Capturing the bump…

I never planned to do a ‘bump shoot’, thinking I would have lots of selfie style bump shots to suffice and Pete would have taken plenty too. Whilst the former is true, the latter hasn’t been – we have been far to busy in the house to be anywhere worthy of dressing up and taking photos of late. Maybe it’s also the looming end to my pregnancy that has made me cherish it more, I will certainly miss this bump and shifting baby inside, but I hope the reality in my arms will be infinitely better. :)

I had planned to have a newborn shoot, when baby is fresh and still scrunched up and small, to capture that newborn bubble the three of us will hopefully be in (read: chaotic, sleep derived blur,) and so at the last minute last week I decided to ask our good friends Laura and Peter Lawson to do a bump shoot too. They made us feel so at ease in front of the camera and I knew they would ‘get’ how blessed out together we both are just now, as they had their little boy Albert only 7 months ago.

I’m so glad we did it now and Pete loves the results too. This was too special a time in our lives not to make some memories to treasure and now I just have to pick some for the wall!





Have a great weekend readers, see you next week!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

34 – 38 weeks…

I can’t quite believe that I am writing the conclusion post to my pregnancy diary. Back in November when we found out I was pregnant, the end of July seemed very far off indeed but it has completely flown past. I’m sure this is in part due to the non-stop pace we set ourselves on doing the house renovations. Since moving out of our bedroom in December, we have completed the bedroom, dressing room, kitchen, outside deck, ‘face lifted’ the dining room, one of our attic bedrooms and most recently, the nursery. It has been exhausting, but it has certainly kept my mind off being pregnant, which at the time didn’t bother me, but now I look back and feel I should have savoured it more – I certainly should have taken more time out to relax and spoil myself – I haven’t even had time to do pregnancy yoga but I’m making up for it now with full on baby-focus now I’m on maternity leave.

This part of my pregnancy has definitely been the hardest, physically, although it’s pretty much all self inflicted. I’m still well and not that uncomfortable although I have been feeling very ‘full’ particularly when I’m sitting down so finishing work at 37 weeks was a good decision. The bump certainly hasn’t ‘dropped’ (but more on that in a minute…) I had been debating up until a week or so before whether to keep going as I’m not really tired, but because I postponed everything until my mat leave, I was definitely in need of the baby time. My back has been my main pregnancy gripe and anything involving lifting or using my back much is giving me pretty bad pain and stiffness. All this lead to Pete reading me the riot act after moving some furniture myself last week and then having to stop about 6 times on a short walk of less than 10 minutes. I’ve been on strict R&R since and have felt so much better for it. I think I needed permission to slow down!

The last week hasn’t been without it’s stresses though. At my 36 week antenatal appointment they booked me for a presentation scan as there was some concern baby Norris was not playing ball and might be the wrong way up. Sure enough on scan day last Tuesday, the hard round lump I had been feeling in my ribs for weeks and weeks is in fact a head and baby is breech. Cue some soul searching and the choice whether to have an ECV (where they try to turn the baby,) or book an elective caesarean section. I won’t go into my reasons here as it’s a very personal choice and one I’m still not happy about, but I have chosen not to have an ECV and so now I’m booked for a Caesarean. (On an evidence based medical level though I will say, the chance of success would have been very poor, maybe 30%)

So, after all my thoughts on how to prepare for labour, (not that I had actually made much progress on doing the required reading,) and deciding I wanted a natural, hopefully drug-free delivery (although I’m not silly enough to say that without an open mind for when the time came, having never been in that position before,) I’m now getting the works; spinal anaesthetic, all the drugs and the bit I am most upset about, the recovery period afterwards. I was so looking forward to being active again and able to do things around the house. There are no guarantees in life so I’m just trying to remind myself that I could have had an ECV, then a horrible labour, wanted all the drugs and then ended up with a section after all, who knows, but I still feel upset about the way things are turning out. I know it’s silly but I feel like I have meddled with fate by choosing babies birthday, I feel a bit disappointed that I (and Pete) won’t have that birth experience and honestly I’m terrified of being a patient rather than the one performing the caesarean as I have in the past. It feels clinical and I can hardly believe that I will wake up one morning, go to hospital and have baby taken out of me, instead of doing it myself. And the poor baby is going to get the shock of it’s life going from where it is perfectly happy to being yanked out into the bright cold world without any warning. However, I know this is infinitely safer than a vaginal breech delivery (at least for a first baby,) so I am also reminding myself to be grateful that there is a safe way to delivery this baby for both of us, which is ultimately all that matters. And for whatever reason, this baby is very happy being one of the 3 in 100 babies that are breech at term as it has been in this position for a long time and has shown no signs of budging. I just wish I had known sooner.

