Tuesday, 23 December 2008

A Trip to London

Sunday saw hubby & I take a trip to London; the borough of Kensington & Chelsea to be exact. First stop the Natural History Museum where we took in the delights of the dinosaur and mammal exhibitions, before a quick zip round the museum shop where we lucky enough to find a fab Xmas decoration made from elephant dung. I kid you not. It's what every Xmas tree in the know is wearing this season.

(As an aside, do I look like I'm doing my best impersonation of the Mona Lisa in this photo? Perhaps that's what her enigmatic smile is all about - a pregnancy glow...! Note how I like to rest my hand on my bump in an attempt to ensure people know I'm pregnant and not just hugely fat.)

Next stop, Starbucks (natch) for a little light refresehment in the form of a gingerbread latte, and a hazelnut & chocolate muffin which tasted just like a Ferrero Rocher, which can't be a bad thing.

And finally, the piece de resistance, the Albert Hall for Carols by Candlelight, tickets for which hubby had bought me for my birthday. Admittedly, the 'candles' were electric ones, presumably a health and safety thing since the orchestra were wearing 18th Century costume, including wigs which could have gone up in smoke at the merest hint of a naked flame. But not to worry, we had bigger fish to fry in the complaints department. All started well, as the choir kicked off proceedings with something lovely and classical in Latin (I don't claim to know anything about classical music and so won't try and tell you what it was), plus there was a little musical interlude from the orchestra, again something classical and lovely. Unfortunately, it went a little downhill after that as the conductor tried to tell jokes and then invited the audience to join in and massacre pretty much all of the rest of the carols (except the Latin ones, which the choir kept for themselves). Now, don't get me wrong, hubby & I love carols as much as the next man; however, what we don't love is carols sung by the next man. We had gone along thinking that we would be entertained by a fully-trained orchestra and choir so we could sit back and soak up the atmosphere. Instead, we had to contend with Joe Public belting out the tunes to the best and worst of their abilities. Bah humbug. It seems we are doomed as far as live carols go - last year we went to the carol concert at the church in Henley where I was constantly annoyed by a man in the row behind me jingling the coins in his pocket during each carol; this year we decide to go up-market and are no better off; next year we'll stay at home and listen to a CD and be grinches in the comfort of our own home.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Introducing Aubrey Montague

Fear not, Delightful Child hasn't decided to make an entrance nearly ten (OMG, is it only ten weeks til I'm due to give birth??!!) weeks early, nor have we lumbered said child with such an 'interesting' moniker (although if hubby had his way it would be top of the list; but then he would counter that with my wish to call a girl-child Ariadne...)

Anyway, please be upstanding for Aubrey Montague Bear:

Isn't he just so proud? As am I, since he is the first bear I have ever knitted; in fact he is the first thing I have knitted since being a 'grown-up' (for those of you with good memories, scarf is still in progress since I had to wait for John Lewis to order me another ball of wool and it only arrived on Thursday.)

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

A Weekend in the Country

On Friday, hubby & I took a trip to Dorset to visit our dear friends GRachel & GGordon who have very recently moved all the way down to the deepest, darkest countryside (ie so deep there is no mobile phone reception - imagine!) from Old Windsor, to persue a new life of welly boots and shooting sticks, or whatever it is that countryfolk need to get by from day to day.

Unfortunately, as well as packing the usual overnight bag, I also took a whole host of germs and used tissues as I have come down with a real stinker of a cold. I did forewarn our hosts, but they were still keen for us to visit, and I hope they are not now regretting that as their noses stream and their throats feel like they have swallowed broken glass.

We had a really lovely weekend, mostly revolving around food and nattering, with a hint of shopping thrown in. Saturday morning we visited Bridport for the monthly farmers' market - always a dangerous thing as it is hard to resist home-grown and home-made goodies, especially of the cake variety and those made of driftwood...
We then spent the rest of the day relaxing; hubby & GGordon spent a while at the pub checking that the beer was as good as it should be while GRachel and I stayed at home, she cooked while I worked on the teddy bear (soon to be revealed in all his glory.)

Sunday morning we had to head back to the real world where everything seemed so much busier and noisier, although not until we had a hearty breakfast under our belts. I want to live in the countryside now, although not sure I could do without mobile phone reception, and there would also have to be a Starbucks in the vicinity, and some shops, and cafes, and restaurants, and that'll be what's called living in a town then...

Monday, 15 December 2008

Three Long, Oops I Mean Lovely, Years

On Wednesday 10th hubby & I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary. One, two, three - ahhhhhh. For my pressie, hubby took me to Cliveden for afternoon tea, which was served in the library - sooooooooooooooooooo lovely.We had fabulous finger sandwiches with smoked salmon, beef, tomato, egg, and chicken; eight varieties of cake; and warm scones with jam and clotted cream.When we had finished eating we decided we didn't want to leave so sat out in the Great Hallwhere hubby indulged in a G&T while I wondered whether it would be possible to go in to labour there and then and give birth in the library. How fabulous that would be. Must book afternoon tea again for the beginning of March...
And since hubby is an international businessman I bought him a leather passport cover and a bottle of Blue Sapphire gin as his anniversary gift. Leather is the traditional gift for a third anniversary, while crystal or glass is the modern gift.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Yum, Moussakaloni - My Favourite!

Last night hubby and I finally got round to decorating the Christmas tree. It arrived in our living room on Monday, got festooned with lights on Tuesday, but has otherwise been languishing unadorned. But, last night was the night for boxes and boxes of ornaments to be unwrapped and gazed open with a mixture of awe and 'crikey, where/why did we buy that one?' Hubby & I have a tradition whereby whenever we go to a new city/country we buy a Christmas decoration as a momento of our trip. This means that each year as we unwrap the deccies wehave a little reminder of where we've been on our travels. We have deccies from Australia:

CambodiaCzech RepublicHungaryIndiaSwitzerland, Laos, Vietnam, Mexico, Latvia, the Netherlands, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, and approx 4 million from the USA and New York - including a large number in the form of Starbucks annual 'red' Christmas cups.

And our all-time favourite from Bloomingdales, NYC:

After we were finished with decorating the tree and house it was time for dinner - vegetable moussaka. When we had finished eating we had this short conversation:

Hubby: 'I really enjoyed that, it wasn't too pasta-y'

Me: 'That's because there's no pasta in it'

Hubby: 'What was it?'

