Lumiere London

It is Lumiere London – exhibits of lights only for a limited time, 14th to 17th January 2016 from 6:30pm to 10:30pm, appearing in landmarks across London, which would lead to date night, walk-hunt for Martin and I  in the evening.  Forget the normal lights and adverts in Piccadilly Circus – the show stopping displays took the attention here, transforming the city.   It was a mesmerising evening except the bitter coldness and Bump Lentil constantly moving around my tum, making the walk unbearable.  Gloves, scarves, hats and a warm jacket is a priority if you are going to visit tonight or tomorrow.

My favourite spectacles were Les Lumineoles and 195 Piccadilly, both escorted with eventful, magical music.  With no transport on this main road came freedom, like it was New Year’s Eve, wondering the streets.

Personally, I feel overall that this should last longer for more to appreciate, and that we should adopt this type of art across London permanently as it adds a romanticised, illuminating momentum.  I just wish I had the energy to see them all.

For more information click here, that explains all the installations.

Which ones did you see?

Babymoon in Spain

I was lucky enough to get another holiday for 2015! Hate me even more but wait for this – we did not have to pay for accommodation! My Boss Kevin, crazily gave me a voucher that he had won!  So Martin and I packed our mini suitcase and headed to Spain in September.    I was slightly apprehensive about the holiday as I did not want another resemblance of Santorini familiarity.  I told myself just to let go!  It is pamper time, munch time, sun time, relax time,  explore time and quality time with Martin and Bump Lentil!  Babymoon here we come 😉

Hard to find, Hotel Spa La Romana, Spain was situated in the middle of nowhere. I think this was meant to be the selling point – peace and quiet, and spa treatments, in a secluded hidden area. The grounds surrounding the place had much more potential. The Spa building was gorgeous (and the spa treatments) but you could not enter at your own freedom, as the door was always locked.  The Wifi signal did not even stretch to our bedroom door. Every evening, the place had an eerie coldness about it – it felt deserted. It was beautiful but could be greatly improved, especially if there was more staff and customers.

This was not going to dampen my mood. We headed to the main part of Alicante by the beach and strolled taking the sunshine in. Another day, we had splashing fun in the waterpark, Aqualandia. It is not advisable to go on the waterslides when pregnant, and had to miss out (No!!!!!) but Martin enjoyed it for me 😉 Later we went to a cave that had a waterfall. I sobbed dramatically, like a baby – as I hate water going in my face without controlling it. Most of the time I soldier through – but this was too much power of a fake waterfall gushing in my face. Martin could not stop laughing at my nonsense scene. Overacting I was – but I can’t help how I feel! We then took it slow on the Amazon. I’m giggling right about now, as it was not a lazy river. Martin had to push/drag me whilst I was sitting in the ring, relaxing. That week we felt like we entered a new country, a new decade – the future, when we were in Valencia. Valencia is known for its City of Arts and Sciences, also known as the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, an architectural complex of white establishments. Here, we e
ntered the Pixar exhibit.  We got to see characters in the making, what they could have been, the early drawings, videos, and models. I wish they could bring this exhibit to London!

Overall I had a great babymoon and made the best of what could be.

Where did you go for your babymoon? How was it? Comment below.

Secret Cinema Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back

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Saturday 12th September 2015 – Secret Cinema Day!  I have been anticipating the pleasure of this arrival – dress up in costume and have my eyes glued to the big screen to watch The Empire Strikes Back.  I attended the Back to the Future in 2014, so knew what to expect – the scenes acted out in front of you exactly as the film, whilst you pretend you are a member of the public within the film, and the props being a like for like of the movie, with loads of food and drink options.  Not to forget the grand finale – movie at the end on a big screen, with even more scenes replicated.

For those that have never had the luxury of going to any of Secret Cinema events, you are sent an email of the location a few days before. With this, is your ID as well – Martin and I are now a Galactic Explorers. Do not make the mistake of not making the effort with your costume.  You will regret it, when you see everyone attend.

