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Mini Mossfest v2.0 (Baby Edition)…

Luke and I had a tiny wedding (30 people in total) on February 8th 2014, followed by what was meant to be a MASSIVE festival-style wedding celebration in the summer on August 16th. As it turned out, we had to have a much smaller party than we’d planned, so Mossfest (as it was going to be called) became Mini Mossfest.

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Throughout my pregnancy we have been calling my bump “Mini Moss”, and so when we decided to hold a pre-baby party on August 15th, it seemed logical to call it Mini Mossfest v2.0. It was originally going to be a baby shower, but I wanted all of our friends included (not just the ladies) and I didn’t want people to feel like they had to ‘shower’ us in gifts.

We held it at my Mom’s house like last year’s celebration, but this time we decided to buy a marquee from eBay rather than hiring one from an events company.  In the end we got a basic 3m x 9m white waterproof one with 6 windows and two doors (although we ended up leaving most of it open) for £70, which fitted really nicely alongside the house on the patio. Luke put most of it up by himself (I helped with the canopy and the legs) and it went up really quickly. The only problem we had with it was that the roof was a little bit too small (or the frame was a little bit bit too big) so it’s a little lopsided and you can’t quite get all the Velcro straps to go around the poles. It’s a really minor problem…

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…our lovely marquee, filled with just some of our lovely guests…

We had about 25 people coming for afternoon tea and a barbeque, so we did end up hiring a few bits and pieces to add onto the stuff we already had, like:

Tables…we got two 6ft trestle tables (one for the sound system and one for drinks) and four 3ft round wooden tables (for people to sit around) from Plato Catering Hire. I rang them twice to enquire and both times got the same price of £31.20, which seemed really reasonable. Unfortunately, I think the man I spoke to must have been getting confused by the “3ft” part as there were only three tables waiting when my brother-in-law went to pick them up…and apparently the price I’d been given (twice) wasn’t for the four I’d asked for (twice). Luckily the lady who was there to meet the bro-in-law let him have four for the price we’d agreed, which was really good of her.

We had lots of stuff left over from Mini Mossfest the year before, so I decorated the tables in a similar fashion with mismatched jars of straws and cutlery, as well as some paper cups for those who didn’t want tea. Last year I used cream metal buckets filled with ivy as a table decoration, but this year it was sunny flower arrangements in metal jugs…

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…one of my decorated tables…

China…like last year, we went to Constance Wallace to hire a few vintage tea cups and saucers, tea pots, a coffee pot, cake stands and servers, teaspoons and flower jugs. We also hired 20 folding wooden chairs from them, which were £1.75 each (about 25p more per chair than other furniture hire places but they were FAR nicer than anything we could have gotten elsewhere) It can get a bit pricey when you order so much from them (our order came to £83) but, once again, the things we hired from Constance Wallace really made our party special. The ladies who run the tea shop and the china hire are lovely too, and such a pleasure to deal with. I can’t recommend them enough.

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We (well, Luke) spent days and days getting the house and garden ready for the party, and then on the morning of the 15th we had everyone rallying round to do the last bits and pieces, decorate the place and make sandwiches. I don’t know what we’d have done without my mom, sister, bro-in-law, mother-in-law and sister-in-law…they worked SO hard to make everything come together at the last minute.

Luke and I did a bit of baking in the morning (scones and 24 cupcakes) but we had lots of gifts of cake too…an AMAZING belly cake, coffee and walnut cake and cupcakes from my sister-in-law (who is a wonderful baker), a sponge cake and a lemon drizzle cake from my mother-in-law (queen of the wonderful bakers), mini Victoria sponges from my friend Liz, and a HUGE baked vanilla cheesecake from my best-friend’s other half…and as well as all that, my sister had ordered a red-velvet cake from a local bakers that also turned out to be ginormous.

We had ALL the cake.

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…just some of the cakes…

...belly cake...

…belly cake…

We didn’t make it through all the cake (I am still eating cake a week later), but once we’d had our fill of tea, coffee and cake, our friends Rob and Jade took Luke out shopping for barbecue food to feed everyone who wanted to stay for the evening.

