11 Ideas For Your Next Zoom Quiz Night

Anyone else spending this lockdown expanding their general knowledge like never before? I’ve reached the point where I’m almost confident I could take on a Chaser. Not the Beast though. I’m not a mad man.

Anyway, if you’re bored of the same old quiz rounds that have been going for the past three months – let me give you some ideas for your next quiz.

P.S if you’re one of our friends that Reece and I have been saying “we’re going to do a quiz!” to for the past three weeks, don’t be surprised if you have to sit through 6 rounds of this rubbish. We are so tired.

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash
  • Name the dead plant. Is it a strawberry plant? Is it a weed? Either way, it’s crispy and brown and taking up room on my patio.
  • (I’ll be honest – stole this one straight from Joe Lycett) Cummings and Goings – test your eyesight on some blurry castles from around the country.
  • What’s the Ikea product? I was sorting through some of the many bulging cupboards and drawers in my house earlier due to isolation boredom and discovered every user guide and instruction manual we’ve ever been given. Cue me shouting out names like “BJURSTA” and “ARNOLD” to my husband, forcing him to guess what item in our house is called Arnold, completely ruining his lunch break but entertaining myself massively.

  • What Lego part is that in my foot? It’s nearly always a lightsaber blade as my child is unspeakably obsessed with taking them apart. Sometimes it’s Darth Maul’s spiky head. That really hurts.

  • Connell from Normal People or Man In Your Local Wetherspoons Wearing A Generic Chain From Argos? Will award extra points for why people find the chain so attractive. I’ve only seen two episodes though and when he gets in that fight and turns up at Marianne’s house drunk and bloodied…that, I can understand. I think we’re getting distracted here.

  • What song is my child singing? Last week, we had an afternoon of confusion. Elliot was singing a song that apparently had the words “Can you locate, locate, lucky Annie” in it. We spent ages trying to work out what the hell he was on about. It was Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson. My post-baby pelvic floor couldn’t handle it.

  • What advert is my child quoting? I’ll be really honest, I’d like to think we don’t have the telly on THAT much. But adverts seem to get into my child’s head like nothing else. The other day I was brushing his teeth, humming Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now and he said “Katie, you’re on mute!” and I looked at him baffled until he reminded me it was a Virgin Media advert. Sigh.

  • What Instagram filter is that? Are you truly a Millenial if you can’t tell your Valencia from your Amaro?

  • (This round is 100% stolen from a quiz we do every week – thanks, Tom!) Who said it: Richard Branson or Esther Rantzen? We scored something ridiculous like 6 out of 10, which for two people who probably couldn’t pick Esther Rantzen out of a line-up, isn’t too bad.

  • Which Emo tune from 2007 is that? Reece and I play this game regularly – I don’t have any skills that pay the bills yet you play me the first 5 seconds of The Curse of Curves by Cute Is What We Aim For and I’ll beat you every time.

  • Is that an Up The Back poo or has it stayed in the nappy? We’re playing this game all day every day. There are no winners.

Breastfeeding: The First Eight Weeks.

My life for the past two months has consisted of various bodily fluids, but I’ll try and avoid talking about more than one per blog post.

Luna is exclusively breastfed. That’s kind of a big deal for me, as Elliot was already having bottles by now and I feel a strange shade of guilt about that.

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I mean, I know I shouldn’t beat myself up about it, as I didn’t have a clue how breastfeeding worked when Elliot was born.

To be fair, I didn’t know how bottle feeding worked either. I was once found in tears at the kitchen sink, running a bottle under the hot tap wondering why it wasn’t warming through. Someone came in, flicked the kettle on and sat me down on the sofa with a warm bottle and a tea. I was so tired.

I was too scared to feed when outside, so popped a bottle in my bag whenever we went out. Which was nearly every day, because I thought I needed to be busy all the time.

Luna, however, has been born in the middle of a global pandemic, where we can’t leave the house and I truly am spending my days like a woman in a Renaissance painting – laying on the sofa with one boob out at all times, normally stuffing my face with something at the same time.

I’ve discovered a few things over the past 8 weeks of sitting at home and watching Brooklyn 99 on repeat.

Breastfeeding is boring. Invest in a backlit Kindle or download a decent game on your phone as I’ve learnt a) there is only so long you can stare at your darling baby’s face. Sorry but it’s true. and b) there is in fact a limit to the amount of Freecell one can play without losing the will to live.

It’s bloody painful. I spent a large amount of time crying in the first month or so of Luna’s life, as it was just so bloody difficult. I turned up at a children’s centre when she was four days old begging for a breastfeeding consultant to look at what I was doing wrong.

