The first three months…

I wasn’t going to go backwards with this pregnancy in terms of what I share on the blog but then some of the times when I most desperately wanted to read about other peoples experiences was of the ‘getting pregnant’ (more on this to come later,) and the unspoken first 12 weeks. So for those of you who are planning or trying or in those secret weeks, here’s how I found it.

I’ll start at the very beginning…

We found out we were pregnant very early on. I had always said that I wouldn’t do a test on the first day I was late, but when it came to it I managed to hold out 2 extra days (because my cycle varies a little anyway,) then caved. I was so nervous that I did the test without Pete because I didn’t want to disappoint him if it was negative! It all seems crazy now! Especially when we looked back and said deep down we both knew – My boobs were bigger and ridiculously sore, and my nose was like a highly trained sniffer dog – nothing escaped me! When Pete came home that night Francesca was around and it was killing me to act normally, then our wedding photographer came over to deliver our album (better late than never,) and it was only at about 9 o’clock that I dragged him upstairs to tell him finally! And then I fell asleep.

That was the beginning of what was really my only major pregnancy symptom, I have never been so tired in all my life. Every night I was in bed between 8.30 and 9.30 (for someone who usually goes to bed at 11-11.30 this was a major departure from the norm,) and in the day I just about coped. I didn’t get much else, fleeting nausea was so mild and if I ate it went, so I ate and ate and ate. I’ve never eaten so much in my life and yet I didn’t gain weight for few weeks, so despite the advice that you don’t need extra calories until the third trimester, I must have needed them somewhere!

The lack of symptoms meant I really worried. I wouldn’t say that I was wracked with worry or it was the only thing on my mind, but I certainly found it hard to be positive about being pregnant. So much of my experience so far has been coloured by my medical background and because of my time spent doing Gynae on-call shifts, essentially dealing with women who were having possible early miscarriages I prepared myself for the worst. I googled miscarriage statistics and as each week passed I felt better. I think I knew deep down though that it would work out.

I actually found those first few months quite depressing. It sounds spoilt but I am so used to being active, going out and doing things and I’m also naturally a very open person. Not telling people was hard, but the sleeping was awful, for me at least. Coupled with the dark nights I felt like I was only ever asleep or at work and I really missed getting out as much. We did tell some people though on the premise that if something went wrong we wouldn’t have kept that a secret either and before we told our family we paid for a private scan at 9 weeks, right before Christmas. I couldn’t bear the thought of telling them and them later being disappointed and Christmas would have been too hard otherwise. It would be very unusual for me not to have a drink in my hand!

After Christmas the time flew and I didn’t have my scan until almost 14 weeks, the latest possible date to have the anomaly screening, (that we agreed we wanted regardless, so we could prepare if there was bad news.) It was so amazing to see this little human kicking up a storm on the screen when just a few weeks before it had looked like a wriggly baked bean.

By this point I was on bump watch. I knew it wouldn’t be for a while that I would pop a bump out but my shape changed so early on in pregnancy that I wanted to actually look pregnant. I was so bloated right from the off that my tummy filled out after only a couple of weeks and my boobs have gotten so. much. bigger. Most people when I told them our news had already guessed, even my work colleagues at only 11 weeks. It has taken a lot longer though to get a real bump rather than just a different shape. I could feel my uterus at 14 weeks, but not see it, then about 16 weeks I started to feel different and it’s only now that it’s definitely there, although sometime I still feel just a bit porky!

One thing I did stress out about was what to eat or avoid. The advice is so conflicting and people can essentially write whatever they want on the internet with no medical evidence to back it up. I had always dreaded being pregnant as I mistakenly thought I couldn’t eat so many of my favourite foods – seafood, deli meats, runny yolked eggs. After reading a lot in the first couple of weeks (I found this the most reliable source of advice, with the specifics covered in the comments section particularly helpful,) I realised that the guidelines change all the time. For example rules around cured meats like salami have changed since some of my friends were pregnant a couple of years ago. Essentially it boils down to 3 categories: Things that you need to moderate (like caffeine and alcohol,) things that could make you sick (like food poisoning,) but won’t harm the baby and things that could give you a pregnancy threatening infection like listeria or toxoplasmosis. It’s a personal choice but my take so far has been that if I wouldn’t worry about getting ill from something pre-pregnancy then I won’t worry now, but I have avoided certain cheeses, pate and rare meat, as they pose a small but possible risk of listeria and toxoplasmosis.

