What’s Saving My Life Right Now


New motherhood is as difficult as everyone says it is. Through all the newborn baby cuddles and tiny little onesies, there’s so much to learn and so little sleep to help your brain learn it… Every midwife and health visitor you see asks about your mood; they are angling to see if you have the signs of post-natal depression, and rightly so, but, as I have said to every one of them: I am overwhelmed, but not disproportionately to a rather overwhelming situation. I have cried over my (in)ability to breastfeed, I have worried about leaving the house and stepping into the outside world, and I have panicked about all of the difficulties to come. But I am okay. We are okay. Survival is key right now, and, inspired by Modern Mrs Darcy, here’s what’s saving my life right now… 

Whatsapp at 3am

A lot of what we learnt at our NCT classes has already been thrown out of the window just two weeks in, but there has been one part of them that has been invaluable to me – the other people that we met. Our babies have all been born now, so we are sharing late night wisdom and reassurances between us. Everyone needs a cheerleader every now and again, and having a group of people who are going through exactly the same thing at exactly the same time is very encouraging! Especially when you feel like the only person awake in the middle of the night, it’s nice to know that you’re not alone. 

Lansinoh Nipple Cream 

I haven’t taken to breastfeeding with quite the enthusiasm that I thought I would. It is without a doubt the hardest thing I have ever done. It’s emotional, for sure, but it also bloody hurts and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. Even if you do everything right, it’s a sensitive part of the body to be putting to work so soreness is inevitable. I’ve been drowning in Lansinoh nipple cream as a way to get through the first couple of weeks and the pain is already lessening. Let’s hope it continues that way… 

Kindle iPhone App 

In theory, you should spend every precious moment soaking up time with your newborn. In reality, trying to stay awake in the middle of the night whilst a baby sleeps on top of you is a little tricky without distraction. A friend recommended I download the Kindle app to my phone for those late night feeds, so I’ve been keeping myself occupied with a bit of Jilly Cooper when I need something to help me stay alert. 

Aqueous Cream

Delightfully, I woke up on the second day after giving birth with a dry skin rash situation all over my chin and neck. Apparently due to hormonal changes (of course) this isn’t uncommon, as my frantic Googling revealed. Through many scary forum threads from people who’d suffered for months, I found the suggestion of aqueous cream to treat the problem and promptly sent Paul out to buy some for me. It’s since mostly cleared up, which could be due to natural changes in hormones or the cream doing its work – but either way, slathering it on helped relieve some of the ‘tight’ feeling of the dry skin and helped me feel a bit more in control! 

Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine 

Yes, I know, I know. There have been some problems with these machines but as far as I’m concerned right now, this thing is a lifesaver. I want to breastfeed as much as possible but I’ve had some real problems so when he just really needs feeding there’s really no other option than a bit of formula. It’s not the end of the world – but the fact that this machine means you can have a bottle in hand in 2 minutes makes all the difference when you feel like it might be. 

Waitrose Daily Sushi Counter 

Okay, I realise this is the most middle class thing I’ve ever said – but fresh sushi from Waitrose is making life worth living right now. They opened the counter at our local Waitrose the end of my pregnancy (it’s like they knew!) and at least 25% of my meals have come from there in the last two weeks. Salmon nigri is my crack, and I’m not ashamed that it makes me feel a hundred times better when I’m exhausted and hungry. 

Gro Company Newborn GroSnug 

For the first few nights, Benjamin wouldn’t sleep if he wasn’t being held by one of us, which meant sleeping in shifts and trying not to nod off at god-awful-o-clock in the morning whilst a sleeping baby used us as a giant pillow. We figured out that he was waking himself up by thrashing his arms about, but were a bit wary of swaddling him properly with a blanket or muslin as all the advice suggests this can affect hip development. A bit of frantic Googling brought up the GroSnug – a little baby sleeping bag that swaddles the arms but leaves the hips and legs free, this assuaging some of my fears. The difference was immediate – he sleeps for a few hours at a time in this, which has already been a game changer. All three of us being asleep at the same time is a real luxury! 

