about to have a baby and will therefore have my hands rather full, my weekends will inevitably be filled with the household chores that won't get done again for a while. If you can't understand that, don't ask what I did at the weekend!
  • Your hair looks great, but wait until the baby starts pulling on it
Erm... thanks? Was that a compliment or something designed to make me feel badly about my hair cut? While we're at it, exactly what would be the ideal length of hair to stop baby pulling on it, because unless I shave it all off - it's going to get grabbed?

Friday, 1 July 2016

The duplicity of 'fine'

I'm writing this from the other side of the desperation, anxiety and, I have to say, misery, of the early newborn weeks.

I'm not saying that's all they were - interspersed were moments of great joy - but the strength of my 'low' feelings really caught me off guard. They took SBB by surprise too - particularly as I didn't have any hormonal moodswings during pregnancy. SBB frequently remarked that the only way he could tell I was pregnant was the growing bump!

Breastfeeding was tough during those early weeks - it's still not pain-free either - and I frequently broke down in tears and even sent SBB out to buy a tin of formula I was that set on throwing in the towel. I developed mastitis on one side and the baby went through a ridiculous period of cluster feeding, spending 19 hours on the boob one day. It was exhausting and demoralising.

I think I've come out the other side and I'm glad off it, I couldn't stand feeling so out of control whenever I disintegrated into an emotional mess and I hate crying, it makes me feel weak.

It was worse when SBB went back to work - especially the first morning after a night of little sleep and I was faced with a screaming baby and suddenly without my support. I'm ashamed now of how I behaved; I shouted at my son and put him down on the bed, but immediately scooped him up, guilty for losing my temper with my beautiful boy.
I also found it difficult being around other people - we couldn't go to the wedding at the end of May because the thought of being around so many people brought me to tears and I had a breakdown at my parents' house when we went over to introduce the baby to my brother, his wife and my grandmother. I couldn't stop crying and just wanted to be holed up at home, away from everyone.

Feeling at such a low emotional ebb therefore put me at a bit of a loss when friends and colleagues text me to ask how I was. How could I reply that actually I was feeling awful and that at one point had even asked my husband whether we'd made a mistake having a baby? I couldn't, of course, and so inevitably replied that I was 'fine'. Such a word covers a great number of emotional sins...

Friday, 24 June 2016

Gender prediction - Boy or Girl?

We elected not to find out the gender of our baby - perhaps it's the traditionalist in us, but we wanted to wait until the moment of birth to have the midwife announce:

"It's a [insert gender here]!"

However, just for fun I thought I'd go through a few old wives' tales and see if they swung one way or another.

Baking soda test

For this one you pee in one cup and put 3 tablespoons of baking soda in a separate cup. Pour your urine into the cup with the baking soda. If it fizzes, it’s a boy. If there’s no fizzle-it is a girl.

No pictures of this one because... well... urine... But no fizzle.

Result: Girl

Wedding ring test

This is probably one of the best known ones. Tie a string around your wedding ring and then lay back. Dangle the ring right above your belly. If the ring swings in a back and forth like a pendulum, it's a boy. If it swings in a noticeable circular motion, it's a girl.

Result: Girl

Chinese calendar

This test is based on the Chinese lunar calendar. You take the mother's age at conception and the month of conception and then look at them on the chart. 

Image from Yahoo images
Result: Boy

Acne test

The saying behind this is that: Girl's steal their mother's beauty, boy's enhance it. I haven't had any spots so...

Result: Boy

The Mayan calendar

If both the age at conception and the year the baby was conceived are either even or odd, those kicks are coming from a girl. If one number is even and the other is odd, it's a boy.

Result: Boy

Nausea/Morning sickness

If you have horrendous morning sickness in the first trimester, it's a girl. If it's not so bad, it's a boy. I didn't have any at all so maybe I should call this one a dud?

Another popular one is cravings: if you crave salty/savoury/meat you're having a boy. If you crave sweet/fruit you're having a girl. Again, I didn't have any cravings, so I don't have a result for this one.

The scores:

Girl: 2
Boy: 3

Old wives' tales prediction: Boy

We actually had......


Did you try out any old wives' tales? And were they accurate?

Thursday, 16 June 2016

A New Beginning

I have a friend - a very good friend, despite our opposing life views. To her, my life is tedious. Her opinion is that men who are happy to live on the Isle of Wight are boring, that she is too young to get married, that women who have children are gluttons for punishment (and crazy to be willing to give birth - the pain! The mess! The horror!) and that women who chose boring men from the Isle of Wight, who get married, get a mortgage and embark on family life have settled for less, have no ambition and have boring lives.

A flattering opinion, when you think about it. I'm not sure if it's occurred to her whilst she's sat on my sofa, large wine glass in hand, pouring scorn onto this way of life that she's actually talking about my life.
I ignore her opinion and smile politely whilst offering her another top up.

I've no qualms with the direction I've chosen for my life - after all, it's my life not hers and I'm the one that has to live it.

Then there are days that truly set us apart, that almost make me pity her life view and the things that it causes her to miss out on. Days that Bilbo Baggins springs to mind:

"Yes to others our ways seem quaint but today of all days it is brought home to me it is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life"

In fact this very quote rattled through my head on the evening of May 16th.

After 40 weeks of pregnancy and 14 hours of labour our son arrived at 19:03, 7lbs 10oz, with a full head of hair and his Daddy's dark brown eyes.

I'm struggling between the desire to show off my beautiful baby boy and the need to protect his privacy, so for now I'll leave you with this photo, taken in the hospital when he was almost 12 hours old. (The curtains were drawn, that's why we're blue!)