You are taken to the world of Star Wars starship port, the marketplace, cantinas and so much more. The attention to detail and the planning that went behind this (Well done Secret Cinema planners!) would be highly treasured by the leading fans.  I recall secret missions; the more you collected or bartered for stones, seeds, etc, the better. The only disappointed part was that I was separated from our friend group and didn’t get to watch Star Wars together.  It’s compulsory for phones to be hidden in sealed bags.  Interact with the actresses/actors, immerse yourself as your character and you will receive have a far richer experience.

Did you love it?

Would you go to 2016 Secret Cinema?

Check out Secret Cinema past events here.

First GP Appointment and Midwife Booking

Do you recall the impatience I had when trying to wait for the booked GP appointment? I thought I could ask my book of questions?  Honestly, this was so that they could get the basics such as the last menstrual cycle date and figure the estimated due date, all of which could have been questioned over the phone.  Once this information was collected, she then was preparing the necessary paperwork to refer me to a midwife. She shrugged of my symptoms, as most are considered normal.  All of this is meant to be thoroughly detailed during the midwife booking that is to be arranged.  It felt like a waste of my time whilst I could be earning at work.  I walked away deflated as I thought I could have a long conversation and feel at ease but GP appointments try to make sessions only 10 minutes.  I was denied to ask about other non-pregnancy problems too of which I would have to book again.  However, the advantage was that I would receive an exemption certificate so that prescriptions and dental treatment would be free up until 1 year after giving birth.  Yay!

The midwife booking was at Epsom hospital within the maternity unit. The receptionist produced a colourful A3 plastic folder.  My eyes twinkled, as I love receiving items that I do not have to reluctantly get my purse out.  The outside cover had printed snippets of information from MAMA Academy. Inside was the very important green NHS pregnancy notes booklet.  This is a booklet that you must carry with you at all times in case of an emergency/accident.  I have found that non pregnant females are not familiar about this, so as a tip, just inform your loved ones, and your work place.  A glossy magazine was hidden in there also with many coupons to help throughout pregnancy.

Strangely whilst waiting, all the patients seemed further into their pregnancy by their bump size. By now, I was around 11 week’s gestation.  It slightly felt like I was in an exclusive club – with everyone having their green notes.  Yet most of them had their partners or at least a friend with them.  Waiting querulously to be seen too, and for Martin arrival, I filled out  the green notes.  When I was seen, the midwife, chirpy Heather, made me feel at ease.  It is a lot to take in for a first time pregnancy.  I would suggest to anyone to come prepared, know the family’s history and bring your questions.  There was a lot of information to absorb and unfortunately my head could not decipher everything in a short space of time.  Martin attended half way too, rather than not being punctual – grrr!  We went through the following:

  • Family illnesses from both families (This helps with selecting the correct maternity path)
  • What would happen throughout the course of pregnancy with regards to appointments
  • Blood tests/investigations (What they are for)
  • If I would like the baby to be tested for downs syndrome (Yes)
  • Pregnancy symptoms and solutions (I’ll put a post about the symptoms I have and am experiencing – hell!)
  • Any risks identified
  • Choices of childbird (Interested in the birth centre)
  • Do’s and don’t’s and what others think (Answered most of my questions)
  • Feeding baby (Thankfully it was just options and not how to do it as that’ll be later in parent craft courses)
  • Parentcraft course
  • Pelvic floor exercise (Do them or you will leak like crazy)

Afterwards I had to experience near to the same occurrence of blood tests like I did in Santorini – trouble finding my vein in both arms! Apparently I was dehydrated but rather than give me water, they just kept penetrating the needle everywhere.  I could not hack the movement of the needle being moved side to side, vigorously, once it had surpassed my skin. The next time I will end up biting the soul destroying nurse.  I needed to take a break and went into the waiting room with tears to Martin.  To the corner of my eye I saw a girlfriend reassure her boyfriend caressing his thigh that the injections would be fine.  He did drop in that he had a friend that was having trouble like me, where the injection had to be done in the feet! Crikey! After the nightmare of injections was complete a few weeks later I got the results and all was ok.  I am deemed low risk.  Phew!

I came across this blog and think it describes the 1st Midwife Booking Appointment well

A sample of Pregnancy Notes Booklet can be found here

How did your GP and Booking go?

