Thursday 27 March 2014

34 Weeks Pregnant

34 weeks down, in no more than 6-8 weeks, we will have a loud, crazy, beautiful baby in our lives!

Things are flying by now, and the reality that this baby is coming soon is setting in. The hospital bag is mostly packed, we have enough warm woolen clothes and a cozy bed for her and the rest we will play by ear I think! I am looking forward to seeing how this baby girl will fit into and change our lives.

This week:
  • Is my last week at work. Tomorrow is my last day! I have been working at the same little cafe for 3 years and the routine is so familiar that I could do the job in my sleep - in fact I start at 7am and the first hour does pretty much involve me go through the motions in zombie-mode.  Work has become pretty hard these last couple of weeks, 9 hours a day on my feet as well as a lot of bending and lifting is taking its toll on my body. Now is definitely the right time to hang up my apron. I am so going to miss it though, 3 years has made me so familiar with the locals and regulars and I know their stories and they know mine. I have promised to have a couple of days at the cafe when Baby C is here so everyone can have cuddles.
  • Dave and I get our last chance to get away and have a mini break next week - well Dave is working but I get to tag along to *hopefully* sunny Nelson. The hospital bag and car seat are packed up 'just in case' but here's hoping we get a nice relaxing week. I have been saving up a few books to read which I can't wait to get into.
  •  Baby C is growing really well and is doing pretty good at being in a good position. Her head is down and she keeps flicking her spine from back to front so all is well in utero.
  • The only thing about her getting bigger is the way she has wedged her thigh and bum under my ribs. It makes sitting, leaning forward, bending over and eating very tricky.
  • Right now, Baby C is weighing in at approx 2.3kg. All on track for a nice average sized baby. Sounds good to me!
  • My baby shower was so lovely and I had so much fun eating food, playing games and being generally overwhelmed by all the crazy cool gifts that my friends generously gave!
  • I dug out my old tri-pillow, added some extra stuffing and made a new pretty cover for it and it has revolutionized my couch sitting and bed sleeping. So comfy!
  • Killer keeps trying to hang out on my lap and getting frustrated when she finds my bump in the way. She is terrified of babies and young children so it will be very interesting to see how she handles a full time new flatmate!
Home stretch now! xx

Sunday 23 March 2014

DIY Dining Table Re-Style

Our new home is much, much smaller than our last rental and doesn't have a dining room as such. We survived about 8 months of eating dinner off our knees until Dave had the awesome idea of re-purposing our old dining table which was braving the elements outside.

It was looking a little worse for wear, it had a couple of splits in the wood from getting wet but that didn't stop Dave. A round table was never going to fit in the corner of our lounge so Dave cut the table into the biggest square he could out of what he had. Some slightly difficult math went into this process and it went straight over my poor pregnant head. I did however, manage to get proof that I did help a tiny bit with this project - as you can see in one of the photos I was Chief Ruler Holder.

Dave's latest tool purchase was a router and he bought a fancy bit to pretty up the new edge of the table. He also decided not to stain or varnish it but just let natural oils build up and give it character. 

I am so proud of the work Dave did, it is a pretty professional job and I just love sitting at the dinner table each night with the TV off and enjoying our food.

Tuesday 18 March 2014

DIY Neck and Shoulder Wheat Pack

I own a bunch of wheat packs, most courtesy of Holly over at Hollymayb. When she did a giant stash clean out, I walked away with some nice heavy drill cotton and a bag full of wheat (among many other things!).
The other night I decided that having a wheat pack that I could put around my neck and have it stay there would be pretty awesome. So off I went and after an evening sitting at the sewing machine, I put this sucker in the microwave and ended the night in bliss.

Luckily I remembered to take progress shots for this tutorial but I winged this pattern so sorry for the inconsistancies!

 You will need:
  • 2x pieces of A4 paper taped together down the long sides.
  • Piece of drill cotton or heavy fabric approx 50cm x 60 cm
  • 550g Wheat (available from bulk bin stores such as Bin Inn)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine with co-ordinating thread
  • Sewing Pins
  • Funnel or Rolled up paper to make a funnel.
I made the pattern up by wrapping the paper around my neck and cutting and changing it until it felt right, hence the wacky measurements. I also folded it in half widthwise to get it symmetrical.

Hopefully the pictures say more than my ramblings but if you have any questions, please ask!

If you make one of these, leave a link in the comments to a picture of it, I would love to see!

Friday 14 March 2014

32 Weeks Pregnant

Well and truely into the third trimester, and beginning to understand how women get over being pregnant and just want their baby now!

