26 weeks pregnant

Another week pregnant and I’m expanding!

It’s incredible how quickly my body is getting bigger. My tummy is just fully out there now and I love it! I’m finally at that point when I walk down the road I look pregnant. I’ve always wanted to look pregnant so this is very exciting for me. I know that’s a little weird.

I didn’t always know if I wanted to have children but I did always want to know what pregnancy was like and to look pregnant. My body has always looked a certain way for all my life so for it to change so dramatically is just mental to me. I look down and there’s my bump!

Happily I haven’t really had to buy any maternity clothes (apart from buying bigger bras and sports bras) as of yet. I’m waiting until the shops open and for the weather to get warmer. That way I can just prioritise on some essential summer tops and dresses. AsĀ well as being able to actually try them on as honestly my body is getting so different I have no idea what things will fit or not! I’ve already bought a second hand pair of shorts on Depop so I’m ready to go on that front at least.

In terms of other updates for my pregnancy, I generally still feel very good. One huge positive is feeling the little guy move throughout the day. It feels so incredible. It began a few weeks ago as little flutters – or more like bubbles bursting to me. But now it’s like proper movement going across my tummy. I can see the movements from the outside and they can be fairly strong!

Kyle has felt him move several times too which is lovely. We had a funny moment one evening where we were both singing (badly) different songs to see if he’d move in response and it was clear his favourite genre was 90s pop (we both had a good memory for those lyrics haha).

One negative is waking up quite consistently throughout the night – or early morning. It’s like 4am and bam I’m awake. I guess because the light starts to come in through the gaps in the curtains and then I spend an hour or so just struggling to get back to sleep. It’s frustrating as I’m trying to bank (or just enjoy) as much sleep as possible before the baby arrives as I know later I’ll be looking back in envy at this time.

As a back sleeper it’s hard to be fully comfortable on my side, despite the pregnancy pillow so a lot of tossing and turning happens as well. And my hips feeling creaky because of the position. Sleeping on your back is bad for the baby’s health (due to a large vein running down your back and potentially getting cut off due to the weight) and it’s not comfortable anyway right now (it feels very weird) so it’s a bit of a lose-lose situation sadly.

Running however is continuing to go well which, I know I keep saying, I’m so grateful for. It’s not always perfectly smooth and comfortable though, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes my hips ache a lot, I constantly need a wee, sometimes the baby is in a low position which feels really awkward, and I’m a lot slower. But I always enjoy the run and feeling like an absolute warrior human running along whilst knowing I’m also growing a baby.

On Saturday I was pleasantly surprised to have Kyle join me for three miles of my long run which was just so lovely. He hasn’t been running a huge amount since we moved to Portsmouth. He’s running around once or twice a week for 3-5 miles but he likes to go later in the day and likes to really blast the speed. Whereas I’m enjoying far more slow and slightly longer runs in the morning. So we’re a bit out of sync!

But anyway he wanted to do a bit further a run so he joined me for three, and then ran back home again for another three. My plan was for around 12 miles and it was lovely to have him join me for the first bit rather than just listen to podcasts the entire way. I felt a little bad as just before three miles is where my first wee stop and he kindly waited for me before us carrying on for a few more minutes and then saying goodbye.

It was nice for him to see me run as I’m now so much further along in my pregnancy. I think the last time we ran together was early in my first trimester! I’m hoping he might join me for a little bit further this Saturday, but we’ll see šŸ˜‰

Food-wise things are still good. Though apples, crisps and hot chocolate are still not back on the menu which blows my mind. Cake, chocolate and salads are good so there’s a happy balance, eh? I’ve also been branching out and trying new things. One of those being more vegetarian meals from Hello Fresh (we really love a lentil meal!) as well as testing out and really enjoying this vegan healthy ready meal from Tweakd.

Tweakd are a company that make home delivered pre-prepared frozen meals which are designed for athletic goals. The company was founded by an elite sports chef, Omar Meziane, and a top sports nutritionist, Mike Naylor – so people who know their stuff! Your goals can be immune health, building muscle, endurance, and/or recovery (the different meals can cover several of these goals). So definitely athletes in mind.

I picked the butternut squash and lentil lasagne, a vegan meal aiming to help recovery, endurance and muscle building. It sounded delicious and I’m definitely not adverse to trying something vegan once in a while. It was really tasty and the portion size was pretty good, though for a greedy person like me it was more of a lunch meal than a dinner meal.

Thinking about it, this would be ideal just after we have the baby – healthy ready meals with zero fuss and supporting us during a tough hectic time!

I was clearly too hungry to take a photo of it actually cooked though, apologies!

