February, 2014

24 February
9

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Book two title and cover reveal, nursery furniture fun and birthday celebrations (not mine)…

I’ve been teasing you all for the last couple of months by keeping my lips sealed on the details surrounding my next novel – but this week I’ve been allowed to share the news that YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I WANT will be published 22nd May 2014 – AND I’ve revealed its fabulous cover which has been illustrated by the very talented Sarah Gibb (the same lady who designed the cover for BILLY AND ME). I love it and hope you do too. Although you’ll have to wait a few months to get your mitts on it, it is available to pre-order now. Whoop!

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Something else equally as thrilling happened this week… the furniture for Crumb’s nursery has arrived from Boori. We decided to go for their Eton collection in white. Why? Because it’s blooming gorgeous and looks like it’ll last for a very long time!

I’ve heard so many funny / worrying / stressful sounding accounts of mums and dads attempting to put up nursery furniture and certain pieces taking over six hours to do, but luckily for us (mostly for Tom because I totally would’ve lost my cool and been a little stresshead as I told him what I thought he was doing wrong) Boori offer a white glove service. So the two lovely men who delivered the pieces also stayed to put it all up… in LESS THAN AN HOUR! Wow. I know they’re used to doing it, but surely that’s some kind of record?!

I then spent the day sitting in the nursery looking at it all and thinking through all the different ways it should be laid out – we had planned a set up in our heads, but it wasn’t quite right. After making Tom move pieces around for a few hours, I’m now very happy with how it looks and have even started filling the wardrobe and draws with baby bits. I’ll post some proper pictures of that once the room’s closer to being complete.

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We also had a rather unproductive shopping trip this week to buy curtains for that room. At the moment there are blinds in there, but we’d like some curtains over the top to make it prettier and keep daylight out (you know, what people normally buy curtains for). The neutral designs were too plain and the colourful ones swayed more to Crumb being a girl or boy – so, we’re going to wait until we know Crumb’s gender. Crumb will be in with us at nighttime for the first few months anyway, so there’s no rush… but if you have any recommendations on where to buy some, please contact me on here or Twitter! A plus side to the trip was looking at all the baby clothes in John Lewis… Tom has decided that, if Crumb’s a boy, they’ll be wearing matching outfits as much as possible… funnily enough, I can imagine Tom in a babygrow.

The week ended with two lots of birthday celebrations – first up it was time to drive to Essex to celebrate my little brother Mario turning 26 with the rest of the Falcone gang and his stand-in-lover Charlie. We had a scrummy dinner at Alec’s (I wore a beautiful blue dress from Seraphine) and nattered away for hours. I do love a family catch up!

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We then drove all the way back to West London to go bowling with the Mcfamily to celebrate Mrs Izzy Judd turning 30 with a bunch of her lovely friends. I don’t think picking up large, heavy balls and chucking them at great speed (yes, I’m usually that good) is recommended for pregnant ladies, but Tom let me have one of his goes using the big metal device I remember using as a kid… I got no pins down. Ah well… I was happy to watch everyone else get competitive while I sipped on a strawberry milkshake… or two. The highlight of the night for me was seeing Harry not win at something for once – in fact he drew with Izzy. Needless to say we all reveled in (and made the most of) his misery – I’m sure it’s not going to become a regular occurrence!

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Other than that I’ve been working my butt off on promo for YOU’RE THE ONE THAT I WANT. I only have a week left until I’m meant to start maternity leave – but, seeing as I pick and choose my hours, it’ll be interesting to see how long I leave it before I get working again. I have said that March is the start of ‘me time’ though – so I’m sure things will really calm down. Obviously I’ll still be here and sharing my riveting thoughts on life… You can expect more pictures of cake and cats as I’ll have more time for my girlfriends or chilling with Leia and Aurora on the sofa.

The only annoying part of the week is that I’ve started experiencing some pain in my hips. It’s perfectly normal and is just everything stretching and softening – but I shall be making the most of bossing Tom around a little bit more. Ha!

Right, best get cracking on my last official week of work before Crumb arrives! Let’s see how much I can cram in!

Have a great week everyone!

Love, Gi. Xx

P.S. A huge congratulations to my sister-in-law Carrie for winning a What’s On Stage award for her takeover for the role of Eponine in Les Mis. She’s flipping amazing and the most talented girl in the world. I’m very proud.

17 February
19

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A whole lot of L-O-V-E…

Hello you gorgeous lot!

One topic seemed to dominate the majority of this week – VALENTINE’S DAY! I love the romance of it all, of course I do – I’m a chicklit author, therefore, it’s instilled in me to like anything remotely gooey and sentimental – however, I couldn’t help but be reminded of how I felt at school whenever the day was looming. I was always full of nerves and worry over whether I’d receive a Valentine’s card or not – had the boy I liked noticed me? Did I have any secret admirers? The answer to both these questions, time and time again, was NO! No card, no single red rose and certainly no chocolates (let’s be frank, the chocolates were the bit I wanted the most). Booooo!

