Shabby Blog

Friday, 29 July 2011

Blackberries

I just had to share this fab list of things to do with blackberries (including recipes)

YUM!
  1. Bake a blackberry and apple pie
  2. Make blackberry and apple jam
  3. Try blackberry cranachan (had to add this Scottish recipe)
  4. Bake a blackberry and apple crumble
  5. Put in a summer Pavlova
  6. Create a blackberry fool
  7. Make a blackberry smoothie
  8. Put a few blackberries in lemonade
  9. Freeze a few for later. Do not wash. Lay evenly on a baking tray and put in the freezer. Put them in a zip lock bag the next day and then use as needed.
  10. Eat them plain or sprinkled with a little icing sugar. They're yummy!
Image taken from Gormet.com




Compendium

Wow, I keep meaning to update on the various bits and pices that have been going on but I scarcely know where to start!

I think it's fair to say that things are moving along with the bathroom.  We now actually have the bath (even if it is presently located in Neils study.) I had the delivery all organised through Shiply however things as usual were not quite as easy as expected.  The driver had a nightmare journey and arrived around 9pm.  Allowing me and him to grapple with it, slowly squeezing it through the door and sitting neatly behind the sofa.


I was having second thoughts about the bath after I won it.  It will be one of the most expensive purchases that we get for the bathroom. (It was just under £150 for bath and delivery) I realise in terms of normal people this is a snip for any kind of bath and this bath is soooo gorgous, I can't wait to get in it. (Even if my belly doesnt fully fit under the water by then.)

In other Ebay related news - In a fit of madness I also decided to bid on 3 boxes of tiles.  Through some slightly mad calculations I guestimated that just 3 boxes would be enough for the entire room.  Having picked these up last weekend I think I was a little more than optomisitc! They're still sitting in the car so I hope they are heat resistant... We shall see what comes of them.  But they did only cost a couple of pounds and the petrol getting there wasnt any where near as expensive as I expected.

The garden although still full of weeds has been 'bearing fruit' or rather veg. (i keep meaning to ask Neil to help me with it but always come up with better uses of time.) Perhaps this weekend will be a go'er.



I used the carrots for the meal I cooked on Sunday and they were really yummy.  I'm so pleased we managed to thin them out as it allowed them to grow much bigger.

We also went blackberry picking in the morning on Sunday whilst we were walking the dog.  I had started eyeing them up when I went out with a friend the week before so there we headed with our two little pots.  I was amazed to hear Neil had never been blackberry picking before but he seemed to really enjoy it.  Even if he did get into a bit of an argument with a few thorns.


One of my other favourite things from the weekend was when Neil and I sat in our front garden in the beaming sunshine going through an old suitcase of science textbooks I picked up from Freeycle as a surprise for Neil on Friday.  It was really fun looking through them and Neil seemed to really love them.  So there we were, me dusting off the books, Neil flicking through them as we polished off the rest of the home made lemonade.



So now it's time to decide what to do with ourselves this weekend.  Ideas muted so far have been -

Friday, 15 July 2011

12 week scan excitement


So here we have our 12 week scans, it did take quite a while but I was so glad I decided to go to Kings.  I've never been there before and found it to be a really nice environment, it seemed to smell of lavender rather than hospital. Lovely!

It was a really wonderful feeling, seeing the baby there, knowing it was safe.  It was like nothing I have ever felt before, a huge amount of importance weighed down on me, like this was one of the most important things in the world to be carrying such a tiny little thing. And it really is tiny, we found out afterwards its just 5.6cm in length.  We also had it confirmed that our risk of the baby having any abnormalities is 1 in thousands and thousands.

As soon as I saw the baby on the screen I got the feeling it was a boy.  I don't really have any tangible reason why other than 'he' was very lazy and wouldn't move for the doctors.  Before I was pregnant I always imagined having a girl but the more I think about it I will be pleased and so excited either way.

We love you baby and we can't wait to meet you!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Bathroom Fast Forward

So, I am pleased and elated to announce that we are really moving forward with our bathroom.

A few weeks ago I ordered some floor samples from Harvey Maria, which I am slightly in love with.  We cannot afford to pay £24 a SqM and even in the sale its still a good £20 and when you have a floor measuring approximately 9 SqM  there aren't many flooring options that are going to come in under £100.  But seriously, I can't even begin to explain the quality of the Harvey Maria stuff, it feels like it would last a life time.  Did I mention they have Cath Kidston designs *drool*


When I ordered the samples I didn't expect to really like them very much, and ordered quite a few of the sale ones just to get an idea of what they were like.  I ordered a few samples in a style I didn't think I would really like, but now I'm totally sold on the look of whitewashed wood and I can't believe how realistic it looks even in a tiny sample.  The pictures just don't do it justice.


I like the fact that the wood style of it would go with pretty much any colour we choose and as I still can't pin myself down to anything it would be great for us.  It had a really realistic texture and a solidness with the durability of being 100% waterproof.

