Baby shoes - week 9 telling the family - the bump diaries

Telling the Family at Christmas – Week 9 – The Bump Diaries

In all of the baby books it says to tell people with caution before your second trimester – it does however also say that it is up to you. We decided when we would out that we would tell family at Christmas as it would be the end of week 9 when they found out.

Our family are split between London, Brighton, Bournemouth, Exeter and LA so it would have been hard to tell everyone at once, especially when my parents are divorced and hardly talking. Immediately it was easy to decide that key family members would get a present to inform about the good news – we did however have to decide what that would be.

We tried at first to try to sort out both sides of the family to get the same sort of thing. With BF’s immediate family in the US this was going to be hard so in the end I sorted out my family and he sorted out his.

For my family it was matching Baby picture frames filled with “Picture coming July 2016”. It was simple, cute and very clear about the fact that we were pregnant. They were only tiny but they would be able to keep it and remember when they found out. I love gifts like that.

Baby shoes telling the family bump diaries
BF loves chaos and confusion. His grandparents got baby shoes, while his parents got an adorable baby onesie. It was more a coded message than an outright message – this is his style often when it comes to presents, especially ones for key milestones.

Now if you have used Amazon before for sending gifts, you are, for a lot of items, given an option to have presents gift wrapped but what they don’t tell you is that they still label the boxes with what’s inside. As BF used Amazon for all his gifts his Mum and Grandmother both worked out before Christmas the news when they saw the word “baby” on the box. A week before Christmas we got a message from his Mum of “Is Annabelle pregnant?” followed by lots of congratulations and a few days later two extra gifts from her. It turns out they had got us Whiskey again this year and of course with a bump alcohol is a no-go so it was kind of good that she found out. While she had voiced her suspicions to her sons and husband before she got the definite news and request to keep our secret, she did keep the confirmation a secret until Christmas.

With BF’s Gran, he missed a call while we were out for a walk only to get a “Is there something you want to tell me” voicemail. As I popped into Co-op on the way back he called her back to a gleeful conversation as she found out. It was so lovely to hear the joy in her voice as the I returned at the end. It was wonderful and just confirmed that Christmas was going to be a fun day. We weren’t wrong but I wasn’t expecting flu, morning sickness and other surprises that would arise.

Baby shoes telling the family bump diariesSince I met BF, I knew I wanted to spend my life with him – we just clicked straight away. While I was aware of the impending Christmas baby news I wasn’t aware of BF’s long awaited plan to propose Christmas Eve through my advent calendar. Last year I had got a tree shaped drawer advent calendar as I always struggled to get one with white chocolate so this could be filled with different and fun things each year. Upon opening the final drawer on Christmas Eve, under a sweet sat a ring and beside me a grinning BF. Of course I shocked, cried and said yes. Not only did we have baby news but about his proposal. The only downfall – he had this planned all the way back in September before bump was about but now everyone will think they are connected.

While I was awake early from morning sickness at 3 in the morning on wards, BF was crashed out as he struggled with the flu. At 9am my mum obviously found out and tried to ring my phone while it sat on silent. I wanted BF to be there when she called so I waited until he stirred at 11 but by then she had danced off to the horses. When you can’t get hold of my mum the best way to find out where she is normally involves calling my grandparents. My mum cares for my Nan so they generally know where and when she will be places. What I hadn’t planned on is them already knowing. The call was full of congratulations and excitement before finding out my mum was indeed driving down to the horses.
30 minutes later I finally got the phone call from my mum and she had already told half the yard. For most people this wouldn’t be an issue; “oh your mum’s friends know big deal!” but as someone who used to be in the horsey world I had school friends and horsey friends that we weren’t planning to spread the news to yet at just 9 weeks along. She didn’t seem to understand when I asked her to keep this a secret and why I was a little nervous at her spreading this news so freely. I considered including a note about “keeping our secret” but she probably would have done the same thing. This is the thing I have found out about telling parents and grandparents – they can’t keep a secret so once they know everyone will. I guess this is why so many people keep it a secret from their parents until just before making it public. Apparently the whole yard, all her friends and any old stranger counts as family – finding out you’re going to be a grandmother can be very exciting but it just highlighted how it was a good idea to keep it a secret till we did.

