Petite Fashion Week 1st October-5th October 2013

Well London Fashion Week has come and gone, and I’m sure all those gorgeous leggy 6ft individuals are moving into the future seasons with ideas of what to wear and knowing that they’ll look amazing.

But us petite fashion followers have no real guidance.  Yes we can see what the upcoming styles are going to be but then we have to translate it to make it work for our bodies.  And sometimes even the translations don’t work.

That’s why with other Petite fashion enthusiasts we thought we’d bring you Petite Fashion Week, founded by Debonita from Elegantly Fashionable.  There is an event on Friday 5th to celebrate the week so if you want to come along just let me know or refer to the Petite Fashion Week website.  It’ll be held in London, and as always the more the merrier!

Tomorrow I’ll be posting up a blog piece about how I dress for my body type.  In terms of fashion I can only talk to you about my experience, but I’ll also post the blog links of the other coordinators of Petite Fashion Week with their scheduled blogs too so if my particular written piece isn’t suitable for your body type or petite issue I’m sure you’ll find a piece that does apply to you.

For all you petites out there I do hope you’ll find this week as a whole really helpful and inspiring!

Designer’s and retailers sponsoring Petite Fashion Week and my favourite piece from each:

 

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The Petite Shop

 

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Gambita

 

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Jeetly

 

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AllisonIzu

 

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Emyloo Shoes

 

Natural History Museum by night

So now that I’m just getting larger and larger (a man asked me today when my baby was due and when I told him December he was actually shocked at how big I was… I’m blaming it all on the fact that I’m quite petite so the baby can only grow out and not up!) my Friday nights have somewhat changed a little.  Instead of having a girly night out with my friends, myself and MrLondonMum thought we’d be a little cultural and take in London by night.

Specifically The Natural History Museum who were holding an afterhours event running from 4pm to midnight.

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With free admission as well it sounded like a plan!

We turned up at around about 7pm parking on an adjacent road for free (that’s a bonus in London), and headed into the Museum.

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I was actually surprised at how packed it was.  So many people had attended this event.  For one night only the Natural History Museum opened their doors until late and gave individuals an up close and personal view of what goes on at the museum and behind the scenes including holding tours and talks throughout the museum all evening.

Families were there, party goers were there (before a night out), proper full on science lovers were there, tourists were there and stragglers like myself and MrLondonMum were there.

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As soon as you walk into the Natural History Museum you’re face to face with a dinosaur- well the dinosaur’s bones anyway.  Pretty damn impressive!

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Everywhere people were mingling with scientists topping up on drinks at the various bars and we were free to wander about with our drinks and see what the Natural History Museum was all about.  We were able to talk to scientists who had set up stands around the museum in the various different science stations such as evolution, extinction, and oceans.

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(The evolution of the human from 7 million years ago to today)

Just imagine if I was able to drink… and seeing some of the amazing things that are within the Natural History Museum.  How incredible and mind trippy!

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(The now extinct giant Ground Sloth- such a shame they don’t exist anymore, they were HUGE! And personally I love sloth’s so a huge one would be so so cute)

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(The reason behind the Cyclopes myth… turns out the central eye hole opening in this skull is actually the location of where a trunk would have been.  So the one-eyed Cyclopes was actually a distant relative of the elephant.  Although I’m going to pretend I don’t know that because the myth is so much more entertaining!)

After some perusing around the museum, we decided to rest our feet and get ourselves some food.  So straight to the museum restaurant we waddled.  Well I waddled at least.

The food was actually surprisingly good, we ordered a garlic mushroom and baby spinach pizza that was freshly made and stone oven baked.

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The only let down really was the drinks.  At £1.80 something for a coke and a £2.70 something for an apple juice you do expect more than a small plastic cup with said drink and lots of ice inside.  So four gulps later and the drinks were gone.  Obviously there is always a mark up price, that’s understandable, but for those prices you expect a can of coke at least and a large apple juice!

However you can ask for a bottle of tap water and there are water fountains around the museum if you are thirsty and don’t want to pay over the odds for a soft drink.

We again walked around the museum wandering in and out of the different exhibitions and seeing some amazing things.

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And then we called it a night.  MrLondonMum had been up since 5am for work and I’m rather hefty these days so tire easily.  So back to the car and home we headed.  Cultural night was a success!