Paul 

Last, but certainly not least, I have to include the soppy one. These past two weeks haven’t been easy but they have been infinitely less difficult because of Paul. He has encouraged me endlessly when I am in floods of tears, picked up all the housework and kept me fed & watered when I am stuck underneath a cluster-feeding baby. I’m a bit worried about how we’ll cope now that he’s gone back to work, but luckily he doesn’t have a long commute so we only have to be without him for the shortest amount of time possible! 

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June

Counting down the days until our little one’s arrival…

Being showered in lots of love and presents at my beautiful book-themed baby shower. 

Feeling very slow and heavy! 

Drowning in baby-related admin and appointments. 

Finishing work for the year (but already sort of wanting to go back…). 

Loving Master of None and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt being back on our screens. 

Learning to do laundry now I’m a housewife! 

Celebrating Paul’s 37th birthday with chocolate cake. 

Scoffing Poffertjes at Eat North with my family. 

Travelling down South to toast my Grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary. 

Getting fancy at Bettys with Emma for a long overdue catch up. 

Signing off on our last NCT class… but not feeling much more prepared. 

Writing a birth plan and realising that it’s all getting very real… 

Making the most of peony season with plenty of bunches. 

Googling every little twinge + ‘sign of labour?’ 

Needing to fill up the bath more to try and cover the bump… 

Enjoying the sunshine, but also feeling rather glad that it’s gone for a little while. 

Getting butterflies that we’ll have a baby by this time next month… 

How about you?

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Summer Bucket List 2017

Summer Bucket List 2017 // Amy Elizabeth

Last autumn, I made a bucket list with all sorts of cosy delights on to celebrate the season – and I mostly stuck to it. I was partly cheating, because I’d already made a lot of those plans, but given that I was suffering with some pretty extreme nausea for most of the autumn and winter months this year, I’m still pretty pleased that I managed to cram in so much goodness. I’ve loved reading a few of the other summer bucket lists I’ve seen floating around the Internet, and wanted to make my own – but there’s a slight spanner in the works, in that I have *no idea* what the rest of the summer is going to hold for us, which makes it very hard to plan. All being well, it’ll only be another six weeks or so before we welcome our new addition (and potentially even less than that!) and everything’s going to be turned upside down. 

Finish the nursery 

This one needs to get ticked off pretty sharpish. We’re almost there, nursery-wise, and it has been a joy to be able to do something for our son before he arrives in the world, other than just carry him about and complain when he kicks me in the ribs. However, there’s still a bit of organising left to do, some pictures to hang on the wall, and a few small bits left to purchase. I know I’ll rest easier knowing that one job is off the list, even if he won’t actually be sleeping in there for the first few months. 

Make & drink an Aperol Spritz

Is it entirely sad that I am very excited about drinking alcohol again? I swear, I have never wanted a glass of wine more than when it has been denied to me. I am contrary like that, and also, wine is delicious (and there is no soft drink that can compare when you’re eating a fancy meal). I don’t miss being drunk, and I certainly don’t miss being hungover, but I do miss alcohol. Top of my list once I’m in the clear is an Aperol Spritz – so I’m stocking up on the ingredients already. I’ve sampled them at various bars, but never made one myself, so that’s the first challenge – but the reward will be sweet (and bitter, and sparkly, and oh, so good). 

Book a photoshoot for our little family 

I have to get Paul on board for this one, but I’d really like to get some professional photos taken of our family of three (or four, if you include Tuna…). Obviously, we’ll both be snapping away once the little one arrives (Paul upgraded his iPhone especially… although I expect that baby photos was only part of the reason!) but it’s difficult to take photos of all three of you without some outside help. We’ll likely be horrible sleep-deprived over the next few months, so I’ll mark this down as a win if we manage to just *book* rather than have the photoshoot itself. I’d also really like to get some snaps of the house now that it’s pretty much done, so I’m hoping to kill two birds with one stone, as it were. 

