Tuesday, 9 September 2014

31 weeks - pregnancy update! Hello third trimester moans and groans!

How far along?

I'm currently 32 weeks, so this post focused on week 31's symptoms and happenings.

How big is baby?

Baby is about the size of a bunch of leeks, weighing about 3.3lbs and about 16-18 inches from head to heel. (Considering I'm 4"11, I'm guessing she'll be on lesser end of the height scale, lol) 

How I'm feeling?

Bit up and down with emotions this week, been feeling a little lost/blue mid week and hormones spiked up today due to some conflict with our neighbours - hello waterworks! 

Feeling a little deflated from our NCT classes, 2nd class in and although everyone is really nice I haven't been able to connect with anyone really and I don't know if I really see an ongoing friendship with them... The differences between us that I'm already aware of, such as money, class, education and career makes me feel a little inferior to them and I can't see that going away but I will stick it out if for nothing else but the class content and the fact that it's been paid for already and it will be a huge waste to give up now. 

Body changes & symptoms?

Very very achy pelvis and hips when manouvering around and standing up from a sitting position.

Major pain in my left rib cage after waking in the morning, it literally feels bruised and so painful.. But this eases after being up for an hour. I think it's to do with me having a shorter torso, so I'm showing much quicker and baby has less room to stretch out - but when I'm sleeping she manages to wiggle up prob due to my bladder being full while I'm sleeping and so she's squishing my ribcage!

Walking anywhere is still a problem, I can do it but the pressure on my bladder is pretty ridic! The midwife at our 31 week apt said baby's head is down so that's prob why...

Sicky feeling comes and goes.

Still very very tired and have started sleeping in until 10 or 11 most days which is so unlike me, I'm usually up by 7-8am every morning raring to go! Being a morning person, I was most productive in these early hours, but now I feel so out of it unless I get more sleep.

No heartburn. 

Restless leg syndrome in the early hours of the morning, usually because I've been sleeping in one position too long and it's super annoying. I can only seem to sleep on my left when I go to bed, sleeping on my back isn't very comfy and on my right side is even worse!


Cookies and choc mousse. I usually have zero sweet tooth, so this is unusual for me... A little dabble never hurt anyone :)

Tuna fish & vinegar! (Although I am limiting myself to 2 servings a week, so I don't give birth to mutant tuna girl thanks to too much mercury in the tuna!)

Food aversions?

Acidy fruits.

Stretch marks?

None to speak of, although I think I have some light ones on the underside of my breasts which I don't usually look at. I can't tell if it's just extra veiny or it's actually stretch marks. 

Still using bump cream, and in the evening after a whole day of eating I feel like I may burst but so far the belly has been handling the stretch well. (Touch wood) - worried that they will come after birth and I've no idea how to stop that!!


Average, some nights are better than others. Getting comfortable and staying comfortable is my biggest problem!

Belly button in/out?


Ring on/off?

On <3

The belly shot?

Highlights this week:

Our little shopping trip for some extra bits for Molly. Will post on here my fave bits from this little haul.

Also, been cracking on with the finishing touches to her room - I absolute love it, it's serene and lovely and perfect for a little girl without the usual overdose of baby pink or cream. When it's all finished will do an in-depth room tour type post so you can see what's been keeping us busy!

Have a lovely week! 

L xxx

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Baking cupcakes for ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS!

Today I tried my hand at baking some salted caramel cupcakes that my mr has been eyeing up in Sainsburys... I guess something you should know about me is that I am not a cook, nor a baker sadly. These talents require multi-tasking and your full attention and in all honesty I'm far too easily distracted by my phone, the tv, a song, my cat, another half finished task in a different room... The list goes on and on! 

Back to the point for this tangent, whilst perusing the baking aisle in Sainsburys we see the cake mix boxes and I think, surely this is the answer! Takes less than half an hour and most of the tricky work and individual ingredients are already in the box!

So I happily unpack the box at home, and armed with my butter, whisk and a solitary egg I begin my cupcake war... Ahem... I mean challenge.

So part one goes pretty well, mixing the cake mix with the egg and 3 tbsn's of cold water, I even managed a decent consistency with a normal whisk and not the electric one that the box says to use! 
I may have looked a little silly mixing it all in my saucepan but I actually forgot that I don't own a mixing bowl! (This is how much I don't bake!!) 

Once the mixture is evenly spread into their little cupcake holders I popped them into the pre-heated oven for 10-15 mins. 

