Saturday, September 24, 2011

I got mail!

Royal Mail Cycle by kenjonbro
Royal Mail Cycle, a photo by kenjonbro on Flickr.

The postman just arrived with the five-foot-long pillow I bought myself on ebay. I think he came in a van rather than by bike (unless he was balancing the pillow on his head and had no other deliveries to make) but this picture was nicer. I'm beyond excited about my new pillow, honestly. I have high hopes for a full night's pillow-cuddling sleep this evening. It's just a shame there will no longer be any room for Graham in the bed ;)

I actually had a better sleep than usual last night (well, until I woke up irreparably at 5.30am) because the cats decided to leave me in peace. I've just found out this was because they were harassing my parents all night instead. Ha ha!

Friday, September 23, 2011

yummy cushions

Oh wow oh wow oh wow. How beautiful are these woven cushions by Karen Barbe, the lady whose tutorial I followed to make my woven circular patch a few weeks back? I just can't fathom how you sit down at a weaving loom with some strands of thread (it's not even thread, is it?) and end up with these beauties. I am so ignorant of how real weaving actually works and I wish I wasn't, but it does seem kind of impenetrable to a total outsider. If I won the lottery, I'd give up my job, buy myself a loom and fly Karen over to the UK to teach me how to weave. In the meantime, I could save up some pennies and buy one of these cushions instead - available here.

I think it might have been about this time last year that I blogged about how much I loved Donna Wilson's house cushion. It's the winter cosy craving kicking in, obviously.

I haven't felt very connected to my blog here lately. Time is just flying by. I think it's been because my work has been going through an unusually Monday-to-Friday phase and I'm back in that frame of mind where you count down the days during the week and then cram in as much as you can at the weekends and then find it's Monday morning again before you know it, when you start counting down the days to Friday night again. Also, by the time I've been getting home of an evening, I have been fit for nothing. I am really quite exhausted. Graham and I have been trying to watch a film most evenings since that only involves collapsing on the sofa before crawling to bed, but still counts as doing something with your evening. My request to watch nice films that won't leave me traumatised has not been fulfilled in the main (too many people getting clubbed to death by hammers and stabbed in the neck with stanley knives for my liking) but I was allowed to watch Danny Deckchair the other night, an Australian film about a man who ties balloons to his deckchair and flies off to another town where he finds true happiness. Apparently it's based on a true story (what?!) and it was just the easy-going nonsense I needed to banish all the previous film violence from my brain.

Today I have some tidying to do before working a late shift since my parents are coming to visit this weekend. I'm really looking forward to seeing them, but am dreading how tired I will still be come Monday morning with Friday an almost imperceptible dot on the horizon and the danger (danger!) of being on call next weekend too. I shouldn't grumble, really. Other than extreme tiredness and incredibly sore hips and the related leg cramps, it's all good. The baby is turning into a crazy kicker and I love it, even though it kicks me in the bladder every time I have to do something mega-urgent at work. It also seems to be reacting to the outside world a lot more. The other night Graham spoke to it through my tummy and it went crazy and kicked him in the head about ten times at the sound of his voice. Yesterday morning Poppy was leaning against my tummy and purring for a good 45 minutes and the baby was fluttering about the whole time. When Poppy finally jumped off my lap, the baby started kicking so hard that you could see my belly jumping about in all different directions. I think the baby was wondering where the lovely, warm, purry thing had gone and was looking for it.

We still haven't got to the bottom of my wonky heart, but the doctor has reassured me I'm not about to drop down dead from a heart attack, not imminently anyway. It might be caused by (look away if you are squeamish) my diaphragm being pushed up so much by the baby that it is literally rubbing against my heart and irritating it (eugh!) but it could be something else, so I am having to go for blood tests etc. next week. Pregnancy is making me so aware of all the amazing things bodies do every single day, which is very fun and interesting...until your heart packs in. Ha!

