Saturday, 28 February 2009

Practice Makes Perfect

Just three short days to go til DC is due, although the chances of an on-time arrival are slim, apparently. Hubby fitted the car seat in to the car a couple of weeks back and announced it easy. But then we decided it might actually be a good idea if we knew how to put a baby in it. So, this morning we had a little practice.

Here's hoping DC is as malleable and uncomplaining as Humphrey was in the hands of two hulking great novices...

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Help! I'm Being Stalked By Famous People

Nick Heyward and 'that bloke off the telly' were after me the other weekend and, as if that weren't enough, last night it was Jim Rosenthal stalking me outside Waitrose in Henley.Can't walk round this place without tripping over Z-list celebrities; they'll be asking for my autograph next...
Apart from avoiding these famous people, so far this week hubby & I have been to Bristol and Swindon. Monday hubby had a meeting in Bristol so, while he did his best impersonation of an international businessman, I went to IKEA with my mum to buy an exciting filing cabinet. When hubby was done I met up with him in Bristol's fancy new Cabot Circus shopping centre - lots of fancy eateries but nothing much else of any interest.
Tuesday international businessman had a meeting in Swindon, so I tagged along and got dropped off at the outlet village. Swindon is one scary place; thank goodness Delightful Child didn't decide to put in an early appearance as I certainly wouldn't want that town on the birth certificate. Luckily, the outlet village wasn't bad as it presented several opportunities for spending money, including the Cadbury Factory Shop...
Today I had an appointment with the midwife. DC is now 2/5ths engaged, which is a good thing as it means things are moving in the right direction. Only five days to go...

Saturday, 21 February 2009

10 Days To Go

Eek, nearly in single figures. Delightful Child is due in just ten days time. Am in two minds about whether an early arrival would be a good thing, or whether I should be making the most of being on maternity leave and just generally having some time to myself. So far in my week of maternity leave I have managed to fit in another scan at the hospital (which predicted bubs already weighs 8lbs 1oz - ouch), a trip to the hairdressers to colour in those pesky grey hairs, a facial at the spa in Henley, and lunch with my work chums. Not to mention several visits to shops and coffee-vending establishments. Oh, and did I mention, I'm also still doing some work from home (proofreading - so not overly taxing)?

I've got a few things pencilled in the diary next week (trip to Bristol to see the folks and go to IKEA, a massage, and Book Club; plus I still need to finish that scarf I started knitting aeons ago) so perhaps bubs should hold on tight for a little longer til I've got a free day...

Has spring sprung where you all are? It certainly seems to have here. This is all that's left of the giant snowman that hubby built a couple of weeks back:

Am keeping my fingers crossed that we don't have any more snow this year as I really don't want to be snowed in when I go in to labour.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Famous Faces

On Saturday my mum came to visit so, after dropping hubby at his allotment, we toddled in to Henley for a spot of lunch, like you do. Our coffee shop of choice was a little busy, but we managed to find two seats right in the window but, unfortunately, also right next to the door which meant we were treated to a blast of icey air each time someone came in or left. So, we had to snuggle up as far in to the corner as possible, right next to some poor chap who was quietly reading the paper and enjoying a cup of tea. It wasn't until he got up to leave (which, unsurprisingly with us two practically sitting on his lap, wasn't long after) that I realised we had been cosying up to Nick Heyward of 80s pop band Haircut 100. As he got up, I asked him whether he was finished as mother and I were quite interested in moving along to his seat to get out of the draft and he was very smiley and polite. So, not only did I speak to him, I also got to sit on his warm seat. Just goes to show, you're never too far away from a famous face (or derriere) in good old Henley. I used to have a poster of him on my wall when I was a teenybopper.

Look at those jumpers! Nick Heyward is the one in the blue. Oh my.

