Some Things That (I Hope) I Will And Will Not Do

So I said in one of my recent posts that I am not planning on becoming a Mummy blogger anytime soon.

And while out there in the blogosphere there are some really great family/parenting/lifestyle type blogs, there are a few (in particular a couple of the bigger American family blogs that spring to my mind) that slightly concern me about how the parents of the, admittedly very cute hipster kids, pimp out their offspring to advertise products and earn a living. Sometimes I just want to scream at them “DID NOBODY LEARN ANYTHING FROM MACAULAY CULKIN???!!!???!!” And then sometimes I find myself clicking on the links within the blog post! Hey, I am not immune to a good bit marketing, Im only human!!!

Anyhoo, in honour of one of my favourite family/parenting/lifestyle blogs Mother of All Lists (please click on the link and have a gander, its a great blog that has something for everyone, kids in your life or not!) I thought that I would write a (over opinionated and rather ranty!) post about what I hope that I will and will not do when I become a parent, both online and in everyday life.

….And so that you can all laugh at my naivety and remind me how I am a hypocrite and have completely contradicted myself in a few months time!!!!

  • I am not going to put any photos of the kid on my blog. Sorry about that. I will probably put one or two up when he is born to announce it, but that will be it. This is my personal blog about my life in general and thoughts and feelings etc. So I will stick to writing about the usual mundane stuff like decorating the house, days out and camping trips (if we manage to have any that is!) etc, rather than mundane baby stuff like sleepless nights, weaning and potty training etc. If I find the time to keep blogging of course.
  • The same goes for social media. Rob and I have agreed that we want to respect the kids privacy and we will only share his photos online with our family directly through Whatsapp, a private shared iPhoto album and personal emails. Plus I really hope that I do not post statuses moaning about sleepless nights and all the rest on Facebook! But who knows what my hormones and extreme tiredness will drive me to?!!!
  • I hope that I do not become a baby bore who talks about nothing but their kid. We all know that person. Even after politely listening to the latest news about the sprog, when you try to change the subject and get them to talk about themselves, they somehow always turn the conversation back to junior, bless ’em! BTW I totally did this when we first got the cat. I didn’t realise that I was boring people going on about her all the time!
  • I am not going to neglect my cat. She is still my little baby. Be it a 10 year old black and white, slightly chubby, totally spoilt, furry one who poops herself occasionally, pukes on the floor, has fishy breath, whinges a lot, cries to be fed on demand and needs to be cuddled to sleep all the time!
  • I am not going to call myself mamabear, wear a mother of dragons t-shirt or change my Instagram profile name to “*****’smummy” (whatever we decide to call him, still not made up our minds yet!)
  • I am not going to allow my house to be taken over by toys and kid clutter. Please do feel free to laugh at my naivety here!!! I just really hope that our lounge does not turn into something looking like a soft play area. I have loads of empty storage space in the lounge Ladderax unit for any future Lego, games and craft supplies etc. But who knows who will win the battle against the influx of plastic crap entering the house!
  • I hope that I will not become one of these “holier than thou” types who thinks that they are a more compassionate, understanding person just because they are a parent. True story – one time Rob and I were sitting in the pub next to a friend of a friend of a friend, who asked if we had any kids, then started going on about how wonderful parenthood is and how much having kids makes you a better person. I had to bite my tongue and hold back while he waffled on and on about how selfless and wonderful he was. What a dick!!! In fact, at one point I did actually say to him “so you are telling me that I am selfish because I don’t have kids” but it seemed to go over his head. Surely common sense tells you that not everybody has a choice in these matters and there are plenty of terrible, evil people out there who also happen to be parents? Grrrrrr, what a dick!!!!!!!!!
  • I hope that I do not say to other first time expectant mums or couples, the one cliche that everyone has told us that “our lives are going to completely change”! For some reason this perfectly innocent, meant well statement has grated me a bit during my pregnancy. I think its because its so obvious. And your lives also change with other major life events – like when you break up with someone, lose a loved one, get made redundant or change your job and move house etc, but no one seems to say it to you then. On a personal level, I have sometimes wanted to tell people “yeah, well so does having a miscarriage (*change your life that is*). It makes you appreciate that you cannot predict anything in life, that life is short and you need to be thankful for what you have”. But I am too polite to say so and I do not want to make people feel uncomfortable!
  • I also hope that I will not tell child free couples when they see my future babe that they “will be next”! As if just by looking at my child it will magically cure their infertility or make them change their minds about their personal choices in life!!!
  • I hope that I can bring my boy up to be a feminist.
  • I hope that if he does like Disney’s Frozen that I can support his interest and will not have a near nervous breakdown after hearing Let it Go for the millionth time! Gah, I hate that effing song so much!!!
  • I will not be a miserable cow about Xmas anymore and will try to make their childhood memories of the festive period good ones! Bring on the Elf on a shelf, tinsel and turkey!!!
  • And I hope that this will be my last personal/thought dump type of post on here about the kid. But who knows?!!!

