Yep, its yet more baby talk! I bet you are thinking – “that Helen, she has turned into a right baby bore. All she talks about on her blog is baby stuff and her cats minge belly!”* And yes, you are right, those two topics have been my main subject matter of late.
So for a change, today I am going to blog about more baby stuff – my plant babies!
Yep, its thrilling content only on here!
For some reason, having completely neglected my plants, and forgetting to water them for, ooh shall we say 16 odd weeks, this seems to be working really well for them and two of them have sprouted babies!
One of my larger snake plants has a couple of what looks like flowers growing (I never knew that they flowered!) And a spider plant on top of the Ladderax unit has sprouted a long stem which grew a pretty little white flower (not pictured as it has since wilted!)
Just call me Helen Greenfingered (insert my surname here), eh! Now please excuse me while I go apply for Alan Tichmarsh’s job!
*On the subject of my cats minge belly – Our friends who have farmland in Cornwall have pet chickens and they have a broody hen. She has stopped laying and plucked all the feathers out on her belly. The plot thickens!
Hello my poor neglected blog. I haven’t forgotten you. I have just not had any time for you lately. I thought about ditching you, throwing in the towel, calling it quits. After all, maybe its best that we leave each other on a high. Its not you, its me, etc.
But then I realised that my last ever post on here would be about my cats minge belly (Yet another personal blogging high!) And before that, a rambly, self indulgent, (now thankfully re-edited) personal post all about me, and, erm, my blog!
Nah, I cannot leave that as my lasting legacy. Surely I have some more blogging left in me? Surely?
Lets gently dip my toes back into blogland (does anyone still call it blogland? I think that’s a bit 2010!) and talk about what I have been up to so far in 2017. Apologies in advance for talking far too much about the baby, but he has kind of taken over my life!
Tying to nail this mum shiz I am really enjoying being a mum and Dylan at this stage. Dylan is now nearly 16 weeks old and such a happy, smiley, giggly baby (I know that all parents say that about their own, but he is. Honest!). People have been asking Rob and I about how tired we are and I can honestly say that it is not as bad as I thought it would be. Yes, its tiring, but to me its the same kind of tired that you get from working long hours with a long commute everyday. I did that for years and it was knackering, but you get used to it and just get on with it. Plus I used to go out on the piss most nights in my early twenties and I worked full time on an average of 4 hours sleep. I guess that I have just been tired for most of my adult life really! At least this is a good tired. (It also helps to look after babies without hanging like a bat in a cave. A little tip there for any would be parents there!)
Not cooking anything exciting There will be no “In Hel’s Kitchen” posts for a while! I froze around thirty meals before he was born, and we managed to eek them out until the end of February, with a few toasty type of meals, three takeaways (only three!), lots of pasta parcels, lots of frozen pizzas and microwave jacket potatoes thrown in between. I did bake some biscuits the other day (Lisa Faulkner’s Sunshine Shorties if you are interested) and have started making simple dinners again. I really want to cook some homemade pizzas, but I have not managed to get my act together to make the dough in advance!
Talking of feeding Dylan is now fully formula fed and thriving. I wasn’t going to put anything on here about it (because nobody cares and its no ones business!) but after reading The Magpie Girls BF experience I want to share mine, because I think this is a subject that we should talk about more (the shit side of BF and it not working out, that is). I threw in the towel at six/seven weeks because Dylan was gaining weight very slowly, and being a full term 5lb odd teeny baby to start with, this was quite concerning. Yet I was still getting pushed by the health professionals to BF/combine feed him, despite him being sent to hospital to be checked out for his slow weight gain. I was feeding him all the blooming time, stressed out and worried sick about his weight gain (although it turns out that this is a very common thing in babies). But I was still told to continue BFing! Eventually, I decided to stop. He prefers the formula. It is designed to bulk out babies, which is what he needs. He drinks a whooping 36 oz a day! Where as another baby that I know who was born on the same day as him only drinks 20 oz a day, but is heavier and fatter than him. Go figure? Babies are weird. And they are all different. You have to do what is best for yours.