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(Brushed checked shirt by Miss Selfridge and Lipstick in shade Rio Rio by topshop)

Daytime red lippy #sorted

Who doesn’t love a red lipstick? I’ve been looking for a good daytime red lipstick forever.  I’ve been through brands and brands.  I loved the colour of MAC’s Red Russian, but the lipstick was drying and too ’red’ for daytime.  I then went through a variety of high street brand names- so many countless red’s.  All of which eventually got binned.

And then I settled on Coco Chanel’s Gabrielle number 19 after spending a whole afternoon testing out red’s at the Chanel counter.

But even the Chanel I found to be really drying as a lipstick, so instead of applying it in one swoop around my lips I’d have to use lip balm first and then dot the colour lightly onto my lips.  So the best of a bad bunch but still not perfect and not the amazing daytime red I’ve forever been lusting after.  I have however used it all and that’s what gave me the incentive to finally find that one elusive red.  That wearable daytime red that doesn’t dry, doesn’t need constant application, is easy to apply and is well… (dare I say it) wearable…

Cue Rio Rio lipstick by Topshop.  I have never ever used Topshop make up preferring to trust actual make up brands that spend time and research into what they predominantly sell.  To me Topshop do clothes so being a make up snob there was no way in hell I was going to use make up from a company that specialises in high street fashion.  Well until now.

I did a little online shop from Topshop and included in my order I thought I’d go out on a limb and order Rio Rio.  It arrived this morning and I’m already blogging about it so you can see how much of a fan I must be!

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The lipstick itself looks bright red in colour, but it has undertones of orange which is why I think it’s such a wearable day time shade.

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I was a little bit apprehensive applying it, expecting it to immediately fail, but actually it did the opposite.

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The colour comes out on my lips as a bright but toned down red that stands out but not for the wrong reasons.   It’s brilliant.  I’ve eaten food, I’ve had some drinks, I’ve been out and not once did I feel like I was a face with just big red lips (which if the red isn’t right I can feel).

The lipstick is moisturising and stays on as well.  I can rub my lips together and it feels like I’m wearing a lip balm.  Applying it was easy as well.  I did that one swoop around my lips and hey presto! (I mean who wants to spend ages doing make up in the morning when you have a baby to look after- well I will in about 11 weeks).

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So I’d like to say sorry to Topshop for dismissing your make up range.  However I have all my other make up staples sorted so for now I’ll just stick to your lipstick.  Oh and your clothes- Maternity Roll Sleeve Stripe Tee.

The Courthouse Hotel Bar and private cinema screening for MrLondonMum

Now I’m in my third trimester I must admit that I’m finding it harder to be a social little bunny but I’m not prepared to stop just yet.

MrLondonMum works in film and media and last night was a screening of a short film he produced and a few other short films the director had been part of.  I obviously had to go and show my support, other than the fact I’d seen how hard MrLondonMum had worked on his particular production I wanted to see the end result.

So off to the Courthouse Doubletree by Hilton on Great Marlborough Street.

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The Courthouse is a hotel right in the centre of London’s shopping and theatre zone.  It’s an old magistrates court and internally many of the features of this court still exist- which I love.  Anything with a sense of history and I’m snapping away!

Many famous names have had cases heard here when the building was a court such as Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Keith Richards and Oscar Wilde.  And other famous names have been associated with the court such as Charles Dickens.

The reason this hotel was chosen for the screening was because it has its own little private cinema.  They hotel actually use the cinema room to show amazing old movies on the big screen.  Myself and MrLondonMum have been before to watch E.T on the big screen as neither of us were around to see the original release.  If you visit this page you’ll see a list of upcoming movie show dates that you can pre-book.  I do recommend it, it’s a great date night!

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The cinema itself is perfect for a private screening, it’s intimate but the seats are luxurious and made of leather and you don’t feel like you’re sitting on top of the person sat next to you.  The cinema can be hired by anyone, and at £300.00 per hour the price is pretty good!  Especially when you think it seats 94 people.  (Don’t quote me on that price as that’s what the director paid.  Price may fluctuate depending on the use).  Best of all we were able to bring in drinks from the bar next door.

The Courthouse bar is truly a unique place to visit.  You enter the bar which is situated at the back of the hotel through iron bars that were part of the old courthouse.

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The space is well lit and the décor is modern while keeping the original  historical features.

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To the right as you enter the bar are three original cells from the courthouse days that you can either pre-book if you have a gathering or if they’re free you can just sit in and while away the time enjoying the cocktails on offer.

