Our first mini holiday 

When I first found out I was pregnant, one of the things I knew I would miss the most was travelling. Since my early 20’s I have been lucky enough to enjoy four to five holidays a year, and have been steadily ticking off the bucket list. I knew that once I ‘settled down’ and started a family, the trips abroad would have to take a backseat. 

We have a big trip planned for next summer for my sister in laws destination wedding, but until then, we will not be leaving anywhere on a jet plane anytime soon. This will be the longest I have gone without a holiday. So until then, I am hoping to make the most of things to see and do in the UK. 

My sister turned thirty this September, and to celebrate (or commiserate) she wanted a trip away with us all. My sister and cousins have always been my travel buddy’s (we are lucky enough to have five girls all born within 12 months of each other). But, my sisters birthday was just two months after my due date, and much to her disappointment I told her many months ago that a trip abroad with such a small baby was not happening (not sure what we would have done in New York with a newborn anyway). 

Being the ‘organised one’ I have always been responsible for our travel plans, so as always I was in charge. I searched for a location no further than one and a half hours from home, and came up with a lovely lakeside lodge in the Cotswolds. The lodge accommodated 10 adults and backed out onto a lovely lake, and had a outdoor BBQ space, which fitted my sisters requirements perfectly. 

Don’t underestimate how much you need to take for a long weekend away with a baby. Luckily we had enough cars to fit all of Sami’s things, but we left one vital thing.. The baby monitor. But we used our imaginations and set up a Skype call, which meant I could relax for a couple of hours in the evenings.

The weather was perfect, and we enjoyed some lovely meals out, aswell as a BBQ and some family games (my family are geeks). And of course, me and my sister had a squabble. No weekend is complete without this. But we were best friends again the next minute, as always.

We took Sami for a lovely long walk around the Cotswolds Water Park and Beach. This was a lovely place filled with families going for walks, enjoying a picnic or a BBQ, or taking part in water sports. I made a mental note to return here one day when Sami is older and has siblings. This was the first time Sami enjoyed a walk and actually stayed awake (he usually sleeps through), he was amazed by the colours and loved taking in the new sights.

All in all it was a lovely weekend, and I still managed to enjoy it with a 9 week old baby. The distance was just about manageable, I am glad we didn’t venture any further. The amazing weather and beautiful scenery made it feel like we were so much further from home, I cannot wait to explore this area again in the future.. And for now I have had my ‘holiday fix’ until our big one next year.. Only ten months to go.

  
   
   

   
 

Pinch punch it’s my favourite month..

Hello September! September has always been one of my favourite months.. You can still smell summer yet it also marks new beginnings; a new school year, the start of autumn, and for me another year older (less exciting now that I am approaching thirty). 

We have reached a few milestones in the last few weeks. After a week of trying and failing, Sami finally took my expressed milk in a bottle which resulted in a very happy mummy. We really struggled at first and tried various bottles. In the end the  Tommee Tippee closer to nature bottles came out on top. 

Here’s my advice on getting your baby to take the bottle.. Try to give them it when they are not very hungry (sounds strange but if baby is starving they are more likely to refuse the bottle), calm, happy, and when mummy is not in sight (I had my mum and sister on hand). It took a hard week of many attempts and use of different bottles but we got their in the end 😄. 

This has allowed me to have a few nights off and also peace of mind if I have to leave Sami or we have to travel. It has also meant that me and the husband got to enjoy some time out for our one year anniversary. The husband suprised me with a meal at the resturant who catered our wedding. We never got to enjoy the food on our wedding day, so this was a lovely suprise. He also spoilt me with shoes and earrings and tickets to see The Bodyguard Musical, which meant another lovely night out. Oh did I mention I also got to enjoy my best friends hen night. 

Another first is that Sami can now fall asleep by himself (can doesn’t always mean will) and we have set up the video monitor which makes the world of difference in the evenings. Sami’s bedtime is 9pm which comes around so quickly every day. I am hoping to bring this earlier gradually in the next few weeks. 

Sami also had his 8 week round of immunisations which he HATED.  He hates infacol too, and gripe water. Basically he only likes mummy’s milk! Luckily, his ‘colic’ (still not convinced by what colic is) is getting better and instead of hours of crying every evening, he now has a few unsettled periods a day, but they don’t last long.