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Baby On Board

It’s a Londoner thing – rant about our public transport – but merely put, the passengers, not the vehicles or employees is what I want to comment on.  I thought it be easier, if we could carry A3 signs above our heads, framed with fairy lights, stating “I am either elderly, pregnant, have child/children, have a disability.  Move out the way bitch, and let me sit down!!”  Maybe that could grasp the other traveller’s attention – since no one really likes talking to one another on the train?  In my case, since I got the Baby on Board Badge, I wish it had a button I could press, where it would expand to the size of my face.  Surely this can get me noticed, because this bump  is not doing the trick (nor the badge)? O.K, I’m not gigantic but it is clearly noticeable!

I was not far into my pregnancy at all and within the first trimester, with no badge.  Fighting with my alter ego, playing and rewinding scenarios – should I wear the badge today or not; even though I was a skinny twig, not even with a cute belly flab hanging over? I made the decision not to, until I started showing bit of a bump cleavage.  I have regretted this a few times.  I was heading to a client meeting, and at this point with only about 2 or 3 stops left remaining; I had softly asked a guy if I could take his seat for these amount of stops.  Explaining that I was pregnant, and feeling nauseated, I was refused a seat.  My fist clenched so hard but before I can retaliate and turn it into a slap across his face –he smugly said “But you don’t have a Baby on Badge?” Does it need to come to that – that I really need a sign – the badge or the honestly the useless A3 idea? Respectfully, the stranger beside him presented his seat, and had manners which I expressed my thanks.

The other time in absence of the badge, was when the train suddenly halted.  People ungracefully trying to stand well-postured, and avoid the invisible box of personal space of others in doing so.  I unfortunately was pushed, but not purposefully, again already suffocating with the feeling of nausea.

The final time I was feeling very dizzy and because of the half hour standing up and then stepping of the train, I maneuvered uncontrollably aiming towards a pillar on the platform, closely knocking myself out.

No-one knows how others are feeling, and when someone actually has the decency to shed some sort of vulnerability towards unknown people, I wish naturally that we could all give a great response that could easily be gestured.  Yet most of the time with, or without the badge, everyone is greeted with heads down, earphones in, eyes on mobile phones or tablets, and not being aware of their surroundings.  Honestly, I can say I was one of them but always donated my seat  to those that needed it.

Whilst I let lose my anger on this topic, I have to say there have been rare occasions with the badge that it has been a god-send.  A lovely woman had noticed I did not look right – my face changed to a pale colour from olive skin, where I had vacated anything that was in my stomach, all over the bus.  She stayed with me till the end of the journey and even paid for some water by Costa at Waterloo Train Station where the bus journey had ended. Everyone else looked at me with disgust.

The kind motion of the guy that looked tired and had a hard day, 4 seats away from where I was standing, stood up and played dodge them with other bodies standing still to offer me a seat.  Thank you.  To the lady that asked someone sitting down next to me to get up and offer a seat to me.  Thank you.

I am becoming a pro at getting a seat now.  Not waiting for others to proposition their seat – you got to go head strong, aim for the target seat determined and ask politely.  Do not give a toss if your bump is hiding either.  People will mainly gift you dirty looks and sighs (In my case 99% – the 1% will refuse) – but it’s for you and your bumps safety.
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Rant over >_<  You know you want to rant too 😉

Check out some more transport rants:

An informative site Baby on Board Blog

London Transport in the weather

Rant Rave Relax

Announcing pregnancy to family and Santorini holiday

Just a few days after the Leeds Festival, I was travelling to Santorini, Greece, on the 3rd September 2015.  This was a holiday I was craving for months.  To share amongst this longing of being abroad with white-washed clifftop villages and romantic sunset views, were my cousin Louella, Mama Alicia, and Auntie Estrella.  We have never had a holiday of just us 4 and this was booked ages ago! By the way, the GP appointment is scheduled for when I return.  Finally!