I am all for equal opportunities It was not an easy decision to stop BFing him and I went through all the same kind of emotions that I went through when I had a miscarriage, like “what have I done wrong”, “why has my body let me down”, ” why cant I do something so simple and natural and something that other women seem to do so easily” etc, etc. But this time I did not have the added grief and despair. I just got over it, stopped caring about how I fed him and enjoyed my baby. There is a lot of stuff out there on the internet on the politics of how you feed your baby (most of it women judging other women, which really gets my goat) but one of the best things that I read is this article published on The Atlantic which I found via a comment left on A Cup of Jo post. “Is breast-feeding right for every family? Or is it this generation’s vacuum cleaner—an instrument of misery that mostly just keeps women down?” After all its only fair that Rob gets to share the burden of night feeds, eh! Have a read if you have the spare time. I never thought that how you feed your baby is a feminist issue before.
Doing lots of washing Dylan has reflux, bless him. You think that we had seen enough of vomit with my morning sickness when I was expecting him, but no, we now have a pukey baby! My record for one days wash was 12 bibs and 9 muzzys. Poor little fella. Luckily he is not bothered by it. He usually smiles when he voms, the daft sod!
Daydreaming about going camping We have been venturing further afield with Dylan, visiting the Isle of Wight and going on day trips to Weymouth, to visit friends and the Sealife centre, and to Exeter to do a bit of window shopping. But I am not sure that we are ready to camp with him yet. The main issue is how do we sterilise/make his bottles safely (damn it, camping would be a doddle if I was still BFing!) and where will he sleep? There is no room for his cot in the van and I am not confident enough to co-sleep with him at this age. I think that we will have to wait till next year really. And a festival is definitely off the agenda for the time being!
Turning into mush at tiny baby clothes Seriously, what have I become? There is so much cute stuff out there ATM! I want to buy it all! OMG I never thought that I would be like this, but there we go. I bought these cute retro-tastic animal baby grows from Next, pictured below, for him to grow into, which are my current favourites. Anything with a whale print on it is a winner in my book!
Feeling homesick and missing my family big time It is what it is. Sadface emoji.
Trying to not post photos of Dylan on social media and failing I am that annoying person who has gone back on their word. Its so hard not to, though! I deleted most of my photos of him on Instagram the other day which must be even more annoying for my (very few) followers. Sorry about that! Still undecided on the whole sharing thing and how to handle it.
And finally, the cat is still fine At first she was a bit jealous and put out by Dylan. She was very sulky and slept/hid in some funny places, like the corners of rooms, behind furniture and under tables. But now she is back to her old self and plonks herself on our laps every time we sit down and tries to sleep in his bed, rocker and bouncer chair etc! She is fine with Dylan. He now smiles at her when she walks past and melts my heart into a puddle of mush! Her belly still looks like a minge though BTW.
This post is a bit of a random one (as per usual!) But as I am not getting out the house much at the moment, and I have no one else to talk to bore about my cat with other than Rob and my family on the phone, I thought that I would have a quick natter with the silent internet about my strange little fur baby.
I will get straight to the point here – she has a bald belly.
Its pink, its ugly and its a bit disturbing. And yep, I have Googled its potential cause countless times, and yep, I have taken her to the vets with it, and yep, when she lays down and it creases in the middle it looks a bit like a bald minge!
Have a look at the (not great mobile) photos below and see what you think (sorry I never managed to capture it properly in its full, creased mingey glory!) –Google says that its down to stress or fleas. She hasn’t got fleas (confirmed by the vet, thank goodness) and we moved house (the main cause of stress in cats) ages ago and she settled fine.
The vet thinks its an allergy and charged us £60 for a consultation and injection. The injection did seem to work, with a little hair growing back, so I cancelled her follow up appointment. But since then the baldy belly has returned with a vengeance! And if we took her back to the vets we would only end up spending a small fortune on inconclusive tests and be none the wiser.
Now that I have typed that statement out, I feel like the worst cat owner in the world by not following things up and spending a shitload of money trying to find the cause! But she is fine in herself, eating well and behaving normally – she just over grooms her fat little belly!
Rob, myself and the family think that she might be having a phantom pregnancy!
I cannot remember exactly when the baldness appeared, but Im sure that it was late last summer, around the time that my pregnancy began to show. Poppy has been fixed and has never had a litter of kittens, but she is a sensitive, emotional little thing, so I think that she picked up on my hormones. She used to sit on my lap purring away when Dylan kicked her when I was expecting, and so far has only been curious about him, wants to be near him and wants to cuddle up to him in a nurturing way.