My mum’s call was full of excitement and details of due dates, working out I was preggers during her visit and a whole range of excited emotions along with reminders of “this is still a huge secret so tell no one.”

Next up was a call from BF’s grandparents – turns out his Gran thought Sam had lost the plot and his Grandad had to point out the baby shoes was a coded message. Excitement ensued of the news and exclaims of feeling too young to be a great-grandmother. It was clear there was two forms of reaction – wanting to tell the world or joking about being too young to be a grandparent, great grandparent or aunt.

Wrapped presents - telling the family - the bump diariesNow by this point it was half 2 and we thought that most of the family in the UK would have opened their gift so when my dad contacted me to talk on Skype, we thought they knew. My dad loves to play tricks so when he didn’t say anything straight away about the baby news we both thought he might be building up to it but after 5 minutes it was clear that in no way he knew. It I will admit was one of the weirdest Skype conversations I have had as we sat their uncomfortably as we thought we were going to face an onslaught of more excitement to just family politics instead. I was feeling very morning sick and BF had the flu, so we came across miserable and distance (something we found out later) as we tried to not let on about the pregnancy and silently communicate “Yeap they have no clue and my dad hasn’t opened his gift yet…”

During the whole call my cousin was making a huge and weird grin – turns out he knew. As I said, when you tell someone in the family they tell everyone. My cousins had both visited my grandparents in the morning who wouldn’t stop talking about but had no clue our parents were finding out through gifts so grinned in the background of the Skype call thinking we were telling people then. Nope.

Seconds after the Skype call ended I was messaged by my cousin with “Congratulations and why haven’t you told your dad!” Ensued messages of the cunning plan of parents finding out through presents and with him, his wife and his sister on board they convinced my dad into opening some presents before they had their late Christmas dinner. They all worked together in orchestrating that it would be my gift to him.

Less than 10 minutes later I had a text from my Dad asking to call – yeap he has finally opened his gift and found out. I was half right – he and my aunt/step mother had opened it.

Now if someone weeks before Christmas tells you “You must open this gift – everyone else will enjoy it but you and you alone must open it” don’t let your new wife open it with you. This year I only sent one gift and that was to my dad. Shortly after arriving I got a phone call of “Why hasn’t my wife got a present!” not caring about the rest of those there that day. I told him that everyone would love the gift but he had to open it but he ignored me. To me it will always taint how he found out – not anything else just this vain of selfishness. She has stolen a moment and experience that was just meant for my dad and to me I don’t know if I will forgive either of them. It sounds petty but there is a history of present related politics – for years she would punish my objection to her coming around one Christmas (just after my dad had left my mum when she accused him of having an affair with my aunt and now step mother). I got things everyone knew I hated or was allergic to and then sat there as my cousins and aunt was handed perfect (and highly expensive) gift after gift. To me my dad ignored an instruction he knew highly important to me and my aunt/step mother must have thrown a strop that she wasn’t having a gift so had to be involved.

Present giving to me is very personal – I find the best gift for that person and the moment is for you along. For whatever reason, she intruded on him finding out he is going to be a grandfather for the first time. As I said, for me it just brought up a lot of painful memories of being ignored when it came to presents and for such a pivotal moment and gift it will be tainted by those emotions.

All while trying to sort out our Christmas dinner I had 10 minutes of excited voices, recalling opening the present and being passed from person to person for congratulations. News their end had spread of how my cousin had tried to help speed up the process and reactions on finding out. Turns out the news had made my dad cry – something hard to manage.

