#Ironbridge2014: Day 4 (April 16th)

Our Adventure to Ironbridge

Original image found here.

Today started with a whole debate over whether or not it was time to get up. I could have probably slept for longer but the elephants wearing boots were awake and stampeding along the corridor so getting up was less painless.

I had fruit loaf for breakfast which had been bought at Blists Hill Bakery. I also had supermarket pretend Shreddies. Also threatened to attempt to steal the papaya from Chris’s cereal however the pieces were that small it made more sense to stick with the raisins in the fruit loaf.

While at breakfast another family were packing up getting ready to head home, the Mum of the family offered us a bottle of milk that they’d bought but hadn’t opened. I think she was on a mission to pack down as much as possible and not take home what they didn’t need to. (Our usual trick was that Mum would give us the milk and cups if needed and Rich and I would work our ways through it! One year I ended up nursing the bottle for about an hour because I kept letting out the hugest burps ever!)

We got on the road and headed for Bridgnorth. We tried a pay and display car park but it was a small fortune to park so we managed to find some free parking in a residential street and walked back to the town centre. I think I worked out I was aiming for 2k steps on my Fitbit before we even really had started the day.

To get from where we had parked the car to the town centre we had to walk down a huge hill. (Later it would turn out this was part of the route between the High Town and Low Town anyway).

We worked our way along the High Street looking at the shops and had a look in a few of them. We went into the Town Hall for a look round. It was really interesting especially the hall which I guess is used for council meetings now but historically was used as a court and people could be sentenced to death from there. We also had a look in the Northgate Museum – it was interesting but was so warm and stuffy that I did it quickly and went to wait outside. I sat on the stairs outside while the boys finished.

The view from the top of the railway

We went on the Cliff Railway from the High Town to Low Town. Chris and I both enjoyed it but Our Sidekick wasn’t too happy about it as he’s not a fan of heights. At the bottom we sat next to the river and watched the ducks. At one point Our Sidekick’s phone rang so while he talked to his friend, Chris and I sat doing a commentary to a little duck trying to swim against the tide across the river (and also sounded random comments at the phone to wind Our Sidekick’s friend up!)

We decided it was time to find some lunch but decided that we’d have lunch in reverse so stopped at an ice cream parlor for ice cream first before getting the cliff railway back up the hill. I had lemon meringue in a cone and Our Sidekick had mint choc chip in a cone. Chris then showed off and had a Knickerbocker Glory.

Bridgnorth Cliff Railway

Following our Ice Cream stop, the boys decided to race the Cliff Railway while I rode it. Funnily enough they won, especially as a lady arguing about her ticket was delaying the carriage from going. At the top I stopped to take a photo for a family who had been on the train. The grandparents had local accents but the son (or the dad of the children who were there) had a really thick Kiwi accent.

We then walked a round the “mound” to find the remains of the castle. From the history lesson I got, the remaining section of what was Bridgnorth Castle leans at a 15 degree angle which is four times that of the Leaning Tower of Pisa). At the end of the path as you get to the castle gardens you can see out across the town and you can see the Severn Valley Railway. My Dad had been sending me info about it via text message. Our Sidekick and I sat in the castle gardens and chatted while Chris went to get us some lunch, when he came back we decided to head down to the railway. I guess it we’d thought about it more we could have spent more time in Kidderminster and got a different train back but unfortunately we had mis-planned it and had to get the next train back but it was still a fascinating trip. The carriages were being pulled by a train called Erlestoke Manor. It was a racing green steam locomotive.

The view of the platform from the train

At Kidderminster, we bought a postcard for Our Sidekick to write to his Mum. My purse has the trains pattern by Cath Kidston on it and the lady in the gift shop commented on how she really liked it. We then went to find some seats on the return journey – in the end the train was probably 80-90% empty so we played musical chairs depending on where on the route we were. At one point a train stopped alongside us while sorting out the signals. I moved chair and chatted to a little girl and boy who were stood up against the window on the other train watching. The little boy was about 18 months so couldn’t really join in but his sister was making up for all of that!!

