Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Outfit: New Years Eve

The dress and shawl sweater are vintage. The shoes and tights are from +Target.

The woman that cuts my hair says it looks like the wispy bits around my face are new growth, not breakage. That's good news I guess...but I feel like my hair most often makes me look ridiculous. I was happy to find this hair style tip from a +Free People blog post. I used my homemade headband and tucked it in just like they say.

It's been a really mild winter. Coming from Illinois, it feels strange to walk around in the sunshine during the holidays. I am so excited to bring in the new year, 2013 was a good one and the next will bring a lot of new, well, everything. My friends are throwing a party and they got me some nonalcoholic wine!!!


Monday, 30 December 2013

The sales: Keungzai

What have we got here? Simple but edgy and unique maternity clothing from the +Keungzai sale rack. They have great colors and a way of draping pregnant curves that doesn't emphasize the largest one and make you look like a balloon. Magic. Have a look through their sale section and bag a bargain. A lot of what they offer is a real investment, as it can keep you stylish through nursing as well, like the layered dress.

The sales: Tiffany Rose

+Tiffany Rose offers designer maternity wear. If you want to make a statement, stop the show, be the bell of the ball, and all that jazz then this is your label. It's a favorite of Michelle Heaton, she's been spotted at events looking fabulous in their dresses multiple times. They also do maternity wedding dresses and glamorous gowns. Their sale, at the moment, is excellent. Check it out:

Sunday, 29 December 2013

The sales: Mamalicious

Y'all know that +MAMALICIOUS is one of my favorite maternity lines. This designer has really cool trendy designs for pregnant women as well as simple well tailored basics. They are running a particularly great sale right not, up to 70% off!

The sales: Blossom mother & child

+Blossom Mother & Child Ltd is a wonderful boutique with designer maternity. What better place to shop the Boxing day sales? You can get stunning expensive pieces at a reduced rate and save yourself hundreds.
You know how sometimes you go shopping and everything you buy is the same color palette? Well, that happened. Anyways, here's my picks of their post Christmas sale:

Saturday, 28 December 2013

The sales: Seraphine

+Seraphine Maternity was apparently a favorite of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. There are pictures of her wearing a variation of this knot front dress. I can see why. They really have a beautiful, tasteful line. There is a huge selection of sale items; these are some of my favorites. This middle luxe dress: what a bargain! It's a perfect party dress just in time for, cough, New Years!!!

The sales: Micheal Stars maternity

Guess what...Michael Stars does great maternity basics and they're running a sale! It's a tiered sale so it applies to everything. The more you spend, the more you save. Hurry, it ends January 1st!

Let's start with the dress. I love this dress. The shape is really flattering, and this material is just awesome. I don't know about you but I run pretty hot blooded these days so this looks like the perfect layering piece. Plus, It will still look stylish post pregnancy/nursing!

Shine Dress, £76

They also have some really nice basic maternity tops. The first one has a saucy neckline and would be really good for maternity and nursing. Like most of what +Michael Stars, Inc. makes, the other two look like great layering pieces.
Supima, $62
Soho stripe, $68
Scoop neck, $62

Friday, 27 December 2013

34 weeks

Today Ham is the size of a cantalope.

I'm trying to look presentable for my husband's English family Christmas in this +Gap maternity dress. You can't really see here, but I am wearing flesh colored fishnet tights, which are my favorite. The fishnet accommodates my bump just fine and they are subtly sexy. Fishnets are also surprisingly warm, might I add. I also got to use my DIY headbands so I enjoyed the entire day messy hair and headache free.

My mother in law brought me in the kitchen and explained "now we lite the Christmas pudding on fire...and nobody knows why." I like it. Alcohol abstention is so much harder during the holidays than I thought. Mulled wine, ales, baileys, southern comfort. I love and crave red wine, but I don't want to have a glass even though they say you can. If I have one glass I will want one bottle; you know how it goes.

My days have been wonderful but I have been in a terrible mood the last few evenings, which is a pleasure enjoyed solely by my husband. Poor guy.

