15.06

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We seem to be all about growth, round these parts.

Living in the middle of the countryside, as we do now, I’ve never been so in tune with the rolling change of the seasons. The hedgerows are swelling, narrowing the lanes that lead up to the fields from our house and groaning under the weight of elderflower, wild roses, and brambles. I monitor the latter’s growth most expectantly, with blackberry crumbles and pies and jams on my mind.

Ottilie is changing and growing faster than ever, too. She still has just one volume- loud- and bellows long strings of words from morning until bedtime (‘get downstairs Teddy, no dogs upstairs!’). I find she seems suddenly keen to do things independently, likes to sing a medley of nursery rhymes to herself during bathtime, and is fascinated by seeing what happens when she throws things from a height.

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And then there’s my growth, of course.

My bump seems to have suddenly become big and rounded, and with stomach muscles already relaxed from carrying Ottilie, it’s been a quicker process this time around. The baby stretches and rolls and punches away inside me, reminding me that it’s very much as real and present as its attention-absorbing older sister. Maybe it knows I sometimes forgot I was pregnant during the early weeks, and is making up for time now it can make its presence felt?

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I find the stretching, swelling, expanding nature of pregnancy strange at times, difficult to adjust to. It feels as though my body isn’t my own, and I worry it won’t ever be mine again. But I remind myself that I worried about this during my first pregnancy, and when I was breastfeeding, and yet eventually, somewhere in the gap between one journey of pregnancy and feeding ending and this one beginning, it was mine again.

I’ve never once stopped to appreciate it though, and often look back at photos from the past few years and wonder what it was exactly I was so concerned about, at the time. This body of mine was strong and lean in the two years leading up to my wedding, and yet I didn’t give it credit then. It softened in pregnancy and carried a baby girl safely and healthily from womb to earth, and was able to nourish that baby girl’s chubby arms and thighs and cheeks during the first year of her life.

And now to do it all again? It’s a gift, simple as that.

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I’m writing this to capture this moment of gratitude and contentment, before it slips away. Commit these happy thoughts to my laptop screen so that I can look back on them in weeks, months, years to come, and remember this season of growth.

And also because it feels good, cathartic in the way that writing often is, to admit to myself how complex this funny old relationship is with my body, my self. I remembering worrying first time around that it meant I wasn’t grateful enough for my pregnancy, or that it meant I was too silly and self absorbed to be a good mother. Madness, of course.

I think it’s normal for our perception of growth to waver and change. Well, it’s my normal anyway, and never more understandable than at a time when our body must expand so fast the skin can mark, crack, and split.

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So I’m writing this for my future self, who will look back on these photos one day and wish she hadn’t ever wasted time fretting over her body, and instead wish she’d appreciated this season of life, this six month baby bump, this growth, for all that it is.

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Posted in COUNTRY WALKS, PREGNANCY STYLE

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15.07

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O N E   Y E A R   O N .

If you can believe it, it’s mine and Jason’s first wedding anniversary this weekend. Isn’t that just ridiculous?!

I’m not sure where on earth this past year has disappeared to…though I’m pretty sure the speed at which the last 8 months have flown past has something to do with that bump up there…

In the final couple of weeks before my wedding last July, my sister and I took an afternoon out to head to Crockford Bridge Farm for a spot of berry picking. And the experience was such a lovely one, we decided to do it all over again this year!

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The farm sells all sorts of Pick Your Own produce- strawberries, raspberries, runner beans, carrots- but we decided to head straight to the berry fields.

It turned out that, pretty and promising as the strawberry fields looked, the rain had made the crop a little less than plentiful this year! It kind of made me feel a bit better about how sloooowwwllyyyy our own little garden wall planter of strawberries is coming along…

We gathered a small handful, and then moved along to the raspberry fields instead.

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^^ Oh, new (TOTAL bargain) maternity dress! And hello 8 month bump! This baby only has 7 or so weeks left to cook, and I can’t quite believe it! ^^

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The raspberry fields were overflowing with ripe fruits, so much so that it was hard to stay restrained and not fill punnet after punnet with dark red berries!

It was so, so lovely to chatter away as we picked from the raspberry bushes in the sunshine- the first full day of sunshine in ages, it felt like! This summer’s weather hasn’t been a patch on last, and it’s made me so thankful for the beautiful sunshine we enjoyed last July during the week of our wedding.

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With punnets full, we paid for our bounty (plus a scoop each of gelato from the lovely ice-cream shop by the farm entrance), and then were on our merry way home before the clouds rolled in for the late afternoon.

It was the most summery day we’ve had so far this year, and it made me so very happy!

Is there some petition or something we can sign, do you reckon, to get the sunshine to stick around?

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Posted in PREGNANCY STYLE, SUMMER

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07.07

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A   M U M – T O – B E   U P D A T E

How far along: 31 weeks exactly, at the time of writing! 9 to go…

Days until due date: 62!! Which seems like absolutely no time at all, my goodness!

