Summer Bucket List – 2018

Last year I did a bucket list for Autumn. Unfortunately I spent most of Autumn suffering from morning sickness and really didn’t fancy doing anything or eating anything. So that one might have to role over to this Autumn… This year, I’ve decided to do a summer bucket list, because I’m sure that having a new born will be really easy and in no way prevent me from flitting off to the beach for a sunbathe…

This summer is going to be really exciting for us, our little one is due anytime now (full discloser I’m writing this in May so he could totally be here by the time you’re reading this…). Having a new born is definitely going to impact what’s practical to do, but, on the other hand, having a list of things to get me out of the house after those first few weeks might be a really good motivator. Plus we’ll have lots of visits from grandparents and the things on my list are perfect day out with Granny and Grandad material.

1. Picnic by the River. Something my parents suggest we should do every year and we never get round to. The thought of finding a nice shaded spot, laying down the babe and letting him have a good old wriggle about while we sip elderflower drinks (or wine, who am I kidding) and eat little sandwiches. Ah Bliss.

2. Beach Day! There is ample coast here in Norfolk and in theory, there should be plenty of time before the summer hols start when a mid week trip to the beach is possible. Hubby is very very lucky with the amount of paternity leave he gets so hopefully before he returns to work we’ll all be feeling up to a little day trip to the seaside.

3. Boat Day. This one might be the most optimistic. We’ve had a few days out on the Broads since moving to Norwich and we love it. We rent a boat from somewhere around Wroxham and cruise about for a few hours enjoying the sun and the scenery. Adding a baby into this might not lead to a massively relaxing day, and I don’t want to think about being stuck on a boat with no clean clothes or nappies… Maybe just a half day?

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4. Do up the Garden. We’ve already made a bit of a start on this one by planting some flowers in pots. But I’d like to get some nice garden furniture, maybe lay some temporary decking, and just spend time sitting outside. Our garden is far from picturesque, but with a bit of TLC we might be able to pretty it up a bit. And again perfect for those early weeks with baby, if I don’t feel like going far, I can just sit in the garden for a few hours and soak up some vitamin D.

Bonus Wish! I’d really like to try wild swimming… I don’t know of anywhere in Norfolk that’s safe but I think I know of one or two places up north, so maybe on a visit to family we could swing by a good deep river and have a splash about… Any tips for wild swimming in Norfolk let me know!

 

The Sunday Subject – Teddy Bears

Good morning, grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy The Sunday Subject. This week’s subject is Teddy Bears.

My first teddy was actually a rabbit, called Bun.  I still have it, of course, and when I went to photograph it I was a little disgusted at how dirty it is! Might have to pop it in the wash… We believe it was from Mothercare and I think it originally had a ribbon to hang it from a pram or some such.  Bun was always a favourite and fairly well cared for, except the the time I thought it needed a belly ring so used an earring to give my rabbit some bling.

I always assumed that teddy bears had existed since the dawn of time, that cave dwelling children were handed animal skins shaped like little rabbits and bears. So I was surprised to learn that – where as I’m sure some incarnation of soft toys and comforters existed before the official teddys – teddy bears as we know them now have only been “a thing” since around 1902 and we can thank President Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt for the adorable name. He gained the nickname when, on a hunting trip, he refused to shoot a bear that had been captured and tied up, claiming it was unsporstmanly. Morris Michtom, inspired by a cartoon by Clifford K. Berryman of Roosevelt sparing a little bear cub, made a bear and sent it to the president. Within 5 years of this first ‘Teddy’s Bear’ being created Michtom started a toy company which later become the largest doll-making company in the US.

Do you have an old or well loved teddy that needs some TLC? Did you know there are teddy hospitals!? Or if you want to try your hand at making your own toys there’s courses across the UK.

I’d love to hear about your first or favourite teddy.  You can tell me it’s story down below or send me pictures on Twitter or Instagram.

What’s in Mummy’s Hospital Bag

A few weeks ago I showed you what I’d packed for baby, today I’m showing you the inside of my hospital bag and I’ll tell you now, it’s much less cute…

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First up, the bag it’s self.  It’s my Cath Kidston gym bag, its made from quite a thin waterproof material and folds up into a little pouch.  I thought this would be good because the top opens nice and wide so useful for digging around in. On top is a really cheap black Primark Towel for me to sit on in the car in case of any water breakage.  I’ve got another black towel, also from Primark to use after my first shower post birth.  I bought cheap ones because we don’t really have old towels and I wanted something I could just throw away if needs be.