So there you have it, we’re almost up to date! I plan to do a monthly pregnancy update from here on in with my experiences, but for now feel free to ask me any questions, I’m sure many of you out there can identify with some of the things I have experienced and I hope reading about it helps some of you going through or yet to go through it. Feel free to chip in with your experiences too!


Team Yellow…

Good morning readers! This morning I want to talk scans… more specifically, finding out the gender of your baby. (Apologies for the baby bombardment, I’m kind of on a deadline here) ;)

Our ’12 week’ scan; We’re joking that we might have a little skier on our hands!

So, on Thursday we have our 20 week scan and of course, we have the option to find out what we’re having. After weeks of to-ing and fro-ing, deliberating and mulling it over (with a few heated discussions thrown in!) I am still undecided and the clock is ticking. I really don’t know what to do.

Firstly I should say, Pete knows exactly what he wants to do. He has been so excited from day one and he wants the surprise. He thinks finding out if it’s a boy or girl takes some of the magic away from the actual birth (I am still undecided if I feel there will be any magic in the room when I’m labouring,) but I disagree. Even if you know the gender, you don’t know what he or she looks like, what hair colour it will have, if any, eyes and all the rest.

I started off wanting to know, then I didn’t, and now I’m really undecided. I can argue it both ways. I like the idea of not knowing, as it’s our first. Although initially my thoughts were that I wanted a girl and so I thought finding out would give me time to come round to the idea of a boy, as time has gone on I have been less bothered about the sex and more interested in a healthy baby. After all, it’s a done deal now! I would never plan a gender specific pink or blue nursery, so I don’t need to know for the decorating.

But then because it’s our first, it’s all very surreal. Until feeling some movements last week I didn’t feel pregnant at all. I wonder if I knew I was having a little boy or girl would I be able to get more excited about it and bond with this little thing better before it’s born? Would I enjoy the pregnancy more if I could really immerse myself in shopping for it and picking things out with a little person in mind?

And then my thoughts oscillate back again. What if once I found out I thought, I wish I hadn’t? It’s too late then and I want to respect Pete’s wishes too, after all it’s his baby too. Either way readers, if we do find out, it’s going to be a secret! I want to share baby Norris’s arrival with appropriate fanfare and surprise everyone, including my family and friends.

So I need yo hear your thoughts to help me decide! Would you find out the sex of your baby, or did you? Maybe you’ve had more then one and done it both ways? I await your wisdom readers!


PS Feel free to guess based on the scan pic for a bit of fun! And cast your vote quickly below…

My Instagram Month: February

Hey guys!

First today I wanted to thank you all for the lovely messages yesterday. It’s been so exciting reading your comments and realising how many of us are expecting together! I won’t be over running the blog with baby stuff but it will be lovely to hear your thoughts and advice.

As I’ve kept so much of my life to myself over the last few months I wanted to get back to the monthly round ups. As always you can follow along daily on Instagram here.

  • We started off the month as has become tradition, at The Drawing Room. (See my review here.)
  • I’m so happy that the mornings (and nights) are getting lighter.
  • I’m obsessed with the macaroni cheese at my new favourite local restaurant, The Laundrette.
  • We stopped at Baileys while we were in Wales and once again bought almost nothing!
  • A spring fling with yellow fashion
  • I’m still reminiscing about our old house and shared the downstairs tour with you here.
  • Neon pink wool for baby craft projects!
  • Francesca’s best brownie batch yet.
  • Work started on our bedroom a couple of weeks ago and we had the wall knocked through to the bedroom and the walls have been skimmed and are drying as I type. Roll on the decorating!
  • I’ve been getting back into lipstick with some old favourites (MAC creme sheen in ‘lickable’) and the H&M lip crayon I reviewed last week.
  • Last weekend I went to Chester for a Spa hen party and it was the best thing ever. So relaxing and made me realise I needed to make time to do it again before the baby arrives!

I hope you have had a great February? I’ll be back next week with more baby talk and the usual FF style and substance ;)


News Flash!

Ahem! So, today is quite a big day and I’m going to let the picture do all the talking… :)

I can’t believe that the time has gone so quickly already and I’ve been waiting to have a bump to show you all! It’s lovely to be finally able to announce that Pete and I are expecting our first baby! I’m almost half way along now and so glad the bump has finally popped out so I can start talking babies, motherhood and get advice from so many of the mums who I know read Florence Finds.

