I've never believed in love at first sight. I never used to believe people when they would say that when you meet 'the one' you just know. It all seemed rather silly to me, that you could lock eyes with someone and suddenly be drawn to them and know that they are the one for you.
Until it happened to me.
I was 23, living with my boyfriend and throwing myself into work. I loved my job - it felt like my happy place, because things weren't particularly good at home. I fit in there, I had friends I could confide in, have nights out with and have fun with. In April 2010, our department recruited another four staff to join the team. On the walk around during the induction, my manager at the time noticed one of the lads who was starting. He was tall, very stocky, lots of piercings and tattoos, built like a rugby player (we later found out he was), I didn't notice him. I noticed the other guy - the one who was quieter, more reserved, not as in your face. I didn't really pay too much attention because, whilst not in a happy relationship, I was in one and we owned a house together. Life was pretty stressful back then - my ex had just lost his second job and I was the breadwinner and working 12 hour shifts to keep a roof over our head (at 23 years old). It was hard.
Over the next couple of weeks, the new guys came sitting listening in to calls and this one particular day, I locked eyes with Michael. I instigated a conversation and something happened to me. I felt this pull. Like I just HAD to get to know him. I am quite a shy person and I'm not very good at instigating conversations or putting myself out there, but this was different. I started to really make an effort to talk to him, to find out how his day had been and how he was getting on, as he did with me. Before long, we had become firm friends, emailing back and forth, which then turned into facebook messaging and before long texting and chatting on the phone and a few times he'd even come round for tea, when my ex was at work (My ex had known about this). I wanted to know everything about him, and we'd find ourselves chatting for hours in the evening's and there was not one single thing I didn't like about him.
It was soon coming up to my 24th birthday and we'd had a big department night out planned as quite a lot of birthday's were in May. It'd had been planned for weeks and I was so happy when Michael said he would love to come when I invited him.
That was the night which changed everything. I admitted to him what I'd known for a while - I had fallen head over heels for him. There was no denying it, I was besotted. I ended up confessing this to him after a few drinks and I was both surprised and relieved when he told me he'd felt the same. He'd not acted on it because of my situation and had told himself it was better to have me as a friend than nothing at all. I knew I had to officially end my relationship. I say officially because in my heart it had been over for a long time as we'd become two people living in the same house. We were also working opposite shifts, so rarely saw each other in the week which made it really difficult to sit down face to face and end things. When the day came, I think my ex knew because he prompted the conversation and asked was it over. I think we both knew that the relationship had run it's course. I wasn't happy. In fact, I was pretty damn miserable, as was he and it wasn't healthy to argue the amount we did. I also felt like there was too much pressure on me to keep a roof over our head and be working such long hours at 23. There was no fun in the relationship, we didn't do anything or go anywhere together and for a young couple, alarm bells were ringing. Once I ended it, I felt such a relief. Like I could be me again. When you have spent over a year, being so unhappy, it really takes it's toll. With Michael, he had shown me that not only could I be happy, but I also deserved to be happy.
Michael and I became a couple two days after I ended my relationship, which I agree, is very quick, but it goes back to that saying of 'when you know, you know'. My family didn't approve of my new relationship happening so fast and I was actually with Michael for six months before they met him. I'm not going to lie, that was hard, but I did understand their reasoning. They've definitely made up for it now and he's very much part of the family.
I am so happy that Michael came into my life when he did. I knew from our very first conversation that he was different. I still don't necessarily believe in love at first sight, but there was definitely something with Michael. An attraction, this feeling that I HAD to get to know him, like we were supposed to meet when we did. Our paths had actually crossed for a couple of years before meeting - just things like he used to work with a lot of my friends from school so we knew a lot of the same people and he lived with one of them in the same apartment block where my Dad's Nan lived... I do believe in fate, and I really believe that we were meant to be.
Three months after getting together, he went away on a lads holiday and it was the longest two weeks EVER! Once he returned, I pretty much moved into his parents house - I had a great relationship with them from very early on, and six months after we'd become a couple, we got our own apartment and moved in together in December 2010 - just in time for Christmas.
