September, 2013

25 September
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How time flies…

My nan has always said to me ‘Laura, make the most of every minute, because the older you get. the faster the years fly by!’ She wasn’t wrong, because I can’t quite believe how quickly the last year has gone… I was so happy last weekend when Alex flew out to Spain to see me to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. He bought me a really thoughtful present too! The first year of marriage is represented by paper and Alex got me a beautiful leather notebook from Smythson that he had had personalised. It’s almost too nice to write in!

 

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We had a fantastic weekend in the sun and enjoyed some great food at one of our favourite restaurants near to the family apartment in San Pedro (near to Puerto Banus.) This was our last little trip abroad together before the little one arrive, and we can most definitely say we have made the most of our holidays this year. We have been lucky enough to visit some amazing places.

 

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This week I’m filming in Granada, in and around an interesting little town called ‘Guadix’ that is famous for its cave houses. Since joining A Place in the Sun two years ago, this was my first time visiting a cave house! Lots of people who live in them joke that they are like Fred and Wilma from The Flintstones, so I really didn’t know what to expect. Let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised, they are really cool in the summer and well-insulated for the winter. The ones that have been renovated are connected to mains utilities and they aren’t as dark as you would imagine either.

 

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Granada is currently one of the cheapest places to buy property in Spain. There are so many national parks around and, as we’ve been driving through them, the area feels very much like the Grand Canyon – the scenery is spectacular.

 

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When I return to the UK at the end of the week, it will be my last flight before I give birth, however I still have a few work commitments in the diary before my due date. Whilst I’ve been away, I’ve been getting various reports from people I met on my NCT course about how horrendous their labours were. I really feel for them but I’m trying not to take too much notice because I know everyone’s experience is different. In the last few days, I’ve also noticed that when I wake up in the morning my nipples are secreting a little bit of clear liquid. It’s not much and its not painful but I’m guessing over time it will get worse. Sorry if that’s too graphic, but I’m just trying to be as honest about my pregnancy experience as possible!

As much as I will be sad to finish filming in the sunshine at the end of this week (until I return next year), I’m really excited that, when I get back to the UK, I will be shopping to buy the final bits I need for the baby. I really wish I could buy lots of lovely cute clothes as there are some beautiful things out there, but its so hard when I don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl. I also have my final sessions of my hypnobirthing course and I am hoping to relax a little bit too!

I hope you enjoy the rest of the week. From sunny Granada its adios from me for now…

Laura xxx

18 September
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Hola from Spain!

Hi everyone,

It seems as though winter has now arrived in the UK, but this week my blog comes to you from a little town called Sabillinas (about 30 minutes drive west along the coast from Marbella) as I am filming a few episodes of the new series of A Place in the Sun. There are some great bargains to be snapped up on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain and it’s really interesting investigating what’s currently on offer. Some of the properties are as much as 50% cheaper than they were back in 2007, however it now seems as though (much like the UK housing market), things are starting to pick up.

The Costa del Sol is famous for its golf courses and we’ve had a lot of fun driving around in the golf buggies when we’ve been filming on them.

 

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The new series will on Channel 4 start next year.

After returning from a fantastic, relaxing holiday in Barbados, I had just two days in the UK before flying out to Spain. During my two days at home, after getting over the jet lag, Alex and I put together the furniture for the nursery (well, it was just a cot and a changing unit), which took us over 6 hours to build! Yes, you read that correctly, 6 hours… remember I said you need a degree for all this baby stuff! Having renovated 9 houses over the years, I’d like to think I’m pretty good at DIY but there were so many bits to put together the changing unit with drawers that it seemed to take forever. Nevertheless it looks fantastic and I can’t wait for you all to see what it looks like when we have a little photo shoot at home when the little one arrives.