Anyway, I had better go and make a start on this tidying. If I don't do it, I know I will wake up at 5am tomorrow to find my mum on her hands and knees scrubbing our kitchen floor and cleaning behind the cooker. If you've read right to the end of this post, I hope you have a lovely weekend. You've earned it!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

now really is the winter of our discount tents

I don't know what the weather has been like where you are, but here in Glasgow it definitely feels as though winter has got its toes firmly under the table. Brrrr! So it felt like a good time to relist these cards in my etsy shop. There's nothing like a spot of handwritten mail to warm the cockles of the heart... except maybe some central heating, a hot water bottle, a big blanket or a night spent sitting by the fire, naturally.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

punto cruz - for you to use

When I was in Aberfeldy with my parents last month, I picked up this ancient and fusty-smelling booklet of patterns from Peru in an antique shop for a bargainous 50p. The colours and some of the images are amazing. I'm guessing the most obvious use for them would be cross-stitch (I think that is what "punto cruz" translates as) but I also think they'd make the most fantastic beading designs. One of the craft books that Marceline very kindly sent me during her great spring clear-out of 2011 had some very good beading instructions, if I remember rightly, so I might give that a try some day, even though it is not on the Craftathon 2011 list. Coincidentally, Marceline has just mentioned on her blog that she's planning to pursue various grid-based projects over the coming months, so you'd probably get a few more ideas of how to use these patterns over on her blog.

Anyway, I'm happy for you to use these designs in your own projects. You should be able to click on the images to see a larger version. Make sure you leave a comment to let me know if you do use them because I'd love to see the finished results! I've divided the images into vaguely themed sections. Enjoy :)





in which I leave the house for reasons other than work

Yesterday Graham and I went out for a day's charity shopping and, for the second time in a row (and ever, probably) I didn't buy a single thing. This time I didn't even see anything that tempted me. What is going on? However, I still had a really good day, one of the highlights being a visit to Govanhill Baths as part of Doors Open weekend.
The paint was peeling off the ceiling in a very dramatic style.
This is the ceiling in the room with the baths. The pool is reopening quite soon in three stages. I think they said it would be completely up and running in four years' time. They're not going to have baths (I mean bath baths, not swimming pool baths) any more and this bit is going to get turned into some sort of garden to begin with to grow fruit and vegetables to use in the cafe they'll have downstairs, then later on the garden will move to the roof and this space will be used for health workshops and other community-type events.
Round windows always look good, even if they are a bit broken.
This is the medium-sized of the three pools in the building, known as the ladies' pond. Our tour guide was saying they need to change the height of the cubicle doors as ladies are taller these days. I had to chuckle, imagining all the boobies jiggling about over the tops of the doors.
The tiles were still in really good condition mostly and it's a listed building, so I guess they'll be trying to preserve as much as possible.
Our plan for the weekend was to see a few more Doors Open buildings today, but my hips have given up the ghost from all the walking about yesterday (my midwife reckons I have sciatica and that this is also what's giving me a bad back) so we are just going to go to the cinema instead. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is showing at the cinema just down the road, so we'll probably go and see that. I'm sure it will be good. This will be our third cinema trip in five days - we're really packing them in before the baby arrives! I haven't been doing very well in my ambition to start watching pleasant films, but I have enjoyed the gruesome and grim films we've watched this week. Mind you, it is kind of strange to feel a baby wriggling about inside you as you watch someone get their head smashed in with a hammer... Incidentally, on our way to the cinema the other night, Graham found a £20 note lying on the pavement. This paid for our tickets and left us with enough change to buy an ice cream each. Having ice cream in a big multi-screen cinema was a very novel experience for us and getting it for free was even more fun. Hooray!