So now I’ve also lost a week of my maternity leave and the last week has been spent flapping about like a headless chicken trying to get things done and bought. As a result it has been very productive but a bit panic inducing too. I feel like I would have felt more mentally prepared if I had had to go through the process of labour, instead of what feels like going to pick up the baby via click and collect. The reality of having a baby now has a date on it. Life changes then. All the old questions of ‘Am I ready’ and ‘How will we still make time for each other and our life,’ have resurfaced, but now I also find myself stroking this little head as it bobs with hiccups or shifts position and feeling increasingly maternal and protective towards this little thing we created.

I can’t wait to hold this baby, take it home and introduce it to our families. I can’t wait to see who he or she resembles, if baby has my dark hair or is blonde as Pete was as a child. But the finality of having a definite date is also terrifying.

So readers, have any of you had a caesarean? How did you find it? And did any of you get pre-baby jitters like me? Now more than ever, I’d love to hear your thoughts and advice.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Five on Friday…

As the end of my first week of maternity leave draws to a close I’m feeling a little more prepared for baby. I’ve checked off lots of must have items on my newborn list, plus a few of your suggestions, and the nursery is falling into place. It’s been a busy and stressful week however – more on that next week, so I’m ridiculously excited about he first bit of pregnancy related pampering I’m doing tomorrow, on a Spa Day with Jess. I’m going to be making the most of it and hopefully some decent weather. IN the meantime, here’s what I have enjoyed reading and spotting this week…

I’ve been reading more about what to expect post-delivery as I prepare for baby’s arrival and this post on new parents expectations really struck a chord. A must read for soon-to-be or new parents.

Still obsessed with the idea of making (and eating) donuts. Still haven’t made them. These look immense.

If you’re having your second child, this was an interesting read on how Jo tried to manage sibling rivalry

I’ve never learnt to ride a horse but I love Kevin Russ’s pictures of wild horses in the US to remind me of travels there and his incredible landscapes across a beautiful continent. (Image above.)

I finally found the perfect summer wide strap sandal, even better, in the sale!

Have a fab weekend readers,

Rebecca
xo

Bump Watch

It’s fair to say that I have always been fascinated with pregnancy, even when I wasn’t keen on having children myself yet. It is an amazing feat that the human body creates a whole tiny human from a single cell, supporting and growing it then expelling a baby into the world. Like so many other things these days, pregnancy has now become the object of cosmetic scrutiny too, from bump watch features of celebrities and their ‘baby bumps’ before even a decent 12 weeks has elapsed, to comments on their weight gain, it seems the pressure is on to not only grow a human, but look good whilst doing it.

On a personal level, I didn’t expect to gain tons of weight in pregnancy as that’s not my natural predisposition anyway but I also didn’t want to. This wasn’t from a vanity perspective, but a health one. Women who gain a lot of weight in pregnancy (in case you’re wondering, the normal range is about 1.5-2.5 stone) are at risk of gestational diabetes and at higher risk of complications in labour and postpartum. That’s not to mention the difficulty of losing it afterwards. Aside from these thoughts, it is a huge shift in your body image and whilst I have loved seeing my baby belly emerge and swell, I still catch sight of myself sideways in shop windows and am surprised at how different I look.


(A selection of bump shots from readers around 20 weeks)

Added to all of those things are the constant comments people feel inclined to make about your changing shape, that you may or may not feel so confident sporting. Anyone who is pregnant or has been will know that they range from the complimentary, ‘You are so neat!’ or ‘It’s all baby, you haven’t gained any weight!’ to the unintentionally panic inducing ‘Look at the size of you!’ and everything in between. I have tried to take them all in my stride – I want to grow a healthy baby, who is gaining weight normally and keep myself healthy enough to breast feed easily afterwards. Comparison is also the thief of joy – my best friend is 6 weeks less pregnant than me and although quite a way off when you compare a 20 and 26 week bump for example, she has also been carrying a completely different way to me, not popping out a bump until much later. At one point I felt like a house by comparison, but I know I was desperate for my bump to pop out and now at term, it all feels like par for the course as I realise I haven’t actually morphed into a baby elephant as it sometimes felt like I would!


