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What I Wore: royal blue

32 weeks
32 weeks
32 weeka
32 weeks
32 weeks

This is yet another one of the gumtree dresses, probably the fanciest one. It’s French Connection and according to the seller had only been worn a couple of times. I was saving it for a special occasion which turned out to be Dave’s birthday on Saturday. It’s kind of shorter than I remembered from first trying it on or possibly it’s just that my bum/legs are so much bigger that it bothers me more. (It doesn’t bother me *that* much). The bag I’d completely forgotten I had, it’s by skunkfunk and I won it in an ethical fashion bloggers competition. Miss those, this would be a good entry! Well, I am mainly wearing two things (dress and coat) and one is second hand and one is handmade.

With the going out, I didn’t go to sleep til 1am, and Dave not til 2am. (we are usually in bed by 10-10.30). We were destroyed the next day. Thankfully Dave’s mum was here and kept Milo occupied so we could have plentiful naps. The horrible weather didn’t help. Dave (who’d obviously been drinking, unlike me) basically moved from bed to sofa to bed and sofa again – I at least managed to go to the supermarket and do some sewing and make another batch of cereal bars. I do hope I’ll get back to being able to stay up to a normal/socially acceptable time and being able to function afterwards at some point. Not for years yet I guess, my getting up time these days averages 6am.

Anyway, enough of that!

Outfit stats:
* dress – off gumtree * coat – Dave made it * bag – skunkfunk, won it * shoes – saltwater sandals * bangles – charity shop *


Project 52: 18/52


Making noises with an empty kitchen roll tube. Dave and his mum managed to get a really loud noise out of it by blowing into it like a brass instrument, which they’ve both played. I could barely manage that all. Milo just went da-da-daa into it, he’s got the right idea!

A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2015


Cuckoos bakery

(Warning: I’m not really sure where I’m going with this post as I’m starting to write, so apologies if this ends up an incoherent stream of consciousness)

I’ve realised that my life is currently organised around the eating of cake. This is basically what we do at weekends when Milo is getting a bit restless, we walk to a cafe for coffee and cake. Often just to earthy foods, which is round the corner from our flat, but last weekend we went to bruntsfield to the new cuckoos bakery (where the photo was taken). This weekend we might try twelve triangles. Since I can’t drink and staying up late has become all but impossible sugar is my current vice of choice. I haven’t been holding back at all. Not just the weekend cake runs, but all the biscuits at work, and as a post-work snack and after dinner too.

The reason I realised this is because I had a gestational diabetes care after the midwife found elevated sugar levels in my urine sample (which turned out to just be cos I’d had breakfast first). It took almost a week for me to confirm that all was fine after all.

The midwife completely shut down any discussion of what gestational diabetes would mean, which I do understand because the likelihood of me actually having it was low, but of course the first thing I did after leaving the birth centre was Google all about it. It increases the risk of some pretty scary effects for the baby (though I always find wording around that to be frustratingly imprecise – does it increase it from one in a million to three in a million, or from one in a thousand, or a hundred or what? I am an analyst and I need to know!). And it means you have to give birth in a hospital, which would have meant I couldn’t have gone to the lovely birth centre where Milo was born. And you have to be really strict about diet, it means avoiding all sugar, not just avoiding ‘sugar’ like all those orthorexics*. No fruit juice, and a maximum of three fruit a day, and only one at a time, which would have been a nightmare for me, I have about six or seven a day and three for breakfast.

So anyway, I spent the first day feeling incredibly guilty and panicky, thinking of having done this to myself and the poor baby. On the second day I calmed down though and realised that the chance of this actually happening were really very low, what with me not having either of the biggest risk factors (being obese pre pregnancy and not doing any exercise). Nowhere in all the stuff I read did it say that you could get it from a couple of months of excessive sugar consumption. But I still avoided sweet things (though not fresh fruit, because I love it and I couldn’t give up all snacks) until I had the test results just in case. So a whole weekend went by with no cake consumed!