As always, the blog is a reflection of my life, so I hope I don’t put off those of you who don’t have or want children, yet or ever, but I’m not expecting to have a personality transplant now there are three of us, so much of the blog will remain unchanged. Hopefully, this will be a welcome addition, it certainly is for us. :)

Anyway, I’m going to write a bit more next week, for now, I’m so glad you all know!


PS I’m wearing the ASOS dress I posted about last week in a size 12 for extra room!

Festive Fashion

Today is the last post I’m going to write before Christmas, and may be the last of 2013, (although it’s likely I’ll pop in at some point to reveal January Joy 2014!) So I thought I’d do a sort of outfit post in preparation for Christmas.

This year we’re spending it with my family and we like to dress up for the festivities. On Christmas eve we’ll go out for dinner and I will have worked most of the day, so I want something suitably sparkly but comfortable too. This loose knit is from Whistles but I picked one up in Oasis that was very similar and half the price. Team it with black skinnies, a statement sparkly necklace and some modern suede pointed courts and you’re all set for a cosy night in or out. (Thanks Jess for the outfit inspo!)

On Christmas day we go to family friends for drinks after opening presents, stopping at a couple of different houses before we head back to cook dinner. The day starts glamorously, although I like to wear something that allows for lots of nibbles and Christmas dinner so this loose embellished t-shirt style is perfect, (as well as being worn for my work Christmas party and coming out again for New Year.) I love a sparkly pair of earrings, and as it’s Christmas, my favourite glittery shoes have to come out, even if they’re so high they get kicked off as soon as we’re sat at the table! A bright red-orange lip keeps it modern and come 5 o’clock you’ll find me back in my PJ’s ready to watch the Strictly Christmas Special and a bit of Downton.

I hope your Christmas is full of magic and sparkle and you spend it with at least some of the people you love, if not all. I’d love to hear what you wear for Christmas and what your plans are if you get a moment to comment?

If I’m not back before, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year readers!


Goodbye November…

It’s time for my Instagram round up and although I haven’t done one every single month recently, with advent coming and Christmas and December, it felt like this month needed rounding off. I’m excited for everything that December brings already!

  • I started off the month in Glasgow at ODP2 catching up with so many girls from blogland and attending Bex‘s epic Halloween party, (check out her outfit!) whilst getting a tour of Roz’s epic house.
  • I finished Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behaviour
  • …shopped Ikea for the perfect Kitchen, and may have found it.
  • I dug out my old berry lip stains for Autumn lips
  • And got to work on this old dresser for a makeover that I’m sharing next week on FF
  • Some new purchases for lips from the & Other Stories beauty counter and a gold and navy nail art mani to jazz up the gloomy long winter nights.
  • We finally got our album back for our wedding (after being very tardy submitting our photo choices,) and it was so lovely to reminisce. :)
  • I went to see Jake Bugg with Becky Hay and finally unpacked the last box of glassware which I had been keeping to one side safe, all into my favourite piece of furniture, this Oak server unit.
  • A new Whistles dress for the weekend and last Sunday’s long walk amongst the gorgeous leaves. They are so bright and beautiful this year!
  • And finally, choosing curtain material, for our bedroom and the dining room – we might get them before Christmas!

How was November for you readers? Did you go anywhere or do anything special? Or are you’ll over December already?!


My Instagram Month

When I looked back this month, I had way fewer Instagrams than I usually do to choose from, which I guess is a reflection of how busy I have been. Work has been insanely busy and there really hasn’t been much time for anything else. However, here are the highlights…

  • Adjusting to the new house and discovering all the lovely parts of it has been amazing. I’m particularly in love with the stained glass…
  • I went to see Jay Z in his Magna Carter World Tour
  • My new favourite nail shade, Essies ‘For the Twill of it’
  • I went on a course in the Lake District for professional development which was massively inspiring. The combination of thinking about work when you’re away from it and have time to think about more than the day to day, and the beautiful surroundings were really refreshing. I’m inspired to make that Autumn break happen now!
  • I went for my first run… and my last this month. I really need to kick my ass into shape again. :/
  • As part of a secret project I have on the go, The Lawsons came to take some pics of the old house. I’m thinking this one should be my new social media profile pic. :)
  • I got super excited by the little things in life, like getting a bathroom shelf finally! I’ve been embracing my new autumn wardrobe and trying to get pink back in there – this bag is too beautiful to be saved for best.
  • I made my first ever lattice topped pie – disappointing enough to make me consider making my own pastry…
  • Art at my new favourite hang out in Manchester, Artisan.
  • And lastly, I can’t wait to see the girls this weekend in Glasgow for a belated Halloween celebration!