Within nine months we were engaged in March 2011 (the sneaky thing proposed to me on his birthday) and by January 2012 I was pregnant with Alfie, who arrived in September 2012. We were married in August 2012 and in February 2016, we found out we were pregnant again and our second little baby will join us at the end of October / early November.
Things moved pretty quickly for us in those early years, but it just always felt right. He is the most amazing Husband and Daddy and I feel incredibly lucky that I get to share this crazy journey with him. There is nobody else in the world I would rather have by my side. For six years, he's been my absolute rock, my partner in crime, my best friend and the person who makes me laugh like no other.
I count my blessing every day that I get to be his wife.
Yesterday we visited my sister and brother in law at their caravan with my in-law's. We had been looking forward to it all week, but in true British style, the weather took a turn for the worst and it was pouring down on the way. Not to be deterred by the weather, we decided we would still go and make the most of it... and I'm so glad we did. We had such a lovely few hours.
For once, all the kids played nicely - usually Alfie is the one being dramatic or throwing a tantrum as three year old's do, but yesterday he was in a great mood and so well behaved. When we arrived, it had just started to rain, so we stayed in the caravan for a drink and lunch in hope that it'd stop raining. Thankfully, it did, so we headed out to Morcambe. As soon as we got there, Alfie was insistent that he was going on the beach! It's such a shame that the weather was so bad because the beach was lovely. We let Alfie and Jack run along it for a few minutes, which seemed to pacify Alfie.
Next up, we stopped off at the arcade's. It's Alfie's first time in one and he absolutely loved it. There's just something about sitting there putting 2p after 2p in a machine and watching with excitement to see if you are going to win anything. It doesn't even matter that you might spend £3 worth of coppers just to get a drop of 10p - it's just such a thrill of winning. Even the adults joined in (Michael especially loved it) and all three kids won a prize. We were only there about 20 minutes but it was such fun.
After we'd spent all our money on the slot machines, we had a walk to the most lovely little cafe where my Mother in law used to go when she was a child. It's called Brucciani's and has been there since 1939. It was really lovely for my MIL to go somewhere with her own kids and grand-kids that she's got such fond memories of from her own childhood. The ice cream was absolutely gorgeous!
Sadly, after we'd left there, the weather had taken a turn for the worst and in true British style, a lot of us were dressed for Summer in shorts and t-shirts and sandals and the umbrella's we had weren't really cutting it, so we headed back to the car!
My MIL in law very kindly gave us some money for Alfie, so we bought him the England hoody in the picture below. I'd seen it on the Aldi website a couple of weeks ago and when we arrived yesterday, Jack had on one and I think it looks fab and it's such good quality, so on the way back to the caravan, we stopped off at Aldi to pick one up for Alfie. I think they look so cute in their matching hoodie's! The kids played so well together for the first time in a long time - usually, one of them has got in on them and it's usually Alfie, but I think the excitement of being in the caravan helped him behave all day, which made for such a great day.
It did dry up a little bit and Alfie and Holly played on the field in front of the caravan. I don't think there is anything better than listening to the joy of kids playing. I watched them for ages! When they all play nicely together, it's so lovely to watch. They're a real little gang. Alfie is probably closer to Holly as there is only 3 years in them, whereas there's 7 years between him and Alfie. However, Jack really does look after Alfie and I often see him being quite protective over him. It makes me feel so proud that Alfie is growing up with such lovely cousins.
I'm looking forward to hopefully having lots more adventures over the Summer with these 3!
None! Hoorah! I seem to have finally have come out the other end of the sickness now. I didn't do a 15 week update as I forgot to take a picture and to be honest, nothing much happened. I've got more energy, I'm eating normally again and I've not had my head down a toilet for a good couple of weeks! I'm still sleeping relatively ok (for now) and I'm not finding it too hard to get comfy yet and the insomnia hasn't started - I remember being much further along when I started suffering insomnia during my pregnancy with Alfie. Things are pretty good. How is baby?
