33 Weeks Pregnant

 

We are now entering that strange period of time when we could realistically have a new baby here in 4-8 weeks and there is no way of predicting when it will happen. I think the to-do list of things we have left to accomplish before d-day is as long as my arm (I only think this because I haven’t gotten around to writing it yet) and the thought of all the washing and toy cleaning I have to do makes me want to go back to bed and take a long nap. We are going to have a newborn here soon. And a toddler. Oh my god.

It’s a good thing I’m going to be able to have a glass of wine soon because that’s the kind of thought that makes me want to reach for the bottle.

Last weekend we went away for the night for the last time as a family of three. We had an absolutely brilliant time at a 30th birthday party in Dorset (a sentence I never thought I’d hear uttered: “Oh good! You’re here! We can start the rounders game now!”) and Elfie was an absolute angel. She loved sharing a hotel room with us though woke up at 7am on the dot – which was actually more like 6am due to the clocks going forward. Luckily an hour of CBeebies in her cot with a banana allowed us to snooze. She also had her first experience of the sea which she could not get enough of, the mentalist. It was freezing. I looked after the pram whilst she and her dad paddled.

 

 

This week has been a bit rubbish really. After coming down with what I thought was a tummy bug on Monday night I spent the next day in bed feeling awful (thank goodness for my mum who had Elfie from 9am til bedtime – there’s no way I would have been able to look after her in that state). That afternoon I started having very strong Braxton Hicks contractions, one every ten minutes, and after consulting Twitter (obviously) I called my Midwife who told me to get myself into hospital. Thank goodness for my mother-in-law who took over Elfie duty whilst my mum drove me to the ADAU. I’m well into oversharing so I hope you won’t mind me telling you that my pee was the colour of cloudy Lucozade, which is weird because I don’t even like Lucozade. I was dehydrated and had loads of nasty things showing up on the urine tests which the doctor concluded meant a UTI. Apparently during pregnancy UTIs can be asymptomatic and can manifest themselves in different ways, such as in what might appear to be a tummy bug. They let me come home that evening with some hefty antibiotics and instructions to rest. Though any mothers out there will be able to tell you that resting whilst looking after a toddler is pretty impossible.

I have been completely wiped out all week, but today was the first day I have woken up and not just wanted to go straight back to sleep again. It feels brilliant to re-join the human race.

In other news Elfie thinks my huge stomach is hilarious and likes to poke my belly button, and then lift up her shirt and poke her own. She also likes to soap it up when I take her in the shower with me. We’ve had lots of people ask how she has reacted to the news, to which I respond “really? You think I can explain a new baby brother to the girl who only gets excited about bananas and airplanes?”. She basically has no idea what is about to happen and I feel quite guilty that we will be completely rocking her world to such an extent.

I’m still feeling very positive about my VBAC and am hoping this attitude will help me get the experience I want. I’m focussing on the messages from my Hypnobirthing books (really) and reading up on the process and historical non-medicalised births rather than One Born Every Minute-type hospital births and am hopeful that this positive frame of mind will go a long way to create a happy experience. We shall see. I still don’t like that the medical professionals I come across seem to be encouraging so much intervention (the midwife in the ADAU told me they’d probably encourage me to have an epidural due to my previous section: do not want) so in the next couple of weeks I want to write a strong birth plan and make sure I discuss it all at length with Will, who I expect will act as my birth advocate. As long as he’s not one of those husbands that do nothing but shout ‘push’ and vomitsat the sight of a crowning baby, I think I’ll be happy.

(Apologies for the rubbish photos this week: Mr ‘I bet David Bailey never has to deal with this shit’ was rushing to get back to work)

Week 31
Week 28
Week 24
Week 20
Week 16
Week 14
Week 12
Week 6/8

MTT: Goats Cheese and Caramelised Onion Tart

 

One of the worst things about pregnancy is that looong list of things you can and can’t eat and the grey area that surrounds whether or not you can eat so many different types of food. For every happy barbecue eating preggo (me) there will be another espousing the dangers of eating meat cooked outside on a gas grill. Ditto shellfish, sushi, wine (a small amount obviously) and varying types of cheese. Where do you draw the line and just have a taste of Stilton with your friday night thimble of red wine?

I tend to be a member of the ‘whatever feels right’ club and eat, well, whatever feels right. I’m eating prawns but no mussels (woe!). After heavily researching laws on Sushi preparation in the UK prior to a visit to Nobu when I was 14 weeks pregnant with Elfie I will eat that too (but will stick to cooked options mostly). I will have a glass of wine once a week if I am having a special dinner and yes, I had a taste of Stilton at Christmas and it was diviiine.