(A selection of bump shots from readers around 28-31 weeks)

Lastly, there’s the power of the pregnant blogger (I don’t count myself among). I know before I was pregnant and during, I have looked at my favourite bloggers sporting a neat and fashionably dressed bump with no weight gain and then snapping back to shape almost instantaneously it seems on social media. Whilst I know the reality is not always presented, it’s hard to remember that when fashionable maternity clothes are few and far between and you just can’t stretch that non-maternity dress over your bump anymore!


(A selection of bump shots from readers around term – 37w+)

All this made me think, women carry so differently and look so different in pregnancy, why not make a montage of women, all at the same stage of pregnancy and here are the results. I want to thank each and every one of you that sent in your pictures – I’m so grateful and I loved looking at so many happy, proud, glowing faces. Funny snaps in the booze aisle at the supermarket, holiday pictures, excited dads getting in on the act, post waters breaking grins, and a generally fab time in your lives. This is the real shape of pregnancy, and every single picture is beautiful. Thank you so much!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Call for posts – Be a part of Florence Finds!

If you’re a daily visitor round here and have been for some time, you’ll know that things have changed somewhat in the last year or so. When Florence Finds started I was working part time and blogged twice daily. As life changed in January 2013 I dropped to a single post a day and managed so much better. More recently, it’s been around 4 times a week. The change has been for a number of reasons… my work has become busier and busier, demanding later nights and making me jealously guard my none work time with Pete and friends or family. The thing is, when I started, I was used to working all day at work and then working all night blogging and I had more free time to write about what I was doing, out and about. Now I have an actual life too, the more I have, the more I want. Bottom line, Florence Finds is a sideline, a hobby and whilst I would never be without the fabulous community I have built here (I really don’t know what I would have done without your help and advice in recent weeks and months,) my real life has to come first. And I am so much happier for it.


Caroline’s Pigeon bedroom makeover

In the back of my mind has also been that life is going to change in a major way again very soon when this baby arrives and I have no idea how that will fit in with blogging. I am very aware that this blog has become very pregnancy and baby related and I can only apologise to those whom that doesn’t interest and are consequently sad – I know because I have been there with some of my previously favourite blogs. Although I was always interested for future reference. ;) All I can say is that the consistent feedback I get is that people want to know what I am doing, decorating, seeing, travelling and thinking so the blog has become more and more a reflection of my life. Hopefully that resonates with you at similar, or different stages of yours.


Amy’s trip of a lifetime to Hawaii

So, what is going to happen when baby arrives? Honestly, in the short term I don’t know. I want to take a few weeks off to just enjoy being with Pete and baby in our new little family and I know I will need time to adjust, get settled into feeding and some semblance of new normality and sleep! However I also know that I will want to update you guys, probably ask a whole heap of questions and of course to introduce you to baby. So I may pop in here and there. I may also pre-prepare some posts while in my mat leave and post them sporadically to keep you all going a couple of times a week until I can come back. It might be a long time before I can commit to a regular schedule but I hope you’ll all bear with me.


Pear and Caramel cake by Asma

If any of you want to help or get involved, I would love to have you. Florence Finds has always been about community and that’s why I maintain a roster of contributors who offer something different to my own experiences and interests. If you think you can write a short post that is similar to the kinds of things I post here, I would love to feature it, so I’m asking for your submissions. Here are a few guidelines and ideas: (I’ve linked to previous posts to give you some guidance of how I would tackle a similar post)


Victoria’s Chocolate walking tour of London

A note on images.
Everybody worries about images when submitting things to the blog. High quality images are one of the main factors in what makes a blog enjoyable to read but not everyone has a fancy camera. The main thing to do is make sure you have good natural lighting (easy in summer!) and take a mixture of zoomed in vignettes (close up detail shots) and wide angle full body/whole room type shots. For hotels, days out etc, you might want to include web links and I can often get images from websites or online. If you’re still worried, Instagram solves everything and I’m always happy to feature Instagram filtered shots to make things look a little more consistent! Above all have fun with it. I really enjoy taking photos for the blog (well, not the outfit ones perhaps!) and styling them to exercise some creative muscle!