Have our first barbecue in the garden 

Paul’s parents donated their old barbecue to us last year, but we didn’t get a chance to actually use it before the weather turned. A barbecue is a fairly low-key commitment when it comes to hosting, and I’m imagining this as a casual, spur-of-the-moment style event. I just want to sit in a deck chair with a baby in one hand (preferably having a nice nap… we can dream!), a Pimms in the other, and that delicious barbecue-y smell in the air whilst I catch up with friends. I figure that’s pretty achievable, right? 

Make some ice cream 

I’ve been collecting ice cream recipes on Pinterest for years now, but never actually taken the plunge and made any myself. Paul is convinced that nothing can surpass Ben & Jerry’s in his estimation, but I’m pretty sure I can whip something up that will at least compare favourably. And if that fails? Boozy popsicles. 

Watch the new Baywatch movie 

The Rock and Zac Efron in a cheesy summer blockbuster? I am so there. Light entertainment is the order of the day right now. 

Go to the beach 

I haven’t been to the beach in years and years, so I’d love to take a day trip to one of Yorkshire’s many delightful beaches on a sunny day this summer. Really, I’m just in it for the really vinegary chips and the slightly sandy 99 flakes. 

What’s on your summer bucket list? 

Summer Bucket List 2017 // Amy Elizabeth

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May

Celebrating our second wedding anniversary, a friend’s 30th birthday and reaching the third trimester! 

Napping more in one month than I have in my entire life combined… 

Growing at a rate of knots – my stomach feels ginormous to me now! 

Exploring Knaresborough with my brother and Jess. 

Scoffing scones with jam and clotted cream at every opportunity. 

Smashing my latest blood test with minimal squeamishness… for me, anyway! 

Learning a lot in our NCT classes – they should probably make you have them before you decide to have a baby! 

Barbecuing on a happily frequent basis. 

Buying plenty of bits for baby’s nursery – it’ll hopefully be done in a week or so! 

Sweltering in the hot weather, and wishing I could have a cool glass of Pimms. 

Watching a lot of new TV series – Master of None, Kimmy Schmidt and American Gods are all on our current list. 

Counting down the days until the election – I can’t stand the tension! 

Nurturing my plants back to life – I’m finally starting to see them flower, which is exciting. 

Failing to do as much blogging as I had planned. 

Welcoming a new little cousin into the world.

Binging on the My Favorite Murder podcast. Stay sexy, don’t get murdered, everyone! 

Feeling very pleased that we live across the road from a good Italian pizza place. 

Trying to guess when bubba will get here. Will June be our last child-free month or will be make an early appearance? 

How about you? 

 

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The Art of Aggressive Friending

[Photo by Evan Kirby]

A few things have got me thinking about making friends recently. The first was Emma’s post on friend dating (featuring yours truly) and the second was starting our NCT classes. As well as learning a bit more about what this whole baby business is going to entail, everyone’s main goal is making some new parent pals for this new phase of their life. I think we were the only ones who had existing friends with babies nearby, thus making us the focus of some envy – but, as I always say, you can never have too many friends, especially when you’re about to be spending a whole lot of weekdays flying solo. Someone described NCT as being a bit like University, which for many of us was the last time in our life where making friends felt easy and natural, with everyone eager to meet new people and make connections, rather than sticking to their tried-and-tested groups and relationships. 

There’s a general wisdom that it is hard to make friends as an adult, and whilst I don’t entirely dispute that, I have actually found it to be the opposite – I have more friends now than I ever had at school or University, and I like to think that I’m juggling quality as well as quantity, because they are all ace. Part of that is purely luck; being with Paul meant falling into a ready-made friendship group (or two) and, in fact, at my hen do it seemed like almost everyone’s answer to ‘how do you know Amy?’ was… ‘through Paul’.