Turns out I wasn’t doing anything wrong – Luna and I just weren’t quite in sync at first.

However, with nearly everything in life – it got better. 8 weeks in Luna is gobbling the milk down like a hungry goose and the painful first few weeks genuinely do seem a lifetime away.

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This isn’t the kind of website where you get to see nipples, soz guys.

Snacks are essential. Yes, I know snacks are essential for most parts of life anyway but when breastfeeding, make sure you embrace that life fully. You’re basically a cow, let yourself graze. The best gift I’ve been given (definitely through this newborn bubble, possibly ever) was an M&S bag for life full of biscuits the day before I went into hospital to be induced.

One night, Luna would not settle until 3am and just wanted to feed and feed and feed and I can confirm that sitting on the sofa watching Friday Night Dinner and eating shortbread roundies is much better than sitting in bed, sobbing and hungry. Only downside is that you might wake the baby up laughing and she might get crumbs in her hair.

Don’t listen to all the advice. Honestly, I was told to feed through the pain, to not feed through the pain, to use nipple shields, to NEVER use nipple shields, to give her a bottle to let myself have a break, to avoid bottles, to give her a dummy, to avoid dummies – it’s a minefield!

Just a note, I did buy the feckin’ nipple shields and they were a complete waste of time and effort. I went through the whole rigmarole of sterilising it, getting ready for a feed, sticking it on my boob for about two seconds before flinging it across the room where it’s stayed for the last six weeks. £12.99 wasted forever.

Buy the proper equipment. Early in January, I had a scary afternoon where I thought I was going into labour. I realised that I had nothing prepared for hospital bar some sleepsuits from the Mothercare sale and some fluffy socks I’d been bought for Christmas. I rushed down to ASDA that weekend and bought all the pads for all the places.

Reader, let me tell you, do not bother with ASDA own brand breast pads. You’re worth more. They hold approximately a thimble of milk before your t-shirt is soaked and you’re destined to smell like mouldy cheese all day. My sister-in-law saved the day and brought me round some proper Lansinoh pads and I’ve bulk bought off Amazon Prime ever since. Yes, they’re pricey but definitely worth it.

And my final and most important tip: if you’re planning on breastfeeding: buy this. It’s a GAME CHANGER.

 

 

 

My Positive Induction Story

It’s been a while! I really need to stop starting blog posts with that phrase but I just haven’t had the time to open my laptop over the past 8 weeks. Between a global pandemic, home-schooling Elliot and Luna being born (!!!) it’s been a pretty busy time in the Doyle household.

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Anyway, yes. Luna was born! And I thought I’d delight you all with the birth story! I loved reading positive birth stories and watching YouTube videos. I definitely watched Louise Pentland’s video several times, I found it so comforting and really calmed me for labour.

The story of Luna’s birth is boring and long-winded, unless you’re me so I’ll fast-forward through the first day and a half.

I was due to be induced on the 3rd March 2020, my due date, because I’d flagged up as being low in Papp-A which long story short, could mean that baby could be small or premature. (Spoilers, she wasn’t.)

At about 10pm on the 3rd, I had a pessary (a weird paper tampon thing, I never really saw it but imagined it looked something like those magic fish you get in Christmas crackers) inserted and I laid there, listening to my hypnobirthing affirmations and excitedly waiting to meet my baby.

Aaaand nothing happened. Someone in my bay of six pregnant people got louder and louder, before being whisked down to the Delivery Suite to pop their baby out. I sat there, listening to podcasts and waiting my turn.

On the Wednesday, nothing really happened. The weird paper tampon thing came out, they decided that baby still wasn’t fussed about moving and it was time to move onto Phase 2 which is a gel. That was inserted on the Wednesday night and you can use your imagination on how that works. I felt a few rumbles in the womb-jungle but nothing too intense and I carried on doing cryptic crosswords with Reece and listening to Christine and the Queens on repeat, whilst listening to another pregnant person get louder and louder before making their way over to Delivery Suite.

I woke up on the 5th and something felt different. I was having bad period pains that would stop me mid-sentence and I’d have to breathe through them. I remember trying to eat a croissant and feeling really sick.

We slowly walked down to M&S to get my husband some breakfast and I was wandering around the hospital foyer breathing through these regular pains when I bumped into one of my mum’s friends. I had a strained conversation with her about life, the universe and everything to the point where I was literally hopping from one foot to another due to the growing pressure in my uterus. It took a long time to walk back to the ward, as I had to stop every five steps to breathe through yet another surge.