We spent the end of the evening sat around a big fire, full of good food, and enjoying the company of our closest friends. Jade downloaded a baby-naming app and somehow we managed to spend a good couple of hours shrieking ridiculous baby names at each other between gales of laughter.

It was a wonderful day…

…and although I asked people not to bring presents, we were very lucky to get some really cute things for the baby, and some pampering bath stuff for me (joy!)…

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…and then the next day one of my best friends who hadn’t been able to make it to the party dropped round a present of EPIC proportions…

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…ALL the things…

Thank you so much to everyone who came and helped and made it so good…we couldn’t have hoped for a better party!

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2015 in Baby, Food, Life, Pregnancy

 

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36 Weeks – The Joy of Ikea…

…I’m only a week late in posting this…

Monday (the 10th) was the start of my 36th week of pregnancy…

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…(please excuse the rough-looking picture) and I celebrated it by getting up at 7am to accept a big Ikea delivery from the Parcelforce delivery man. I knew it was coming, but I didn’t think it’d be that early. I also thought that the nice delivery man would lift the massive heavy boxes into the hallway for the massive pregnant woman…but no. Apparently it was more than his job is worth.

Thank you Parcelforce, you are (not at all) helpful. Luckily I have a big strong husband that I could drag out of bed, but what if he had been out at work, or if I was single? What if I was and elderly person or just weak? Needless to say, I am not impressed by their (lack of) service.

Anyway…

I’d been looking forward to it all arriving because a) I love getting new stuff, and b) I love love LOVE putting flat-pack together. So there it was, a box of cot pieces, a box of changing table pieces, a plastic wrapped mattress and a box of “things”…I started unpacking it and suddenly it all became very real.

Baby things.

For our baby.

Who will be here in 1-6 weeks.

Oh gosh.

I had a bit more tea and put off the building for a while longer.

When it came down to it, Luke was going to help me, but I told him that I wanted to do it by myself. He does so much around the house while I sit and moan about SPD and being tired that I thought he could do with a break. Plus, we may be a fantastic team a lot of the time. but we don’t build well together.

As it is, I don’t build well alone, but at least I can only get frustrated with myself that way…

I started on the cot. I’d chosen a white Gulliver cot as it was very VERY cheap (£55) and could have one side removed, which makes it ideal to “sidecar” as a cosleeper on our bed. I was going to build it as a three-sided cot straight away as we want to have our little one close by, and we wanted to be able to get him into and out of our bed easily to make night feeds a bit less of a faff.

The trouble is that Ikea assumes that you will build it as a four-sided cot with the base up high…then drop the base down to it’s lowest setting once your child gets older (and more mobile)…then remove the side and use it as a cot-bed once your little one is bed aged…and their instructions are set out in those three stages. There is nothing for the parent who, like me, wants to flout their rules. SO I cobbled it together on my own…

First, I put the three sides together, then I tried to put the cot bed bar in and realised that it wasn’t going to work and that I needed to take one of the ends off…

So, I took the end off, slotted the bar in, reattached the end…and then realised that I couldn’t get the mattress base in when all of the side were assembled…

I took the end off AGAIN, slotted in the base (with considerable difficulty) and reattached the end AGAIN and stood back to admire my work. That’s when I realised I’d put the base in upside down

So off came the end for a third time, and out came the base. Putting it back in this time was a doddle (because it was the right way up and I could see what I was doing), as was reattaching the end (because I’d had SO much practice at doing that already) and then it was finished. Actually finished.

…and I only had to make it FOUR TIMES.

Still, I had fun doing it, and laughed at myself every time I went wrong, The only down side was that by the time I’d finished my feet were five sizes bigger than when I’d started and I really REALLY needed to sit down. So obviously the next step I took was to move our king-sized bed, put the cot in place and move the bed back.

