Wales

This weekend we had a relaxing short break in the Gower near Swansea in Wales.  It was just what what we needed.  We arrived late evening on Friday and left Sunday morning, so it literally was a very short break but we are home birds and even after two nights away I was ready to go home.  Probably sounds weird but hey, there is no place like home.

We had a lovely walk on Oxwich beach on Saturday morning, followed by a delicious lunch at Oxwich Bay Hotel.  We then drove to Rhossili Bay for a short walk and popped into the National Trust shop there and picked up a couple of wool blankets for the couches in our lounge.

Saturday evening was spent watching the first few episodes of  Dexter - Series 1 and munching on olives, carrot sticks and houmous.

So this weekend saw us tick something a couple of things off our list of things to do before baby arrives.  Enjoy a meal out and get away for a weekend.  Now we are going to start washing clothes, packing the hospital bag, buying the last of the things we need and hopefully me finishing work soon.

And a very happy birthday to the my gorgeous hubby today ♥

Around here + some links

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Another week nearly done, I cannot believe it is nearly the end of November, the weather is getting colder, the afternoons darker and Christmas is around the corner.  I know I always comment about time and how quickly it is going but seriously - the weeks seem to be flying by now.  I am nearly 32 weeks, I feel HUGE and everyday things are becoming more of a struggle.

Lately, all I have been able to cope with is getting up, going to work, coming home, cooking dinner and flopping onto the couch and then into bed.  Phew - this third trimester pregnancy thing really takes its toll on the body.  I had my 31 week check up with the midwife on Tuesday and everthing is going as it should.  Baby Choudhry is just above average for his growth which is fine by me.  Do you know that your measurement from the top of your uterus (bump) to your pubic bone is about the number of weeks you are?  I love little facts like that!

Baby Choudhry's kicks are getting stronger and his movements are more sweeping now - it is such a weird sensation but also very comforting when I am sitting at my desk, on the train, on the couch or climbing into bed and he moves around.  He also gets hiccups most days and it is the cutest thing seeing your bump move up and down and feeling him hiccuping.  I cannot wait to meet my little baba and see what he looks like - I just want January to be here but at the same time want time to stand still for a while so I can organise things!

Tonight, we drive down to the Swansea Gower for a couple of nights break in the sweetest little cottage.  We have been twice before and just love the area.  There are lovely walks to do, we can visit a few pubs, take a walk on the beach and just relax and enjoy some alone time together before baby arrives.  It is also Mani's birthday on Monday so I thought it would be nice for us to get away for that too.

This week I have made some mincemeat for the first time and my sloe gin is looking good.  Be sure to watch out for the recipes next week as well as some pictures from our weekend in Wales.

Here are a few things that I have found this week and had to share.

These amazing pictures - not sure I would have the courage to have taken them though!

10 true things about the first year of parenthood.

This beautiful post which nearly had me in tears - I just can't wait to become a mommy.

50 Photos of my beautiful home. 

♥ The cutest and easiest Paint and Punch DIY from Zana.

♥ The magical John Lewis Christmas advert and how it was made.

Happy Friday friends.  Make this weekend one to remember ♥

Chocolate Marble Cake


I love a good piece of cake - who doesn't?  And this really is a lovely bit of good ol' fashioned cake which is a must with a cup of tea.  I remember making this quite a lot when I was a child when my love for baking began. 

I didn't have a big enough round tin so I popped it into my over sized loaf tin and it baked
beautifully. 


Ingredients

♥ 225g (8oz) Butter
♥ 225g (8oz) Caster Sugar
♥ 3 Eggs
♥ 350g (12oz) Self raising flour
♥ Pinch salt
♥ 200ml milk
♥ 75g (3oz) Cocoa

Cream the butter and sugar and add the eggs one at a time, beating well.
Fold in the flour, salt and milk.
Divide the mixture between two bowls and fold the cocoa into one, mixing well.
Spoon the mixtures alternatively into a greased 20.5cm (8 inch) deep cake tin to give a marble effect.
Bake at 170 degrees (325 F) for 1.5 hours until well risen.

Super easy to make and oh so lovely to eat. 
It keep wells too, just pop it in a tin or wrap it in brown paper.

Happy Friday ♥

Berry picking

I have always wanted to go foraging, pick berries and make something with them and I was determined to do it this Autumn.  Hooray for doing something I have always wanted to do!  We woke up early on Sunday morning, wrapped up in scarves, jackets and boots and headed out into the next village.  We parked the car and trundled through a muddy path and a few gates and arrived in a field I had heard where full of blackthorn trees which grow sloe berries.

We were not disappointed - there were loads of trees abundant with the powdery blue berries and we got picking.  It was a beautiful clear morning but it was very cold.  We managed to pick a couple of kilo's (we couldn't believe how many once we got home) and we are going to make sloe gin for Christmas gifts this year.  Sloe gin is easy to make and while I have never tasted it, I have heard it is lovely neat over ice or very refreshing with some tonic water.







There are other things you can make with sloes such as jam, jelly or in a pudding.  Although sloe berries are very bitter so they need a lot of sugar.  I have stored our pickings in the freezer and we are going to buy some swing top bottles and gin this weekend to make some sloe gin.  Watch out for a post next week on how we make it.

Why don't you head out this weekend if you are in the UK, do some foraging and make something homemade for your loved ones this Christmas?

Cox & Cox: beautiful products perfect for Christmas

I love love love the Cox and Cox website - it is filled to the brim with pretty things that anyone would want.  They always have new arrivals as well as a sale room where you can pick up a bargain.  They launched in 2001 with the aim to provide a mail order catalogue of items which were contemporary yet unique with products that are "both beautiful and practical" and nothing mass-produced.  I love this type of ethic - there are so.many.things. out there nowadays which have been produced in the millions which have no charm or charisma.  Why not support a local UK business whose aim is to sell items which will make both your home and life more enjoyable!