The final call of the day was about 2 hours later – BF’s family in LA had finally woken up and opened their present of a little baby onesie. All crowded around a computer the other side of the world everyone was excited and still a little sleepy. Talk turned to morning sickness, how it was going, when they were flying over to meet little one once born and stories of what BF was like as a baby. It was clear though that while most of BF’s brothers were not too fussed after the initial few minutes, his parents were nothing but excited.

Despite being home, just the two of us, with all the calls and excitement coming through and the flu or morning sickness making us feel rubbish it was exhausting. By 5pm we were curled up in bed snoozing for an hour. Telling your family all in one day is very tiring – I guess this is why people spread it out!

So that was our Christmas baby announcement to our family. It was definitely an emotional day for lots of reasons and I know I’ll remember the day for a very long time.

How did you tell your family? What was your best reaction? What did you learn from telling your family? I’d love to hear your stories so leave a comment below!


Caramel bar as unconventional morning sickness cure. Week 9 - Nausea - The Bump Diaries

The Bump Diaries Week 8 : Nausea

This was written December 2015 when I was 8 weeks pregnant and scheduled to go live once my pregnancy was public in March 2016.

When we see a women throw up in a film our first thoughts are to question if she is pregnant. It is such a common early pregnancy symptom and like many others I am struggling with it.

Since about week 5 I have been dealing with nausea being a problem with it slowly getting worse as each day goes by. At first it was just maybe once or twice a day but as the weeks have gone on the nausea is all day and causing a lot of problems.

Although I managed to keep it at bay with crackers and lots of walking when my mum visited, it got worse to the point I’ve been curled up in tears on the bed as BF tries to work out how he can help. At first the same things worked every time – get some ginger ale, crackers or ginger nuts and I would normally feel a little better in a few minutes.

Jacob's crackers for morning sickness - The bump diaries Week 8 NauseaThese tricks have now stopped working and its has been slowly been getting worse that now morning, noon, night and midnight I get hit with the dreaded morning sickness. I’m even being woken up now because of nausea so I’m getting used to waking up every few hours only to run to the loo and then the kitchen to get rid of it before nodding off back to sleep.

When it comes to morning sickness things that will work one day won’t the next – this seems to be the case with food aversions too as one day I can’t look at cheese without curling over a bowl to engulfing a whole block the next. One day 3 ginger nuts will get rid of nausea and the next the smell will make it worse. There are a few things though that has helped and some of them are actually pretty surprising.

For me and many other women it turns out Weetabix is a saving grace when pregnant – it is full of B6, iron and with some milk somehow helps and unlike other tricks seems to be consistent. Having said that if I try to have it more than once a day it stops working so it now I have great mornings where I try to get a lot done before I try to work around morning sickness the rest of the day.

Before my mum came to visit I worried that she would figure out I was pregnant from morning sickness yet for some reason it didn’t hit during her visit. We spent most of the time walking and it turned out that this was helping stave it off – now as it has gotten worse I find days I don’t go for a walk are far worse than the days I disappear out for an hour. It may feel like this is the worst thing yet after struggling to get on clothes without hurling and getting out in the fresh air and walking I feel so much better. Even after 5 minutes on the worst of days it makes a huge difference. There is a down side – when I get home and stop working it all comes back until I eat something so heading straight to the cupboard or biscuit tin is a must for me.

When you ask for advice on battling morning sickness the first thing people tell you is to eat little and often. It does work but it is hard to now find tiny meals or healthy snacks that aren’t too filling. Before I was pregnant I could have a small apple for lunch and feel stupidly full – now my stomach can’t handle half as much food in a sitting so I struggle to have a whole apple. It means a full-sized meal for me include a small chicken pie and that will fill me up. I’m lucky that I work at home but I ponder what it must be like for women going through this while in the office.