This week:
  • I am counting down the days of work left (2 weeks) and each day goes by quickly but the aches and pains have reared their ugly head to make these last couple of work weeks difficult for me. It seems all the common pregnancy aches and pains showed up to the party - back pain, swelling, sciatica, and the latest and possibly worst - carpal tunnel. Numb and tingly fingers all day and no strength to grip anything strongly. BUT it is all temporary and I just need to get through the next 2 months and all symptoms 'should' ease. I'm holding on to that! And trying not to be too much of a Complainy McComplainerson!
  • Antenatal classes are going well, meeting some cool new couples and discovering that a lot of people work in IT like Dave. I think 90% of guys we have met lately work with computers. Crazy I tell ya.
  • Baby C's bassinet is all set up ready to go. We got a foam mattress made (Para Rubber - $14) and I bought some waterproof plastic/fabric which I sewed into a protective cover for the foam. I also bought some soft flannelette material which will become fitted sheets.
  • Our scan went well the other week, Baby C is growing nicely and is nice and comfortable in there.
  • The movements I feel now are getting more familiar. I think I am able to tell which body part is trying to busta move, mostly her feet or her bum sticking out.
  • Some amazing friends of mine are being secret squirrels and are busy organising my baby shower for tomorrow! I have no idea what will happen but I have a sneaky feeling Baby C will be super duper spoiled! Plus food. Food is always a good option!
  • I am still downing iced chocolates all the time and full sized meals now have trouble fitting into my stomach (which is sitting up under my ribs!).
  • Dave and I are now realizing how soon it will be that we meet our baby daughter! We can't wait for our lives to be turned upside down and fall in love with this tiny human. I can't imagine at all what she will look like, how a mixture between Dave and I will influence her features. But until we meet her, I hope she stays well inside my tummy and grows perfectly.

Monday 10 March 2014

Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies

My weekly gluten-free baking experiments have been continuing, but I keep forgetting to take photos and remember the sources of the recipes I have been using. I have also had a couple of huge fails too, one involving ginger kisses that I forgot to add baking powder to the GF flour mix. Ginger Crisps anyone? Luckily they were still delicious and my ever-gracious Sis-in-law was still impressed.

These thumbprint cookies were my latest experiment. SUCCESS!
4 ingredients, not too sweet and super quick to make.

Gluten Free Thumbprint Cookies (Vegan)

1 1/4 cup of Ground Almonds
3 T Oil (the original recipe said coconut oil but I used olive oil and they still worked and tasted fine)
1 1/2 T Maple Syrup
1/4 cup approx Jam (any flavour goes here! My fave is raspberry)

Oven @ 180 degrees.
Mix together the almonds, oil and maple syrup and chill mixture for 30min.
Divide the mixture into 15 balls (they are pretty small!) and put on a lined baking sheet.
Press into the middle of each ball with your thumb to make a dent and re-shape the edges if desired.
Fill the thumb-dents with a small amount of jam.
Bake for around 10 minutes but keep an eye on them as my oven had a hissy fit and decided to burn the bottom of the cookies.
Leave to harden then scoff them back! They are bite sized so this batch might disappear fast!

Original recipe here

Smiley Belt Review - Pregnancy Back Support

Before I got pregnant, I had struggled with lower back pain. This was mostly due to some terrible lifting in my teens and also working in hospitality over a bench for the bulk of my working life. I wouldn't call the pain severe or debilitating but it was enough to make me need to take painkillers or take things easy at night occasionally after work.

I was aware that being pregnant would likely increase that pain so once I hit the middle of my second trimester I was ready to take action and find a product that would help to support my back while I continued working full-time at the cafe.

A friend of mine who is a surgical nurse used a Smiley Belt during her pregnancy and recommended I try it. So I contacted the lovely Christine via her website and asked if I could review a belt.

The belt arrived packaged beautifully with a personalized note, wrapped in ribbon and sealed with a smiley face sticker.

 The website gives instructions on how to measure for your size, and because my measurements came inbetween two sizes, I provided them with my exact measurement and I was sent the size they recommended for me. Which fits really well!

I wore the Smiley Belt to work for a couple of weeks straight. I wore it the whole day for a few days and also did a few days where I worked until my back started hurting a little and then wore the belt to relieve the pressure for the rest of the day.

Because I had previous back pain, I wasn't expecting the Smiley Belt to be a miracle worker and take away all the pain, which is true. But somehow it manages to correct your posture and hold your back a certain way that make movements and general standing still a lot more bearable.

You can wear the Smiley Belt two ways: with the wide part supporting your lower back, or with the wide part supporting your belly. When I first got the belt my tummy didn't have a defined bump so I used it as back support which was great. Once my belly started growing I tried switching it round and was surprised at how much pressure was lifted from my back once my tummy was supported. I prefer wearing it this way during the day now. 

The biggest surprise was how well the Smiley Belt supports my back when I am asleep. I began waking up with severe back pain after tossing and turning all night so I decided to try and wear the belt during the night. It supports my tummy as well as my back and I find that I can sleep in almost any position without the pain. It doesn't stop the multiple toilet trips though sorry ladies!

The only thing I found that I disliked about the Smiley Belt was that it makes the area underneath where I wear it quite sweaty. It was exaggerated by working in a hot kitchen but the relief I got from wearing the belt made this issue a minor one. It is easy to wash, just handwash and hang out to dry. It is made from the same sort of material as a wetsuit so the drying time is very quick. There is also more pressure on your bladder when wearing it but the plus side is that you can feel the baby's movements better!

I would highly recommend a Smiley belt to any pregnant woman that develops lower back pain or finds that their rapidly growing belly feels heavy or causes pelvic pain. It is also a huge relief at night time when sleeping on your side becomes painful.

The website also mentions that the Smiley Belt is able to be used after Baby is born to help support your abs as they recover from being stretched out of shape. It also mentions that you can still wear it as a back support at any time when doing a lot of lifting, bending and twisting.

The Smiley Belt retails for $52NZD + postage and I believe that price is worth paying for the amount of relief you get from using it. Also the fact that it can be used not only during pregnancy, but afterwards makes it worthwhile. Plus you can also lend it to friends while they are pregnant too.

You can find out more information via their website:
or follow them on Facebook:

I was given a Smiley Belt for free to review but all opinions expressed are my own.