Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

My little J is almost a year old and I've been getting sentimental and looking back at photos of pregnant me. Towards the end I look happy and glowing. For the first 6 months I looked like death.

I mentioned in a previous post that when I was pregnant with J I suffered from Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Basically, this means I turned into a puke-monster for about 5 months. I vomited all over Dublin (there's an extensive list) and also a lot in Austria  (including in a little hole I dug in a snow bank) while we were there on holiday as well. I vomited outside posh restaurants, in gardens, pulled in at traffic lights, the moment I stepped off buses and one memorable time on an icy cold morning at Kylemore Luas Stop. A friend moved into a new flat recently and Mr HNW was coming to pick me up. I directed him there by telling him "it's that road near Blackrock that you had to stop and let me vomit on and that guy in the BMW screamed at us". My vomit spots have become landmarks.

When I found out I was pregnant I was nervous about the whole morning sickness thing. My Mum, Aunt and Grandmother all suffered very badly and my Mum used to talk about how sick I made her all the time. She was living in America while she was pregnant and has an extensive list of American vomit locations - including in the middle of 5th Avenue in New York.

The nausea kicked in at about 6 weeks and things rapidly went downhill after that. I couldn't stomach any food and anything I did eat came back up. I have never been so miserable in my entire life. There were times I thought I was going to die (a bit melodramatic, yes but I genuinely thought this!). I became a recluse, only barely having the energy to go to work. Where I worked at the time was in a very awkward location that meant I had to drive there. When I became too sick to be able to drive myself Mr HNW used to drive me most of the way, then get out and make his own way to work while I drove the last ten minutes. I was so exhausted I spent every lunch break sleeping in my car, cradling a sick bowl.

I lost 10% of my body weight in about 3 months. I was skinnier at 16 weeks pregnant then I had been since I was about 18. I had to go into hospital and go on drips as I was becoming dehydrated. There, I would be told by the nurses that I had to eat, that my body was eating itself. Obviously I knew I had to eat but if nothing stays down, what do you do? After some debate with the doctors and against the advice of my GP I took anti-nausea medication. It didn't work so I gave that up pretty quickly. No point in taking it if it's not 100% safe and doesn't work anyway.

The only things I did eat and could stomach were McDonald's chips, Coco Pops, Rowntree's Fruit Pastille Ice Lollies and lots and lots of milk. Occasionally, they'd stay down. You know those really bad hangovers where you've gone on the absolute tear, where you're vomiting until 5pm and you feel like you will never be well again? It was like that but it never lifted, and I never got the fun drinking part either.

When you are that sick it is impossible to hide that you are pregnant. Everyone knew. When I told people at 12 weeks that I was pregnant nobody was surprised. Everyone thought I was having twins.

People tried to help, telling me to nibble on ginger nuts or peppermints. One, very pregnant lady sitting next to me at the hospital told me to start eating mints while I was hooked up to a drip. Gee, thanks. It didn't occur to me to try mints. Guess this drip is just not necessary then, as you have the solution. She was just trying to be nice and I didn't have the energy to say anything to her anyway but I just wanted to scream at her. Everyone told me that the sickness would lift soon. Every week, my Aunt and Mum would say ooh, I think this is the week my sickness lifted, just to try and get me through it.

There was one upside, when I went into labour I was only 4 or 5kg over my pre-pregnancy weight. As J was over 3.5KG and the fluid and other bits weigh 1-2Kg it means I was lighter just after giving birth then I was before getting pregnant. Also, the sickness seems to have had no negative effects on J at all. He was a bouncing 8lbs 1oz and healthy as a horse.

I genuinely believe that being that sick has changed my relationship with food. Although the sickness lifted at about 22/23 weeks when I gave up work and could sleep whenever I wanted (it's believed fatigue can aggravate it) I never fully got my appetite back until after J was born. Then I was breastfeeding and was hungry all the time. It took a long time for me to get over the novelty of being able to eat whatever I wanted and having a good appetite again and I went a bit mad. That was the weight I had to lose, not baby weight, it was cake weight! Also, although I never fully regained my appetite I did stop getting sick, some women have it right until the end so it could have been a lot worse.