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The original cells even have the original toilets (which are now blocked up and can’t be used although I did see one lady try to shut the cell door to use the toilet before being ushered to the ladies by the staff).

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As for the drinks, they are overpriced but then again it is London and it’s a top class bar so to be honest those are prices you would expect to pay.  £6.00 for my virgin mojito was steep but it was also tasty and I didn’t feel like I wasn’t part of the party where everyone else but the pregnant lady could drink.

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The only problem with last night was the fact that at events such as screenings it does involve a lot of talking and socialising.  Even though I was wearing my comfy ankle boots the heels were killing my feet and my legs were getting tired.  I’m also finding that I get quite breathless when I have to speak loud over background music.  So although I looked anti social I decided to sit outside the bar for a while on the copious plush sofas the hotel have in the lobby just to get my breath back.

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On returning to the bar I realised I just had to take it easy so I found myself a comfy chair and promptly fell asleep.  Oh well I am pregnant after all!

The screening was a success and MrLondonMum was happy.  Luckily for me after getting home he spoilt me and got me tucked into bed with hot buttered crumpets and juice. He’s a good one.

Hengrave Hall Wedding

There must be wedding fever this year, because yesterday I attended another wedding.  This time we went up to Hengrave Hall, near Bury St. Edmunds.

What can I say it was GORGEOUS.  Driving up to the building through big gates was just stunning.  The weather unfortunately wasn’t great but even through the rain and dark clouds the looming building was magnificent.  Beautifully crafted out of stone and brick I could just tell from the outset that this wedding was going to be good.

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Walking into the venue I looked around taking in as much as possible before finding the essential toilets as the baby was pushing on my bladder.  Luckily sign posts showed me how to find the ladies with ease.  (Some things I took for granted before).

Feeling more comfortable I followed the crowds of people who were waiting to be let into The Banqueting Hall.  The location of the wedding ceremony.  There is also a sweet delightful church in the grounds that can also be used for wedding ceremonies but my friends went for the civil ceremony inside Hengrave Hall.

I said my hello’s to the faces I recognised and did some catching up before walking into The Banqueting Hall.  The walls were wood panelled and there was a wooden balcony at the top end of the room, light was streaming in through large stain glass windows and there was a large stone fireplace.

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The chairs were lined up and decorated with a country feel, so wooden hearts hung off the back of some of the chairs.  The ceiling was ornately crafted with wooden beams that arched and went across the room.  The groom welcomed each and every guest and showed no signs of nervousness at all.  And then the doors were closed as the bridal party made their way to the Hall.

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Wearing a gorgeous fishtail lace gown with a diamante belt and buttons down the back with a full length cathedral veil that flared out around the train of the gown the bride walked down the aisle looking absolutely perfect.  Her hair was half up and half down and slightly curled around her face.  The bridesmaids wore yellow dresses, and the flower girls wore peach dresses.

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As the wedding got underway one of my favourite readings was read aloud by a member of the brides family, from the movie Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and written by Louis De Bernieres:

“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.

And when it subsides you have to make a decision.

You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.

Because this is what love is.

Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion.

That is just being ‘in love’ which any fool can do.

Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.

Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”

Now lets all have a collective awwww… and congratulate the new Mr&Mrs.

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After the ceremony which I found beautiful (MrLondonMum did his usual and I’m not sure anything went in so he couldn’t comment on the ceremony) we were led to The Library for a drinks reception.  MrLondonMum made sure he was drinking the champagne on offer while I drunk the pink lemonade.  Both drinks were constantly topped up.  Great for me and MrLondonMum!

While there were no canopies (which I was actually glad about because I tend to over eat them and then when you head for the wedding breakfast there isn’t much room left) there was something significantly better.  An ice-cream man serving proper dairy ice-cream in real waffle cones… and I was allowed to eat as many as I wanted!!!! I got myself a yummy toffee nut one and it was delish!

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Already feeling merry (MrLondonMum on booze, me on sugar) we headed off for the wedding breakfast which was held in the long gallery.  A bright room with wooden floors and a gorgeous ornate ceiling which had chandeliers and was painted an olive green colour.  Again Hengrave Hall provided yet another stunning room.

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The circular round tables were dotted around the room seating eight guests at each table.  Typically I was seated at the table that was named ‘London.’  Our favours were little jars of hot chocolate and marshmallows to take home.