Monday, September 12, 2011

other people's weekends

I don't have too much news to share from the last couple of weekends, one of which I spent working and the other of which I spent extreme resting and seeking medical help, so I thought I would show you some evidence of Graham's weekends instead. Last weekend he appeared back from his cycle with this great sewing box under his arm. Somebody on the other side of Glasgow had been throwing it out and, eagle-eyed man that he is, he rescued it from the pile of rubbish on the street and brought it home because he thought I might like it. He was right, I do! And it's yet more incentive to get the craft room organised, something I had intended to tackle this weekend, but failed to do. The sewing box needs a little repair done to the handle (just a screw that's come loose on one side) and a clean then it will be ready to come in handy. I wonder how much of the craft room I could fit into my two sewing boxes... Probably quite a lot of it if I was ruthless.
This weekend Graham was helping his mum and dad to sort out his gran's flat because she went into a home recently. He came home with this really cute box of candles to show me. On the other side, his gran has written "14" above the 24 and there are indeed 14 candles left. That is the level of organisation that I aspire to! The candles are very small and skinny and are a mixture of pale blue, pale pink and white. I wonder how old they are and who the first ten were used for.
On his way to his mum and dad's, Graham had to pass through Govan. As soon as he set foot outside the underground station, a slightly dodgy-looking couple shouted for him to come over. He was a bit unsure, but since they had a baby with them, he figured it should be safe enough. It turned out they had just come from their baby's christening and wanted to give Graham this little bag with two biscuits and two pound coins in it because he was the first man they had seen after the christening. Apparently this is traditional. We had never heard of it before, but Graham's mum says she remembers people doing that in the good old days.

This weekend I had to go to the out of hours doctor because my back was in bleedin' agony and it was suspected that I might have had a urinary tract infection, which you're apparently meant to get sorted out quick stylee if you're pregnant. Well, the good news is that I didn't have a urinary tract infection (just a bad back, probably from working too many hours last week) but the bad news is that I have a wonky heart instead! Apparently my heart does an extra beat every ten beats or so. The doctor I saw said it was quite likely to be yet another pregnancy side effect (what?! why on earth would that happen?!) and nothing to worry about, but I have to go and see my own GP to get it traced or something. The doctor was surprised I couldn't feel it, but in hindsight I do remember lying in bed the other week and complaining to Graham that my pulse kept doing crazy things. Hmm... Anyway, I spent the rest of Saturday lying on the sofa and my back was much better for it by Sunday, which was good and means it most likely was just a muscular thing, painful for me but harmless for the baby. I took it easy on Sunday too, but in a more sociable way as my friend Kristy came round and we spent the entire afternoon drinking tea and eating biscuits in front of the fire. Lovely :)

But thank goodness for Graham and his leaving the house now and again or we would have had no photos to look at!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

FIRE! I mean, mmm, fire...

This is the third appearance for this photo on this blog, but can you blame me? How cosy! This morning Gary the friendly gas man came and gave our fire a bit of a service since a suspicious flame had been appearing where it shouldn't have been. The fire is now fully operational again, just in time for cosying down for winter. I do wish we'd had a bit more of a summer this year, but I'm still looking forward to the cosiness of winter evenings. I think the cats are too. The last few nights Lola has been lounging in front of the cold dark fire showing off her belly as if she knew what we had planned.

I'm feeling rubbish today, probably just through general lack of sleep and too many late shifts, I think. Today was my day off anyway though, so I cancelled all my plans of exercising and tidying at the drop of a hat and am spending the day on the sofa watching telly and doing a spot of crochet instead. It's definitely helping. Perhaps a little bit of afternoon fire action would help even more. Mmmm!

UPDATE: I spent the afternoon on a cushion in front of the fire with a very happy cat, crocheting and watching The House Of Elliot. Life doesn't get much better than that, right? :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

bear with a sore head

Care Bears Grumpy Bear Costume by CLASSYCHASSISUK on etsy

I am getting my now monthly migraine and it's making me very much like a bear with a sore head. I am 100% grumpy. Grrr! I am blaming excessive late shifts (combined with pregnancy) for causing these migraines, which I hope I am wrong about since I have practically nothing but late shifts coming up for months. I repeat, grrr!

But it's kind of hard to take grumpiness seriously when fancy dress costumes like this actually exist in real life and are available to buy on etsy. What?! CLASSYCHASSISUK does describe herself as crazy in her profile and, given this evidence, who are we to argue with that? Grumpy Bear was never my favourite Care Bear, so I guess I had better cheer up before I accidentally go the whole hog and actually buy this costume to wear to work. Do you think the moron who makes up my rota might get the message then? Hmmm...