We also took delivery of our pram! We decided to invest in two, which is going to make our lives a lot easier – one will be shared between both mine and Alex’s parents and the other one will be used by Alex and myself. We’ve chosen the Quinny Buzz (www.quinny.com) for our parents – it has a forward and rearward facing reclinable seat and at the touch of a button it unfolds automatically within seconds thanks to the unique patented gas spring . Hopefully it should be extremely easy for them. We are planning to use the ‘Out n About’ Nipper 360 single (www.outnabout.com) for us. It is lightweight, comes with a great bag for travelling, it has changeable wheels for different terrains, as well as a sun canopy and a UV cover which will also keep mosquitos out; all of which will be essential when filming abroad next year. The great thing about both of these prams is that they come with adapters so that the car seat can just be clipped in for ease. I was fortunate enough to have a little ‘pram lesson’ from Marie David from Out n About and I suggested that lessons should be offered as an option to everyone. I’m sure many new parents would appreciate it!

After speaking with a few people, it seems that getting two prams is a common thing to do and apparently the Maclaren is a popular pushchair for when people go abroad, so that is another option to look into further down the line.

 

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I’m now 32 weeks pregnant and I really cant believe how quickly time has gone. As well as occasional heart burn that I suffer with, I sometimes get an acid taste in my mouth. I’ve also started to get cramp in my calves at random times of the day. Apparently there is no explanation for this, which isn’t particularly helpful. One thing for sure is that it is not pleasant at all! Filming in the sunshine is absolutely lovely but it is hard work and it’s definitely not a holiday – although, saying that, it is pretty nice in between filming breaks that I get to dip my feet in swimming pools at apartment complexes – it eases the cramp! It’s pretty tricky getting a decent night’s sleep in different hotel beds though when you are pregnant but a good tip is to ask for extra pillows to help support your back.

This weekend Alex is flying out to Spain to see me for our first wedding anniversary and I can’t wait. Next week I will be filming in Granada so my next blog post will be from there.

 

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I hope you all have a lovely rest of the week. Don’t forget to leave your comments about my blog below…

Laura xxx

10 September
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The all important Baby-moon and travelling whilst pregnant…

Hi everyone,

I hope you are enjoying reading my blog. I’m really enjoying writing it and I know a few of you have asked if I will continue with it after the baby is born – I’m pleased to let you all know I will.

September is a busy month for me, not only with work but it’s also my first wedding anniversary. I can’t believe how quickly a year has flown by!

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This week I’ve been staying at The Fairmont Royal Pavilion in Barbados. Alex and I have been enjoying a ‘Baby-moon’ (a last minute holiday before the baby arrives), and I am writing a travel review too which will be in a national newspaper towards the end of the year. On Sunday I fly to Spain until the end of the month to film a few episodes of A Place in the Sun.

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A lot of people were shocked when I said I would be flying to the Caribbean because I’m now well into the third trimester of pregnancy. Personally I think it is a thoroughly relaxing thing to do, however I must admit with the 5 hour time difference, it did take me a little longer to adjust than usual when we first arrived.

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If any of you are thinking of going abroad during your pregnancy it’s worth knowing that after you are 28 weeks pregnant you will need a letter from your doctor or midwife to fly. Every airline has different rules but you can actually fly with British Airways until you are 36 weeks pregnant. After 32 weeks you need to fill in their questionnaire. I will be flying when I’m 34 weeks pregnant (which is when I finish filming A Place in the Sun this year) and my midwife actually said that if the baby is born in Spain it’s not a bad thing, since the healthcare system is so good there! Hopefully I don’t go in to labour 6 weeks early…

Lots of pregnancy books I have read stress the importance of having a ‘Baby-moon’. Obviously it’s not advised to go anywhere where you would need to have any vaccinations or take malaria tablets, and a lot of books also say being heavily pregnant might be tougher in hotter climates. I’ve particularly struggled in the evenings when eating out at restaurants with no air conditioning, but during the day I don’t think I have been hotter than anyone else. One product I found really useful was Eau Thermale Avene. It’s a refreshing cooling spray for your face and neck and I’m sure it will also be useful for when I’m in labour.

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 When it comes to eating out (whether you are at home or abroad), I would advise on eating earlier rather than later. Whilst abroad in Barbados, I’ve suffered with really bad indigestion (a burning pain at the top of my uterus) and heartburn. This could be down to the baby’s position creating reflux, so its worth trying avoid spicy or fatty foods and having a glass of milk helps!

