26 September 2020

AUTUMN PLAYLIST

 Autumn is finally here! I've collected all of my favourite songs to listen to this time of year - from cosy weekend listenings, the best Meg Ryan movie soundtracks, to Halloween party boppers! 

I've also added a few special ones in here too - as this season we welcome our baby girl, so I wanted to include ones that remind me of my final weeks of pregnancy and when I became a Mama. 

This is absolutely my favourite time of year - especially when the sun is shining, the leaves are golden and the air is fresh and crisp. Listen to this playlist walking through the park with a hot chocolate in one hand and a foraging of pine cones and conkers in the other... 

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15 September 2020

Creating a Gallery Wall

A couple of months ago we moved from a studio flat into our first home - which meant that I went from having very little space and not able to decorate/hang artwork to suddenly multiple empty walls crying out for detail.

I've always wanted to create my own gallery wall but I'm also aware of how daunting it can be when starting with a blank canvas. So I've popped my hints and tips into a blog post to share with you...

01. PLANNING IT OUT
Firstly I assessed the space of the wall so that I had a rough idea of how many prints I could hang, I opened a blank Word document so that I could drop in images of the prints as I went along to make sure they flowed and that I wasn't left with a random arrangement. 

Desenio has a great Gallery Wall page for inspiration!

02. MIX OR THEME?
I really admire people that can create a totally random gallery wall and still make it look creative and amazing, I'd love to build my skills up to this as I progress. But for my first project I thought starting with a theme would keep things looking neat. I had two themes for my kitchen gallery wall: citrus fruits and splashes of turquoise to compliment my kitchen appliances.

Then I began browsing the Desenio website for prints that included these details:


03. SIZE MATTERS
Once I had decided on the final prints, I needed to select which would look best in what size... Personally I believe starting with one or two signature A2 prints and then adding in a few more A3 and A4 around that works best. I wanted to avoid A5 in case it looked cluttered.

04. FRAMING
I wanted to include a mix of wood, texture and finish in the frames, as opposed to all black, as the kitchen itself is a bit of a random selection. So I picked out the prints that had splashes of gold detail and went with gold frames for these two.

05. KEEPING IN SHAPE 
Now normally I would have stuck to my Word document plan and laid out the prints on the floor to measure the spacing etc, but the previous homeowner had very obviously featured a gallery wall in this very spot and had left nails hanging all over the shop. So instead of worrying about taking them out, I thought I'd try to fit the prints in around the leftover nails and see what I could do.

Fortunately I managed to cover the majority of them up and it's only left one or two exposed holes. But it just goes to show that sometimes overthinking and planning doesn't always work out best and sometimes gallery walls can look just as good when randomly thrown together.

I loved creating this gallery wall and I can't wait to add to it as time goes on, maybe even swapping out prints as the seasons change.

There's a 25% discount off Desenio prints and posters with the code 'HAYLEYMARGOT' between 15th - 17th September! (Offer excludes frames and personalised prints).

*This post was in collaboration with Desenio, who kindly gifted the featured prints.

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3 August 2020

Second Trimester Pregnancy Update

WOW! The second trimester has absolutely flown by - and yet so much has happened during the last 3 months (including moving house).

Baby H has grown from the size of a lemon to an aubergine! We found out whether we were having a son or a daughter, and we've really started to bond with baby and recognise movement patterns.


Let's go back to the start...

16 Weeks
My morning sickness had finally started to go away! I was feeling more myself again and took interest in reading, listening to music etc instead of just laying on the sofa feeling totally sea sick. I still wasn't able to go outside too much due to lockdown and wanting to isolate, but I was able to move my body again and I started doing my Barre classes online. Pre-pregnancy I went to 3 classes a week so I really noticed the impact both mentally and physically when I couldn't exercise.

Baby H started to flutter in my tummy, although it did feel like wind at first so I can't be exactly sure of what week I started to feel their tiny movements - I remember it seeming very early. It felt like little gurgles or bubbles in my lower abdomen.

18 Weeks
Baby is now the size of a croissant! I had waited a long time for this moment, my love of French pastries is no secret, and I was very excited for this week. To celebrate, we had a croissant picnic in the park that Simon waits for me near the hospital, and where we took our first scan photos... so it's a very special place for us.