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The speeches were first and to make sure the guests didn’t get bored it was turned into a drinking game.  On each table was a couple of cards and under each speech makers name was two words that you had to drink at if the speech maker mentioned them within the speech.  Obviously it didn’t affect me much, but MrLondonMum had finished his toasting champagne before the last speech and so luckily he had mine to keep him going.  The speeches were brilliant, the Father of the Bride did a very funny but moving speech, the groom did a thank you speech and spoke of his adoration for his new bride and the best mans speech was light and humorous with a dose of sentimentality and love.  The perfect combination.

After the speeches were complete the food came out, we were given food choices before the wedding, each course had an option of three.  Unfortunately I was unable to eat any of the starters.  The choice was prawns/pate or Stilton.  A pregnant woman’s nightmare so I allowed MrLondonMum to pick the two he’d want the most.  For the mains we both chose a traditional roast beef dinner which was so tasty.  (I’m sorry baby but mummy had to give in and eat the meat.  It was on my plate and looked perfect.  I know it was slightly underdone for you but it was cooked to how I like it.  I tried to avoid the really bloody parts and eat the more cooked bits around the outside, although I do feel slightly guilty).  Dessert we shared and so we had a combination of a chocolate brownie and strawberry pavlova.

The food was extremely tasty for a wedding breakfast and the wine flowed throughout the meal.  MrLondonMum definitely drunk his fair share of however many bottles were used throughout the dinner.

Whilst eating dinner there was a background singer that kept the atmosphere going, he was a great singer singing some classic Buble tracks, and getting the bride and groom up during dinner to sing a song to them as they danced.  He even got some of the more willing guests to sing with him.  A hilarious way to keep guests entertained between courses.

After finishing off with teas and coffees we sat around and chatted with the other guests while the wine still flowed before the evening guests and dance started.

It was then that I spotted this…

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Baby definitely had his share of sugar! There were flying saucers, candy floss, popcorn, jelly rings, foam prawns.. all my favourites!!!

We were then all called to go back to The Banqueting Hall for the evening dance to kick off starting with the bride and grooms first dance.  Half way through the dance we were all encouraged to join them, so everyone took to the dance floor.  This is when I realised dancing as a pregnant woman is really uncomfortable.  I had to have my stomach to the side of MrLondonMum because I couldn’t get comfortable standing in front of him embracing as we danced.

We danced the first three or four songs and then we sat back down again as I’m really not able to dance! Plus the straps on my shoes were starting to do a Kim Kardashian.

Now that the bar was open MrLondonMum topped up on good old beer while I just stuck to tap water.  Not long after the evening buffet was served but there was no way I could fit it in! I did have three macaroons from the macaroon cake/stand they had though.

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As we left the party to continue their jollies, myself and MrLondonMum got back in the car for the drive back to London.

It may have rained for the wedding but supposedly that’s good luck and quite frankly the venue the couple picked really was the perfect venue.  No one noticed the rain at all.  Just the beauty of Hengrave Hall and the hard work the couple put in to make their day personal and memorable.

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Elliot’s Cafe, Borough Market

If you were going to set up a eatery in London where better than next to Borough Market.  Imagine all that glorious fresh food on your doorstep!

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Whether or not Elliot’s use the produce found inside Borough market (I imagine they do, but don’t quote me) they at least take inspiration from it and create dishes that are in season and pretty damn tasty!

So popular an establishment and fresh the ingredients that once something has gone it’s gone.  So unfortunately by our 7.30pm reservation there was no steak left, no chicken hearts with grilled pancetta and no buffalo mozzarella, red peppers and basil.  Not to worry though, my friends and I decided to order a selection of the small plates and tuck in and try out the cuisine.

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While initially perusing the menu my two friends ordered themselves some cocktails which they delighted in and I ordered a homemade cordial juice of rose-water and raspberry.  (I later tested out the homemade ginger beer too).  All drinks were top-notch for all three of us!

We were happily gossiping away about my friend’s wedding plans for next year, my upcoming baby and my other friends slight disappointment in no longer feeling particularly affectionate towards her new man when our food arrived…

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We ordered such a great selection.  Some bits I obviously couldn’t eat due to pregnancy guidelines and other bits I could.  But by the end we were all stuffed.  (I couldn’t get all the dishes into one picture, and I’m sorry but I was so impatient because it smelt so good I didn’t get a picture of all the dishes either…)

Between the three of us we ordered octopus, peas and potatoes, artichokes a la qrecque, squid tomatoes and capers, pickled mackerel, soda bread and crème fraiche, scallops and nduja butter and finally a large plate of polenta, chantarelles, onions and pecorino.  We were also given a basket of homemade organic bread, freshly baked which made me immediately tuck in and slather on some oozing melting butter.