When we got back to Bridgnorth we walked back to the car and headed for the hostel. When we got back Chris cooked curry for us which was really good but I wasn’t entirely hungry so after about less than half I had had enough. I feel so bad throwing away the food but we just don’t have any where to store it. I guess we could have brought Tupperware or storage boxes with us but again we’re limited on fridge space in the hostel.

After tea, Chris and I hung out in the lounge but I was feeling really shattered and thought I was going to fall asleep on the sofa so decided I needed to get into bed so that if I did doze off it wasn’t the end of the world.

So comfy!! Not good!

April 16: Dear Blueberry – 29 Weeks

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Dear Blueberry,

This week you’re on sort of our first holiday. With you arriving between half term and the Summer holiday we decided that we’d take our family holiday now at Easter instead and then Daddy and Our Sidekick would do day trips and things like that while you and me get the hang of each other.

You’ve been perfect when it’s come to sleeping, you haven’t really fidgeted and done most of the fidget during the day which is good. Between not being in my own bed and the noise in the building I haven’t slept amazingly but seeing how I’m still getting around 7 to 8 hours sleep a night anyway I should be grateful. Also by being on holiday rather than at work, napping mid afternoon is totally acceptable and easy to do.

I can’t work out if it’s where you’re sat or if it’s just a normal thing but I can’t make up my mind whether I’m hungry or not. And when I am hungry I usually don’t want what Daddy has cooked for me – oops! Tonight is curry and peshwari naan. I think it’s like a korma or something like that so it’s not going to be spicy at all. Have been trying to attempt little and often rather than three massive meals. Does mean I’ve probably ate far too much chocolate but I don’t think you mind lol.

Our Sidekick is still excited about your impending arrival. He’s been asking deeper questions with regards to what it feels like and will I forget what it’s like to deliver you…..I said that I think the end goal of holding you in my arms after carrying you around for 9 months will out weigh any pain from labour. He’s got all sorts of things planned like teaching you to ride a skate board and how to eat chicken the proper way (apparently Daddy and I have it wrong!)

I was asked by a lady at the SVR station at Kidderminster today how long I had left to go. 11 weeks until your due date. I have no idea if you’ll arrive on time or not, if you’re like me and Grandma you’ll be early and so it’s probably good that after this week I have 9 shifts left and then I’m on maternity leave and somewhere in all that I turn 28. What flavour cake shall we have baby?

You’re special baby in case you didn’t know I thought I’d tell you.

Love you Mummy.

Bye bye feet. Hello baby!!

Bye Bye Feet. Hello Baby

#Ironbridge2014: Day 1 (April 13th)

Our Adventure to Ironbridge

Original image found here.

As normal we started Sunday with church. It was a special day as there was a guest speaker called Chris and a lunch for the associate pastor and his wife as he’s retiring. We left part way through dessert as we needed to get on the road but I’ve seen photos from the rest of the lunch and it looked like it was a lot of fun.

When the summer holidays arrive in July, we will have a recently arrived newborn to be coping with so we decided that we’d do our main family holiday now in the Easter holidays rather than going away in the Summer holiday. I think Chris is thinking of some day trips and adventures for him and Our Sidekick to go on when I’m at home with baby – some I might be able to do but I guess it depends on what they’ve got planned.

We left church, popped into Mum’s and a quick visit home and to the garage for some air to put into the tyres then got on the road.

For a Sunday afternoon the traffic wasn’t too bad. It was a little bit busy around the M6 just near Spaghetti junction (that’s M6 J6 to other people) but the traffic kept flowing. As Chris was DJ-ing at a wedding last night he had a bunch of new music so we spent pretty much the whole journey playing “Guess That Song” mixed in with counting VW Campervans (we got to 9 – if you include VW Transporters and Caravelles we were on 11!).

