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18 April
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Buzz Has Started Nursery…

We’ve talked about sending Buzz to nursery for months after realising he would really benefit from having more interaction with other children. Back in September when we were in Sardinia for my sister’s wedding it was wonderful seeing him play and share with the other little ones there. He was naturally drawn to them and incredibly intrigued by everything they did and said. So whilst we know he’s been learning loads from us and his Nanna there’s no denying going to nursery a couple of times a week will broaden his social skills and help him with his overall development. I’ll have to admit that we’ve really dragged our heels on the matter, however, now that he’s two and is slightly more independent and capable we’ve decided it is the time to make a change.

We found a gorgeous little nursery near us where there’s a huge emphasis on outdoor play, something that really resonated with us as Buzz loves being outdoors. So we signed him up for one full day and one morning a week. This week he’s had his settling in sessions and it’s been heartbreaking. We’ve all cried. He absolutely loves it when he’s there, but that initial moment when we walk away and leave him is overwhelmingly crushing. Something I’ve had thousands of mums and dads also confessing to on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Following me posting a picture of Tom mid weep this week (he’d just done the drop off) I was asked what we found so difficult about it… Well, it’s simple. Every day when we drop Buzz off we’re handing over responsibility of one of the most precious things in ours lives to someone else. It also symbolises the fact that our little man is growing up. I’m deeply proud of how he’s handled such a big change and can’t wait to see how he thrives from his time at nursery. Go Buzz!

Also this week…

– We went to Disney on Ice. Yes, it’s all about Buzz this week as me and Tom took Buzz to Wembley (along with my brother Mario) to watch their Silver Anniversary show. As it was a press event there was a little party beforehand where Mickey and Minnie came out to say hello to the children. Buzz walked straight into Minnie’s arms for a cuddle and was in utter awe of them both. He then managed to stay awake and sit on Tom’s lap with his eyes glued to the ice for the whole show. Safe to say he had an amazing time.

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– I was back on Lorraine! I was super happy to be on that sofa once again and reunited with the team. I’m still technically off on maternity leave (hahahahaaaa… What’s that?) but we’re conjuring up plans for my proper return. I can’t wait to start having more fun with them.

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Have a fab week!

Big love!

Gi. Xx

11 April
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Time to Stop Sugar-coating!

Yes, the time has come to go back to cutting out the sweet stuff. I’ve been eating far too much lately (thanks to the excuse of being pregnant, having given birth and then Easter) and now feel the need to regain some control. I’m a total binge eater when it comes to sugar. Not only that, but I’m a secret eater too. As soon as I’m left on my own next to the cupboards I have a bit of a scoff… it’s terrible. That being said, I usually find it easy to cut things out when I decide I’ve been too much of a pig. I’m also trying to cut out dairy and gluten as well as caffeine and alcohol (not that I have much of those two anyway). I haven’t had any headaches or been finding it difficult so far. Although there are some fabulous cookbooks out there from the likes of Deliciously Ella and Hemsley Hemsley, so it’s easy to find tasty alternatives.

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I know how addictive sugar can be. I also think that as a society we are far more aware of nutrition than our parents were when bringing us up, which is one of the reasons we rarely give Buzz anything containing refined white sugar. I know he’ll eat more as he grows up and starts nursery and school, but at the moment we’re in control and can make certain decisions for him. It’s funny because I can remember reading about a celeb mum banning her children from sugar and thinking she was incredibly cruel… Now I understand a little more, although I’m not that strict. If we’re out at an event and there’s a cake or some chocolate he’d be allowed to have some – I just won’t be offering it to him daily at home… not yet. My main aim is to just encourage a healthy relationship with food and raise happy children!

Also this week…

– I started to actually write something that I’ve been planning and talking about for years. It’s exciting to be getting stuck into new characters, although having Buddy around is certainly making the process a little slower than normal.

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– BILLY AND ME has been published in the USA! Whoop whoop! My debut novel will always hold a special place in my heart, so I’m thrilled it’s about to attract a whole new readership.

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That’s it from me this week… Other than being good and getting creative we’ve just been enjoying Buddy’s first smiles and family life. Special times!