So, if you think you can contribute, just email me your post and images or weblinks to hello@florencefinds.com and mark it submission – I will be eternally grateful!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS The pictures in the post are all from guest posts written for Florence Finds, but non-regular contributors, (with the exception of Victoria.)

Nursery: And the Animals came in Two by Two…

The first nursery scheme I posted was a complete contrast to this one, Bright and Bold with neutral accents. Then I spotted and fell in love with this Animals wallpaper from Beware the Moon and had to use it as a base for a nursery mooodboard to see if I could live with the neutrals. I think with enough bright accents, I can make it work… it’s just about finding the right pieces.

I still plan to incorporate lots of brights as accents so the room doesn’t look stark, but the wallpaper was so beautiful I couldn’t let it go unused and I worried the Triangle print would be too busy and full on. This is a great way of adding pattern and texture, without making my eyes turn into triangles too!

We’re finishing the decorating this weekend so hopefully I’ll have something to show you very soon!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Getting ready for baby

This week is my last at work and although I’m feeling ok from a tiredness point of view I am looking forward to having some time to devote purely to getting ready for baby. At present (36 weeks) I have the sum total of a pram, 1 blanket, 1 cardigan, 2 sleep suits, 1 baby bath and a rocking crib with 2 sheets. No nappies. No car seat. In fact there are plenty of essentials still missing.

I had no idea where to start with baby stuff and even had to ask my sister in law what you even put a baby to bed in (clothes-wose) after getting very confused about swaddling and blankets or no blankets advice. I found the John Lewis Nursery checklist very helpful and not at all excessive in terms of things to buy and so I edited it and created my own version here.

Do bear in mind that the different sections of the list may not apply to everyone. The feeding section for example is geared towards breast feeding as I intend to give it a good go, and I’m not sure a play mat or bouncer are essential for the first few weeks of a baby’s life. Although I’m lucky enough to live close to supermarkets and John Lewis, and there’s always Amazon, I don’t want to be unprepared so these are my basics to stock up on so I can concentrate on baby for the first few weeks.

You can download the list by clicking on the image above if you want to, or just click here.

I’d love to hear if you think any of it is unnecessary or if I have missed any essentials off that you found you couldn’t live without in the first few weeks?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

June on Instagram…

June has absolutely flown by in the Norris household, probably because so many projects were completed or nearing completion and we started a couple of new ones too. Now that it’s almost June I’m pretty terrified to see my due date looming on the next months calendar and excited to meet baby Norris at the same time. An equally large amount of things need to happen before baby arrives for me to feel even remotely ready, so I hope time doesn’t fly quite as fast!

The kitchen has gone from almost finished to very almost finished and usable, which has felt fantastic and meant we moved from takeaways, to easy cook no-mess dinners like Pizza (and the re-initiation of Friday-night-is-pizza-night in the Norris house,) through to the Sunday-brunch-this-kitchen-was-made-for Pancakes. We also finally had the stained glass put back into our bedroom windows and I’m loving our new kitchen floor.

At the beginning of the month I spent a few days in Windermere for a work course and as usual, remembered that I should spend more time there as it’s so close.

In full on nesting mode we also started 2 more rooms in the house. As Francesca is still with us, we needed a nice room for mum to stay in when the baby comes, so we ploughed through one of the attic rooms, having it replastered, a new window fitted and new carpet, then decorated it all in 2 weeks. More on that soon.

Lastly, this weekend we started the nursery – It’s now ready to wallpaper, having took longer than we expected to paint and I have a much clearer picture of where we’re going decor wise. More on that to come soon too!

So what did you do this June? (I’m sure lots of you have had babies or are due next month like me?) Have you been decorating like us or being sensible and just enjoying the weather?!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Five on Friday…

Since the house is kind of getting there (i.e. the builder is more outside than inside now…) I’m thinking about the best methods of cleaning. Microfiber and e-cloths were a revelation for me in the fight against dust and dirt so I love posts like this one from Real Simple on the best cleaning supplies.

Do you smile then apply your blusher? I do, but wondered if that look was getting dated (after all, I’ve been doing it for at least 10 years!) so this post on how to apply your blusher perfectly was well timed.

Dana from one of my favourite interiors blogs House Tweaking is giving a whole house tour right now. She is working on an epic renovation and I love her style, so head on over for some serious interiors porn.

This weekend we are decorating the nursery and in an about turn after this moodboard, we’re going (surprise surprise, ) grey with this stunning paper. Check out their Ostrich paper too for a healthy dose of quirk that would look great in a bathroom or bedroom.