Me: 'Vegetable moussaka'

Hubby: 'Oh, I thought it was cannelloni'

Friday, 5 December 2008

Alternative Advent Calendar

Some friends of ours have produced this most excellent musical alternative to the traditional Advent Calendar. Why not have a listen...


or, if you access it this way, they can count how many hits they get:


Where to Start? Part IV: Monday

Yay! A day off work to relax and recuperate from the weekend or, alternatively, to go shopping and get all tired out again. Which do you think I did? That's right, because I inherited the 'can't sit still for 5 minutes' gene from my father, I went shopping. Left the house at 9.30am and got home about 3pm. So much for a day spent with my feet up (to prevent the lovely 'I'm pregnant and I've got swollen ankles' look.) Still, what better way to celebrate the first day of VAT being reduced from 17.5% to 15% than to go out and shop?! Surely this was what the government hoped would happen when they decided to boost the economy in this strange way. So, I spent several hours in Boots and Sainsburys and came away almost £150 worse off, but with a mountain of food (well, I am eating for two these days), Xmas wrapping paper and some clothes for Delightful Child.

On the way home I had to go to the Post Office which is unfortunately situated near a Marks and Spencer's Food, so I ended up spending more money. However, there's also a charity shop next to M&S where I managed to pick up two pairs of knitting needles for the grand total of £1, thus boosting my knitting aparatus and adding to my charity karma all at the same time.

And still the shopping wasn't over. I then went and bought a Christmas tree - all 7ft of it, since the house we are currently renting has a beamed, apex ceiling in the living room which can accommodate a much larger tree than we are usually able to buy. For the last four years hubby has had to saw the bottom off every Xmas tree we have taken home due to slight miscalculations in height. But not this year. No sireee Bob. This year we could have had a 10ft tree and it would have fitted, but that would have been greedy and goodness only knows how we would have got the stuffed reindeeer we use in place of a fairy on the top.

And then I called in at Starbucks to get a gingerbread latte and, lo!, they are now 5p cheaper due to the VAT cut. All is well in the world.

Here's hubby doing his best impersonation of a tree hugger. And, yes, he is wearing a fleece and gloves for 3 reasons. 1) he had just been outside to drag the tree in from the car; 2) gloves are very handy (pardon the pun) when handling spiky Xmas trees; and 3) our heating still wasn't working, a week after it had broken.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Where to Start? Part III: Sunday

A trip to jolly old London Town. More specifically, Marylebone High Street which is my favourite part of London due to its compact nature and great shops including Cath Kidston, The White Company, Fish Works and Emma Bridgwater.

We met our friends Kesh & Kate and their little boy Rishi and had a fab lunch in Eat & Two Veg, a yummy vegetarian restaurant where I had a delicious butternut squash crumble, the thought of which is making me feel hungry. Over lunch Kesh showed us a text that hubby had quite innocently sent him the day before, which read:

"Am in bath with Jus, well it is her birthday"

Yes, indeed, what a treat for me. Note to hubby - do not share our intimate details with all and sundry. Further note to hubby - on certain occasions, capital letters are IMPORTANT - note the difference between 'bath' and 'Bath' and what using one when you mean the other can imply...

After lunch, the boys went to a pub to watch footy while Kate & I did what girls do best - we went shopping. I bought a lovely Christmas-y smelling candle in The White Company and the next Book Club book (Skipping Christmas by John Grisham) in the Oxfam Book Shop (have I ever told you how much time/money hubby & I spend in OBS, as we call it? It makes you never, ever want to pay full price for a book again.) We window shopped in a few places too, including The Little White Company which specialises in massively overpriced clothes and other things for babies and children. £28 for a pair of child's pyjamas! I don't think so, not when you can get them for £3 in Primark (or Primarni as my cousin likes to call it.)

When the footy was finished we all met in Patisserie Valerie for afternoon tea. I had a fresh cream coffee eclair, hubby had Black Forest gateau and K&K shared scones with jam & cream. But, would you believe, the waiter tried to fob them off with toasted scones? Whoever heard of such a thing?! Kesh said 'Scones don't come toasted', to which the waiter replied 'Yes, they do.' To which Kesh replied 'No, they don't', to which the waiter replied... etc etc. Well, it's the first time any of us had ever seen toasted scones and since the customer is always right, Kesh made the waiter take them away and bring normal (ie untoasted) scones in their place. We have decided to find a new venue for afternoon tea the next time we meet up.

Then it was time to go home (via Starbucks for a gingerbread latte for me.)

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Where to Start? Part II: Saturday

My BIRTHDAY!!!! Yay! I love birthdays - all those fab pressies and an excuse to do exactly what you want to do all day long. If anyone raises their eyebrows you just say, archly, 'Well, it is my birthday.' Of course, due to the excitement, I woke up early, eagerly awaiting my gifts and breakfast in bed. Well, I got the first, but had to make my own breakfast once I got up - clearly hubby still needs some training... Although he does do very well at buying excellent pressies. Due to my advancing years, my main pressie was a Nintendo DS Lite with Brain Training. At my first attempt, my brain age was calculated at 73 (!!!), but on the next go I had it down to 28 - much better! Apparently 20 is the youngest you can be, which must be a bit disappointing if you happen to be a teenaged brain trainer.

Other pressies from hubby included a necklace that he had bought way back when we were travelling in Guatemala, 'T is for Trespass' by Sue Grafton, 'The Careful Use of Compliments' by Alexander McCall Smith, 'Death of a Gossip' by MC Beaton, a Pilsbury DoughBoy Xmas decoration bought in Vermont, an Emma Bridgwater tea towel, some smellies, and tickets to see Carols by Candlelight at the Royal Albert Hall on December 21 - how lovely is that? And, last but by no means least, he baked me a birthday cake in the form of fairy cakes with chocolate drops. Isn't he just the bestest hubby anyone could ask for?

Hubby's parents got me two CDs - one by Take That and one by Scissor Sisters; my parents bought me some clothes, some smellies and sent me some money too; Tania got me a book all about travelling without flying; and Liz got me some smellies (anyone see a theme here? should I develop a complex re personal hygiene?), and an extremely apt mug which features the tag line 'I listed Starbucks as my emergency contact at work'. It would be true if I'd thought of it.