Already feeling stuffed and baby making his presence known by jabbing me at every opportunity I didn’t think I’d be able to fit in a dessert.  And then I saw the menu…

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I couldn’t resist ordering the peach sorbet, pistachio frangipane and rosemary pudding.  And it didn’t disappoint either.  It was lip smackingly good.  It didn’t look the prettiest when initially served up but the flavour’s were gorgeous and so fresh.  I was actually quite upset when I finished it!

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The great place about Elliot’s is that the food changes with the seasons so there’s always something new to try out.  A new season to taste and delight in!

Elliot’s as an establishment is a thriving place.  It was busy and the bar was in full swing.  The staff were really helpful and kind and nothing was too much effort for them (such as finding out if the mackerel was pickled raw or pickled cooked).  It’s a great place for a catch up with friends, or even taking a date.  There was one table in full view where the couple weren’t afraid of full on PDA.  So whatever was in the food obviously made those two particularly amorous!  I didn’t manage to snap a picture of them.. it felt morally wrong! :)

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The lows of pregnancy

I’m think I’m fairly lucky in the sense that I ‘seem’ to be coping with pregnancy particularly well.

I’ve not put on much weight apart from the obvious bump.. (although I can’t confirm that as I don’t keep scales and midwives in the UK no longer weigh mothers preferring to measure the bump size instead for fear of mothers being too weight conscious).

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(I’m sat in my PJ’s as I write this… although I can surprisingly still button up my PJ top it is getting a smidgen tight so I prefer it open).

I also managed to escape real morning sickness (sometimes I’d feel a bit nauseous but nothing awful) and fingers crossed not one stretch mark has made it onto my body.  Plus my hair and skin has never been better!  But.. and there’s always a but… I have been suffering with a drop in blood pressure.

Having low blood pressure during pregnancy doesn’t put you at risk in the same way high blood pressure does and it’s apparently very common.  But combine a person like me that loves to be active + low blood pressure and it’s just not all that fun.

For those of you that aren’t sure what low blood pressure feels like, if I exert myself too much or get overly hot or walk too far (in my case a  15-20 minute walk can bring on feeling bad) then I end up really hot and need to sit down because I go so dizzy and my eyes go blurry.  I need to take about 10-15 minutes to calm myself down.  Unfortunately these episodes obviously happen mostly when I’m out doing something and the one thing I would love to do is to lie down on my side on the floor- not really something I can do when out and about.  Although I have sat myself on the floor with loads of empty seats behind me once because the floor was colder and I needed to stretch my legs out and not feel confined to a chair.  Also on a packed underground tube I begged a man for his newspaper that he was reading so I could fan myself to cool down a bit.  Thankfully he obliged.

So I’d like to find out if any of you have suffered with low blood pressure during pregnancy and how you dealt with it? I asked my midwife if there was anything I could do but there’s no real fix.  I just have to keep myself as hydrated as I can.

I’m hoping that now the weather has turned cooler maybe these episodes won’t come on as frequently.  This summer I have been particularly hot and uncomfortable and that I’m sure only adds to the discomfort.

This weekend I spent most of it indoors trying to just relax.  But I know I can’t continue that throughout the last of my trimester’s so I’ll have to find ways to cope.

I’m out for dinner with friends tonight although it’s only a bus journey away so I’m near home.  Hopefully I’ll feel ok.

I know little one is fine he’s making his presence known as often as he can.  But I won’t lie I can’t wait to meet him and have my body returned to myself.  Also I think I’m getting to the panicky Mum stage where I just want to see him and count his fingers and toes and know that I managed to get him into this world safely.  Not too long to go now!  But as I enter this last stage of my pregnancy I’m also very aware that we have absolutely nothing organised.

I’m sort of stuck if I’m being honest, the flat we live in now is one that I bought in central London when I was 21 and single.  It’s a gorgeous flat and really characteristic but as a studio flat it’s not going to house a family of three.