Out pops the cutest little plain cupcakes, nicely risen and smelling so good!
Now it was time to figure out how on earth I was going to measure out 120 grams of unsalted butter for the icing when I don't own kitchen scales.... Well, in truth there's no trick, I guessed and then speedily jumped on amazon to order some cheap kitchen scales to advert this crisis in future! (Incase you're wondering, I also ordered a mixing bowl and a piping bag and nozzles!)

Guessing the butter wasn't too hard, 1kg tub of butter halved, then split that half into five rough sections in my head and cut out one of those sections and added a smidge more to make it 120 grams... Lol lets hope you will all be much more prepared than myself!

I had to use my hands to soften the butter and then mash up the icing mix and butter to form a paste before whisking until it was light and fluffy! 

I used a normal knife to paste on the icing/buttercream type thing and it went pretty well. They look scrummy already! 

Then I mixed the glaze powder provided with a tsp of boiling water and mixed to get the drizzle and dripped that and the little chunks to add decoration and aid in the sugar coma! 

The end result? 

Even with nearly all the tools missing or wrong I still managed to knock up a pretty yummy set of 6 cupcakes for the cheerful price of £1.60! 

Clearly my obsession with watching The Great British Bake Off is inspiring me, I think I'm going to order some cheap-ish baking supplies and actually attempt non-packet cupcakes next! 

Happy Sunday! 
L xxx

Thursday, 4 September 2014

10 happy moments in my week

After reading a short but sweet post from a blog I read now called "hobbits and hairdye" on what's made her happy this week, it got me thinking about my own happy moments - big & small.

1. The great British bake off - I'm so so late to the party on this one as I've only just started to watch this, 5 seasons in! Plus side, four seasons to gorge myself on in the name of "catching up"!

2. Hearing my little ones strong heartbeat at my latest antenatal apt at 31 weeks & finally understanding which body parts I am feeling rustle around inside me. 

3. Sainsburys choc chip cookies with loads more chips in them than any other I've tasted... Heaven in a cookie! 

4. Suits. Harvey Specters self assured office strutting and excellent hair. The all new Ross & Rachel will they/won't they!? Between Mike Ross & office beaut Rachel 💕 All of Lewis's tricks, Jessica's no nonsense attitude! It's 2014's Ally McBeal without the hallucinations! 

5. New book haul from a car-boot-sale in Ware, 4 new books for £2 :)

6. Finding this adorable onesie for Molly in river island, even though it was in the boys section I just loved it & my girl will look adorable sleeping in her palm tree nightwear :) 

7. Finding an old classic burgundy nail varnish in my draw & giving my toes and fingernails a complete make over before they get too chubby to look cute! It's amazing what a lick of nail varnish can do to make you feel more together! 

8. Extra long lie ins every morning, with my bear cuddled up right bedside me :) 
Maternity leave has been so very relaxing and I'm learning to enjoy the extra sleep and peace while I can. It's almost impossible not to smile and want to drift back to sleep when I wake up and this little nugget is stretching out 💕

9. Grass in our front garden!!!! It's really popped up in the last couple of days and looks so fresh and lush!

10. My mr being attentive as always, but with all the hormones I have floating around I feel extra thankful for him and his endless patience and energy. There's nothing better than a post dinner cuddle and a bit of bake off on telly to make me feel utterly relaxed :) 

Well, that's my 10 happys this last week, what are yours?

L xxx

and she's back........ Life and pregnancy update for weeks 29 and 30 xx

Sooooooooooooo.... (Cue voice of YouTube star Maxim Bady)

Sorry I've been pretty absent for the last two weeks, no preggo updates, no craft posts or books or even just a life update!

In truth, pregnancy leaves me feeling SO exhausted all the time I feel overwhelmed at the thought of having to post long tutorials or updates - I'm still actually doing the odd craft project and cracking on with each week of this wild ride of growing my own little human! It just seems the blogging part gets forgotten between my infrequent bursts of energy and frequent naps/eating schedule!

But this little online diary of mine is a work in progress and a learning curve all at once. I am learning to be grateful for the good in life rather than over worry about the bad and so, rather than worry endlessly about what to say - just saying something is surely better than silence... (And if that fails a few pretty pics help too!!)

I'm actually now sitting happily at 31+2 weeks pregnant & little Molly is doing great, our week 31 antenatal apt was a success and she has such a solid strong healthy heartbeat and I feel her wriggling around all the time :) 

Since hitting 30 weeks + it now feels like a count down to how long is left rather than counting up how far along I am!