By the way, no matter how hard you try, nothing will prevent you from catching Norovirus as I did when I was pregnant with Elfie. Now that was a week of hell and completely unrelated to whatever I was eating at the time. You can most likely blame yucky tube germs for that one.

Anyway, I like to find ways of eating things that would otherwise be ‘forbidden’ during pregnancy; namely cheeses. I’ve eaten deep fried Brie, blue cheese gnocchi, and this – a gorgeous Goat’s Cheese tart. I think it’s a great lunch dish when served with a salad of herby salad leaves, though would also be brilliant for a lighter dinner or even a picnic or as part of a buffet. It’s a dish of convenience that takes minutes to knock up and looks beautiful when it comes out of the oven.


 

5.0 from 2 reviews

Goat’s Cheese and Caramelised Onion Tart
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • Half a pack of ready-rolled puff pastry
  • About 75g Goat’s Cheese in a roll
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • A few sprigs fresh Thyme
  • 1 tbsp milk
Instructions
  1. Start by making the caramelised onion filling: half and slice the onion and put in a small saucepan on a low-medium heat with the butter.
  2. Add the sugar and cook until soft and sticky, about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, lay out your puff pastry on a baking tray and score a line about a centimetre away from the edge.
  4. Finely slice the goats cheese into rounds. When the onion is caramelised, spread evenly on the pastry. Add the rounds of cheese then sprinkle your sprigs of thyme on top.
  5. Season and brush the scored area of pastry with milk then cook as per the packet instructions, about 25 minutes at 180 degrees.

 

 

A Short Break From Blogging

Kind of. And not because I want to take a break. I’m in a technological rehab.

I’m not here because my beloved iMc was taken in to the mac shop for a small display repair early last week and the nice lady who told me it’d be looked at immediately and fixed in 3-4 days was fibbing. Not to sound like a typical whiny ‘I’m lost without my computer’ type of person but I really am lost without my computer. Writing on an iPad is not easy (why does everything get autocorrected in a strange way?) and my husbands laptop just feels too weird. I don’t even want to attempt to insert images or anything as fancy as that. I have a big gaping hole in my heart and on my desk, no tv, no music! I’m having to resort to old fashioned activities like reading books and watching the TV on the TV.

Its a good thing we have computer non-compatable plans this weekend. Or there would have been real trouble, Mrs fibbing Mac lady.

In the meantime, I was absolutely delighted to discover yesterday that’s have been short listed for a Brilliance In Blogging award in the ‘Tasty’ category (I expect this refers to my foodie slant on my blog but who knows…). There are so many amazing bloggers being recognised in the awards so I recommend taking a look and voting for me- you don’t have to sign up to anything and you can vote in as few as one categories if you wish (mine is the second). Thank you so much for everyone who nominated me, I really am touched!

I’ll see you on the other side.

31 Weeks Pregnant

 

So you know when I wrote about my life at 28 weeks pregnant and everything was going swimmingly? I totally cursed myself with that one. Pregnancy has become a bit of an uphill struggle, something I’m not really enjoying anymore thanks to the aches, pains, tiredness and cravings.

My urge to eat ice is back. I had this with Elfie and went through about three bags a week, plus whatever I could beg in a pint glass from the pub next door to my office. I can’t explain the compulsion to chew on ice but it also extends to really really chilled water, wet fabric (especially clean-smelling wet fabric, the smell of clean laundry fresh from the washing machine sends me wild) and includes flannels. That’s right, I want to chew on flannels. I might have chewed on flannels in the bath. It’s so strange to want to put something so unnatural in your mouth (insert dirty joke here) but I just can’t get over the obsession.

I’m also enjoying the smell of bleach even more than usual and could quite happily spend all day cleaning, the scent actually makes my mouth water and has meant I’m now completely over the phobia I used to have of cleaning toilets (which I did last week, getting at the fiddly bits with a bloody toothbrush).

The tiredness has become pretty bad as well. Juggling a toddler, a house, a husband and pregnancy is exhausting beyond belief and most of the time I feel like I’m just about keeping my head above water. Work is at a bit of a standstill, as  is any kind of social life unless it is planned out far in advance with naps and recovery time accounted for. Will has been very helpful and is getting up with Elfie first thing in the morning (Well, 7am), by the time her morning milk is ready I am awake enough to cuddle in bed with them both for a little chat. Then I’m back to bed at the same time as her (11am) for a snooze before we run errands or clean (i.e. sniff bleach… lovely lovely bleach). The above photo was taken yesterday, on Mother’s day, and pretty much summarises how tired I have been feeling. 5 minutes later I took a monster 2 hour nap, only waking up because I’d dribbled on myself.