Tunnocks Caramel bar helping with my morning sicknessHobnobs are amazing – at the moment they are the biscuit of choice but like ginger nuts this could soon change and I’ll have to find another that works. They work really well for me as they are oaty goodness so with two biscuits I can feel full but it will also settle my stomach. Recently we have found though that traditional Caramel Bars are the best invention ever – even the look of chocolate seems to make me nauseous but for some reason the chocolate mix that they use on this bar doesn’t – it is also very thin. The layers upon layers of wafer and thin caramel seem to help those times when I’m nauseous and feeling run down with the added bit of sugar.

Now it may come as a shock but when I asked the midwife for some help with morning sickness her suggestion was to try sweet and sour sweets like Lemon Sherbets. I tried lemon sherbets and didn’t find them very helpful but Tangfastics are incredible! When I am feeling too sick to even leave the bed I have two of them and a minute or two later it settles my stomach for long enough to get some food in me or get shoes on and go for a walk. Now there is a packet by the bed as they work far quicker than biscuits are small enough so I can get up to make dinner or breakfast for a longer lasting effect. Flying saucers also work but they aren’t any where as effective and are much harder to pick up locally.

I love being pregnant – it has really helped clear up my head injury symptoms that I am no longer battling with dizziness or crippling headaches on a daily basis but I can’t wait until these symptoms pass like they normally do at 12-13 weeks.


Are you dealing with nausea? What tricks have you found work? What have you found really doesn’t work for you? leave a comment below as I’d love to hear from you!


heart button in a book: Meeting the midwife - the bump diaries

The Bump Diaries Week 7 : Meeting the Midwife

This was written December 2015 when I was 7 weeks pregnant and scheduled to go live once my pregnancy was public in March 2016.

This week was a really big milestone – the first real pregnancy appointment with the midwife.

When I first found out I booked a GP appointment – I thought this was going to be the big crazy pregnancy appointment but believe it or not all that will happen is that you get referred on to a midwife. I could count it but all that happened was me and my doctor squealing with delight (she was aware of our plan and possible health outcomes).

Now every where does things differently and it turns out that most places have a huge first appointment and then don’t see you until 16 weeks – my midwife splits this into two appointments two weeks apart. I actually really liked this as it was going to be so overwhelming do to it all at once. OH booked off time so he’d be able to attend them for much-needed support and any questions that I would clearly forget.

Apparently the midwives from my practice moved to their own special permanent offices so it wasn’t a case of rocking up to my normal location but find it hidden near Seven Dials. With a pregnancy pack that I was given when booking the appointments filled with paperwork to complete, key information about various tests and freebies, I had a lot of things sorted before my appointment and nerves. There was so much information that I had to provide – including a question about whether or not me and the father were related! In case you are wondering we are not. One of the booklets was over 40 pages but luckily half of it was for doctors and midwives to complete.

heart in a book: Meeting the midwife - the bump diariesIt did make me suddenly aware of just how little they tell you about being pregnant these days and just how many forms and pieces of paper that you have to fill out or take to every single appointment. I have a folder for all the different forms there are so many. With my folder in hand and waiting 20 minutes nervously for my appointment to start I finally got called into a Tardis like office that looked tiny until you stepped inside.

Turns out that the day I was booked on for both appointments was an overflow day so I wasn’t going to meet my actual assigned midwife until February. I didn’t mind as it turned out that I would throughout the rest of the pregnancy I’d see the same person for everything. The lady I saw was very open about how this was actually rare for the area – apparently I have accidentally chosen a great GP for starting a family.

Now if you have met me in recent years you know I’m a little heavy, overweight, obese, fat curvy – basically I have a BMI over 30 so for various aspects of the pregnancy I’m considered high risk. Now I’ve read lots of different blogs about being pregnant and overweight – most of them involve telling you not to worry so much but it does change things. Normally you have to take a Lucozade at 23 weeks but when you have a BMI over 30 you must have two glucose tests that involve sitting around in a hospital for 2 hours and have two blood tests. I hate needles and sitting around so basically this means rather than a single blood test, I must have 4 and hang around for 4 hours – if only I was a few points less! As I am over 30 BMI I did get offered to see a dietary specialist, something I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to do so; that is at least one positive thing about being a bit over 30.