We arrived at the youth hostel just after 6pm to a lovely welcome. The building is on the hillside so the entrance is at ground level on one side of the building but there’s a second entrance on the first floor – so our room looks out onto the road at ground level but the window opposite our door looks out from the first floor.

While the boys unloaded the car I made up the three beds – I figured it was easier for me than attempting the stairs again. The sheet for my bed was far too small and so didn’t fit the bed properly – I think Chris is going to mention it next time we go through reception.

Chris made us dinner in the self catering kitchen. We’d brought a bunch of stuff from the cupboard and the fridge as we’d arrive after the shops closed. He had a packet of green pesto ravioli, then made a sauce from a tin of tomatoes, some onion, some carrots and I think a pepper – it was really yummy. He had some rice noodles for him so that made his bit gluten free.

YHA Coalport

Following dinner, we went for a wander around the grounds that the youth hostel sits in. It’s on the same bit of ground as the Ironbridge China Museum and sits right next to the River Severn and the Old Canal. We then came back into the hostel and hung out in the lounge. Johnny English was on the TV so we sat and watched that while I wrote this post. We headed back to our room and hang out together just chatting and laughing.

AtoZ Challenge: C is for…Crochet

A to Z Challenge

A to Z Challenge

C is for…Crochet
For as long as i can remember my Mum always had a project on the go whether it was on her sewing machine sat at the dining room table, or knitting in front of the TV or cleverly crocheting something out of some yarn and a hook that probably looked like a method of torture than something used for something as peaceful as crochet!

I remember being taught cross stitch and how to sew – both of which came fairly easy, I’d watch my Mum and pick it up. Knitting and crochet however were another story.

I think I was first taught knitting when I was about 16 – I’d get the hang of it when Mum showed me but then I’d put it down and by the time I’d gone back to it I would have forgotten again and would ask for the hundredth time “How do I do it?”, Eventually it would stick and I got the hang of knitting and (Eventually!) purling. With crochet it was worse, I was so busy trying to mimic how my Mum crochets that I’d always be tense and uncomfortable. Eventually I got the hang of it and realised, like writing and things like that you have to get the hang of how you do it and how you find it comfortable.

About 18 months ago, Mum sat with me and taught me how to crochet, I don’t know what it was this time but it clicked – something just fell into place and I did it. So far there’s been no stopping me. I’ve now crocheted four baby blankets, a number of squares for a giant blanket that was made to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, a tetris blanket and most recently I’ve been working on baby blanket for Blueberry.

Our Sidekick's Blanket

K's baby blanket

Another Baby Blanket

Tetris Blanket

J's Blanket

Blueberry's first blanket

March 17: Currently….

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Click image for source

Watching:
The Good Wife (Season 2)
Grey’s Anatomy (Season 10)
The Lucky One

Reading:
Not a lot! Mainly Pinterest and Blogs

Listening:
Worship music – as I write this I’m listening to Redemption Songs by Kate Simmonds. It’s a bit of an older album but I still love it. When I was Lost, We’ve Come To Praise You and We Come In Your Name are my two favourites.

Making:
Baby blanket is still in progress but it is getting there. Squares 23 to 25 were powered by sunshine and blue skies.

Blueberry's Baby Blanket

Feeling:
All over the place. Pregnancy hormones are driving me bananas. They make me cry or just down right grumpy but a bit hopeless too. I feel a bit down in the dumps and little things make me stress more. I’m sure it’ll pass and if not I’ll mention it to the midwife when I see her in four weeks ish.

Planning:
Adventures. Because of Blueberry being due just before the summer holidays we’re working on fitting our main family holiday in Easter or May Half Term. Current idea is to go to Ironbridge and the local area to that.