After a breakfast of yummy croissants we set off for Bath, via a tiny craft fair at Bix village hall. We got to the Park & Ride c 1pm and managed to squeeze the car on to a grass verge nearby since the car park was full. Luckily we didn't have to wait long for a bus as it was absolutely freeeeezing, and we were in the centre of Bath by about 1.30pm.It would seem that the entire western hemisphere had decided to go to Bath that day to help me celebrate my birthday, which was nice of them, although in all honesty I wish they'd all just stayed at home. The place was jam packed, making it nigh-on impossible to get to the stalls in the Christmas market - which was the main reason we had gone there.We managed to buy two hot dogs (a must at any Christmas event, clearly) and a Christmas tree decoration, but that was about it, apart from the free cup of mulled wine - yum! By about 4.30pm I was pooped so we decided to go home. On the way home hubby said I could choose where I wanted to go for my birthday dinner and, to his utmost disgust, I chose TGI Fridays! Poor hubby spent most of the journey home along the M4 trying to persuade me to go somewhere else, but my mind was made up. Let's blame it on the hormones... Luckily the food was served very quickly so hubby didn't have to spend too long in his own personal idea of hell, and we were home by about 8pm, and I was in bed by about 9.30 - rock and roll!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Where to Start? Part I: Friday

My, what a busy weekend! In fact, a busy 'long' weekend. I had to come to work today for a rest. But don't tell the boss.

So, all it started Friday with a day off work. I went in to Reading to attempt to finish off the Christmas shopping that I had started the night before - shopping is difficult these days as my capacity to carry heavy bags laden with goodies has diminished quite drastically. Not to mention my capacity for walking around. So the Christmas shopping has been spread over many evenings and days. Still, I came home with pretty much everything I needed and everyone is now fully catered for, except for the parents, who are just darned awkward to buy for.

Friday evening was the Henley Christmas Fair; Liz and her two girls came over and we spent a pleasant few hours wandering the (car-less) streets of Henley and popping in the shops to see what edible goodies they were giving away. We continued the annual tradition of buying a 'hot dog' as cooked by the fair hands of Anthony Worrall Thompson, and very good it was too.I'm sure hubby would like me to point out that we are not fans of Wozza's cooking in general but, with a Gabrel Machin sausage in his hands, he can do no wrong. After scoffing the bangers, hubby and I went in to the local 'department' store, Facy. Having lived in Henley for five years, this was the first time I had ever been in there, and what a revelation - it seems to be the sort of shop where you can buy anything from clothes to carpet, pinking shears to duvet covers. Talking of which, that was what hubby and I managed to buy - isn't that what everyone gets when they go to a Christmas Fair? We were so engrossed in choosing the duvet cover that we managed to miss the Christmas Tree lights being switched on, but we were in time to hear the Salvation Army band start the carols. Three Quality Street, one piece of cheese, a hot dog and a cup of mulled wine later it was time for us to wend our weary way home (and it wasn't even 8pm). Not only has being pregnant affected my bag-carrying capabilities, it also prevents me from staying up past 9.30pm - what a party animal!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

A Problem Shared...

is a problem solved! Remember yesterday when I mentioned that the front of the body I'd knitted for teddy was way smaller than it seemed like it should be? Well, during my afternoon break at work yesterday I was about to start knitting the back of teddy's body, when it occured to me that perhaps a moment spent re-studying the pattern might help. And I sort of had a 'eureka' moment when I thought perhaps I had solved the problem of why teddy was a tad on the tiny side. However, being such a complete amateur at this knitting pattern lark, I needed some back-up and so emailed The Knitting Doctor (who would usually have been at work and thus available for a face-to-face consultation, but was on this particular day at home nursing a poorly ankle caused by falling out of her mother's van [and she wasn't even drunk at the time]). TKD confirmed my suspicions and thus when I went home that evening I was able to astound my mother with my knitting-pattern-reading prowess and was also able to knit one half of a proper sized teddy body. Yay!

By the way, for those of you who haven't fallen in to a knitting-induced coma, the part in bold is the bit of the pattern that had me flumoxed:

"Cont in garter st and inc 1 st at each end of next row and 6 foll 6th rows"

At first I took it to mean that I should increase one stitch at each end of the following six rows and that would be that; but on second viewing (and with a stumpy bear part to show for it), I realised that it meant I should increase one stitch at each end on every sixth row, six times. So, first time round poor teddy was approx 30 rows shorter in the body than he should have been...
Left side is bear as he should be; right side is bear as he shouldn't be.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The Scarf is Finished, Sort Of, Kind Of...

Hubby and I put on our 'hostess with the mostest' hats this weekend and entertained two friends from oop north. Mark is one of hubby's footy friends, as is Fiona in a sort of way. Hubby & Mark spent Saturday afternoon in the pub planning Mark's stag night for next March, while Fiona & I spent time in a coffee shop investigating the cakes and talking baby stuff, as Fiona is due to have her little one in just seven weeks - eeeeek! This means the next time we see them, they will be three.

Saturday night we went to the Cherry Tree for dinner, a local gastro pub owned by Carol Decker of T'Pau fame - got to love that 80s music. Dear Mark is so young (being a mere whippernsapper at 27) that he didn't even know who Carol Decker was - shame on him! No appearance from Carol herself, perhaps she was slaving away in the kitchen churning out the steak and chips.

Sunday afternoon, after we said a fond farewell to our guests, I finished the scarf. I was rather proud of myself, since it had only taken me a week. Except that I have now decided that it is too short, so I need to go to town and buy another skein of expensive 'middle class wool' as Penny (aka the Knitting Doctor) likes to call it, and thus make the scarf twice as long as it is at the moment.

Monday afternoon my parents came to stay so they can look after me and protect me from the nasty creatures that live in the woods while International Businessman is gallavanting off to Krakow. Monday evening mother helped me start following the first ever knitting pattern I have attempted and I am now in the process of knitting a teddy bear for Delightful Child. I now know how to cast on, increase, decrease and 'slip one, knit one, pass one over'. Am on the way to being a fully-fledged knitter.

This is what the teddy is supposed to look like but, having knitted one side of the body, I'm a bit concerned. With the piece I have made, the body looks much smaller than the one here. In fact, the bit I've made looks pretty much the same size as the head...

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Bumpier and bumpier

The bump just keeps on growing. Which is only to be expected I suppose. I had a doctor's appointment yesterday at which I was told the baby is 'measuring' 27 weeks (I'm only 25 weeks pregnant), but I did wonder if those extra weeks might just be the extra inches that I carry round my tummy - I mean, how can you tell if it's baby or fat? Anyway, I don't mind if the baby decides to arrive two weeks earlier than we are expecting (3rd March), although I might still be at work which could come as a bit of a shock to my poor colleagues should my waters happen to break in the tea room, for example. There's already been talk of who would be the best person to deal with an 'at work' birth and, funnily enough, no one seems too keen to put themselves forward as midwife. Anyway, just so long as the baby doesn't decide to be two weeks larger and arrive two weeks later, thus actually making it a month of extra baby (if that makes sense) for me to squeeze out. OUCH.