Here are a few of my favourite things ♥

// washing powder box // wire rack //

// naked wire lights // deer spoons //

// rusty cat // pine cone bird feeder //






// grater // wooden scoops //
 All their products are beautifully made and I just love oogling over everthing on their beautiful website.  There are so many ideas for your home, Christmas and gifts - go have a look!

Follow them on twitter // pinterest // facebook // blog or why not request a catalogue?

Note: All images courtesy of the Cox & Cox website.

@ 30 weeks

30 weeks?  Where is the time going?!  Eeek, 70 days until the 19th January and he might come earlier than that!!  Baby Choudhry is definitely growing and the bump is getting bigger and bigger as the weeks go by.  Bending over to pick something up, putting socks on and tying my shoelaces are not as easier task as they once were.  There is a lot of huffing, puffing and groaning which takes place when a task like this has to be achieved.  And don't get me started trying to get comfortable in bed.

I have had a few bouts of nausea this past week, the midwife said that often women find that the 3rd trimester can bring some of the 1st trimester symptoms back.  Lets hope that is not the case.  I do not deal well with feeling sick.  I am struggling to cope at the moment with getting up, commuting, working and commuting home again.  Tiredness is kicking in big time and I still have 6 weeks of work left.

Another thing I have noticed is my urge to sort, organise, tidy and clean anything that is not sorted, organised, tidied or cleaned.  I didn't think I would go through this well-known phase in pregnancy but it has kicked in big time.  I also am on a mission to get things done.  Ideally I would like the nursery sorted and everything bought by the end of the month but time and budget probably won't allow for this so it will have to be the end of December which is also OK.

I have come to realise that the nursery does not have to be in a perfect state when baba arrives - he is going to be sleeping with us (in this beautiful crib we have chosen) for the first 4 months at least so if we only get some final finishes done after he arrives that's okay.  It doesn't all have to be in perfect order!

Next month we start our antenatal classes which should be interesting, there are four in total and involve talks about various things such as breastfeeding, labour, the birth, changing a nappy etc. We have decided to have baby at the local midwife-led unit as opposed to a hospital.  We prefer the thought of a relaxed atmosphere with the least intervention, however I am prepared to go to hospital if things do not work out as planned.  Lots of women have told me while you have a birth plan, also accept that things probably won't go the way you imagined, just be prepared to accept whatever happens.  So that's what we are doing.

I will say it again - it is still such a surreal feeling to be pregnant and know that we will be parents soon.  It is such a blessing and we are just so excited for everything to come. ♥

Things to do as a couple before baby arrives

{this picture was taken in October 2008, we had been together for just over a year}

It's November, which means we have anything from 9 - 13 weeks before baby arrives.  I wanted to write a list of the things that both me and Mani want to do together before we leap into parenthood.

We were talking the other night about things we want to do that won't really be possible once baby is here.  This is what we came up with.

♥ Go see a movie

♥ Go out for a quiet dinner in a quaint pub in the countryside

♥ Go away for a weekend

♥ Go out for tea and cake over Christmas and buy baby a christmas tree decoration for next year

♥ Have a day of just eating nibbles, drinking tea and watching movies

♥ Enjoy what Sundays we have left with specially made breakfasts like pancakes and cinnamon bread

♥ Appreciate being able to lie in on the weekends

♥ Do something spontaneous one day, be it go for a walk, go out for lunch or a drink or shopping

Did you do anything in particular for baby arrived? Or wish you had?  While I am so very excited for the arrival of baby choudhry, it also marks the end of an era in a way.  Our lives as a couple are going to change and we want to enjoy and appreciate this time as much as we can.

They say when baby arrives, you tend to forget what life was like before baby,  so here's to enjoying and remembering and making memories.

What I am wearing @ 28 weeks

At  28 weeks + 5 days pregnant, finding things to wear is getting a little bit more challenging.  Saying that, I am super lucky to have quite a neat bump so I am enjoying it while it lasts.  I am still able to wear one pair of my jeans but slowly these are becoming more uncomfortable so leggings and maternity jeans are becoming a staple in the wardrobe.

I have invested in a few long vests tops as well as some tunics. I am trying to avoid loose maternity tops as they are quite tent-like and don't really flatter my figure.  I am not ashamed to say that nearly all of my maternity clothes I have bought off ebay second hand.  They are all in pristine condition and are a bargain compared to the prices you will pay in the shops.

I have invested in two pairs of boots this winter, one brown knee-length pair and a pair of black ankle boots which are super comfy too.  I have been in the UK 8 years and this is the first time I have bought two pairs of boots as well as spending a fair bit on them - there is no point, in my opinion, buying cheaper boots every winter which only last one season.  So I splurged!

Please excuse the quality of the photos, taken in the morning while I get ready for work - the lighting is not optimal and also, we ripped up our carpets in anticipation of our news ones being installed next week so that explains the industrial looking wooden floors too!

|Trousers H&M | Tshirt Bub2B | Cardigan New Look | Boots New Look |
|Jeans Woolworths | Top Hand me down from my sister | Cardigan Edgars | Boots New Look |
|Trousers M&S | Vest Primark | Top Woolworths | Boots M&S |
|Dress Wallis | Jersey Primark | Boots M&S |
|Dress Wallis | Cardigan Woolworths | Leggings Next | Boots M&S|
|Jeans Woolworths | Vest Primark | Shirt GAP | Boots New Look|


Happy Friday ♥

What I am wearing inspired by Nikki.

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