Pregnancy Post:21 weeks.

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I can’t believe I am over the half way mark of baby #2 already. I haven’t done a pregnancy post since 14 weeks, which you can read here, as I didn’t want to go over the same things too often. So first thing is first, we had a private gender scan done at 16 weeks as we were even more eager to know the sex of baby #2, which is weird as we never even had the urge for a private gender scan on our first baby. As you’ve probably guessed by the image above, we are having a girl! Our 22 month old daughter B is going to have a little sister. Although we secretly wanted a boy (does that make me bad for saying that?) we weren’t disheartened or upset that we were having another girl – all we care about is making sure the baby is healthy and safe! I love the idea of my little one having a little sister too – I think she is going to bond nicely with her. Before I dive in with answering questions, I thought I’d have a little rant, would I really be pregnant if I wasn’t a bit cranky. Anyway, before we found out the sex, the thing that really annoyed me was people constantly saying ‘oh you’ll have a girl, I can’t see you with a boy, you can always try again, you’ll have all girls’ and things like that. Okay, like I said it would be nice to have one of each and hopefully be done with it, but the fact I have been blessed with another daughter is amazing! I don’t know why people feel the need to say oh you’ll have to try again, like having 2 girls is a bad thing? Boy or girl, being pregnant is a wonderful and lucky experience that not everyone gets to go through – having two children of the same sex isn’t a ‘never mind’ moment. I suppose it’s like people giving you unwanted pregnancy advice, hormones run high on all matters I think! Moving on….

How Far Gone: 21+2

Know the Gender: Another little princess!

Cravings:  Actually don’t think I have anything in particular. I just feel my appetite is better, I’m hungry more often.

How are we feeling: To be honest, I still don’t think it’s really sunk it. We still haven’t bought anything (and for an usually organised me this is out of character). I think we are just focusing on Christmas and B’s birthday before Baby Fever takes over. With having a 22 month old, we don’t have much time to sit and dwell on things. We can’t imagine life with another little one – so still very much surreal.

Have you got a Bump and Feeling anything yet? I’m naturally small, being 5ft3 and 8 stone pre-pregnancy, I have a slim figure normally. So I’ve had a bump for a while now. But this past week it seems to have just became a bit more ‘pregnant’ and rounder. I feel lots of kicks and movements at night time mostly, but will get the odd thing through the day. It’s truly amazing still!

How are you Sleeping? You know what, not too bad. I mean I’m now starting to need to put the pillow under my belly when I’m on my side, but I’m never ‘uncomfortable’. Starting to wake for a wee a little more than usual too – but since I suffered PGP in my first pregnancy, this is a breeze.

Names you like:  Not the foggiest. It took us weeks to give our first daughter a name. For some reason we struggle finding girls names we like. Boys are a doddle, but I bet that’s always the way. We like very normal, traditional names that are just normal. Nothing like Ocean-Breeze or Rain-Cloud-Mae. Suggestions are welcome!

Birth Worries/Plan:  My first labour was an amazing experience. I was in the hospital for a total of 6 hours, had B after 4 hours of being in. I didn’t have stitches or pain relief. I’m hoping for the second labour to be like this – but my worry is they are going to be polar opposites. My plan really is to just stay calm, focus and let what is going to happen happen. It hurts either way so may as well try to embrace it. Eeek.

How did you find your second pregnancy in comparison to your first? Was labour what you expected/remembered the second time around?

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Make Friends with Change.

Do you ever sit and wonder if everything happens for a reason? I have. And I think I truly believe that too. I’m 23 years old. And the first 18 years of my life weren’t a walk in the park but I believe it’s best not to dwell on the negative or the past, and simply not let it define you. So more than I ever, I believe something is put in your path for a reason – no matter how positive, negative, upsetting or overwhelming. We are all human.