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Big love to you all,

Gi. Xx

04 April
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Six Weeks Later…

Six weeks after bringing Buddy into the world, following an incredibly short and intense labour, it was time to go back to the midwifery and physiotherapy team at the hospital for a little check up. Everything’s absolutely fine (although I’ve had a stern reminder to continue safely with my core exercises and not to forget about the ever famous pelvic floor), but being with those incredibly kind and supportive women brought back exactly how special both my deliveries have been.

We’re told too often about the fear, pain and agony of childbirth… What that does is scare us all beyond belief, so we go into hospital already expecting the worst. Choosing to practise hypnobirthing was the best decision I could’ve made in relation to my pregnancies and I’m forever recommending it to people. I felt incredibly empowered after each delivery and want others to be able to experience that. Obviously it’s not for everyone and with the best of intentions it doesn’t always go according to plan, but a little bit of calmness and positivity can go a long way, especially in that situation.

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We’re slowly getting used to juggling life as a foursome now. Each day feels calmer and more settled… Although as I write this I’m manically tapping wood – we all know the wonderful thing about parenthood is that just when you think you’ve got a grip on things something happens to blow it all apart and cause the chaos to start again. Eek! For now though, all is well. We’re all sleeping, eating and I’m managing to have a shower every morning… any parent of a newborn knows this is quite a victory!

Also this week…

– I’ve been working on the page proofs for my next novel ALWAYS WITH LOVE, which is a sequel to my debut novel BILLY AND ME. I always enjoy page proofs as they’re essentially one final read of my work before it gets printed and put onto shelves in bookshops and supermarkets. I really enjoyed reading and highlighting a few changes I’d like made… fingers crossed my readers will enjoy revisiting my characters Sophie and Billy as much as I have.

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– Tom’s Nan and Granddad had a big family meal to celebrate sixty years of marriage… SIXTY YEARS! What an achievement. It’s crazy to look around at that big family of daughters, son-in-laws, grandchildren and great grandchildren, and note it all started with one meeting of two wonderful people. Family is such a special thing. I hope I’m lucky enough to experience what they have in my lifetime. Congratulations Joan and Ken

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Big love!

Gi. Xx

21 March
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The Wonder that is Soft Play…

Near where I grew up in Essex there was a place called Fairlop Waters which had the most incredible adventure playground filled with vertical drop slides, tunnels, ball pits, climbing frames – all wrapped in soft mats and padded out to the max to prevent us from injuring ourselves too badly. It was bonkers and I loved it. There was nothing quite like running around that padded warehouse for children and experiencing the rush of adrenaline that came with it…

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Well, this week the time finally came for Buzz to embrace the joy of soft play. I think we’ve always been worried about taking him to one in case he hurt himself but he’s two now and having Buddy has made us see just how capable and robust our little man is. Plus, he’s actually quite tall for his age, so bigger than most of the other children we found in there anyway.

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Buzz loved it. Absolutely loved it. He flew around the place with confidence and ease – and he even managed to make a friend or two along the way. I felt an odd sense of pride as I watched him. At first we followed him around (trying to negotiate my way through the rollers was fun – thankfully I made it) but eventually he ran off on his own. We still watched him like hawks, but it was wonderful to see him having such fun with children his own age. That was the start of his soft play adventure and I have to say I’m looking forward to even more if it… I secretly love going down the slides and running around like a child. I’m still hoping ITV will bring back Fun House one day but for adults. If and when it does I’m going to be begging to go in there, but until then I’ll have to make do with following Buzz around one made for toddlers!

Also this week, I revealed the cover for my spanking new book ALWAYS WITH LOVE. It was designed by Sarah Gibb, the same artist who’s worked on all of my novels, and I love it! I can’t wait for you all to read the next instalment of Sophie and Billy’s love story. Apparently there’s only 72 days to go until publication day… how very exciting!

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Oooh, and Spring has arrived! Hurrah!

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Big love,

Gi. Xx

14 March
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What a Month it’s Been!

Let’s start with the huge news – Buddy Bob Fletcher arrived after a very quick and intense labour in the early hours of 16th February. We were literally only in hospital an hour when he shot out and we decided to go home the same day. My own bed was calling, but mostly I think we were too excited to introduce Buddy to his big brother Buzz. It was such a special moment for us – although for the first ten minutes Buzz just ran around without paying him too much attention. His grandparents were over, it was slightly later than his bedtime and I think he was just excited. But, all of a sudden he noticed Buddy, ran over to kiss and cuddle him – and that’s largely what he’s been like since. He’s always trying to kiss him and now says ‘Buddy, hold it’ so that we’ll sit Buddy on his lap. It’s funny, I thought I loved Buzz to maximum capacity, but seeing him around his little brother has created this new outpouring of love towards him. It’s simply beautiful and I know it’s going to get even better as time goes on and their bond grows.

