Friday, 31 May 2013

I love my bump

A friend recently reminded me that I regularly skipped dinner on a Friday night. The reason? To fit into my leather trousers and drink cider at the pub.
It was laughable really, as these were my very slim days, but I just didn’t realise how slim I was. If I could travel in a time machine back to the leather trousers nights, I would never deprive myself of a Friday night dinner. I would make it my sole mission to eat as much as I could, before slinking off to my local for a bottle of diamond white.
It was even more laughable when I realise I was blessed with slim genes during the leather and diamond white phase, and I could have eaten doughnuts and chips every day, all day, and it would not have made a remote difference.
Unlike nowadays. Still, I had good innings. For years I walked around with a slender physique, not realising how easy life was.
I do look back at that period of my life and smile. I was carefree. I was young. I was thin. But do you know what, I wouldn’t swap that tiny body and clear head for my current life. Not for all the tea in China (mind you, I’m not fond of tea so maybe this isn’t a great comparison) or all the chocolate in Cadbury’s World (this is a massive comparison as I have a very sweet tooth at mo). Nope, even if a Chinese man asked me to sign a contract, entitling me to all their tea, I would not budge. And even if I was promised all the chocolate I could ever dream of, tempting as it sounds. I would rather be busier, bigger me, with my ever growing bump.
I love my bump. I never thought I’d be so delighted to see my belly grow. It’s not unusual to see me peering in the mirror at my reflection, admiring how large I am. Because this time I can not blame my appetite and laziness. I have a real, genuine, reason for my glee.
Baby T is doing well. We’ve had 3 scans now and all his little organs and measurements are considered healthy.
And it’s a boy! We decided we wanted to know the sex, to prepare and plan, and quite frankly we were too impatient to wait.
I’ve always said that as long as it’s healthy I couldn’t care a less if it’s a boy or girl, but I know Mark is chuffed he will have a son and is already planning his football career. For me it means we can finish decorating the spare room with a splash of blue.
So yes, who cares if my belly, and probably other parts of my body, are expanding outwards. I have no intention of wearing leather trousers ever again, or spending Friday nights in a crowded pub, nursing a bottle of cider.
Besides, I can eat chocolate without feeling guilty about my waist line. And baby T and I need the energy.
I’m off to the shops now, dear readers, to stock up with treats for my Friday night in front of the telly.
Oh happy, larger, nights.
Without a whiff of skipped dinner.
And the only leather I’ll be seeing tonight, is the brown leather sofa I shall be relaxing on with my hubby and bump.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Common Denominators

“So what do we have in common?” I frantically asked hubby.
He looked at me blankly.
We were having one of our chats, after I’d mentioned a magazine article, because I needed to find our common denominators.
But it wasn’t really working.
In fact, the more we discussed, the clearer it became; what I liked he disliked, and what he loved, I loathed.
We were screwed.
Hubby loves sport. Particularly football. But really he likes any kind of sport - cricket, golf, tennis, all the words which bring fear into my eyes. I don’t mind watching the England football team in a nationwide league, this makes me feel all patriotic and in the past I’ve soaked up the atmosphere and wine, and cheered at the sight of David Beckham’s legs. Hey, that’s my kind of sport! Other than this, I would rather stick pins into the back of my hand than waste valuable time watching something I have no interest in whatsoever.
I love to read. I can not imagine living in a world without books. Reading brings me immense pleasure. I adore loosing myself in complicated plots and characters, and I am full of praise for authors and ideas. I don’t think hubby has ever read a book, apart from maybe a forced upon him novel at school, which he was probably too busy playing and watching sport to actual read when he was supposed to.
And what about the George Michael thing. I am surely his number one fan. Mark is not. We frequently hold the George Michael verses Elton John debate. This means we ask whoever we are in the company of, who they honestly prefer. I punch the air and shout, “One nil!” if they say George, and Mark looks smug if they choose Elton. We have even been known to download George and Elton songs and demand that the other person listens and notes George/Elton has the superior voice. Oh we never tire of winding each other up. One night we posted our debate on Facebook, whilst I posed in a George mask (from my hen do) and Mark posed in an Elton mask (we nicked it from a family party).
Then there is cooking. I am the chef of the house, and I’m rather keen on recipe books and trying out new dishes and flavours. Hubby has no interest in cooking food, despite me showing him and demonstrating how easy and enjoyable it can be. If he lived on his own he would live on take aways, and pies which you take out the box and place in the oven for 25 minutes.
“But we both like watching cooking programmes!” I triumphantly declared.
At last, I’d found something. This was true, we were both avid viewers of Master Chef. We liked to comment on the contestants cooking styles and try to guess who the winner would be.
Maybe all was not hopeless after all.
And then I actually had an intelligent thought. Yes, you might be surprised, but occasionally this can arise.
Okay, so Hubby’s favourite take away is Chinese, mine is Indian. I like to sit mostly in the shade, hubby likes to bask in the heat. But do these things really matter? Surely what matters is our outlook on life, our values, our morals, our aspirations for the future.
Now we were cooking with gas!
We are both family orientated. To us it is important to see our family as often as possible, and worry and care about them. We have both been brought up with similar backgrounds and it is imperative we carry on this way with our own children.
Arguments have no place in our relationship. I have never liked them, never will. I agree sometimes someone can push your buttons and alas some people can bring out the worst in each other. But not us. No way. We compliment each other. We discuss rather than argue, and quite frankly we can’t be bothered to get our nickers in a twist over things which could be considered irrelevant. We’re too busy having fun and being respectful and kind to each other.
“Wow, all it not lost after all,” I grinned at hubby.
He smiled contently in return, after we’d discussed our similar personalities, not hobbies, and realised we had far more in common than feared at the beginning of the conversation.
Mark returned to his football match, shouted in disgust to the ref., whilst I opened my book, stuffed more chocolate in my mouth, and happily lost myself in my make believe world...