The New House – Our Finished Bedroom

Right, its about time that I shared a finished room on here!

I will start with our bedroom. We finished decorating this room back in June (I think?) and we currently have the 3rd bedroom/office, the hallway, the bathroom and the kitchen all about 90% done. What’s left in these rooms is the silly little finishing touches like hanging pictures up etc that we always seem to take ages to getting round to doing.

I had hoped to share more finished room tours on my blog before the end of the year, but somehow we seem to be running out of time!

As per usual, the lounge is turning into a bigger project than we anticipated (including accidental purple walls!) and we still have yet to start the second bedroom!

I promise I will eventually get round to blogging the rest of the house. In the mean time, thanks for your patience!

Below is how the bedroom looked like when we viewed the house back in January ’16. This is the estate agents photo.viewing b4 main bedroom

A nice bedroom with nothing wrong with it. Yet we still felt the urge to decorate it!!!

And below are three photos of how things looked when we first moved in.
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We were expecting the previous owner to take the wardrobes and chest of drawers with them. But it turned out that they were built in units. Yes, we could have lived with them, but I am quite attached to our own walnut coloured bedroom furniture from our old house! One of my main requirements for any future home, when we were viewing properties, was that I could fit all of our bedroom furniture in to the main bedroom. I made Rob get out the tape measure in every property we viewed and all the poor estate agents heard the story about how I didn’t want to have to sell our wardrobes etc!

Within the first few weeks of living here, Rob carefully removed and dismantled the previous owners bedroom furniture and we gave away it to a friend. Then we set about recreating my old dining room in the bedroom!

We painted the walls white, carpeted the room, hung a new pole and curtains up, changed the light fitting to hang my lampshade that we brought with us from our old house (there was no way I was leaving that behind, as I knew our buyers would not appreciate its vintage, yellow, loveliness and would just throw it away!) and then we reassembled our furniture in the room.

After a few weeks of decorating fun and games, here are the results!

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As you come into the room we have our Cocoa Eyes print and mirror.

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Apologies for my (surprisingly flattering) 9 months pregnant reflection in the picture. I am a terrible photographer!

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Ignore the creases in the bed covers. I never iron them. Or iron anything at all if I can help it!

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Sorry for the darkness in this snap. Its included to try to give you all the 360 tour of the room. I cannot be bothered to learn how to balance light or actually use the camera properly!

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The Parma Violets

Here is little up date on our lounge decorating situation.

We have hung the new lining paper, painted it with a white under coat, moved a couple of plugs, replaced, primed and painted the skirting boards, had the new flooring fitted and painted one wall lilac.

Woah hold up, whats that you just said Helen? Yep its true, we have just painted one of our walls a lilac colour!!!imageimageimage

It was not done on purpose, believe me! I do love colour, but purple is one of my least favourite colours. Its safe to say that I am not a fan of our new lilac wall!

It was a bit of a cock up. We were hoping to find a grey paint similar to the colour that we used in our old lounge. We couldn’t find one, so we took in a sample of the colour we wanted and got the DIY store to scan it and mix it up to order. The tester that we had made up was just what we wanted, so we paid for it to be made up in a large five litre tin.