The other fantastic news is that we finally have our long awaited bath! After what feels like hundreds of bids on ebay for roll top baths we are finally there.  It's quite funny actually, I like it when ebay tries to recommend similar items when you don't win the auction, we're trying to buy a roll top bath with taps for no more than £150 and it starts recommending ones that are thousands.  Nice try ebay but I don't think you have the right idea quite yet!

So drum roll please here is our new bath! 



I did make the slight error of choosing one without the shower head attachment but I have been assured it has no scratches or chips so its nice and sturdy.  I estimated that hiring a van to collect it from Lydhurst would cost us £40 to hire a van and with petrol (what planet was I on?!)  Just with a quick browse it looked more like £100+ so I did a google of shipping companies and came across Shiply.  As I was getting a bit desparate in terms of my lack of collection options I thought I would list it on there and get some bids for how much someone could deliver it to me for.  I was absolutely astounded, within 20min I already had 2 bids and by the next morning there was a bidding war.  I don't want to jinx it as it's currently set to be delivered on Monday evening, but do far its's been amazing.  It's actually cheaper to get someone else spending the time doing all the hard work. So the delivery is now costing just shy of £40 with the Shiply admin fee included. How exciting!

We've also gone full steam ahead and bought a set of towels off Ebay as well, don't worry they're not second hand.  I was looking forward to rolling around in then and choosing some from my favourite stores (TXMaxx, or John Lewis, both have a sale on at the moment.)  However, Ebay came up trumps again. 2 hand towels 2 bath sheets and 2 bath towels with delivery for £31!  They look gorgeous as well, really plump and cosy.  They were originally from Next which I wouldn't have thought of for towels but I'm not complaining!

Oh and we are pretty blissed out from our 12 week scan today, but I'll tell you about that some other time :)


















Sunday, 10 July 2011

A Long Weekend

It has been a long weekend but I'm already not looking forward to work tomorrow.  I do like the prospect of the money it brings but not so keen on the actual work itself.  However at least as of yesterday I can seek solace in the fact that I have got through the first two stages of the John Lewis application proceedure for a Buying Assistant Role.  Now I have to wait up to 4 months for them to call me for interview, but an actual human will review my application now, not just a computer!  Just thinking about working there gets me excited so excuse me while I have some water to calm my nerves!

Anyway, back to the story of this weekend! For a while I've been dreaming of tackling my somewhat unruly study which has been filled with lots and lots of bags of baby things through the kindness of friends and freecycle.  We actually already have most of the things we will need for the baby believe it or not! Did I mention we even have a pram! It's actually pretty cute.  Here's a very quick picture straight from my mobile. Apologies for the terible pictures at the moment I'm feeling monumentally lazy.



Yes, amazingly enough Neil and I picked this up off a freecycle in Brixton about a month ago now. Her mum had bought her a new bugaboo for her second child so she was passing this one on.  I have to admit the steering is slightly unruly (when pushed on carpet...)

So today has basically been part of my mission to clear out the poor unborn babies room and re-locate my mountains of books, pulications, essays, notes and even crafty bits and pieces.  I thought I wouldnt get round to it but I am pleased to announce that I have completley cleared one small bookcase (which is being collected by a freecycler tonight) and re-located a large bookcase to it's previous location.


Here's the bookcase that has been relocated from my study to our bedroom and is now fit for purpose as Neil's bedside table!

The next task after I had cleared the bookcase out of the way, please admire the space to breath as documented here - (please ignore dodgy house pipework we do are best to do the same!!)


I then moved the other bookshelf from beside my desk to the space created. Please see offending bookshelf here on the right.


Here we are mid book re-location




It then took me a lot of heaving to slowly drag even the empty bookshelf from one wall to another, but I got there and it felt good, then all I had to do was rearrange all the books back on the shelves (taking note that there are still lots I need to get rid of.)

And here we have it,bookshelf bliss -



And what is this I spy!? A half an empty wall you say? Crazy times!


The other good news from this weekend has been the fact that Neil didnt have to leave Teach First this afternoon.  As he has to go into his school tomorrow they agreed he could stay at home tonight. And he'll be back on Wednesday for our scan on Thursday. (Although away all next weekend in Warwick...  boooo)

We had a lovely Saturday yesterday as well, I got quite into the spirit of the Tombolla as I flogged 4 tickets for £1 on the Lib Dem stall at Lewisham Peoples Day whilst Neil scouted out chips and churros for me! It's amazing how crazy people go for it, in the end we raised quite a bit which is great news.



And if people's day wasnt enough excitement for me for the one day we then headed in to Lewisham to check in ona light fitting we both liked in BHS which was in the sale but still a bit much for stingy me to fork out.  Naturally it was gone  by the time we went in to check on it this week, doh!  But instead we did find this Steiff bear for the baby in TK Maxx! He's a soft workman bear if you couldn't tell.


Thursday, 7 July 2011

Bump Update - Week 11

I'm off work today to go to the Annual General Meeting of a lovely charity based in the ward I represent as a councillor called Downham Nutrition Partnership.  I've been so impressed with their work since I first heard about them around 2 years ago now.  I'm hoping the weather clears up a little as the meeting is supposed to be taking place on their allotment!