The baby is now approximately the size of an avocado which is about 11.5cm. As the baby's backbone has now become stronger, it will be learning to stretch and straighten out the head and neck more. Whilst the baby can make different facial expressions, it doesn't have any control over this just yet. As it's grip gets stronger, it's even possible that they would be grabbing the umbilical cord - which is pretty crazy when you think how tiny it still is! How I'm feeling:
GREAT! This was the week that I'd been anxious about for quite a while because we had a weekend away booked for my birthday and I was so worried that I wasn't going to be up to it... Thankfully though I felt absolutely fine and we had a great weekend (which you can read about here) I'm showing quite a lot now and I'm much bigger than I was the first time round. This worries me a little as by the end with Alfie, I was huge! I'm trying not to worry too much though because a lot of people have told me that you do show earlier with your second. I hope they're right!
One thing I've not really talked about is cravings - I've not really had many, but I can't get enough of diet coke, which I know is terrible. I am limiting myself, but if I didn't then I could easily drink a few pints a day! In terms of food, I tend to change from week to week - I've gone through stages of eating just potato waffles, toast (with lashings of butter), sweets such as fruitella or chewits and my biggest food craving would probably be cheese or anything cheese flavoured - mugshots, crisps, sticks of cheese...I cannot get enough of it! It could also be playing a part in the really vivid dreams I've been having ;)
I also had my 16 week midwife appointment this week, but I was literally only in there about 7 minutes - she checked my sample to make sure it was ok, updated my notes, reconfirmed my scan date and that was pretty much it. As everything is going ok with this pregnancy and I didn't have any issues last time with Alfie, I don't need to see the midwife again now until August, when I'll be 28 weeks!
One thing I haven't mentioned yet with not doing a 15 week update, is that I received a letter in the post informing me that I'd picked up a bacterial infection. When I'd given my sample at my scan, it was picked up from that, so I needed a course of antibiotics to clear it. Apparently, it can be quite harmful to the baby if left untreated. I had to take three antibiotics for five days, which meant I was still taking them when we arrived in Bridlington. Not only that but because of taking them, I developed thrush. I've never had it before but it was a pretty miserable few days and it left me feeling really uncomfortable. I had a bit of a wobble thinking it was one thing after another as I'd had a few issues down there last year, when my smear came back abnormal (the posts are here and here if you wanted to read about my experience). However, it didn't last long and I got a cream off my doctor and it went relatively quickly. I'm glad that it all cleared up enough not to spoil our weekend away!
This week I have been pretty symptom free until Thursday. I was up earlier than usual as Michael had to be on the road earlier than normal, so couldn't take me to work, or Alfie to nursery, so my FIL was picking us up (the joys of only having one car). All of a sudden, I was really sick as I was getting ready. It came from nowhere but made me feel dreadful! It's the first time in a week that I'd been sick, so it is finally easing. Other than that I've been pretty ok.
How is baby:
The baby is now approx 8cm or around half the size of a banana. Whilst the arms are now in proportion to the rest of the body, the legs are not and still have quite a bit of growing to do. Another exciting thing is that the baby can now make facial expressions, such as frowning and squinting and will be learning to suck it's thumb!
How I'm feeling:
Now that the sickness is easing off, I'm starting to feel good. I've noticed that I've got more energy and I'm able to eat normal food again (hoorah)! I think that's one thing I really struggled with - eating such boring bland food for nearly 14 weeks is no fun, so it's been nice to have some flavour again. My cousin came for tea on Friday and it was lovely to catch up with her, but talking about it all and the birth made me feel quite scared again. I just don't know what it is. I'm not worrying as much now as I was in the early weeks, but every so often I will get this feeling and I get so scared of what's to come. Silly really when I've done it all before and I had an absolutely amazing birth last time! I'm trying to snap myself out of it whenever I feel like that! I keep meaning to look into hypnobirthing as I've heard wonderful things about it. I've noticed pregnancy insomnia is creeping in and if I wake in the night, then it takes me a while to go back to sleep now. That said, I'm still not really getting up for all the toilet trips I've been expecting, so every cloud!
The day was finally here. I was so looking forward to my birthday - so many people I know dread turning 30, my husband included, but not me. I couldn't wait.
Don't get my wrong, my 20's were great, in particular from age 24 when I met Michael. But I just think life is only going to get better now that I'm in my 30's. I might be being totally naive but I just have this feeling that the best is yet to come.