And THEN I sat down. Well, after making it look all nice and pretty…

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…those are the sleeping bags we got from Ikea too…check out our retro duvet/curtains combo (they’re my Mom’s and older than me), whilst trying to ignore the fact that I hadn’t put the matching pillow cases on…

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…a closer look at the sleeping bags…LOOK AT THE LITTLE FEET!!!…

…a while later I put together our bargain basement SNIGLAR changing table (£25), but that’s just sitting on our landing at the moment so I haven’t taken a photo of it yet. Here is a stock photo for your viewing pleasure…

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…it’s basic but it was cheap and it’ll do the job. I wasn’t even going to bother buying one and just use a mat on the floor or bed, but I figured that if I have to have a c-section it’ll be much more convenient to have a proper changing table set up. It was far easier to put up than the crib, but I still made sure that I read the instructions properly before I started to avoid having to undo my work and start again. At one point I remember thinking “These shelves aren’t very deep…surely a baby could roll off this very easily?”…and then I realised that I’d put the shelf parts (the white bit in the picture) upside down…

Luckily I didn’t have to pull much apart to fix it though…

So, other than the cot and changing table, we also got…

VYSSA VINKA mattress …£40…it’s sprung and has a removable, washable cover. I was going to go for their cold foam mattress but figured that the springs would allow for better air circulation.

LEN mattress protector …£5…to protect the mattress. Obviously.

LEN fitted cot sheets …£7.50 for two…maybe I should have gotten four…oh well, there’s still time to get more.

LEKA cot mobile…£4…it’s a leaf with bugs dangling from it and it is SO cute, but it doesn’t come with anything to suspend the mobile from. I have looked around for some mobile arms online and they all seem to a) come with a mobile, or b) cost more than £10 for the arm alone. Whoops.

SKOTSAM changing mat…£5…it fits in the top of the changing table, has a padded base and inflatable sides. The valves on the inflatable bits are awful. One of them was ok and I could pinch it and blow air in, but I had to kind of push that air into the other three sections with my cheeks. I don’t know how else to describe it but it was very frustrating. I wouldn’t recommend buying one. One of the sides has already deflated…

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ONSKLIG storage baskets…£7…these four little baskets hang off the edge of the changing table. One has a lid so could be good as a nappy pail (but I don’t know how well it’d contain smells!)…I’m not sure what I’ll keep in them but they seemed like they might be useful when I was putting my order together. The set comes with two hook clips too.

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…Ikea’s photo…

POMSIG sleeping bag…£12…

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…Ikea’s photo…

PYTTESSMA sleeping bag… £11…both of these bags are 0-6 months and are good for use in temperatures of 16-20°C (so they’re around 2.5tog) so they’ll be good in our bedroomaswe alwayshave the windows open.

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…Ikea’s photo…

KRAMA washcloths… £3 for 10…I’m planning on using these for making my own babywipes (more about this in an upcoming post). They’re 30cm square and wonderfully soft. I got two packs because they’re so cheap – one pack to make baby wipes and one to actually use as washcloths (or turn into more wipes if they work well). I really like their little coloured hanging loops (which hang on the useful hook clips that I got with the storage tubs)

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…Ikea’s photo…

With delivery, the whole lot came to just over £185, which is less than I imagined the cot and mattress would cost on their own. Aside from the changing mat fail, I was really pleased with everything we got, and even more pleased by the price. They have some really lovely (affordable) stuff for babies and children, and I can’t recommend them enough

We do have a few more things that we need to pick up from there (like drawers for the Kallax shelving units we have in our bedroom) so I might brave a drive to Coventry this week…and I might be tempted into buying some of their baby towels and toys…

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2015 in Baby, Life, Lists, Pregnancy, Reviews

 

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36/37 Week Midwife Appointment JOY…

Today I am 36 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I had a Midwife appointment last Friday (when I was just 35+5 weeks) but she wasn’t happy with my swollen ankles and wanted to get me in again today to check my blood pressure. It’s been normal all the way through my pregnancy but, what with the worry of pre-eclampsia, she wanted to keep an eye on how I was doing.

Turns out she’s still not 100% happy as my blood pressure was up the tiniest amount from last week, and my urine test showed trace proteins (that aren’t anything to worry about apparently) so I’m seeing her again next week too. Sigh.