Speaking of sleeping, I keep waking up on my back in the middle of the night which according to plenty of pregnancy websites is a Very Bad Thing. My back is always very sore by the end of the day and although I find it most comfy to sleep on my left side apparently my body disagrees. Which is weird because it takes a big painful heft and a heave to get back on my side again. Apparently Will is sleeping with a dribbling elephant.

We took a trip to the hospital last week to see my consultant and everything is looking good. Baby is head-down still and though the Doctor said that he can be moving every which way at the moment I’m pretty confident his position has remained consistent for at least the last six weeks.  As I’ve said before, Elfie was breech from very early on and she  was quite obviously upside down for the whole pregnancy (very uncomfortably). From this experience I feel very aware of the different parts of baby and I am 99% confident he has not once been breech. Great news for my planned VBAC.

I do wish the consultant wouldn’t query me further on my decision though… I don’t feel pushed into another C section but I am very aware that they are happy to do one without any sort of reason which makes me feel a little uncomfortable. I want them to be more behind the decision I’ve made to try for a natural active birth and wish they would make a C section a little less obtainable. I am trying to remain strong in my convictions though, am re-reading my natural and Hypno birth books as well as things I’ve written before about why this C-Section debate is so important to me, but honestly after such a lovely and easy Caesarian last time I am a little scared. Having never even gone into labour before I feel I am stepping into the unknown, strange when I feel at the same time (almost) an old hat at this parenting stuff.

Week 28
Week 24
Week 20
Week 16
Week 14
Week 12
Week 6/8

A Fairy Light Update In The Kitchen

Although I love our kitchen the way it is now, I wanted to cutesy and warm it up a little bit. I’d seen Jen use some lovely fairy lights to decorate her kitchen shelves via her Instagram feed (I think from IKEA also) and thought they looked lovely, so filed the idea away in my mental ‘to do’ file. As soon as the shelves were up I was on the hunt for some fairy lights and found them again in IKEA; they’re diamond shaped so a little bit unusual and I love them. They really bring a little homely something to that spot in the kitchen, and Elfie loves them because she’s a total light fiend. The weirdo.

 

MTT: Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff

My husband has been reading ‘The Four Hour Body‘ and has been sticking to Tim Ferriss’s controversial diet. This is good for him as he’s wanted to create a healthier lifestyle for himself for a little while now (and I lost three stone on a modification of the diet in 2009) and I love Tim Ferriss’s approach to making over your whole life rather than just your diet as well as his ‘treat days’ (also recommended: ‘The Four Hour Workweek‘). But this diet is very heavily protein-based and involves a lot of pulses but no sugar or carbs, making mealtimes a little difficult in these parts. A typical day on the diet for Will would consist of eggs and spinach for breakfast, a bean salad for lunch and a sausage and veg casserole for dinner, again with salad and beans for a bit of sustenance. It’s a diet honed by years of experimentation and though it may not sound particularly appetising it’s not actually too bad.

This diet has proven to be a bit of a double edged sword for me. I don’t want to be losing any weight or even paying much attention to it but at this point in my pregnancy with Elfie I definitely ate fish and chips or burgers one too many times just because being pregnant was a good excuse. If I’m cooking fresh food loaded with pulses and veg for Will I have less of a reason to eat crap, and instead will have whatever he’s having with the addition of roast potatoes for example.

Let’s not mention those occasions where I crave an XL Bacon Double Cheeseburger so much that he drives me out to the service station and waits in the car whilst I cross the motorway bridge to the Northbound Junction 14 Burger King. That’s true love.

So I’ve been working hard to devise meals that will work for the both of us; Will is such a fan of mushrooms and last week he brought home some knock-down stewing steak that was just about to go past its sell-by date. I decided to cook a slow-braised Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff and the result was so delicious that I’ve cooked it twice since.

I serve mine atop a crispy buttered jacket potato (hence the appearance of all that butter in the picture above!), but Will gets his with some spinach, extra mushrooms and whichever other random greens may be in the fridge.

Slow-Braised Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
I used some crappy low-alcohol cider in my recipe that we’ve had in the pantry since the start of my pregnancy; if you don’t have any cider then substitute for white wine or even beef stock.
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 red onion
  • 400g assorted mushrooms, chopped
  • 500g stewing steak
  • 250ml cider
  • Small pot double cream
  • Couple of tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Teaspoon fresh nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Chop the onion in half and slice; finely chop the garlic. Fry off in heavy-bottomed pan with a lid over a medium heat.
  2. Add the beef, turn up the heat slightly and cook until brown all over. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the cider and bring to a gentle simmer. Turn the heat back down so the liquid is just bubbling away, add the lid to the pot and cook for an hour and a half, stirring every 30 minutes or so.
  4. Add the mushrooms and stir in, replace the lid and cook on the same low heat for another 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid and add the cream and nutmeg. Bring up to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes and season to taste.