Anyway, these are a couple of pics from the 20 week scan - apologies for the delay in posting them. Baby doesn't look any different to the first scan at 12 weeks, from what I can tell. Although, of course, at this scan they were able to determine the sex - can you tell what it is yet??!!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Is There Anything Nicer

on a cold, damp November afternoon than to sit in front of a roaring log fire with a slice of Marks & Spencer's Victoria sponge? Or to sit in front of the same roaring log fire a little later and enjoy a jacket potato for tea? Or later still, to sit in front of the fire watching Coronation Street and knitting?

Easily pleased.

Monday, 17 November 2008

My Latest Obsession

Knitting! Trendy and practical. I've wanted to have a go at knitting for quite some time now, but have been in need of a willing teacher. Luckily, at the weekend, I went home to Bristol to visit the parents and mother (re)taught me. I used to be able to knit (if you can call it that) when I was much, much younger (maybe eight or nine) and I guess it must be like riding a bicycle - you never forget.

Saturday afternoon mother and I went Christmas shopping and, en route, we found ourselves in the John Lewis haberdashery department, where an entire wall is given over to the joy that is wool (or, in proper speak, I believe it is 'yarn'). After nearly 37 years of living with myself, I think I've got to know me quite well and so I purposely chose a skein (not just a lowly 'ball' for me) wherein the colours change every ten yards or so. The reason being that if I were to knit a scarf in one plain colour I knew full well that after several rows I'd get bored; but the joy of the ever-changing colour palette is one that will (hopefully) keep me interested til the very end. Plus, it cost £10.65 so I really have to knit the whole thing or that is a fair bit of money to leave languishing in the bottom of the cupboard with other half-finished projects.

Already I am harbouring thoughts of kitting out Delightful Child in handknitted shoes (not v practical though) to go with the handknitted everything else that its grandmothers are churning out at a rate of knots. I have added "wool, needles and patterns" to my birthday/Christmas list, so lets hope this latest obsession lasts a while...

I'm most looking forward to the day that I advance to the upper echelons of knitting and join those who can knit without looking, or in my case staring cross-eyed, at what they are doing - you know the people whose needles are click-clacking away at ten-to-the-dozen whilst watching tv, holding a conversation, etc, etc. Maybe one day.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

We Apologise for the Interruption

Did you miss me? I've been in non-blogging mode (or should that be mood?) for an entire week. I was struck down on Thursday with a rather nasty stomach bug which, according to the doctor, was either food poisoning or a viral infection; still haven't figured out which it was. The stomach cramps were horrid and I did say to hubby at one point 'If this is what labour's like, I don't think I can do it'. Ouch. Bring on the general anaesthetic now.

Prior to being felled by said bug, on Weds evening hubby and I enjoyed a short, damp firework display of the 'blink and you'll miss it' variery, which is about all you can expect when you only spend £5 on an entire box of fireworks. Still, we enjoyed ourselves!

In between bouts of illness, on Saturday morning we went house-hunting. Tres exciting. We saw five houses and liked all of them in different ways. Typically the one we really fell for was the least practical, so we have not allowed our hearts to rule our heads and have thus discounted it from the running. A couple of the others were also discounted for various reasons, leaving just two, one of which we went back to see for a second time today, wearing our 'property developer' hats. Funnily enough, first time round this was probably our least favourite house mostly due to the decor but this time, seeing past the woodchip wallpaper, garish colour scheme and garden shed done up to resemble a pub, we rather warmed to the place. Watch this space...

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Yey! It's Bonfire Night

How exciting. Hubby informs me he popped in to Tesco and bought us some fireworks; I think he is in training for being a Dad since putting on shambolic firework displays is something that Dads have to do. I hope he's bought some sparklers.

Hopefully the fireworks will put hubby in a better mood than the one he was in earlier. He had to go back to the hospital with his hurty finger for a 10.30am appointment and he didn't get seen until after midday. Not a happy bunny. I don't know if it's all hospitals or just ours that is particularly rubbish, but you have to wonder how they can get that far behind so early in the day. Although, when I went for an 8.30am appointment a couple of weeks back I didn't get seen until 8.45am even though I was the first appointment of the day. So, if they manage to start the clinics 15 mins late you can see how it all starts going horribly wrong later on in the morning.

And on a completely different note - we thought the new Bond film was a big pile of pants. Totally unfathomable plot (if, indeed, there was a plot), rubbish theme tune, no immortal 'The name is Bond, James Bond' line. There weren't even any lingering shots of Daniel Craig in his swimming trunks. What good is that??

Saturday, 1 November 2008

It's Starting To Feel a Lot Like Christmas...

I had a very Christmas-y day today. I looooooove Christmas, as does hubby. But, whilst hubby went off on a non-Christmas-y expedition to Portsmouth to watch Wigan playing footy, I went to the Christmas Gift Fair at Waddesdon Manor to help my friend Liz run her stall.

Liz makes lovely glass plates, platters, bowls, window hangings, coasters, Christmas decorations, and more! She takes her life in her hands during the winter months, spending hours in her freezing cold garage designing and making these lovely things.

I'm not sure I was much help in manning the stall; in fact, I think I was more of a jinx as there wasn't much buying going on from the crowd. Luckily, Liz has three more days there without me, so hopefully people will be more keen to part with their cash.

Still, it was a nice day out and there were lots of other lovely stalls to preuse, including the stall right next to Liz's which was manned by our friend Tara, who made my wedding tiara - it's so handy to know all these 'crafty' people when you want something individual and handmade.

I managed not to spend too much money - just a few pounds here and there on a couple of things that I can't mention as they are destined to be Xmas gifts for hubby, plus a 'Christmas' sign and a lovely beaded metal star for the door of the nursery, handmade by Tara. Unfortunately though, this frugality came to an abrupt halt on the way home as I managed to persuade myself that it would be nice to have a little look in the John Lewis 'home' store in High Wycombe. Ooopsy, what a mistake that was when I came out about an hour later clutching to my bosom a bag containing nearly £50 of Christmas decorations - OMG, how did that happen??!! This is the problem with sending me out to work - when I earn money, I just have to spend it. It is, for sure, a very dangerous stagte of affairs, although in some way I could think that I am just doing my little bit to help spend the UK out of recession. Yes, let's just imagine that that is what I'm doing when I come home with, amongst other 'must have' items, this little chap
and one of these (although this is actually going back to the shop to be exchanged for the white version, since it didn't look quite so good once I got it home- isn't that always the way?)

