Friday, 21 November 2008

Websites that make me happy*

No, it's not that sort of post. Honestly, what were you thinking?

I'm talking about those sites I've either used for years or recently discovered, which tap into my personal loves and interests and/or make life easier. One of the recently discovered ones is, an online knitting and crocheting community (bear with me) recommended by Arianne, whose role on our agency account I have appreciated for some time but until recently having no idea that we share a love of yarn and needles and generally making cute stuff. So I joined Ravelry the other day and now have a whole load of new patterns I want to try, yarns I want to buy and projects I want to get started on. Luckily with my leave coming up I might even have a chance to get going on some of them before Chewie arrives and occupies my every waking moment.

LibraryThing is another of these kinds of sites. I guess the beauty of both this and Ravelry, and Bloglines and even the dreaded Facebook to a certain extent is the cataloguing aspect of them (tapping into the librarian deep in my core, hmm); where knitting projects, books I own, blog feeds, friends, photos etc are all kept in nice easy places for me to access pretty much whenever I want to. I'm yet to find a gardening website that feeds my soul as much, but there's bound to be one out there somewhere.

Maybe I'm getting old, maybe it's preparation for being a mum, I don't know, but 10 years ago only books and music really excited me in my leisure time, that and drinking cider with various cronies of course :) Now I get far more out of creating stuff, whether it's a little beanie hat for a friend's toddler (it's nearly finished Julia and will be on its way to Calgary soon!), a banana loaf for a Bonfire Night get together, a batch of dahlia seedlings growing and blooming over the summer, or even dare I say baking a baby for the last 8 months. I still love reading and listening to music, at gigs or at home, but they exist more as activities to relax me and for pure enjoyment, whereas the more creative stuff seems so much more rewarding. Maybe I should have been a Home Economics teacher rather than taking up with all this online marketing malarkey.

*and other nice things

Thursday, 20 November 2008

33 weeks 1 day

Oh Chewie my darling. Thou giveth with one hand and taketh away with the other. The last 2 nights miraculously I've been able to sleep right through til 6am, not a loo trip in sight and waking up relatively refreshed. Thing is, I think the reason, blissful though this is, is because your knees seem to be wedged right up behind my ribs, and you're a bit higher up than you were, possibly meaning you're not squishing my bladder as much.

But my god does that hurt sometimes. In the mornings I'm mostly relatively comfortable but by about 2pm I can't sit properly without feeling totally constricted around my right ribs; and my upper back just under my right shoulder blade is absolute agony. This goes on for most of the rest of the day, until I can get to have a lie down - and that's not exactly possible at work. So I can imagine the next 2 weeks will be a bit hard to take until I go on leave, when my nesting instinct will apparently kick in (ha!) and I start scrubbing floors and cleaning the oven.

Anyway enough griping. The wriggling Chewie's doing (especially after the spicy pumpkin risotto earlier in the week, funnily enough) always makes me smile and Ali and I are getting more and more excited to meet him or her in 7 weeks or so. Last weekend we went up to Manchester to spend a few days with Stuart, Alison and Archie and also Alison and Liam, and Ali was over the moon to see both nephews at the same time. It was lovely to spend time with the family and see how much both boys have grown - Archie is a wee smiley treasure at about 7 and a half months, and Liam is looking amazingly grown up at 8 years old, especially when he spikes his hair with gel or holds his little cousin gently in his arms.

We loaded up the Golf for the journey home with pram, crib, baby bath, baby gym, and mountains of bags of clothes Archie's too big for. I don't think you can actually see the floor of what will be Chewie's room now. That's going to be a job for the next few weeks, sorting it all and putting it away - though if we ever have more than one child we'll have to bloody move house. Now the only thing I really have left to get sorted is the nappy situation - need to make my choice so the poor nipper has at least something to cover its bum when it comes home from the hospital!

Friday, 7 November 2008


With the impending arrival to our family it’s become a lot harder recently to plan for and be as eco-friendly as I would want to be.