Things me and Sami are loving right now:

  • Mummy loves cups of tea 
  • Mummy loves short afternoon naps
  • Mummy loves Sami’s smiles every morning
  • Sami loves his play gym
  • Sami loves the sound of a whistle 
  • Sami loves seeing mummy’s face in the morning 

Sami is blissfully napping while I write this. Little does he know mummy is starting to stress about how much she needs to do tomorrow in preparation for our weekend away. It’s my sisters 30th birthday, and to celebrate, 8 of us are spending the weekend in a lakeside lodge in the Cotswolds. This will be Sami’s first holiday. I am excited but also exhausted and not sure how much I will be able to enjoy it. Will keep you posted.. 

38 weeks and still going..

So I have almost reached the home straight, but no signs of baby just yet.. Although, I have finally encountered swollen feet and as of today we now have a baby car seat (hooray). 

The reason for the swollen feet is my very active weekend for my cousins wedding. We travelled down to stourhead in Wiltshire (hospital bag in tow) on the Friday afternoon, and the horrendous rain did not bode well for the wedding the next day. I was lucky enough to be staying in a Natural Trust Cottage with the bride and two of the bridesmaids on site, which was lovely and quaint. 

Despite the rain, we decided to take a midnight stroll to check out the marquee which had already been set up for the reception the next evening. It looked magical, with lots of mood lighting, and quirky decor, making us all even more excited for the next day! 

On the morning of the wedding, we enjoyed a lovely full English breakfast with all of the other guests that had stayed on site at the Spread Eagle Inn, and then excitedly went our separate ways to get ourselves ready. 

I opted to wear a bright blue summer dress (dress details on previous post about my maternity shoot) with flat sandals, due to the rain the day before I didn’t fancy heels and my other dresses were too long for flats. And I am so glad I did! As the day involved lots and lots of walking around the beautiful grounds at stourhead. 

The ceremony took place in the Pantheon, which was built in 1753 and modelled on the Pantheon in Rome. It’s a beautiful little building which is visible from across the lake when you first enter the gardens. Enroute we also walked past a waterfall, not something I have seen in the UK before! Just as the bride and groom had said ‘I do’ the sun came out just in time for some lovely photos outside the Pantheon and lake, it really was perfect timing. 

All of the guests then took a stroll around the gardens, stopping in the grotto for a drinks reception, ending up on the other side of the lake for canapés and more photographs. The sun stayed shining and it was a lovely and relaxed atmosphere, I was amazed when I realised it was 6pm already (and took a quick opportunity to go back to the cottage and freshen up a little). 

We then moved over to the stable yard to the Marquee where the evening reception was to take place. By this point my feet had ballooned so I had decided I would be staying in my seat for the rest of the night. The evening began with some traditional speeches, I particularly enjoyed my uncles ‘father of the bride’ speech which made us all a little emotional. Dinner was traditional roast lamb with lots of trimmings and was yummy! 

The bride and groom then cut the cake and took their first dance to ‘dream a little dream of me’ by The mamas and papas. The band for the night was The Wurzels which fitted the barn theme nicely.  Even I got up for ‘combine harvester’ before I called it a night to put my poor swollen feet up. The bride and groom looked so so happy together and my cousin looked simply stunning. It was a lovely wedding and I cannot wait for future baby cousins for my little one 😄 

   
   

  

      

All of the lights.. 

For a couple of years me, my sister and friend had talked about our dream trip to Iceland, and thought now was a better time then any as I didn’t envisage Iceland to be baby friendly. 

So, the three of us, and my cousin, booked our dream trip and stocked up on thermals, snow boots, and waterproofs from our local outdoor store. Being late February, we were all prepared for the cold, wind and snow, and being 21 weeks pregnant, my fashion conscious was well and truly out the window. 

I was given mixed advice from concerned friends and family about embarking on such an adventure whilst pregnant, but I promised to take it easy, and excitedly we packed all our winter gear and boarded the plane for our week long trip. 

Our main objective was to see the Aurora Borealis (northern lights), and on our first day we were disappointed to learn that there had been no sightings for 8 days, but had a glimmer of hope as the tours were on that night for the first time all week. The only downside being the boat tours were the only tours running. We were warned of the rough seas and extreme sea sickness but hestitantly arrived at the port that night, incase it was our only chance all week.