Loving:
The sunshine. That’s two Sundays in a row where we’ve had sunshine and it’s been warm enough to sit outside. Chris worked on the garden this Sunday while I crocheted and observed. Well I’d get in trouble if I moved the dead fence panel or tried to cut the grass.

Blue Skies

Singing Birdie in The Tree

February 16: A Ride on a Train

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The week and the weekend didn’t exactly go to plan but that is another story maybe in the future sometime. Anyway, so on Sunday, Chris and I decided that we would miss church for the morning and go off an adventure. Now it’s become a bit of a joke for one of us to turn to the other in the morning and say “shall we more work and go on adventure?”.

Well missing church is a little less job-threatening than missing work! Chris tapped away on his phone and in the end found somewhere slightly different to go. We headed down the bypass and towards Husborne Crawley. I’m sure it probably wasn’t the most direct route to where we were going but it did add to the adventure.

After a few guessing games including me guessing the telephone codes to try and work out where we were (I can’t help it!! My dad was a telephone engineer so it was often a conversation on holidays and then I worked in customer service processing orders so it was handy to know what the full dialling code should be if numbers were missing etc – NERD!) we ended up at the Narrow Gauge Railway at Leighton Buzzard. Unfortunately it was a diesel train rather than a steam and because it being early in the season the train only went half way along the route and back rather than all the way to the end and back.

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This was the engine that pulled our train. It’s called Beaudesert. Following the ride we wandered round to the engine shed where you could see a couple of other engines and read about the history of the railway and why it was there. My Dad loves transport museums and things like that so growing up I was interested in trains, I texted my Dad the first time I went on a Pendolino (heading from MK to Birmingham to visit Rickie), I’ve even been watching Michael Portillo’s Great Railways or something like that using the Bradshaw’s Guide. I love the history of the London Underground but I think that’s the love for trains that my Dad instilled in me mixed with Chris’s love for the Underground and it’s history. (I have a whole board on Pinterest that has different maps of the Underground and things like that!)

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Some bits of the ticket office, station and cafe all could do with a lick of paint and an update but the staff are lovely and friendly and made us feel really welcome. The railway is mainly staffed by volunteers (from what we could gather) and on a Sunday once you get on the train watch the footballers in the field next door – they get really puzzled when they can hear the whistle being blown but it’s nothing to do with their match. The trains were clean and tidy and I can imagine it being quite busy during the summer. The guys in the cafe were nice and welcoming but if you wanted more than a cup of coffee or a cake there wasn’t much choice.

And if you couldn’t tell that I was a train fan from my purse then I don’t know what would prove it. (I have the proper purse rather than the coin purse but it’s the same pattern)

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As part of our adventure, we then headed to the local Harvester for lunch. We did have to wait to be seated but it was Sunday lunchtime so we expected a bit of a delay. Our waitress was lovely and friendly and checked on us quite a few times even though it was busy which was good.

Following lunch we headed home again and ended up watching more of the Olympics when we got in. The Women’s Slopestyle (?) was on and it was scary watching some of the girls have to pull out the race – one time the girl took the jump but hadn’t got enough speed up so ended up landing at the bottom of the jump – she should have landed on the safety crash mats but actually she missed them. It’s such a fast race that even if you could pick yourself up and carry on, the race would be finished within seconds. Has anyone else been enjoying the Olympics? Do you have a favourite event?

February 14: Happy Valentine’s Day (and Chocolate Muesli!!)

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At work there were all sorts of activities going on this week because it was Valentine’s Day.

This included a quiz sheet, raffle, a video competition between the teams and a Bake Off Cooking Competition. I took part in the quiz and helped a few other people when they were stuck! As the money was going to charity I bought a couple of raffle tickets – I didn’t win anything but the money is going to the NSPCC so that’s okay. I took part in the video competition by being the camera lady for our team and a bit of directing along the way lol. Our team won which was really cool. I’d love to share the video but I don’t think I can. Then there was the Bake Off, well this week I had most definitely ran out of time so I emailed my Mum for her chocolate muesli recipe. I think it was found in a magazine or recipe book somewhere along the line but it’s something that I’ve grown up with. My dad would have muesli for cereal so it was often in the house anyway then the rest of the ingredients are golden syrup, margarine and plain cooking chocolate – dead simple (and if you have excess chocolate over Easter I have used Dairy Milk or Easter Egg chocolate to make it in the past).