Monday, September 5, 2011

day in the life a.k.a. this tidying is not typical

DISCLAIMER: What follows is the unedited version of my day (Friday 2nd September, 2011) and the edited version would read, "Eating, tidying, stroking cats, watching a film, bed," so you may not feel the need to read the details...


6.15am: I wake up and carry out my usual 6 am-ish routine. First of all, I lie on my back to torture the baby into moving. Apparently you are meant to avoid lying on your back too much past 16 weeks pregnant, but I need to lie in that position sometimes to take the pressure off my hips, plus just recently it almost guarantees a big kick from the baby, which is still an exciting novelty to feel. Today it works a bit and I get to feel a couple of little kicks before I get up to go to the toilet quite urgently. Once I have been to the toilet, I give the cats about six pieces of dry food each, just enough to stop them pestering me for their breakfast, which they'll get when Graham gets up for work. Six pieces of dry food each sounds rather mean, but they're both still on strict diets. I get back into bed, trying not to wake Graham.

7.40am: Today I haven't managed to get back to sleep, so I'm quite relieved when Graham's alarm goes off and I can stop trying to be quiet/keep the purring cats quiet. I tell Graham about the dream I had last night where we went out for dinner and ended up having two puddings (told you I had a sweet tooth at the moment). Actually, Graham had three really as he had a crepe with custard while waiting for his second pudding, which was orange sponge served with crispy noodles. I had brandy-soaked chocolate sponge with custard.


8.00am: I get up and have bran flakes with banana for breakfast and start contemplating what to do with my day. I'm thinking some hardcore tidying might be good, but I don't mention this in case I change my mind and it's seen as a promise. I hang out with the cats a bit. Lola is following me around and miaowing quite a lot. Poppy is making a cosy cave for herself under the covers.

8.30am: I email my mum to tell her which weekends I'm going to be off work between now and mid-October because she's thinking of coming to visit. I blog, which is very quick because I actually prepared the blog post yesterday, and find out while catching up on some other people's blogs that today has been designated Day In The Life. I decide blogging as I go would be a good way to do it, so I start composing this post. Lola nudges the computer off my lap so she can sit there instead, so I type at a funny angle until my back gets a bit sore.

9.10am: Graham leaves for work (he's running late today, probably because someone was telling him about all the puddings he ate last night) and I decide to get washed and dressed now, now, now so that I can commence being productive in some way.


9.20am: Just before I commence productivity, I have a quick look at google analytics and marvel again at how much my blog readership dwindled when I got pregnant/felt too sick to blog with much enthusiasm. I wonder if I'll ever win these people back or if I've already gone over to the dark side. Every time I see television adverts featuring (shudder!) parents, I am consumed by panic about how much I don't want to be ONE OF THEM. You know what I mean - not that I don't want to be a parent (because that would involve not ever getting to meet this baby) but that I don't want to be a parent-like-that. I hope it's not inevitable and worry that it is. Why else would everyone have stopped reading my blog already? Of course, almost none of the parents I know in real life are parents-like-that, but this is not a rational fear, so I can't be talked out of it that easily.


9.30am: Shower, apply moisturiser to stretched areas and get dressed in a pair of maternity trousers my friend gave me. They're about three inches too short, but so comfy and fine for wearing around the house when no-one but the cats is here to see me.


9.50am: Decide to start the day's productivity by tidying the bedroom. I get a little bit distracted taking the "before" shots to add to this post (most of which I know I'll be too embarrassed to share) but make a huge dent in things straight away just by finding homes on the shelf for the large pile of books that has been gathering (and gathering dust) beside my bed. I realise once again that my books are out of control and fantasise about having a dedicated library (a.k.a. lots of shelves in one place) somewhere in the flat.


