Halloween Celebrations

31 10 2013


I last saw ATWAS perform their pub crawl version of A Christmas Carol in December 2012.

I really enjoyed their unique storytelling style and use of site specific staging to enhance the experience.

Despite the cold today I am looking forward to my second visit to watch the fledgling theatre company perform in honour of Halloween. This time they have taken inspiration from Edgar Allen Poe and it would appear that the performance is entirely outdoor. I am attempting to reserve my judgement for now, about the wisdom of an open air production in October – my ongoing struggle with cold temperatures is only furthur exaggerated in the early months of pregnancy.

TG2 Surrey had the following to say about ATWAS latest venture:

Visionary Guildford theatre company, All the World’s a Stage, have brought the stories of Edgar Allen Poe, the Master of Macabre, to Guildford this Halloween. Tales of mesmerism, murder, torture, and insanity are brought  to life in Guildford’s Racks Close, lit only by blazing torches and whatever scant moonlight remains at the end of the lunar cycle. This promenade production meets at The Boatman Pub, where audiences will be met and led to Racks Close. Here, they will find one who has been hypnotised at the point of death, another who is forced by the Inquisition to choose between two terrifying methods of death, and an asylum with a secret.

It is always great to try something new and at 34 I am unlikely to go trick-or-treating so here’s to a spooky night with good friends and a warm jacket.


Christmas Shopping

30 10 2013

Christmas Shopping

In these times of austerity I decided to jump on the bandwagon and join so many of my family, friends and acquaintances who have already started their Christmas Shopping.

I know, I know, it’s October and Halloween has not yet passed us by.

However in a bid to spread the cost and avoid the last minute panic of packing and sending presents to my family in Northern Ireland, it makes sense to get a head start this year, especially as there are other things for which we need to be saving our pennies right now.

I managed to buy presents for 4 family members and have them wrapped in colourful paper ready to go under my tree when it goes up on 1st December.

Lumpy and I also managed to buy some Daddy presents – this was very exciting 🙂

I love Christmas anyway so provided I don’t go into overdrive, thinking about it a little bit earlier than usual can only enhance my experience.

However my productive trip was sullied by the necessity to make one painful purchase – flat shoes for work. Apparently stilettos are not suitable attire for pregnant ladies and whist I am sure I could continue to waddle in them successfully for a few months yet, it seemed sensible to retire my glamorous footwear for the next year, at least, and start getting used to flats.

The great news is that as it is pay day tomorrow, my credit card will not be groaning from the strain of today’s exertions for too long.


Cuddles will not squish the baby

29 10 2013

squashed elephant

Anxious parent mode activated

FFOMC is concerned that cuddles may squish our baby.

They will not.

That is all.


Lumpy meets Granny and Grandad

28 10 2013


This weekend marked another important milestone for Lumpy. FFOMC and I made a trip to Northern Ireland to celebrate our baby news with my family. FFOMC went into overdrive, checking the all knowing oracle that is the internet for information about whether or not it is safe for me to travel by plane, to add to his ever growing knowledge about enjoying a healthy pregnancy.

We arrived on Friday evening to a warm reception at Belfast International Airport where Granny and Granddad admired my already visible bump before treating us to pizza and drinks by the fire – for me this meant just under half a glass of red wine (although it was a damn good one) followed by lots of Shloer.

On Saturday my sisters, their partners & my two lovely nephews arrived in my childhood home for a catch up before a Halloween party that evening complete with decorations, supper and fireworks. The fireworks were operated by FFOMC – sure I may not be able to fly but the soon to be father can play with matches and explosive material!

Telling close family friends about Lumpy was great – I explained how I have spent three months working on my Halloween costume before revealing that I came as a Mummy – hugs and congratulations all round 🙂

Sunday meant a visit to a carvery at The Stormont Hotel before a return trip home which was surprisingly stress free despite the storm warnings.

