Monday, 31 March 2008

Suggestive Cravings

So far, I haven't craved anything really crazy or unusual to eat as a result of being pregnant, but I have been experiencing a lot of what Graeme and I have labelled 'suggestive cravings'. I see an ad or a photo of some food, or Graeme suggests something we could eat and I become fixated on the idea of getting my hands on whatever it is and devouring it. Take, for example this photo from one of my flickr contacts of 'Toblerone Dip' (which sounds pretty awesome - click through to the photo for the recipe). However, it's not the dip that is stuck in my mind, but those little candy sticks over on the right side of the photo... I wonder if I can get them over here.

photo credit: Toblerone Dip by Steve Kay

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Thursday, 27 March 2008

30 weeks (and 2 days)

I know I promised photos, but even though I don't feel too hideous in person, I'm feeling very non-photogenic - as in no matter how many photos Graeme takes of my profile, I think they all look horrible and am therefore going to keep them to myself. This is the style I want to go with for my pregnancy photos anyway - I'm thinking a series of silhouettes along the bottom of a photo album page will look quite cool. Yes, I am already planning baby photo albums/scrapbooks. No, I have not got anywhere near finishing the albums of our adventures so far, but I am hoping to start the baby one before the baby even arrives and try to keep it somewhat up-to-date.

So, as I mentioned on Sunday, I am now 30 weeks pregnant. It's strange to know that even if I go past the due date, it is still only just over 11 weeks until Squishy will be here. The hospital policy is that they induce at due date +10 days, which is 11 weeks tomorrow (and also the day AFTER my sister flies back to Australia, so we're all hoping baby comes on his/her own). We now know this piece of information because we have (today and last week) attended the ante-natal classes offered at the hospital. The classes were pretty good in getting us familiar with the hospital and what we can expect to happen and all that, but we kind of wished we could have ticked a box somewhere that said "yes, we are both quite intelligent and even with the pregnancy brain will understand things the first time you tell us, so please put us in the class for smarty-pants" because it did feel as though stuff was being 'dumbed down' (hate that term, but can't think of a better one) and repeated too much.

Anyway, that pregnancy brain I mentioned? Yeah, it's stopping me from being coherent and forming phrases, sentences and paragraphs that I am happy with. So I'll go back to the good old standby of bullet points...

- Squishy is still very much a wriggler, but is clearly starting to run out of space. I am constantly reminded that there is a baby in my belly, especially when I lay down to go to sleep or have just woken up myself. Graeme enjoys the sensation of pushing on my belly and getting kicked. I think it's funny when s/he shifts sides and my whole abdomen visibly moves.

- I've seen the GP a couple more times. My blood pressure insists on hovering at a level that is technically ok, but still high enough to be a potential problem if it changes. Yesterday there were minute traces of protein in my urine (sorry if that's too much info) so that's something else they 'have to keep an eye on'. As much as s/he moves around, Squishy is always lying head down (the way s/he should be) when I'm checked, which is good, and s/he has a good, healthy heartbeat. I feel like that is way more info than anyone would want to know about the physical stuff, but I'm sure some of you will appreciate it. At least I didn't tell you how many times a day I have to pee (just so you know, it's a lot - lol).

- I'm very much looking forward to having Squishy out here in the world. I'm even kind of looking forward to the actual giving-birth bit (which I'm currently planning on doing without an epidural, which shouldn't come as much surprise to anyone who knows how I feel about taking any sort of drugs - I'll even avoid paracetamol if I can). At exactly the same time though, I'm freaking out about all the things I feel I should have already done and wondering how exactly I will handle having a baby to look after 24 hours a day. I know logically that all a newborn needs is food, warmth, love and a clean nappy, but it's hard to quieten the part of me that wants everything to be 'perfect'... whatever that is.

- I've suddenly become really interested in hearing people's birth stories, so if you want to tell me any, please do. Did you choose to have drugs? What did you do to make labour more bearable? Did you have to be induced/have an emergency caesarean? How did you find breastfeeding in the beginning? Please don't worry about scaring me or anything - I've already read some shockers, but I'd like to know more from people I actually know, if that makes sense. Just email me if you don't want to share it with the world. Oh, and mum - I've seen forceps up close and in person now. Sorry I was such a stubborn baby and wouldn't come out :)

I dunno what else to say, so feel free to ask me if there's something obvious I should be telling you about and haven't even mentioned. Squishy says 'hi'.

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Monday, 24 March 2008



So, we woke up this morning and it was snowing. Snowing like we've never seen before in London. It didn't stick at all, so if we'd woken up only an hour later, we wouldn't have seen any snow, but it was still cool because it was falling so thick and fast. This photo's not the best, but it's hard to capture falling snow, so I went with the one plant that had collected a bit.

When we came over, and particularly when we stayed in the UK for Christmas last year, lots of people mentioned a 'White Christmas', but we always knew if we really wanted one of those, we probably needed to go to continental Europe. So imagine our surprise when they started predicting snow for Easter weekend. According to Graeme (who is nerdy enough to research these things) it is actually more likely to snow at Easter than Christmas here, especially when Easter is really early, like this year. Something to do with the lunar phases or some such.