To cut a long story short, we did not see any lights that night (we did see Jupiter though), we were given diving suits that made us look like telletubies, and spent a long night in the cold and the most bitter wind I have ever experienced! To top it off, the travel sickness did not bode well with my morning sickness and I puked and puked and puked!  

We spent the next day exploring Reykjavik and excitedly booked the northern lights coach tour for that night (first time it was running in days). We had spent the whole day realigning our expectations and consoling ourselves that we may not get to see them at all on our trip. Fifteen minutes after driving from Rejkjavik, our tour guide got herself into a frenzy as she told us she thought she had a sighting. We stopped the bus there and then, and hurried out to see the most wonderful three hour show! Wow! It was breathtaking, the green lights danced in the sky as we stood in awe, forgetting the cold and feeling like the luckiest people alive. 

  
We were on a high for the rest of our trip, and spent the rest of the week exploring the many waterfalls, glaciers, coastal lines, geysers and scenery that Iceland has to offer, not forgetting indulging on the food. I most enjoyed our day relaxing in the blue lagoon in the 40 degree heat whilst it was -9 outside! They even had pregnancy massages but they were fully booked for the whole time I was there. We spent two days snowed in due to blizzards, which was a nice novelty, and luckily our hotel was the perfect sanctury from the stormy weather. 

I am glad I booked this trip as I don’t think I’ll be returning with a baby/ child anytime soon, and despite the terrain and weather I found it a relaxing trip with some long lasting memories. Every future mummy needs one last girly holiday! 

   
   

    

First trimester milestone- treat yourself.. 

If like me, you found you spent the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy sleeping, puking, sleeping some more (didn’t know I could sleep so much), puking some more, and generally feeling nauseated, you’ll be pleased to see the end of your first trimester. 

Everyone talks about a sudden burst of energy that you’ll experience as you progress into the second trimester. I’ll be honest I waited and waited and this never happened, I continued to feel nauseated for some time longer but gradually I found myself sleeping less and less and started to get my life back-happy days 🙂 

This is the perfect time to treat yourself and do something that may be more difficult later in your pregnancy or when the baby arrives. My advice would be to get away for a long weekend, and that’s exactly what I did. 

At 15 weeks, myself and four of the girls booked a city break to Berlin. Being January, it was bitterly cold, so we wrapped up warm, packed some comfy winter boots and spent a lovely four days sightseeing and taking in everything Berlin had to offer. We did a hell of a lot of walking and I honestly feel like this did me some good after 14+ weeks of not moving from my sofa. 

I feel this was the perfect time to get away, I had the energy to keep up with the others, I was no longer experiencing morning sickness and I had no bump or extra weight to carry. 

We crammed in all of the ‘must do’s’ including the Brandenburger TorBerlin CathedralThe Reichstag building, and The holocaust memorial, which all brought back memories of school History lessons. Not to mention, we visited many of the numerous museums, my favourites being The DDR museum (very interactive and family friendly but expect long queues) and Topography of Terror (prepare to come out feeling truly sad). 

Berlin has a lot to offer in terms of history, but I also found this to be quite depressing, as insightful as it was. I was quite happy spending some time relaxing and indulging in the food (much better then I expected). Therefore my top three ‘must do’s’ if your ever in Berlin are:

  1. Afternoon tea at Hotel Adlon: We spent an entire afternoon here in the lobby lounge with unlimited tea (huge selection) and unlimited cakes and pastries whilst being serenaded by the gentle sounds of the piano playing. Being the foodies that we are, we truly enjoyed this on our last day, and thankful to cousin S for the recommendation. At 42 euros per person it really was well worth it!
  2. B flat jazz club: We had a really fun night here, the night we went there was an American band and Mo-Town singer playing, we thoroughly enjoyed the live music and we booked a table in advance which happened to be right at the front ( would recommend booking in advance as lots of people were standing). 
  3. Friedrichstadt- Palace: We saw the show ‘The Wyld’. Without saying too much this was a rather strange but enjoyable experience. I would compare it to a more family friendly version of the Moulin Rouge, with dancers, singers, animals and entertainers. The venue was simply stunning and it’s worth a trip if your stuck for what to do in the evening. 

I really enjoyed my long weekend away and now bumpy is so close to making its entrance, the prospect of another seems very far in the future. I’m glad I treated myself and would recommend all future mummy’s treat themselves in some way too, when they pass the 12 week milestone.