I hope y'all had a fantastic holiday!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

My favorite American Christmas cookie

Us Americans love peanut butter, especially when it's paired with chocolate. You don't have peanut butter M&M's in the UK and Europe so you don't know what perfection really tastes like. It's not your fault.

My mother makes peanut butter blossoms every Christmas. They're a staple. Since I am too pregnant to fly home, I've decided to treat my in-laws this year. I've had to make some sight adjustments due to personal preference and availability, but honestly, they are better this way. My mother makes them with Hershey's kisses which are gross. I make them with +Cadbury UK buttons; BIG improvement.

125 grams unsalted butter (sometimes I substitute about half of this with coconut oil)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup +Nutella
1 teaspoon vanilla
the zest of one orange
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 bag of buttons, or whatever chocolate you have that isn't Hershey's

Cream the butter and sugars together. Add the egg, Nutella, peanut butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and orange zest. Slowly add the flour and then the bicarbonate of soda. Put the dough in the fridge for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Roll the dough into balls and place on a baking pan (I usually cover mine in parchment paper). Bake for 9 minutes; until they start to slightly crack. Take out of the oven. Press chocolate pieces into the center of each cookie. Let them cool for a minute on the baking sheet, and then remove.

nom nom nom

Sunday, 22 December 2013

French maternity

I stumbled upon this French maternity line, Envie de Fraises. It's so effortless. They've got a lot of basics with stylish twists.

Grey dress, €39.99

The tunic, belt, and legging set looks especially cool and versatile. I've never looked good in a drop waist but I was pretty pleased with my attempt. I didn't exactly have a belt, so I used an old scarf. None of my old belts fit anymore.

Lingerie is what the french do best and this site has some gorgeous maternity sets.

Maternity/nursing nightgown €29.99

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Kelly Clarkson rocks maternity and Christmas wear

Kelly Clarkson looks so adorable in the Christmas sweater that The Ellen Show made for her with real popcorn and sweets sewn on. I love this. They took a Christmas sweater that was pretty regular and made it spectacular by attaching everything but the tree.

Her baby bump looks really sweet too. I think Kelly Clarkson is really admirable in how honest she has been about her morning sickness. Nice to see a celebrity openly admit to being human; it makes you feel less alone in your pregnancy troubles. Now if only I could look as fabulous while nauseous I would be sorted.

33 weeks

Today Ham is the size of a pineapple.

I've really needed my back brace this week. Everything aches, especially my hips in the morning. A lot of what I want to do is complain. For example: I pretty much peed my pants because my husband made me laugh too hard. Wee. In pants. Bleh, my body has been hijacked.
However, I think it's important to remember how amazing being pregnant really is if you can see the forest for the trees. You are growing a tiny person who is genetically half you. Totally mind blowingly bogus. Also, I try to remember there are women who cannot conceive; I don't want to take this for granted. So I try not to complain about the hurts, the bladder, tiredness, hunger, or the kicks in the rib. OK, maybe I whinge the tiniest bit to my husband, but only so he will do the washing up.
The hounds tooth cardigan is by +J.Crew, the shirt by +H&M, and the jeans by A Pea in the Pod.
My earrings were made by another one of my crafty friends. Last Christmas she was giving these out as creative little gifts. They are the tips of deer antlers, cut off, and dipped in black dye for an ombre look. I don't know if you could make these in the UK; there aren't as many deer horns laying around.

Friday, 20 December 2013

The perfect headband

You know how you buy new headbands and they give you a headache because they are way to tight? I do.