Anyway, we also kind of got snowed on yesterday, but it was more like sleet/teensy hail. I was hoping to be able to share some dinosaur photos, because we went to the Natural History Museum, but it was crazy busy (at least this time we got in - last time we tried to go, the queue to get into the place was ridiculous and we skipped it) and the queue to get into the dinosaur room was over 45 minutes long, so we gave up. We're thinking we'll try and go next week on a weekday while Graeme is between jobs (his final day is Monday - I don't know if I've written about what's going on with his work, but you can go read his blog if you want more info). Best thing about free museums - if they get too crowded you can just leave and come back another day.

I've got some new belly photos and some pregnancy type stuff to update on as well, but I think I'll do that tomorrow (when I will be 30 weeks along - crazy!). Hope everyone has/had a great long weekend.

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Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Following Jamie Oliver's lead

I know I need to do a proper post, but this is kinda a 'this week only' thing and deadlines make me do stuff...

So, there's been a Sainsbury's (that's a supermarket chain) ad running here where Jamie Oliver (he's like their spokesman) makes this awesome looking dessert using hot cross buns. Of course, we had to try it. We probably could have winged it based on the easy instructions included in the ad, but we looked it up and found this on the Sainsbury's website (copied to here because it didn't have it's own static page to link to):

Hot cross pudding

Try spreading marmalade on halved hot cross buns and place in an ovenproof dish. Pour over enough of our Taste the difference vanilla custard to almost cover the buns and allow the custard to soak into the buns for about 15 minutes. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 180˚C, fan 170˚C, gas 4. Finish by placing under a hot grill for 5 minutes until golden brown.

More details and our adjustments:
We used 3 buns - make sure you get nice ones that have lots of fruit and stuff in them - and they fit perfectly in the dish we were using. That was basically how we decided how many to use.
We used apricot jam instead of marmalade because Graeme's not really a fan of marmalade.
'Taste the difference' is the fancier (read: more expensive) store brand. We just used long life custard out of a carton because we already had some in the pantry.
We didn't let it sit and soak, mainly because we were following the instructions as remembered by Graeme - I can see the benefit, but there was nothing wrong with ours.
We sprinkled some ground cinnamon on top because we like cinnamon and it seemed like a good idea - I think it was.
It was so good that we agreed I should share it with all of you. Well, technically, Graeme suggested I email the recipe to my mum, but this seemed a better way to share the love.

No photos, because we pretty much devoured it as soon as it came out of the oven (well, 2/3 of it and then Graeme promptly finished the rest), but I still have half the buns left, so I'll probably make it again in the next couple days and might take a photo then.

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Sunday, 2 March 2008

an expensive day out

This morning we trekked across to the other side of London to go to a Baby Show. Not something I ever really saw myself attending, but we wanted to be able to see and touch all the cloth nappy options (there are a lot) and also be able to look at all the pram/stroller/pushchairs in one go and this seemed like a good way to do it. We weren't planning on buying anything, just looking, assessing options, forming opinions. Uh, yeah. We spent about £600... Yeah, that is a lot of money. But over the next week, we should take delivery of an infant car seat, a convertible pram-stroller, a 3-wheeler frame that will take both of the former (they call the three components a 'travel system', apparently) plus a cot that works as a bedside co-sleeper or a stand-alone and can be folded up and transported like a travel cot/playpen that comes complete with matress and linen. I also brought home with me a fantastic C-shaped pillow that I can start using immediately and will be very useful for feeding. I could just link to the exact products, rather than my shoddy descriptions, I guess, but for some reason I feel weird about doing that. Might change my mind though when you all start bugging me for more details. Anyway, basically the only other big purchase we will be making for Squishy is a supply of nappies (those things ain't cheap, especially since drying takes forever here, so we need a decent supply), so I guess it isn't too bad.

Apologies to those of you uninterested in baby stuff - I realise that was a very boring post, but the grandparents seem to like to know this stuff...

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Saturday, 1 March 2008

My so-called February

I know I've been a bit MIA, but I've just been feeling blah and not up to posting, or even talking much. I kind of know what the issues are - a combination of a long depressing winter, a reminder of the time we've been away from home and a body that really isn't loving this whole pregnancy thing. It sucks that right when my body is craving more sleep, sleeping is uncomfortable and only happens in short stints. Basically, I am experiencing a complete lack of energy and feeling as though my creatvity is zapped. That said, not everything has been bad. Here are my February highlights:

- We saw Cirque du Soleil perform Varekai at the Royal Albert Hall. We paid a ridiculous amount of money for the tickets, but it was totally worth it.

- We went to an ice skating show at Wembley Arena with a few of Graeme's workmates (those £5 tickets again). It was so lame that it was great and the biggest cheer of the night was for the winner of last years Dancing on Ice, an ex-Rugby Union player. Speaking of Dancing on Ice, I had to basically push one of the professional skaters from the show out of the way so that I could escape the bathroom at interval.

- I had my first antenatal visit with the GP. Even though officially my GP is a middle-aged guy, everytime I go, I get to see the younger female doctor and she's great. While she was checking Squishy's heartbeat, baby decided to try and kick the doctor.

- We went to Anfield and saw Liverpool play Middlesbrough. They actually won AND 3 of the goals were scored the end we were sitting (last game we went to they had a one-all draw and both teams scored at the opposite end). It was a really long day though, as we decided to take the train rather than drive and didn't bother to stay overnight, so it took me most of this week to recover.

- We hit the 2 year anniversary of our arrival in London. It's cool that we've been here so long and we really have done a lot of things that just wouldn't have happened if we'd never moved here. It's also great to know that we are definitely well into the second half of our stay. I just kinda wish we weren't on the opposite side of the world to all the people we care about...

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