When Rob opened the five litre tin on Monday, he remarked that the grey colour looked a bit pinker than he remembered. We just thought that maybe once it had been painted on the walls it would dry to the colour that we wanted.

Nope! It didn’t! It dried a lovely shade of 80’s-tastic lilac!

Ah, well. Shit happens. We can laugh about it now! And the DIY store who we brought the paint from were very good and admitted that the mixing machine had made a mistake somehow (they couldn’t figure out why though and it had never happened before!) and gave us a full refund.

I just cannot look at our lounge wall without being reminded of granny hair dye jobs, Parma Violet sweets and bad eighties bridesmaids dresses!

Mean while more tester paint pots have been brought! Its back to square one again!

The New House – Ideas And Inspiration For The Second Bedroom

Sorry to keep wanging on about baby stuff on here. I did hope to share a tour of our bedroom today, but its too dark and rainy to take any decent photos, so that post will have to wait. Fear not, I am not about to turn into a “mummy blogger” anytime soon! But at this moment in time its a big thing in my life, so I cannot help but over share on here occasionally!

I just wanted to do a little follow up from this post here (the 2nd bedroom before tour post) to talk about my ideas for this room.

I must say that it has been quite hard deciding how to decorate this room. My initial thoughts were to just paint the room white, but then Rob banned me from having any more white walls in the house! (He hates it! Because its a bugger to paint and you cannot see what bits you have already painted apparently!)

Next I thought “what about that greeny-grey neutral colour that we had in our bedroom in our last house?” But Rob was not so keen on the colour. So that was the end of that. (Yes, believe it or not, sometimes I do let him have a say in things!!!)

So it was back to the drawing board again. Or rather, pinning stuff on my secret Pinterest board for inspiration!

All that I had decided on was this Ikea light in the room and, don’t ask me why, but I set my heart on a bright yellow cot! …You know, the one colour that cots are least likely to be made in! Luckily I managed to find one online at a sensible price, so that Pinterest-to-blame-type-of-want was fulfilled!

So far we have purchased the two items pictured below.

Image from ikea.com

The light for the room. Image from ikea.com

His cot. Image from direct.asda.com

His cot. Image from direct.asda.com

And this is how the room currently looks.imageimageimageimage

Doesn’t it make you a bit twitchy and anxious? The piles of bags everywhere, the disorganisation of it, and the fact that I have just over four weeks left to go til D-day? Eep!

But to be honest, I am pretty chill about things. As for the first few months the kid will be sleeping in our bedroom, in one of those next to the bed cribs, so there is no December deadline to get this room finished. Phew! And I have finally decided on the wall colour and more furnishings! We just need to finish decorating the lounge first so that the Ladderax unit and the books etc can be moved back in there, then I can start sorting out the piles of baby paraphernalia that my parents have brought us and friends have kindly given to us.

And pack my hospital bag and do other practical shit like that!

The scheme that I have decided on is for the walls to be painted on the bottom half a teal coloured dark blue (yes, I know, I have chosen blue for a boy! But I like the colour and would also use it in a little girls room) then white on the top half. A bit like in the images all gleaned from Pinterest below.

And somehow I have managed to get Rob to paint another room white again! But this room doesn’t count as its only half white. Honest!

Image from ikea.com

Image from ikea.com

Image from spearmintbaby.com

Image from spearmintbaby.com

More Pinterest inpiration. Not quite the look that I am going for, but look, a yellow cot and the same lampshade!

More Pinterest inpiration. Not quite the look that I am going for, but look, a yellow cot and the same lampshade! Image from babble.com.

Next, I plan to order this Ikea chest of drawers for a changing area and clothing storage, which I cannot wait to organise like this Mummy blogger has.

Nordli chest of drawers. Image from ikea.com.

Nordli chest of drawers. Image from ikea.com.

Image from twotwentyone.net.

Image from twotwentyone.net.

Then order this cute Scandi inspired bunny print below to hang somewhere in the room. Just because I like it and would be very happy to have it hanging in my bedroom TBH!