But… part of it is also from practicing the art of what I call ‘aggressive friending’. Now, contrary to the name, there’s nothing really aggressive or violent about this method – I like to think it’s actually quite nice. But what it does mean is not being afraid to come on too strong in the friendship stakes. If you find someone cool that you want to be friends with, tell them! What’s the worst that can happen? No one is ever going to be mad that someone else thinks they are awesome. And then, you keep telling them, not in words but in actions – inviting them to events or parties or coffee meet-ups – until they’re your new besties. I know these things are easier said than done, but I promise that it has worked like a charm for me on many occasions since I moved to Leeds, so I thought I would share my top tips with you, in case you’re looking to make some new BFFs in your life. 

Be Generous 

A cornerstone of aggressive friending is generosity. People like people who do nice things for them, so it just makes sense. Now, being martyr-ish about the favours you bestow upon your new friends will not endear you to anyone, so only be as generous as you really can be – everyone has a different threshold for this, but have an open heart and good things will come back to you. This can be as simple as extending an invitation for dinner, or buying them a drink when you’re at the pub, or even just giving them a compliment (after all, you want to be friends, so there must be something you like about them!). Do them a favour, with no expectation of a return – just merely for the joy of helping out another awesome human, and you might be surprised at what happens. 

Show Your True Colours

Paul and I have often ‘aggressively friended’ other couples together, and if you’ve met us in real life then you might understand why that might be a bit much for some people. We are both incredibly chatty, overly enthusiastic, strongly opinionated and probably talk louder than we should do in public places. (We have some good qualities, too…). That makes us really great friends for some people, and probably really not for others. But there’s no point pretending to be anything other than what we are, partly because there’s no way we can hide it, but also partly because we want friends who *want* to be friends with us. If someone doesn’t like you? It stings but at least you’ll know so you can go on and find someone who digs your particular brand of friendship. 

Make Connections 

Don’t keep all your new friends to yourself! You can expand your circle so much and make so many more new friends if you’re willing to spread the love a little bit. Introduce your new friends to other friends if you think they’d get along, or invite lots of different pockets of friends to one event and let them mingle together. You never know what connections they’ll forge with just a little nudging, and the more you do it, the more people will offer the same back to you – thus increasing your potential for new friends exponentially. This also comes under the ‘be generous’ banner; don’t treat your friendship group like a clique – let people in and you’ll find it reaps all kinds of friendship rewards. 

Take People at Their Word 

I spent a lot of time in my teenage years worried that my friends were only friends with me out of some sense of obligation, rather than any real affection for me. What I have learnt over time is that almost no one is friends with someone out of pity, so you can pretty much safely assume that if they accept your invitation or seem enthusiastic, then they are as down for the friendship thing as you are. Second guessing people’s motives will only send you into an anxiety spiral; you’ll soon know for sure if someone doesn’t want to hang out with you, because they’ll just stop hanging out with you. Don’t be pushy, but extend your invitations and compliments without fear and you might be surprised at the results. 

How to make friends as an adult - relationship and friendship advice on making friends with new people // Amy Elizabeth

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Two Years

We’ve been married for two years today; a small drop in the ocean for some people (my grandparents are celebrating 60 years in June…) but a little achievement nonetheless. This last year has been a pretty big one for us, as far as years go; we bought our first house together and (mostly) renovated it into a home. We decided to try and become parents, and were lucky enough that I fell pregnant pretty soon after (although I know my recent moaning on the subject has not convinced you that I feel lucky…). We hosted Friendsgiving and Christmas at our new home, and moved my sister into University. 

I believe more strongly every day that it takes a village; not just to raise a child, as the saying usually goes, but to sustain any sort of relationship. I love Paul and he’s my favourite human, but without our friends and family around us – providing love, support and DIY help, it just wouldn’t be the same. I think that’s part of the reason why you have a wedding in the first place, to acknowledge that a marriage is that much sweeter when it connects with all of your other relationships. 