Then, on Sunday, hubby & I went to Marylebone High Street to meet some friends and as we were in Divertimenti (fab kitchen shop), I spotted a famous actor. Although not famous enough for me to remember his name or anything he's been in so I can't tell you who he was. And that is really bugging me. I did that thing where you look at someone and think 'Ooo, where do I know you from?', and then you realise you know them from 'off the telly' and not in real life.

Prior to seeing famous/not-so-famous actor in Divertimenti, we'd been in the Cath Kidston shop where I treated myself to some pretty dusters(not sure whether to let the cleaner use them [did I mention we have a cleaner now - how posh are we?!], or keep them for show) and some storage tins. No idea what I'm going to store in them, but I thought they were rather pretty. So perhaps I'll just put them out on display with nothing in them at all.

And now it's Monday and I'm officially on maternity leave! Woo hoo. No more work for me for the foreseeable future (except the baby-looking after kind of work). I hardly know what to do with myself, except go to the hospital tomorrow for an antenatal appointment and scan, hairdressers on Wednesday and a facial on Thursday. Oh, and a meeting at the pub on Friday with the antenatal group. Maybe I'll be able to fill my time...

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Happy St Valentine's Day To One and All

Hope you are all having/have a had a tres romantic day today with lots of fluffiness, pinkness, heartness, etc etc.

Hubby and I don't really 'do' Valentine's Day in the traditional sense of the word - no big cards, lavish gifts, meals or trips out - we don't like to buy into the commercial side of it all (not that we're skinflints or anything...) So, instead we make each other a card and just buy a small gift. And for dinner, it's fish & chips from the best chippy in the whole wide world (or so we think) accompanied by a glass or two (just a small glass for me) of Montana Sauvignon Blanc. Perfect.

Hubby told me he had made a great sacrifice with the card he had made me. I thought perhaps he had stuck some money in it or on it but, in fact, it turned out to be an even bigger sacrifice than that - three of his favourite Haribo sweets were given up in the expression of his love for me. Bless.Apologies for blurry photo, I've still not totally got to grips with the camera I had for Xmas.

I bought hubby a rather tasteful (in my opinion) china heart which I thought would look rather nice hanging somewhere about the homestead (so really I bought it for me rather than him); and hubby bought me a lovely heart-shaped lavendar bag to make my drawers (ahem) smell nice.

I also presented hubby with a box of mint chocs which I'd bought in the sale, so they don't really count towards the limited St. V Day spending fund. And while I was at it, I bought myself a little box of my fave chocs too. Hubby insists I tell you all about this as he seems to think that, in comparison to me (250g of mint chocs versus 1060g of Continentals...), he's fared rather badly. I would say in response that hubby always claims not to like chocolate so what's he moaning about? Plus, I'm eating for two...

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The Great Escape

When you've finished whistling the tune from said film, you can carry on reading...

Finally, I have been able to leave the homestead. On Sunday, our v posh neighbours offered to come round with their 4x4 and tow our car out of its snowy/slushy/muddy quagmire and up on to the lane, from whence we could make haste to civilisation. Usually I don't have much time for the old 'Chelsea Tractor', but at least in the countryside it has its uses and, as hubby suggested, were we to live in the countryside permanently, we would probably invest in one of these behemoths ourselves, in order to survive these increasingly nasty winters. And to look trendy when we go to London.

So, having been towed out we made the most of our new-found freedom and hot-footed it into the buzz that is Henley on a Sunday at 4pm... Strangely, not much was going on, but I did manage to pay a visit to Boots to pick up a prescription and hubby went to the Oxfam Book Shop with a donation of books he has decided he is just never going to get round to reading. Hubby & I are big on reading and we each have an alcove chock full of shelves groaning under the weight of, as yet, unread books mostly purchased from charity shops - neither of us can reisit a book-shaped bargain. I suggested the other day that we start writing the date we buy our books inside them so that we can tell exactly how long they've been languishing on our shelves and then if they've been there too long (although not sure how we quantify 'too long') they have to be donated to charity. You can tell what an exciting life I have when I can think up this fun idea!