Following a request from a friend who had seen the below picture on Instagram here it is….(also means that next time I need it I know where to find it!)

Yummy Mummy’s Chocolate Muesli

So ingredients:

3 cups of Muesli
5oz plain chocolate (about 120g ish)
3 tablespoons Golden Syrup
2 tablespoons Margarine

I use Tesco Swiss Style in the red bag because that’s what Mum uses lol. I think you want something with oats and raisins. You can always add a handful of extra raisins or maybe something different like dried fruit for a different flavour. While in the supermarket I got a box of the gluten free muesli Chris has – I figured I’d also try a GF version while I’m off work next week.

1. Grab a tin or tray to put your chocolate muesli in. My mum uses a sponge tin that’s about the size of an A4 piece of paper and about a centimetre deep. I used a dish that was deeper than that and smaller – this mean I had thicker but smaller pieces. Line your tin either using tin foil or grease proof. I used tin foil as it was easier to cut and peel off the chocolate muesli when it was set.

2. Put your chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan of hot water so that the chocolate melts – you want it to go runny but not to burn. If it goes running then starts to get lumpy you’ve gone to far.

3. While it’s melting chuck in the golden syrup and the margarine, using a wooden spoon mix it and prod the bits of chocolate while they melt.

4. When the chocolate has melted throw in your muesli and stir, you want to cover all the muesli in chocolate – it’ll start to clump together which is fine but you need to mix the muesli in quickly otherwise the chocolate will cool before you’ve got it all covered.

4. When it’s all covered load your mixture into tray. Grab a metal spoon (normal dessert one is fine) and push the mixture into the corners and level it out. I usually start by pushing it towards me then spin the tray 90 degrees and work my way round making sure it’s sort of level.

5. Stick in the fridge and wait for it to set. On this occasion I left it overnight but I think you could make it in the morning and it would be ready for tea time.

This is what it looked like before I cut it up….

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February 12: Dear Blueberry – 20 Weeks

blueberry

Dear Blueberry,

This week you definitely had the fidgets on. I could tell you were moving around but there weren’t any definite kicks or at least not any that hurt me. On Friday, Our Sidekick and I were watching the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. I was sat on the sofa and he was snuggled next to me. He said to me “Did baby just kick you?” And I said “I couldn’t tell, why did baby kick you in the head?” He said “No! Baby kicked me in the ear!”

I told Kewey and Becca all about it. Becca said “That is too cute! Blueberry just wanted to let big bro have some love.”

Having been such a fidget earlier in the week on Sunday when you barely moved (or at least not movements I could feel) I started to get worried. I didn’t feel ill so I didn’t think it was too serious but you weren’t moving and it was scaring me. I googled for advice to start with the first message board I was on the advice was “baby has probably just moved and so kicking in a different direction, if you’re really worried seek help.” Okay I figured I’d sit down through the service as I tend to feel the kicks and movement more while sitting down. Nothing happened during the service – or nothing I could properly distinguish but then during the lunch to say goodbye to a church friend I got an almighty kick in the side. I think once I had food in my tummy you got excited. I hope you take after Chris is that you can pack away the food but you burn it off just as quick unlike me who has to be sensible lol.

I sat watching Grand Designs and you were kicking away – maybe you’ll be like Daddy and Me and really like dreaming about new houses or what we’d do on our “Grand Designs” house.

Anyway

I get to see you on the screen again next week and I’m so excited!!

Love you lots little one.