Like most girls I was left feeling unloved, unpopular and disappointed with life. So, if I could, I’d like to tell my younger self that it’s okay not to be receiving flowers and chocolates from some equally spotty teenager. One day you’ll be receiving a whole heap of love every day of the year from your special someone… and not just because a certain date in the calendar told him to do so. Top tip from me to you, younger me, never date a guy who only makes you feel loved one day a year. Got it?! Once a year is not enough.

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Having said that – I must point out that next month’s Pancake Day (it’s happening in March this year… March?!) really does excite me as a stand alone date in my diary. It’s the one day of the year I can stuff my face with pancakes and Nutella without feeling an ounce of guilt. Heaven!

So, back to this Valentine’s day – the one where I have a great husband and a little human growing in my tummy… First off we decided to film us covering Nat King Cole’s L-O-V-E as a little Valentine’s treat. Once that was completed and posted online we curled up in our PJs for a quiet night in with a Chinese takeaway and a chickflick – we opted for About Time. Ah, I sobbed. A lot. Did I mention we also munched our way through the biggest box of chocolates ever? Yummy…

Also this week…

— Me and my dad put together our first piece of flat-pack furniture for Crumb – a bedside crib called a Snuzpod from The Little Green Sheep. I’ve never done this sort of task with my dad before, but we managed to do it relatively quickly and without too much confusion (it’s simple as long as you stick to the instructions and don’t go guessing where things go). So Crumb now has a bed in our bedroom so that he/she can be with us for the first few months. Not only that, but it can actually attach to our bed and one of its sides zip down so that I can just stare at Crumb while he/she sleeps. Hurrah!

snuzpod

— My Orchid plant has come back to life! My lovely friend Izzy bought me this before we got married and (after gloating that it was the first plant I’d been able to keep alive) it started to look a little sad over Christmas – but look at it now! This might seem crummy news to you, but seeing as I’m about to bring a real life human into the world (who will rely on me to keep him/her feed, watered and clean), the knowledge that I haven’t killed this plant off and have been able to nurture it back to good health is highly encouraging!

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— On a less encouraging note – I burnt my ear while trying to curl my hair. Major buzzkill! I’m not a very girlie girl (I was more of a tom boy growing up) and this is just proof that I suck at beautifying… Ouchie!

— I’ve been asking friends (as well as you guys) what baby products they recommend and I’ve been told a lot about Aden + Anais’ swaddles and muslins… well, I was instantly won over as soon as I saw their use of colour and fun prints. I now have a bunch of them!

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— This week I’ve been slightly overwhelmed with the fact that in a matter of weeks me and Tom are going to be part of a three… and that we’ll never again be the little twosome that we have been for over ten years. I don’t know why it’s started to sink in now – maybe because we’re getting far more organised and the due date is getting closer. With only six weeks to go it’s all getting very REAL! Yes, I know, the bump should’ve totally given me that realisation weeks ago – I’ve just been slow on the uptake!

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— We’ve also been to see our lovely doctor for another scan. All is good. Apparently the baby’s head is very low… I think Crumb is checking out his/her escape route. Ha!

Hope you all have a fabulous week!

Love Gi. Xx

09 February
8

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Trying to find a local bump activity…

As soon as our baby announcement video hit YouTube (and our secret was out) I set about finding ways of having bump fun in my local area. I couldn’t wait to get started. I’d heard and read loads about Aqua Natal, Pregnancy Yoga and a whole host of other wonderful sounding things but they all seemed to take place at least a 45minute drive away. But a quick search on Google led me to discover the Lazy Daisy chain – classes which incorporate a little movement, breathing techniques and a whole heap of relaxation (and you all know how much I love that).

So over the last few months I’ve been joining some lovely bump wearing humans in a local church hall, being taught by the energetic Beth (she cycles to each class) – and it’s been great. I would say that meeting the mummies has actually been a mega bonus that I’d never thought about before – it’s nice to be able to talk all things pregnancy without feeling like you’re boring the pants off someone (I seriously started to feel sorry for my life-long friends – I know I used to talk about normal things, not just topics like ‘Did you know you poo when you give birth?’).

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I’m enjoying my weekly bump indulgence and, as there are classes up and down the country, I thought I’d ask Julie Long, the founder of Lazy Daisy, some questions on how the classes came about and what new mums can expect from them. Check out my chat with her below.

Also this week…

· My hands and feet have started to sweat an obscene amount… it’s not pretty, it’s quite slippy.

· Crumb’s room has been PAINTED! Hurrah! We’re now waiting for the carpet to be replaced and the furniture to arrive – then we’ll go about adding the final touches and making it even prettier.