I’m now back on the weekend cake, but am so far successful at resisting all the snacks at work.

* by the way, I am so glad there’s a word for this now, it’s so common. I used to just call it disordered eating but this is much more precise


Homemade healthy cereal bars

homemade cereal bars
homemade cereal bars
homemade cereal bars
homemade cereal bars

When I was pregnant with Milo, I relied heavily on cereal bars during those first few weeks. And since I’m really starting to think about the new baby and the maternity leave now, I thought I’d be prepared this time and make my own. This is the result!

I loosely based these on this recipe, which I chose over others because they’re held together by dates and peanut butter, both of which I love and are also vaguely healthy. Others used bananas, but I’ve made banana oat cookies before and while they were ok, they tasted just a bit too virtuous, or some kind of sugar butter combo, which takes them more into flapjack ‘occasional treat’ territory. I also chose this one because there’s no baking involved.

I had to adapt the recipe because of course it’s American and all the cup stuff is just so confusing. I know I keep banging on about this but SURELY no one actually spoons peanut butter into a cup and smooshes it down only to scrape it out again. So tedious and wasteful. Also, what a cup of oats or dates is surely depends on the types of oats and the size of the dates!

Anyway, this is the recipe I came up with. The proportions worked really well, and I will be making it the same way next time – and there will be plenty of next times. You could of course switch the dried berries and cherries for any other fruit, and the pecans and cashews for any other nuts, I just used these because that’s what I had at home.

Makes 16 bars of about the size of ones you can buy in shops.

200g pitted dates (I used halawi, but I don’t think it matters)
200g rolled/old fashioned oats
50g berry and cherry mix
100g chopped pecans
100g chopped cashew nuts
6 tbsp nut butter (I used a mix of peanut and cashew)
6 tbsp honey

1. Chop up dates and process them in a food processor until it’s a sticky paste
2. Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix
3. Add the dates and mix. Once the dates are coated in oats and oat dust it’s easier to break up the ball of date paste. Try and break it up quite a lot. If you leave larger pieces they will stay that way in the final bars, which might be what you want, but I think it’s better for it to be spread about more
4. Warm the nut butter and honey in a saucepan or the microwave
5. Pour into the oat mix and mix well
6. Line a 17cm x 25cm pasta bake dish (or any appropriately sized flat dish/cake tin) with baking paper or cling film and add the oat mix. Press down well to remove any air and flatten the top
7. Put in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
8. Cut into bars.

Keeps best in the fridge (stops it falling apart) and apparently the freezer if you want to keep them for longer.

Let me know if you make them!


What I wore: Dots

31 weeks
31 weeks
31 weeks
31 weeks
31 weeks

Aaaand we’re back to the jersey maternity dresses! what can I say, they’re the best! This one was part of that gumtree bundle I got, and is probably the one I’ve worn the most out of all of them, just usually to work so no pictures. Also, bare legs, sandals and a lighter jacke, that tweed one was too hot for this uncharacteristic outbreak of summer. It’s not maternity so it sits a bit funny, but at least I can get it closed. The brooch was a present, bought as a replacement for a similar yellow one, which I lost on its first wear.


Project 52: 17/52


On his second lunch of spicy scrambled eggs. He’s been eating loads in the last couple of weeks.

A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2015


What I wore: black and green and red

30 weeks
30 weeks
30 weeks
30 weeks
30 weeks

I wasn’t going to get any more maternity clothes, but I’ve just started doing maternity yoga in the pregnancy and childbirth centre, and they’ve got second hand clothes dotted about everywhere, and I really liked this top.