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Recently, as it seems most years around this time, a bit of bad luck came our way. I knew it was coming. Well I didn’t. But for a few weeks, and if you have me on twitter you’ll have read, I just had this feeling that a black cloud was looming, ready to open and pour down on us. And it did. I’m a stay at home mum to a 22 month old, pregnant with baby #2 – and I am extremely lucky to be in this position and with my partner working to allow this. Here’s this thing, my partner ended up leaving his job. Just before Christmas, just before we were meant to purchase a family car, just after things seemed to be going dare I say it…well. It was a big, messy affair and he was glad to be out. I was happy the weight had been lifted from his shoulders, I could see on his face the relief he felt to be out of a toxic place but at the same time I was riddled with worry. What did this mean for our family? I couldn’t get a job being pregnant, childcare is expensive – no one would employ me (yes I know this isn’t allowed but come on who would?). Luckily we had enough funds to last us until January – but the time bomb was ticking away with every second.

It gave me a kick up the backside. I made a change after being in deep thought for a day or two. I enrolled on a course, distance learning, to finish my training to become a Early Years/Reception Teacher. I now do 3 mornings a week volunteering in a setting across the road from me, with the flexibility to complete the course within two years and change my days to suit around my family. And it’s all funded until I earn over a certain amount which is even better. I am carving myself a future slowly, thinking post-baby/toddlers, keeping myself busy and motivated to take the plunge and transition from SAHM to Working Mum after baby #2 is born.

Again, I believe everything happens for a reason. My partner landed another job after about 10 days of being out of his previous job. One he doesn’t dread, feels more positive about and another bonus of more hours and better pay. It also gave him a fire to get himself into a career he is passionate about and loves – something for him to work towards in the future.

So here I am. Still my brain feels like a muddled, messy baby brain and I still need to settle into the new routine until I can feel I can put my umbrella down from stormy November but it’s a start. It just once again proves, life gives you a challenges at every corner, don’t let it overcome or defeat you. Focus on moving forward and being productive – life truly is what you make of it. So my posts will only be twice a week as of now, I need to prioritise and let myself fall into a routine without adding pressure to myself – so do bear with me and thank you for your continued support. And for anyone going through a rough patch, things will get better, the fog will clear and you’ll see your rainbow soon.

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Sunshine Blogger Award: My answers and nominations.

Isn’t it wonderful when someone thinks of you? Whether that’s thinking of you and giving you a phone call, popping in for a nice cup of tea or even surprising you a bunch of flowers randomly. We all like being thought about. Even more so in the blogging community. So I was absolutely delighted that my fellow blogger Mrs Mummy Harris (do give her a visit, she does so truly wonderful posts like this) tweeted me to inform me she had nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger Award. Many of you have probably stumbled across this, or even been nominated yourself well done if so, but it’s not an award that requires a trophy and speech but an award where five bloggers are nominated to answer ten questions (given to them by their nominated blogger) to answer in a new blog. So here we go, my ten questions and my five nominated bloggers!

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1) Who was your childhood celebrity crush? You know what, I don’t even recall. My only teenage crush that sticks out in my mind, and yes I’m still a sucker for him, is Cristiano Ronaldo (insert judgemental comments here). But in my defence, 1 – he isn’t a bad looking egg, and 2 – I fancied him when he was a spotty teen starting out. Gee.

2) What has been your favourite post that you’ve written to date? I like everything I write, except my early things as I didn’t have a clue about blogging or what to do or write. But recently I really enjoyed writing about the sitcom Friends and what I feel each character taught us. It was just a lighthearted, spur of the moment post.

3) What advice would you give to fellow bloggers? Don’t take things too seriously. Even if you want to blog as a career eventually. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the pressures, the numbers, the seriousness of it all. Just write for you, about what you want and build yourself that way. Take a break when needed. It does you and your blog, the world of good and stops you burning yourself out.

4) If you could survive on one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Food in general. No? Well being 17 weeks pregnant and it currently being lunchtime, I literally could survive on anything for life. But I do love a nice juicy cheese burger. Yum yum yum!