I bought two long t-shirt night dresses (Primark) in dark colours, I think I saw Fleur bought some of these and I thought it was a good idea!  Again, cheap, dark colour and they button in the front to just under the bust so good for breastfeeding, I got them in large.   On top of those is a pair of hand knit socks that I love to wear in bed, they don’t go too high up my leg, and they are a little on the loose side so should be super comfy. I’ve heard people say your feet can get cold after you’ve had a baby (?) so thought I’d throw those in.

Then some miscellaneous bits, plastic bag for any wet or dirty stuff, a notebook and pen, phone charger (we always have a lead in the car) and a brand new water bottle.  These are actually my favourite water bottles, I think they are around £2 from Primark, I have a black one at the moment that’s getting a bit worse for wear so I wanted to make sure I had one for the hospital.  They have a built in straw and are easy to hold so seemed perfect.

A pair of flip flops (75p from Primark I think), for showering in. And then all my toiletries, I’ve got various things for holding my hair back, a few lip care options, toothpaste and mouth wash, body wash, shampoo, conditioner and a couple of face care bits.  Everything I might need during labour or after birth to help me feel fresh.  I’ve also got some nipple cream… Not much more to say about that.

Finally a big ol’ pack of maternity pads and THE BIGGEST granny pants I could find. For my going home outfit I just want to be comfortable, so I’ve packed a nursing bra, some super soft black jogging bottom things and a baggy t-shirt.  It’s not a fashion show, I want maximum comfort (<— see what I did there, heh heh).

Have I forgotten anything!?  My maternity notes are always near the door so we can grab those on our way out, I just know if I move them now I’ll loose them….

The Sunday Subject – Succulents

Good morning, grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy The Sunday Subject. This week’s subject is Succulents.

The plant of choice for anyone who loves the life that plants bring to your home but is totally incapable of remembering to water the damn things.  Having said that, I killed my first succulent with love, over watered it and it rotted, most unpleasant.

Succulents usually come from a climate where water is scarce and have adapted to survive under these conditions.  Their thick fleshy leaves are designed to store water giving them the ability to thrive where only mist or dew is a regular source of liquid. The word “succulent” comes from the Latin word sucus, meaning juice, or sap. Technically (or more accurately, horticulturally) there is a difference between cacti and succulents  but I think in the world of ‘having a little plant friend to call your own’  you’d be forgiven for grouping the two together.

There are over twenty five plant families that contain succulents and some of those of those families have well over two or three hundred succulents in them. I’m not sure I’ll have room for them all on my dining room table but I’m prepared to give it a go.

For some further reading on succulent cultivation, here’s a list of articles from World of Succulents or maybe you’d like to learn everything there is to know about succulents and Cacti, in which case perhaps this 8 lesson online course is for you!

Send me some photos of your plants! Succulents, cacti or maybe just a bunch of cut flowers, I’d love to see any and all!  You can do this via Twitter (@BeccyMundy) or via a DM on Instagram (beccy_mundy)

A Few Days in Zurich

Switzerland had never really been on my radar for travel.  Not for any particular reason, it just wasn’t up there for me.  When hubby was told he’d be travelling there for work and we realised it fell nicely into the spot people say is perfect for a ‘Babymoon’  we took the opportunity to make a little holiday of it.

Zurich is absolutely beautiful, with cobbled streets and brightly coloured buildings around every corner.

 

 

We spent the weekend exploring the streets and enjoying each others company and it was the perfect place to do that.  We didn’t feel like we were missing out on all the exciting tourist things because to be honest, we didn’t really see anything that screamed ‘if you don’t do this you didn’t do Zurich’.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s lots to do, museums, a funicular railway and I want to go back when I feel more like shoppin’ until I’m droppin’.