So we’re in the process of buying a two bedroom house the other side of London and closer to where my partner works, but the process of tying up all the legal ends just takes forever.  I can’t prepare for the baby while there’s no room so I need to be in the new house.  But who knows how long that will take…

I think I’m definitely having a low pregnancy time at the moment.  It’ll be fine though, things always seem to work themselves out!  Well really they have no choice but to work out… I just have to be part of the roller coaster journey to get there.

The Sound of Music at the Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park.

I did not expect today to be one of the hottest days in London.  Not when I booked 3 tickets for The Sound of Music for a day out with my family (Mum and Dad) back in August.  But typically the thermometer hit highs of 28-30 degrees Celsius and watching a performance at an Open Air Theatre wasn’t the easiest in my condition.

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I dressed myself in a red dress cotton strapless dress which I bought on my travels at some point so it’s brandless.   (I actually have a dedicated travelling wardrobe that I pack when I go on any kind of back packing trip full of loose fit items, cotton and cheap bits to cool me down whichever country I might end up).  And this dress really did help to not over heat me.  Especially teamed with flip flops, a straw fedora hat (a cheap purchase on a Brazilian beach), a make shift fan out of cardboard, copious amounts of water and my must have item cooling spray from Boots.  (Because the cap was missing and it was the last one on the shelf I got it for a measly £1.00 down from £4.99 with a little bit of flirting and lots of smiling.. or in reality he just felt sorry for the sweaty chubby pregnant lady!)

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(The Boots website is down at the moment but I’ve found this link to another blog which tells you more about the cooling spray).

And my favourite item of all time my Folding Ray Ban sunglasses I bought from Selfridges a while back.  Just look at the pictures and tell me they aren’t the best invention ever!

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With as much prep as possible I met up with my parents and we walked from Baker Street Underground through Regents Park, stopping off for a quick picnic before entering the Open Air Theatre grounds.

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The theatre has plenty of shady covered areas to sit while you enjoy a drink or two or some pre show food.  But with a belly full of our own picnic goodies we didn’t try anything out pre show.  But you can pick up snacks to full on picnic baskets should you wish.

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(There is also a lawn area with picnic tables to eat at).

A bell rung out indicating for everyone to find their seats in the auditorium.  We were seated in the upper tier in the centre and our seat views were perfect.  If however you do book in the summer and you are pregnant I recommend booking seats to the left hand side (when facing the stage) as that area was covered by the shade of the trees by the time the 2.15pm performance started.  The shade does gradually move across the theatre and by the interval our section was shaded but the right hand side of the seating area wasn’t shaded at any point.  (Although there are two performances so a later performance at 7.45pm would probably see the whole arena covered by shade and certainly a lot cooler).

Bear in mind that today was a sunny day.  Even if it’s cold or it rains, performances still take place and so you should be suitably dressed.  I know that when the weather gets cooler you can buy blankets from the theatre but I personally think you should check the weather out and bring your bits from home.

Anyway back to the performance.  I chose this particular show as I know my Mum just doesn’t tend to follow new storylines.  The Sound of Music has been a favourite movie of our families since my sister and I were little girls so I knew she’d follow the story line with ease.

The performance was brilliant.  An absolutely epic show.  The cast were top notch and the singing was incredible.  The actors took to the stage and used the surrounding areas and walk ways throughout the performance.  Keeping the audience entertained and enthralled.

However about thirty minutes before the end of the first half my pregnancy bladder needed a trip to the ladies, so I sneaked off to use the extremely well kept and clean toilet facilities.  Instead of returning to my seat I stayed under the coolness of the eating area and watched the rest of the first half in the shade through the entrance ways to the theatre.  As a bonus it did mean I had a table reserved for the interval for my parents and I to seat ourselves down in the shade and indulge in some Organic Cornish Chocolate Ice-cream (£3.00 a pot) that was on sale.  The theatre also provided plastic cups and jugs of tap water to rehydrate the audience during that interval without the need to pay for drinks at the bar.

Although the set remained the same the whole time the set designers cleverly made it feel like the different areas in the movie by changing the doors on the sets to represent different locations.  The convent doors became gates, the gazebo doors became white garden house doors, the Von Trapp home was represented by big wooden sturdy doors and the Salzburg Music Festival had a Nazi flag hanging instead of a door.  Brilliant set designing with minimal fuss for an outdoor theatre without the use of pulleys and back stage equipment the other big theatres have at their disposal.

