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.