Anyway, this post has turned out to be a lot longer than I expected but it's been very cathartic.If anyone out there is suffering from HG you have my utmost sympathies. It was a horrible time. If I could I'd hold your puke bowl and stroke your hair and tell you that it sucks. Everybody said it would be worth it. When you are that sick this makes you want to punch them in the face. but they were right.  It was worth it.  J is a joy and even though I remember the sickness very well (including getting actual flashbacks sometimes) it feels like a different time. It was so worth it that it hasn't put me off wanting number two at some stage!


Monday, 26 May 2014

Marshmallow and White Chocolate Blondies

I came across a recipe for marshmallow and white chocolate brownies a while back and had it saved in the "to bake" section of my internet favourites. However, most recipes I came across were aimed at Americans and one of the ingredients in particular (butterscotch chips) proved difficult to find in Ireland.

Over the weekend I decided to give it a try and made a version of the blondies that could be made easily by those of us outside the States. I replaced the butterscocth chips with fudge chunks and it worked well. They were very, very sweet which in a way was a good thing because it meant I didn't scoff the whole plate myself. They went down well anyway when we had friends over for dinner as a post-dinner treat with a cup of tea. They're definitely worth a try!


60g butter
85g fudge drops
100g flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
150g brown sugar (I used demerera because that's what was in the cupboard but I think muscovado would have been nicer)
1 egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla
100g marshmallows
100g white chocolate chips
a dash of milk (if needed)


Prepare a deep baking tray by lining with baking parchment.

Melt the butter and fudge drops over a medium heat. It's not possible to mix the butter and fudge together completely, there will still be some separation but with vigorous mixing you can get it fairly well combined.

In a bowl, add the dry ingredients - the flour, salt, sugar and the baking powder

Mix in the melted butter and fudge to the dry ingredients - you will get a crumbly, dry mixture

Stir the egg and vanilla into the mixture.

Add the white chocolate chips and the marshmallows.

Add a dash of milk if the mixture is still too dry (you should be able to pour it easily into a baking tray).

Pour into the prepared baking tray and bake for 20-15 minutes at 180C until the middle of the mixture has set (test with a skewer)

Allow the mixture to cool before cutting.


Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Matalan Wish-List

I've been off the radar a bit for the last few weeks. I've been feeling very under the weather, with just a complete lack of energy. I've been sleeping ridiculous amounts, J is sleeping through the night but I was still so exhausted that I was taking two naps a day with him and still feeling tired when I went to bed at night. I think I was just very, very run down. I've been trying to rest as much as I can with a very active 11 month old, looking after myself and taking supplements and I seem to be perking up a bit. I've had problems in the past with chronic fatigue after getting a virus so I'm just being careful.

All that has meant though, that blogging has taken a backseat and I've been wearing whatever is easiest and most comfortable (mainly yoga pants!). Now that I''m feeling a bit better I'm starting to feel a bit scruffy and need to start thinking about what I'm putting on in the morning again. You know when you just feel stuck in a rut a little bit and you need to give yourself a push to get out of it?

Anyway, the other day one of the million emails I seem to get daily from clothes shops pinged into my inbox. A lot of the time I delete them after a quick scroll through. With this email I skimmed through it, figured it was for somewhere on the expensive end of things because the stuff looked fab and then as I was about to press delete I noticed that it was an email from Matalan. So of course, I had to investigate further. I'm really impressed with the stuff they have at the moment. Even better they have a new petite section. Hurray! It has me feeling inspired again.

We don't have Matalan in Ireland (although I'm sure there are some up North) but I can get stuff delivered to me using Parcel Motel (aka the best thing ever invented!) and now I have a bit of a wish-list. The good thing about a wish-list from somewhere like Matalan is that it is much more obtainable than a list from say, J Crew.

My Matalan Wish-List

First of all this Palm Print Woven Sweat Top at £16. I love the print and it's causal enough to wear with a black pencil skirt and sandals to make a change from all the jeans I seem to be wearing recently.

I want these Block Heels so bad but where would I wear them - riddle me that? They would look great I suppose for when I'm cleaning the bathroom or doing the ironing!  They are lovely though and they come in a lime green colour too. Maybe I need to invent an occasion?

Love this spotted denim shirt, I can never resist polka dots. I did actually buy a denim shirt for summer but it's quite heavy, this would be a great lighter option worn with white jeans or capris.