Some of the photos I took this month were part of the Fat Mum Slim Photo a Day challenge. I failed miserably at doing it daily but I thought I would share the idea with you guys in case any of you wanted to stretch your creative wings. It’s a great idea for getting you out of your comfort zone with a camera or just thinking a bit differently about your daily instagram shots. Read more about how to follow along here.

Happy Halloween readers!


Moving Day…


Hello readers!

I fully intended to have a Friday frock for you all today then as I looked around last night amongst the boxes Pete had already packed up the wifi kit and I couldn’t do it so apologies for that.

Today is moving day. I can’t quite believe we got here. Last night I counted 98 boxes. We shared fish & chips and prosecco on the floor after a last flurry of packing and after a lot of sadness as we close this door, I’m finally feeling ready to open the next one. Wish us luck readers!


Things I have learned: About Moving

With only 2 days to go, the moving countdown is really on for us. I thought I’d write a few notes down about how the move has been but between me starting this post and coming back to edit it later, we had a major upset and rethink, so this post ended up being a bit of a story too. I’d love to hear if any of the things that happened or feelings you had about moving at any point took you by surprise.

It doesn’t have to be a stressful as people make it out to be. We have had a lucky run of it, by my own admission, (until last week… see later!) We didn’t have to negotiate on the price we accepted for our house, then our first offer was accepted on the house we’re buying, so it was low stress and we have been incredibly lucky with the other people involved in the chain. Everybody has been keen, prompt and understanding, right down to the sale of furniture too!

Packing is sad. The day we started packing I felt so emotionally displaced, the way the house was so out of kilter and my life was being packed up around me. As Mum and I packed the kitchen, Pete started on the DVD’s and things in the lounge. When I came into the room the pictures were gone from the walls, even the cushions from the couch and it felt like all our hard work was being taken apart piece by piece. It’s also inevitable that you start looking through old things like photo albums and finding cards – Pete and I have had many a reminiscent moment over ticket stubs and love letters. ;)

It’s emotional. I expected to be sad when we leave – The 7 years we have been in this house have been pivotal for us. We both chose our career paths in GP, graduated and joined practices. We got engaged and married, and have had lots of parties and gatherings of friends and family around our dining table. Everything we pack though seems to bring that into acute relief, the end of an era and like we are saying goodbye to that phase of our life.

Francesca reading on the kitchen worktops as there was nowhere else to sit!

It’s really hard to know when to pack. We started with some aspects of the kitchen equipment that we use infrequently and were foiled by Francesca wanting to bake. I’m purposefully leaving the bedroom until last so I have a place that feels normal for as long as possible. As soon as the packing started, everything that was neatly hidden in the cupboards is taking up floor space in large boxes.

You shouldn’t sell all your furniture to the people who are buying your house! We have sold a few items from around the house that we didn’t think would fit in the new house (decoratively) or that we would be replacing anyway. Amongst those items are our wardrobes as we didn’t want them for the new house. The downside to that is that we need somewhere/thing to put our clothes on at the other end… hello ebay garment rails.

Organisation is key. Having a system for the boxes helps me feel a lot more organised than we actually are. Having a husband who doesn’t necessarily follow it does not.

You can’t clear out too much. We had already had a few clearing out sessions in anticipation of Francesca moving in, as we had to clear the whole spare room out and other areas to make more room for the things we evacuated. Now I’m determined not to take old paperwork with me so have embarked on a massive filing exercise. More paper has been recycled and shredded than I realised was hidden in there. Whole shelves of filed paperwork have been reduced to single box files. Magazines have been culled, charity donations made. I have at times thought, had I done this earlier, we may not have needed to move!

It’s not over until the fat lady sings (or you exchange contracts…)
We always planned to move on the 27th and exchange contracts (the payment of a ‘deposit’ and contractual agreement that commits you to the move,) a week or two before. We have had a bit of trouble with our solicitor being, shall we say, less efficient than I would expect, so having found out from our vendor that a condition of their onward purchase was them exchanging on the 20th, allowing a week before we completed, we had a rather tense conversation with our solicitor last Monday to ensure everything was in place.