As this is the first proper weekend Pete and I have to ourselves with the new kitchen in, I’m planning on making the most of it and cooking a weekend breakfast. Pancakes are top of the list and I might try this recipe from Jamie Oliver’s protege, Anna Jones (she was one of the first trainees at Fifteen,) and her book is on modern veggie recipes – A Modern Way to Eat, check it out… (and the recipe here.)

Happy Friday readers,

Love,
Rebecca
xo

25-33 weeks…

The last 10 weeks of pregnancy has absolutely flown by and I feel bad that I have let these updates slip, not because I think you’re hanging on my every pregnancy related word, but because I use this as a record for myself too. I even have a little note book of pregnancy milestones and haven’t recorded anything in it since before 20 weeks.

The truth is, so far (touch wood,) I have been very lucky and pregnancy hasn’t really stopped me at all. That is definitely changing now (more in my next update,) but up to 34 weeks things have been pretty normal. That coupled with all the things we have been having done to the house has been a massive distraction and I speak no word of a lie when I say aside from the pram, we are no more prepared for a baby now than we were at my last update.

I feel kind of sad about this. I know my second pregnancy (again, touch wood,) won’t be the same as my first, with a small one around to run around after I doubt it will be given much attention and I wish I had had time to indulge in pregnancy related treats like Yoga. I haven’t done a single jot of regular exercise since becoming pregnant and never made it swimming as I intended. But, I guess the physical activity in the house has more than made up for that and whilst I now feel huge, I’ve only just hit the 2 stone weight gain mark. And health wise, it’s only really been working hard in the house that has phased me – my lower back has been really stiff and sore if I over do the cleaning or decorating. Oh that and tennis…

28 weeks seemed like a good time to suggest a game of tennis with Pete and whilst we took it easy – I wasn’t sprinting for any long shots, it was fab to be active again. I more than paid for it however and had terrible back pain for about three days, even sleeping propped up one night, then fortunately it passed. Lesson learned. We also went to a wedding at 28 weeks (I posted my outfit here,) and I felt fantastic. One of the lovely things about pregnancy has been how happy people are for you. Everyone is interested and wants to talk about the baby, and whilst it’s not helping me get my patients seen on schedule at work at all, it feels really special.

At 31-32 weeks we travelled to Italy for our friends wedding, a little over the recommended time limit for flying but I paid for a fit to fly note from my GP and had no problems at all. I wasn’t going to not go ‘just in case’ when in all likelihood baby’s arrival was another 10 weeks off. As a side note here, if you do intend to fly with a visible bump, it’s well worth getting a note – I didn’t think I looked that big but was asked for my note on both legs of the journey at check in and although I don’t know what would have happened if I had simply said I was under the 28 week limit most airlines impose, it was good to have the back up and no stress. Travelling was fine – I made sure I stayed hydrated and did leg exercises but it was a short 3 hour flight and all felt pretty normal. We did make concessions to our usual style of travel – after Barcelona I knew an all day sight seeing walking tour wasn’t for me and we had a lot of ice cream stops but I was still fine cycling all around Florence for the day. Tuscan hill top towns were another matter and I felt like a steam train much of the time puffing around!

We went away mid kitchen renovation and came back to the final weeks of it which have since passed in a blur of project managing electricians, buying and returning lights, co-ordinating flooring fitters, painters (for the kitchen units) and marble installation, whilst actually decorating ourselves. In the midst of this we thought we had better get on with one of the attic guest rooms as Francesca is still with us due to hold ups in her purchase and so we need somewhere for relatives to stay when the baby is here. So that has been stripped, re-plastered, a new window is being fitted as I type and carpet coming later today. And before you ask… no, the nursery isn’t even partially started. Although the wallpaper did arrive yesterday!

All in all I had so many people scare-mongering about the third trimester and how awful pregnancy is/was that I hope a positive account of it is a balancing post for those of you contemplating making the leap. I know when I was planning to get pregnant (I promise, more on that too soon,) I had seen so many people struggle with it that I wondered how I would even manage to work, but even now I’m doing fine, so don’t worry before you have to! I’m hoping I can squeeze in another 2 updates before baby arrives, more for myself than anything so I’ll keep you posted, but we’ll see… ;)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS. My pregnancy so far…
The first three months…
14 – 20 weeks
20 – 25 weeks