While it acceptable, in fact it is actively encouraged, to peruse and purchase Christmas gifts, decorations, food, etc, etc during November (or even earlier) it is absolutely, totally, strictly and utterly FORBIDDEN for any Christmas decorations to be hung or celebrations to be celebrated until after my birthday (29th November). I also get very upset if any Christmas cards are received prior to my birthday as any card-shaped item plopping onto the doormat is assumed by me to be a birthday card; hence, I am extremely upset and disappointed when, having saved all of these cards until the morning of my birthday, I come face to face with Santa or his elves, or a sprig of holly where there should be a picture of a birthday present, cake, etc. This happened last year when some well-meaning soul from the other side of the world, decided to send out their cards super early lest they not manage to make it all the way to the UK within the six-week window they had allowed. Humphhhh. However, all of this pales in to insignficance in the face of the most distressing 'Christmas before birthday' event which occurred last year when my parents PUT UP THEIR CHRISTMAS TREE prior to the 29th. Words were had and, needless to say, it won't be happening again.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Happy Hallowe'en!

Yey! The snow has gone. To be replaced by a sharp frost and the need to scrape ice from the car windows before setting off for work. So, we're not quite it the realms of BBQs (so pleased to hear the weather is great in Melbourne, Sam), but I am hoping that this slight warm-up will mean that my commute to work will not be quite as treacherous as it was the other morning when I skidded on a patch of ice and ploughed our new car in to the kerb. Oops. Still, no damage done, except to my nerves...

So, it's Hallowe'en! Woooooooooo [insert your own version of a scary ghost noise]. Unfortunately, it's not really a big deal here in Blighty. I wish we were in the US of A where the pumpkin reigns supreme. I saw Pie mention Pumpkin Spice Coffee on her Facebook page the other day - I WANT SOME OF THAT (even though I'm off coffee at the moment), so I shall be wending my merry way to Starbucks this evening to see what Hallowe'en-shaped drinks they have to offer me. And then it's on to Woolworths, where pick'n'mix is king, before hubby & I go to the cinema to see the much-maligned new Bond film, Quantum of Solace. It's really just an excuse to eat sweeties, not that we ever really need an excuse...

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

I'm Dreaming of a White Hallowe'en

Erm, wait, wait, rewind. Sorry Bing, those aren't the lyrics we were hoping for. I think White Christmas has more of a ring to it, don't you? And, surely, a white Christmas is more likely than a white Hallowe'en, isn't it?

Or maybe not... Last night as we were going to bed we noticed it was snowing, and it snowed, and snowed and, hence, this morning...

I don't ever remember it snowing this early on in the year, and it's a 'proper' amount of snow too (well, for Blighty, probably not for the Alps or Alaska), not the usual little flurries we get that blow away in a gust of wind. Global warming, eh?

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

The Hospital, My Second Home

Last week hubby and I went to the hospital for my 20-week scan. We know now the sex of the baby! Ha, but I'm not going to announce it on here, I'd much rather tell you all one-by-one. Needless to say, I am very chuffed. Some of you may be able to work out the sex from that since I definitely wanted one much more than the other. Lucky old me, my wish came true!

Yesterday, I had the delight of a return trip to the hopsital for an appointment with the consultant. Prior to seeing her, I had my blood pressure taken and it turned out to be 120/72 which is pretty much what is was right at the beginning of the pregnancy and is a normal reading. The midwife who took the reading was annoyed that the previous readings had been taken using the new-fangled electonic bp machines rather than the old-fashioned hand pump as she believes the electronic ones don't give accurate readings. Well, isn't that just great? That means I've had 5 weeks of worrying, a visit to the doctor and a visit to the nurse all for no reason. Not a good use of NHS resources, not to mention the fact that there was talk of putting me on medication to lower my bp - imagine if they'd done that and all along my bp was normal?! GRRRRR. Anyway, let's not get stressed and get raised bp (again.)

While I was at the hospital the clinic made an appointment for me to see the anaesthetist in a fortnight's time and also gave me instructions for having a glucose test to check for gestational diabetes at 28 weeks. The instructions include a very strict list from which I must eat five things EXACTLY two hours before having a blood test. Surely that is easier said than done - we all know what happens when you make an appointment at the surgery at 10am and then about 10.20 your name is called. Pretty difficult to get an exact appointment anywhere, surely? Anyway, it feels at the moment that I may as well camp out at either the hospital or the doctor's surgery since I now have the following appointments (bearing in mind I am now 21 weeks pregnant):
23 weeks: anaesthetist
25 weeks: check up with doctor
28 weeks: check up with midwife; glucose test following very strict breakfast!
31 weeks: check up with doc or mw
34 weeks: scan; check up with doc or mw
36 weeks: check up with doc or mw
38 weeks: check up with doc or mw
40 weeks: pop baby out or check up with doc or mw if baby not arrived
41 weeks: panic cos baby not arrived; check up with doc or mw

Oh, and I need to fit in going to work until the end of Feb, plus some lovely antenatal classes and all that shopping I'm going to have to do to make sure baby is kitted out in luxury...

Monday, 20 October 2008

Mamma Mia, my blood pressure!

You may remember I mentioned a while back that my blood pressure was a little on the high side. Since then, I've been to see both the doctor and the nurse (on separate occasions) to have it measured again and, I'm glad to say, it has come down to a more acceptable level of 128/89 - still higher than pre-pregnancy but at least it's now not high enough to cause alarm. Slight concern that it is also not high enough to warrant getting a cleaner...

Although, having said that, my trip to the cinema on Friday evening may have cause the old bp to shoot through the roof due to stress caused by the very awful film I saw. Mamma bleedin' Mia. I can't believe my dear friend Liz has now sat through it THREE times. I was cringing with embarrassment almost from the outset at the appalling acting and then the even more appalling singing. I wanted to get under my seat and hide or even go home but I couldn't abandon my Ben & Jerry's ice cream and I thought sure the film would get better, so I decided to stick it out. Well, it didn't get any better, apart from the closing credits which are hysterically funny. Something stuck in my mind throughout the film which was the description given to it by the film reviewer on the Simon Mayo radio show 'It's so bad, it's good'. I'd just like to amend that quote to 'It's so bad, it's bad.' Remind me never to go to an all-singing, all-dancing film ever again.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Things That Go 'Moo' in the Night

My parents decided they wanted a little 'holiday' in the countryside and so they came to stay with us over the weekend. On Monday morning Mum told me that she had woken up in the night to see that one of the outside security lights was on; she got up to investigate but couldn't see anything from the kitchen windows. When she went back to the bedroom though, she looked out of the window and could see a tarpaulin in the garden moving. Upon closer inspection out of the dark of the night loomed a large black figure which gave Mum a bit of a fright until she finally was able to work out that it was in fact a cow! My father wasn't particularly interested in having a look as he thought Mum had said there was a 'cat' in the garden, which really wouldn't have been a strange occurence.