Last year, I wrote that I worried that there were trying times ahead – that I couldn’t continue on being blissfully happy. I was right. Being pregnant and preparing for a baby has been more difficult than I could have anticipated; perhaps because so little in my life has been difficult before (and what a privileged position to be in). As always, Paul has stepped up to the mark to help and support me; from insisting I nap on evenings and weekends, to picking up even more than his share of the housework than he did before, to coming with me to my dreaded blood tests (of which I have another today…). If I believed in karma, I would think that I had done something positively angelic in my previous life. 

But for all that, marriage continues to be one of the greatest joys of my life. It is not for everyone, I’ll grant you, but for me it has exceeded all of my expectations. To be a team with someone everyday is a magical thing indeed, and I’m excited for us to face the challenge of actual parenthood together in the next year (hopefully sooner rather than later – if he holds out until 42 weeks, I’ll be most unimpressed…) with our newest little team member. 

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The Third Trimester: Thoughts on Growing a Person

The Third Trimester // Amy Elizabeth

When I first scheduled in to write this post, I thought that it would be relatively upbeat compared to my previous pregnancy updates. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have not been enjoying pregnancy at all, but the second trimester hasn’t been nearly as bad as the first (just like everyone tells you). I know plenty of people who have had a rougher time of it than me, so I’m sure this will elicit some eye-rolls, but I have really struggled with the tiredness, the nausea (thankfully past now), the aches and pains and all of the associated nonsense that comes along with pregnancy. I know it’s supposed to be magical when the baby kicks, and sometimes it is, but mostly it just hurts. I thought I was getting on top of everything; we’d ordered the pram and the nursery furniture, which definitely made everything feel so exciting, but I definitely hit a wall last Monday. In the last week I’ve had more than one cry over the fact that everything I’m feeling is an almost permanent state for the next three months, and could even get worse. 

Maybe I’m hormonal, or maybe it just sucks to be pregnant (or maybe a bit of both). I hate that it hurts every time I go to get out of bed. I hate that I can’t stretch enough to put my towel on the hook of the back of the door. I hate that I get out of breath if I walk up the stairs too quickly. I hate having heartburn. I hate that walking into town to get some lunch now feels like an ordeal, complete with stitch-like pains across my bump. I hate that it’s almost impossible to get comfy, but that turning over or adjusting position when I’m sitting or lying down is a mission in itself. I hate having almost nothing to wear. And this baby still needs to get at least twice as big as he is now… I also feel a bit useless in my current state, and whilst it seems a nice idea to have people doing stuff for you, I’m not very good at sitting to the side and letting everyone else get on with things. I am simultaneously worried about leaving work and counting down the days; I’m worried they won’t cope without me, and maybe more worried that they will cope too well and won’t want me back. It’s all just a bit much. Slowing down is *hard* and I go from being grateful that I have time off at weekends to nap and recuperate to feeling guilty for not making the most of this time. 

Can I confess something to you, dear Internet? I also sometimes still have doubts about becoming a parent – even now, when there are less than 100 days to go until this little babe is with us. I catch myself wondering whether this whole baby thing was such a great idea, when we could have been swanning off to exotic locations, or visiting friends, or working on exciting projects, or any of those many other things that feel like they’re slipping away at a rate of knots. This isn’t a logical thought, since those things are not closed off to us in any way even when we become parents, but I can’t help but wonder if I’m *really* ready to saddle my whole life to a tiny being who relies on me (on us) for everything. Before I was pregnant, I was adamant that was what I wanted for my life, but as the reality draws closer, the doubts creep in. Don’t get me wrong, I already love this little baby and my daydreams are filled with all of the fun we’ll all have as a family, but just sometimes I am struck by the reality of this parenting lark and suddenly my carefree life where I’m only truly responsible for myself seems all that more appealing. Does that make me a bad mother already? I hope not as I’ve barely even started yet. 