Image from thismodernlife.co.uk

Image from thismodernlife.co.uk

Watch this space for the room tour next year!

In Hels Kitchen #4

Blimey, it has been over a year since I last published a “In Hels Kitchen” post! The main reason for this, is not that I lost my cooking mojo, its more that I have not really had the time to cook stuff properly over the last year or so. Back in Kent, I was working full time hours over odd shift patterns. I mainly worked afternoons, evenings and weekends (i.e the shifts that no one else wants!) As I did not get home until gone 8pm or 9pm, I batch cooked meals and used my slow cooker a hell of a lot. Then just before we moved when I was running the cupboards and freezer down, we ate a lot of ready made pizzas, pre-made sandwiches and pasta parcels!

When we moved here and during the early days of my pregnancy, I was really sick and I could hardly stomach any food. I could only manage to force down ice lollies, toast and mashed potatoes! I felt too rough to cook anything and the kitchen made me heave (it had a funny chemical smell!) Plus the cats litter tray was in there which also made me ill, so Rob was a good boy and stepped up taking over the cooking and made me lots of scrambled egg on toast!

Now that I am feeling much better (although I have been sick twice since I said on here that I am better! Typical!) and currently on the worlds longest maternity leave ever™ I am starting to enjoy cooking once again. I am loving being in my new kitchen and its something to fill my time with during the day.

Its a shame that in a month or so I will no longer have the time or energy to cook again, but at least I have had plenty of practice using my slow cooker and making quick, healthy(ish) meals etc all thanks to working odd hours over the last year or two.*

I am also trying to batch cook and freeze lots of meals in preparation for the kid. So far I have 12 meals stashed away in the freezer. I did a freezer stock take the other day and am now slightly panicking that I have less than two weeks worth of meals! Eek, I had better get my finger out and make some more!

So what have I been cooking lately then?

This vegetable crumble from the Good Food website. It was tasty and something a little bit different. I froze one for later.

Lots of Sunday roasts, while I can of course! This recipe here makes enormous yorkies BTW.

A photo posted by Rob Staerck (@robsbugged) on


Lots of big batch spag bols, curries, chillis and stews etc to freeze. Its a shame that your typical freezer friendly meals are mostly meat based. Does anyone know any good, filling veggie meals that I can stock up my freezer up with? Although I guess that we will be glad of the extra protein when the time comes! Its also a good job that the babe is going to be a winter babe, as who fancies stew or curry on a scorching hot summers day?

I am also gobbling down a bunch of grapes almost daily. I just cannot get enough of them. So sweet and juicy! Nom nom!

*You know that we will end up eating lots of ready made pizzas, fish finger sandwiches, take aways and pasta parcels! All the good stuff!

The New House – More Lounge Progress

When shit goes down, it feels a bit incongruous to blog about frivolous stuff like decorating my house. Plus I am well aware that blogging about baby stuff is as dull as dishwater and only semi-interesting to Rob and I, and the grandparents (who don’t actually read my blog!)

But the world still keeps on turning and life goes on. Blogs (to me) are a nice distraction from the world around us, full of inspiring, pretty things. They are five minutes of escapism from the bad news reports and political hate spewed on social media etc.

Ok, so I cannot call the images in this blog post pretty! But here is a little update on how things are currently looking in our lounge.

I hope that we can have this room finished by the time the kid arrives. The walls are going to be lined, then painted, skirting boards replaced, curtains hung and the new flooring will be fitted in nine days time (so long inheritance and savings – sob, its been nice knowing you!) Then we can move the rest of our furniture back into the room and I can faff about arranging my pot plants, books and nik-naks.

And hopefully share the finished results on here!imageimageimageimageRob has just filled in this crack in the wall. He said to me “go on, have a feel of my crack, feel how smooth it is” err, no thanks mate!

Christmas 2016

I know, I know – its more than a tad too early to mention the big C word (IMO there should be only 12 days of it, no scrap that, just 1 day of it, and it doesn’t start in August!) But don’t worry, this is not going to be one of my yearly traditional posts ranting about the music and the overblown commercialism etc. Because for once I am not working in a hellhole busy retail environment and this Xmas is going to be a very different one, as no big deal, but we are only blooming having a baby around that time!