When I told hubby he did wonder if mother had been taking drugs. She did admit to having a couple of paracetamol before going to bed, but nothing more hallucinogenic. Today, however, hubby had to admit that mother must have been right when he found a large cow pat in the middle of the lawn. The joys of living in the countryside!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

The Theatre, Sweetie, Dahhling.

Hubby & I have lived in and around the most lovely Henley-on-Thames for four years now and yet we have never ventured into the local Kenton Theatre. As hubby said, we really should support our local 'amenities' and so we decided to go. The Henley Players (the 'am-dram' society) were performing Agatha Christie's 'A Murder is Announced', and since hubby & I are big fans of the great Agatha, what better time to make our first visit to the theatre, dahling?

About 20mins before we were due to set off I did have a minor panic about what one should wear to one's local theatre but, since I am 'with child', I have to go for comfort over glamour and, thus, stuck with my usual clothes rather than hiring a ball gown and raiding the jewellery box for the family tiara. Imagine my horror when we arrived at the door to the theatre and I saw a man wearing black tie! And there was hubby in a fleece and cords. Prepare to stand out like the poor relations, I thought. But then, breathing a sigh of relief, I realised the man also sported a name badge and was simply collecting our tickets. Phew. Luckily, most of our fellow theatre-goers were casually dressed, although there was one 'older' lady doing a great impersonation of Barbara Cartland (but in black instead of pink) and sporting a huge pair of 'I've just had plastic surgery' sunglasses.

Now, did I mention that this was an 'am-dram' performance? Well, let's just say some of the participants (I won't call them actors) were decidedly on the 'am' side. Still, it was enjoyable nonetheless. I most particularly enjoyed the part where the lady two seats along from me fell asleep and her head kept nodding as she desparately fought to stay awake, and as her husband kept nudging her until he, too, dropped off. But, I must say, that despite the fact it was quite an 'am' performance, I still enjoyed it rather a lot and am looking forward to our next visit to the theatre on Christmas Eve to see 'A Christmas Carol'. Perhaps I'll even get the tiara out.

Monday, 13 October 2008

A Trip to Dirty London on 'Black Friday'

On Friday international businessman (aka hubby) had a meeting in Dirty London, and so I tagged along for the free ride, despite the fact that it meant leaving the house at 6.30am - well, it's better than paying money to sit (or stand) on a crowded train to get there, isn't it?

Hubby's meeting was in Covent Garden, which is a great place for shopping as it's nice and compact and has plenty of sitting down/coffee drinking/eating opportunities. Luckily, we got there early and had time to start the day with a full English in a lovely greasy spoon cafe - just what the baby wanted... Then hubby had to toddle off and do business with the great and the good, leaving me to spend all my hard earned cash. I started the day with almost an hour in Stanfords, possibly my most favourite bookshop since all it sells is travel books, travel-related books and travel-related 'stuff'. Lovely. Although it did make me just want to set off on another trip. Instead I settled for buying a book on Dubai (possible destination for next trip), a travel magazine and a Christmas present (mucho organised). Then I toddled off to Gap Kids, having spied a 'Sale' poster in their window. Unfortunately, even in the sale Gap is too expensive for me, much as I would love to dress Delightful Child head to toe in their clothes. After that it was time for a wander round Covent Garden market before finally heading off to The Sanctuary Spa where I treated myself to some of their fab-smelling 'Mum To Be' range - it's good to have a treat every now and again! By this time it was 11.30am and I was beginning to flag - time for a drink and a sit down, so I headed for Cafe Nero and grabbed myself a comfy seat. And I somehow managed to stay there til after 12.30pm when 'international businessman' finished his meeting and came to collect me.

But our day out in London wasn't over there. We ventured back in to Covent Garden market for a spot of lunch and then drove to our favourite part of the capital - Marylebone High Street, where we spent a happy hour or so in the shops, most especially the Cath Kidston shop where I want to buy absolutely everything. As we wandered along, hubby told me that the Stock Market had crashed and lost 10% of its value. A major crisis indeed, although not for the likes of me since I have no stocks or shares. I am also unconcerned by the fact that banks and building societies are crumbling left, right and centre for, as well as having no shares, I also have no savings! Who would have thought there was ever a good time to be so financially unastute?! Might I suggest that everyone follows my lead - spend all your money and make sure your bank account is in the red so that if your bank should fold, they only take your debt and not your hard earned cash. I see a possible future as an Independent Financial Advisor...

Friday, 10 October 2008

Me and Boris Sitting in a Tree...

You know, being pregnant can do funny things to your body. Aside from the obvious - ie the bump - there is the affect that it can have on your hormones so you end up getting tearful at Andrex adverts. Apparently, I should also blame the hormones for the strange dreams (nightmares?) I've been having recently too. The other night hubby had to wake me up as I was crying in my sleep when I dreamt that I was at the hospital and about to have a very long needle stuck through my belly button - ouch! However, something even worse than that happened in my dream on Wednesday night: I dreamt I was having an affair with Boris Johnson, late lamented MP of Henley and now Mayor of London.

Quite a looker, wouldn't you agree?

Hubby was most amused when I told him about this; although I'm not sure if I mentioned the fact that the Boris of my dreams was a really good kisser (must be those big lips of his), and I was really rather enjoying my little fling... Still, it's not really my fault - I'm at the mercy of my hormones.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Hurty finger

Poor hubby has got a hurty finger, second only on the scale of male disasters to the dreaded man flu.

He was playing rugby on Saturday for the first time since last December and thought he had dislocated his little finger on his left hand. So he 'popped' it back in to place and thought little more of it. Over the weekend the finger came more and more to resemble a very old, very black parsnip which, for a digit, is not a good look. By Sunday night it was also very cold to the touch and so, after much nagging from me (hey, that's what wives are for, isn't it?) hubby agreed to phone the doctor on Monday.

Monday came and the doc told hubby to go to the local hospital in Henley and so off he went. Oh dear. Hubby was not happy when he finally emerged from said 'hospital' which is staffed, and I quote, "by old dodderers". At first they made him wait for 50 minutes, even though he was the only person in there; then finally they told him to come back in another 50 minutes as the 'doctor' was writing up her notes from the previous patient. Hubby was fuming. When he went back they took an X-ray which confirmed that the finger was in fact broken, but they couldn't fix it there (it's only a hospital after all, why on earth would you think they could do anything as major as fix a broken finger?), instead hubby needed to go to the 'big' hospital in Reading. Oh dear, this made him fume even more (and, of course, it was all my fault for making him go in the first place...) Hubby decided to wait until the evening to go to the real hospital since he was supposed to be at work all the time that the pretend hospital were making him wait.