We were assured everything was, with just one hitch – the mortgage paperwork hadn’t come through. We knew it was approved, but he had nothing to prove that. Cue two days of us scrabbling around to get electronic copies for him, only to find on Thursday that we needed to get documents signed and back to him ready for the exchange on Friday. This would have been easier, if not ideal, had Pete been in Manchester, but murphy’s law prevailed and he was actually in the South Lakes on a course. That meant I had to leave work at lunch and drive to to him to get things signed and back into the post that afternoon, before getting back to work – about a 140 mile round trip. I pretty much collapsed into bed that night, thinking how stressful the day had been but at least we had done everything that we could to be ready to exchange the next day. Little did I know.

On Friday morning, I awaited a call from our solicitor to say that he had received the signed paperwork he needed and that we were good to go. I received an email detailing a couple of issues, one of which was that one of the searches had revealed a sewer pipe passing through the back of our property – the vendors couldn’t offer any more info and he trusted we were happy to proceed on that basis. I texted Pete who had patchy service and confirmed he was happy to exchange and he replied ‘go go go!’ I just needed to ask about that sewer.

My view last Sunday – my last Sunday lie in and one of my favourite things to do in the house

Once I spoke to our solicitor it became apparent he didn’t have a lot of information about the pipe, other than it’s location right across the back of the house. As I asked him more questions about what kind of pipe it was etc, I eventually asked, ‘what does this mean to us?’ and he said, ‘nothing, unless you wanted to build over it.’

At that moment, my heart sank. You know that feeling when you realise you have made a terrible mistake and feel cold and sick. That’s how I felt, because Pete and I had been planning to extend the back of the house to create a large kitchen diner. It was 1 o’clock on exchange day and I knew I needed to find out more and said I would call him back and for him to hold off exchanging for now. I hoped with a few phone calls I could get some information and clear up what must be a misunderstanding. Surely there was some way around this?

What followed was 3 hours of fraught phonecalls, whilst the clock ticked and Pete being unavailable to discuss it with. I called a local builder, a surveyor, the planning office, buildings regulations office, United Utilites, an architect… everyone I could think of. Pete asked friends of friends, as did my mum and everyone came back with different advice. Eventually the planning office were able to tell me the pipe was huge. 1m wide, 4m underground and still in service. Only United Utilities could tell me if we could build on it. The only problem was that the department that dealt with such enquiries operated on an email applications only basis – there was no phone number. In desperation I rang their usual number and begged to speak to someone. It transpired there was no way we could build on it, or in fact within 6 metres either side of it. Due to the location of the pipe and shape of our houses footprint, it completely ruled out any kind of extension.

To put this into context, I realise it might have sounded silly, to be so fixated on something that doesn’t yet exist, we had decided to buy the house as it was after all? The thing is, I can’t remember when we first decided that we wanted to extend, but it was before we even put an offer in. In the weeks since I had already met an architect. I had spent hours imagining what it would look like and our life in it and now I couldn’t see past the lack of it. All of sudden the money we were spending, the mortgage, the pressure and enormity of the choice I was making was in sharp focus and I panicked. Unable to make a decision it was only my solicitor backing me up that made me feel I could postpone the exchange, to buy some thinking time.

That night Pete and I were devastated. The proposed extension was such an integral part of our plans for the new house that we could only see the whole thing falling through. I felt trapped. Trapped by the thought of letting down the other people in our chain who I knew were as excited about their respective moves as we were, and trapped at the thought of going through with the purchase and realising we had really needed that extra space. I knew I loved the house, but I wanted a big space for us to have a family area where we could cook, eat, keep an eye on any kids we were lucky enough to have and the existing layout didn’t allow for that. We decide we would have to go back again and see if we could make it work as it is.

After a sleepless night,  we did go back and we spent 2 and a half hours by ourselves and with the architect, looking at the space available and what we could do to improve it. After brainstorming with my Mum, Pete and Jess, we had decided there were options. I’ll tell you all about them when I take you around the house but for now, I’ll just say, we decided to go ahead and we think we can make it work for us. It felt like a huge weight lifted and we exchanged on Monday without any worries or doubts.

The new house!

So that’s it. we’re really moving, on Friday in fact and I can’t wait. I’m over packing, living in a tip and waiting. I’m ready. So lets go!