I’m not the only one who has been enjoying a ‘Baby-moon’ in Barbados. Two other pregnant women have been staying at the hotel and it’s been lovely chatting to another first-time mum-to-be, Julia who is 6 weeks behind me!

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When I return home in a couple of days, I only have two days in the UK before I go away again. I’m really excited that when I’m back for that short time, all the nursery furniture will be delivered from Mothercare and the nursery will be ready for the new arrival!

There is still a lot to buy but I’ll have October to sort out prams, sterilisers, breast pumps, floor chairs, nipple shields, dribble bibs, muslins and so on…

The next time I blog I will be filming in Spain and reporting a bit on property out there.

I hope you have a great week! Lots of love,

Laura xx

03 September
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The ‘Ultimate Vintage Tea Party’ baby shower…

I feel so lucky to have so many wonderful friends and family.
On Saturday it was my baby shower and my oldest school friend Haley organised the most incredible day for me. Baby showers have only become popular in the UK over the last few years but in the US its something that they make a big deal of and Haley certainly went all out and did an amazing job of organising everything. Haley and I have been friends since we were 9 years old and she really is someone special, so I want to say a big thank you to her…

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I love having parties at my house and entertaining at home, so when Haley came up with the idea of a holding vintage tea party in my garden I thought it sounded perfect. There wasn’t one last detail Haley hadn’t thought of. As guests arrived at my house they walked up the black carpet through bay trees and lanterns with gorgeous scented candles from the Ultimate Baby Shower company. They came through in to the back garden and were treated to some freshly made candy floss from ‘SweetnSimple’, as well as a drink of Shloer in an old school bottle with a straw (all colours coordinated with the black, white, lemon and pink and blue colour theme.)

Guests were then met by Chloe Reeves and Nicole James from The Beauty Boutique in Banstead who had set up two massage beds and manicure/pedicure stations so everyone could be treated to a pamper treatment. I had the most incredible leg and foot massage and I know all of the guests felt totally relaxed and pampered by the girls. I can’t wait to go to the salon for a pregnancy massage! Thank you Chloe and Nicole, and everyone else at The Beauty Boutique in Banstead.

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In another area of the garden a marquee was decorated beautifully with pom poms, lanterns, and bunting. The area was finished off with some beautiful flowers dotted around in vintage jam jars and bottles. Lisa Maiklem who did all of the flowers for our wedding was responsible for the flowers at my baby shower. She is another very good friend and an extremely talented lady. It looked fab!

As vintage tea dance music played guests tucked in to finger sandwiches, tea, cakes and popcorn, again provided by ‘SweetnSimple’. Their old school carts fitted in with the vintage tea party theme perfectly and I would recommend these guys for any party! My extremely talented mum made a beautiful cake which went down a treat! I really think she missed her vocation…

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An idea that I thought was lovely was the wishing tree. This was a little twig tree in the corner of the marquee where guests could write down their tips and well wishes for the new arrival. The messages will go in a keep sake book and they will be really lovely to look back on.

Haley organised some great games too… Guests had to guess the baby food (this didn’t taste so good!), and also build a puzzle of a baby photo and work out who the baby was. The winning team guessed it was my husband Alex and each won a scented candle from the Ultimate Baby Shower.

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I got some lovely little presents from friends including ‘Sophie the giraffe’ which seems an incredibly popular toy at the moment, a very cool baby grow from Zoe Lem (my stylist), a brilliant little hand made bench, and some gorgeous Beatrix Potter books from Michelle Heaton. Everyone was so generous.
I didn’t write a gift lift for my baby shower as I really wasn’t expecting presents but it’s probably a good thing to do as it avoids getting any duplicates!

The afternoon finished up around 430pm and everyone was treated to a goody bag with a few of my favourite things – a cosmetic bag and eyelash curlers from Vintage Cosmetics, some face tan from Vita Liberata, a bottle of Shloer and some jelly babies!

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I had the most fantastic baby shower and I think everyone had a lovely afternoon. I am so grateful to all my wonderful friends and family who were able to join me.

I hope you enjoy some of the photos from the afternoon and if you are having a baby shower or planning one for a friend please feel free to comment or ask any questions!

Lots of love,

Laura xxx

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