Evening came and hubby duly went off to Reading. He finally emerged a couple of hours later with this rather fetching little number on his finger

and with this immortal line ringing in his ears:

'they could have done this at the hospital in Henley'...

Monday, 6 October 2008

You Can Take the Boy Out of Wigan...

Yesterday morning when we awoke it was absolutely tipping down with rain. Hubby had clearly had a bump to the head during the night since he suggested that we go in to Reading to have a look round the shops and, not only that, to look at the shops selling baby items. His reasoning was that there wasn't much else we could do due to the weather (by which he actually meant he couldn't go to his allotment and play in the mud.) Obviously I jumped at the chance to spend some money and so we set off.

As we were driving along I suggested that perhaps we could go to Yo Sushi for lunch since we had a voucher for 'buy one, get one free' on their dishes. Dear hubby isn't a fan of sushi and, at the moment, I have to steer clear of raw fish (not that I would choose to eat it at any other time anyway) but I can't seem to convince him that Yo Sushi serves so much more than just uncooked cod. But bless him, his comment really was a corker when I said 'let's go there' - 'Yo Sushi, for Sunday lunch?', to which I replied 'Come on, Mr Wigan, step outside your comfort zone.'

In the end, we didn't actually make it to Yo Sushi but instead settled for a cheese sarnie from M&S due to both feeling a little bit dazed after two hours looking at prams...

Thursday, 2 October 2008

140/90 Reasons Why We Need a Cleaner

Two weeks ago I had my 16 week appointment with the midwife. It took her three attempts to get a blood pressure reading due to various problems with the cuff and the batteries on the bp machine. When she finally got a reading it was a little high at 139/91, although she did think that might have been caused by all the faffing around. Still, she decided it was a good idea to see me again in two weeks and so today I duly trotted back to the Health Centre. Unfortunately my bp hasn't gone down, although on the bright side it also hasn't gone up - it's now 140/90. There is talk of me going on some medication, but first of all I need to see the GP next week to take yet another bp reading. Still, on the bright side I did get to hear the baby's heartbeat again - I think the midwife was rather keen to do this, as she said 'Do you want to hear the baby's heartbeat while you're here? Go on, you might as well.' - considering she had already got all the equipment out, how could I refuse?!

I asked said midwife if there was anything I could do to bring my bp down and her only suggestion was 'rest'. When I phoned hubby and told him this I'm pretty certain he let out a little snort of amusement; does he perhaps think I already 'rest' enough? Needless to say, as soon as I got to work I entered the term 'house cleaning services' into trusty Google and it may have provided me with the perfect solution to how I can 'rest' even more... Now all I need to do is look up 'gardening services', 'personal chefs', and 'chauffeurs'. I wonder if there's a section for 'people who will go to work for you so you can stay at home and watch daytime tv and rest'?

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Wonders Will Never Cease

Poor hubby had to have a lie down last night after we went out for a meal. Not because he had eaten too much (although he probably had, as had I) but because it was my treat. It's the first time hubby has been able to go out without his wallet since the end of 2007 - ah, the joys of earning a living! I did, of course, make it known that we wouldn't be having a dessert, after all I'm not made of money...

Still, I can heartily recommend (to the carnivores amongst you) the eating establishment we frequented - Mix & Mash at The Old White Horse in Henley - where they serve 17 varieties of sausage, seven of mash and four different gravies which you can try in any combination you desire. Hubby went for beer sausage with regular mash and Brakspears beer gravy while I tried out the pork & black pudding sausage with cheese mash and onion gravy. Yum in my tum! I couldn't eat all the mash and am wishing at this very monent (9.06am) that I has asked for a doggy bag as I could happily start scoffing right now. If only we lived in the good old US of A where a doggy bag is de rigeur, instead of in the UK where it's just not the done thing. Next time I'm going to take a tupperware box.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Summer in the City

Wow! Summer has finally arrived. What a fabulous weekend it was here in Blighty, or at least in the parts of Blighty that hubby & I were in this weekend (namely at home on Saturday & in Bristol on Sunday.)

Saturday morning hubby took himself off to his allotment where he had hours of fun playing with fire and digging in the mud - what more could a boy want on a Saturday? Meanwhile, I took myself off to a craft fair at a local garden centre/farm shop where my friend Liz has a stall selling her wonderful handmade glass plates, coasters, window hangings and jewellery. What more could a girl want on a Saturday than to be in a place with ample opportunities to spend money? The farm shop is fab and is stocked full of yummy food, not to mention a variety of tasters of which I availed myself wholeheartedly. And the craft fair isn't bad either, suffice to say Liz's stall is definitely the best. One lady was selling handmade tea cosies and I was very tempted to buy one for hubby in the shape of a snowman, thus combining his love of a good cuppa with his love of Yuletide; however, I was somewhat shocked by the price (£20!), so hubby will have to make do with his old faithful Christmas Pudding shaped teapot for this year. Unless, of course, I can learn to knit by then...

Bright and early Sunday morning we made our way to Bristol (via a pitstop at Starbucks because I had an urge for a hot chocolate and a blueberry muffin) for a family get-together. My cousin and his wife have come to sunny England for a holiday and so 14 of us gathered at my parents' to greet them. We waited and we waited and we waited and then mum phoned my uncle in Bournemouth, with whom said cousin and wife had stayed the night before, only to discover that they had only left his house at 1pm and had decided to visit the standing stones at Avesbury on their way to Bristol. Uncle thought we should expect them at about 6pm. Needless to say we all decided that the buffet could wait no longer and so we dived in. We then spent the rest of the afternoon in the back garden, eating, drinking, nattering and enjoying the sun (except for hubby & father who snuck off to the pub to watch the football.) At 5.30pm dearest cousin phoned to say they were just leaving Avesbury and would be with us in about an hour; his parting comment was "but you guys carry on with your meal, don't wait for us". Dear cousin, you really don't know us at all, do you?! By 6pm we had all decided to depart for our respective homes and thus none of us got to see our long-lost relative (except that, along with the parents, hubby & I had seen him in June so it wasn't so bad after all.)

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Eating For Two

Yes sireee, being pregnant is indeed a great excuse to eat whatever you like and not really worry about it (just so long as all those food groups are covered and there's a vague attempt to eat the five portions of fruit & veg each day.) But my tastebuds are all over the shop. I'm not saying I have a craving for coal, crayons or bath sponges but honestly, I wonder who these "two" I'm eating for really are cos they are weird. It's 11am and so far today I've eaten a fig yoghurt (tick for calcium), a sausage roll (hmm, tick for pastry if that's a food group and pig snout, trotters, tails and all the other lovely bits that go into sausagemeat - ah yes, let's call that a tick for protein) and a handful of Revels - that's a tick for chocolate (which is, beyond all doubt, one of the most important food groups) and fruit because one of the Revels I ate was an orange cream and that's got to count toward my five portions, hasn't it?