One thing we did do that I’m really happy we did, was visit the highest point in Zurich.  Uetliberg is a mountain which has an elevation of 870m (2,850ft) which is more than twice the elevation of Zurich itself, and you can get just shy of the top by train*, the final 68m is gained by a walk, which we did. I’d like to tell you the view was amazing but as you’ll see from the below picture on the day we were there there was nothing to see.  It’s not even mist it was an actual cloud.  We visited the hotel at the top and had a hot chocolate before turning round and heading back!  Next time we go (because there will be a next time) we are going to do the Path of the Planets.  We saw The Sun and Earth but it was cold and did I mention we were in a cloud?!

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*because I’m married to a train nerd I thought I’d add that ‘…the railway line has a maximum gradient of 7.9% and is the steepest standard gauge adhesion railway in Europe’ [1]  You’re welcome.

The weather was wet and we didn’t get to see any snow to speak of but I was mostly ok with that.  As nice as snow would have been to look at, at 28 weeks pregnant walking around in it wouldn’t have been that fun. (Which is funny because 10 days after we got home we had more snow in Norwich than I think I’ve ever seen in my life anywhere).

I’m a bit of a coffee shop crawler and I was a little disappointed at the seeming lack of coffee shops, sure there was a Starbucks here and there but most of the “coffee shops” we found were actually bars that served coffee and we were normally underdressed for such places.  We found two good coffee shops on the final day Boréal and Cake Friends.

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For evening meals we tried an excellent Italian restaurant near our apartment Restaurant Limmattberg.

On the second night we had possibly the most expensive and the worst Indian takeaway ever: both meals were incredibly salty, the rice looked like instant microwave stuff. It was dreadful.  If we’d sat in to eat it we would have asked for a refund and gone elsewhere but neither of us could be bothered to walk back and complain.

On the last night we went to Burgermeister (Hubbs tells me this is witty, something to do with Burgomasters, I don’t know… You’ll have to google it ) this was quite possibly the best burger I have ever had.  There was only one veggie/vegan option but from what Andrew tells me there didn’t need to be any more because that would mean you might pick a different one and miss out on this one…  The menu is uncomplicated and I only wish we’d been there for a week so I could have tried all of the options.  If you’re in Zurich this would be my highest recommendation.

Have you been to Zurich?  Let me know what we missed so that we don’t miss it next time!

 

The Sunday Subject – The Notebook

Good morning, grab a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy The Sunday Subject. This week’s subject is The Notebook.

No, not the 2004 film starring Ryan Gosling. The notebook, every stationary lover’s obsession.  I myself have many (many) notebooks scattered around my home, some beautiful, others practical, most totally empty because they’re just too nice to spoil with pencil or ink!  Notebooks bring me a scene of productivity and organisation, two things I often find I lack.

From a cheap and cheerful ring bound pad from Wilko, to the sleek and stylish Moleskine. The uses of a notebook are innumerable. Whether you’re a writer, artist, parent, student or astronaut everyone has a use for a notebook.

Maybe you make your own.  During the 17th and 18th century notebooks were made at home as and when they were needed by folding together pieces of paper.  Children were taught how to make them in school because information management was so important.  It wasn’t until around 1890 that notebooks started to be made and sold.  Scraps of paper were stitched together to make a small pad.  These quickly evolved into the ‘Legal Pad’  that we have today.  As with all things the notebook developed over time and the production processes changed to include, glueing, covering, spiral binding, ring binding and of course in the 20th century we were introduced to the practical, if less pretty, electronic note taking world.

I have to say, that even with the benefits of digital note taking, I don’t think I’ll ever fully switch from paper and ink to pixel and key.  Notebooks are a work of art, there’s so much character in a well used notebook, you just can’t beat it.

If you’re interested in learning how to bind a notebook here’s a list of UK based classes and The Book Studio in Norfolk offers courses during the winter months.

Or maybe you could just fold together a few sheets of paper…

I’d love to see your notebooks, whether home made or shop bought.  You can share them with me on twitter (@BeccyMundy) or send me a DM on Instagram (beccy_mundy).

 

Top 5 Places to Eat Lunch – Norwich

Norwich is fantastic for food.  I feel like there’s always somewhere new to try.  I’ve tried to pick a few different kinda of eateries to put into my top 5. They are in no particular order.