I am officially due on 21/12/16, but we all know that no one ever arrives on their due date! I am really hoping that the kid is not born on Xmas day (or Xmas eve or Boxing day or New years day if I go overdue!) As that is such a rubbish birthday to have. So I am kind of hoping that I will be a week or two early so the poor little buggers B.day is not too close to Xmas and gets overlooked!

I used to work with a lovely lady who was born on Xmas day. She hated it as she never really got to celebrate her birthday. She would wake up in the morning and her kids would wish her happy birthday, then she would have to work all day long cooking the whole family a huge Xmas dinner. Plus she always had her mother-in-law staying round. So it wasn’t much fun for her. (That’s how she told me, anyway. Bless her!)

One of Rob’s friends used to go out with a girl who was also born on Xmas day. She would always celebrate her half birthday in June, as her B.day kind of slipped by because of all the other celebrations going on.

I saw this feature on Apartment Therapy the other day, its a interesting study on the frequency of birthdays and how common your birthday is. Plus I am bored stupid on the worlds longest ever maternity leave and I have too much time on my hands to over think these things!

I have tried not to get too excited and make loads of plans for the future. Because in the past I have learnt that its best not to think too far ahead and that the best laid plans never work out. I prefer to go with the flow and I have a wing it approach to life in general.

The only one thing that I have daydreamed about with the kid is making future birthday cakes for them (that and future family camping trips together in the van!) I am looking forward to the challenge of creating their special requests in the form of cake! But how will we manage to eat two blooming cakes at Xmas time? (Rob said that this will be no problem for him BTW!) And how will I manage to accommodate, please and entertain doting grandparents for joint B.days and Xmas so no one has their nose put out? We all know that I hate being the hostess with the mostess!!!

This will also be the first Xmas that we will not see our families. We have had Xmases on our own before, but we always visited the family before or after the main event. This year we will not be able to travel to the Isle of Wight or Kent. The funny thing is that everyone seems to be concerned about how we are going to be celebrating Xmas this year! My Mum is worried that we will not be able to have a Xmas meal (where as Rob is just pleased to be missing out on the dry turkey!) But as I said to everyone – celebrating Xmas is the last thing that we are worried about this year as we have other more important stuff to think of!

Plus it gives me the perfect excuse not to bother putting the decorations up this year! Although even Rob told me not to be such a Grinch on that one! But to me its another hassle that I could do with out with a new born in the house!

Some Stuff For The Kid

I guess that this post will reveal that we are having a boy. Its not a big secret, as we chose to find out the sex at our 20 week scan and we have told all our friends, family and anyone else who asks what we are having. I just haven’t mentioned it on my blog for some reason! We still haven’t decided on a name yet though. He just goes by “the kid” for now!

I have recently broken my own rules and brought some clothing for the baby. I brought these super hero vests (age 6-9 months, brand new with tags) for £2.50 in a local chazza and I allowed Rob, AKA the ultimate big kid/Star Wars fan (like most blokes around his age are!), to buy this cute Chewbacca onesie thingy while we were out shopping in Tescos the other day.imageimage

I am trying to avoid the whole pink for a girl and blue for a boy thing, but you cannot help being drawn towards all the stereotypical gender based stuff as there is not a lot of unisex clothing out there. So I am just sticking to my no boring baby blue and greige coloured stuff rule the best I can, and I will try to make his wardrobe and accessories as bright and cheerful as I possibly can!

Robs Aunt is a prolific knitter and has already asked us if we wanted any bits made for the baby. I requested a brightly coloured stripey blanket and a little bonnet/hat type of thing (but not in pastel colours please!) And she has already made them and posted them down to us! How cute are they? I love hand knitted bits for lit’luns. I wish I was clever and could knit myself, but I just don’t have the skills or patience for it!image

Oh, and Robs Mum found this vintage Fisher Price toy that used to belong to Rob and his sister up in her loft and passed it on to us.image

Plus we have also ordered the cot and mattress as they were on special offer (even though he won’t be sleeping in them straight away and will be in our room at first) and the car seat is on order from the local baby superstore (AKA your worst nightmare if you hate spending lots of unnecessary money and are not keen on cutesy, vomit inducing baby furniture and paraphernalia like myself!!!) which will be ready to collect within the next three weeks, I hope!