· Our cat Leia gave blood and saved another cat’s life! She’s on the donor list at the RVC and we get a call every few months when another cat is poorly and in need of a blood transfusion. As cat blood can’t be stored it means we usually try to get Leia there as soon as we can if possible. If you have a cat I strongly suggest you look into how they can become a little life saver!

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· My page proofs have been completed! Hurrah! Book two can now go to the printers once the title and cover are confirmed (I’ll post more on that in the coming weeks). I also had some of team Penguin over to film some promo pieces for it (lots of laughter and me talking about cake… as normal), AND I had a very exciting meeting about my future at Penguin. I originally signed a two-book deal, so now that those two books have been delivered it was time to address the big question – ‘What’s coming next?’ Well, the answer is a whole lot more writing! Good times!

· Maternity clothing brand Isabella Oliver (worn by the likes of Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Garner) launched a new collection and kindly sent me some samples to try on and review. The autumn/winter collection was warm and snuggly, and in contrast the spring/summer collection is mostly light and breezy – just what I expect bump-wearing humans need during the hot weather. There are floaty maxi dresses and a whole heap of new patterns and pastel shades – as well as some funky darker pieces using leather (sexy mumma!). Another exciting service the brand have launched (which fits in nicely to my own experience of going out to find maternity wear – don’t bother, just stay at home on your sofa with a cuppa and some biscuits) is eStylist – where you can get one to one styling advice over webcam or via email. Seeing as us preggers ladies have new bodies to contend with (all sorts of lumps, bumps and squidgy bits), getting a bit of expert advice sure sounds like a welcome treat!

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For all the new mums out there, here’s my chat with the lovely Julie.

1. What made you start up the Lazy Daisy chain?

Gosh where do I begin? Well I gave birth to baby number 3 (Georgie) in November 2002 and it quickly became apparent, that even though I needed an income, normal work was no longer viable due to the cost of childcare. I needed to find something which fitted around family, but also something which made me ‘want’ to work; something which was worthwhile leaving my babies for…

I used my training in massage, yoga, hypnosis for birth and therapies to start teaching weekly classes and the demand was clear – particularly in our town, which is a real commuter belt. Mummies needed this! The classes expanded from 8 women to 250, then to accredited training (with Federation of Antenatal Educators and IPTI in 2009) and then into a network of teachers, mums like me, all with the same initial desire that I had!

2. What do you hope Mums will gain from joining the classes?

The knowledge that whilst we can’t guarantee how their birth will play out on the day (only mother nature can do that), what we can guarantee is that they will feel more confident and powerful and ready to ride those waves! Daisy is about finding your inner birthing mojo!

ALL mummies can benefit from this – whatever birth journey they are planning. Active Birthing to us (or as I call it relaxed-active birthing as some of our moves of positions are so subtle mum could be resting!) is about actively being part of your journey and feeling okay with that… Like a surfer who wants those big waves (contractions) to come because of the exhilaration they bring, even though they can seem a bit intimidating. Even the most experienced surfer will get hit in the face by those waves now and again and get pulled into the water – the key is though, to know how to regain control and get back on the board. To embrace the waves, so you are carried along rather than trying to hold them at bay and being knocked down by them.

3. I’ve had lots of tweets from all over the country about Lazy Daisy classes – but I realise now that the classes are worldwide (incredible). How many areas are now covered by your teachers and were you surprised by how the company has grown?

Yes I know, I still have to pinch myself – how did all this happen! We have over 130 UK teachers (including Northern Ireland) and in Feb 2012 I was so privileged to go over to Australia to train our Aussie team. I loved sitting outside the Opera House in Sydney leading training on the grass!

4. If you could give one piece of advice to soon-to-be mums, what would it be?

Just one – Gi that is too cruel…. OK the one piece of advice I’d give is understand that every birth journey is precious and amazing. And however yours plays out on the day, it is something to be proud of, even if your ‘birth sat nav’ took you on a different route to the one you expected.

Can I have one more? If you remember one thing – breathe!!! Your uterus will work so much better if it is fuelled with oxygen. If you can remember another – rotate!!! Here at Daisy we are known for the saying ‘rotate to dilate’. Quite literally this will fuel your uterus and ensure baby connects with your cervix with a nice even pressure, aiding your contractions and dilation.

Julie is super enthusiastic and loves helping new mums. I certainly recommend looking up classes in your area if you’re a mum in the making. Even just meeting other women in the same situation can be a comfort.

And finally… Tom’s home after being away for a week with the McBusted boys. YAY! Sounds like they’ve had a bit of a crazy health week (including the downing of pints of special saltwater which is meant to detox your insides). Rather them than me! Time to go so that he can give me and bump some love!

Have a great week!

Gi. Xx

03 February
7

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Birthday Treats and Baby Shower Love!

Hello my lovely readers – how nice of you to join me once again!