So, over the course of these few days I was being regularly examined to see if baby was ready to get a wiggle on, and as far as I was aware, she was making slow but steady progress. That afternoon, after hours of bouncing on a ball and listening to Radio 1 whilst my surge timer screamed at me “GO TO HOSPITAL, YOU’RE IN ACTIVE LABOUR,” I was examined by a midwife who told  me baby wasn’t ready at all and that I was basically at square one.

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Bearing in mind a) I was incredibly pregnant and very emotional at this point, b) I’d been in hospital for two days and hadn’t slept much AT ALL and c) I’d had countless hands up my fanny – to hear that it was all in vain had me sitting in that hospital bed absolutely howling with tears.

After a chat with a lovely midwife, a super-friendly student midwife and my husband who definitely deserves a medal for Birth Partner of the Year, I went back to listening to my music and tried to chill out for a bit until I really couldn’t bear it anymore and asked for some paracetamol through gritted teeth.

Things get a bit wobbly about now. At one point, I stood up and felt like my heart had fell out of my arse. There is no other way to describe the feeling. Then, in no particular order, my Dad text me to ask me if “I’d had this bloody baby yet”, I had my bloody show (as glamorous as it sounds), I had a really shit shallow non-bubbly bath, the midwives swapped over to the night shift and I went for a wee.

This wee, in hindsight, might have been my transition period to THE BABY IS COMING OUT NOW.  I sat on the toilet and felt incredibly wobbly, anxious and just generally like I was going to pass out. Any sensible person would have pulled the emergency cord and got a midwife in there ASAP but for some reason I didn’t. I just feebly called out to my husband who just so happened to be outside the toilet door wielding my toothbrush, trying to get me to brush my teeth before birth. He then quickly called a midwife and they got my grey self back to bed.

From this point, I don’t remember anything clearly. Things got intense, I thought I was screaming at the top of my voice but apparently I was just moaning and groaning at a vaguely acceptable level. I started asking for more pain relief, but it never happened. I was waiting to be wheeled round to the Delivery Suite (It was finally my turn to be the loud person!) but was repeatedly told that it was really busy over there and I needed to just wait a minute.

I could not wait a minute. I was brought gas and air which was incredibly disappointing and basically just gave me that feeling you get when you’re on the toilet in a club and you realise you’ve had one vodka too many and you’re a bit disappointed with yourself and the girl in the stall next to you has to give you a mini pep talk.

Then my moment came, and I felt like I was in an episode of Holby City as the bed was wheeled through some double doors and I finally felt able to get into the right position to push this baby out (kneeling over the top of the bed) and I finally felt able to push. The relief was amazing, although I was probably just weeing all over the bed.

Since my babies have notoriously massive heads, this position wasn’t the one unfortunately and I had to lay down and put my feet into some stirrups (one of which was broken and wobbling around all over the shop, Reece ended up holding it still and I distinctly remember grunting “FUCKING THING” as my baby’s head was crowning.)

The midwives were starting to get a bit concerned due to baby’s sizable bonce and mentioned that they might have to call a doctor in to assist, either with the suction cup or forceps. And I was not having that. So with the next surge, I pushed like I was having a poo the size of a baguette. And out flew Luna. All 8lb 10oz of her.

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I’d packed battery-powered tealights, a lavender pillow and Reece had spent weeks crafting a playlist on his Spotify for the birth, and none of these left the bag. I ended up stark naked, as my t-shirt was getting on my nerves, with my feet in the air pushing this baby out in a bright, white room after being in hospital for two days and three nights and it was still one of the best experiences ever.

 

 

The Baby Clothes Wishlist

Clothes have become incredibly boring for me at the moment. I’ve got less than a month until my due date, so the days of scrolling through the ASOS Maternity pages are long gone as I won’t be wearing them for long enough to get my money’s worth. There’s no point in me spending out on post-baby clothes as I have no idea what size I’ll be. And searching websites by the category “nursing” shows you the most depressing collection of grey wrap tops you’ll have ever seen in your life.

Therefore, I have started scrolling through BABY CLOTHES! And little did I know, the world has got much more exciting than when I was last in the baby market, six long years ago.

Here are a few of my select favourites, in case you’re pregnant or know someone who is and are in the market for some tiny adorable outfits.

Lindex

I had never heard of this website before Instagram. I’m pretty sure Susie Verrill posted something about their leggings and had a scroll through and fell in love. It’s really rather affordable (if I can say that without you wanting to punch me in the face) and it’s all gender neutral in my opinion, so if you’re on Team Surprise then it’s definitely worth a browse.

