Maternity style: 26 weeks

This past weekend we took a trip to Dagfields craft and antique centre, where we snapped a few photos, including one of the three of us. At 26 weeks, I’m fast approaching the third trimester, which is both very exciting and pretty terrifying. My bump is slowly growing, and some days I wake up and feel huge! This is then is crazy comparison to when I see photos of myself and realise how small I still am in reality. We had a midwife appointment a couple of weeks ago and she assured me I’m doing fine size-wise, but it is crazy to think how much growing I still have to do. This skirt has been in regular rotation in my wardrobe lately: comfortable, easy to wear and stretchy!

The baby is kicking up a storm these days, making us well aware of her presence. I’m still completely in awe when that happens. I’m feeling more tired these days, but that could be the madness of Christmas approaching. Baby knitting is still in progress, and I have an exciting and ADORABLE hat pattern to share. In the meantime I plan to share a few of my current online baby shops in this space…back soon!

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Wearing: vintage cardigan, ebay | scarf, gift shop, Montgomery | skirt, Zara | boots, Liberty for Doc Martens

Seasonal baking

I realise that this blog has become pretty baby-centric of late, and I’ve posted no baking updates for quite a while. Well, I haven’t stopped baking, and still do so regularly, but recently I’ve been a bit uninspired in that department so have been turning back to old favourites: tried-and-tested recipes which I’ve made before and I know are sure to go down well in our house. With Christmas shopping and decorating vying for attention, it’s nice to be able to bake something easy and stress-free that I know I can whip up easily. So I thought I’d give you a little round-up of some of my favourite seasonal recipes which are just perfect for this time of year.

First up, back in November I revisited one of our favourites, treacle toffee. This recipe does make quite a lot, so we shared it out between friends to celebrate Bonfire Night. Treacle toffee also works well around Christmastime, why not bag it up and share with your loved ones as a festive treat?
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Next up, for a weekend away with some pals I made this delicious chocolate tart, which was a new recipe for me last new year. We ate it with cream, like complete gluttons, and leftovers were sent home with happy friends.
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I can’t quite believe I haven’t posted about this before, but it’s almost time to break out the spices and make lebkuchen! I first made this two years ago, using Ruth’s excellent recipe. You don’t need me to type out the process again, simply head over to The Pink Whisk for full instructions and photos. I love to make lebkuchen to give to friends and family for Christmas, and usually dip the biscuits in chocolate. Last year I also punched a hole in a snowflake-shaped biscuit and hung it from our Christmas tree (until it mysteriously disappeared). Cute!
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Although I pronounced this cake to be ideal for January, its beautiful gingery warmth will also get you through chilly December. A foolproof Nigel Slater recipe, which I’ve made multiple times now. Always gets a lot of praise and is a doddle to make!
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Finally, if it’s chocolate you’re after, Nigel is at hand to help out again. These chocolate puddings are delicious, but to make them truly festive you could add a few drops of irish cream or other liqueur.
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If you have a go at any of the above recipes, do let me know, and enjoy! Another firm favourite in our house is a simple gingernut thoroughly drizzled in dark chocolate. I hope your seasonal baking is filled with fun, happiness and – most of all – minimal stress!

A rattle for baby

With our baby due in just over three months (erk), I decided it was about time to craft something fun for her. After all, I’ve recently created plenty of cute things for other friends’ babies, and apart from the pants I posted about a few weeks ago, until very lately I hadn’t actually made anything for our little one. All of a sudden, though, I had three projects on the go, and this is the one I finished first.

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If you haven’t heard of Ravelry, and are into knitting and crochet, hot-foot it over there. It’s full of great knitting and crochet patterns, many of them free (!), and is wonderful for baby clothes and toys. When I stumbled across this adorable baby rattle crochet pattern I knew I had to make it. I love the simple bunny design, and I opted to make one in the same lovely mustard-and-cream colourway. You can find the pattern right here.

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The bunny is stuffed with quilt wadding, and in the middle is a Kinder egg toy shell filled with lentils, and wrapped in sellotape, for safety. This was a really quick project, and loads of fun to see the little guy taking shape. I used this 100% cotton yarn, which is really soft and smooth to work with, while being very sturdy – perfect for making a child’s toy. Hopefully this rattle will last our little one for a while, and withstand a few washes. In the meantime, Mr Bunny hangs out in the moses basket with the, ahem, few bits I have already bought for our baby. A comfy place to be.