As I predicted last week, this week has been a busy one – not only did I celebrate my twenty-ninth birthday (that’s right, I’m now in the final year of my twenties – no idea how that happened), I also got shown a whole lot of love by some of the special ladies in my life. Yes – it was baby shower time! But let’s start with my birthday…

First stop of the day was to see Crumb in another scan. As is a regular theme with Crumb these days, he/she refused to give us a good glimpse of their face. It’s starting to look a little cramped in there as Crumb is growing some meat on his/her bones. The best bit was seeing Crumb battle with hiccups. So cute and meant I didn’t mind not seeing facial features – besides, I’d rather not force Crumb into a position that he/she doesn’t want to go into… I don’t want to become a pushy mum already. Ha!

birthday cake

For my birthday dinner Tom spoilt me with a trip to Hawksmoor for my favourite meal… STEAK! It was blooming delicious and I highly recommend checking the restaurant out – the baby ribs starter is also ridiculously good (okay, I’m dribbling now and I haven’t even mentioned the two cupcakes I ate in the afternoon… or the fry-up we ate for breakfast). Our feast was followed by a trip to the Royal Albert Hall to see Cirque Du Soleil’s Quidam, which was, as always, edge of my seat viewing.

On the morning of my baby shower I was banished to my room while my sister Giorgina (head organiser – she did a flipping amazing job), my family and Tom prepared downstairs for an afternoon of baby fun. After faffing over what to wear (I decided on a floral number from New Look), I eventually joined them all to discover our lounge had been beautified with lovely bunting, fluffy paper decorations and enough food to feed the 5000 – not only had my family all cooked, but there were also yummy cupcakes from Hummingbird Bakery and the most amazing cake I’ve seen from Symphony In Sugar. Arranged by my brother Mario, the cake was shaped and decorated to look like a baby’s bag (full of essentials) with a cute poem for Crumb attached – I’ve never seen anything like it.

cake

The afternoon was kicked off by Giorgina prompting us all to choose a drink with either a pink or blue straw (depending on our predictions for Crumb’s sex), we were rather surprised to find the majority of us went for blue! A few of our friends are sure me and Tom know – but I can assure you, we don’t! There’s no way we’d be able to keep it quiet if we did.

Then the gifts were given (I was truly gobsmacked at people’s generosity – so very thoughtful) and the games commenced. Giorgina had complied a list of Mr & Mrs type questions, but they were all baby themed. Having conferred with Tom she had a list of all his answers… luckily I matched quite a few of them. Then the best game ever got underway – in pairs everyone had to design a bib using fabric pens…. The task was taken very seriously and, needless to say, Crumb is going to have a whole mountain of nice bibs to wear!

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Ooh, and then people had to guess the circumference of my bump using a piece of string… the smallest estimate was 51.5inches, the largest was 66inches… It’s currently sitting at 44inches! I’m not sure whether to be thankful that I’m not as big as they expected or mortified. Haha!

It was so lovely to spend the afternoon with great people, sipping on Shloer (there was so much, it looks like I have shares in the company) and talking babies… it sure did put a smile on my face. In fact, I smiled so much I got a pain at the back of my head – does anyone else get that from smiling too much? No? Just me? Weird.

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Also this week…

· My page proofs for book two were delivered, so I’ve been back at my desk (accompanied by my new ‘G’ lamp – birthday present from Tom) reading the whole thing and checking I haven’t left in any silly mistakes. If you buy this book and find any do NOT let me know – just pretend you didn’t notice any. Ha!

· The nursery has been started on! Yay! Our trusted handymen Jorge and Pedro have stripped the walls and plastered up the holes – next week the walls will be painted. The two paints we decided to go for are called Biscuit Crumb (as if we could resist picking that when we saw the name) and Snug As A Bug. Tom actually used both these colours in a painting of Mickey Mouse that he’s done for the room. I know… he really is selfish having all these talents – seriously, share them out, dude!

· I read a book! Yes, believe it or not, reading other people’s creations happens to be part of my job, so this week I tucked into The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. Jeeeeeeeeez… I did not see that ending coming and was totally hooked from the start!

· I found one of the best inventions ever… I’ve been a bit worried about bathing Crumb when Tom’s away as the sides of our baths are really high and I’ve had loads of people tell me not to bother with baby baths and just use the kitchen sink instead… Well, after a little research on the internet I came across a creation called Blooming Bath – a flower-shaped bath pillow that your baby sits in while in the sink. Ah, I fell in love and ordered a sunflower straight away! Fingers crossed it’s as good as it looks!

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Right, I’d better get back to proof reading!

Have a lovely week guys and gals!

Gi. Xx

P.S. I just want to wish a big Happy Birthday to theatre company Paines Plough – they celebrated their forty years this week by announcing a whole heap of new writing they’ll be touring the country with. Go to their website and check out where you can see their amazing work!

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