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The costume designer has to be applauded as well.  The costumes were gorgeous.  Some of the dresses I fell in love with and want them for my own wardrobe.  Baroness Schraeder wears the most divine peach late 1930′s style number with a hat and long white gloves.  And Maria’s wedding dress.  Jaw dropping!

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I will admit I often had tears in my eyes throughout the show as emotionally it always hits me.  But there is plenty of laughter and as it has been adapted to theatre there are some changes in the script.  It all stays faithful to the storyline but there are small additions that help translate the movie to theatre much more appropriately.

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I think my little one enjoyed himself too, as he’d throw a few moves in my belly during some of the songs.

That’s the thing about The Sound of Music you just can’t get away from the songs.  I’ve been humming to myself since I left and I don’t think I’ll be stopping anytime soon… good luck to MrLondonMum when he gets home… ;)

“High on a hill was a lonely goat-herd, lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo…..”

Bone Daddies Ramen Bar

After eating at the new restaurant Flesh and Buns (same chef, Ross Shonhan) and loving the food in there, I thought it was time to try out Bone Daddies.  A ramen bar I’ve been meaning to sink my teeth into for a while.

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Based in good old Soho you really do get a little bit of Japanese cuisine in the middle of backstreet London.  If you aren’t a Londoner I always recommend walking around areas like Soho just to get a feel for real London life.  Plus there’s great food and bars to be found on every street corner (amongst all the XXX adult stores).

This particular feast was to celebrate the divorce of one of my friends from her now ex husband.  What better way then to cheer her on in her new relationship then a good old gossip and some noodles (her divorce actually came through that day).

As expected the restaurant was heaving.  It was so busy.  Atmospherically it was perfect, it was buzzing but didn’t have the same loudness to it that Flesh and Buns has.  Which made it perfect for a Monday night catch up.

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No reservations are taken at Bone Daddies so if you do turn up at a busy time you just have to wait it out.  We were told the wait would be around 10 to 15 minutes (we arrived around 6.45pm-7pm).  But there was a slight issue in the kitchen as one of the cookers had decided to cease working and that wait became a little bit longer.  But the staff at Bone Daddies kept us well informed and told us that although it looked like there were seats available they didn’t want to seat everyone and create a backlog in the kitchen.  So we’d be seated when the kitchen gave the go ahead so we weren’t waiting for a lifetime for food to arrive.

So the wait was more like 30 minutes but to be honest we were well looked after and offered drinks and starters to keep us entertained while we waited.  Which in my books is completely fine.  As long as I’m fed and watered I’m a happy customer!

So we ordered some edamame to share and ordered some cocktails from the list.  I ordered a surprise non alcoholic cocktail from the waitress as I couldn’t decide which soft cocktail I wanted.  It was scrumptious!

Not long after we were shown to our table and given our menus.

One of the girls I was with recommended I choose the Tonkotsu ramen which is made up of a 20 hour pork broth with spring onions and chashu pork, noodles, bamboo, bean sprouts and my favourite all time egg the Clarence Court egg! (If you haven’t bought these eggs from your supermarket you just don’t know what you’re missing out on.  They’re in an eggy league of their own).

We also decided to share the soft shell crab to start with, which came with a green chilli ginger sauce.  One word ‘Mmmmmmmm.’  I know that’s not a real word but it sums up how my taste buds felt.

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The ramen was as expected- glorious! It was tasty and moreish.  The broth was simply delicious.

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With the ramen you can choose extras to add from the menu at an additional cost so if after eating your ramen bowl you aren’t quite full-up then for an additional £2.00 can you ask for more noodles in your left over broth or pick any addition that takes your fancy.  Or customise your order to your needs!

The ramen itself wasn’t spicy but on the tables they have chilli pots so you can heat up the broth to your desired spicy level.  I left mine spice free because it was a warm night and my temperature is already higher than most due to the pregnancy and I didn’t want to start feeling overly warm when outside the air-conditioned restaurant.

The ramen bowl was more than enough to fill me up though so no extras were required.

I promised my other half we would go to Bone Daddies together but when a friend gets divorced and wants to celebrate by eating there how could I possibly turn that down? ;)

But a Bone Daddies date with the other half is still on the agenda.  I know it’ll be right up his street.  Plus with a bill that came to under £20.00 a head it’s pretty darn cheap!

