Baby Bumpdate - 32 weeks pregnant

20 January 2017

The countdown is just flying now! I can hardly believe that 32 weeks ago, this baby was hardly even the size of a speck of dust, and now I'm unmistakably pregnant and have fallen in love with somebody I haven't even met yet. Dan is actually getting pretty impatient now, and is desperate to meet our Peanut. I guess it must be hard for the father of the baby, not having the ability to feel he or she move constantly, and not experience some of the crazy symptoms a mother has to go through. All I know, is that we are so excited for our journey into parenthood in less than 8 weeks!

How far along? 32 weeks - The more I think about how far along I am, the more I realise how much I'm going to miss being pregnant. Ok, not necessarily the symptoms, but I will definitely miss the feeling of carrying our baby!

How big is baby? Apparently, baby is now the size of a large winter squash!

Gender: Unknown - I constantly look forward to us finding out on the day that baby is born!

Bump: Still ridiculously high up. It feels like baby is completely above my belly button which is just crazy! In fact, baby is sitting so high up, that my organs are unbelievably squashed. My stomach feels like it's in my chest and my lungs just don't have the capacity they did before. There are so many things that you don't realise will happen in pregnancy, and this is one of them! Any time over the next couple of weeks, baby could drop and engage. I just have to wait and see!

Movement: It feels like I have a boxer in training inside of me - seriously. This baby does not stop moving, ever. My ribs are actually bruised from the kicking, but I don't mind. I will never stop enjoying feeling baby dance around inside of me.

Weight gain: Not a clue! All I know is that I'm still able to wear pretty much all of my normal clothes and haven't gone up sizes.

Maternity clothes: I've only bought 3 pairs of jeans and 2 dresses so far in maternity clothes. I also finally invested in some maternity tights for work and my GOSH what a dream they are. The comfort is real. Definitely one of the best things I've spent my money on in regards to being pregnant.

Sleep: No change from the previous week really. I'm still sleeping less and less, and it doesn't help that I'm up around 4 times in the night to go to the loo. At the weekends, I'm trying to make up for lack of sleep with chilling out as much as I can. It definitely helps slightly.

Best moment this week: Purchasing a play mat for the baby. It's buying all the little bits and bobs that make everything seem so real. I'm so excited for baby to eventually use it!

Worst moment this week: Slipping over in the frost. I didn't hurt myself too much and fortunately my hands took most of the fall, but when something like that happens, you can't help but worry if the baby is ok. However, all seems to be ok so that's the main thing!

Cravings: Still cereal! I'm going through it like crazy at the moment but what baby craves, baby gets!

Belly button: Very much still an innie!

Engagement ring on/off: I'm really pleased as it's still on. I haven't had any trouble with swollen hands or feet...yet!

Mood: All good as per normal! One thing my midwife always writes down in my notes is that I always seem so positive, which is definitely a good thing. A positive mind makes for a positive baby.

Missing anything: Soft cheese. I would love some melted camembert with dippy french bread but alas, I will wait a couple of weeks longer!

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Glamping in Cardigan Bay, Wales

18 January 2017

Today's post is a massive throwback to May 2016 and features a little trip to Cardigan Bay in Wales. I never got round to posting the photos, but I located the SD card with these photos on last week, and they brought back all sorts of memories, so thought I'd share them with you.

Dan and I had wanted to visit more places around the UK and had already decided to try and find somewhere a little different from your usual hotel. In my search, I found this gem of a location just outside Cardigan Bay. The location was a private farm in a super rural location, and we'd be staying in some camping pods overlooking the Welsh countryside. Camping pods are great because they take the hassle out of traditional camping. A solid roof to defend you from rain, a plug socket for your amenities and a lamp to light the pod itself. Of course, you still need the usual blow-up bed, cooking utensils and camping stove, but the beauty is not having to pitch a tent the minute you arrive - it's the perfect way to switch up old school camping to more a more flexible scenario. Glamping in a different way shall we say.

Our camping pod was just delightful - right next to a field full of friendly cows and sheep (who were always eyeing up our food!) and we could see for miles over the valleys. The minute we arrived, we set up camp and it took about 3 minutes before Dan was lighting the firepit like a crazed pyromaniac. We'd bought jumbo marshmallows with us so got toasting.

Cardigan is on the west side of the Welsh coast, with outstanding beaches and incredible wildlife. We'd never been before so were keen to get up early and experience all it had to offer. The views are definitely worth the visit alone! Every windy road had something to see, and the sun glistened through the canopy of the trees as we drove to the beach. The sea at Cardigan Bay was something else - the blue and green hues made it feel like we were in the Mediterranean somewhere. Just goes to show that we have diamonds of towns to visit closer to home than we think!