Long sleeve top with house print      Leggings with monkeys and leopards

Patterned pyjamas

Long sleeved house t-shirt |Animal leggings| Hot air balloon t-shirt and leggings

H&M

Like mother, like child. Nearly everything I wear is from H&M (other than the maternity tights, which were absolute DOG POO even though everyone recommended them to me – AVOID) and we have a rather large amount of H&M in both Elliot and baby’s wardrobe’s so far.

Cotton romper suit - Plum purple - Kids | H&M GB    2-pack cotton pyjamas - White/Leopards - Kids | H&M GB

https://www2.hm.com/en_gb/productpage.0694046015.html

https://www2.hm.com/en_gb/productpage.0767325005.html

https://www2.hm.com/en_gb/productpage.0807995002.html

La Redoute.

For some reason, I always assumed that La Redoute lived in the world of catalogue shopping and Avon ladies dropping their leaflets by your front door every Thursday and that it disappeared in around 2008 when online shopping became a thing. Turns out it still exists, and the baby clothes are very, very cute! Slightly pricey, in my opinion but they seem to have regular (and good!) sales where you can get some bargains.

 

 Pink, white and green outfits | Blue sleepsuit with collar| Moon dungarees

My Third Trimester Update or Oh My God Help Me I Can’t Get Out Of Bed I’m Like A Turtle That’s Fallen On It’s Back.

I’m not even going to bother telling you about the high hopes I had for this blog during my pregnancy.

Weekly updates, arty bump shots and flat lays of sleepsuits were on the to-do list.

Being gifted a Sleepyhead because I’d become the world’s best blogger in the space of six months. Being able to hand my notice in at work because I’m a writer now, don’t you know, and then spend the next three years writing novels and posting Instagram stories about the juggle struggle.

But like I said, I’m not even going to delve into that because it didn’t bloody happen, did it!

Hayley standing with a 30 week bump, in front of a very messy unmade bed.
Note to self for any possible future pregnancies: make the bed before taking bump photos.

Turns out growing a person when simultaneously looking after another person is tiring. Throw in trying to stop a house from resembling the Twits’ hovel and work/appointments and it all becomes proper hard work.

I’m now 35 weeks pregnant and am well into the third trimester or home stretch of this ol’ pregnancy. To the point where my daily email updates I excitedly signed up for at 6 weeks pregnant have become rather boring. They just tell me the baby is slightly bigger than she was yesterday, and the countdown has sparked an existential crisis in my husband.

I’d say the second half of the second trimester was the breeziest bit of this pregnancy by far. I was enjoying bobbing around with a decent sized bump, where I was able to give my tummy the occasional rub in public without looking like I was appreciating my post-McDonalds bloat but hadn’t yet transformed into the actual beachball on legs that I’ve turned into now.

Strolling around John Lewis rocking bedside cribs like I know what I’m doing and pushing pretend babies around in pushchairs was great fun.

The third trimester consists of actually sorting and finalising things for the tiny person’s arrival. It involves IRONING. I ironed clothes the other day for approximately the first time in about 18 months. I don’t even iron Elliot’s school polo tops, I just put his jumper over the top and give him an extra tight hug as he goes through the gate in the hope that his body heat will press the creases out.

(If I’m being brutally honest, I only ironed because I thought I’d get judged for creased babygrows. I didn’t iron the vests. No-one really sees them.)

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I’ve also been packing hospital bags (after a scary afternoon a month ago where I thought baby was coming a bit too soon and spent a fun few hours being monitored at the hospital.) All I could think about as I laid there was the fact that I’d packed NOTHING. All we had for this baby was some unironed baby vests and a pack of maternity pads thrown in an Aldi bag for life at the top of the stairs.

Luckily baby is still safely enclosed, the maternity pads and baby vests are now organised into packing cubes and individually labelled ziploc bags and we are almost ready to rock and roll.

The few hours I spent laying in the Maternity Assessment Unit of my local hospital spurred me on to really get revising on my hypnobirthing practise. I’ve started reading and watching videos religiously, and regularly give my husband updates on the vagina-related facts I’ve learnt that day.  If you feel like you’re missing out, please don’t as I am currently drafting up a post about hypnobirthing to post in the next few weeks.

See you for my next post..which will inevitably be this baby’s 3 Year Update or something ridiculous…

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My Maternity Wardrobe Essentials

I’ll be honest, I thought I’d find dressing a pregnant body an absolute breeze.

“It’s going to be winter!” I said, excitedly at 12 weeks when I was just slightly bloated and could still fit in my jeans, “I’ll live in leggings and jumpers, it’ll be amazing and cosy! I can’t wait.”