These headbands are perfect. They are exactly as tight as they need to be and incredibly comfortable. And I made them myself out of old tights I was going to throw away. Just tie the stocking around your head and tie a knot. Take it off and tighten the knot as much as possible. Then snip off the ends leaving a bit of material so the knot doesn't slip undone. That's it.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

My themed shirts

You would think that a grump like me wouldn't be into kitschy themed shirts but, boy, would you be wrong. There are ways you can be clever about it. If you do it right you can be stylish whilst indulging yourself in cheese. I have three themed shirts that were all lovely gifts. My mother bought me this darling Christmas themed shirt from +Zazzle that I mentioned last week:

The shoes were a homage to Christmas parties past. I really just wore them for the picture and promptly switched to some flats. Look how unstable I was:
 And a sigh of relief:

 The other two themed shirts were gifts that my friends made. I have some creative amigos. My BFF made me this with just a maternity shirt from +Target and a sharpie.

This shirt was made by taking a vintage iron on and applying it to a maternity shirt from +ASOS. Apparently she had to iron it for about a million years but it was so worth it.

I don't mean to brag but my friends clearly rock pretty hard.

Just a tip: if you want to try making something like this for one of your friends then whatever size she is in regular clothes, that is the size she will wear in maternity clothes.

5 dresses to write home about

These dresses are good. Like, really good, and they're maternity!! I love the creative design; perfect for a holiday party. Rock a Bye Rosie has a divine collection of on trend maternity dresses, and a lot of them are on sale right now.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

ModCloth Sale!

So you know how I said that +ModCloth  is an excellent place to buy gifts, especially when you have no idea what to get a person. You get them something they don't even know they wanted until you give it to them. Like a blow up dinosaur.

They have an offer right now: Spend $125+ & get $25 back to spend on yourself in January! You can do like I said where you buy presents for everyone on your list and then treat yourself to some of their more maternity friendly clothes. Like I said. Sometime I get it right. It ends tomorrow so hurry up y'all!

Shop ModCloth

Belly back brace

I purchased this brace from Destination Maternity when I was on my honeymoon road trip. It's really come in handy these past few weeks as my back starts to hurt even when I stand for a short period of time, like when I do the washing up.

Everything is so much harder now. My hips and back ache after what I would have previously considered a short walk. I highly recommend getting a brace, even though I didn't think I needed one before I got it. Really, life's so much better with it.

If you want to get the one I have, you can purchase it here:

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Themed Tshirts

You are only pregnant once, maybe thrice in your life. So should you get a themed t shirt? OF COURSE YOU SHOULD! Duh.
Most of the shirts I like best are those that compliment the bump with their design rather than just announcing "Baby on board". Not that those shirts are bad, they're just....plentiful. Here are some of my favorite designs out right now:

Monday, 16 December 2013

Homemade fabric softener

I stopped using fabric softener after I read an article on what chemicals are in it, such as alpha-terpineol, and cloroform to name a few. Then I found I couldn't live without it so I looked into products that were green. Expensive. Finally, I stumbled upon Claire Gay's blog with a recipe and had to try it. Perfect. It's cheap, easy, and void of nasty chemicals.

The ratio is:
3 parts water
2 parts vinegar
1 part conditioner
a few drops tea tree oil
a few drops essential oil of your choice

I store it in the old bottle of the expensive stuff, that way it has the measuring cap right on top. Give it a good shake every time before you use it.

Sunday, 15 December 2013


I can not wait to see this movie. Spike Jonze has a pretty excellent track record of directing, although I was pretty disappointed by Where the Wild Things Are. I still have hope, Adaption and Being John Malcovich were stellar. Maybe I just really like Charlie Kaufman. We'll see.  
This film looks like it really explores what intimacy can mean in modern life. I hope it dives in deep. Frankly, I just love to look at Joaquin Phoenix. He's one of those people that are memorizing on film; Kirsten Dunst is like that too. Marylin Monroe. My obsession with this man started when I saw the Master. He. Was. Incredible.

Olivia Wilde tweeted this picture from the premiere:

I'm not sure what her role is in the film, IMBD says "blind date", but she is absolutely glowing. The dress is a stunning cobalt blue and it really suits her. I love how she is showing off her baby bump loud and proud. Gorgeous.

Get the look by accessorizing one of these:

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Lusting after Irregular Choice

I fell into lust with +Irregular Choice years ago when I bought some ninja toed flats and wore them into pieces. I haven't forgotten about you old friend. In fact, I'm smitten all over again with these sort of tennis shoe styled concoctions. Yes please.

