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.

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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.