It's all becoming very real, and so preparation for labour has begun with us joining a local NCT group and so far we've been to two sessions. I think I'll do a separate post on this as there's quite a lot of opinion out there regarding the "NCT class system" and their actual usefulness... I'm still fairly new into this so will prob have one more session(3 out of the 6 paid for) before I review how I'm finding it all!

Here's me at 29 weeks:

And here's me at 30 weeks:

New symptoms I've been contending with over the last 2 weeks include a reappearance of the pregnancy nausea I suffered with for 17 weeks but thankfully not as bad as back then! 

Some pretty teeth grinding pain in the pelvic region with bone clicks and aches to boot! 

Walking isn't very fun these days as I assume baby's head must be lodged right in there against my bladder! 

Mood wise I've been pretty good, no teary episodes unless I'm watching that bloody pets at home advert! Been more anxious this week about how we will cope with the change in money with me being off and the added expensive of Golly miss Molly, but really when it comes down to it me and my other half are quite sensible and I'm sure we will adjust to the new budget, with a little excessive planning from myself and lots of calming talks from the mr! 

Anywhoooo I've rattled on quite a bit there, promise to not leave it so long before week 31 is updated :)

L xxx

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Rainbow bookshelves

Hello lovelies!

Hope you're all keeping well :)

I woke up bright and early this morning (9am is early when you're pregnant.... 😝) and decided that my bookshelf was looking a little, drab?

Ive always loved the look of colour coded bookshelves but figured I had far too many black books (all supernatural themed, weirdly) and not enough colourful ones to make it work... But I was wrong! 

After piling them all up in order of colour I then relegated 75% of the black books to go up into the loft, along with a fair few white/cream books, a really bright red book and my only orange book. I was then left with a slow rainbow of colours, mostly dark but very noticeably showing the gradation of colour.... And I LOVE IT! 

Relegating some of the books was necessary to make sure there was ample free space to complete the "zen" look and to be able to have the both lying horizontal as well as vertical. 

After I shuffled them into just the right position, I put the  Big Bang theory pop funko figures back into the mix along with my owl book ends that were a treasured gift and the result is below!

Of course, I couldn't mess with our solitary "guy shelf" - full of various walking dead graphic novels and the like, wrestling guides and, of course, Star Wars books. 
So I had only the first three shelves to work with on my rainbow quest, the black books that made the cut are underneath "guy shelf". 
I'm pretty darn proud of myself now, looking at my bookshelf is a renewed joy! 

Now, to find a home in the loft for these babies..........

I can never bring myself to give away/sell books, so instead I have a mini-library gathering in the loft too! 


Pregnancy update: week 28

How far along?

I'm currently 28+4 weeks! Can't believe I'm actually in the 3rd trimester!!!

How big is baby?

Baby is about the size of a large Aubergine, still about 2 and a half pounds and about 15 inches from head to heel.

How I'm feeling?

Pretty good, mood-wise. Enjoying our last few months as a couple before little Molly joins us. Still apprehensive about birth and motherhood but as long as we are together I feel confident we can figure it all out.

Body changes?

Monster bladder kicks this week, literally feels like baby is kicking the wee out of me and I have to mad dash to the loo! 
I had my whooping cough vaccination as the start of this week and my 28 week antenatal apt at my gp. The jab was fine, over in seconds but it left me with a dead arm and very sore muscle for 3 days, but luckily I had no other reaction to it - some people report flu like symtpoms so thankfully I just had limited use of my upper arm muscle. The antenatal apt went well, Molly was very active during the physical belly exam, but we managed to get a few seconds of the heartbeat :)


No heartburn still.

I think I may have developed dairy intolerance during pregnancy, whenever I have a bowl of cereal or a yoghurt I feel intensely sick for a couple of hours.
I'm looking into alternatives, if I can't find one that agrees with me then a calcium supplement is prob the way to go!

I'm sleeping better now that I've cut out afternoon naps, keeping busy is the key but sometimes I just can't keep the snoozing at bay!


Chinese at the Oriental Star in Cuffley.

I loved Chinese food before pregnancy but my tastes have changed a little and the oil seems to give me terrible acid reflux so I cut this out - luckily the Oriental star in Cuffley is absolutely amazing and not oily in the slightest, so as a treat my friend drove us up there and we had THE best meal of my pregnancy! 

Home-made mash :)

Food aversions?

Milk/yoghurts are the main culprits.
Acidy fruits.

Stretch marks?

Still none, although my tummy feels so so stretched and right in the evening after dinner I worry that it won't be long - 3 months of super-speed growing to go! 😬


Again, pretty decent sleep as long as I skip my afternoon nap! Still wake up to pee once in the middle of the night but that normally allows me to sleep all the way through after that.