Do you ever eat pre-prepared meals?

Do you try and eat more veggie or vegan from time to time?

**Full disclaimer: I was sent the Tweakd meal for free in exchange for a review. All opionions are my own honest ones.**

Week 24 of being pregnant – featuring a lot of chocolate!

Week 24 of my pregnant and how are things going?

Well, pretty well actually! I feel really good. My energy levels are good, I’m sleeping well (though still grumbling about now being a side sleeperā€¦ I miss sleeping on my back so much!) and I’m still running three times a weeks (roughly around 25 miles/week) and strength training 3-4 times a week.

Running is getting slower of course and I’m finding both my hips get achy towards the end. But I’ve had some acupuncture and massage which massively helped, as does the lovely long hot water bottle Kyle’s sister bought me. Lots of good stretches throughout the day definitely ease the discomfort too.

I love running so much right now. I like to go first thing and just seeing the weather getting better makes me so happy. I might not be nearly as fast as I was before but I still get the same enjoyment. And the podcasts I listen to while running are now not just about running, food and movies but sprinkled with a heavy dose of pregnancy and baby related ones too.

Who’d have thought this would happen, definitely not me! I especially like Made by Mamas (though the number of adverts and sponsors they have in each episode REALLY annoys me) and the Pregnancy Wellness Podcast.

Food-wise things have been very good lately. Kyle amazingly treated me to some INCREDIBLE millionaire rocky roads from the Instagrammer @Nickichanlam (I’ve mentioned her before – she’s so so good). They were BRICKS!

They had a layer of caramel and a top layer of chocolate and then were basically packed full of mini-eggs, biscuit and marshmallows. So fricking good! I had one at 11am one day and basically was full until dinner that evening – and for me that’s really something!

I was also recently sent a super tasty set of drinks, Super DC, from Gusto. They’re basically healthily pimped out soft drinks aimed to boost your immune system as they’re packed full of vitamins.

They come in two flavours: Super DC Blood Orange and Super DC Blackcurrant & Elderberry. They’re full of antioxidants and contain a huge boost of Vitamin D and Vitamin C, for only around 60 calories a can.

 They actually taste REALLY good. The blood orange flavour tasted like a posh Fanta (and I love Fanta).

I honestly wanted to guzzle all the cans, they were super refreshing. Unfortunately they contain a bit too much Vitamin A for me being pregnant so I could only do a taste test, but this was good news for Kyle as he really liked them too.

I was also sent a really cool gift idea – a CHOCOLATE themed gift idea. It’s called ChocFace and basically you choose the photos you want to go on top of Belgian chocolate, which is all edible.

You can personalise what you call the box too, which I love

They come displayed in a really lovely box. I was quite impressed – the photos looked super clear and the chocolate was actually really tasty. I yomped my way through the box fairly quickly, I’m ashamed to say! It’s such a novel and fun idea. Really good gift for someone I think.

Slightly vainly I chose photos of myself and Kyle!

And on the note of food, Kyle and I had Monday and Tuesday off and we spent one of those days having a lovely walk down Southsea seafront and got some takeaway food from one of our favourite spots, The Parade Tearooms.

My favourite menu item from them is the Jane Salad (which I’ve had MANY times). It’s ginormous. And the takeaway version is just as big – giving you a large box of the cold items (salad bits, cheese, coleslaw) and then a large box of the hot items (crispy bacon, chicken and crispy potatoes). It was so good!

UnfortunatelyĀ  my eyes were far too big for my tummy because after finishing this enormous salad I also wolfed down a gigantic wedge of tiffin afterwards.

This was a BIG mistake as honestly I felt so full for the rest of the day it wasn’t fun. I can definitely see this getting worse the longer the pregnancy continues because my stomach capacity just isn’t going to be what it used to be. Greedy Anna is going to have problems!

What’s your favourite, rocky road or tiffin? To be honest I’m not entirely sure the difference! I think rocky road has marshmallows and tiffin has raisins…

What’s your favourite salad? I really love caesar salads (especially if there are anchovies in it).

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the Gusto drinks and the ChocFace chocolates for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Enjoying the food at least

Lockdown 3ā€¦ the never ending days of sameness.

But Kyle and I have done our best to keep our spirits up and to enjoy the time we have left together (wow that sounds a bit scary). I mean, just the two of us (three with Alfie) before our lives get turned upside down in July.

One thing we really try to do every weekend is go for nice walks and enjoy our food. I mean, options are limited and this is really all anyone can do. But anyway, we try and have a nice walk together, or one of us will meet up with a parent or friend to go for a walk and a takeaway coffee to liven up the social juices.