5) What song would you say is the soundtrack to your life? Oooh. This requires some thought. There are so many amazing songs. I really love Beyonces – I Was Here. That song just gives me goosebumps and chills, I think it is so meaningful and can mean anything to anyone. Really motivates me to do some good. I’m definitely more of a look to the future person than sit and mope about the past, so this is a good song for that.

6) Who would you get to play you in a movie? I used to get referenced to Elle Wood’s (Reece Witherspoon’s character in Legally Blonde), so I think I would get her to play me in a movie. She’s blonde, fun and I think she’d be a good fit.

7) What are your aims for your blog? Goodness, this is something I’ve never actually really sat down and given some thought. For now, I just want to blog for me. Build a small readership and become more established. In the far future, I would love to make my blog my work. I love the idea of having the opportunity to work from home, to be able to write for a living. Seems a long, winding journey but it’s definitely my goal. Lots of work to do though before that is anywhere in reach.

8) Strictly Come Dancing or X Factor? These questions are tough ones. Well as a former dancer, I love Strictly. The thing is, I think they really drag it out. I don’t like the cheesy little ‘promos’ before each couple dance and sometimes it’s a bit like oh just get on with it. That being said, X Factor is loosing my respect rapidly. Understand it’s an entertainment show but how can it question why it’s loosing viewers when they don’t put through real talent? That being said when I think about Saturday night TV, I think X Factor sat on the sofa with my Hub2Me. I think it’s 60%/40% Strictly though.

9) What came first, the chicken or the egg? I can’t even answer this. Is it weird this is something that me and Hub2Be discuss regularly!

10) If you could vote anyone in as Prime Minister, who would it be? Judge Rinder all day. I love him. After seeing him more on Strictly I think he is absolutely brilliant. So yeah, he has my vote!

Now for my five nominated bloggers:

Kimberley over at Oh Just My Little Blog

Kat at Confessions Of A Working Mum Site

Bridget on Bridie By The Sea

A Setra over at Mummy Setra

Claire at That Mumma Rocks

10 questions to answer:

  1. If you could be any age for a week, what age would you be and why?
  2. Do you have any nicknames? If so, how did you get them?
  3. Do you have any phobias?
  4. What’s one thing you regret?
  5. If you could make one wish, what would it be?
  6. Would you rather go back and change the past or know your future?
  7. What is your favourite festive holiday?
  8. What is your dream job?
  9. If you could give yourself one piece of advice at 16 years old, what would it be?
  10. Why did you start blogging?

Don’t forget to tweet me when your post is live so I can check it out!

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5 quotes to embrace happiness.

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Sunday is often a day we reflect, make plans for the following week and mull over the week we have just had. I’ve seen some small improvements and successes in my blog (well I like to think) and this makes me proud, positive and happy. So on that note why not keep it nice and light – rounding off the week with some quotes that make us feel all happy and mushy inside. Here’s five of my best:

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Each quote can relate and mean something different to every person, so I’m not going to say what they mean to me as this s purely a reflection post. Instead I’ll leave you with this, remember that there is only one of you in this world and you are brilliant. Learn to love yourself, overly love those important to you, remember making mistakes is human, learn from you every day. You’re your own best teacher. Embrace you. Be happy!

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What makes you happy? Do you have a favourite happiness quote? Anything this week that has lifted your spirits?

Is Social Media ruining our ability to socialise?

The internet has 3.17 billion users. Let that number sink in. Now 2.3 billion of those users are active on social media. After reading an interesting article on 96 Amazing Social Media Statistics and Facts for 2016, I  quickly got dragged into a deep wormhole of thought. Technology is evidently everywhere. Our society is one providing information we need want at the open of an app. Gone are the days people discovered news from a newspaper delivery to their homes. What’s more social media is obviously reigning supreme, and human interaction is feebly trying to hold on.