Reader. I’m 24 weeks pregnant now and if I have to browse another Maternity department of stripey t-shirts and wrap-around jumpers, I’m going to lose my freakin’ mind.

I am in no way an expert, as I’m walking around determinedly with bare legs in 4 degree weather and every pair of maternity jeans I’ve tried on has ended with me crying, flinging them across the room and dragging my leggings out of the wash bin for the fourth time that week.

However, I’ve created myself a nice little capsule wardrobe that I’m living out of and I thought I’d share my essentials. If you’re expecting and feeling underwhelmed by what’s out there – same. But we survive through cosy jumpers and leggings that reach up to your boobs.

Image result for asos maternity leggings

Over The Bump Leggings from ASOS

Honestly, I have two pairs of these and they’re the best things I’ve ever worn. I think I might keep them forever and wear them when I’m not pregnant and going for a carvery. I’m going to buy some more as they are essential under everything I wear.

I can confirm maternity jeans are a waste of time and you’re better off wearing leggings and a slightly longer top than attempting to pretend like you’ve got your shit together with some denim on.  No-one cares if you’re wearing leggings and if they mention it, they can swivel.

Bodycon Dresses from Boohoo

As someone who hasn’t worn anything bodycon for YEARS, for some reason I’m finding these really comfortable at the moment.

They hug the bump, which is what I personally need as I’m finding I’m not always a fan of a baggy loose dress as I get a bit self conscious about looking bigger than I am.

They look nice and dressy but also are really easy to chuck on in the morning for the school run with some trainers. Best of both worlds!

Stripey Jersey Dungarees from Boohoo

These make me look like a giant round baby but they are 100% the comfiest thing I’ve ever worn.

My normal dungarees that I thought would see me through my entire pregnancy back in the early days have officially given up the ghost. I’m not able to do the buttons up at the side, and can only tuck the flappy bits in to massive jumpers for so long, so I reckon the entire Christmas season will be spent in these bad boys.

Oversized Shirt Dress from Monki

Monki in general is absolutely perfect for oversized dresses. I bought this in their store on Carnaby Street and it’s definitely not going to be oversized on me for long, but leggings and a vest top underneath solve many ills.

I’m also going to be able to wear it afterwards, as there are buttons and it’s all about the easy access to the boobs with a tiny baby.

Maternity Pyjamas from Boohoo

Maternity pyjamas, I hear you laugh. Why do you need maternity pyjamas when surely just your bog-standard pyjama will do, just in a bigger size?!

Well, reader, let me tell you that when you trot downstairs in the morning to make your first-born some Shreddies and you walk into your kitchen, go to reach up into a cupboard and your growing tummy touches the freezing cold kitchen counter – it’s really horrible, okay.

These bad boys are high waisted up to the nip and the t-shirt is extra long as well for that double comfort.

I’d definitely recommend investing in a few pairs of these rather than stocking up on Primark PJ’s in bigger sizes because I can confirm that they just fall down when you toss and turn all night. I know this because all my maternity pyjamas are in the wash so I put on my old faithful baggy bottoms last night and woke up at 3am with a builders bum.

6 Things You Should Never Say To A Pregnant Person

I had no idea how ridiculous people could act when faced with a pregnant person.

Honestly, it seems like some see a bump walking towards them and they panic, all common sense leaves their brain and they end up chatting absolute rubbish at you.

So, for those who seem to not know how to speak to people once you’re aware of the fact they’ve got another human brewing inside them, I’ve prepared a short list of what NOT to say to your friendly neighbourhood pregnant lady.

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Picture of said friendly neighbourhood pregnant person.

  • Do not comment on their bump/appearance at all unless you’re going to tell them they look amazing.

If you think they look tired, that their bump isn’t big enough, that their skin looks like it might actually be flaking off or that they just generally look like shit – don’t tell them.

Chances are you’re right and they probably do look like shit, but they’re probably also fully aware of it.

Someone who’s probably spent ages that morning rubbing E45 cream into their dry, scaly skin and standing like a Tellytubby in the mirror assessing the new stretch marks that are appearing by the minute does not need to be reminded that they’re looking a bit pale at the moment.

  • Don’t regale them with every terrible tale you’ve ever heard about birth.

This one goes out to the woman on the maternity ward in the bed opposite me after Elliot was born, Who looked across the ward at this 20 year old girl sat, terrified and pale as a ghost with a newborn baby in her arms and said, menacingly “Have you had a poo yet? It REALLY hurts.” and then trotted off to have a fag, leaving me in tears.

Take it from me, pregnant people do not need your stories of your friend’s wife’s cousin who had a c-section disaster, a third degree tear and a failed epidural.