My mother is a bit neurotic about the cat and Dylan. She thinks that Poppy might attack or smother him! This stems from the fact that her rescue cat Oxo is unfriendly and is a bad tempered biter (its not her fault, she just had a troubled past) and that when I was a baby she found our old family pet cat Daisy sitting on me when I was asleep! So mum thinks that Poppy is going to eat Dylan, when in reality she is a soppy wimp that has never killed any prey and loves her cuddles with Rob and I!
My life is pretty boring at the moment (just the way I like it! No dramas for me, thank you!) but I thought I would do a quick catch up post on here anyway.
I’ve finished work now, as my temporary summer job’s contract has ended. So I now have the worlds longest ever maternity leave. If I could carry on working, I would, but I don’t have a choice. Its a bit dull, but I am trying to make the most of things, having lots of lie ins, enjoying the last of my free time, going for walks and writing lists of things to do to keep myself busy etc. Fingers crossed the next 9.5(ish) weeks will fly by for me! And fingers double crossed for me that I get my maternity allowance approved and paid into my bank account soon!
The store that I was working in have promised me a job again next summer when I am ready to go back to work (if Rob and I can sort out looking after the kid between us, that is!) So that’s reassuring, as I hate being out of work and not earning any money.
The big news is that my morning sickness is now finally over! I stopped throwing up at 28 weeks, and I can now drink water without gagging again (TFFT!) It has not been fun being unable to drink anything and forcing down squash and Nesquik (two drinks that I normally hate), so I am making up for lost time guzzling down lots of fizzy water (just in time for the last part of pregnancy where you keep going to the toilet!) Its so great being able to drink like a normal person again and I only dry heave occasionally now, maybe once or twice a day. Hurrah!
Talking of dry heaving, we recently visited the Isle of Wight to see my family and we put the cat in a cattery. When we picked her up and drove her home, she pooed herself with fear in her carrier (yes, for real), which was on my lap. Bleugh! I nearly threw up with the smell of it! We had all the windows open, with me heaving all the way home, and poor Rob didn’t know what to do but laugh (which I can now also do retrospectively!) Bloody cat!!!
Rob’s folks also visited us recently and could see why we moved down here. They loved it.
The old gas fire in the lounge has now been ripped out. I love the last photo below that Rob took of the hole in the wall when the outside flue was removed.
Rob is currently grouting the kitchen tiles and cursing me for choosing black grout! But it will be worth it as it will look f**king fantastic when done!Black grout has now been added to the list of things that I am not allowed to decorate with ever again.
Next we will finish decorating the lounge and then start the guest babies bedroom. I might do a wee post on my ideas and inspiration for it. Or will that be really boring? I hope not!
And finally, does anyone remember this amazing mid century house in Kent that I blogged about back in 2014? It has gone back on the market again and the current owners have ripped out the original kitchen! Whaa! I mean, its still an awesome house that I would be more than happy to move into, if I could afford it, and I could pick it up and move its location to where I live now. At least they kept the original upper kitchen units though. And I still have a lot of love for this house even with its new updates. Check out the listing here.
How it looked in 2014
Currently in 2016. Both images from themodernhouse.com via wowhaus.co.uk
And talking of retro kitchens and interiors, here is a Instagram account to follow full of retro Swedish kitchens and interiors if you like that kind of thing!
Its time for a quick catch up about the regular mundane happenings in our lives ATM…..
I found a job! Its only a part time temporary summer job in the village, but right now, that suits me fine and hopefully I will be able to go back to what I used to do (aka the easiest job that I have ever had) in the winter…. if the job becomes available.
I apologise to those who already know this from Instagram, but last month for my birthday Rob and I went to Lynmouth and Lynton. It pissed down with rain, but we had a nice lunch in one of the many touristy cafes, ate some fudge bought from one of the many touristy fudge shops, and rode the touristy cliff railway. I recommend a day trip to these towns if you are on holiday in this neck of the woods. Just eat and drink your way around the town. That’s what we did!
We also drove around the beautiful valley of the rocks in nearby Exmoor. We took the picturesque toll road, with its steep climbs and hairpin corners. It got a bit scary at times in the van, as after all, it is an older vehicle with a 30+ year old engine! Our breaks were squeaking, overheating and the back of the van had a trail of steam behind it going through all the puddles in the rain! Eek!