But I digress, after the excitement of Boots and the Oxfam shop, it was time to relax with a coffee and a cake in Caffe Nero, before heading home. In Henley it had been tipping down with rain the entire time we were there, but as we drove home so the rain turned to snow - great, more of the darn stuff! We had learnt our lesson though, and parked up on the lane rather than risking getting the car stuck on the track again, and so we then had the treat of trudging through 6 inches of the white stuff to get to the front door. Have you guessed yet that I'm not a fan of snow?!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Snow Day No.6

This white stuff is getting to be a little bit tedious now. I managed to go to work on Wednesday as the snow had cleared quite well, in fact there was none at all by the time I'd driven the 5 miles down the hill in to Henley and also none in Reading where I work. Luckily, from a weather point of view, Wednesday was also the day when the overly-cautious doctor with whom I had my 36-week check up, declared a medical emergency and suggested I make haste to the Day Assessment Unit at the hospital. Well, I must admit I didn't exactly make haste and it was in fact two hours later that hubby & I eventually got there (firstly I went home and had a shower and washed my hair since I was nervous they might keep me I overnight and I have a bit of a 'thing' about public bathing facilities; and secondly, I also had some tea as I've not heard good things about hospital food and I do rather like eating.)

So, off we trekked to the hospital where we had about an hour-and-a-half's wait to be seen and then another hour-and-a-half of me being monitored and donating my blood for testing. Anyhoo, to cut a long story short, three hours later we were homeward bound with the all-clear. At least we had a chance to have a look at the matnerity unit of the hospital where I'll have to give birth if, for whatever reason, I can't have Delightful Child at home; it wasn't too bad and all the midwives were very lovely. The only unpleasant bit was seeing three ladies in the throes of labour. Hmmm, didn't exactly look like they were having a good time...

Thursday morning we awoke to more snow so hubby & I decided to work from home. News from the office was that the main roads around Reading weren't too bad, but the side roads were a little bit slippy. Hubby had lots of fun playing out in the snow and built another snowman. I stayed indoors and took the photos through the window.

Friday morning we awoke to even more snow; however, I had an appointment with the nurse at 9.40am and since we had heard the main roads were pretty clear, I thought I should at least make the effort to get to the surgery and then on to work. Alas, all my good intentions fell at the very first hurdle when I couldn't get the car out of the driveway. Hubby then made a valiant attempt and managed to get the car out of the driveway, but then he got stuck on the track outside the house and only just managed to reverse the car back in. So, another day of working from home then! Still, that's fine with me as I'm rather enjoying the work I've got at the moment - proofreading. Hubby thinks I'm a bit weird but I really enjoy it.

And, guess what, it then went on to snow ALL DAY LONG. And I felt like a total fraud when I emailed my work collegaues who said there was absolutely no snow in Henley or Reading.

Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny - hooray, we thought, at last we can escape. Hubby was off to Twickenham for the day to watch the rugby and the plan was for me to drop him at the train station and then spend some time in Henley wandering round the shops and then enjoying a latte in Starbucks. Alas, this joyous outing was cut short in its prime when the car got stuck in the snow on the track, again. And, despite hubby's best efforts to dig it out, and our combined efforts to push it out (not the best thing to be doing when you're verily pregnant), the car was going nowhere. So, we had to abandon it where it lay while hubby walked to the bus stop and I trudged back to the house for another day at home. Let's just hope that I don't go in to labour any time soon as it'll be a bit tricky to get anywhere fast!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

More Snow

I decided to work from home today due to the continuing inclement weather. Yuck. I really don't like snow. Nasty, wet, slippy stuff. And it just kept on falling today from about midday onwards. Sometimes it was like tiny little hailstones, sometimes huge floaty flakes that looked like feathers. But whatever type of snow it was, it was still snow. Ugh.

Hubby was also working from home which, after some initial argy-bargy over desk space, was very pleasant. One of the best things about working from home is that you get to manage your time in a very agreeable way. And so it was that hubby & I decided to sample the lunchtime delights of a nearby country pub. And very good it was too.