The night before my birthday, Michael set all my presents up with some balloons and decorations and got them all ready for the morning, which only added to my excitement. On the day itself, Alfie came into our bed at ridiculous o'clock and I just wasn't ready to start the day. He got in our bed and wished me happy birthday and luckily he did go back to sleep until a more reasonable time. At around 8am, I heard him start chatting to Michael asking could he wake me up and give me my presents. I lay there for a while just listening to them. Alfie was so excited, bless him.
We got up and went downstairs and Alfie couldn't wait to start handing me my presents and cards and helping me open them. I was thoroughly spoiled by my husband and my in-laws (I wasn't seeing my family until after work) and I received some beautiful gifts. It was really lovely having Alfie help me open everything and get involved. Not once did he ask why there was no presents for him.
Shortly after I'd opened everything, Michael made me my favourite breakfast - a bacon and egg sandwich, complete with candle ;)
Before we got ready for the day, my in-law's popped round as Alfie had left his beloved penguin in their car the night before. It was nice to see them, if only for a short while. Once they'd gone I went and got ready for the day as Michael had booked us in for afternoon tea at The Grapes, Croston which I was so excited about. I've only been once before, by oh my days... The best afternoon tea I've ever had - and I've had a lot!
There is a running joke in my family that I'm old before my time as very often I'd much prefer a cup of tea than an alcoholic drink. At least I had an excuse of being pregnant for not drinking ;) Our afternoon was so lovely and Alfie was being cheeky and pretending to drink Daddy's beer!
He's at such a cheeky age now and when he's good, he's the best company. After leaving The Grapes, we had a couple of hours free, before my parents and sister came round after work with more presents.
One of my gifts off Michael was a pandora ring, and my parents got me the matching necklace and earrings set to go with it. It's so beautiful. I must admit, I was blown away with the gift my sister got me. For the last two years, she's bought me a photo album but this year, she'd made a real effort and made me a huge box of lots of different treats - candles, bath bombs, jewelry, lots of things to pamper with - think body scrubs, face masks, bubble bath - she thought of so much! It's amazing!
My family were very kindly babysitting Alfie for us, so Michael could take me out for a meal. I'd chosen to go to Bella Italia, and I'm so glad I did as the food is just amazing. I got far too dressed up for a Wednesday night but I figured if I can't make an effort on my 30th birthday, then when can I?
Here I am drinking another pot of tea. I must be the only 30 year old who orders a pot of tea after a meal ;)
Overall, I had the best day that I could have hoped for. Michael, my family and friends had really spoiled me. I am feeling very lucky indeed. I also want to mention that on the last day I finished work before my birthday, Michael had the most beautiful bouquet delivered to work and my team really spoiled me with a another bouquet, a yankee candle and a boots voucher as well as decorating my desk and the office. A few of us also went out for a meal and they even organised a cake at the restaurant! I was so overwhelmed by it all!!
I've only had two morning's this week where I was heaving before work, but on Friday night, I was so, so sick! The worst I've been yet I think! I'm starting to get a little bit more energy, but I'm still very tired and taking myself off to bed much earlier than I usually would. Apart from that, it's been a relatively uneventful week. How is baby?
The baby is now approximately 6cm and is fully formed. The eyes have moved to the front of the head, rather than the side and s/he can move it's arms and legs. They're actually moving around quite a lot now, but it will be a while before I will feel anything. S/he will also begin practicing their reflexes this week, like sucking, curling fingers and toes and clenching their eyes.
How I'm feeling?
As you may have noticed, my due date has now changed. I had my 12 week scan on the 21st April and they gave me a date of 28 October, which is four days before my estimated date. Whereas before my scan, my change over day would be on a Tuesday, by the midwives dates, I now change over on a Friday. So, on the day I had my scan, by my dates I was 12 + 2 but they had me down as 12 + 6. In all honesty, this time around, I'm taking the date with a pinch of salt. I know the first date of my last period and the date of conception. I also know that this baby will come when s/he feels like it.
I was really lucky with Alfie as he arrived at exactly 39 weeks and boy was I so ready to meet him. I'm not sure I could've coped another week by the end, and I dread to think what it would've been like had I have gone over.