Mummy x

February 5: Dear Blueberry – 19 Weeks

blueberry

Dear Little Blueberry,

One app tells me you’re about the size of an heirloom tomato and another says you’re the size of a Mango. All I know is you’re about 300g which is kind of impressive but also sounds really small – that is small but special.

(Honorary) Aunty Kewey and I were talking about my day because it wasn’t so good. Clearly you were sort of there and so might have caught some of it. She was worried about me but she ended one of her messages with “Please don’t overcook yourself Hannie. if your body is saying nap then nap! Everyone will understand. You and blueberry are very precious.” She has this way of knowing what I need to hear when I need to hear it even though she lives what seems forever away.

I think if you had pants then today there were most definitely ants in those pants lol. I think you had/have a fidget on good and proper but you’re still a little little to proper poke. Hopefully I will get the hang of it and will know what you’re movements feel like. I get this feeling just below my belly button like a pulse but it’s too irregular to be my heart or something like that – I think it’s you telling me you’re there.

I haven’t taken a bump picture yet but am going to ask your Grandma to take it for me when I see her tomorrow.

At the parenting course earlier we were talking about Love Languages and I kept wondering what would be yours – would you snuggle up to me when you wanted to feel loved or would you want me to tell you how good you’d done something? I guess we will see – all in good time.

Anyway it’s time for me to sleep otherwise you and me will be too tired to face tomorrow and all that holds.

I love you baby bump. Good Night.

Mumma xx

February 1 – Review – January

Review 2012

Books
Speak Love by Annie F. Downs
The Five Teenage Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Ink Heart by Cornelia Funke

Films
The Hobbit 2: The Desolation of Smaug
Happy Endings
Into The Wild
A Slightly Pregnant Man (French film I was given for Christmas)
Never Let Me Go
101 Dalmatians
102 Dalmatians
The Sisterhood of The Travelling Pants
27 Dresses
Loch Ness
The Blind Side
Sweet Home Alabama
Something’s Gotta Give
The Girl with The Pearl Earring
Frozen
Green Lantern

Television
Downton Abbey (Season Four and Christmas Special 2013)
Silent Witness
Don’t Look Down (documentary I watched to make sure it was okay for Our Sidekick to watch)
Hinterland
Who Do You Think You Are USA

The Month in Bullets
We started the month by going over to see Chris’s Auntie and her lodger/housemate aka Chris’s Second Aunt.

Was given like 5 or 6 carrier bags of baby clothes. I’d been looking at baby grobags as my friend used them for her daughters and they’ve always seemed like a good idea. The best way I can describe it is a sleeping bag but with dungaree straps so because it’s a set size and has those straps you don’t have all that spare fabric to get tangled in. I opened one of the bags and there were three second hand grobags (or along the lines even if not an official one!) and a brand new one. The brand new one is bright pink so might not work for us but a friend of mine is due weeks before me so her little one might use it instead.

Chris and I started the Parenting Teenagers Course that church is running, it’s written by the same people who wrote the Alpha Course and The Marriage Course. So far it’s been really good and interesting.

My mum and I went for a girlie day – I think it was supposed to just be the morning but because of how big MK shopping centre is and the fact that we couldn’t find what we were looking for it took longer. I over tired myself and when I got home I slept for 45 minutes! Oops not good.

While we were out we looked at patterns for baby blankets and maternity trousers. I have a plan for a baby blanket and at the moment I think it’s going to be the most unique baby blanket ever lol. My mum has sent me off with a mission to get some fabric for the maternity pattern that she ordered off the web having had a look in a famous department store.

She also ordered some bits that I had half thought about but one set of bits that I hadn’t even considered. I’m so blessed to have my Mum around to come up with the bits that I’ve missed or not considered.

At work I won the joint Buzz of the month which was really exciting. I also achieved my Excel 2010 Advanced certificate and my Outlook 2010. I’ll be sure to add them to my CV just in case (and possibly make sure I print off colour copies for the future!)