I am so tempted by this jersey maxi skirt. I love maxi length things but because I am a shortarse they look ridiculous on me. I have bought dresses and had them taken up before though which makes a big difference. This skirt is in the petite section and I'm allowing myself to believe that I may actually look like a normal person in it and not like a child trying on her Mother's clothes.

I love this Kimono but I have a feeling if I ordered it the colours would do nothing for me and my pale skin. It is beautiful though.

Lastly, this cross body bag. It's £12 which I think is a great bargain, it certainly doesn't look like it's that that cheap to me online so I'd be very interested in seeing it in person. The only problem is I rarely use handbags these days as everything goes into the nappy bag. Maybe it's time to start!

Out of these, I think I'm going to order the sweatshirt, maxi skirt and bag when payday arrives, just for a little pick-me-up. Fingers crossed they look as nice in person!


Sunday, 11 May 2014


Things have been quiet on the blogging front the last while. My lovely little baby is practically a toddler and I am run ragged chasing around after him trying to stop him pulling my house apart or seriously injuring himself. I just fall in to bed every evening after a few lame attempts to keep the house clean.

We thought he might not crawl, but go straight to walking because he was cruising confidently but would freak out when he was on his stomach. Then one day, I had friends over for coffee and he saw a few of their babies crawl and he was off. I guess he just needed some peer pressure. Now, he's off like the clappers when you set him down on the floor and everything is fair game to get into. Yesterday, he opened all the drawers in my bedroom and decided that my knickers were the best new toy ever. They were strewn around the house. I just had to leave him be and hope nobody called over to visit. At least they were clean, anyway!

The idea of babyproofing just gives me a headache, at first it just seemed so overwhelming, especially as we are moving out in a few weeks and we will just have to do it all again in our new place. Luckily, we are in an apartment so no stairs and a lot of our furniture was already screwed to the wall (thanks to me being pregnant when we bought it and us actually being smart and looking ahead!). Apart from that, I'm just not sure what to do. I've bought cupboard and drawer locks and they remain in their packets. We bought foam cushions for the doors so he can't close them and trap his fingers but he managed to get them trapped under the door anyway. At the moment my babyproofing is just watching him like a hawk and racing around pulling him off things.

The one thing I'm not sure how to protect is the TV and digital boxes. It seems a bit of a small space to use a fireguard but he is going to town on the speakers and the various electrical boxes under there. If anyone has any suggestions I will happily take them! I'm trying to think of ways to protect the area that doesnt involve blocking it off entirely. So far, nothing creative has spring to mind.

Anyway, I must rush off to bed. Tomorrow is another day of running around, saying no a lot and being laughed at by an impossible cute wrecking ball!


Sunday, 4 May 2014

Saying No to Jeans!

Like lots of other bloggers out there seem to be at the moment I am so sick of jeans but I'm just not brave enough to wear anything else out of the house yet. Not brave enough because I hate hate hate being cold with a passion. April/May and September are my least favourite times of year when it comes to dressing myself because I never get it right. I'm always too hot or too cold, or I've forgotten that I live in Ireland and it rains a lot, no matter what time of year it is and I've gone out in something flimsy that gets soaked through at the first hint of rain in the air.

Today, I decided, screw it I am not wearing jeans  and maybe it's time to get my pale, milky legs out. I'm not into Fake Tan, I just think it looks silly on me, like I haven't washed so I'm stuck with being pale and interesting instead. Cameras make me look even paler but I've just learned to accept that that's my lot in life!

So I had a bit of a rummage through my wardrobe and decided on my Boden crop trousers, not a million miles away from jeans with regards to covering my legs but a lot more colourful.

Bistro Crop Trousers - Boden
Black Waterfall Cardigan - New Look (similar here)
Black Tassle Ballet Pumps - Oasis (sort of similar here
Necklace - Oasis (they have a similar one in stock here)
The second shot captures the necklace a lot better (Mr HNW and I are having some photography issues at the moment!) On that note, I'd love to be able to do OOTD (outfit of the day) posts. It's one of my favourite things to see on other people's blogs. Seeing what normal women wear going about their everyday business really is the best inspiration for me. The problem is I don't have anyone to take photos during the day while I'm doing things (unsurprisingly 10 month olds don't make the best photographers) and the only mirror I have access to is narrow and in a dark hallway. Maybe crappy photos are better than no photos. I may need to just go for it!

