Should life stop?

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Oh two week wait, we meet again, I would like to say nice to see you but to be honest it’s not. We have met far to many times over this last year and to be fair I would love to never see you again. However here we are and my question this time is should life stop? Should you change everything in these two weeks incase your pregnant, should you put your life on hold? At the start of this journey yes I did, I didn’t drink in the tww, I didn’t take any kind of medication not even paracetamol. Now though after trying for the best part of a year I admit to be wondering if I can keep this up for however long it would take us to fall pregnant.

There are two obvious camps on drinking alcohol in your tww, the drink till it’s pink camp or sober till it’s over one and I seem to dip in and out of both now.

Drink till it’s pink – those who will continue to have alcohol up until they see the two pink lines on the pregnancy test, the thought on this being that implantation does not occur until later on in the tww and therefore not sharing anything with the mother (some people also argue that the foetus does not share blood systems etc with the mother up until a certain point so alcohol does not pass) There is also a lot of talk about if you were not actively trying and fell pregnant then you will most likely have been drinking at some point throughout your tww without knowing.

Sober till it’s over – those who abstain from alcohol completely during the tww and possibly throughout the whole trying to conceive process, the thoughts normally on this are why risk it and not drinking alcohol is healthier.

How easy is it though to stick to one camp throughout this whole process? I for one seem to struggle with it each month, I have had months where I have never drunk at all, others where I have had some (I am not a big drinker so I don’t feel that I need to cut down as such) we are talking a few glasses of wine here and there and I have recently switched to a low alcohol rose beer for Friday/Saturday nights at home. Drinking this makes me feel that I am not missing out on life and it is only 3% alcohol so hardly anything. But that doesn’t stop me being stuck in the middle, should I or shouldn’t I put my life on hold just incase? Or will there be enough of that when I do eventually fall pregnant?

Ohh and how do you get through a Saturday day out with the girls???

Claire xx

A little bit of comedy for a Wednesday

On Monday night we headed out to a local theatre to see Jimeoin , he’s an Irish comedian who lives in Australia but is over here touring at the minute.

We first seen him at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival a few years ago. We are lucky enough to live quite close to there so we get to see a lot of comedians every year when the festival is on. We have got to see some side splitting funny ones and Jimeoin did not disappoint.

When we seen he was touring the UK we had to get tickets and boy was he funny! I mean tears streaming down our faces funny. He just has a way of describing things and his facial expressions say a thousand words.

If you have never seen him and you like a bit of observational comedy then I suggest you watch this clip, even if you have seen him before watch it and smile. A nice little giggle for a Wednesday.

He is playing again at the Fringe Festival 9th – 18th August and he is touring again in the UK October to December, dates are on his website – Jimeoin Tour Dates.

Claire xx

My attempt at money saving – Aldi Challenge

My husband is self employed, which is great for him and really suits him but it can lead to money not coming in on a regular basis or as much of it at one time as you want.  The first few months of the year have been a little slower than expected so it was time to tighten our belts a little.

One of the things I decided to try was the Aldi swap and save Challenge, is it just me or are their ads really funny?  I’m not a food shopping snob but I do normally shop in the mainstream supermarkets and Tesco is our closet one, which I am now realising is actually quite expensive for most things.  They are now advertising price matching though so that may help a little.

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I decided that I would go to Aldi to do the main bulk of our shop and only go into the main stream supermarkets for items that you can’t get in Aldi, which to be honest is turning into not that much really.  I have been really surprised with what I can get there and the quality of things as well.  All their fresh meat is from British suppliers too which pleases me.  They also do Aldi super 6 which is 6 items of fruit or veg which is on offer for around 2 weeks for 69p, who says healthy eating can’t be cheap!

I have been doing it for a few weeks and I have saved a small fortune, we have yet to try any of Aldi’s own brand products that we haven’t liked, yes you don’t get as much choice as the main supermarkets but that has worked in my favour too, I hate grocery shopping and I can now do it in half the time that it used to take.

If you haven’t tried it yet and you are looking to cut the cost of grocery shopping then I would recommend you pop in and take a look, I think it may surprise you.

