30 May 2013

27 Weeks

The last few weeks have flown by. I'm now 27 weeks pregnant, and the idea that I'm now entering the third trimester has come as a bit of a shock!

The second trimester passed pretty easily with only a few one off niggles, but the last week I've had some awful leg cramps. It's like I've been wearing high heels for a couple of days and I've suddenly switched back to flats. If I remember to do daily stretches on the steps it's not too bad, but I often forget - until my leg cramps again in the middle of the night!

My bump still isn't that noticeable, though it does depend how the baby's laying. Just before taking the photo the wriggly thing seemed to be trying to push it's way out my tummy adding a fair few inches to my waistline.

We've also been excited to welcome three new baby boys into the family. Our nephew was the first to arrive on the 15th of May, Mr Goldfish's cousin delivered a few days later, and my cousin's little boy arrived on the 26th!

We also have an exciting bit of news to share:

29 May 2013

Manchester Sea Life Centre & HomeSense

After being cooped up in the house the last few weeks, I was thrilled to be invited on a fab day out with Blogs Up North. After successfully navigating a train and a bus (and indulging in a plate of Starbucks luxury fruit bread) I joined Sim, Lisa, Pippa & Laura at HomeSense. 
Tomorrow they are opening a brand new store in the Manchester Arndale Centre, so they invited us along to  check it out. Do you ever watch those home renovation programs and wonder where they find their unusual statement pieces? HomeSense is full of unique decorative items that will add a personal touch to any room.
Aaron from HomeSense kindly gave us a £20 voucher and set us loose in the shop! As usual I couldn't help but be drawn to the kitchenware department.
I was tempted by a couple of Emma Bridgewater mugs I spotted, but in the end I decided to pick up a Kuhn Rikon Colori knife and a bamboo chopping board. Kuhn Rikon knives are brilliant for self-catered holidays - as  it never fails, where ever we go the knives are always blunt. But Kuhn Rikon Colori knives come with thier own protective sheath, so you can safely pack it in your luggage.
If you'd like to try it yourself, HomeSense is offering a free £10 gift voucher to the first 200 visitors at their Manchester Arndale grand-opening  tomorrow! (30th May, 2013) I hear even Antony Cotton from Coronation Street will be in attendance.

After being treated to lunch at Gourmet Burger Kitchen (courtesy of HomeSense - Thank-you!) We returned to Barton Square to explore the new Manchester Sea Life Centre. Opening on the 6th of June, the Sea Life Centre is a great day out for little ones.
There's plenty to see, but it's still a short enough tour for little legs and short attention spans.
The experience starts with a short educational show at 'Turtle Beach'. Through clever lighting and video they tell the story of the sea turtles as they lay their eggs, hatch and dash to the sea.
Most of the Aquarium was too dark for proper photos, but that means you get a brilliant view of the fish.
After speaking to some of the staff, it seems the Manchester Sea Life Centre specialises in the smaller and brighter exotic fish - rather than the big sharks and fish. We spotted clown fish, puffer fish, sting rays & sea horses, just to name a few.
One of my favourite tanks is pictured below. It's a lovely big window where you can watch the sharks, turtles and brightly coloured fish swimming past the dramatic scenery.
Perfect for little kids, there are plenty of hidey holes, tiny tunnels and low level viewing portals. I only wish my baby belly would have let me down far enough for a good look at the sea horses!
So if you fancy meeting critters like this fellow up close, pop over to the Manchester Sea Life Centre at Barton Square, Trafford Centre. 

22 May 2013

Braving the WI

Last night was the first annual WISH Local Show - with the added excitement of a last minute special guest!

We'd decided we wanted to have an event that didn't have all the stress and pressure of the Women's Institute County Show. We had just five basic categories: a tray bake, a plate of cookies, a child's hat, a poem of four lines, and a key chain/bag charm.