10.15am: I drink a big glass of water, dry my hair and update this blog post. Lola nudges the computer out of the way and falls asleep on my lap again, so I decide to do a row of crochet since the almost-finished replacement ripple blanket is within arm's reach and I'm quite liking sitting down.


10.50am: I finish the bright orange stripe and weave in the ends (I'm doing this as I go this time). I could sit here longer, but the colour I need for the next stripe is not within arm's reach and I can't sit here and do nothing (not today) so I move the comfy cat (sorry, Lola) and go back to tidying via a snack of roll and jam from the kitchen. I'm very hungry today.

11.35am: The tidying is still going, but going slowly. However, I am finding lots of things I've been meaning to do for ages and resolve to do them today. I start by emailing Specsavers to arrange to cancel my contact lens subscription since my bathroom cabinet is running out of space with all the lenses I am yet to use. I begin making a pile of other similar bits of paper to tackle. By the end of today, I hope to have filled in the form to renew my passport, filled in the form to renew my driving licence photocard, applied for a Boots Advantage Card/parenting club membership and paid the factor's bill. And that is in addition to all the cleaning and tidying I'm still determined to do. Phew! But will I be true to my word...?

(I'm trying to ratchet up the tension here by adding some suspense, you see. I realise that typing this Day In The Life as I go is making it very long and frankly I can't afford to lose any more readers!)


12.05pm: While tidying up the paint pots and rollers from decorating the bathroom (I'm not sure why they were in the bedroom in the first place, let alone why they've been there for months on end) I find the little mini bottles I used to use to store shampoo etc. for taking to the swimming pool. Hooray! The so-called replacements I got were just not as good and I had been looking for these bottles since February. I knew tidying was a good idea :) In other news, I have eaten a square of dark chocolate, paid the factor's bill and filled in the Boots form already, but we still don't know whether I'm going to manage to fill in the passport and driving licence forms, so don't go anywhere!

12.45pm: I find some photos of my eldest niece and nephew from about 3 years ago and decide to phone my sister to see how everyone is doing. I don't phone her very often so I am on the phone for a long time. Lola is pleased about this as it means she gets to sit on me for over an hour.

2.05pm: Off the phone, I plan to make myself some lunch - home-made soup from the freezer and some wholemeal bagels with fake chicken - but get a bit sidetracked by checking my emails. I have one from Graham asking me (for the sake of the unborn child!) not to confront the schoolkids who have been eating their lunch in our garden and leaving ridiculous amounts of litter behind. To be honest, I had forgotten I was planning to have words with them, but maybe it is a good thing that I have missed them. We have a neighbour across the road (who we call Twitchy because we don't know his name and he spends a lot of time looking out from behind his curtains and generally foiling criminal plots) who had a set-to with a teenage ned one day. He ran him out of the street and when the ned swore at him, he laughed in his face and called him "baldy baws" at the top of his voice, much to our amusement and the ned's embarrassment. I'm secretly hoping Twitchy will tackle the litter-leaving teenagers one day so I won't have to.

2.15pm: Make lunch for real and eat it in front of the telly while watching a bit of Three In A Bed. B&B owners all seem very negative/critical if this show is to be believed.

2.50pm: Turf Lola off my lap for about the sixth time today and get back to the tidying, starting with hanging up the second load of washing of the day. I'm very full up.

3.45pm: The buzzer goes. It is the postman. Yes, the postman at 4pm. He brings but one piece of mail... and it is a gas bill. This is about the most interesting mail I have received all month. Sheesh. I'm beginning to flag in the tidying stakes, not helped by the fact that the bedroom doesn't really look any tidier. How can this be? The main difference is that the dust that was attached to surfaces is now flying around the room. Ah well, it keeps the cats entertained and stops them thinking about food for a few minutes. I think I will empty the dishwasher and do some dishes now and return to the bedroom a bit later.