I’m also getting to the point of dreading the whole ‘birth’ thing. For someone who really struggles when it comes to all things medical, I’ve been surprisingly calm about the actual birth part until now. Whether it’s blind delusion, or all of the very calming yoga classes I’ve been going to, I was sure I’d have it in hand. I wasn’t looking forward to it, exactly, but it felt entirely manageable the more I read about it. I had visions of being super calm and earth mother-ish at home, lighting candles and letting my body do all the work. The closer it gets, the more I feel like I was kidding myself that such a thing is even possible; although we’re in the process of planning a home birth, the stats suggest that most first time mothers end up in hospital regardless of their best laid plans. I know there’s really no way to know what’s going to happen, and for a control freak like me, that’s pretty scary – especially when it could end up with me in exactly the place I *least* want to spend any time. Whilst I’m pragmatic that medical intervention may be necessary, and I’m not going to resist that, I am still holding on to a little bit of hope that I might be able to avoid it and stay home. I am trying to surround myself with positive birth stories, rather than accidentally falling down comment threads with too many horrific details – whilst forewarned can sometimes mean forearmed, I’m not sure that’s the case for me right now. 

On the positive side (just so this doesn’t become a total sob-fest), I have been thinking lots about what our little bubba will be like. It’s exciting that he’s entirely a mystery to us right now, but soon we’ll know him better than we know almost anyone else on earth. I’m pretty sure he’ll be fair with blue eyes, if genetics are anything to go by (and I am reliably informed they are) but other than that? There’s just no way of telling. I’m impatient to meet him (and dress him in adorable little outfits), so I’m trying to focus on that feeling, rather than anything else – which is easier said than done when he’s giving me a good kicking… 

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5 Podcasts I’m Obsessed With Right Now

5 Podcasts I'm Obsessed With Right Now // Amy Elizabeth

If you’ve ever spent time with me in real life, you’ll no doubt have heard the phrase ‘I was listening to this podcast…’ (and probably rolled your eyes at it, too…). I have never been a big music fan, but podcasts? There are so many great ones out there, and it can be hard to keep up now that so many are publishing new episodes weekly, but whilst I’m happy to leave some in my queue for a long journey or to accompany a mammoth baking session, there are a few of my favourites that jump straight to the top of the list every time, that I just can’t wait to listen to.

Buffering the Vampire Slayer 

The rumour goes that babies can be soothed by the sounds they heard when they were inside the womb, so I’m hoping this little bubba of mine is slowly becoming indoctrinated into loving the sound of badass ladies discussing pop culture and dismantling the patriarchy. Starting with the Buffering podcast – a must-listen for Buffy fans everywhere. Kristin and Jenny are rewatching and discussing every episode of one of my favourite ever TV shows, and writing a song to go with each one. I can’t listen to this podcast out in public, because otherwise people will look at me very oddly when I burst out laughing at their commentary. But it’s not all jokes, 90s wardrobe analysis and awarding a weekly sexual tension award, there’s some serious discussion of gender, sexuality, race and culture. Buffy has a lot of depth (and is probably the reason I’m a feminist to this day…) so there’s a lot to chat about – and I only love the show more now. 

Dear Prudence

Mallory Ortberg’s brand of loving, wise but whimsical advice is absolutely in my wheelhouse. I’ve been a fan of hers for years (does anyone else still mourn the loss of The Toast and they’re ‘If X was my boyfriend…’ articles?) so it’s nice to have this little snippet making its way into my ears every week. This podcast follows the usual advice column format, tackling everything from petty office disputes to some more serious topics that provoke discussion between Mallory and her steadily rotating cast of guests (my favourite episodes are the ones featuring her family members – so they’re definitely worth seeking out if you’re new to this show!). I listen to quite a few advice podcasts (I’m also a fan of Savage Love and Dear Sugar) but I find Dear Prudence the most comforting, with Mallory’s combination of enthusiasm and joie de vivre, with her focus on kindness, empathy and boundaries – alongside some more amusing and ridiculous tangents. 