It always surpries me how quick these visits home seem and especially with such big news to share. I mis everyone already and am keen to organise my next visit – although my family may need to come to me next time as I am assured it will be become increasinly unsafe for me to fly myself 🙂

Naming the bump

27 10 2013


Long before parents-to-be discuss whether their growing baby will be a George, Mary, David or Susan; they are faced with the decision of how to address the “bump”. This is especially important before the sex of the child is known as the term “it” can hardly be considered a term of endearment designed to help parents-to-be engage with their unborn child. Nor is “the baby” compatible with the growing tendency in modern language tendency to abbreviate and shorten everything.

Readers who read of my first glimpse of my child will be aware that my bump is known as LUMPY.

As is probably the case with many pregnant women, I did not consciously choose a name for my bump – if anything it sort of chose itself.

In the earliest days of my pregnancy I received a humorous text message from one of the few people who knew my news from the very beginning who signed off with “take care of Lumpy” – as this was light hearted, and endearing it stuck.

However if I had any reservations then a clawing memory of another “Lumpy” eventually surfaced a few days ago. As an avid Winnie the Pooh fan – ever since the day my Datty brought me home my very own golden furry teddy bear adorned with the familiar red jumper – I was delighted to remember that Lumpy is also the name of the heffalump who befriends Pooh and the gang in the 2005 Heffalump movie.

So for the next 6 months I will be playing host to Lumpy in my Tummy – this could so easily be a song title from the Winnie the Pooh franchise – until FFOMC and I settle on something much more sensible and befitting our offspring.

One can smile and smile and be a villian

24 10 2013

This evenings antics came with a not so healthy dose of ingratiating smiles, false platitudes and insincerity.
Falsehold and favouritism are usually the order of the day – unless one is perceived to have inherant usefullness above and beyond what can reasonably be expected.
While a thank you is always appreciated I am often reminded that actions speak louder than words.

First glimpse of my child

23 10 2013


Yesterday will stand out in my memory as one of the best days in my life.

After what was, for us, an agonising 7 week wait, FFOMC and I made our way to the hospital for my first antenatal scan.

We were both really excited about seeing our child for the first time and confirming that everything was OK.

The experience was amazing but not entirely as expected.

FFOMC was a little late. He is still an inexperienced driver and had never visited this particular health centre before. He made a wrong turn when he was only one street away, resulting in two flustered parents-to-be running through the maze of corridors to find the correct department with only minutes to spare.

When we were settled and called in to have the scan, we watched eagerly as the screen flickered into life and a grainy image started to reveal itself amongst the grey fuzz that surrounded it. That was our first view of LUMPY.

“Oh look it’s doing a handstand.” Right enough there it was – our baby – only, for reasons known only to itself, it was completely upside down.

Much jiggling and prodding followed, to urge Lumpy to move into a more suitable position, I was even asked to attempt some star jumps to move the process along. I don’t know if you have ever seen a pregnant woman, wrestling with hormones and attempting to do star jumps in heels; but I am assured by FFOMC that it is a very funny sight to behold. Fathers to be please note – laughter is not the best response to these circumstances if you have any desire to add to your family at a future date.

After three further attempts to get a good view of the part monkey/part gymnast being inside me, I was sent for a walk and advised to drink as much water as I could manage before another attempt.

But after 15minutes Lumpy was still contentedly doing handstands – maybe it wanted an action shot of its new trick? “Mommy, Mommy, look at me, see what I can do?”

More prodding…

…more wriggling…

……more freaking star jumps.

Then, it was suggested that we try to take a look at the baby from a different angle.

I did not care for this new angle.

And apparently neither did Lumpy as the womb gymnastics continued, denying us the much needed money shot for the tests, measurements and picture which would have taken pride of place in my baby journal.

If FFOMC and I were engaged in competition over the issue I would definitely suggest that my genetics are winning right now.

Despite leaving the health centre without a picture of our beautiful, perfect baby, it was an amazing experience and what we did see will stay with us for the rest of our lives.

I have of course seen other people’s scans before, but nothing could have prepared me for seeing my own growing miracle. I fell in love with every shadow of its little spine and ribcage, FFOMC could not believe the clarity of the heart thumping rhythmically in it’s barely formed chest and when one little hand appeared on the screen, I had a lump in my throat.

I need to return for a second attempt at a scan in a few days, but while I will never have a record of this intimate and miraculous first sighting of my child, I will never forget the experience itself and the emotions I felt.