I'm also very pleased to have the time off as working has been wearing me down somewhat, the last two days of my pregnancy have been tough.  My sickness came back with a vengeance on Tuesday and was even worse yesterday but I managed to make it through with the thought that I wouldn't be back until Monday.  I managed to stem the sickness this morning with some chocolate ice cream for breakfast! So today I am pleased to say I haven't actually been sick, although I have had a banging headache on and off.

In addition to my sickness I've also had trouble with pain on the left of my lower back which often shoots down to my toes when I walk or at night when I lie down or turn.  I went to see the doctor on Friday and he gave me a referral to the Physiotherapy Department at Lewisham Hospital.  As I've been at work until today I headed along at 11.00.  I assumed it would be just a 10min session of actual physiotherapy, it turns out it was purely a consultation to see if I needed further appointments.  It was actually really helpful, the Physiotherapist was really lovely and suggested some very simple Pilates exercises and gave me a pregnancy belt to help support my waist.  I'm now on the waiting list for physiotherapy although fingers crossed I wont need it as I can imagine it will mean I need more time off work and I really need to get saving for the baby.

So now that's done I can look forward to next weeks 12 week scan.  I think as Neil said it will be the moment when it actually feels real when we get to see what's been living in there.  I mean the physical affects of feeling sick and emotional for the last 4 weeks confirm that I'm pregnant but they say seeing is believing don't they!  I only wish I could find out if it was a boy or a girl as I am so impatient to know so I can ratchet up my search for names.  We're pretty certain on boy names, the girl names are in complete disarray, the names Neil and I like don't seem quite right.


Baby stuff has already completely taken over my study, and I have so many plans for what I want to do in there.  I'm thinking different colours, fabrics, lots of sewing and probably some painting and framing inspired by some of the lovely images (as above) that I've spotted on Etsy.  My main issue is that I need to have such a good clear out.  I don't think it's fair for the baby not to have a proper room of it's own so I've plans for book shelves in the hallway to make some space and hopefully a nice literary feature.

Here are some other baby related things from Pinterest which I am loving.





In other news, I also received my new sandals today!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Weekend = The Big Feastival

I am so glad to be back again after what has been a lovely weekend.  I'm also feeling quite smug with myself because I finally managed to revise for and take my John Lewis numerical reasoning test.  I applied months and months ago and tried to take the test a few times before only to find the website was in technical meltdown.  I was informed last week that it was back in  business and had 7 days to revise for the test.  Unfortunately for me, I hadn't even looked at a maths test since it broke previously and had meetings every evening but one last week so today was my only day to settle down in to it.  I felt it went ok, but it was really stressful. I could feel the beads of sweat on my brow as I attempted the impossible feat of answering 18 hideously complex problems in 17min. But I got there in the end.  I breathed a sigh of relief (only to find an invitation in my inbox to complete the verbal reasoning test in 7 days) It's a hard life that's what I say!



Anyway, now I am feeling suitably angelic from getting that out of the way I can update you all on the wonderful weekend Neil and I had.  On Thursday I came across a competition to win VIP tickets to Jamie Oliver's Big Feastival which was on Fridays, Saturday and Sunday this week.  Playing on my pregnancy somewhat to win the tickets I detailed what would be my perfect feast and to my amazement we won the tickets. So on Saturday we found ourselves heading out to Clapham Common for a day of free food, drink and good music.  It really was a stroke of luck as Neil and I celebrated being reunited after our first week apart whilst he completes his training at the Teach First summer institute.

The VIP area at 12.30 (Neil already in BBQ queue)

My free fresh lemonade and Neil's free Cava + comfy seats!



It was such a treat, VIP passes entitled us to a private area, a free bbq all day £25 worth of tickets each of the all the pop up restaurants on site (including Locotelli, Wahaca etc.)and free booze for Neil (soft drinks for me).  The whole day was also Dj'd by Hedkandi who specialise in kind of R & B chill out which was perfect for a lazy day reclining on cushions and rugs in the sunshine.



I have to admit we didn't do a lot other than relaxing and eating.  I did feel sick on and off all day but managed to keep it at bay with some delicious chocolate treats being offered by some of the restaurants.  We had a mixture of different things including fish and chips from Canteen, Popcorn Shrimp, Malaysian Satay Skewers, BBQ Pulled Pork and even a hot scotch egg.




And while we were patiently waiting in the queue for the Fish and Chips we even caught a glimpse of Jamie Oliver.  (Spotting him in the pictures below will be more like 'where's Wally?'!)  There was also plenty of celeb spotting to be had, I particularly enjoyed recognising Jamie's wife Jools (who's book on pregnancy I'm currently reading) and Richard Bacon off the Radio.



So I suppose you could say all in all we had the most amazing day, exactly what we needed after a long week away from one another and at 7pm we ambled home, Neil in a slightly worse for wear state....


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