Thursday, 16 May 2013

The big hand of fate

Back in those dark and sinister days, when our new home fell through, I lost track of the amount of times I was quoted, “It wasn’t meant to be, and things have a funny way of working out for the best.”
I can’t really blame individuals for telling me so. I too have been guilty of using this expression. For I have always been a solid believer in fate, and reasons why such things occur.
However, when such things affect you, when you really wanted them, and you can’t think of a reason why such things not happening is an adequate outcome, sometimes it’s tricky to accept, smile, and agree.
Of course I was always gracious when these words of wisdom were repeated to me. It wasn’t my friends/relations fault my future life had been jeopardised. Yet inside I was seething and trying to make sense of it all.
How could a beautiful grade 2 listed building, a home we could actually afford and would allow us to finally step onto the property ladder, in a prime location, in stunning grounds, and the all important second bedroom, be taken away from us? For a good reason! How could a better alternative be waiting around the corner? I could not fathom it out.
And not only had we lost this future home, we had to pack and leave our current premises, as we’d provided a notice period during a time we felt all was secure with our second home.
It wouldn’t have been such a bitter pill to swallow if we could have stayed in the polka dot home, for we were happy there. Until this new home turned our heads and lives upside down and inside out.
And let’s not forget the large amount of money we lost with fees and surveys, cash which would not be repaid. Some laws stink of unfairness.
Plus there was the significant matter of discovering I was pregnant, and feeling I was already failing my parental responsibilities by not supplying a suitable home for our future child.
At present, it’s a tough mortgage world in the UK. High deposits are required, credit scores must be excellent, salaries should be above satisfactory. The lender’s fingers have been burnt in the past and first time buyers are unfortunately penalised for other's greed and mistakes.
We tried to find other homes, but with our deposit and income, and time frame, it seemed everything was against us. We tried to remain positive, our geography search was stretched wider, and we turned to other lenders for help.
But for all our hard work and forward thinking, we were in a worse situation than before. We lost crucial points with credit searches and circumstances, and our finances had taken a battering.
Still people told me, “It wasn’t meant to be, and things have a funny way of working out for the best.” And I smiled politely through all the disappointment.
Finally, husband and I held long discussions with each other and our parents regarding our future. We were grateful my father in-law had provided a roof over our heads, but we needed our own space and independence. I worried how long it would take to find a replacement home, and not having our own place for baby T was becoming a huge concern.
So, we decided not to put ourselves through any further unnecessary stress. We reached the conclusion we would return to renting, save for a larger deposit, knock up valuable credit points, and live in a house and area we loved, but couldn’t afford to buy (yet).
This was definitely the sensible choice for us, because we found our little cottage in our little village. With its own front door, back door, and charming garden.
Let me explain that the home which wasn’t meant to be was a shared building and communal grounds, something I had dismissed before as not really being an issue. Although it was a pretty building and the grounds were glorious, I now realise to open our own front door, step into the character cottage, and open our own back door to a private well maintained garden, is even more special. It’s an absolute delight.
And we certainly have extra space for our money. A larger lounge, a bigger kitchen, more space in the bathroom, and we even have a stair case, a landing, a loft, a shed, and our own driveway. How lucky do we feel.
We will buy one day, but in the mean time we love our cottage. Sometimes you can get so wrapped up in planning your future and thinking about your future, that you forget to think about and appreciate now.
Now, finally, I can agree, “It wasn’t meant to be, and things have a funny way of working out for the best.”

Friday, 3 May 2013

Crooked houses and michelin stars

Lavenham, one of the finest and most beautiful medieval villages in England.
It contains crooked houses, a 3 star michelin chef's restauarant, and the home of my dear aunt, her partner, and their dog called Buddy.

The crooked antique centre and tea room.

Fancy a cream tea?

The pink crooked house.

The museaum

Grannie's attic. You never know what you'll find in here.

The hovis house and the tree house.

The market square.

The holiday cottage I stayed at with Mark and my parents.

Mark outside our holiday home.

The kitchen.

The lounge.

Can you see my bump forming?

Marco Pierre White's restaurant.

Mark is now drinking for both of us, he doesn't mind.

Scallops and black pudding.

Crabb and avocado.

You can't beat fish and chips, tartar sauce, and a squeeze of lemon.

Vanilla pannacotta

My aunts dog, Buddy.

Isn't he adorable.