Most of the appointment involved going through all the paperwork and checking it was all filled out correctly, being stamped, sent away, appointments booked in, other forms just for the midwife being filled out based on my medical history and being poked with a needle. Yeap from now on I need to expect to be poke with a needle at every appointment or to at least pee in a cup. As my initial appointment was split in two, I was given the tools to a pee sample to do just before the next appointment and had to have a blood test.

I hate needles – I have had lots of injections and blood tests in the past but I can’t see needles even if they are going in someone else. When BF was put on a drip years ago, I had to leave the room as I was more scared of seeing the needle than him. Basically I manage by looking away and talking – this was the first time I have had to do anything needle like with my partner in the room. He felt the best way to help me was to make jokes and call me a wimp – I really was though as I howled when the needle went in. It was the first time having it from my right arm and for some reason it hurt way more than normal. Maybe it is me being a wimp around BF, being in a different arm or heightened senses from the growing bump – either way it hurt and I was a huge wimp.

That actually was the last part of the appointment so the worst bit was saved till last – at least I didn’t have to go pee in a cup as well! I didn’t really know what to expect for my first appointment but I had a much shorter appointment than planned – it turned out that I’d read a lot of books so knew a lot of information that was normally covered in the initial appointment about food, activities, work, vitamins, key milestones, appointments, tests and other hints or tips given. It was nice to hear how well prepared we seemed to be and that we weren’t going to get overloaded with all that information as well. It was nice to be a little lighter in terms of paperwork but the addition of pee sample stuff made my folder full to the bring.

As we left BF told me I needed to take it easy – apparently he’s never had blood taken by doctors before so didn’t know they had a tendency to take 3 tubes of the stuff. he did faint when he last gave blood from blood loss so it wasn’t surprising he was a little worried when I also suffer from dizzy spells. I was a little light-headed but it wasn’t a big deal when I had a wonderful BF around to guide me home.

I still can’t believe that the first appointment is over and done with – it felt like a whirlwind and now its is starting to feel a lot more real when having to send a whole long appointment talking about incoming bump.

In other news, my daily headaches and dizziness has gone – it seems that the hormones are really helping my TBI symptoms that I still haven’t taken any painkillers. It is so freeing going from most of the week struggling to walk across the room to being able to walk out the house to the shops every single day and not having to worry. Seriously who knew that pregnancy could help my brain injury so much.

What was your first appointment like? Did you have yours split in two or just one huge appointment? I’d love to hear about your first appointment or questions so leave a comment below!


Week 7 - Keeping the secret: the bump diaries

Week 6 – Keeping The Secret: The Bump Diaries

This was written November 2015 when I was 7 weeks pregnant and scheduled to go live once my pregnancy was public in March 2016

So it has not been long since we have found out and this week I’ve had the crazy task of trying to keep the pregnancy a secret.

Week 7 - Keeping the secret: the bump diaries

Despite struggling with food and morning sickness, managed to go to the Hagen Daaz cafe with my Mum

This week my mother is coming to visit for 2 nights with most of the time based in London so see an opera. The last few years my health has not been great but even in such a short time since getting preggers my head stuff has gotten so much better! We are trying to play it off as a change in diet (though that is just pregnancy foods to avoid and nausea from others), change in medication, lots of rest and all the nero-physio work.


I really thought with all the morning sickness,  exhaustion, obvious pregnancy foods to avoid and the nose of a Bassatte Hound that it was going to be really obvious. Turns out that walking helped the morning sickness and I had been smart enough to pack small packs of crackers to nibble on when it did kick in under the guise of just being hungry.

Week 7 - Keeping the secret: the bump diaries My mum in London all while trying to keep my pregnancy a secret

In London with my Mum; little did she know that I was pregnant!