Hashtag Authentic

If you’re into Instagram, chances are you’ve come across Sara’s beautiful account ‘Me and Orla’ which features snippets from her life in rural Yorkshire with her daughter. Whilst many of us use Instagram to share snaps in any which way (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), Sara’s Instagram is a thing of true art and beauty, so it’s not wonder she’s become such an expert on the platform. She’s your go to girl for Instagram strategy, and she’s sharing everything she knows in her great new podcast. If you’re a blogger, photographer or small business owner, or you just find marketing and creativity really interesting to talk about (guilty) then you’ll probably be just as hooked as I am on the gentle, fascinating and inspiring conversations that Sara’s been having with her guests. Expect big things from this one, my friends. 

Another Round

This podcast has made me laugh and it has made me cry, sometimes even within the same episode. Tracy and Heben are the hosts of this podcast, chatting about everything from race, gender and pop culture to bad jokes and great drinks. It’s like happy hour with the coolest, smartest people you’ve ever met – and their interviews are some of the best I’ve heard (my favourites have been Hillary, natch, Kelly Rowland and Margaret Cho). I’ve learnt a lot from this podcast, and with such varied content you never really know what you’re gonna get – so it has me tuning in straight away every time. Seriously, you need to be listening. 

Call Your Girlfriend 

Yet another feminist pop culture and politics podcast that I’m slowly indoctrinating my unborn child with… and I’m not even sorry. Amina and Ann are real life besties who let us in on their weekly calls where they chat about everything from serious political issues (their ‘Cheeto Watch’ is basically how I keep up with what’s going on in US politics) and gender theory, to TV shows and celebrity gossip. So basically, all the things I like to talk about in real life but no one ever wants to discuss with me. It’s the perfect mix of highbrow and lowbrow, and since they publish on a Friday, it gives me something to listen to on lazy Saturday mornings. Total winner. 

Plus, a special mention needs to happen for Witch, Please, a feminist literary criticism Harry Potter podcast, which is currently on hiatus and due back in the summer. I cannot frickin’ wait. If you’re nerdy in the same very specific way as I am (I’ve only found one person so far…) then you will love it. 

Read more: 4 New Podcast Obsessions // 11 More Podcasts You Should Be Listening To // 5 Bookish Podcasts to Listen To

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March

Feeling a little overwhelmed. 

Wearing my dungarees all the damn time. 

Loving the lighter nights and the bursts of sunshine we’ve been having. 

Cooking a couple of roast dinners. 

Getting my bridesmaid on and organising a hen do! 

Celebrating my new tumble dryer! Adulting at its best… 

Buying our new car (can you tell we’re nesting?). 

Laughing until I cried at the All Killa No Filla live show. 

Lathering this moisturiser on now that I’ve got a proper bump! 

Trying to practice a bit more self care

Moving a lot slower than before! 

Feeling baby kicking more and more every day but… 

Stressing when I don’t feel him quite so much! It’s a rollercoaster, this pregnancy lark. 

Learning more about copywriting with the wonderful Elly

Watching Ali Wong’s Baby Cobra, Garfunkel & Oates, and Big Little Lies

Taking some of my favourite Instagram pictures of all time. 

Starting the countdown to maternity leave… 

Receiving a wonderful email letter from my Grandad about this post

Scoffing Mini Eggs. It’s basically compulsory at this time of year. 

Going on a pizza date with Paul at Pizza Fella

Winning the work bake off! (At long last…) 

How about you? 

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5 Things I’ve Learnt About Self Care in Pregnancy

Self Care in Pregnancy // Amy Elizabeth

This weekend, self care looked a whole lot like caterpillar cake. Like any good grammar school girl, I’ve always put a lot of pressure on myself to be ‘perfect’, which tends to mean bringing freshly baked goods whenever I visit someone’s house, or invite someone to mine. This weekend, though, I gave myself permission to buy a cake instead – a birthday caterpillar cake for the birthday girl in question. Cake is cake, after all, and after two nights of broken sleep and a hectic week at work, I just couldn’t bring myself to drag myself into the kitchen. And you know what? The world didn’t burn to the ground. My friends didn’t love me any less. And we still ate cake. 