We went camping on the May bank holiday weekend. Only for one night because of the cat, but we met up with some friends from Kent, met their friends from Devon(!) and had a nice pub meal.
Family and friends have been asking how the cat is adapting to her new environment. And lets be honest, we are all crazy cat people here on the internet, so Im going to talk about my bae for a bit.
She is Ok. She settled into the new house within a week, i.e she stopped walking around crying and whinging all the time. Then after two weeks we decided to let her out on her own (there will be more on this further down). In between, we have been showing her around the garden on a lead, much to the amusement of our new neighbours! Its my fault that she has this lead, as I was getting all neurotic saying “what about my poor baby if we break down on our way to Devon? She will be trapped in her carrier for hours, the poor thing! I had better get a lead just in case she needs a drink and to stretch her legs!” I mean, this is a bloody cat that we are talking about here, not a dog FFS!
Anyway needless to say she hates her lead, but Rob and I think its hilarious taking her for a walk! Poor Poppy!
Back to the first time that she went outside on her own – Its funny, I had been saying to people that I had not seen a lot of cats in our new area, and that she would be much happier here, as there were loads of cats back where we used to live and she was always getting into fights.
Famous last words, me thinks! On her first venture out Rob said that it was the first time that he had ever heard some cats fighting around here, and sure enough Poppy comes back home with her collar missing, limping and bleeding! Bloody cat! She is a true Medway girl (born and bred in Chatham!) and she always goes around being a little gobshite and starting fights! But really she is a big chicken, she is just all mouth!
We also need to sort out a cat flap for her and then we can finally lose her litter tray once and for all. Hurrah! And after that I need to convince one of our new friendly neighbours to pop in and feed her (or we can unsettle her once again by putting her in a cattery) so that we can go to the Isle of Wight to visit my family! Yey!
And finally, I am sure that you all know by now that I like my cycling and I like to shout from the rooftops how awesome the women’s cycling scene is and that it needs more recognition etc. If you have the time, here are two great cycling related links for you to read. The first is an interview in the Guardian with Juliana Buhring. Now if you haven’t heard of her before don’t worry. All you need to know is that she is an endurance cyclist who has a new book out (added to my wishlist) and she has lead quite the life. Seriously, its the kind of life that needs a film made out of it – a crazy, unbelievable, tragic, dramatic life that has overcome many set backs. And also, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who talks about road kill when cycling! The second link is quite a, erm, delicate subject, but still one that needs to be talked about. Have a gander if you like to talk about yeast infections, pubes, periods, moon cups, sore lady parts and cycling. This is stuff that needs to be said.
Last weekend was a good one. It was my Mums 60th birthday so my Dad had organised a surprise stay for her in a hotel in Sandbanks, Bournemouth with Rob and I, my sister, her husband and the boys and the parents besties, a lovely couple who we have all known for years.
It involved a lot of drinking and eating. In fact we drank all the Doombar supplies dry in the hotel bar and Dad fell over and cut his head! We did lots of swimming in the pool, used the hotels gym and rode our bikes 22 miles along the promenade into Christchurch.
We then did quick pit stop in the New Forest on the way home for another bike ride.
We are strange people Rob and I, when we go away we prefer to do lots of activities rather than sit on our bums and relax! We do a lot more stuff than when we are at home. Although lets be honest we did a far amount of sitting and relaxing……and drinking!
I wish more weekends were like this!Above the oldest nephew and I at Medford Quay. I chose to follow the bike route signs to Christchurch that said “ferry” not realising that they actually meant that you had to catch a ferry! I mean, they could have warned us or something! ……..We turned round and headed back at this point. The nephew is still using his bike that Uncle Rob fixed up for him although he has almost outgrown it.
The New Forest was gorgeous this time of year with the leaves and bracken changing colour and low light.We left home on Friday and came home late on Sunday. On Sunday morning Rob received a text from his mum, who was feeding Poppy, to say that she had ripped her food bag open and there were biscuits all over the kitchen floor, but not to worry as she had cleaned them up and found a clip to seal the bag with. We were both a bit flabbergasted by this as she has never done anything like this before! The little devil!
And then look at the sight of what greeted us on the door step when we got home –What a little s**t eh! She is in the bad books at the mo. Bloody cat!