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Buddy is a little dreamboat and is sleeping and feeding well – both things Buzz was pants at in the early days. I was prepared for the chaos to commence but it’s actually been fairly calm. Obviously it’s manic because we also have a toddler, but having a newborn is far easier than I remember it being first time round. I think a large part of that is because my own recovery was a lot simpler (I didn’t get an infection – whoop) and because I allowed myself to rest.

A few weeks ago I had my first Mother’s Day as mummy to two boys. To celebrate we went to a local restaurant with both our families. Not only that, but I’d been voted icelolly.com’s Celebrity Mum of the Year – something I’m extremely flattered by as it’s voted for by the public. It’s always lovely to feel supported, so thank you to everyone who voted.

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Eleven days after Buddy was born I received some insensitive comments from another woman about still having my ‘mummy tummy’. I posted a picture of my tummy along with a few words about the incident and then thanked my body for being a walking miracle and giving me the gift of two sons. I posted it in a moment of realisation and had no idea that it would cause such a stir. The post has been shared thousands of times on Facebook and the comments I’ve received have been so heartwarming. Some women added their own stories with their post-partum bodies, while others joined me in celebrating them. It seems to create a real talking point and I was thrilled to spread a little positivity on the subject.

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The final bit of huge news is that our big little man Buzz turned TWO this weekend. It’s amazing how able he seems these days, something that became even more apparent when we brought Buddy home. Buzz turning two stirred up a mixture of emotions within me. My little boy is growing up and becoming even more independent by the day. He’s such a funny little thing and he has the biggest heart with so much love to give… I feel like a very lucky mummy!

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Thank you for all the tweets, Instagram and Facebook messages over the last month. It’s been a very special time in our lives.

Big love,

Gi. Xx

08 February
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Final preparations!

As you may well know already, I had a fantastic hypnobirthing experience when I gave birth to Buzz. While I know no two labours are the same, I’m eager to be filled with the same positivity and calmness this time round. So Hollie De Cruz from London Hypnobirthing came over this weekend for a little top up session. It was so gorgeous. Me and Tom both fell asleep on the sofa – that’s how relaxed we were.

The hospital bag is finally packed and ready to go. I know lots of people worry about what to take and what to leave behind, but I think the whole thing is very personal to the individual. I know I seriously over-packed last time – it’s near impossible to leave anything behind when you think it might be the tiniest bit useful during the life-changing event of bringing new life into the world!

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This time, however, I’ve been a bit more restrained. With that in mind, I made a little video over on YouTube sharing the details of what’s in my special bag and have decided to reveal a list of those items on here too in the hope that it might inspire or make someone else’s packing a bit easier! Important to note that I don’t think this list will be right for everyone. Also, the only things we need to take for the baby is their going home outfit as the hospital we’re going to provide everything else during our stay – so if you do use this list don’t forget your nappies and other baby essentials!

A list of my list:

In my vanity case (to be used throughout my hospital stay):

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Ogx Brazilian Keratin shampoo and conditioner, Dove Purely Pampering nourishing body wash, Dove deodorant, Salt of the earth stick, Batiste dry shampoo, Caudalié beauty elixir spray, Champneys Blissful Bump body oil and moisturizer, disposable razor (in case I feel the need to be silky smooth at any point), Burt’s Bees squeezable beeswax lip balm, two Oral-B pulsar toothbrushes, Colgate toothpaste, Tangle teezer hairbrush, head band, hair bands (multiple in case they snap – they always do when it’s important), Nelsons’ Arnica tablets, Lansinoh nipple cream.

Snacks:

2 x Naked bars, Nairns cheese oatcakes, Dr Karg’s crackers, Kinder Choco-bons, Jelly Babies, Lindt Hazelnut dark chocolate, 4 x Bounce balls, Dextro energy tablets.