During my pregnancy I’ve changed my usual coffee of choice (an obnoxiously complicated order) to a decaf almond latte which I just find divine. Previously I’d have some sort of syrup in there but my tastes have changed a bit and all I want is a coffee flavoured delicately creamy drink. Normally at home I’ll have a black decaf coffee (which I’ll invariably liven up with a side of chocolate), so it’s nice to have this simple pleasure to look forward to at the weekend.

Anyway a few other things that I’ve been really enjoying is cooking. We regularly get Hello Fresh, which we love as it jazzes up our weekday meals and keeps organising meals quite easy. But I was also recently sent a pack of game from the Game & Wild company. I’ve had meat from them before and really enjoyed it so I was excited to try out some other bits.

I don’t regularly eat game – I’d be more inclined in a restaurant to try something but I never think to try anything in a supermarket. But their Cook with Game Starter Pack is perfect for people who aren’t sure where to start. It comes with a selection of game and SO helpfully a recipe book.

Within the pack you get:

  • 6 Partridge Breasts
  • 4 Pheasant Breasts
  • 8 Pigeon Breasts
  • Venison Mince 500g
  • Talking Game Recipe Book

I don’t thinkĀ  I’ve ever tried partridge, pheasant or pigeon so I was quite intrigued. I’ve had venison before (as a steak) but not as mince. I mean I was instantly thinking, burgers! I flicked through the recipe book, and the helpful seasonal recipe leaflet they included, to find options for the meat and the choice was fantastic. So many options!

I used the venison mind to make some INCREDIBLE burgers. They were so tasty. Less beefy than beef but just as juicy. Kyle was a BIG fan.

For the partridge I made a delicious lemon and mushroom risotto using one of the seasonal recipes and it was really tasty.

I love risottos but also feel a bit cheated when there isn’t a lot else going on so the added partridge gave it that extra jazz.

I had grand plans for the pheasant and pigeon by with the recipe of tasty looking curry and a stroganoff but as the weekend weather changed I got a very random and spontaneous desire for a BBQ. I could not get it out of my head!

Thankfully we had some coals saved in the shed, so got it fired up and, instead of wasting money on extra meat at the shop, we decided to bravely try the pigeon and pheasant on the BBQ (as well as some random pork steaks and ribs in the freezer in case it went pear shape!).

I tell you what, it worked! I marinated the breast with a tasty paprika and pepper herby blend and served with salad and buns. It was so good! Different, definitely, but a lovely treat on an early spring evening.

Really recommend this starter pack if you’re in the market for jazzing up your cooking and meals, especially during this boring lockdown period.

As well as cooking, we’ve also been ordering brownies from Instagram.  I mean this has sort of become a problem as we’ve now done it three times. The brownies are SO FRICKING good. They’re from an incredible hobby baker who does bespoke brownies that you order via direct messaging her.

M&M’s, Mini Eggs and Galazy Salted Caramel brownies

She’s been made redundant from work so this is a way for her to get a bit of money while she looks for another job. But MY GOD, she should definitely consider doing this for a living. Her brownies, honest to god, are the best I’ve ever had. I’d even go as far to say the best dessert food I’ve ever eaten. They are dense, squidgy, moist, soft, moreish and packed full of chocolate pieces (of which you can choose). I meeeeean WHAT. Kyle and I can’t get enough.

If you’re in need of a chocolate pick-me-up, I can’t recommend her more. She also does blondies, rocky road and millionaire shortbread (or monster creations blending them). Her Instagram is @nickichalam. Check her out immediately!

Mini Eggs and Guylian Shells brownies

We’ve already got another order on the go with her for next week…

What foodie bits have you been enjoying recently?

Have you ever ordered any baked items off of Instagram?

**Full disclaimer: I was sent the Wild & Game meat for free in exchange for a review. All thoughts are my own honest ones.**

What I’m loving lately – January

Even during Lockdown 3.0 I’m trying to keep positive and find things to make me smile, though it can definitely be quite trying at times.

Being pregnant is all well and good and there’s definitely a constant low level of excitement and anticipation, but it’s quite a long time away before I actually give birth (July-ish) and I’m actually more often feeling impending doom and waves of fear. Fear of being a parent, fear of Big Life Change, fear of lack of sleep, to name a few. All the things basically.

But anyway I DO have things that I’ve been enjoying lately so thought I’d share.

First thing’s first, having Kyle come downstairs to inform me proudly he’s learnt how to swaddle a baby is pretty damn cute.

Especially considering the “baby” in question was none other than our baby Yoda cuddly toy.