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How many of us interact with others through social media everyday? Be it replying to a tweet, getting involved in a twitter chat, responding to comments on any platform or even Whats App’ing and text messaging as they loosely fall under this category too. We all do it. What’s more we all do it every single day. A lot. Especially if your hobby and/or business is internet/technology based. It’s a must in order to keep active and present, fully understandable too but do we know when to truly switch to sleep mode on social media and technology? Or is it a concept that’s lost to us. We make a conscious decision every day to be involved in the world of social media, can we say the same about regular human interactions?

Did you know that according to a 2015 report in The Telegraph , the average person has not one but FIVE social media accounts and can spend upwards of 1 hour and 40 minutes a day skimming through them, if you’re a Briton it’s likely to be 1 hour and 20 minutes across FOUR social media accounts. How insane is that? These days how many of you spend 1 hour and 20 minutes a day socialising in person, (your child, pet, husband or someone in your household who you speak to everyday does not count). I mean – how many of us make an effort to actually make plans, to go out and actually connect with someone in person and what’s more want too. I’ll admit it, I don’t. And if you are one of those people who do (firstly I truly applaud you and your superhuman abilities) how many times do you take out your phone and scroll through during? Again, guilty!

Recently I deleted my personal Facebook account. A rash decision after sitting musing one day over how many of the people on there do I actually consider to be a friend? Not an old school friend or childhood friend who you found online, not a work colleague you make small talk with over the morning coffee break or a friend of a friend. How many are actual friends? People who make an effort to be in my daughters life, people who I could phone at 3am during an emergency, people who I would make plans with. Don’t get me wrong social media can be, and indeed is a wonderful platform for connecting with family members who live far away but let’s be honest, many of us have social media skills better than actual people skills. Flicking through my newsfeed I found myself thinking, why am I on here (as a personal account)? What am I actually gaining, because time clearly isn’t one of them. Social media is clearly robbing me of my free time. I sit reading about other peoples lives day in day out, checking it like a morning newspaper, ‘liking’ all the fun things people are up too ( on social media whilst  on these outings too might I add) and simply feel as if I’m shutting off from my own life and my ability to make plans. Where is the logic in that? So I did it. I cut it out and made a commitment to actually socialise more. Be it a lunch date, a phone call, a quick trip to the local park with fellow mummy friends – I made a change.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying social media is something we need to shut out of our lives, because it’s been very beneficial to me and it is indeed very important to many people in terms of connecting to loved ones. I just mean do we really need to stare at our screens as much as we do. Do we really need to check our notifications first thing in a morning and last at night? Are we missing out on actual life?  Through apps we can’t see our friends/family laugh, react and respond to us, we don’t get to react and feel in response to this – we are bypassing interacting and feeling on a human level. Some days, my hub to be sits scrolling through his news feed, reading pretty generic and repetitive updates,  missing out on our daughter screeching singing and dancing to Frozen’s Let It Go (maybe this is why he was scrolling through hmm). Something that seems so small and insignificant but when our children grow, it’s moments like that we are wish to relive.

So I say, make plans. Live in the moment that little bit more. Arrange a family day out without any social media, commit to a date night without looking at your phone (and if you do, you are dumped with the bill), connect with your friend over lunch rather than Whats App. Even make the effort to send a phone call rather than send a text. Commit to making more of a human interaction, to feeling. Set an example to our younger generation that you don’t need to socialise through a phone or computer. That it’s good for the soul to be able to take a break and what’s more, know when a break is needed to bring the balance back to your life.

Time is gone in the blink of an eye. Don’t let social media/apps/technology steal more than it needs too.

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How often do you use social media purely for entertainment? Do you think you can afford to cut back on the usage? What would you like to change about your social media to socialising life?

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6 things we can learn from Friends Characters.

Friends is a considerable love of mine and hub-to-be. They never get tiring to watch. It’s a series that make viewers smile, laugh, cry and ultimately feel how the characters do. I’m sure many of you have a favourite Friends character or episode or saying. Recently, Comedy Central ran a public twitter poll wanting to find out the nations favourite Friend and the winner was….Ross Geller. The geeky dinosaur loving, divorce having, ‘we were on a break’ saying palaeontologist. It got me thinking about how all the characters can connect with us in some way – even if you have an undeniable favourite.