I usually bake cookies for Christmas, so I decided to enter a couple plates of family favourites: my chocolate chip cookies which are popular with my nieces and nephews & a plate of pinwheel cookies which impressed the aunties.

I was a bit disappointed with the pinwheels. The spiral wasn't as tight as normal, so they weren't quite as impressive, but the chocolate chip cookies were all right.

Once everyone checked in their entries we just had to wait for the arrival of our celebrity judge!
Comedian Ross Noble is travelling across the UK for his new television program Freewheeling. Basically he's asking  Twitter to suggest unusual people & places to visit. One of our members, Deb Connor started a dedicated campaign to bring him to our local show.
Ross looked a bit nervous when he arrived with his team and cameras, but he soon put on a brave face and jumped in (I think the promise of biscuits may have helped!)

To finish the evening we pulled out the scarf we made for St Helen's Dream last year, and someone came up with the clever idea of wrapping is around Ross Noble. Of course the Dream Scarf is just a little big, so it became more of a full body wrap.
After a bit of hopping about (and an unexpected surprise for Ross) eventually Mr Noble managed to escaped from his cocoon. Morven and her other half have put together a quick video of the highlights.

So after plenty of hijinks and giggles, Ross and his team waved good bye and set off to their next destination, taking our giant scarf with them. Hopefully we'll soon see British landmarks across the country sporting our patch work scarf!

1 May 2013

Tiny Bits of Progress

I love productive weekends! The last few weeks I've been trying to manage about six projects at once, which has been slowly driving me up the wall. I definitely prefer to finish projects before starting new ones!

First project I've been working on is our second-hand glider. I'm hoping to write a proper tutorial when I'm finished, but in the mean time a few quick snaps will give you an idea how things are going. We're about half way though now. We started with the cushion on the foot stool and I've just finished the seat cushion. Now we just need to finish constructing the back cushion and figure out how I'm going to construct the cover!
The second project has been cleaning up our most recent ebay bargain. I managed to snap up a Stokke Tripp Trapp for just £36! It's mostly a bit grubby with a few pen marks, though there is a bit of a crack at the top of one leg and the original back piece is missing. So I've been pricing up replacement back pieces, scrubbing the legs clean, and coming up with a plan to fix the crack - though I might wait till my Dad comes to visit before I break out the glue!

Our third project is the vintage dresser for the nursery. We're hoping to get a good start on this over the bank holiday weekend, so we've been out buying supplies so Mr.G can strip the varnish off.

We also took the opportunity this weekend to clear out our closets. We are turning our small box room into a nursery, so we need to find new homes for some of our hobby supplies. We don't have much in the way of clothes, so there was plenty of space which could be used better. So after a bit of reorganisation and a quick  clear out, we had a bag for the charity shop, one for the textile recycling, and a nice empty dresser.
All of which is very well timed, as I've been given an amazing four carrier bags of baby clothes! Though there aren't many young children in our Quaker meeting, many of our members do have grandchildren. So I was thrilled when we my co-clerk offered us her grandchild's hand-me-downs. I spent a good couple of hours on Sunday sorting the clothes into types and sizes. I'm hugely relieved as this is a huge weight off my shoulders. I was really struggling to work out what baby clothes I needed. In one fell swoop I seem to have almost everything I'd need for the first few months.

But the weekend wasn't all work. Though I had to clerk our local Quaker business meeting on Sunday morning, that evening we drove to Yorkshire to visit Vess. She and her husband were up visiting her family, and this was the only opportunity we'd have to compare bumps.

Vess and I have know each other all our lives. Our father's went to night school together when they were young, and both our families immigrated to Canada where we were born. In many ways Vess's family are closer to me than my my actual cousins. She's also pregnant, and her little boy is due in late May. Vess is just three months older than me, and her son will be three months older than my babe - so there's an odd sense of generational deja vu!
It was lovely to catch up and rounded off the weekend perfectly. I've still not really recovered from the busy weekend, but I'm rather pleased with how much we got done!