When we woke up this morning we found the snowman in rather a strange position. Either he'd had one too many Snowballs (get it?!) in the night or he was practising for the 2009 Snowman Limbo Competition.

I hope you are all keeping safe and warm during this cold snap. Here's hoping the sun will make an appearance soon.

Monday, 2 February 2009

A Snowy Day

Crikey - what weather! About 4inches of snow and the country has ground to a halt. I managed to make it to work, although wished I hadn't bothered when the roads got a bit treacherous and I gracefully slid to a halt (aided by the kerb) at one set of traffic lights. Still, I got off lightly compared to a colleague who managed to buckle his wheel after really thumping the kerb on his way to work. By lunchtime I decided that heading home was the best option - the snow had started falling again and being snowed-in at work wasn't top of my 'to do' list.

Hubby, being the sensible one of the family, had decided to work from home, so he was all cosy and toasty when I got back. And, what fun he'd had too:

I can't wait til the time I 'work' from home if this is what you can get up to.

On a totally different note, here is the latest addition to the family. Meet Wol, all snuggled up against the cold with his friends Aubrey and Bramble (who I still haven't got round to sending oop north to Dylan.) I'm quite proud of Wol, he's made with leftover wool plus some felt stitched on for his features and feet (which you can't really see in the photo.)

And, one other thing. This time last year hubby & I were grappling with the snow in Williams, Arizona. I think we should be careful where we go & what we do on 2 February 2010...

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Compare and Contrast

Yesterday hubby & I took a trip to the Cotswolds. Hubby was playing rugby in Chipping Norton so we decided to go there early and spend a couple of hours perusing the town. Now, the last time hubby played rugby there I had a wander round the town and thought it was a dreadfully boring place. What a good job I went back as I have now been able to totally trhink my opinion - I LIKE Chipping Norton, a lot. What's not to like about a town that has just enough high street shops (Boots for all those pharmaceutical and beauty essentials) and WHSmith (for all your books and stationery needs), coupled with a lovely delicatessen, a bookshop-cum-cafe, several other cafes (including one that served a pretty good all-day breakfast, which I sampled in the interests of research), two butchers, several restaurants and more than enough pubs. I could live there.
Having dropped hubby at the rugby club, I continued my tour of the Cotswolds alone. I decided to stop off in Woodstock on the way home - what a pretty little town it is.And slap-bang next to Blenheim Palace. I had a little wander round the shops and then, due to an achey back caused by the weight of the gigantor baby I am incubating, I was forced, yes literally forced, to take shelter in a tearoom where I was able to indulge in what every lady (pregnant or not) should indulge in on a cold and windy January afternoon:

A new book, a hot chocolate with lashings of cream, and a cake. Bliss.

So, compare and contrast these pretty Cotswold scenes with 'This Time Last Year' when we were in Las Vegas. Oh my, could there be two totally and utterly different places? Vegas is just the weirdest place ever in the world, ever. I enjoyed our time there, but Vegas is definitely a night time place - during the day without the glitzy lights it's a bit like a ghost town. But step inside any of the casinos and you need never know what time of night or day it is, let alone what month, season or year. Those places are just darn weird. Hubby & I aren't in to gambling so we stuck to the machines that would let us play with 10c or 25c rather than rubbing shoulders with the highrollers at the blackjack tables. I did fancy having a go at roulette, but having never done it before, I felt a bit intimidated and decided to stick to the one-arm bandits. We spent three nights in Vegas, at the MGM Grand - one of the fanciest hotels of our entire trip. What a treat that was. Unfortunately, I think it set the standard from then on as it was difficult to come back to earth and 'enjoy' the $50 dives we then had to inhabit.

And, finally, on a completely different note. Hubby & I are sending much love and recovery wishes to our friends GRachel & GGordon who have both got their money's worth out of the local NHS this week.