It’s fair to say that both Kyle and I are entirely clueless with anything baby related so even these titbits of knowledge are gold dust for us. I feel very overwhelmed when I try and think about all the things I don’t know (let’s not even consider the “unknown unknowns”!). I know I need to be reading books, blogs and building a solid base of knowledge but at the moment I just feel it’s too much.

I also know that there are certain strong opinions on different subjects and if I read one book am I residing myself to that opinion? Or do I read everything?? Like best ways to feed your baby, getting them to sleep, routinesā€¦ argh so much! So I bit of light relief from Kyle was lovely.

And speaking of baby stuffā€¦ I was recently sent an amazing piece of art from the lovely Mary (her blog http://www.ahealthiermoo.com/).

She’s started a business creating gorgeous pieces of running art (check it out here https://www.instagram.com/runnerprints/) which she was kind enough to send me one. I love it! Definitely be going up in the nursery (currently Kyle’s study). Thank you, Mary! Perfect gift idea for a runner šŸ™‚

Something else I’ve recently been sent was a collection of bars from Human Food.

They’re basically an organic plant-based snack bar that contains no nasties, refined sugar, artificial ingredients and (which I love) their packaging is very environmentally friendly. They don’t use plastics and it’s all recyclable and biodegradable. Not only this but throughout their organisation, they pride themselves on fair treatment and fair wage of staff. Good stuff indeed!

So what were they like? I’m not a big fan of cereal or protein bars, but these were dense chewy, relatively sweet bars that I quite enjoyed.

They advise you can just eat them as a bar (very nice, I enjoyed it with a cuppa in the afternoon), or you can even break it up and add it to smoothies or even your porridge. Love this!

The ingredients are super healthy as well so you know you’re getting a powerhouse health snack (and as pregnant woman, this was so handy when I was suffering from nausea and really need to ramp up my nutrition in easy ways when I found so many other fruits and veg unpalatable). Each bar contains things like maca, ginseng, cacao and hemp seeds, along with other goodies like turmeric, spirulina, nuts and a whole host of vitamins and minerals. So a solid, quality snack that leaves a good taste in your mouth in more ways than one.

On a slight less healthy noteā€¦ we’ve also been enjoying doughnuts from the a local Southsea small business (find on Instagram @southseadonutco). For Ā£9 they delivered three homemade vegan doughnuts to us.

They were incredible. Unfortunately due to a confusion during ordering (probably my fault to be fair) we got the wrong order. But they were more than happy to deliver us our correct order the next day to make up for it – which is incredible!

So in the end we had four salted caramel doughnuts, a Biscoff one and a cinnamon sugar one. They were SO good. I especially loved the cinnamon and Biscoff ones. If you’re local, I heartily recommend these guys. We will definitely be ordering again. Soft, melt in the mouth and vegan!

We’ve also been seriously enjoying the influx of Easter chocolate that is now in the shops. Especially the Mini Eggs Bar that has just been released. This is such a moreish and delicious chocolate bar. We have literally been buying all our local shop’s stock. One of my favourite snacks in the evening is a few rows (*cough* few being subjective) of the chocolate with a decaf black coffee. It hits the spot I tell you.

We also managed to find the Easter Egg version of it so we have that ready to go for Easter (if we can avoid the temptation of scoffing it before that is). So it’s a thick egg with Mini Eggs in it with a bag of Mini Eggs (my favourite, so so dangerous though). This Easter we’re definitely not holding back – we need good stuff like this to keep us going with all things considered.

What has been so difficult (and I know pretty much everyone feels ecavtly the same right now) is not seeing our family that often. It’s so hard. Especially being pregnant, I want to be doing all the things with them like going shopping for baby items and just not having limits to seeing them. But it is what it is and we just have to live with that right now.

But I was lucky enough to see my mum for a walk down Southsea on Sunday – no hugging, no touching, but just walking and chatting. It was lovely but also so sad. My mum works in a hospital and she knows first-hand how bad it is right now and how we just have to keep going with being safe and sensible. But it doesn’t make it easier.

We got a takeaway coffee and she enjoyed one of the salted caramel doughnuts I brought for her, which she very much enjoyed.

Next weekend I hope to do the same, but with my dad. Tag teaming the family basically! It’s all we can do right now, and it’ll just have to be enough.

How are you coping in Lockdown 3.0?

Are there any new snacks you’ve been enjoying?

** Full Disclaimer: I was sent the Human Food for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones**

Things I’ve Been Loving Lately – October/November

So we’ve almost survived Lockdown 2.0, hurrah!

Christmas is just around the corner and I’m feeling positive for 2021. Here’s what I’ve been enjoying recently.