I was dithering, walking around the flat like Penguins from Madagascar (If you know how they walk, I was not even showing any bump at all) whether I should tell Mama Alicia and Papa Marcelino.  Especially due to the holiday where I would not be my usual active, drinking, and exploring self.  Frantically deliberating, I annoyingly bugged Martin on his thoughts, and called Louella for reassurance and some advice.  (Louella was extremely pleased she was going to be an Auntie). What a damn nuisance I must have been – similar to hearing Melanie Pearson from Neighbours constantly cackle.  That alone would drive me mental.

Plucking up the courage, Martin and I head to my parents to tell them the good news.   Whilst travelling there I was building a barrier around me, the highest mountain it could be.  This was in case my parents had some audiokinesis superhuman power. I expected X-Men’ Storms lightning bolts to hit me when they hear what we have to say. (I am not sorry for the super hero mentions across this blog.) Yet we had utter, uncomfortable silence.  I just wanted to knock knock on an invisible door in front of them and say “Anyone there?”  I handed a gift, a coloured Pots & Co dessert ramekin, with little socks and a fold out message with the words written, “Lola and Lolo, you are going to have a grandchild.  Love Laila and Martin”.  Lola and Lolo are Filipino translations for grandfather and grandmother.  Eventually after what felt like 5 minutes (but I am sure it was shorter), Mama Alicia either could not comprehend the idea or read my writing.  In aid, Papa Marcelino explained that I was pregnant. A few tears trickled down my cheek as I had an imprint that I was talking to my traditional, back in the day parents and fearing the worst.   I thought a big row would explode but was greeted with the sound of my screeching Mama Alicia congratulating us.  This was then followed by a welcoming hug that broke my mountain moved swiftly towards me.  Though Mama Alicia was thrilled, Papa Marcelino was remaining soundless. How was Martin feeling at this point?  Papa Marcelino turned the awkwardness around to sheer amusement.  He explained, a while ago he was pondering when he would eventually have a grandchild! I have to say, that there was one meaningful yet shyly joking comment from Mama Alicia of when we were getting married.  Oh how many times we would have this question replayed through others! So now they know and all would be ok on holiday.  We also told Auntie Estrella, Uncle Roger, Anthony, Jimvee, Monica and Ian.  All who gave their kindest blessings and loudest happy screams to show how much they loved the idea of us becoming parents.

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Where we thought we had time on our hands – we nearly missed our flight! Try running or in my case speedily fast brisk of walking to the terminal.  Damn, it was long! Mama Alicia insisted on carrying my luggage (I do get infuriated when people think I am helpless because I am pregnant but I do understand I need to let go and let anyone be my servant – haha.) At least we were not the last ones – as a group behind me were shouting “Wait!!” Our first night we went to grasp the scenic views and explore the shops in the hills, looking out to the sea.  Just enchanting! We ate at a lovely restaurant – tasting all the Greek food that we could munch on. Oh, how I desired a touch of local wine whilst the others drank! Just a sip.  Come on.  Give me a taste! Disappointed, I had Coke but at least it was from a glass bottle.  I have no inclination why but Coke in a glass bottle always tastes fizzier and refreshing – all that sugar, so bad but oh so good! I was looking forward to the itinerary we arranged for the next couple of days; Oia to take panoramic sunset views that are picturesque, volcano cruise including hot springs and Santorini’s history.  I could not wait for this country to intensify my love of travel.

Waking up the next morning, I head to the toilet, awakening Louella with the most aching, broken hearted and helpless cries of screams. I had the freshest red blood covered all over my knickers and dripping down the toilet.  There was dried reminiscence down my leg left through the night. For those that do not know – this can be a miscarriage or leads up to a miscarriage.  All the crying sucked all of my energy within me, falling to floor, hysterical. This was the breaking point that I knew I was certain I wanted Bump Lentil, even with all my reservations.  Why does it take something like this for me to be ascertained!?   Louella, emotionally too, supported me towards the bed and called Mama Alicia and Auntie Estrella.