Belly button in/out?


Ring on/off?

On still.

Highlights this week?

Wayne has managed to feel some of Molly's crazy rolling around this week.

Super quick bouts of hiccups this week, she's been having them a while but I wasn't sure what they were as they are much quicker than normal hiccups but google says faster is quite normal in-utero! 

Ann-Marie from the "Ann-Marie Loves" blog has finally had her baby! I've been following her blog for absolutely ages and she announced her pregnancy mere weeks before the start of my own journey and I've been eagerly keeping my eyes open for the announcement since she went overdue! What a beaut little Briar is! <3


The belly shot?

So this is the final trimester I'm into now, it's actually starting to hit me we will have a whole different life in just a couple of months... I feel so ready for this change, we have had nearly 10 years of being us, just two. We are so ready to be a three!

Anyone else just hitting their third trimester? Hope you're all feeling well!



Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Book Review - The King, Book 12 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series - J. R. Ward.

Hello darlings!

In all honesty it's taken me quite a while to finish this book, but now that I've finally managed to I wanted to review it whilst it was still fresh! 

This was one of my more expensive kindle purchases as it was new out when I bought it, I believe it was over £5 which is rare to have to spend on a kindle book - but I bought it based on previous purchases and I'm sad to say this one didn't really cut the mustard! 

It was soooooo long, and the many different stories going at once didn't work at all and meant my attention wasn't really reeled in. Its a normal formula fo these books so the only think I can think of is that the longer this series draws out, they start to run out of main characters and it starts to include people I don't have any affection or interest in?! Plus I think the language and pop culture references were really starting to bug me.

Weirdly I found the end picked it up a bit, by the final few chapters I had started to enjoy it again, I assume it was because it picked up pace and focused on wrath and Beth a lot more. 

I feel like possibly these books have now run their course, I no longer have an invested interest in finding out how the remaining "singletons" settle down, my favourites have all now been covered and I think that IF I purchased the next book it wouldn't be at that price range and I would hope that the story doesn't drag as much - nearly 600 pages is an awful lot. 

I would give it a 3 out of 5, because even though it didn't excite me as much like previous books in the series have, they are still good books and the ending really did pick up. 

Has anyone else read this series?
What did you think of this book?

What were your favourite books in the series?? (Mine are Z&Bella, Rehvenge&Elehna and Blay&Quinn) 💕



Monday, 11 August 2014

Crafty challenge #1: making woolly pom-poms!


My first crafty creative challenge is going to be making woolly pom-poms! 

I've seen them on a few blogs and Pinterest, and walking around Ware town centre lots of these bad boys pop up & I've always wanted make my own!

Granted, it's not the most original and intricate craft to undertake, but they are super cute and really fun to make! Since I bought a pom-pom maker from amazon in order to make this process even easier than normal, I wanted to get cracking on whipping some up and maybe making a garland/bunting type pom-pom creation that I can put in the baby nursery.

First, you will need: 

A pair of scissors
Some wool in a cute colour 
A pom-pom maker or a cardboard version that I've seen around the web.
(I bought mine on amazon for under a fiver for 2, in 2 sizes)

Step 1: start winding the wool around the curved part of the "maker"...

Step 2: keep winding and winding, back and forth until it's fully covered both sides and it's looking pretty chunky - the thicker the wrapping the fluffier the pom poms will be!

Step 3: take the scissors and cut along the outer edge of the entire circle, making sure that the pom-maker stays closed for now.

Step 4: tie some wool/yarn around the middle where you have just cut the wool into two parts, making sure to double knot this part so it keeps everything together and stops straying threads wiggling loose.

Step 5: remove the pom-maker by opening the edges (see above), both top and bottom and pulling the maker apart in the middle - it comes as two pieces that can be easily pushed back together afterwards :) trim any long bits and generally neaten your brand new fluffy pom-pom, sit back and adore! 

As far as tutorials go, it's a simple one - but I'm loving the results and I can't wait to make more and have them all attached to hang up somewhere! 

Thinking of mixing up the colours a little too, maybe even trying a multi-coloured pom-pom or the big tissue paper ones I've seen on Pinterest!

Any one attempted making these in a garland or bunting style design? Would love to see how it's come out for you!


Book review - The Pact, Jodi Picoult.

I got this book at a carboot sale for 20p in Ware, and finally got around to reading this last week.