MINI Runner’s Gift Box

The lovely people from Adventusaur sent me one of their personalised running letterbox hampers which I think is just the sweetest and fun idea.

Basically it’s a little box full of handy running essentials. It’s such a great gift to send someone before a big race they’re about to do. It contains things like Vaseline (we’ve all been thereā€¦), a gel, Haribo (of course), a protein bar (handy for post-race recovery), amongst other items.

They’re a small up and coming business so I really hope people go for this sort of thing. During these COVID times it’s nice to be able to send someone something like this if you can’t actually see them. I guess it doesn’t even have to be for a race – but someone new to running as like a starter pack for them.

Free Train

I’m a big fan of taking my phone out with me on a run – whether for listening to music or a podcast or for the standard mid-run selfie/photo.

This is a very secure way to carry your phone and what’s handy is that you can fish it out very easily on the move, or if you want to stop.

I do love a running belt and the Koala Clip I have that attachesĀ  to my sports bra, but it’s tricky to get my phone out easily if I want to quickly change a song or whatever. It feels super secure, doesn’t bounce and didn’t rub. It’s a great idea!

Floreseca Dried Flowers

I saw this on Instagram and just fell in love with their dried flowers. I’ve become a big fan of flowers in general but they never last long (obviously). However dried flowers obviously last a lot longer. And I knew they were about to launch their Christmas collection. They’re a small business so sell out quickly so I set my alarm for when they were launching and managed to snag myself a one of their Winter arrangements.

Ahhh they’re so beautiful! Love our sparkly and Christmassy they are, but not overly in your face Christmasssy, you know? I could potentially leave them up after Christmas – so very much worth their money!

Care packages

My amazingly talented baker (and runner) friend Emma sent me the sweetest care package recently.

It contained one of her freshly baked sourdough loaves, brownies and a GIANT 1kg bag of peanut M&M’s.

This was such a lovely thoughtful gift! I will have to show great restraint not to eat too many M&M’s in one sitting though haha.

Hello Fresh

So I’m back on the Hello Fresh train again. I really do love it. Previously I’d find myself scouring the Internet for recipes and wondering what to cook every week night for Kyle and I. I wanted healthy, filling and tasty but I was finding we were just falling into boring routines and bad habits. And takeaways, while I do love them so, were becoming easier to just fall back to if we’d had a particularly tough day.

Now we have three guaranteed week night meals of healthy, exciting and very tasty meals. I thoroughly enjoy cooking and this is just perfect. I love listening to a podcast while I prepare dinner. And then Kyle and I will sit down to something new and see what we think.

Most of the time we love the meals, occassionally (though it’s rare) we’re a bit “meh” (there was a Mexican tostada meal that didn’t float our boat for example) but we always enjoy trying them regardless and always feel full and happy. There nice and balanced too. It’s made my week far less stressful now! I also like that the company is very eco-focused too.

If you’d like to get Ā£20 your first week you can use my link HERE (I get money off as well then too FYI).

Bare Grill’s Smokehouse and Mrs Potts

A few weeks ago I saw two of my close uni friends and we went out for an epic lunch at Bare Grills in Bristol. It was GIANT and exactly the type of meal I love. BBQ ribs, pulled pork, smoked sausage, chicken wings and brisket with a mountain of deliciously seasoned chips. It was epic!

How we then had room to go to Mrs Potts for dessert I have no idea. It was a good job that we had to queue for a 10-15 mins to get a seat though. It’s a very popular cafĆ© in Bristol and serves so much chocolate-related items, like hot chocolate made from melted chocolate, brownies, cookies, cakeā€¦ it’s incredible.

I went for a brownie hot chocolate and took away a slice of cake (with a pot of melted chocolate to drizzle over), a stuffed cookie and a white chocolate rocky road.

Kyle and I shared and the cake and cookie later that evening after I’d gotten home (and made space!). They were absolutely divine. The cookie was definitely the best out of the bunch but the cake with the chocolate over it was incredible too.

Caithness Paperweight

My grandad who lives in Stoke-On-Trent sent Kyle and I such a lovely present. He called it a “glass dump” which just doesn’t do justice to the beauty of the gift. I guess it’s a kind of paperweight, but it’s basically a unique hand-crafted glass ornament.

It’s such a gorgeous gift and will sit proudly in our house. I do worry about my grandad living alone in Stoke in this horrible time but I ring him regularly. He does so much volunteering which had to stop during the lockdowns so I worry he’s a bit out of sorts, but he seems in good spirits. He has such a positive and happy outlook to life.

So here’s to just as happy a December šŸ™‚

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the Free Train and Adventusaur for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**