If they want to tell you about their hypnobirthing book they’ve been reading and the water birth they’re really interested in having – don’t shoot them down with “HAHA! YOU’VE GOT NO CHANCE OF THAT HAPPENING, PREPARE FOR THE PAIN!” because what does that really achieve? Probably me crying into my husband’s shoulder at 1am because I hate him for getting me pregnant.

  • Don’t touch them.

Don’t ask to touch them.

I highly doubt you’d go up to a non-knocked up person and ask them what they’re having for tea whilst rubbing their belly, so don’t do it to me.

  • Don’t make assumptions about what I want.

From the day I started telling people I was pregnant, I’ve had comments of “bet you’re excited for a girl” and  “bet you’d be gutted if it was a boy!”

There’s only so many times I can grit my teeth and smile whilst saying “all I want is a happy, healthy baby.” Really doesn’t matter what’s going on in their nappy as long as it’s not a massive shit that’s about to creep up to their neckline.

  • Don’t look at their drink in a coffee shop with disgust.

Honestly, I’ve had people look me in the eye, look down at my cup and then look back at me with a raised eyebrow and say “…I hope that’s not coffee.”

Actually, please do say that as I’ve thought about it a lot since last time and have found a better comeback than last time where I looked at them blankly and said “it’s….tea?” with a confused tone.

At the end of the day, unless you’re me asking in the coffee shop if it’s definitely decaf before I down my Christmassy latte – it doesn’t matter what I’m drinking!

  • They’re pregnant, not senile.

For some reason, people seem to be pitying me like my brain turned off as soon as that egg got fertilised.

I’ve had people at work pat me on the shoulder and patronisingly tell me that “it doesn’t matter, you’re pregnant so we understand you’re not at 100%” when actually they’re the one that cocked up and it was nothing to do with me.

Don’t assume I’m now only thinking about babygrows and breast milk because I’m a person outside of this pregnancy and I’m still capable of everything I did before.

Other than hoovering the stairs. I will hold my hands up and say I can’t do that anymore.

 

 

The Big Kitchen Brain Dump

My brain has been whirring with kitchens, worktops and different shades of grey recently. (Only about four, don’t worry this isn’t that kind of blog post.)

Our kitchen was not the selling point of the house for me. I know my time will come where my kitchen is the hub of the house, with a Rangemaster cooker and a dishwasher. I know one day I will peruse made.com for some barstools, and sit on them to eat breakfast before doing Elliot’s tie, giggling behind the fridge door at the amount of gel he’s got in his hair, and taking him to secondary school before coming home to load said dishwasher and then proceeding to sit and write my novels all day.

But that day is not today.

At the moment our kitchen can fit one person in it comfortably,. Two people becomes a squeeze and if one of those people opens a cupboard then you’d better start holding your breath. But it’s got an oven, a fridge and a kettle therefore it will do for now.

All pictures from Pinterest.

Above are some pictures of kitchens that are a similar size and shape to my current hellhole. Grey is the colour that is probably going to flow through the entire house, as I want a neutral house, I’m sick of magnolia and I’m not a fan of brown.

At the moment, our favourite style of kitchen is a modern, sleek, handle-less one.

I think it’ll help make the most of the limited space we have, even though the kitchens above are gorgeous with handles, I think in my particular room they’ll make it look smaller as there will just be handles banging you in the eye every which way you turn.

Our favourite at the moment is the Sofia kitchen from Wickes, I couldn’t decide my favourite colour but I think I’ve finally decided on Cashmere, below. We are going to borrow a proper cupboard door from the store to hold up in our kitchen for research purposes, but I think it’ll make the room seem as nice and big and airy as possible.

This kitchen is so white it hurts me. The owner of this kitchen definitely drinks decaf coffee and doesn’t own a spice rack at all. I want much more texture and some deeper colours in my kitchen.

To start with, I want a wooden worktop so that it doesn’t have that clinical feel that I get from the photo above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both pictures are from Wickes, first is Silver Grain and second is Mystic Pine. I’ve decided to go with #2, and not entirely because of the name…but mainly because of the name. I know there’s such a difference, it’s astounding what I spend my time deciding on.

Sink wise, I would love a ceramic Belfast sink, because that goes along with my Rangemaster oven and La Creuset dreams, but then I watched Elliot blindly lob his breakfast bowl into our current stainless steel monstrosity and I decided against it.

Instead, we’ve been looking at granite composite sinks, which is something I’d never have even known existed before I began my deep-dive into kitchens.