The next thing I knew I was at a hospital, where the hospital was inserting items to check the blood down there. With this, she regretfully explained that I have miscarried but would double check with a scan. I wanted to break down, and was so thankful Mama Alicia was accompanying me. I was then taking to another room for blood samples.  Fail. Needles in both arms did not draw anything through.  The nurses had to use the dorsal hand veins instead of the arm and leave some sort of tube/container on there. Half the day had gone by and I felt like a zombie with plasters on both my arms and hands to where the needles left its mark.  Eventually, after a lot of staring at other patients walk by, I had an ultrasound in a dim lit room, cold gel over my tummy, and the probe machine scanning over my stomach.  The doctor could see the sac (I had no clue what I was meant to see.  A circle? Was that it? I could not tell what I was meant to be looking at!) but hear no heartbeat of Baby Lentil. I felt like I was being crushed between 2 solid steel plates, and suffocating.  We had to come back to try again in a few hours.  Maybe there is hope?  Arriving later that same day, the news did not elevate.

I was then taken to a private gynaecologist, somewhere else on the island who would perform a transvaginal ultrasound.  Again, items prodded inside of me, along with a camera. Whilst looking on the monitor, horses galloping could be heard!  There was Baby Lentil – healthy and a good heartbeat rate, estimated at 6 weeks – 7 weeks in and due around 26th April 2016, the same day as Papa Marcelino birthday! This was the best feeling in the world – and I was so overwhelmed.

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Least to say, I missed out on the tours that day and the next, but that did not matter! Through all of this hell of pain, my family and Martin were so compassionate, when I felt so lost.  I love you all  and Bump Lentil– and nothing can express how much!

Leeds Festival 2015 during pregnancy

In less than a week from finding out that my uterus is starting to perform all the necessary stages to carry an embryo, I was heading to the Leeds festival. I still did not know how many weeks I was in, as my GP was on holiday.   To my dismay, not only was I panicking about things I should not do – the realisation I could not drink alcohol put such a frown upon my face! I got more frustrated about it when Martin and I went to do the big bulk shop of food and drink!  Whilst Martin was piling the shopping trolley with everything that can diminish your mind type of fluids, I was only adding juice.  Do not get me wrong, I love fruity juice – just love alcohol on certain outings! We read up that there is a high miscarriage rate in the first trimester.  Therefore we did not want to inform many people and would let the pregnancy run its course. However we agreed we would inform Phil, Martins brother and Laura, bride to be, as we were going to enjoy the Leeds festival together. As Laura put it, sober @ Leeds! Both were totally chuffed.  My mind was overloading as we knew we would be due around their wedding in May 2016. If I have to give birth in Cumbria, I will!  Or magically hold my breath in so Baby Lentil does not pop out until afterwards! Hurry up GP appointment!  Grrrrrr!

Can I handle this? I know, I am 32 and only experiencing this enormous event only now. WTF? Do pregnant woman even attend these events?  I know – stupid questions.  But I am starting to question everything! What is good, bad, acceptable, not acceptable, safe, and harmful? Does my GP not understand I am new to this! My blood was boiling as I would erupt with an encyclopaedia of questions, that is just being archived for now. I do not want to always refer to the internet – I just want to communicate with someone person to person and talk about pregnancy so that my worries could dissipate.

For my first time festival, I felt I did it right. Pink Moon Camp was a necessity – comfortable and hygienic whilst being pregnant.  I shred skin flakes like crazy and can be dry due to my eczema – so having showers nearby was heavenly.  Knowing that outside the camp, others could possibly be sleeping in mud, faeces, urine and rubbish cruelly put a smile on my face. I did despise the toilets by the stages, though.  I never knew that I could pick up any scent so easily.  A peg on my nose would not even mask those smells in to a far off land. Yet at most performances, I had to keep befriending the toilets.  I have not camped in over 5 years and remember how it was – still fun. Our own little BBQ’s, hot drinks at the side of the readymade tent.  I have to regretfully admit, I did not know many of the artists but they were amazing hearing them live.  Metallica was just crazy! Festivals and early stages of pregnancy is challenging but I would go again!