One thing we both wanted to do was a boat trip to try and spot dolphins in the wild. Dolphins are one of my favourite animals, and I've been fortunate enough to swim with them in the past and see them in the wild before. I'm a massive believer that animals shouldn't be contained and that the wild should be the only place for them, and I really hoped that we'd see some dolphins or seals prancing around in the waves. Before we knew it, we saw some fins diving next to the boat, and sure enough, some dolphins said hello. It was such an amazing experience seeing them so happy and relaxed in their natural habitat!

We were incredibly lucky and had amazing weather for the whole of our trip, and spent a lot of time sunbathing by our pod just listening to music and reading magazines. We cooked typical camping food, like burgers and hot dogs, and made up big jugs of Pimms to see us through the afternoon - it was the perfect way to chill out. 

If you want to see a sunset, then this spot of Wales is just incredible. On our final evening at the pod, we took a blanket, some cider and our music up to a little spot on the hill and watched the sun fall beyond the horizon. On the contrary to typical Welsh stories, we saw not a drop of rain on our trip, and at times it was hard to believe that we were in the UK at all.

It was one of those weekends that we will always look back with pure fondness. If there was ever three days that we just relaxed, explored and chilled, it was this one, and surrounded by such incredible views and nature made it all the more wonderful.

We'd go back to Cardigan in a heartbeat.

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Baby Bumpdate - 31 weeks pregnant

13 January 2017

It's been a couple of weeks since my last bumpdate, but I'm now in between 31 and 32 weeks pregnant. I think I officially look pregnant, although lots of people still think that I'm smaller than average for this far along. Peanut is doing well - I had a checkup with my midwife this week and baby is measuring 30cm which is bang on target. My health is good too - midwife says my bloods are perfect, so I don't need any more blood tests for the duration of this pregnancy, and my blood pressure is behaving normally. It's really reassuring to hear that everything is going ok, as sometimes you do feel like you're very much just waiting for a sign of 'ok' from a medical professional. I'm feeling so positive for the remaining 8 weeks!

How far along? 31 weeks - we're officially into single digits of weeks remaining until my due date. It's crazy how quickly this pregnancy seems to have flown!

How big is baby? Apparently, baby is now the size of large coconut!

Gender: Unknown - I constantly look forward to us finding out on the day that baby is born!

Bump: There's no mistaking it - I definitely look pregnant now! Baby is growing rapidly now so it's understandable that my bump is getting bigger by the day at the moment. I still have a rather high bump and it's making some of my clothes look hilariously tent-like,

Movement: Baby moves pretty much constantly now, which is proving interesting when I'm at work! It doesn't matter if I'm asleep, sitting on the sofa, walking, eating, drinking...I can feel baby move. Baby definitely reacts to mine and Dan's voices, and also when I sing - such an incredible thing to think that baby recognises our voices already, and even Max's bark!

Weight gain: Not a clue! The midwife weighs me every time I see her, but I don't look at it as I've always had a bad relationship with the scales. All I know is that I'm still able to wear pretty much all of my normal clothes and haven't gone up sizes.

Maternity clothes: I've only bought 4 items of maternity clothes so far (jeans), as I don't want to spend too much on them if I can help it. H&M basics have been a lifesaver for comfort.

Sleep: I think my body is conditioning me for feeding in the night because sleep is non-existent now. I'm tired during the day, try to get an early night's sleep, and then wake up around 4-5 times, usually finishing with lying awake from 4am. It's not ideal but I know I better get used to it!

Best moment this week: Hearing the baby's heartbeat - nothing can ever beat that sound!

Worst moment this week: Having a full on cold which has made it hard to sleep and relax. You can't really take any medication when pregnant, so I'm having to let the cold run its course - not great!

Cravings: Cereal, particularly Coco Pops. I've been having a big bowl of them for breakfast and it's definitely helping to keep the craving at bay!

Belly button: Very much still an innie!

Engagement ring on/off: I'm really pleased as it's still on. I haven't had any trouble with swollen hands or feet...yet!

Mood: Other than my cold, I'm generally feeling so so excited for the next few weeks. I've definitely had a positive mood which is a helpful thing!

Missing anything: Sleeping on my tummy! I'm looking forward to when I can lie flat out on my front without a bump in the way.

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Bruges Christmas Market

10 January 2017

The morning after visiting the Christmas market in Brussels, we set off to visit one of our favourite places, Bruges. Dan and I hold Bruges very close in our heart as it was the first place that we visited abroad together, and so it seemed very apt that we return the day after getting engaged. Bruges is only an hours drive from Brussels, so we set off at breakfast time in hope to get there around 10am.