Wild Thyme
Smashed Avocado on Toast; Organic Yogurt with Fresh Fruit; Peanut butter, Banana and Blueberry Pancakes and a Spiced Turmeric Oat Milk Latte.

Wild thyme – Nestled behind a row of shops with a cute courtyard outside.  You enter up a set of stairs into a smallish room very simply styled.  It’s a veggie/vegan restaurant with an extensive menu, from breakfasts to curries and something for all tastes. Although probably suited more for older guests as I don’t believe they have a children’s menu.  Personally I consider Wild Thyme to be a planned meal out kind of place rather than a drop in for a bite to eat.  It’s a little higher in price than the other places on my list but the food is well worth it.  You can read about my brunch if you like! *Just to note, due to a fire in the shop below, Wild Thyme is currently closed.  Keep an eye on their website for more details.

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Moorish – You can find Moorish in one of Norwich’s busy lanes, Lower Goat Lane to be precise.  If you go during lunch time hours then you might have to wait a while because this place is always busy.   Moorish is a falafel bar with a focused menu – there’s 3 options – but when they do it this well, be glad you don’t have too much choice.  You have the option to customise with added toppings and sauces, so you can make your wrap, pitta or salad just how you like it.  Plus they do lemonade that’s to die for.  And for an added bonus they are part of Norwich’s Last Straw Campaign and are selling reusable metal straws!

Pono
Poke Bowl; Smashed Avo on Toast and a Berry Breeze Smoothie.

Pono – I visited Pono twice in two days, it’s bright, clean and simply beautiful inside. During these warmer days we’ve been having Pono’s menu is the perfect thing. Another place that’s picked a few meals to offer and is doing them well.  Customise your own salad bowl, choose from three ‘Smoothie Bowls’, go for a classic ‘Smashed Avo on Toast’ or try a twist on a traditional ‘Poke Bowl’.  The fresh smoothies are divine, I always go for the Berry Breeze.  And to add to the summer vibes, they have just started doing iced coffee. Yes! I think they sum themselves up pretty well on their website ‘We are a superfood bar inspired by Hawaiian culture, selling healthy, nutritious food without feeling like you’re making sacrifices’. 

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Saporita – A favourite of mine and my dad’s.  If we get a chance to meet for lunch in the city this is normally where we go.  They have a wide selection of Italian street food including, focaccia, panini and pizza slices.  Saporita is a family run business and is homely and friendly.  I don’t know if the woman behind the counter actually recognises us when we go in, but we are greeted with a big smile and warm hellos that make us feel like we’re returning to a friend.  There’s a lot to choose from and they offer a good selection of vegetarian and a vegan option.  While scrolling through their menu I’ve noticed they offer a Tiramisu in the desserts section and I’ve fallen even more in love with this place.  Anyone want to meet for lunch?

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The Waffle House – If you haven’t been to The Waffle House, then have you really been to Norwich?  This was one of the first places my dad took me just after he relocated here nearly 10 years ago.  What can I say about The Waffle House that’s not already been said in it’s long (and interesting) history? They serve waffles, the best in Norwich.  Ok I’ve not had many waffles in Norwich other than these, but why would I when there’s The Waffle House!?  There is something for everyone, and they can offer options if you have dietary requirements.  I’ve seen queues outside before it’s even opened and I’ve stood in that queue many times and I imagine I will stand it in many times more.  “Waffle House?” is a question with only one answer. “Hell yes!”

An Honest Opinion Of Myself – Pregnancy

My hands and ankles are swollen, my thighs and bum have expanded, my back hurts, I can’t get comfortable ever and I’m peeing about 100 times an hour.  And yet, I feel better about myself than I have in a very long time, possibly better than I’ve ever felt about myself.

Before I was pregnant, I would never have worn tight-fitting, figure hugging dresses and skirts but the second my bump popped I was in horizontal stripes, embracing every lump and bump I had. I’ve had my pale, poorly shaved legs out and my no make-up days have heavily outweighed my make-up days.  I imagine its partially down to hormones, partially down to “pregnancy glow”, but a huge part of it is down to – and please pardon my French – my body is doing something fucking amazing right now!