Oh well, at least it gives me yet more chances to hear the bubba’s heartbeat, which is always lovely.

It also meant that I could discuss my back pains and pains across my bump (which only started today) and be reassured that I was probably feeling false labour pains and that it is nothing to worry about. Just to be sure she ran through the signs of actual labour (regular contractions and bloody show to name just two) and told me what to do if my waters broke or if I thought labour was starting for real.

She was too busy last week to do much other than my blood pressure, urine, uterus measurements and baby’s heartbeat, so today’s appointment gave us chance to fill out my birth centre forms.

I am SO pleased to say that everything (blood pressure, iron levels, platelets, etc) is at the right level to make me eligible for a birth centre admission. I just hope that my blood pressure stats normal, that he comes out in a timely fashion (not before Monday and not after 42 weeks), that he doesn’t do anything silly (like poop), and that I don’t end up needing to be induced.

*fingers crossed*

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2015 in Life, Pregnancy

 

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Tea, Wonderous Tea!…

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About 12 years ago I read a book called The Fat Ladies Club. It’s about pregnancy and birth from the point of view of five women who met in antenatal class. I don’t remember much about it, but I do remember that, of the five authors, the ones who didn’t drink raspberry leaf tea ended up tearing or having episiotomies. I might actually be remembering it wrong (it was over a decade ago) but even so, that notion stuck with me.

I’m very scared of tearing and cutting (although I now know that no one can cut me if I don’t want them to, and that tearing is better as it’s natural) so I have always had it in my head that if I ever got pregnant I would drink it. And drink it by the GALLON.

Note: You can take it as tablets too (if you don’t like the taste of the tea), but I hate tablets and love the tea so I’ll be talking about drinking it for the purpose of this blog…

The few studies that have been done on raspberry leaf show that it relaxes the uterine muscles. This could result in less tearing, and more efficient contractions and, consequently, a shorter second stage of labour. You can also drink it through labour to help with delivery of the placenta and to reduce bleeding.

It’s also supposed to help ease period pains and (when suffering with terrible period pains) I’ve drunk it and found that it does help. Either that or it’s a great placebo…

The general advice in the UK is to steer clear of RL tea until the third trimester, wait until after 32 weeks, and gradually build up how much you drink. This is probably because of a worry that relaxing your uterus could bring on early labour. Lots of websites warn that you should stop taking it if you start getting strong braxton hicks straight after.

However, advice elsewhere (like Australia, for example) is that RL tea can be beneficial throughout pregnancy for alsorts of things like bleeding gums, morning sickness and diarrhoea.

It can also help relieve sore throats, so seeing as I’ve been suffering with a sore throat and swollen mouth for a couple of weeks now, I decided to get myself some. I got the Clipper infusion (pictured above), which is only 50% raspberry leaf, as I had a sudden desperate need to get some and it was all they had in Tesco. I don’t know if that makes any difference so I’ve been drinking twice as much as I think I need to to make up for it.

I’ve been adding a teaspoon of honey too (even though I prefer it without) to try and soothe my throat a bit more. I’ve only been drinking it for a couple of days but I can’t say it’s done much to ease my sore throat (apart from right after drinking it).

I also got some Heath & Heather Organic tea from Holland and Barrett thinking that it’d be “better”…

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…(I got two boxes as they’re doing the penny sale at the moment) but it’s only 30% raspberry leaf, and it smells a little bit like tomato cuppa soup. It’s not a terrible thing, but it’s enough to make it slightly off putting every time I go to take a sip. Honey might make a difference but I have the sneaking feeling that it’d just end up being tomato soup with a hint of honey. I’ve set this brand aside for the time being until I’ve used up all the Clipper bags.

So anyway, I’m drinking at least two cups a day (sometimes up to five) and hoping for the best. It may help, it may not. Even if I have an easy, speedy delivery I’ll not know if it’s down to the tea or nature. I don’t think it matters though – it tastes nice (well, the Clipper one does), it’s keeping me hydrated, and if nothing else it’s giving me a bit more of a feeling of control over my impending labour…all good things.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2015 in Food, Life, Pregnancy, Reviews

 

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