Two days ago I promised to share some photos of the progress that we have made in our garden.
However, instead of the before and after type of post that I had planned to write, I am going to deviate a little and just share some snaps that Rob took today of an unusual visitor we had in our garden this morning – a pheasant!
I love this random nature kind of stuff! It doesn’t happen very often as I live in a fairly urban environment in a provincial town, so this kind of thing makes me happy. I love seeing animals in real life rather than on the telly (spoken like a true townie there!). Its just a shame that I was out at the time!
Rob just about managed to take a few photos of the birdy, right before our gobshite of cat Poppy came up behind him meowing her head off and scared the poor thing away. She really is daft that moggy of ours, she has never quite learnt the art of sneaking up on things. That big mouth of hers lets her down every time!*And here is the cat acting all like “whaaaaaat, no I didn’t ruin your chances of taking any arty wildlife shots Rob, Im just here casually minding my own business, sitting on the fence, deciding where to take a shit in your new inproved garden that you have been working hard on…..”
Whats up blog! Its February and I have not wrote a post!
Err, thats because not a lot is happening right now. No days out, no holidays in the camper van. Just lots of rain, work and staying indoors. Nothing photogenic and blogworthy.
Talking about work, I decided its about time I updated my CV and started applying for jobs again.
Thankfully, it only took a couple of hours to update and refresh my CV. I don’t know why I had been dreading doing so. I was pleased that I found it relatively painless to update all thanks to the practice I’ve had writing my blog for two years. I changed the wording on a few sentences and amended a few errors here and there – like a bullet point with a comma ending it rather than a full stop (I know, I know, a shocking error! But the jobs I apply for are at the bottom of the food chain, so I doubt anyone noticed!) Now my new and improved CV is so shit hot it burns my fingers!
I know that I will pretty much always be working shitty, low paid, degrading, minimum wage retail jobs until the day I die. Forget retirement, that ain’t ever going to happen, so I might as well carry on working part time in the mean time.
Work sucks but I need the bucks, etc, etc.
So me’s a thinking, if I could chose how to earn my cheese, I would be happy doing one (or several) of the following.
2.The Don King/Doc McGhee of Poppy (with cigars, crazy afro and dodgy dealings included)
If I could chose another career option involving cats, I would love to turn Poppy into a famous internet cat like Lil’ Bub, Grumpy Cat or Princess Monster Truck. I could be her showbiz agent and pimp her out in return for all the fame, money and glory. But unfortunately all Poppy is interested in is sleeping, demanding cuddles and food. And more sleeping.
3.A vintage dealer
I love vintage, and my passion is furniture and collectables from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. I would love to have my own shop like Pineapple Retro etc. In fact, I want that very shop and the lovely location in the New Forrest!
I keep my eye out for stuff in the charity shops to sell on Ebay for profit and occasionally make money this way (I’m talking about a tenner here and there, a few times a year).
But where does one start with a fully legit business? Where do vintage dealers find their stock? Are there vintage furniture wholesalers out there? Do you need contacts with house clearance people or do you spend all your time scavenging Boot fairs and chazza’s? And then I wonder if there is much of a profit in things, as mid century stuff is becoming more sort after, expensive and harder to find. I guess its all about turnaround, as lots of people seem to make money in the very crowded vintage trading market.
My sideboard is not for sale BTW!
4.An Ebay trader
Its strange, but I actually do enjoy selling stuff on Ebay. Yes, the fees are high and I have had a few problems with bidders not paying etc. But I enjoy the simple tasks of uploading items, invoicing customers, answering email queries and packaging things up. So if I could find and/or import a cheap product from a wholesaler that I knew had a ready and waiting market out there, I would happily run my own ebay shop. Be it books, cake stuff, candles, saucepans, running socks or hardware bits etc, you can sell any old tat on ebay. I just need to find something to sell that would earn me a decent living.
Image from Google images
5.An Interior designer or stylist
I love interiors and I love rearranging my nick nacks around the house. Unfortunately I could never do this for a living as I would only decorate my clients houses in my own style and taste. Watching The Great Interior Design Challenge has confirmed this to me! If there are enough rich people out there who would happily pay me to spend their money on vintage Danish teak furniture, fat lava and original Tretchikoff’s to fill their houses with, then it would be a dream come true!