It turns out that Dan and I both have rather sat-nav like memories. We were able to drive to Bruges without any help from a map or sat-nav, and even managed to park in the same car park that we'd parked in before, pretty much parking the car in the same car parking space - skills! For anyone driving to Bruges, we recommend the car park by the main Station - it's easy to get to and costs around 3 Euros to park for 24 hours.

We walked the 10 minutes into Bruges town, and into the main Markt Square by the famous Belfry. We had done all of the typical touristy things like climbing the Belfry, and going on a canal ride on our last visit, so just wanted to focus on eating all the Belgian frites and chocolate we could get our hands on this time. Needless to say, we were still very, very high up in the clouds from getting engaged the night before!

Bruges Christmas Market is a LOT more Christmassy than Brussels. There just seemed to be more of a Christmassy feel to the ambience, as well as typical Christmas decorations dotted around. The market was selling the typical market type gifts, and we bought some amazing baubles for our Christmas tree at home from a shop called Kathe Wohlfahrt. There was also a fantastic ice rink in the middle of the square which usually, I would have loved to get involved with, but I didn't think pregnant ice skating was really that good of an idea!

One thing we wanted to do was to pop to our favourite chocolate cafe which we'd discovered on our last trip to Bruges. You could easily walk past it from the outside, but upstairs is the most incredible hot chocolate cafe. Huge mugs of hot milk are brought to your table, and you get to drop a giant block of chocolate of your choice into it, and whisk away until it turns into the most luxurious hot chocolate you'll ever taste. I highly recommend the salted caramel - it's to die for!

After wandering around the market, eating and drinking our weight in Belgian delicacies, we head back to the car to take us back to Calais. Of course, no trip to France/Belgium is complete without a trip to Carrefour, and we made a quick stop to a giant complex just north of Bruges to stock up on Christmas treats for the family. We also managed to pick up some decorations for our Christmas tree at a teeny tiny price - winning!

Bruges is by far one of our favourite places, and it's so easy to get to it's almost silly. I have a rule that I like to visit new places every time I travel, but Bruges is so easy to get to and so wonderful that I know we'll be back many, many times in our lifetime.

It was our second visit, but it definitely won't be our last!

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Brussels Christmas Market

8 January 2017

Our Christmas tree has only been down for 3 days, and I'm already missing the festivities. There's something special about the fairy lights twinkling, baubles dotted on the branches and the Christmas candles burning.

So let's rewind back a month ago to some Christmas markets.

Dan and I hopped across the channel to Belgium, one of our favourite countries. Belgium is one of those countries that I'm not sure people consider straightaway as a weekend getaway, but it's such a marvellous place. The people are friendly, the food is traditional and wholesome (cough..Belgian frites & waffles) and the architecture is stunning. Not only that, but it's close enough to the UK that you can get there by train, you can road trip it across the channel via ferry or channel tunnel, or even get a cheap flight to Brussels. There are so many options.

As part of our babymoon, we decided to head to Brussels to see what their Christmas market was about. Neither of us had been to the business capital of Europe before, but had heard wonderful things about the buildings and ambience around this time of year. We love a road trip, so decided to drive and get the channel tunnel across, which is a lot more comfortable for me whilst pregnant. We arrived at our hotel by 9am, checked in and head out to explore what Brussels had to offer.

We wandered through the stunning Grand Place, and the undercover shopping street of Galeries St Hubert. Belgian chocolate shops are literally every other concession, so you're never far from trying some sweet treats (we couldn't say no to sampling truffles in Leonidas..of course.) We also made a stop by the Mannekin-Pis, which is basically just a statue of a little boy weeing. It's one of those moments that when you get there, you go 'Is that it?!' But we did the tourist thing and saw it anyway. The market stalls sold a mixture of things: chocolate, alcohol, souvenirs and a variety of Christmas gifts. I can still smell the mixture of gl├╝wein and toasted almonds in the air now!

In the late afternoon, we head back to the hotel so that I could rest my pregnant legs, and of course, unbeknown to me at the time, I was about to get engaged! You can read about that in more detail here.

After the rather exciting proposal, we head back out to see the market in full evening swing and grab some dinner. The real highlight was the Grand Place. Once the sun goes down, a light show is projected onto the ornate buildings in giant square and set to a variety of music. This was really incredible to watch, and we stopped to watch it three times all in all. The lights mixed with the giant Christmas tree was just beautiful. Tired from being on our feet all day (especially me!) we called it a night to get some rest before heading to Bruges in the morning.

Brussels had some beautiful touches to its Christmas market. Spread out across the whole city, you have to wander to find everything, but it means you get to see more of everything. Considering that Brussels is head of the EU, we expected it to feel a little more formal and business like, but the typical Belgian architecture was everywhere and some of the eateries are wonderful.

Of course, Brussels will always have a special place in our hearts for being the magical place that we got engaged, but for a little Winter magic, don't rule Brussels out!

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