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Phoebe – the free spirited, life loving blonde who makes us feel happy with her quirk spirit. One of the things that truly stays with me about Phoebe is how she is able to get me absorbed in thought over if there truly is a selfless deed (In The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS). Even though she is the ‘uncomplicated’ character, she really does provoke us to deliberate the deeper meanings of things. No matter what life throws at her (the suicide of her mother, death of her grandma, abandonment of her father, estrangement from her twin sister are just a few of the minor events she has experienced to say the least) she is most definitely the merry, uplifting Friend. She allows us to see that yes, life can be cruel and unexpected but it doesn’t have to define you. And we can all learn a lot from her. On your down days, just think what would Phoebe do?

Ross – the nerdy, palaeontologist father of two. Ross is pretty logical. The episode The One With The Lottery sees the group convinced they are going to win the lottery (thanks to Phoebes positive outlook anything) but Ross is the only friend who brings logic into it. Even when he later gets involved, he chooses to spend his money in the most sensible way out of them all. Ross reminds us that it’s okay to be smart, to like things that are different to others (he’s forever being teased for his passion of dinosaurs and science) but also reminds us that you can be overwhelmed and slightly dumbfounded by love no matter how logical  about life you are – (I’m sure we are all aware of his undiminished love for Rachel).

Monica – the organised, clean freak with a passion for cooking. Monica is super competitive and has such a drive about her. Whether that’s from going to overweight to super sensual or achieving her dream job as a chef. She shown to be the most overpowering and controlling one out of the group, almost having this constant need to be liked (as shown In The One With All The Candy) but all this is easily forgotten about in her quest to find love and start a family. Monica is mothering, caring and attentive. She shows us that no matter how organised and efficient you like things to be – sometimes life happens, you can’t control it and you need to deal with things in a way you hadn’t planned for. She also inspires us to be a little more organised and competitive – having a get up and go attitude as strong as hers can’t be a bad thing.

Joey – the food loving, flirty friend, who seems to be the least organised but most loving of the bunch. Joey teaches us to enjoy and embrace life, even when you have no idea where it’s going. Many a time we see Joey in need of help from his best pal Chandler, going round in circles in his career choice and never committing to a relationship (for too long anyway). Its how many of us see our life at times. Finances suffering and our career moving leisurely BUT we never see Joey in a tiff or low about it. Instead he teaches us to pass every bridge as you come to it, have a heart as big as your tummy and live to eat (rather than eat to live).

Rachel – the once immature, spoiled girl turned independent fashionista mummy. Rachel most definitely teaches us about independence. In the very first episode we see her abandon all she was ‘supposed’ to be. She jumps into a world that is unknown to her, and we see her struggle with the adjustment at times (like in The One With George Stephanopoulos, which see’s her end the episode realising she has ‘magic beans’). Rachel goes from spoilt daughter to coffee waitress to exceeding in the world of fashion. She teaches us you have to work where to get where you want to be and that life can be tough, she teaches us that even when life is going well and the unexpected happens (like her pregnancy to on/off love Ross) that change can be good.

Chandler – the whimsical, sarcastic child of erotic writer and gay trans superstar. Chandler is without a doubt the one who has the biggest guard out of the group. He frequently reminds us that comedy is his defence mechanism. He teaches us that we are human and we make mistakes. We see him kiss his best friend’s girlfriend after discovering he has feelings for her, his best friend’s sister after getting too drunk, we see him freak out and go AWOL before his wedding, we see him make a bold career move and quit his job to rekindle and find his passion and we see him have a constant battle with smoking. Throughout the series Chandler reminds us that it’s okay to be human and that it’s okay to make mistakes.

There you have it. A quick round up and insight into how I think each Friends character can teach us something – I could go on and on and on. Oh and by the way my favourite Friend is Chandler!

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8 things I wish I’d known when starting blogging.