Being positive about your body is a choice, always, and when you’re on your knees at the foot of the porcelain altar for thirteen straight weeks it can be pretty hard to love yourself much. And not everyone enjoys being pregnant, and what it does to their body and that’s okay too! I’ve definitely had days when I needed something loose and flowy to help me feel comfortable – I’m about 4 weeks from D-Day, feeling a bit swollen from the heat wave we’ve had, and rapidly running out of even pregnancy clothes that fit comfortably.

Comfort, not ‘these shoes are really comfortable’ but comfort within myself has been my key to enjoying this journey.  Looking in the mirror and feeling like me. It’s not been about feeling pretty or beautiful everyday, but about confidence and respect for myself and my body and what it’s doing.  Pregnancy does not change who you are. You are still you.   

Give yourself a chance. A chance to see past stretch marks, swelling ankles and puffy eyes.  Look in the mirror and tell yourself ‘My body was designed to do this and I’m doing it beautifully’. Behind it all, there is a tiny little person (or persons!) relying on you for everything and you are doing a fantastic job of providing that for them.  So embrace it for all that it is, because it takes up so little time really and when it’s done, that little person will be worth it all…

… I hope, because the swelling is really starting to get on my nerves a bit…

What’s in Baby’s Hospital Bag.

I’ve had little one’s hospital bag mostly packed for a few weeks now.  I think it’s fairly safe to say that packing the bag for baby is one of the more exciting parts of prepping for your new arrival.  You get to go through their clothes and select the items that feel special enough to be their firsts. First socks, first hat, first vest.  For me it was the time when I really started to think about what our little man would look like.

As most first time mums do, I’m sure I’ve over packed but having all my bases covered has helped me feel calm about those first few hours with baby.

The bag we’re using will be our everyday nappy bag,  I got it from Amazon.  It’s got pockets everywhere which makes it a fantastic hospital bag.  I’ve got things tucked away so I can tell my husband exactly where to find the scratch mitts, rather than him having to root around the whole bag looking for anything.

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On top there’s a blanket for coming home.  This one was made by little one’s Granny.

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In the outside pockets I’ve put muslins and water wipes.  Will 2 muslins be enough?!  I have also packed a pack of cotton wool incase the hospital would prefer we use that.

Inside I’ve put six newborn size nappies and a changing pad, the changing pad is only there because I wanted to make sure it was in the changing bag and didn’t get lost.

There’s a swaddling muslin and hat in case it’s a little chilly.

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In the inside back pocket are a few small bits that could easily get lost in the main pocket.  These are also items we are less likely to need but that I wanted to pack just incase.

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We are still in discussions about the use of a dummy but I’m packing it just in case.  Look at those tiny socks!

Clothes next,  first I’ve got a selection of “emergency” vests in case we’re in for a little longer and he needs a change of clothes.  Two are 0-3 months and one is newborn.  We packed a very sweet long-sleeved vest that will most likely not fit him as it’s ‘Small Baby’ size, but if it’s ever going to fit him it’ll be on his first day and would make for some quite nice newborn pictures.

Then I’ve packed six outfits, three newborn size and three 0-3 size.  That’s two babygrows for chilling out in the hospital (one in each size), a baby grow for if we come home at night (again one in each size) and an outfit for coming home in the day (yep, one in each size).  I’ve also packed a cardigan that should fit him no matter how big or small he is…

…unless he’s huge.  I hope he’s not huge…

A scarf would bring this together…

I kicked myself when I got into the city and realised I’d forgotten to wear my new favourite scarf. I think the outfit works without it but the scarf added something… I’m not sure what… oh wait. I know. Warmth!! I was so freaking cold taking these pictures!

This is my first real “put together” maternity outfit. I’ve been unconvinced by maternity wear, not sure if it’s a waste of money. I bought myself this shirt from H&M and I’m so glad I did. Putting on a well fitting item of clothing can really help you feel good. I’ve not wanted to post outfit pics because I’ve not really been happy with what I’m wearing, but on this day I felt like myself again and loved it. I’m not going over the top with maternity wear because I still think it can be a bit of a waste of money (except the jeans, they are so comfortable I just want to live in them forever). But having a few nice items in my wardrobe is going to be important for me I think.

Jeans – Jojo Maman Bebe | Boots (similar)- Clarks | Shirt – H&M | Coat (similar) – H&M | Hat -Accessorise