Tuesday, 28 February 2012

365 Day Photo Challenge - 143 / 365

143 / 365 - Its starting to feel a little warmer compared to the snow we had a few weeks ago!  So Jacob got an opportunity to play in the garden which we are looking forward to cleaning and tidying since we moved in, in November.

365 Day Photo Challenge - 142 / 365

142 / 365 - I'll never get bored of my son's gorgeous face!  Here he is at a friends house enjoying his drink after being on the bouncy castle for four hours!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Bump Watch @ 13 Weeks

Welcome to my Bump Watch!  I thought it would be a nice idea to see how my pregnancy bump gets on in size!  When I was pregnant with Jacob, six years ago, there was not really many facilities where you could keep a log of your pregnancy in the way that we can today.  Of course, there is the old fashioned way of taking pictures and storing them in a photo album, but nowadays, its more exciting to put it in a scrapbook or, like me, blog about it!

So at 13 weeks, this is what my baby bump looks like:

Probably not the most flatterng of pictures but you can still make out s tiny bump that just looks like I have eaten a lot of food!!

I definetely 'feel' pregnant now compared to a couple of weeks ago where I just felt bloated and full all the time.  Now I catch glimpses of myself when out and about and I definetely can tell the difference between it being a baby bump and a food bump!

The Baby Show @ Excel Centre

Today, me, Dean, Jacob and bump drove to the Excel Centre in London to visit The Baby Show.  I have reached 13 weeks of pregnancy, (hooray!) so we thought it would be a nice idea to just wander around the exhibition for some ideas and potential buys.
  And we were not disappointed!

It was very easy to get to by car and easily organised leaving you de-stressed and relaxed before we even walked in.  There is nothing worse than being stressed out on a family day out!

When we walked into the exhibition,we were greeted with a free bumper pack all about the show with an easy to use guide and a map so we could find our way around.
We did not know where to start as it was so huge in there!  We aimed for the right hand side first and had a slow walk around, spotting a few original stalls selling swimming items and baby bags.
I started to feel a bit dizzy, (still in my first trimester so the symptoms keep on coming!) and we came across a Pregnacare smoothie bar, nice and healthy!

I felt better after my strawberry and pineapple smoothie and there was plenty of space to sit down and drink it. 

Continuing our walk around and we found our first buggy stall, and although we were not out to buy anything as its too soon, we certainly were not short of things to give us an idea!  Its been six years since I last bought a pram and they have distinctively changed since then!  They seem so big and harder to close and we just want a small pram with all in one car seat! 
The cots were similar, they seemed bigger than they needed to be but maybe that's just because of our surroundings.  I found a lovely white one with a sliding drawer underneath which is a great idea for saving on space and storage.

Oops!  We stumbled upon the sweet stall and I have no idea how we managed to spend £6 on sweets but they were too yummy to resist after my healthy smoothie!

We passed a Sky Living stall who asked us if we would like to take part in a future series about how families prepare for their new baby during pregnancy.  Although I was a little embarrassed at first, we agreed and sat in front of a camera, me holding the microphone and we were asked a series of questions about our plans and opinions!  It was actually quite funny and me and Dean carried on our usual banter on screen which may come across good or bad!  So, if we hear from them, we may be on a tv screen near you soon!

Here is Jacob having a go on a scooter that claims it helps children with gaining balance.  Seeing as he does not have any balance, we thought it would be a good idea for Jacob to have a go around the stall.  They had bikes as well which he could not really get the hang of but I do think the product is great for younger children growing up with it.

I have to give a special  recognition to the Prima Baby & Pregnancy magazine stall which certainly attracted many people to their subscription offer as well as for £2, we received a free goodie bag with two magazines in, highlight of my day!

And look at what we received inside!  The samples of food and body products are fabulous and I am so excited to use them when baby gets here.  I am also looking forward to reading my two magazines quietly and may even take out that subscription after all!

Overall, it took us about two hous to get around everything.  Once we had a rough idea of what products were out there, they tended to repeat themselves with different companies so it was a case of just wandering around to see if we had missed anything towards the end.  The Baby Show was worth the price of ten pound each, and was exceptionally well organised, supplying us pregnant women with everything we need on hand, as well as new mummies with great facilities too.  My son was kept entertained by the different stalls but soon lost interest after an hour so something for the older kids would be something I would like to see next time.
Its very overwhelming coming here, there is so much to take in, too many places to look and so many items to see!  Which is why my lack of photos isn't more I'm afraid!  But I would definetely recommend coming here as a pregnant or new mum just for a day out and to see what essentials are really out there.

Thank you to the Baby Show for a lovely afternoon out

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Day Zero Project - Go on a girly weekend in Paris / Travel on the Eurostar / Visit the Eiffel Tower

I managed to complete four of my Day Zero Project challenges in one weekend!  This was not all intentional but the following were completed the weekend of 17th February:

  1. Go on a girly weekend
  2. Visit Paris for a weekend
  3. Travel on the Eurostar
  4. Visit the Eiffel Tower
Talk about killing two birds with one stone!  Now, without trying to repeat the same photos most of you have already seen, I will try and give a brief update of how these challenges were completed!
  My two best friends in the whole world, Jenni and Kate, had been talking about going away on a girly weekend for some time, until one day we just decided to do it!
   I had never been on the Eurostar before so that was one to tick off the list although it was not the most exciting of journeys!  Still, I could cross it off my list and we were in Paris within two hours.
  This was our hotel:

Situated in Gare Du Nord, it was five minutes walking distance from the station and ten minutes from Montmarte, one of the places I couldnt wait to visit.  It was a very basic hotel but we didn't mind seeing as we were not going to spend much time in the room!