It is the true goth sink.
The Bluci PZ100 Compact bowl granite kitchen sink in Black.  A stylish look especially with the block timber worktops and single lever kitchen tap.Premium quality, composite kitchen sinks - Lavello Sinks

One thing that really annoys me about my current kitchuation (like situation..just trying to have some fun) is the fact that I don’t have tiles or splashback behind my stove, so any mess just splatters all over the wall and stays there forever more. (I don’t think the previous owners used proper kitchen paint on the walls, so there are curry stains everywhere and they won’t move. Honestly, disgusting!)

Green and copper kitchen tile #kitchentuneup #malvernpa #kitchentile #kitchenbacksplash #greenkitchen www.kitchentuneup.com/main-line-pa

 

Browse our wide selection of metro tiles online. #metrotiles #subwaytiles

This would be the dream – I’m so drawn to those green tiles! Think they’ll look beautiful and add a pop of colour to the grey units and worktop! I do know they’ll be an absolute pain in the bum to put up but that’s ~*~not my problem~*~ thanks, Reece!

White gloss kitchen with blue glass splashback. Come and see this colour combination in our showroom!

There’s also splashbacks like this, like a full sheet of glass or plastic or something like that. I’m not completely sold on this but let me know what you think!

With regards to the floor, we’ve currently got some rank laminate flooring down that ripped when we dragged our fridge-freezer into the kitchen when we moved in and also has marks and dirt on there from approximately 1997, and I don’t think any amount of Method Rhubarb Floor Cleaner is going to save it.

I have no idea what to go for floor-wise, I don’t know what would look best?

modern white kitchen with turquoise splashback         Hellas Marble Floor Tile - customer image

My heart is telling me vinyl flooring that looks like marble because God knows, I want to live my best Kensington town house, swimming pool in the basement, Tamara Ecclestone life in a 2 bed terrace but I don’t know if it’ll really go…

I need your opinions on flooring, now! Let me know what you think of my massive kitchen brain dump and whether I should scrap the entire idea?

If you’ve actually put up with this post then I applaud you, and you are cordially invited to the honorary opening of my new kitchen, a la Joe Lycett.

 

 

 

Things That Have Made Me Cry Recently

I’ve had a bit of a funny turn recently.

Everything became a bit much for me, as life occasionally does and I took a slight step back. Not even from anything in particular, just a step back from everyone and everything and just hid for a few weeks.

mikhail-vasilyev-253977-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Mikhail Vasilyev on Unsplash

Couldn’t even particularly tell you why, just that I am still anxiety’s bitch and sometimes will still succumb to its will.

It’s been a bit of a write-off, so I’ve decided to ease myself back in gently by writing about utter tosh.

Whilst I was taking some time off from being a member of society,  laying on the sofa and ignoring the crust of Cheerios and dust that was covering my entire house, I seemed to be on an emotional rollercoaster. Having an anxiety moment meant that I was living on a knife-edge and the slightest thing could have me tearing up.

And I thought I’d share the pain, because if I don’t laugh I’ll cry even more.

Here are a few choice things I’ve cried over whilst hiding from the blog, from my inbox, from my friends and from myself.

  • One morning, I woke up and decided I wanted to wear my dungarees. I got them out of the wardrobe, only to find that somehow one of the metal bits had come undone. I had no idea how to get it back on, no idea how it had fallen off and no idea what else I was going to wear. I sat there in tears before I realised a) that I could wear anything else in my wardrobe, including my leopard print culottes with the elasticated waist which are practically pyjamas and b) that my period had arrived.

 

  • Mrs Hinch’s Instagram stories where she videos herself folding baby clothes whilst We Belong Together by Mariah Carey plays over the top.

 

  • Reece and I started watching The Office US and I just thought about the Niagara episodes. The only time where Chris Brown can be played without judgement. It’s also Reece’s first time watching it, so I got to enjoy Jim and Pam for the first time all over again through his eyes and got a bit more emotional.

 

  • After writing that last point, I found the scene in question and watched it on Youtube. Now crying again.

 

  • Sir Terry Pratchett’s hat had it’s own chair at the Good Omens premiere.

 

  • At a seriously low point, I looked at some Father’s Day cards and an Ed Sheeran song came over the shop radio. I had to leave as I was getting a quivery bottom lip and it was actually embarrassing.  When I told Reece this story, he started laughing as I said, a bit wobbly, ” I just…people out there love their dads so much they want to buy them cards!”

 

  • I had a shower and listened to Someone You Loved by Lewis Capaldi and cried in the rain so no-one could see my tears.