I'm going to do a separate post about my scan, so I don't want to say too much about it here, but despite it being the second time I've done this now, I was still incredibly nervous and anxious on the morning. It was just such a huge relief when they were able to tell me that the baby and everything was ok and as it should be.
Now that we've had the scan, it meant that we were FINALLY able to announce our news to the world!
A few people already knew but we put it on facebook and were totally overwhelmed by the congratulatory messages we got. I felt very loved indeed. It was lovely to be able to bask in the excitement for an evening, rather than feeling sorry for myself curled up on the couch. It felt like such a relief to finally be able to announce it and I felt like people, especially at work, were a lot more understanding of why I'd not been myself.
I know I've not really enjoyed this pregnancy so far, but I feel so incredibly lucky to be experiencing this for a second time. One of the things I'm most excited about, is my babies meeting for the first time. I literally cannot wait!
Last year, my husband turned 30. He was adamant that he was not having a party and I was not to make a fuss and he wanted the day to pass by quietly. However, as it was a special birthday, I wanted to do something to mark the occasion, so I decided that we would go away for the weekend.
We did some research online and found a gorgeous holiday cottage in Bridlington, Yorkshire, which was only a couple of hours drive away...and it came with it's own hot tub - bonus. We were there for three nights an absolutely loved it. So much so that when we came to look for somewhere to go for my 30th, nowhere else really compared. We knew we wanted to go somewhere with a hot tub again but everywhere else was either too far away, or ridiculously expensive! After chatting it over with Michael, we decided we would go back to Bridlington.
It has been booked from early in the year and I just couldn't wait to be back there. I was over the moon when we arrived and had been given the very same cottage as we stayed in last year - cottage number 6.
On the Friday morning when I was packing, the weather at home was glorious sunshine and really rather warm. I think I got carried away by the nice weather as none of us took our coats, we only took one jumper for Alfie and one jumper for me and Michael didn't even pack anything! As I was packing for me and Alfie, he'd assumed I was packing for him too, so when we got there on Friday night and he asked me what I'd packed for him and was not amused when I told him I'd only packed a t-shirt and a couple of bits of underwear. He literally only had the clothes he was in and one spare set and swim shorts. Luckily, we were able to see the funny side as we were only there for three nights, so it wasn't the end of the world. He'll be sure to do his own packing next time ;)
The three days we were there were incredibly relaxed. As I'm pregnant, I was happy to let the boys go in the hot tub in the mornings whilst I sat and read my book. On the Saturday we ventured down to the beach, but it was absolutely freezing, and the tide was in, so we had some lunch and had a walk round the fairground and then headed back to the cottage. Alfie surprised me by wanting to go on a ride which went so high. My heart was literally in my mouth the whole time he was up there, but he thoroughly enjoyed it!
Sunday was the most chilled out day we've had in such a long time. Alfie said he didn't want to go out, preferring to stay at the cottage in the hot tub, which suited me and Michael too. We suggested taking him to an animal farm, but he wasn't bothered, so I didn't want to spend money on us going for the sake of it if he was happy not to go. It's very rare we have nothing to do and no plans of a weekend so I think Alfie was relishing not being rushed about and taken from place to place. It was a lovely quiet day. Later in the afternoon, we popped to Tesco to get something in for tea and stopped off at a little pub on the way back for some cake, which was delicious.
I must also mention that last year when we arrived we saw a peacock near the reception. Now, I'm not a fan of peacock's as they freak me out a bit, despite being rather nice to look at. This year, we didn't actually see any until our last night when we got a few in the garden. I was sat reading and one came strolling round the corner, past the patio window!
For the first time, I saw one with it's feathers fanned out (which totally freaked me out, so I am very glad that this photo was taken from the car)!
Monday saw us head to the beach before we left for home. Although it was chilly, we stayed about an hour and a half. Alfie loved paddling in the sea, collecting shells and watching Daddy skim stones across the water. It was such a lovely morning and made me wish we lived closer to the sea. At times I found myself getting emotional watching the boys playing together as I'm all too aware that this is quite possibly going to be our last weekend away as a three before the baby arrives.
Overall, we had the most wonderful relaxing break and it was just what we needed to start off a week of birthday celebrations.