The bump: Definitely round and out there! I look unmistakably pregnant now, and I know this bump is only going to get bigger and grow more ‘out’ over the next few weeks. I’m still carrying very much all in the front, with not much to the sides.

Weight changes: No idea!

Stretch marks? None…yet. I’m hoping it bodes well to be a week shy of 8 months in without any stretch marks at all, but I might be unlucky in these final few weeks. Who knows! I’m still using the Palmer’s Skin Therapy Oil morning and night, and love how moisturised it leaves my skin.

Cravings: Ice creams, lollies, just plain ice…basically anything that’s been in the freezer! I love that fruit lollies are sweet enough to feel like a treat, but are super low calorie and fairly angelic, as treats go. Fruit smoothie lollies are my new favourite- 100% fruit, no nasties!

Sleep: I’ve been waking at about 5.30am every day for weeks now needing the loo, and sometimes find it hard to fall back to sleep. I usually do manage it though, and aside from finding it pretty uncomfy staying sleeping on my left hand side all night (if only the right side were the recommended side to sleep on!!), I’m not doing too badly!

Symptoms: None to speak of! I’m finding myself getting a little more tired these days, but not badly so.

Best moment this week: It’s a toss up between finishing the nursery (all that’s left to do is bring in the nursery chair!), and my weekly Body Balance class. Getting the nursery all wrapped up feels SO exciting (I can’t wait to show you the finished room, I’m just thrilled with it!), and my Friday morning Body Balance class just leaves my body feeling fantastic. I’m hoping I can keep going right until the end of my pregnancy!

Worst moment this week: Not this week but last- overdoing it carrying my suitcase round London on Wednesday, and winding up with such strong pain down the right side of my belly it left me in tears. It’s the most uncomfortable I’ve felt this whole pregnancy, and it brought forth a whole lot of hormonal crying right in the middle of a busy London street! Thankfully, I hopped on the next train home and rested for a few days, and all was well. But it was definitely a reminder that I need to slow down a little!

Miss anything? Nothing really! Maybe my normal clothes? Definitely my normal clothes, actually!

Movement: Constant! Baby is head down and usually has its body curled round the left side of my belly, so the punches and head butts are low down, whilst kicks and jabs are either high up towards my ribs or over on the right side of the bump!

Gender: Unknown- we’re all about the neutral baby clothes over here!

Belly button in/out: It depends- kind of half out when I lie down, and in but flat when I’m standing up.

Wedding Rings on/off: On, thank goodness!

Mood: Happy! Though I do get bouts of the dumbest worries! Last week it was about baby flipping to being breech before I give birth, and whether or not it’s normal for it to have hiccups more than once a day…feel free to eye roll at me ;)

Looking forward to: Umm…my next meal? Because it’s currently 5.50pm, and I’m pretty hungry right now…

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Posted in BABY, LIFE LATELY, PREGNANCY STYLE

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05.07

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B E T T E R   M A K E   M I N E   A   D E C A F . . .

There’s this great little cafe in Guildford I’ve been meaning to tell you about for ages. It’s called K.Cafe, and I realised how fab it is whilst doing a little filming project for them a couple of months back.

The food’s delicious and all made from scratch (think cakes, pastries- both sweet and savoury- a salad bar to die for, and fresh juices too), AND the coffee is *fantastic*.

And even though you know I do love me a trip to Starbucks every now and again (mainly just at Christmas time, because those red cups are marketing genius and I just HAVE to have one) it’s such treat to visit a cafe that’s totally independent and unique.

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Jason and I nipped up there the other morning for a slice of cake and a coffee a piece, and were totally spoilt for choice in the sweet department. I opted for the banana loaf (a slice, not the whole thing, though to be honest I could have made quite the dent in it…) which came drizzled with honey and served with yoghurt.

It was DELICIOUS. And now I’m wondering why I don’t always serve the banana bread I make at home so frequently with a drizzle of my favourite acacia honey?!

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I mean, have you ever seen such a pretty slice of cake?! I also bought a salad box to take away for my lunch later that day, which was equally as delicious.

The sweet potato muffin was pretty tasty, but not a patch on the pomegranate and pistachio tabbouleh with hummus and seeds. The veggie options at the cafe are so fantastic (did I ever mention I’ve been veggie for a full year as of this past weekend? I’m not sure I ever mentioned it here!), so that makes it a total winner in my book!

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And speaking of things that make me super happy (like delicious cake, and menus that offer a great choice of vegetarian options), I need to talk for a minute about this ultra-girly dress here!

It’s from Seraphine, and is probably my favourite maternity dress I’ve worn so far this pregnancy. I love that it’s not got any ruching or excess material over the bump part, and that it doesn’t scream ‘this is a maternity dress!’ at first glance!

And, the fact that it pairs so cutely with those blue gingham slingbacks makes me pretty happy indeed.

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I’ve popped a few alternatives in the widget below, in case you’re in the market for something gingham-printed and girly!

Oh, and do swing by K.Cafe if you’re ever in the Guildford area. It’s our new favourite place!

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Posted in COFFEE, GUILDFORD, PREGNANCY STYLE

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