Also, the rucksack is another bit of new shopping. The one I’ve had for years has started going a bit funny and the zip opening itself while I’m cycling (this has never happened while walking), which meant it was only a matter of time before something would have fallen out. I’m actually not cycling any more, but I started researching rucksacks before then and had decided I was going to get one, and then I couldn’t resist. It was the right decision cos I love it and have worn it every day. It’s by Fjallraven. Dave has one of theirs, which is kind of prettier, and I’ve used occasionally, but I found it to small for all the crap I cart to and from work, plus it has two buckles and which I don’t like/am too lazy to both do up. This one’s the perfect size, it’s not too big withe just a few things in, but there’s lots of space for it to expand. It has only one buckle and the two pockets are great. I probably should have done them up properly for the picture, but you know.

30 weeks pregnant.

Outfit stats:
* top – charity shop * skirt – jojo maman bebe * cardies h&m * shoes – camper * coat


Lisbon roundup

Lisbon mosaic

You’ve seen all the photos from the individual days when I took the camera already, but I thought it might be useful to have a bit of a Lisbon roundup post with all the places we visited, as a sort of reference. If you have any questions about anything we did, shout in the comments!

Visitor attractions we visited:

  • Castelo Sao Jorge – Castle on top of the Alfama district (of which photos here), a nice place to walk around in and with amazing reviews of the city
  • MUDE Design and Fashion Museum – excellent collection of 20th century furniture and fashion, plus contemporary product and costume design. My favourite museum from that trip. Free!
  • Ocenario – the world’s second biggest aquarium and by far the best of these I’ve ever been to.
  • Museu Colecao Berardo – another fantastic free museum, and not just fantastic for being free. Berardo is a private contemporary art collector, and built this museum to house a rotating display of his thousands and thousands of pieces. All the 20th century greats are present and correct (list of names here – really v impressive). We kind of raced through it while Milo was asleep (there was quite a lot of installations, and I’m not sure how he would have done with the no touching rule) and we were starving and overheated, so I don’t think we fully appreciated how great it is
  • Da ladra flea market – a mix of proper flea market stands selling random stuff for euros, some more traditional market stall type places, and a few pricier and more upmarket antique and art shops in the permanent buildings.
  • Mainly we just did a lot of walking about in Cascais, the Barrio Alto and in Belem

Lisbon mosaic 2

In terms of food, we probably didn’t discover as we might have, partly because we were only eating during the day and partly because the first couple of days we found ourselves in museums at lunchtime and just ate in the museum cafeterias. But we did find some goodies:

  • Pasteleria Versailles – a fancy oldfashioned cafe (lots of mirrors, gold leaf and chandeliers) with waiters in black and white uniforms. We had these chocolate tarts that were just about the best chocolate thing I’ve ever had (second picture in the third row in the top mosaic). Not too sweet, and with a spongey base instead of hard pastry.
  • Antiga Confeitaria de Belem – The place where they (supposedly) invented the pasteis de belem/pastel de nata/custard tarts. They make them in industrial quantities, and when you sit down in the cafe yours will arrive hot
  • The Decadente – we had Sunday brunch in the lovely internal courtyard (last picture in the second row in the bottom mosaic).
  • Time Out Mercado da Ribeira – a posh food food hall next to a produce market. Lots of high end chefs and restaurant have stalls, so you can pick and choose. We only discovered this on our last day, if we had found it earlier, we would definitely have gone more than once because there were so many amazing things for sale (second last picture in the bottom mosaic and Dave with his burger in the second mosaic).
  • Cantinho do Aziz - a simple Mozambiquean restaurant on one of the cobbled streets going up the hill in Alfama. The main attraction is barbecued chicken, which they do on the street, but they also have a decent selection of veggie meals. It was the first time I ever had cassava (which was called manioc on the menu). I’ve always been intrigued about how it is prepared when seeing it in shops, but i don’t think I’ll ever go out of my way to eat it again. I could see it would work well as crisps, but as the starchy thing in a curry (which is what I had) it wasn’t my cup of tea. But apart from the cassava, the curry was v tasty and the samosas were top notch!!
  • House of Wonders – vegetarian restaurant in Cascais that does an amazing buffet (see pictures of that in my post about Cascais)
  • Gelados Santini – Massive selection of amazing gelato. We stopped at two different branches – the one in the shopping district and the one in Cascais (second picture in the top row in the second mosaic)
  • Pois cafe – lovely cafe with lots of sofas and toys for the kids. The kind of place you could hang out in for hours. We only had smoothies (third picture second row, top mosaic) but the food also looked good