For Labour:

Baggy t-shirt, Moontide bikini (basically so old it’s now vintage), hospital notes, hypnobirthing book by Katharine Graves (I’ll read parts of it when I’m not listening to Hollie De Cruz’s hypnobirthing MP3s), havaianas flip flops, tens machine, mini fan, essential oils.

Once the baby is born:

2 x Mamalicious PJs (both good for breastfeeding), Jack Wills dressing gown, Medela nipple shields (they worked wonders last time), Boots maternity pads, Lansinoh breast pads, 5 x Jojo Maman Bébé knickers (no one should be made to wear disposable knickers), Jojo Maman Bébé nursing bra, Bravado maternity bra, socks.

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Going home:

Topshop shirt dress (nice and baggy), Isabelle Oliver maternity leggings, chunky cardigan, boots, socks, two outfits for baby – two sleepsuits, two vests, two hats, one knitted cardigan, snowsuit, Bugaboo wool blanket, Maxi-Cosi car seat, 2 swaddles (one from Aden and Anais, the other from Buttermilk), 3 muslins (from Marks and Spencer), a bit of olive oil (put a tiny bit on your baby’s bottom once they’re born and it’ll make the first nappy change soooo much easier).

Yet to pack:

Make up bag, laptop and charger, phone chargers, camera and chargers…

And this is all packed in a lovely bag from Tiba + Marl.

I think that’s everything I’ll need, although I know the longer I remain pregnant the more I’ll be packing in. Haaaaaa…

Also this week:

…I went along to support CoppaFeel!’s bobbball event at the Copper Box Arena. Tom and my brother Mario were both playing at the event, but I obvious had to sit out and watch. I loved it. I’ve never seen a game played before and had no idea on the rules beforehand, but the disco theme that accompanied it caused a grin to be plastered on my face throughout. It was so funny. I hope the ladies at CoppaFeel! repeat the event next year, as I’d love to play!

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…We finally met baby Lola, who is a little beauty. It was so lovely to see Harry and Izzy in their wonderful little newborn bubble. With Buzz around, I don’t think our house will have quite the same relaxed atmosphere when Sprout arrives!

Sending you all lots of love,

Gi. Xx

01 February
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Celebrating my birthday and getting ready for baby No. 2!

This week I was proud to support Young Carer’s Awareness Day along with many others (it was mentioned on every daytime TV show on Thursday). I was shocked when I saw some of the statistics surrounding the topic. For instance, there are approximately 700,000 young people in the UK who are caring for family members. Some of them are as young as five or six, and a large proportion of them dedicate around 50hours of care a week…

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They could be looking after a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems. It’s difficult to fathom the range of challenges that these young people might have to deal with on a daily basis.

But that’s not all. Research by Carers Trust suggests that two thirds of these young carers are bullied at school, that 48% are stressed, and that, on average, they miss 48 days of school a year due to their roles at home. That’s almost 10 weeks spent away from their education. Shocking, right?

When I think back to my childhood I see that I had a carefree upbringing. Yes, I dealt with horrible bullying from a handful of spiteful girls, but on the whole I know my upbringing was filled with love and laughter. It saddens me to know that so many young people in the UK aren’t able to just enjoy themselves due to responsibilities well beyond their years.

Carers Trust are hoping to provide these young heroes with the support and guidance they need to ensure that they are able to thrive and enjoy their childhoods, just like their peers. So, if you know of or are a young carer, then people visit www.babble.carers.org for more information on how they can help.

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Also this week…

…The Judds welcomed baby Lola! Yes, a huge congratulations to my wonderful friends Izzy and Harry on the safe arrival of their little girl. We’ve yet to meet the little darling as our house has been full of colds, but that’ll change this week. I can’t wait for a cuddle.

…We had another baby scan. Seeing as Tom was ill for the last one and couldn’t come, we decided to go back and have one last look before meeting our approaching arrival. The weight is now approximately 6.5 and the head is extremely low. Perhaps this one will arrive before its due date like Buzz did, we’ll just have to wait and see! On that note, the hospital bag has finally been packed! Yes, that’s right. My essentials are no longer in a pile waiting to be sorted. We are now ready for that all important trip.