If I had to compare the two: Flesh and Buns and Bone Daddies I think Bone Daddies would win.  I preferred the atmosphere but then again Bone Daddies has been open a whole lot longer and so the crazy crowds have calmed down.  (Not disappeared just chilled out a bit more).  I’m also a noodle fiend and love a tasty noodle broth so I guess in reality I’m being biased.  Ultimately pick whichever menu takes your fancy and that’ll be the one for you!

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My Pagan Wedding experience

While all of London was being drowned by torrential rain, we were lucky to escape to the Lake District where the sun shone the whole time we were there.  The fact it wasn’t raining in the lakes was bonus enough (given the reputation) but knowing everyone else in London was having a miserable time did fill me with sadistic glee.

This particular weekend though it was vital that the sun shone, because we were going to witness the joining of two of our friends in a Pagan outdoor ceremony and had the weather been bad the event might have not been the same.

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As it was, the weekend was full of sunshine, friends and a good partying spirit.  The Wedding itself took on a festival type feel, with many of our friends choosing to camp in the field that had been rented out.  (Not for me though.. pregnant and having to wake up all the time to use the bathroom? Lets be honest it was never going to work out for me!).

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We arrived on the Saturday, the day before the ceremony took place and soaked up the sunshine and the atmosphere.  This was the day I got to scope out the chosen field and indulge in a brilliant marshmallow/strawberry lace concoction by the camp fire.

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I also witnessed my first game of Beer Pong.

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As suspected everyone was merrily drunk by the time we decided to leave including my other half.  But with a Wedding the day after sleep beckoned and I couldn’t force another soft drink down my throat.  So I dragged my other half away to get some r&r.

We woke up to possibly the sunniest and warmest morning ever.  And we made our way over to the field where the others were camping and where the wedding was going to take place.

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I dressed in a cream lace ASOS number with a black bow belt to the waist and a greyish peacock patterned kimono over the top that I bought a few years ago from Topshop.  In my hair to complete my look I wore a flower headpiece that I bought from Spitalfield’s Market, London for about £3.00.

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Because the wedding was taking place in a field I toyed with the idea of wearing my black Hunter boot wellies, but because it was such a warm day I instead chose to wear some tan ankle boots I bought from New Look.

When everyone was ready and had arrived (there was no overly strict timetable) we walked to the chosen area for where the wedding would take place.  The area had already been cleansed with sage to purify the location just before we made our way over.

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Once we passed the ‘gate’…

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…our entrance into the cleansed area (between two decorated poles), we were asked to stand in a circle.  Known as the sacred circle.  The circle is symbolic for the cycles in life and is also used to keep all negativity away from the couple so they are only surrounded by the love and happiness of those that surround them.

In the middle of the circle our two friends stood with the priestess who read to them and performed the handfasting.  The handfasting was the joining of the two of our friends using pieces of ribbon to bind their promises to each other.  This type of ceremony I don’t think is actually legally binding but the symbolism behind it is so beautiful and it really does feel like the joining of two souls.  (Our friends chose to get legally married the weekend before in London).

Once the ceremony had been performed we were all asked to add to the binds our own ribbons that we were holding to send our wishes to the couple.

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When the well wishes had been given and our friends had been married the way in which they felt represented them (they were of course already legally married but this was the ceremony they wanted to represent their Wedding day), we all walked back to the camp to celebrate with everyone for the rest of the evening.

The speeches were first which was followed by everyone drinking from a bucket which is an Orkney tradition.  Known as the Bride’s Cog, it is filled up with alcohol (in this case cider) and everyone takes a sip of what’s inside the wooden bucket to share the day with the Bride and Groom and to give them luck.  So I took a tiny little sip too.  In fact I probably just wet my lips!

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After that we were well fed with some gorgeous barbecued food which included roast pork and divine crackling, lamb, sausages.. in fact every kind of meat! and a table full of salads, cous cous, rolls, stuffing and sauces.  All to be finished off with a homemade wedding cake.

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Activities were laid on to play at our pleasure and these included rounders, the coconut shy, a big garden set of chess amongst other things while every got stuck in with the free alcohol (again bar me!) and sunbathed.

As the sun weakened, one of the wedding guests performed for us all by singing some brilliant songs and playing the ukulele while the Bride and Groom merrily danced in the background.

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And finally the bouquet throwing.  In my current condition I thought it wise not to get involved in the bouquet scrabble.  So I remained seated on my deck chair and took pictures of the other girls trying to catch the flowers as they flew through the air…

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only to realise they landed right next to me.

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Oh well guess it’s my turn next!

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