Blogging. It’s a roller coaster of a journey that none of us expect to go on and definitely don’t except to learn so much on. I for one had no idea how vast the world of blogging is. I came into fairly under educated and with no goals. But after blogging for almost a year now (with the odd break) – here’s what I wish I’d known when starting out:

  • Promote promote promote – blogging is (well can be) a time consuming thing. As a newbie, I thought it would be as simple as putting a post up and people would flock from all over to have a ganders. How innocent I was. I never knew the importance of promoting and that’s something I wish I knew from the get go. Whether that’s through social media or linkies, how is anyone meant to know you are here if you don’t let yourself be seen.
  • Get involved in linkies – I hadn’t the foggiest what a linkup was. It truly hurt my brain trying to understand/find/join one. It took me a good couple of months before I got involved in any. It’s really important to find out what’s out there, not only for promotion but also for blog inspiration. Different links bring different audience. Utilise this!
  • Set up social media platforms – when I first started blogging, I didn’t have anything linked to my blogging profile as like I said I had no clue of what the blogging world entailed. Looking back I would have loved to set up twitter/Instagram/Pinterest straight away, promoting on them from the start. I’ve only just created Instagram and Pinterest so this is most definitely something I would fully recommend looking into and joining as a newbie, they  are fantastic platforms. Again it links to promotion.
  • Interaction – it took me a while to get submerged into interacting, be it commenting on fellow bloggers posts, or just basic conversation through social media. It can be daunting to a newbie. This is something I’ve found is hugely helpful. Blogging is a community that mostly supports and uplifts each other. As you’ve probably read or discovered yourself, it’s one big circle of people all looking to achieve the same thing (mostly), so don’t be scared to tweet responses to people, to start conversation and leave your opinions on other blogs. It gets you known and let’s people see who you are, behind your posts.
  • Create picture content – whether this is your own photography, the use of quote pictures or even a collage/header you created. I didn’t know how this simple feature could improve your look AND  content of  posts. It just adds a bit of extra love and really promotes the effort you put in. Looking back on my earlier posts, I discretely cringe at what pictures I used (all evidence of these will be edited eventually once old posts are updated). So it’s useful to include picture content straight away and even the use a photo editor to just update content – it can be something as simple as using picmonkey or as complicated as photoshop. The choice is yours.
  • Spend time browsing others – blogging is very much a lover of karma. You can’t expect results overnight. You get what you give. You can’t expect people to visit your page if you don’t spend time visiting others. If you visit pages and leave lovely feedback and comments, you are likely to see bloggers return the favour and start to visit your page. You develop a repetition for yourself too, which is lovely to have in the blogging world, and create lovely bonds with other bloggers. It’s a long winded process, one I’m far from mastering. But knowing this earlier would have been helpful.
  • Scheduling – this is a HUGE point I wish I’d have known long ago. It just helps you become more organised. When you’re having a motivated day filled with lots of inspiration and time, get typing those posts and schedule them for later dates. The same goes for scheduling social media updates. I use Hootsuite.com to promote my new and old posts on social media. The good thing is you are in charge of what you put out there and when, so if you know your going to be busy on certain days and not have much time to be present, it’s a good tool to keep you active. It’s also a great feature to help give you a break, and as a result reduce the stress and pressure you put on yourself drawn with the need to update constantly.
  • Be kind patient – things don’t happen overnight, blogging takes effort and time. Especially in building up a nice following and readership. So make sure you commit to things if you want results. Don’t beat yourself up over things. Slow and steady does it. Enjoy the world and live in the moment. Don’t take things to seriously and don’t try to be the perfect. You don’t need to put additional pressure on yourself rushing to learn too much at once or take on too much in a short space of time. Things will come together in time and you’ll look back in a year and see those small improvements to be the most important.

I don’t claim to be a blogging success and my goodness, I have a very long way to go. I have so much more to learn, so much more to achieve and I am most definitely not an expert. But these simple points, I feel, can really help someone get things going that little bit quicker, and help them learn to love blogging that little bit more.

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