20 Weeks
It's a girl! This week really did seem to take forever to come around. Unfortunately due to restrictions I still have to attend scans at the hospital alone - so the sonographer kindly gave us a gender reveal scratch card so that we could find out together, again at a celebratory picnic in a local park.

We were absolutely delighted to find out we were having a daughter, I think I always knew it would be a girl. Simon was hoping for a boy I think but since the moment we found out he's totally team girl now. Finding out the gender really deepened our connection to the baby, even saying "her/she" rather than "it" makes everything seem more real.

The scan itself lasted an hour, which was really long, because baby was tucked up in a lower corner and really didn't want to come out to have her picture taken. And of course important measurements are taken during this scan so we really needed her to come out. I had to wiggle my hips and move about before she finally stuck her bottom out and rolled over to face away from us!

This was also the first time I was able to see my family again since I found out I was pregnant - we told them the gender by handing out special pink cakes covered in chocolate so that they had to bite into it to reveal either a blue or pink sponge... my mum screamed with joy.

We felt a definite first kick this week also! She responds to Simon's voice and touch, which is absolutely heartbreaking to watch him cosied up talking to my bump.

22 Weeks
This week we got to do something we'd been waiting for since we found out we were having a baby (and I'd dreamed about since I was little) - we went baby clothes shopping! Lockdown restrictions had started to ease and shops were open again with strict measures in place. I was concerned about going shopping, and only wanted to go for the novelty and wanting to do something a bit normal as growing a baby in lockdown up until now felt very lonely and isolated. We went really early and pretty much had the baby section to ourselves. It was such a lovely feeling to look at all the tiny clothes and pick out special items for our baby girl.

I shared a 'Little White Company Haul' here if you'd like to see what we chose!

24 Weeks
With life starting to feel a little bit back to normal we were excited to book a personal shopping experience at Mamas and Papas - they had offered these online but with our antenatal classes and everything else happened over Zoom we were keen to do something in person, and together.

We were able to book a slot an hour before the store opened so that it was just us and the Personal Shopper, all the products were wiped before and after we handled them, so we felt very safe the whole time. It was so surreal looking at prams! It kind of felt like we were playing 'Mum & Dad' pushing them around the store... but thankfully Simon had done his research and knew all the right questions to ask. Our favourite two were the Ocarro X Liberty London and the Nuna Mixx Next.

I thought we might come away feeling very overwhelmed but we actually learnt that a lot of things needn't be purchased until baby is here, so it was really more about the essentials. I would highly recommend booking an appointment if you can!

25 Weeks
Baby H's kicks are getting a lot stronger and can now be seen from outside my tummy! It's lovely to sit and feel her getting comfy (when her feet aren't directly jumping on my bladder that is...)

My back is really starting to ache now, and it's difficult to get comfortable at night time - I do however only get up to go to the bathroom once, and my body clock wakes me up at 6am... every. damn. day.

27 Weeks
We really wanted to attend a scan together, my heart ached when I got to see our daughter on the screen and Simon wasn't there. Plus it was almost 2 months since our last scan and we hadn't seen our midwife yet - so we wanted to check she was healthy too.

We booked a private 4D Bonding scan, which was about £100 for 20 minutes. It included a growth scan and all the vital checks to make sure baby is okay, as well as some time just looking at her wiggling about on the screen. She was in an "unfavourable" position (one leg above her head blocking her face) so we had to take a short walk around the block to encourage her movement.

In the end we did get a little glimpse, and we listened to her heartbeat together for the first time too which was really important for me. It was definitely worth the money, the photos and videos aren't the greatest quality, but the experience alone of seeing her together whilst we held hands was priceless.


So that pretty much brings us up to date -
I have my first midwife appointment this morning, so I'll include that at the start of my third trimester diary - argh!!

We're now going to start decorating the nursery and getting all her things ready, as deliveries of baby things are now taking over the house.