Claire xx

Large feet – no pretty shoes, not any more!

Being 5ft 10 can cause a lot of problems when you are trying to be fashionable especially when it comes to shoes. I unfortunately have ended up with size 9 feet and up until a few years ago I couldn’t find nice girly shoes to go on by big slabs of feet and it used to really upset me. I can remember wanting nothing more than pretty shoes like my friends when I was in college and all I ended up wearing where mens trainers in light colours as basically that was all I could really get in my size. There were some online stores popping up at that point that catered for larger sizes but being a student they were mostly out of my price range.

That was until I discovered Next and the fact that the majority of their shoes, even the pretty ones go up to a size 9, I was so happy! The one downside is that most of the size 9’s are only available by ordering from the Next Directory so you do need to sign up to an account to get them from there, or you are able to order in store and get them delivered to the store.  I have been in a few stores who hold size 9’s in stock too so it is worth checking when you are in.

I now get all my shoes from Next, I find that there is lots of variety and the price is good for the quality.

I have added some of my favourites from this seasons collection.

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I love these, they are called ‘Flatforms’ perfect if you are tall as they are only 6cm tall instead of the 8-10cm that normal platforms seem to come in.  I am already tall enough in my opinion so these would be perfect or adding a little bit of heel height without being too much.

1: Natural Wood Geisha shoe – Next £55

2: Geisha Wedges – Next £30

 

I have a tendency to go for flats and Next have a lovely selection of ballerina pumps that can be suitable for everyday wear or with a little sparkle for going out.

Next collection 3

1: Embellished Ballerinas – Next £25

2: Black Stud Ballerinas – Next £28

3: Leopard Ballerinas – Next £22

4: Bow Ballerinas Next £25

 

I do love these heels though and think I could get away with them as they are not too tall. They come in Blue, Black and Red and look like they would sit great with jeans and a bargain at £28

Next shoes 3

Microsuede Strap Point Shoes- Next £28

 

And I will leave you with these! I love the bright colour, I just wish I was brave enough to wear pops of colour like it!

Next shoes 4

 

Mid Heel Courts- Next £20

 

Now to get on and order some in time hopefully for this weather actually picking up sometime soon.

Claire xx

 

Beginning our journey through NHS fertility testing

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Doctors Appointment April 2013

So after our testing at the private clinic last month we had decided if we weren’t successful the next cycle I would go to my GP which I did this week.

The main reason for going to the GP now is that if we are going to need any support to get pregnant we are not currently in the position to pay for this privately. I’m still of the positive camp that we won’t need help but at least the ball is rolling. Also having good AMH levels does not necessarily confirm ovulation and to do so requires further blood tests.

My GP was great, she suggested straight away on talking, that we will get 21 day bloods done to check for progesterone (or more accurately 7 days after ovulation bloods) This will check on whether I have ovulated by checking progesterone levels Though it’s like my body knows we are on a timescale this month and ovulation has gone into hiding so trying to book the right date for the bloods is proving to be a pain! I’ve already changed the date once and will now need to change it again.

There seems to be some discussion on the internet about normal levels but they seem to be around 30 on day 21 of your cycle so I will be hoping for that.

Also if I am not pregnant this cycle I am going to get day 3 bloods done, these ones will check Luteinising hormone, FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) thyroid function, prolactin & testosterone

While researching bloods that are requested by your GP for the NHS I came cross a few care maps that are used to work through by the NHS when you go to them with fertility problems.

Care map for fertility problems NHS

Map of Female Fertility for NHS

I thought these might be helpful for others who are wondering what the procedure is and you can see them by clicking on the links. I found them really interesting to look at and it gives you an idea of what can be expected if you need to attend for any type of fertility investigations.

Once I have done my bloods done and the results are back (around 3 days) the GP has said she will put a referral straight into the fertility clinic at our local hospital, the quick response to this being due to the fact that I am now 35.

I got the standard, relax more, try and not think about it and she suggested not using any form of ovulation prediction kits, that part I’m not too sure I am quite ready to do yet though, I do understand that some people think that it stresses you out to use them but for me it is the only way I am actually being able to stay sane is if I have an idea of when I ovulated.