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…I turned 31! I honestly feel like my 30th was only yesterday. Crazy to think a whole year has past since then. This year celebrations were nice and chilled. Well, I am 36 weeks pregnant. On the actual day Tom cooked us all waffles before I treated myself to some reflexology. Then Tom took me and Buzz for some afternoon tea at Sopwell House. We don’t usually give Buzz that much cake, it’s something he just has on special occasions. However, he was loving the scones! Can’t say I blame him. They were delicious. The day was finished with an Indian takeaway while watching New Girl. Pretty perfect. We also went out this weekend with both of our families for a Sunday roast… Ha – just noticed that the majority of my birthday involved eating… Well, there are worse ways to spend it!

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Big love to you all,

Love an older-but-not-necessarily-wiser-Gi

Xx

25 January
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Handing My Book In, Date Night and Some Baby Shopping…

This week has been another busy one which ended with me deliriously sending over the latest edit of my fourth novel to my editors and agent. Hurrah! I can’t tell you how happy I was to finish and then read the whole thing back. The best bit is that I enjoyed what I read – so that’s good. It’s not finished yet though. I’m sure I’ll have some more notes to work, then the copy edit and page proofs. But getting this edit in is a huge step towards completing it, which I’m thrilled to have done this side of the baby arriving. Fingers crossed my team enjoy what I’ve created, but before I find out I have to endure the anxious wait that comes before feedback as I wait for them to read, discuss and get in touch… It’s an extremely nerve-wracking time. I can often feel like I’m back at school waiting to get grades back from an essay or something. It’s fun though. I’m glad the story is out there in its entirety for other people to read and ponder over. Writing can be lonely (except for the friends you’ve created and written into your story) so it’s nice to have some dialogue with real people once they know exactly where you’ve taken the story.
I have to lock myself away quite a bit when writing, so it’s been fantastic to be with my boys since sending the edit in. We haven’t done anything too exciting as the weather has been shocking – but we’ve been out and about a few times…
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On Tuesday night Tom and I were lucky enough to be invited along to the press night of Cirque Du Soleil’s AmaLuna at The Royal Albert Hall. Tom takes me to see their latest production every year around this time for my birthday (the 29th), so we’re already huge fans. I love the way the storytelling is performed in such an abstract and visual way. It’s always open to interpretation from the viewer – it’s more like art in that way. Amaluna is about a girl coming of age. It was truly breathtaking to see a story like that told through a set of unbelievable circus skills… What a cast!
We’ve also been to Mothercare and had a little shop for Sprout. Funnily enough I found a list of all the things we needed to get for Buzz, but this time round we have most of it anyway, so it was more a case of topping up on neutral clothing and getting some fresh sheets and bottles. Actually, Buzz did alright out of the trip as he’s updated his wardrobe too!
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My family came over for a roast and a walk. Yes, the simple things are the best. I feel really lucky to be able to have my family over and just chill out all together. I know life makes everyone busy, but it’s really important to us that we unite regularly – plus, I want them to build great bonds with Buzz. As much as technology is wonderful, nothing beats actual interaction!
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Enjoy your week!
Big love,
Gi. Xx
18 January
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Some pre-birth pampering!

Yes, with the arrival of baby number two fast approaching, this week I managed to squeeze in a bit of last minute pampering to help me feel nice and relaxed in the lead up!

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First up was a trip to Daniel Galvin in Kensington where James Galvin sorted out my barnet. To start with I had the Kérastase Fusio Dose treatment – two treatments mixed into one, which they’re able to tailor to the needs of your hair. I’d said I wanted to inject a bit of volume but also take out the frizz… The treatment was quick and simple and lasts for up to five washes, so I should feel the benefits for a couple of weeks. Then it was time for James to give my hair a good old cut, which it really needed! I always think my hair is fine until I go into a hairdresser’s, then I see what a state it’s actually in. But James really sorted me out by cutting a few inches off. It looks great. Funny to see how much hair I lost with Buzz as its all growing back now and is only about four or five inches long. I thought I’d only lost it from the front of my hairline, but those baby hairs are growing everywhere. Obviously baby number two will arrive very soon and it’ll all start falling out again – Not that I’m complaining! For now, though, I have fabulous hair! Hurrah!

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Secondly, for Christmas Tom treated me to Champneys Blissful Bump trilogy of treatments which consists of a massage, facial and pedicure. I fell asleep during the facial and almost dribbled all over my therapist (she was lovely and has an eleven week old baby at home). I was soooo relaxed and felt reenergised when I left. It’s another little pre-birth pamper I’d highly recommend others treat themselves to if possible.