Although I'll try to refrain this may contain some spoilers as I'm useless at being tactful and I'm always spoiling something lol

From the first chapter there was a back and forth between the "now" (the scene I of the incident) and the "then" (their past, and how the adults meet and become friends), it quickly turned into a gripper as you get to the pivotal part of the story that everything revolves around and I then saw the back and forth as necessary to really gauge how intertwined their lives were for so long and as the kids grew how they ended up as close as they did and ultimately in the situation they did.

I really, really enjoyed this and found myself looking forward to picking it up again as soon as I could - it's been a while since I found one I was really into and not just finishing because I hate leaving things unfinished.

I really enjoyed the legal side and the prison scenes, I didn't find it too heavy and followed easily.
I liked the lawyer character, and the small insight into his life. As well as the surprising change of heart I had towards certain characters that I didn't like at first but then started to understand more, and vice versa.

I give this book 4/5. 

It's the first Jodi Picoult I've read and it was a good one, I'll be keeping an eye out for more from her for sure! 

Have any of you read this book? What did you think of it?

Any other Jodi Picoult recommendations? 


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Pregnancy update: week 27.

How far along?

I'm currently 27+5 weeks and counting :)

How big is baby?

Baby is about the size of a butternut squash, 2 and a half pounds and about 15 inches from head to heel.

How I'm feeling?

Feeling pretty normal, officially off work now thanks to 5 weeks of annual leave & early maternity leave. Work was becoming very stressful and exhausting and I was finding it hard to cope. Deciding to leave this early was a joint decision and already I feel a million times better and ready to wind down and really relax before little Molly gets here.

Body changes?

Belly bump still gradually getting bigger. Getting the odd day where I feel huge and think these are growth spurt days for little one. Breasts aren't as tender this week. Baby still likes to use my bladder as a beanbag so I'm constantly running to loo again, more than I was even in the first trimester!


No heartburn as of yet. 
Sickness/Nausea is coming back a little, if I don't eat every 2 hours. 
Tiredness also coming back, early afternoon naps are essential now :)


Poached eggs and beans on toast
Chicken nuggets
Mash with everything
KFC gravy

Food aversions?

Milk still makes me nauseas but I try and have a big bowl of cereal every morning because otherwise my calcium intake is rubbish. 
Fruit like apples and strawberries still make me queasy - something about the acidity maybe? OJ too.

Stretch marks?

None yet! Still using "mum&me bump cream" at night before I sleep. I have old stretch marks on hips/thighs from teenage years, so I do get them but so far so good, nothing on my belly.


Once I'm settled in bed I'm okay and Ive been sleeping pretty well this week as long as I don't have a nap after dinner.
My new pregnancy pillow is working a treat for snuggling between my knees without touching my bump - I hate having any fabric touching the bump at all at the minute!

Belly button in/out?

Out :(

Ring on/off?


Highlights this week?

Molly's been moving a lot lately, less random kicks and more actual full belly rolls! I think as she gets bigger she's running out of room so her fidgeting is much more noticeable now. 
She was actually lying hammock style whilst we was walking around matalan on Saturday which was a little uncomfortable but funny. 

The belly shot?

I have no idea how I'm meant to get any bigger over the next 3 months, the third trimester is essentially the growing trimester and I'm already feeling like a bowling ball!

Pretty exciting stuff still, keep growing little one.


Saturday, 9 August 2014

Welcome to my world

Hello lovelies,

So first of all I wanted to say thanks for stopping by "paperbacksandcraftyhacks" - I'll try not to waffle too much ;)

A little about me?

Well, I'm 4"11, a Taurus, born and raised in London and I turned 30 this year. 
I live with my fiancé and our cat Ruckles in a lovely little maisonette, with a nice little back garden and a gorgeous park just around the corner.

This is Ruckles:

This is me & my other half:

We have been dating for 9 and a half years, engaged for 2 and a half, trying to conceive for the last 3, and thankfully pregnant for the last 6 months. 

Our bout with unexplained infertility wasn't a particularly long one compared to some, but it was still pretty rocky. Thankfully we've been blessed and surprised with a little girl - due nov 4th, and we're going to name her Molly.

Why the blog?

I love being creative and I'm always coming accross things I'd like to try - with 3 months before the little one arrives I've decided to crack on with some of these projects I've been putting off for a rainy day!

Im also going to be doing pregnancy week by week updates, I'm already 27 weeks into this gig so it's mainly just the final trimester and then the early weeks of mama-hood. 

I love love love to read, and so I'm going to be posting book reviews, as well as general life chit chat and sharing both the big moments of my life and the small ones with lots of photos :)

I hope you enjoy reading about it all, feel free to message me, comment and/or hopefully follow my little corner of the web.