And so our journey continues….

Claire xx

Image Credit

Vanilla Birthday Cupcakes

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It is my Nieces 7th birthday this week and we are going over to spend some time with her, so I thought it would be a nice idea to make some cupcakes to take over with us. I am sure she will already have a cake, but surely no one will say no to an extra little treat?

The recipe I used was from this book, under everyday cupcakes. I opted for plain vanilla as I know some of the kids can be a little picky.

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The recipe serves 12
Preparation time – 10 minutes
Cooking time – 20 minutes

150g lightly salted butter, softened
150g caster sugar
175g self-raising flour
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 180oC (350f) Gas Mark 4 – Though on speaking with one of my friends who has a very successful cake business, she suggested that I should have only done them at 170 for 18 minutes as I have a fan assisted oven – so bear that in mind if you do too

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It is a really easy recipe to follow, you need to line a 12 section bun tray. Put all of the ingredients in a bowl and beat with a hand held electric whisk for 1-2 minutes until light and creamy then simply divide the mixture between the cases.

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For the icing I followed a recipe out of the Hummingbird Bakery cake days book for their buttercream vanilla frosting.

You will need:
500g icing sugar
160g unsalted butter
50ml whole milk
1/2tsp vanilla essence

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Whisk the icing sugar with the butter on a low speed using an electric whisk until fully combined and sandy in texture (watch out for the icing sugar going everywhere when you start!) Add the vanilla essence to the milk and pour into the butter and icing sugar while still mixing on a low speed, then increase the speed to high and whisk until light and fluffy.

I then spilt the mixture in half and added some food colouring so that I would get two different colour toppings. I then topped with sprinkles and coloured chocolate drops and some glitter.

For a finishing touch, I put them into a pretty cupcake box and tied with some ribbon. I’m really pleased with how they have turned out as my strong point is not baking that’s for sure.

I’m sure she will love them.

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Claire xx

What photography apps do you use?

As a new blogger I am trying my best to take some good photos that I can use on the blog, my only issue is I am really bad at taking my camera anywhere with me and I end up using my phone for most of my photograph taking. This has got me looking for great photography apps that I can use straight from my phone or iPad

I thought it would be good to share some of the ones that I have downloaded that I am finding really easy and good to use and see if anyone has any other suggestions for me.

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Adobe Photoshop is free to download, however to get access to all the features there are some in app purchases from between 0.69p and £2.99, obviously you don’t need to pay for these but I have found that some of the in app purchases have been well worth it.
Within this app you can crop, rotate, straighten and flip photos, work with colours and filters, add effects and also add borders.

I am finding it really helpful when it comes to cropping and straightening photos and can spend quite a while in this app playing with filters and effects.

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Big Lens is my next most used photography app, it cost 0.69p to download and I think it is worth every penny. The app enables you to auto focus, allows you to set the aperture and depth of field and adjust background light. I wanted an app that would help me to focus in on a particular subject and blur out backgrounds etc and this does just that. It also comes with a selection of lenses that allow out of focus light points to blur into shapes like hearts and stars and filters too, so lots of things that you can play with. While you are playing around it has a before and after preview button that you can click on at any point to see the difference with your original photo.

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I also wanted an app where I would have the ability to have photos side by side and I was recommended this one from a friend on twitter.
Picframe is 0.69p to download and comes with 71 adjustable frames with the ability to combine up to 9 photos in a single frame, you can also change the shape of your photos, add borders, shadows and patterns to the frames along with the ability to add a variety of text to your pictures.

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Following on from picframe and the ability to add text to your photos I went on the hunt for an app that would give me more fonts to work with and I found Over. Over is £1.49 to download, it comes with 28 fonts preloaded and the ability to buy 200 more as an in app purchase if you want to. It is really easy to use and I am loving the ability to put some nice fonts on my headline pictures.

There are literally hundreds of photography apps out there, quite a few of them are free and I do have others downloaded onto both my iPad and phone but these four are the ones that I am using the most and even more so now that I am blogging.

What photography apps do you use? Have a missed out on using any good ones that you would recommend?

Claire xx