If you'd like daily/weekly updates on my pregnancy journey, or you'd just like a chat - follow me over on Instagram :-)

- H x


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20 May 2020

We're having a baby! First Trimester Update

Well this is a blog post I couldn't have expected to write this year! If you follow me on Instagram you'll be fully aware that I'm 17 weeks pregnant with my first baby. And how delighted Simon and I are to finally be able to share our precious little secret with the world.


Growing a human during a global pandemic sure hasn't been easy, but with every emotional breakdown and mornings spent with my head in the toilet have been little moments of pure bliss. I've never felt such pure love and joy as I have since I found out I was pregnant, and it was the first time in my life I actually cried from happiness.

I wasn't planning on documenting my pregnancy, as it's not the "normal" topic of conversation around here. But having since announced our news on social media quite a few lovely women who are also expecting have reached out to me to say it's just nice to have someone to talk to that's going through the same thing they are.

So I thought I'd share my pregnancy video diary and updates on here too just in case it helps that one other person who might be feeling a little lonely or lost during this time.

Let's start at the beginning...

Early symptoms
I think the main one was that I just went off smoking completely, at around 1 or 2 weeks pregnant looking back. The thought of smoking or anyone smoking around me made me feel sick to my stomach!
My appetite also shot through the roof and I was craving really unusual foods (for me), I eat really healthily normally but I was eating pizza and pasties for lunch.

How I found out
The smoking and appetite signs made me think something was going on in my body, so I was already anticipating my period. When it was 3 days late I took a test - I was absolutely overwhelmed with happiness. Simon was playing a festival in Norway and wouldn't be home for another 4 days so I felt emotional and a little lost until he came home.


How I told my partner
I really didn't know how he would react, as it was really soon in our relationship. When he got back from Norway I insisted we ate at Nando's for tea (his favourite). I actually wrote him a letter telling him but I ended up just mumbling it from behind a pillow with tears in my eyes. He was shocked, silent for a few seconds and said "I'm going to be a Dad?"

Who we told first
Unfortunately due to lockdown we weren't able to tell any friends or family in person (I'm still waiting for a hug from my mum!). So we wanted to share the news in the most special way we could, we waited until we had the scan photo, took some nice pictures together in the park opposite the hospital and sent cards out to family. My mum and sister were the first to know, followed by my immediately family on our weekly video call. Everyone was so happy and excited!

Best reactions
Simon told his best friends via a weekly quiz on Zoom, he wrote a Disney round and his final question was "In the new film being created now, can you name the Disney Prince and Princess that are having a baby, which is set around Halloween?" - they were all buzzing!

12 week scan
Again, due to restrictions in place at the hospital, I went to the scan alone. When I first saw our tiny baby on the screen my heart broke - I was so overwhelmed with love but also really sad that Simon was missing this. It was really surreal, I didn't take my eyes off the screen once. All I could think was "we made you - you're in my tummy right now"

Worst symptoms?
Nausea. I got to discover that morning sickness isn't just in the a.m. In fact I felt worse during the evenings and would wake up a few times during the night to be sick. This happened every day between weeks 7 and 16.
Exhaustion was hard too as I'm usually so active, so to be laying on the sofa all day unable to find the energy to even pop the kettle on was really difficult. I could see everyone settling into their new lockdown routines and being super productive and all I was doing was watching t.v.
I can't stand the smell of cooking now, so I have to have really simple and plain food. Grazing and snacking to make sure my tummy is never empty helps with the sickness.

Any cravings?
Not really, at the beginning I loved strawberry and banana milkshakes, I've gone through phases of "Daddy meals" (i.e, foods I don't normally eat that I think the baby wants from Simon) such as burgers, curly fries, pasta. I would eat the same thing every day, but once you've vom'd your favourite meal it's hard to go back.
Right now I just love fresh fruit and apple juice.

Best thing I love most about being pregnant
The feeling that there's a tiny person inside me, that's half me and half the person I love most in the world. I can't wait to see him/her and grow into the best versions of ourselves.

Here's my first trimester video diary, it's mostly me complaining about how nauseous I am really.


Now I'm in my second trimester I've found like I feel a lot more like myself again, more energy and more motivation to create content. So if there's anything baby related you'd like to see in particular please let me know!

Thank you for following me along on my most exciting journey yet - and please do get in touch if you'd like a baby chat.

- H x
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