4.40pm: The dishwasher has been emptied (and half refilled) and last night's pans have been washed. The third load of washing has been hung up. The cats have been fed about an hour early, but I couldn't take any more miaowing. I am now officially pooped, maybe too pooped to go out and get the vegetables necessary to make the stir fry I had planned for tonight's dinner. I would quite like to go to bed, but I think I will give the bedroom a pre-hoover hoover just to get rid of the worst of the dust to allow me to tidy some more. Graham will be getting home from work soon and I don't think the flat looks any better than it did when he left. He'll never believe I have good reason to look so tired and sweaty :(

5-8pm: I tidy up the hall a bit, sorting through all the mail and gubbins that has been building over the last few months into a stressful pile of unidentified paper that may or may not need to be followed up. I feel much better to throw out all the junk and deal with what needs to be dealt with. On top of this, I finally begin filling in my passport and driving licence forms... and finish them! Woo hoo! They have been sitting on the kitchen table since May (and the licence form was in the hall for about a year before that) so it feels great to get them done and out of my mental to-do list. Graham comes home from work as I'm filling them in and, seeing my tired expression, volunteers to concoct dinner from stuff in the cupboards/freezer so I don't have to go to the shops or cook. What a star. As he prepares dinner, I give the bedroom a really good hoover and it finally starts to look noticeably cleaner/tidier. I hoover the hall and living room since I am on a roll and then eat the dinner Graham has prepared. He has a shower while I do the dishes then we eat ice cream and watch some athletics while Lola sits on me again.

8.30pm: Graham goes to the shops while I pay the gas bill (I know, on the very day it arrived!) and look online, trying to work out how much tax, NI and student loans I will be paying once I'm on maternity leave, but it is beyond me so I give up for now. I think I might phone the student loans company one day soon to ask how it works. I wonder if there's any more organising I can do from the sofa. I'm well impressed with the progress I've made today. Hopefully I can keep this up and be 10% ready for the baby by Christmas! That would be 9% more ready than I thought was possible when I was lying in bed freaking out last night.

8.45pm: Graham is back from the shops and we put on the DVD lovefilm sent us about a month ago that we haven't managed to find time/evening energy to watch yet, so this is almost like another tick off the mental pile of overdue stuff. The film is Biutiful. It takes a while for me to work out what is going on, but it turns out to be really good, although absolutely horrific in parts. I shed quite a few tears from about two thirds of the way in and by the end am absolutely broken-hearted and sobbing on Graham's shoulder. When the film is over, I am glad to have seen it, but make a request that we start watching happy films for a while. I don't think I can handle films like Biutiful these days. Mind you, I've welled up a few times today thinking about the Irish dancing results in Jig, which we watched last night, so I'm not sure what films I could handle...

11.15pm: I check my emails (made a sale in etsy - hooray!), brush my teeth etc, feed the starving cats and go to bed to read a few pages of my book. I've just started it and can't work out who the characters are or what is going on so am quite glad when Poppy appears and tries to eat said book in her demands for attention.


11.30pm: Lights off. Zzzzz. It feels nice to be going to sleep in a tidier and less dusty bedroom with less jobs/bits of paper preying on my mind.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

a few of my favourite things

This week I have a really sweet tooth and am loving my crochet. This amazing crocheted artwork by Kate Jenkins combines both these loves perfectly. If you are in (or near) London this month, you can make me jealous by going to Kate's Crochet Market, an exhibition/crocheted shop where you can see all sorts of household items in textile form, which opened yesterday and runs until September 24th. Full details and many more pictures if you click on that link.

Maybe you recognise Kate's work? I blogged about her last exhibition and you can see her bottle of Babysew (crocheted Babycham, naturally) hanging behind Alan Carr's head on his chat show.

p.s. Apparently today (which is Friday and not Thursday as Blogger is claiming above!) has been designated Day In The Life day. If you want to take part and share the minutiae of your today in whatever bloggy way you fancy, you can see the principles behind it here on Claire's blog and/or my previous Day In The Life blog posts here and here.