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Boo Hoo, Abandoned by Hubby

Fear not, hubby hasn't run off leaving me to be a one-parent family, he's just gone away for work. But still, I don't like it one little bit. It's not that I'm jealous of where he's gone - I've been to Rotterdam and am therefore acutely aware that there is nothing to be jealous of (unlike, for instance, if he had gone to NYC or Bangkok or perhaps a country that would get him a tick on The List.) The reason I don't like it is because now we live in the countryside in a single-storey dwelling (it's NOT a bunglaow) I live in constant fear of burglars. So much so that the last time dear hubby abandoned me to my fate out here in the woods where no-one can hear me scream, I barely slept a wink for two nights running and had to set 'heffalump' traps (along the lines of Winnie the Pooh) to foil any would-be intruders. This time my mummy has come to look after me and I can sleep safely in my bed without the need for heffalump traps. It's not that mother is an all-in wrestler or sleeps with a shotgun under her bed, but somehow just having someone else here makes it all seem ok.

On a completely different note - today is a day for major (countrywide) celebrations, for today is the day I get paid for the first time since January! Hooray and huzzah! And guess what? Mum & I are going shopping. I predict this will be the end of the credit crunch as we know it - I'm almost certain that the reason the UK has fallen on such hard times is because I've not been out spending. No doubt the Chancellor will be giving me a call this afternoon to thank me personally for saving his behoonie (and I'll be pleased to give him a piece of my mind and tell him to hand over to the Conservatives asap - don't you agree, Ange?!) Notice how as soon as I left the good ol' US of A they were plunged into a recession. No doubt Barack Obama (sorry Mr McCain, I can't give you and your funny little redneck Alaskan friend my support) will be pleased to hear that I'm trying to overcome my fear of flying in order to fit in a Christmas shopping trip to NYC. Fear not Barack, my credit cards & I are on our way.

Dear hubby, please understand that the shopping I am about to do is for the good of the country. I am selfless in that way.

Monday, 22 September 2008

To Christen or Not to Christen?

Yesterday hubby & I made our merry way to leafy Surbiton to attend the christening of our friends' baby. It's the first christening I've been to for about twenty years, in fact probably more than that, way back in the olden days when I had no choice over these matters and had to go wherever my parents dragged me.

Truth be told, hubby & I approached this outing with some trepidation, having no idea what to expect. I was slightly alarmed when we realised we were in a Catholic church as the last Catholic event I attended was a wedding which appeared to go on for about three days it was that long. And we only had an hour parking space, which hadn't exactly been easy to come by. However, I needn't have worried, we were in and out in less than 30mins. Although I'm sure hubby was disappointed that there were no hymns, as he does like a good sing along.

And then it was off to the pub for drinks and a hog roast, all in the glorious English sunshine - what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

It did set me thinking as to whether we would have our delightful child christened. It seems that you do get a heap load of pressies, which seems like a definite positive. But the downside is that you have to go to church and behave (or pretend to behave) like good Christians/Catholics, which would be very hypocritical of us. Still, I can set aside my morals in return for a nice pile of pressies. It's a miracle that I haven't already been struck down by the Almighty after insisting that the immortal line 'What God has brought together, let no man rent asunder' be included at the end of our civil marriage vows, just because I love the sound of it.

The other reason for getting all religious, apparently, is to be able to get delightful child in to a good school. Some other friends at said christening were telling us that the majority of schools near them in London have some sort of church thing going on and in order to get their daughter in to one of these schools they were having to attend church each week, do the Sunday school thing and the church flowers, etc. Eek! The 'ker-ching' of the private school till is sounding more pleasing to the ear by the minute.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

The Mysterious Art of Blood-Letting

Today I had an appointment with the midwife. This is only my second meeting with said midwife; the first being 8 weeks ago when she took what seemed like 4 pints of blood from me to send off for various tests. So today I got the results of these tests and I am glad to report that my platelet and haemaglobin levels are good and I am not suffering from syphilis - well, that's a relief! Unfortunately, there was a "mix up" with some of my blood which meant that my blood group remains a mystery and also meant that I had to give up another cylinder of the red stuff to be sent off for the test. Then it transpired that the blood pressure machine wasn't working properly and she ended up taking the reading three times, by the end of which I had a slightly raised reading - not surprising when you feel like your arm is about to drop off from that ever-tightening cuff. But, best of all at this appointment hubby & I got to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time - ahhh, how cute. And how weird and scary that there is another life form with a beating heart in my tummy!

Not content with giving away my blood wily-nily to the midwife, I then suffered from a nosebleed when I got to work. How very random; I've not had a nosebleed in years. However, I felt much better not long after as we had a 'Company Lunch' which consisted of about 20 Pizza Express pizzas laid out on the boardroom table. Perhaps working for a living isn't so bad after all!

Talking of working for a living - hubby is happily ensconced at the country retreat today "working from home". Ah, what a happy chappy he is because he doesn't have to go to the office, and what a happy wifey I am since I know the washing has been pegged on the line, the dishwasher has been emptied and the living room will have been tided by the time I get home. I think all husbands should be allowed one day a week "working from home".

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Where Shall We Go On Our Next Trip?

Now that I have become a wuss about flying, and considering I also found Europe to be somewhat dull it would appear that the options for our next trip/holiday are somewhat limited. Not to mention the fact that there is a baby on board which also limits the options both pre and post birth - ie my attempts at scaling Everest might have to be put on hold til next year and our planned trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway might have to wait til the baby is boarding at Eton (I think they take boarders from age 3 - is that right?!)

So, imagine my delight when I stumbled across a 77 night round the world cruise, departing from Dover so no flying necessary. Unfortunately the delight turned to un-delight when hubby said it was too expensive. Bah humbug, what an old misery he is. Doesn't the monther of his unborn child deserve a nice holiday?

Monday, 15 September 2008

I'm Back! Did You Miss Me?!

Back by popular demand. Well, hubby asked a couple of times if I was going to carry on blogging, plus there may be a few of you out there who are finding you have to do a little more work each day now that there is no 'Did You Lock the Front Door' to entertain you. Can't be having that now, can we?

Apologies for the rather large gap between the last 'Front Door' entry and the first one on here, but there is a good reason for this. You see, we brought a rather special souvenir back from our travels (from the good ol' US of A, to be precise), and we wanted to tell a few people in person before announcing the news to the rest of the world. Here is a photo of what we brought back:

Can you guess what it is?