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Besides my having some ‘me time’ this week I’ve also been extremely productive. I’ve washed all of the neutral baby clothes we still have from Buzz when he was a newborn (I’ve allowed myself to let go of the stained items that are too grubby to reuse) and we’ve finally brought down the Snuzpod so that it’s back in our room. We still haven’t packed the hospital bag yet, but I’ve started putting toiletries, PJs and other essential into a pile – so I’m almost there. Hopefully I’ll have it done by next week’s blog!

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I’ve also made huge progress with book four this week so I’m hoping I’ll be sending it off by the end of the week. I’ve just got to work on the ending and read it all through to make sure it works… Fingers crossed it does!

In fact, I’m off to write some more right now!

Big love,

Gi. Xx

11 January
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Back to work… and another baby scan!

This week has mostly been spent at my desk writing, which I’ve absolutely loved after having almost two weeks off. I felt so energized on Monday morning when I opened up the word document containing book four and started taping away at the keys… I think having some time away has done me and my creativity some good. I know I can sometimes just want to keep my head down and plough through regardless, but breathers can be just as beneficial as they allow you some clarity on what you’ve already worked on. Plus, you never really step away from a piece of unfinished work, but that little bit of space can really help piece moments together. Sometimes not having to think about something is the best way of thinking about it… it’s amazing how the mind works sometimes.

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The Fletcher bugs have continued this week (I’m getting extremely bored of them now) with Tom having a really bad cold and sore throat. My croaky husband was so bad in fact that he ended up missing out on our 32week growth scan at the hospital. He was gutted but we didn’t think it was fair him coming along with me to a place where there’d be other pregnant woman and little babies, so we thought it best his germs were confined to the house instead.

All was great with the scan. Sprout wouldn’t stop wriggling around which made it quite difficult for the man trying to do all the measurements – but he estimated that our impending arrival now weighs approximately five pounds! Buzz was only six three when he was born, but he was two and a half weeks early (he just couldn’t wait to arrive). Great to see Sprout is at a healthy weight already with his/her head really low – which is why I now need the loo constantly and am seriously waddling around.

Our families have just started giving their baby predictions on the sex, weight and arrival date – they all take the guessing game very seriously! I’ve said boy, 6.5 and the 9th Feb… but what do I know! The baby will decide when they’re ready and I’m really not fussed whether they’re a boy or girl. All I care is that they’re happy and healthy.

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Also this week…

…We’ve had new wardrobes built and painted! This might seem a tad trivial but it’s got me so excited as I’ll finally be able to start getting organised now there’s more space to put things. We’ve begun thinking about when to move Buzz into his new room too, but there’s no rush for that. The baby will be in with us for ages anyway. Plus, we don’t want too many changes to occur over a short period of time as I think it could make Buzz a little confused and fretful. So it’s much better that it’s spaced out so that we all have time to adjust.

…I had a moment of feeling like orphan Annie when I came across half a ‘best friend’ necklace and had no idea who had the other half. Yes, sadly I was missing my ‘Be Frie’. I think I’ve cracked the case now as there were only really a few possibilities, but the sight of it made me think back to my school days and the significance of these flimsy pieces of Argos jewellery used to carry. Years of being bullied in junior school left me with a longing to be accepted. Sharing one of these necklaces symbolized that I had been. On that note, I picked up a new best friend at every school I went to, and I’m so thankful for each of those girls for helping shape me into the person I am today. Cheesy, but true!

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…Our car got broken into! Yes, sadly we went out to find the driver’s door, boot, glove box and sunglasses hatch all open… There was no sign of a forced entry so they’ve obviously used some clever device to get in. Anyway, they were probably quite disgruntled when they started routing around in there and only found empty water bottles and Buzz’s wellies. We don’t normally keep anything in there – although they did manage to find Tom’s prescription sunglasses. Still, it could’ve been far worse and I’m just thankful none of us were put in any danger.

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Anyway, bit of a crummy start to the year for us and I can now feel myself getting Tom’s cold (watch out for another illness update next week), but I hope yours has been a tad more successful!

Big love,

Gi. Xx

Giovanna Fletcher

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