:isbon mosaic 3

Some observations:

Although there wasn’t many kids out and about (we really saw very few kids between 1 and 5), people were SO nice to us and Milo. Older people in particular would stop and speak to him in the street all the time, and it didn’t seem to bother them at all that we couldn’t understand them. Also, people were so understanding of the crying/tantrums. We had two days when we were in restaurants while Milo was having his nap, and he totally lost it for ages after waking up. I know there would have been lots of eye rolling if this had happened at home, but the waiting staff and other customers were brilliant.

Kind of related to this, pregnant people are so looked after. We arrived in the evening on our first day and I went to the supermarket to get us some food while Dave stayed in the flat with Milo. It was the weirdest experience, I was queueing not paying much attention, when everyone else in the supermarket started talking at me and pointing, and practically shoving me to the front of the queue on the check out next to me. I was completely bewildered! Turns out the supermarket has a priority queue for people who are disabled, pregnant or have kids and I was the only person that fit that description so I jumped right to the front. “It’s the rules” said the checkout guy. And it wasn’t just that supermarket, I was waved forward in all sorts of queues and was always offered a seat on the metro. I kind of got used to it at the end and it was a bit of a bump back to reality when I got the bus to work on my first day back and no one offered me a seat!

Lisbon is very hilly. And because none of the streets are straight or at right angles, you really have no way of knowing where is up and down when looking at a map. Map distances are essentially meaningless as you’ll probably have to walk up and down several hills in a 15 minute walk. That being said though, the city is really walkable in terms of distances, and if I hadn’t been pregnant and we hadn’t had to push the buggy I wouldn’t have minded the hilliness at all.

The tiled buildings! They are everywhere, not just in the posh or touristy areas, and they look so good. The area we were staying in (Anjos/Intendente) is a part of the city I’m guessing most visitors don’t see cos it’s mostly residential and there’s really nothing there in the way of sights, and felt quite mixed, with people of lots of different ethnicities, which made me think that’s it’s probably one of those areas where rents are cheap so newer immigrants move there initially (this may not be true). It still looked totally gorgeous with all the tiled buildings!

Any travel guide to Lisbon I’ve read told you to go to Sintra, a hill town with two famous palaces that’s just a short train ride away. It did sound great, but as far as we could work out, we would have had to use buses to get around while there, and we didn’t really fancy


Looking for guest posters!

Guest post by Kerry from The Seventy Tree

It’s 10 weeks until my due date and I’ve started thinking about the birth and all that scary stuff, and also what I’ll do with the blog while I’m off cuddling the newborn picobee. I’ll be taking at least a month off for that, but I’d like to keep the posting schedule going, and I was therefore wondering if anyone fancied writing a guest post for that time?

I’m pretty easy on topics, as long as it fits with the general feel of this blog, i.e. it’s vaguely craft/style/art/food/travel/photography/sewing related, I’m up for anything! Re-posts are also fine! The only thing I want to avoid is affliate links (or I might as well say yes to the unsolicited commercial mass guest post offers), but obviously happy for anyone with a relevant etsy shop, independent business or whatever to promote that.

Anyway, I’m not sure how many or you guys are bloggers, so maybe no one’s actually interested! In which case I will try to schedule some wordless inspiration posts, but it would be nice to have some other voices.

Hoping to hear from you – please leave a comment and or email me at franca(dot)likes(dot)apples(at)gmail(dot)com

Thanks guys!

photo clickable for source