We arrived Friday afternoon, so once we dropped our cases off, we decided to explore the area and took advantage of where we were situated by heading to Montmarte first,
It was a miserable, grey sky and rainy day so the photos match the scene!

So, as we walked along the street we noticed on our right some narrow streets which seemed to lead to something.  That something was this glorious building, the Sacre Coure.  We had to walk up a billion steps to get to the top but we managed it and it was totally worth it because the views of the Paris rooftops were beautiful.

Its a shame the day was so cloudy but we were lucky enough to come here again on the last day where it was sunny and bright and these are the pictures I was lucky to take:

What a difference a day makes!

I have a slight obsession love for all things to do with the Moulin Rouge so to visit it was a dream come true!
I was one happy girl!
And what made it even more amazing was visiting the Moulin Rouge official shop!

I was over the moon and could have easily have bought the lot! Instead I bought a notebook to add to my ever growing collection!

Day Two and we managed to cram in so much in one day!  It was our first trip on the Metro, France's version of our Tube system, and it felt alot bigger and cleaner!
Our first stop was the Louvre and I have never seen an art gallery like it!

It was so extravagant!  It was extremely busy, and this was mid-February!  There was so much to look at and the buildings were so huge, I would definetely recommend a few days here!  Seeing as we had more to see, we decided to check out the famous Venus De Milo and Mona Lisa to really soak up the experience.

I was a little underwhelmed by the Mona Lisa as it was smaller than I imagined!

We ventured outside so we could see the famous glass pyramid of the Louvre and the grounds surrounding the building were neat and pretty, and we really grasped how big the gallery is when we were outside!

We walked through the grounds to get to the Champs Elysses which is one long high street towards the Arc De Triomphe.  On the way, we saw top high street stores such as H&M, Virgin Megastores, (the last one in the world apparently!) and Topshop plus it cost me 2 euros to do my business on this toilet!

Finally the long walk to the Arc De Triomphe came to an end!

We saved the best til' last and the Eiffel Tower was our last stop of the day.

I know this will sound silly but the closer I got to the tower, the more I was shockd by how big it was!  You see this famous image in the media and its always perceived to be quite small but up close it certainly is not!
We decided to climb however many steps it took to get to the second floor, it was more expensive to take the lift anyway!  I had only climbed one flight of stairs before I was out of puff and moaning about how much my legs ached!  But it was worth veturing on for the views!

I must admit, although I really enjoyed completing this challenge, and it was one of the highlights of the trip, the Eiffel Tower is more impressive at night than looking at scaffolding during the day!  The girls and I hung around for a couple of hours to wait for the sun to set and to play around with our cameras!

The Eiffel Tower by night:

We were lucky enough to see the ten minute light show that glitters and shines its way through the tower!  We almost missed it because we were too busy crossing the road with our back to it!

Day three involved even more sightseeing although when I woke up, I was so stiff I didn't think I would be doing any walking!
Our first stop was a famous cemetary where we wanted to visit the graves of Jim Morrison, Chopin, Edith Piaf and Oscar Wilde.  The cemetary was unlike no other I had seen, full of tombs and huge memorials.

We were walking through the cobbled mazes for so long, it was so big there, it went right up into the hills, starting off with the oldest graves first and emding with more modern ones.

The graves of Jim Morrison and Edith Piaf

It was very solemn and reflective here, ruined slightly by the tourist groups walking around but I highly recommend it here.

We then took the Metro to the George Pompidou Centre, my second favourite place we visited, it has an industrial look on the outside with escalators in tunnels on the outside an a modern feel inside.

It was a very modern art gallery, similar to the Tate but much more exciting and this sort of art is right up my street!

Again, there still wasn't time to see everything as it was so big, but the best bit of all was the gift shop which was a massive library full of art themed books and beautiful notebooks which I almost spent all of my money on!

Kate wanted to see the Notre Dame next which was apparently within walking distance but unfortunately, poor Kate took us to this beautiful buliding thinking it was Notre Dame which it turned out wasnt!

In fact, we had about a half hour walk to the Notre Dame, by which time I was knackered and my feet were killing me!  I was trying to take in the atmosphere but it was proving difficult!  However, we finally made it:

The blue skies really emphasised this beautiful building.  The queue to get inside was really long but it was moving very quickly and inside it was so serene and beautiful.

We were allowed to take pictures in here but without the flash so my pictures weren't very good. I lit a candle in here as a memory for my sons' dad, and enjoyed taking in the scenery.

Opposite the Notre Dame, was a shop I had read about before we came here:

Shakespeare & Company is a quaint but packed bookshop, full to the brim with books on two levels.  The building seemed old and creaky yet full of modern and old books.  There was even a little tea party with a host doing a talk, it was all right up my street!

We were all starting to get quite tired towards the end of the afternoon and wanted to celebrate our last night by dining out instead of eating more junk food!  Our first dining experience was so atrocious, I don't have the time to write about it!  However, it was overshadowed by the next restaurant we stumbled across and my hamburger and chips certainly satisfied me!


I have to also talk about this suprising part of our trip, a visit to an Erotic museum!  Look away now if easily offended:

There were seven floors of statues, paintings, modern art and other such like, all based on human eroticism, alot of sexual body parts and plenty of sex!  It certainly was an eye opener to say the least!

Overall, this has been a challenge that I have thouroughly enjoyed managing to see absolutely everything on our list plus more!  The girls were the best people to travel with, we didn't argue once and we laughed so much every day!

Im off to pop the rest of my photos into a scrapbook of some sorts which is the most exciting part of all!

Au Revoir!