Image from bbc.co.uk
6.A campsite owner
This is something Rob and I have talked about doing together. Rob would also like to change his career (he is a self employed web developer), but he does not want to go back to working for the man. We have talked lots about what our dream business would be and currently, for Rob, it would be running his own bike shop. Unfortunately my own dreams for the future do not involve retail in any shape or form (err, except for #1, and maybe #2 on this list!)
For this option we were inspired by a camping trip last year to Bewl Water, we stayed on a small, friendly campsite run by a couple who lived in their bungalow on site. The plan is that Rob could do the website, ground maintenance and handyman repairs. I could clean the loo’s and do the admin and booking stuff. Its all worked out. Unfortunately I don’t think we will ever be able to sell up our 3bed ex-council house and use the profits to by some land in a beauty spot, as house/land prices in this country are beyond ridiculous.
7.A Veterinary Nurse
I heard a rumour the other day that one of the nurses in the vets a few doors down from the shop where I work was leaving. By rumour, I mean that I overheard her tell my boss that she was moving up to London soon. I have not heard anything since or seen any advertisement for the job yet. I don’t want to go in and ask, just incase I make things awkward for her etc. Plus all the nurses seem really young in there (teenagers), so they probably think I am too old for the training etc…. But a tiny part of me hopes this might be my lucky break.
8.A gig reviewer
A total fantasy job here, being paid to go to gigs! Never mind that my writing is (at its best) average, and I have a limited terminology when it comes to describing things. My reviews would consist of the following – It was amazing! Or – It was shit! But wouldn’t it be the best thing in the world to be paid to do!
9. A travel writer
See above. Being paid to travel! Amazing!
10.A chocolate taster
Being paid to eat chocolate OMG! Although I don’t think I could do this full time, it would be a great second job though, especially if I could take home some of the samples!
Day 21 – If you could do anything in the world to make a living what would it be?
Well, despite being in my thirties, I still do not know what I want to do when I grow up.
I occasionally play around with the idea of working with animals. But then the practical side of my brain will talk me out of it…. “You cant drive and live miles away from the nearest zoo, so all your wages will go on public transport” “You will be in tears every time an animal gets put to sleep” “You have a weak stomach and could not handle all that elephant shit, puss, vomit and squeezed dogs glands etc”.
The boring, sensible side of my brain knows best I suppose.
I do know what my dream job would be though, and it does involve animals. I figured it out a few years ago, when I was chatting to one of my friends who I used to work with. We were both moaning about how rubbish our jobs were as you do, and decided that day what we wanted to do instead.
My dream job’s title would be chief cat cuddler.
The plan is for my former colleague T to win the lottery, she would then set up her own animal rescue centre and employ me for this role.
Day 7 – Tell us all about your pets, past and/or present.
I have already blogged about my cat Poppy here and here. As you have probably gathered she is my baby and is spoiled rotten!
A lot of people say that cats do not give much, that they are selfish animals, who are only interested in pleasing themselves, and use their owners as servants to feed them. That they do not offer much back and they are cruel animals that kill for pleasure.
Nonsense I say! I think these myths were started by people who do not have a cat in their lives and spend far too much time and energy hating the ones that shit in their gardens. I have both a cat and a garden full of cat shit, and I still love cats!
Poppy is the opposite what some people think about cats. I know haters gonna hate and I am bias, but you can tell that she loves you because she always wants her cuddles. When she sits on my lap she will often look up at me and then immediately start purring. Its because she loves me, don’t you know! Its so endearing and makes my heart want to burst.
Its funny the way she sulks a little bit when we come back home after a few days away. Then all of a sudden she decides to stop sulking, and she cannot get enough cuddles and attention because she has missed us so much!
Rob and I are so grateful to have this little bundle of fur in our lives. She enriches it so much, yes she can be a little annoying at times when she constantly meowing and begging for food, or keeps getting in your face when you are trying to eat your Weetabix, or when she walks across your keyboard! But we love her to pieces and she is part of our family.
This BEDM task was fun! Any excuse for me to ramble on about how much I love my cat eh! I am a mad cat lady through and through.
Its funny, as I always thought I was a dog person! My cat lifts weights don’t cha know. And falls asleep on the job. Also I have no idea why there are cardboard boxes in this picture!