  1. We compost everything that’s compostable (but we don't have a wormery)
  2. Use Ecover for most of our detergents, cleaning products etc
  3. (In theory) have an efficient condensing boiler
  4. Get an organic veg box delivered every week
  5. Recycle glass, cans, paper every week (though the council won’t take cardboard and we don’t save it to recycle at the tip, which is bad)
  6. Buy local produce whenever we can vs. air freighted and support local businesses
  7. Buy organic food, clothes, toiletries etc vs. non organic if possible (and affordable!)
  8. Try and reduce our packaging wherever possible – use cloth bags for shopping (as often as we remember, which to be fair is about 80% of the time)
  9. Garden organically
  10. Bought a rotary airer* for our washing this summer and use it to dry our clothes outside
  11. Plan to use washable cloth nappies not disposables
  12. Cook almost all meals from scratch (I guess this is sort of eco friendly, as we would never buy ready meals and rarely if ever get takeaways other than the odd self-indulgent fish and chips from the chippie round the corner, which counts as supporting local businesses anyway!)
* or birley for those from north of the border…

  1. After a few performance glitches and some internet searching we realised our boiler may not be as efficient as we thought when it was installed…
  2. I love an open fire and will happily burn loads of logs and coal even when it’s not really that cold
  3. As a result of number 11 above, we’ve just bought a tumble drier. There’s no way I am draping wet nappies over radiators in January. If the baby had been coming in June I might have risked it and hoped to be able to put them outside to dry but it ain’t gonna happen in the middle of winter.
  4. When working at home during the recent cold snap I’ve had the heating on all day rather than stick an extra jumper on. I can see that from 5th December, when I’m at home all the time, and especially after Chewie arrives in January, the heating bill will be enormous this winter.
  5. Prefer to buy new than second hand (though we are getting a lot of newborn hand-me-downs from Archie which is brilliant and so is a sort of eco-plus.)
  6. Don’t think twice about jumping in the (petrol-guzzling sports) car and driving to see friends, family, do the shopping, etc which we could in theory do on public transport
  7. I don’t think we have ever even attempted to measure our carbon footprints and don’t make a proper effort to avoid flying etc although we do like taking holidays in the UK and I foresee more of them will be UK based in future!
So overall it appears that we are doing more good to the planet than bad, however I do think our bads are big enough to outweigh the small effort of the goods. Must do better - watch this space...

Thursday, 6 November 2008

31 weeks 1 day

Yikes. I got into work this morning and after getting my breakfast (3 weetabix, sugar, semi-skimmed milk, cup of tea) I sat down at my desk to go through some stuff. I opened my desk drawer to get my calculator out and a smorgasbord of junk food stared back at me accusingly. Half a jumbo bag of tortilla chips. An open but still quite full bag of assorted mints. Twelve (yes, 12) miniature bars of Green & Black's chocolate. Three quarters of a packet of rice cakes. An Uncle Ben's Microwaveable Mexican Rice (sounds horrible but is actually a very tasty and quick lunch). Only the presence of a banana and an apple managed to align the pile of food with some slight nutritional value.

And on the scales this morning, 10 stone, the heaviest, by some way, I've ever been. However - my rings keep slipping off my fingers in piles of laundry. My face is still looking the same as it has for months (usually I have a frantic reluctance to have any photos taken of me at all for fear of double chinnage etc but this has gone away totally in pregnancy). From the back I am reliably assured that you would never know I was pregnant. So it's only Chewie that is getting the benefit of these extra calories - which of course is as it should be. It's actually also now a great thing to be able to eat loads, rather than only the tiny meals I was able to consume in my first 15 weeks or so. What was that all about? Chewie was no more than 10 cm long, my stomach wasn't getting anywhere near the amount of squishing it is now, but I couldn't make it through even two thirds of a full meal, whereas now, with the bump measuring 31cm (bang on target for 31 weeks) he or she is almost a fully grown little baby boy or girl, pressing down on all my internal organs, including, you would think, my stomach. But I am suddenly able (and desiring) to eat. Loads.

Luckily we are still getting our veg box delivered from the fantastic Riverford, and my red meat consumption has gone up significantly, so I don't feel too guilty about a few bags of crisps and chocolates now and again. Or even daily.