Lovely Jubbly, £55
Fozzie Fun, £60

Here's some grade A shoe porn for your sweet tooth.

Ahh it feels so right. I love it; check out this little gem:

32 weeks

Today Ham is the size of a squash.....whatever size that is. All I know is he is big.

My dress is from +Gap and the crop top is on sale at +Urban Outfitters right NOW! The jewelry and shoes are vintage thrift store finds.

Today I have some things to talk about that will make me truly live up to my name. I am a total grump. But I think it's important to be honest, because if even one person can relate to you and feel less alone, well, that's the whole point.

I am having second thoughts. I am worried. You know when you make a really big decision and then wonder if you did the right thing? Well that's where I am today. What if I don't like the baby? What if I am a bad mother? Do I really want this, or is it going to ruin everything? I feel smothered by the inescapable decision I have made. It's all just so final, so concrete. There is definitely a sense of "Oh God, what have I done?" This baby was planned but lately I find my self with feelings of insecurity. It must be so impossible for women who find they are pregnant unexpectedly.

I am sure it will all be fine. I adore kids and can't wait to meet the little Ham that's growing in my belly. Still, a certain amount of doubt or apprehension is normal, right. Is it normal? I'm just going to go all in because, really, that's the only option.

Anyways, that is the truth and I think it's important to be honest. Please Internet, don't judge me too harshly.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Belly itch

After having a good scratch I like to look at my belly in the mirror and imagine Ham is trying to claw his way out alien style. These are the things that amuse me.

But belly itch is not really amusing; it's annoying. All pregnant women get it to varying degrees. Even Michelle Heaton asked for tips on twitter. Celebrities: they're just like us.

As I said in my post about stretch marks: I've tried several different products: Palmers, Bio Oil, Burt's Bee's. They all work just fine. However. What has worked best for me to soothe the itch is either putting coconut oil straight on my belly or using some homemade whipped body butter. Here's my recipe:

1 cup coconut oil (solid)
1 teaspoon vitamin E
A few drops eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil

Put it all in a bowl and whip for 7-10 minutes. I add the essential oil to make it smell nice and the eucalyptus/mint has a lovely cooling effect. If you have very sensitive skin it might be better to go fragrance free. Coconut oil smells good on its own anyways.

***If you get belly itch so bad that it keeps you up at night then talk to your midwife or GP to be safe***

It's begining to look a lot like Christmas

Some people might think that holiday maternity wear is cheese. SO WHAT?! Cheese is delicious and so are these shirts. I am all for working a themed.

My mother bought me this shirt, which I wore with pride to my family's US down on the farm Thanksgiving. You know what? I think food tastes better when you're being festive.

There are a lot of options out there. T shirt makers are kind of falling over themselves to make the best baby/Christmas themed shirt. Some of them are so cute it's nauseating. We all know I don't like anything too sweet; here are some of my favorites:
Baby it's cold outside tshirt, £9.99
Santa Claus tshirt, £19.35
Penguin Jumper, £24.99
Filth animal tshirt, £25.50

Pair your Christmas themed top with this cool festive skirt from +Topshop and your warmest boots.

You could get a Christmas sash from +Etsy to accessorize some holiday into your look. The idea is to look as much like a present as you possibly can. Bonus: when you aren't wearing it you can use it as a decoration or an accent on a wrapped gift to pass it on when you're done with it.

Poinsettia sash, $9.71

Christmas bow sash, £8.99

Happy Holidays y'all.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Outfits from Next maternity

If you're looking for something to wear to the office then +Next is the place to find professional, well tailored, maternity. I, however, am not looking for that. Count my lucky stars; I have been self employed most of my life and haven't had to wear pantyhose in years. There is still something for everyone in this collection be it casual, trendy, or formal evening wear. It might surprise you.

Long blouse, £30
Black drop earrings, £7.50
Black necklace, £14