So we are getting there. I have finally accepted that I had better stop putting things off and get a bit more prepared for the new member of the household!

Who am I kidding, we are totally unprepared for what is coming and the house has a lot more than 7 weeks decorating left to do! Eek!

Lately #19

My life is pretty boring at the moment (just the way I like it! No dramas for me, thank you!) but I thought I would do a quick catch up post on here anyway.

  • I’ve finished work now, as my temporary summer job’s contract has ended. So I now have the worlds longest ever maternity leave. If I could carry on working, I would, but I don’t have a choice. Its a bit dull, but I am trying to make the most of things, having lots of lie ins, enjoying the last of my free time, going for walks and writing lists of things to do to keep myself busy etc. Fingers crossed the next 9.5(ish) weeks will fly by for me! And fingers double crossed for me that I get my maternity allowance approved and paid into my bank account soon!
  • The store that I was working in have promised me a job again next summer when I am ready to go back to work (if Rob and I can sort out looking after the kid between us, that is!) So that’s reassuring, as I hate being out of work and not earning any money.
  • The big news is that my morning sickness is now finally over! I stopped throwing up at 28 weeks, and I can now drink water without gagging again (TFFT!) It has not been fun being unable to drink anything and forcing down squash and Nesquik (two drinks that I normally hate), so I am making up for lost time guzzling down lots of fizzy water (just in time for the last part of pregnancy where you keep going to the toilet!) Its so great being able to drink like a normal person again and I only dry heave occasionally now, maybe once or twice a day. Hurrah!
  • Talking of dry heaving, we recently visited the Isle of Wight to see my family and we put the cat in a cattery. When we picked her up and drove her home, she pooed herself with fear in her carrier (yes, for real), which was on my lap. Bleugh! I nearly threw up with the smell of it! We had all the windows open, with me heaving all the way home, and poor Rob didn’t know what to do but laugh (which I can now also do retrospectively!) Bloody cat!!!
  • Rob’s folks also visited us recently and could see why we moved down here. They loved it.
  • The old gas fire in the lounge has now been ripped out. I love the last photo below that Rob took of the hole in the wall when the outside flue was removed.img_2881img_2883img_2885img_2888
  • Rob is currently grouting the kitchen tiles and cursing me for choosing black grout! But it will be worth it as it will look f**king fantastic when done!black groutBlack grout has now been added to the list of things that I am not allowed to decorate with ever again.
  • Next we will finish decorating the lounge and then start the guest babies bedroom. I might do a wee post on my ideas and inspiration for it. Or will that be really boring? I hope not!
  • And finally, does anyone remember this amazing mid century house in Kent that I blogged about back in 2014? It has gone back on the market again and the current owners have ripped out the original kitchen! Whaa! I mean, its still an awesome house that I would be more than happy to move into, if I could afford it, and I could pick it up and move its location to where I live now. At least they kept the original upper kitchen units though. And I still have a lot of love for this house even with its new updates. Check out the listing here.
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How it looked in 2014

Currently in 2016. Both images from themodernhouse.com via wowhaus.co.uk

Currently in 2016. Both images from themodernhouse.com via wowhaus.co.uk

  • And talking of retro kitchens and interiors, here is a Instagram account to follow full of retro Swedish kitchens and interiors if you like that kind of thing!

One Last Post About Our Last House

Just for my own records so that I can look back at things on here, I want to share the estate agents images of our last house.

Its always interesting to see pictures of your house taken from another persons perspective. The agent that we used to sell our old house did not send a ‘professional’ photographer round (like some of the other agents used as a selling point for their services!) We used one of the cheaper online estate agents and the local expert did a decent enough job with her little compact camera.
old hose frontold loungeold dining roomold kitchen 1old kitchen 2old bedroomold bathroomold garden