We went into town for a birthday lunch for Mr HNW. We chose to go to Pitt Brothers, an American BBQ restaurant on George's Street. Mr HNW is big into ribs and he was very excited about a meat overload. He wasn't disappointed.

I originally had a white long sleeved top on but then Mr HNW reminded me where we were going for lunch and how saucy ribs can be so I had to do a quick change! I had a pulled pork bun with fries and mac and cheese. It was delicious and J also enjoyed it very much. He eats what we eat now and the mac and cheese in particular went down very well with him. It was pretty baby friendly overall actually, welcoming staff, room for buggies and a relaxed, casual atmosphere.

Of course, I couldn't resist a look in the shops afterwards so, leaving the boys to take J for a walk myself and my friend, Jane had a little mooch around Henry Street. In Stradivarius I came across a playsuit that caught my eye. I've never worn a playsuit before, I'm not sure if I can pull them off or where I would wear it. I tried it on and I'm still undecided. I'm going to have a think anyway and maybe order online if I need to.

I hope you all had an equally lovely Bank Holiday Sunday!


Friday, 2 May 2014

Real Nappy Week

Before I go any further I should say I don't actually like the term "real nappies". It is used to describe cloth nappies but I find it a bit condescending, disposable nappies are not "fake". I don't know, maybe I am thinking about it too much or missing the point but it has a bit of a snooty earth mother vibe about it which I think could put some parents off.

Anyway, that's beside the point, real nappy week starts Monday 28th April (so we're well into it at the moment) and is a week where the use of cloth nappies is celebrated and promoted. The best thing about it for me is that a lot of cloth nappy retailers have specials and sell nappies for reduced prices. If you are thinking about trying cloth or need some more to bulk out your stash it's a great time to pick up a few bits.

My favourite nappy of choice at the moment for J is a Bumgenius Freetime. It is an all in one nappy so doesn't require any stuffing of inserts into pockets and they are just the most reliable nappy I've used.

Today, J was accidentally in one for about 6 hours (due to being out and awkward nap times) and it held perfectly. I've managed to pick up a few at a reduced price and also took the opportunity to try out a new brand so we'll see how that goes. Babies shapes and weeing habits change so nappies that did work well for you at one time can be terrible at another time. It's a good idea to have a stash of nappies that cover different brands and styles.

I was going to put together some details on sites that have offers on but I came across this link on Fluffy Mummy that really sums things up so much better than I could.

So, if you are interested in trying cloth or are a cloth addict and want to convert some of your friends, this is a good time to do it!


Monday, 28 April 2014

Denim Blue Scarf and New Lace Shoes

Scarves are something I've got into a lot more in the last few months. I've always had a stash sitting in my wardrobe but never bothered to get them out and actually use them. There's a few bloggers out there who rock their scarves and this has really inspired me to get myself together on the scarf front.

One thing I've been looking for recently is a scarf with light denim blue colours in it to wear easily with jeans. I've been searching for a bit but came across this one in New Look the other day. 

It's a pale blue colour with gold threading at the edges. The site describes it as Pail Blue Gillter Trim Longline Scarf. I can't decide if that Pail is there intentionally (is Pail Blue a colour? Are buckets generally a blue colour?) or if someone at New Look HQ needs a spelling lesson. Hmm.....

Anyway, pale blue is not generally my colour (pale anything is generally not my colour, sadly) but this scarf has proved very handy. It's great to wear with denim and my gold Warehouse pumps. I can see it proving very useful this summer. 

While I was New Look, I also spotted these cream broderie anglaise pumps for €11.99 (which I'm also wearing above). 

For some reason I cannot find them on the New Look website. These ballet flats are the closest I can find.   I have a pair of navy Toms that I'm living in at the moment so I'm on the lookout for other comfy flats for summer because I don't want to destroy them by wearing them too much. I also thought they would be handy for the weddings I have coming up, my pro wedding tip is to bring flats with you to change into once the dancing starts. It can be a long day to be in a pair of heels. I do love me a good dance at a wedding!

They're very comfortable and make me smile thinking of Summer!