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Maternity style: 23 weeks

Oops, it’s been a few weeks since I wrote one of these. A month, in fact! Another month and it will be Christmas. Holy moly! This past month has been a great one: I’m feeling really healthy and energetic at the moment, with only a few spots and slight dizzyness now and again. What’s more, our baby is kicking up a storm in my belly! I’ve been feeling her every day, mainly in the mornings and evenings, when I’m sitting down and things are a bit quieter. Craziest of all, we have lately been able to see her moving from the outside, which is seriously amazing/slightly creepy.

I’m just over 23 weeks pregnant, and with the second trimester racing towards us, it’s all becoming a bit real! More shopping has been done, including buying a cot. Last week, my bump popped out again, and is getting more noticeable every day. I’ve found it really hard not to have bump envy when seeing other similarly-pregnant women with bigger bumps, but I’m relaxing now and just enjoying seeing our little lady growing every day.

This week’s photos were taken in Manchester, where we spent an afternoon this past weekend. My favourite comfy uniform of late is a midi skirt with a t-shirt, or more usually, my denim shirt, which goes with everything. We experienced a really mild few days, so I was able to pair this look with only my leather jacket and a cosy scarf.

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Wearing: leather jacket, New York flea market | shawl worn as scarf, Accessorize | denim shirt, Topshop via eBay | skirt, primark | boots, Sainbury’s | I <3 Books bag, from a friend

Pants: an obsession

Great title for a blog post, no? Let me explain. With our baby due in March I have been having to hold myself back from too much shopping for the little one…not that I haven’t bought (ahem) some things, of course. But to try and abate this I have also been making a few bits for the babe. A bit of knitting, and some sewing too. Ever since Helen pointed me in the direction of Made by Rae and her wonderful FREE sewing tutorials, I had been hankering to make some adorable newborn pants. Rae describes the pattern as “so simple it’s scary”, and I’m inclined to agree with her.

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The newborn pant pattern really is a doddle. I made my first pair in a great elephant print I’d been saving for something special, and they turned out really cute.

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After that, I was longing to make more, so raided my fabric shelves for some inspiration. Deciding which fabric to use was loads of fun in itself. The day of the dead fabric is perhaps kind of random, I’m aware, but I’m sure our baby will appreciate the bold sartorial choice. My favourite of all is probably the foxes, oh THE FOXES! Again, I have Helen to thank for introducing me to that fabric.

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I made five pairs in total, because obviously baby needs trousers. I made them all over a couple of afternoons, and they were so much fun to put together – and so easy! Honestly, if you are a beginner sewer, you can make these cute pants. Skills needed: cutting things, sewing straight lines, using an iron. They are so quick and very satisfying, and will be perfect for our little spring-summer baby to lie about in.

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I think I’ve sated my pants obsession for now. I am currently knitting a pair of baby bloomers, though, so maybe I’m not quite over it just yet…
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A park day

Last week, I spent the day with a couple of pals at Tatton Park, a beautiful National Trust estate in Cheshire. It was a crisp day, with orange leaves underfoot and grey clouds sitting low in the sky. We wandered through the lovely gardens (although my favourite, the Japanese garden, was shut), played in the maze and, as is obligatory at all National Trust caf├ęs, enjoyed rather a large slice of cake. The park was decorated for Halloween, with white ghosties hanging from the trees, which was loads of fun. It was great to wander around in the fresh air, enjoy Autumn and feel that the cooler weather – and Christmas – is on the way.

Tatton Park is a huge estate, and you really do need a full day there to enjoy it. You can ramble around the parkland deer-spotting, and even sign up for a deer-feeding session! They hold seasonal events all year round, and are gearing up for Christmas, when I’m sure the house and gardens will look beautifully festive.

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Oh, baby!

I had my 20 week scan yesterday and we decided to find out the gender of our little one. So, courtesy of our special Halloween baby barometer, here is our latest news!

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Of course we are both very happy and excited! Now I just need to resist the overwhelming urge to immediately go shopping…