 

  • I spent a week listening to Tell All Your Friends by Taking Back Sunday in full, on repeat, as I’m seeing it live in two weeks time. Teaming that with re-living the pain of Jim Halpert in Series 2 of The Office meant I turned into an angsty 15 year old. I have since stopped listening to said album and have remembered I’m a happily married woman before I start making bloody Piczo graphics of Cute Without The E lyrics again.

 

  • Elliot put a baseball cap on backwards and started singing the Pokemon theme tune at me and it was just really, really cute. The first time. By the seventh time that day, I was wishing for a Charizard to burn me to death.

It’s been a tough ol’ week, I’ll be honest. Onwards and upwards, I spose!

Favourites of the Month #3

books

In this month’s edition of Books That Were Released At Least 20 Years Ago And I’ve Only Just Read Them Now: I picked up Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk in a book shop in Bristol. (EVERY BOOK WAS THREE ENGLISH POUNDS, I HAD TO!) I zoomed through it, despite the dark and slightly gruesome parts that seem to be obligatory in Palahniuk’s work.

It tells the story of Tender Branson, the last surviving member of a death cult who shoots to the highest pinnacle of fame due to this and how his entire life spirals out of control and I’d definitely recommend it.

I’ve also just finished My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite, which I found amazing! It’s set in Nigeria and tells the tale of a long-suffering older sister Korede who is called upon regularly by her younger sister Ayoola to help clean up her messes. I don’t need to spell it out..it’s literally the title of the book. Anyway. Ayoola starts dating one of Korede’s co-workers that she has a serious crush on, and she has to choose between her sister or a man.

It sounds weird but I feel like this story held a bit back. You have to work with it, and make up your own mind about the bits that Korede has held back. I’d really recommend it, it’s only a fiver on Kindle so give it a try!

I know it’s not technically a book, but I really enjoyed this article from the Observer, which was an interview with Phillipa Perry regarding parenting. I loved what she had to say so much that I’m even contemplating buying the book – and the last parenting book I was given ended up in the bin because it’s outlook on how to treat your kids pissed me off.

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We watched The Umbrella Academy on Netflix. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a comic book Gerard Way (my favourite person in the universe) wrote about a decade ago. The plot is basically a dysfunctional family of superheroes facing the end of the world and it’s just so fucking cool. The setting, the music, the characters – it’s all spot on.

It’s also introduced me to Tom Hopper, for which I am eternally grateful. (I’ve linked his Instagram – thank me later!)

The Disappearance Of Madeleine McCann dropped on Netflix, and if I’m honest I’m watching it as I’m typing. I’ve heard differing reviews of the series from some saying it’s dry, to others saying that it’s all stuff we’ve heard before. And I’d have to agree with the latter, as I’ve read many an article and listened to many a podcast regarding the tale of the McCanns so I know a fair amount about it. However, if you’re into true crime and/or conspiracies I would recommend, but obviously it’s a hard watch for anyone – let alone a parent.

24 Hours In Police Custody came back to Channel 4. My recommendations this month are pretty hard going, haha as this series do not hold back. We’re two episodes in and they’ve been about rape and indecent images of children, so they’ve gone straight in with two intense topics. However, that feeling when they catch the bad guys is joy like no other. We shouted “SCUMBAG” at the telly quite a few times during the episodes and it was almost refreshing to watch some people get reprimanded for their crimes after the McCann series..

I’ve also watched Leaving Neverland, which I wouldn’t say I enjoyed but I think it’s essential viewing for anyone who liked Michael Jackson and his music, or anyone who denied the fact that he was a wrong’un.

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I’ve loved listening to The Tip Off, which is a podcast about investigative journalists and the process of how they found their biggest stories. I’d definitely recommend the Web of Death episodes about Russia, murder and money laundering. The fact that the journalists started to see people just sat outside their own houses sent shivers down my spine.

I’ve also really been enjoying Love Stories with Dolly Alderton, especially the Matt Haig episode. It’s a series where Dolly asks various celebrities about all the love they’ve experienced in their life i.e first love, everlasting love, unrequited. Admittedly, I haven’t read any of Matt Haig’s books but they sound absolutely amazing and when he read an excerpt on the podcast, Dolly ended up in tears which coincidentally made me cry. It’s deifnitely a must-listen and lovely for if you need something to listen to whilst you’re making the beds and dusting the banisters.

And I don’t want to get started again because I got carried away last week but David Tennant’s podcast is still fantastic. His latest one with Catherine Tate was absolutely hilarious. She’s my favourite character ever from Doctor Who and now I know she’s never watched a bloody episode in her life. Also, I really enjoy everyone’s surprise as they realise David Tennant is actually doing a proper podcast and he’s actually being serious.