Finding out I am pregnant

Picture a long stretch of road from a tube station to my parents’ house – around a 15 minute walk and then wanting to urinate on the way! If I could hold my vagina securely in public whilst walking and not leaking through my garments I would be ecstatic. Although, it was the peak busy time – everyone heading home after work, so there was too much people to have my hands over my vagina!  Not that it would help reduce the tension.  There were no buses that I could easily hop on to and speed the journey either.  The release was so relieving once I headed to the 2nd toilet in my parents room which involved 2 flights of stairs.

For me, I thought I just wanted to pee. As a few days past, the need to have the toilet as my best friend increased dramatically.  Only at this point do I realise something is wrong and after a bit of googling, I tried to diagnose my symptoms.  Diabetes, infection or pregnant  – mmmmm which one could it be?  It actually could be any of them as diabetes is prone to oriental/Asian persons which I have only recently find out a glucose test is required. An infection – well any female can get a infection.  There are more and more commercials on TV about Thrush! Pregnant – of course as we are trying to have a family, so I opt for this as to why I am urinating like a water fountain.

On the 22nd August 2015, I advise Martin that I would take the pregnancy test! Did you know there is so many options and at extortionate prices! We planned to eat a juicy medium rare steak before I take the test, as I know it is advisable not to eat uncooked foods. (Not forgetting the sushi at Nobu Restaurant during the week with the ladies – freaking delicious and mouth-watering!  Picture below).  I am elated that we did this.  My anxieties are at a high, with shivers. If I am pregnant, that was a Barry Allen –Flash – too fast!  We were thinking it would take months or years due to our friends and family experiences.  I am awaiting the results – then a positive pregnancy test confirmed.  The line in the window on the stick appears as a double line! Oh my God!!!! In disbelief and shock I tell Martin. His response to this news was to double check the box to see I did it correctly! Can you believe that? There is only one way to let your pee gush over a stick! Hahahaha! He reads the box instructions and correlates it against the cleaned stick and then kisses me, accompanied with the tightest hugs.  As Martin likes to say, he has strong sperm! I like to think I have the warming conditions in me to grow a baby. WOW! We are having a baby – we are going to be a family!!!

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Before the pregnancy

I am a 32 year old mama to be who has nerves as strong as a tornado about mama-hood.  Yet with this feeling, the idea also enlightens me, making me feel a different type of happiness at the same time – if that is at all possible?!  Prior to finding out I was carrying my bump Lentil, I was a driven career woman, continuing to work if I was sick, and constantly on the work mobile even if I was on annual leave.  When work was not on my mind, I would grasp onto a holiday (where possible 3 times a year) either with my family, friends or boyfriend.

The inkling of having my own child would not even cross my mind a few years ago.  If anything, that was when I was really scared.  Forget horror movies – I can watch any scary movie.  Not knowing how to hold babies, speaking baby nonsense language (Just speak normally adults please!), and further interacting with them – frightens the hell out of me.  I left a lighter in a pen pot – what was wrong with me?!  I said no to a child so that she could eat from her own colourful polypropylene plate rather than my plate.  She also demanded the blue chocolate penguin.  What did I do? I said they all taste the same irrespective of the colour.  Boy, did I receive an enactment of Boo, Monsters Inc crying!  I do not even know how to change nappies!

I was doing the online dating game on and off for about 2 years.  I started a blog with a few posts but never got a chance to post all the cringe-worthy stories.  Yet, it was through this gruesome repetitive dating experience that I met my boyfriend, Martin.  This would have been the last online date that I would experience if it did not work out well! I can say – that he was definitely the final online date.  **Awwww**.

Sitting down watching something on the TV, I turn around to face Martin and said “Could you just give me a baby instead of marriage first?” and then laughed it off. The question got rejected or ignored.   In my mind, it was that we were sharing more and more moments with babies, kids whom I was starting to get a teeny tiny bit comfortable with (Just a little).  Along with that usual worry of most females – the biological clock ticking.  We went on a beautiful holiday a month later to Montenegro – which I would revisit!  It was absolutely breath-taking, clear lakes, fast rivers and gorgeous mountains – the hotter climate Eastern Europe version of Cumbria (Where Martin was brought up and raised).  After we settled back in London, it was at this point Martin asks me the big question – the question to have our own kids!