momentous charity shopping

This Saturday I didn't get called in to work (hooray!) and Graham and I spent the whole day charity shopping (double hooray!) and eating tasty things. Mmmm! Chocolate cherry brownies from Tapa Organic seriously have to be tasted to be believed. Now, I say the charity shopping was momentous and this was because, possibly for the first time ever on a bona fide full day event where our route takes in over 30 charity shops at the last count, I did not buy a single thing. Not a book, not a button, not a book on buttons (and I did see one of these). I was tempted by a few things, but my purse stayed firmly in my bag. Could the nesting instinct be kicking in? I think it was probably in the back of my mind that I have to stop taking home so much fusty-smelling junk to add to my crazy-lady piles of nonsense.
So I didn't buy this amazing wooden eagle sculpture. Graham actually quite liked this one too, so I might even have been able to have it in public view somewhere, but it stayed on the shelf for someone else to find.
This was what really tested my resolve, in the second-last charity shop of the day. Knowing the general pricing policy of the shop it was in, I reckon this would have set me back 20p at the most, but I didn't even ask, even though I thought it would make a lovely addition to my wall of many wonders and the motto is a good one.

Graham, who often comes home empty-handed, actually did quite well, buying three old singles for his jukebox and a keyboard (of the musical, not computing, variety). I still had a very good day. Could this be the new me? Well, I doubt it, but it's a start.

Graham's new(ish) job means his weekends are free now and my work has been strangely Monday-to-Friday over the last few weeks. We've been keeping ourselves busy at the weekends, with numerous cinema trips, wanders, charity shopping and eating out, which has been great. However, when I went back to work on Monday this week, I felt more tired than I had when I finished up on Friday evening, so I'm quite glad that my days off this week are Thursday and Friday and I can spend them all on my own doing nothing in particular. I am really quite exhausted. So far today I have been drinking tea (decaff, of course) and watching TV and catching up on some blog reading. My plans for the rest of the day involve more tea, crochet, cat cuddling, lounging and making a shepherd's pie. I may or may not get dressed and I may or may not wash the pile of dishes/hoover up some cat hair. A proper day off. Hooray!

Everything pregnancy related is going well. I am 21 weeks pregnant now (scarily beyond the halfway point) and feeling quite good. Sickness is a distant memory and while I am still waking up a lot during the night with leg cramps, back ache and sore hips, I am managing to get back to sleep so am no longer like a zombie through the day. I haven't got too much bigger over the last couple of weeks, so am not so scared that I'll have to be cut out of the house by firefighters when the time to give birth arrives. I can definitely, definitely, definitely feel the baby moving around now, which is nicely reassuring. It even likes to kick one of the cats already, so Poppy and the baby have a little fight through my belly most mornings. Since yesterday, I have been able to feel the baby's 11 pm and 6 am movements (its liveliest times) with my hand as well as inside my tummy, although it has refused to kick Graham as yet. I'm sure he'll be able to feel it soon. We had our scarily named foetal anomaly scan this week, which didn't show up any worrying anomalies, so that was a big relief. I was a bit disappointed that the baby was not in a position where we could get a very good look at it and that the sonographer was so stern and in such a hurry. Every time I tried to look at the screen I was told in no uncertain terms to put my head down and to stop being so tense... immediately! So I didn't manage to see the baby's face (or stop being tense) but I did sneak a glimpse of its kidneys and spine. Oh well. The sonographer said that she wouldn't have been able to tell us the sex even if we had wanted to know (we didn't) because the baby was so uncooperative and the mother was so tense, so my fears of seeing something that might give the game away were unfounded. Now, barring any complications, we won't see the baby again until it actually arrives. Exciting! It is all seeming a bit real now - we've gone past the halfway stage, had the final scan and I have begun the process of arranging my maternity leave dates with work. Scary stuff. My main source of stress is the house and all the changes we want to make to it before the baby arrives, and (thanks to its terrible timing of being due in January) that really means before Christmas, which suddenly seems really close. Eep! But overall, everything is good and exciting and I am just enjoying myself and feeling very happy, which is nice. And, despite his frequent attempts, I am still not so baby-brained that Graham is able to beat me at Trivial Pursuit. Champion!