Being pregnant has been a game changer in so many ways, but it’s really made me take a step back and prioritise self care. In the original sense of the word – not bubble baths and scented candles and manicures, but remembering to eat, getting some basic exercise and all that jazz. You know, the stuff that actually keeps you alive and able to function. As someone who has previously enjoyed good health, both physical and mental, it’s been a bit of a learning curve and I suspect it will only become more so as this baby makes himself more at home. 

Work with your body, not against it

I’ve always been able to ‘push’ myself on the occasions that I’ve needed to; whether that’s late nights or early mornings for work or play, I’ve been able to ignore what my body’s telling me if I’ve needed to. Obviously that’s not a sustainable strategy for life, so it’s not been something I’ve done much – but I could if I wanted to. Now? I just can’t without suffering the consequences quite severely. Me and my body have had to become a bit of a team, working together rather than against each other. Things are a lot easier if I give my body what it wants and needs, even if that means missing out on a night or two. 

You really, really can’t do everything

I didn’t expect growing a baby to take up so much time and effort. I kind of thought it was going to take place in the background, and I would mostly get to carry on as normal. Oh, how I laugh at poor, naive past Amy. Despite not requiring any *active* participation, your body’s going through a whole mess of stuff and I’ve definitely found myself a lot slower over the past few months, even as I’ve felt better from all the morning sickness and whatnot. I am slower at walking, at turning over in bed, and there’s so much ‘baby stuff’ to be thinking about that I’m always a little bit distracted. Gone are the days of blogging until the early hours (jk, my bedtime is always 10pm at the latest), cooking everything from scratch and packing my diary full of plans. It’s the caterpillar cake all over again. Sometimes you have to pick and choose what you can do, because you can’t do everything. 

Make fewer plans 

There are some things you just can’t avoid in life; work and chores are on the top of that list for me. I need to turn up to work every day and continue to do a good job, and I need to keep my house vaguely clean & tidy, and make sure we have some food in the cupboards every week. On top of that, other obligations are pretty much optional. Gone are the days of heading out after work every night for some such or the other event or gathering, I’ve worked out through trial and error that two is my maximum. That includes my volunteering commitments and my yoga class. And if I exceed that number for some reason (usually work meetings running late), then I need to have a free weekend or I will eventually cease to function. It’s a good reminder to give yourself some space in the calendar for rest and recuperation – and is probably applicable to pre-pregnancy Amy, too… she just tended to ignore it. 

Exercise is not optional

I have never been a big fan of exercise, in any form. I’ve tried to get into running a few times, and taken a few exercise classes here and there as an adult, but the attitude towards exercise that I developed as an awkward teen during freezing hockey lessons has pretty much stuck. It’s always been on my list of ‘one day’, but that day really needs to be right now. I felt super sick for the first few months of my pregnancy, and I feel like I’ve been super busy and hectic ever since, but it’s something I really need to make time for to stop my body from rebelling against me entirely. A weekly yoga class, at the very least, goes a long way to relieving the various aches and pains I’m currently experiencing, and I need to incorporate more stretching and whatnot into my everyday life to try and make life a little bit better for the next four months. Turns out that they’re not  entirely bullshitting when they say that exercise is good for you, after all… 

The Rule of ‘Most’

Are you eating healthily, getting some exercise, sleeping the right amount… most of the time? It can be easy to beat yourself up if you let something slip for a day or two, but if you take a wider view of things, you’re probably doing okay. A takeaway every now and again, or an occasional late night is not the end of the world as long as you follow the rule and try to do better most of the time. Over the course of a week, or a month, or a whole pregnancy? As long as you’re looking after yourself for the most part, those slip ups will fade away in the big picture.  

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