I must say it was hard not grinning from ear to ear about our little secret – OH would sneak a bump kiss when she wasn’t in the room and we kept talk about bump to a bare minimum via the phone in case she saw the message some how. When we did have to talk about it, it was coded to sound like it was a month visit instead.

Ironically this tactic also turned out to explain my need for trips to the loo… and a lot of the other little symptoms that I hadn’t thought about as I’d been so worried about the constant nausea. Need the loo… is because of Aunt Urma’s monthly visit, foods taste stronger… is because of Urma, constantly being hungry… is because of Urma! It turns out that other than bigger boobs and nausea I could put everything down to the monthly visit I wasn’t going to have for a long time. Seems that those two being so close in symptoms was useful for something.

So did she know after wards – not at all! My sister, who was told to help keep it a secret until Christmas, was able to give an update on how little she suspected that she was going to be a Grandmother.

The trip was a double success though – despite having a growing bump and dating my OH for 4 years, none of our family have ever met. The opera trip wasn’t just a lone trip with me and my mum but organised by OH’s grandmother. Not only did some of our family meet for the first time but no one found out from either family unless they had been let into our secret before. For me it was my sister but for OH it was his uncle whose the same age as my sister.

So what are my tips for helping to keep it a secret from those big family occasions:

  • Blame those monthly visits if you can – people generally won’t share on that Aunt Urma is about. This will help with regular loo trips, cramps and wanting to inhale lots of food – well it does for me!
  • Keep mini packs of crackers for morning sickness on you at all times – this might mean hiding them in coats, bags and in various places/the bedroom
  • Normally the drunken one at the party, tell them you’re on Naproxen for some sort of pain relief. You can’t drink while on it and as it is in the same family as ibuprofen it wouldn’t be something they would give to someone pregnant. It also gives you a good excuse to not being able to take anything with ibuprofen, unsettled stomach (you normally get prescribed an anti-nausea drug), and having to eat a big meal. Ironically as I have been using Naproxen for headaches for the last 10 months until I the pregnancy hormones stopped my headaches.
  • Walking is your friend – the more I walked the better I felt so don’t be nervous if there is lots of walking planned. At a family event at home where walking is off the tables, offer to walk to the shops or plan to forget something on purpose so you have to walk to get it.
  • Flowing dresses – bloating is not a bump but makes it look like you have one so investing in floaty dresses that hide your growing curves and bumps. Wrap tops and dresses are a great way to do this with early curves.
  • Tell one family member from each side that you trust to keep it a secret who can help you hide it at family events. My sister was really helpful in keeping mine a secret but also in giving great advice on how to do so when she and OH weren’t about.
  • Enjoy the fun and relax – it is thrilling to have this secret but for you and the baby its best to keep calm. I was so convinced someone would find out but no one did

Do you have tips for keeping yours a secret? I would love to hear them so leave  a comment below!


Food - bump diaries - 5 weeks pregnant

The Bump Diaries Week 5: Food

I am officially 5 weeks pregnant today! While this is wonderful food-wise I’ve had to make so many changes already the last week.

Months ago I was given a bottle of champagne – as someone who doesn’t like it was decided to save it for T’other to drink when we got the good news. Now we have an empty bottle, a cork in my memory box and an idea that Champagne might give T’other migraines.  It also turns out that it was a pretty expensive bottle and rather delicious – I’ll have to leave that to T’other as I’m now not allowed any alcohol for the next 9 months. Already I have hidden the alcohol that I enjoy to sip occasionally to take away temptation.

Week 5 Bump diaries food - strawberriesOther things that I have had to give up include cold meats, brie and tea – so that all sucks. I am just having to remind myself that it is all going to be worth it when we welcome a little one to the world when I see a lovely loose tea that I’d normally just try.

Food wise I’ve found that cheese makes me feel ill, loads of things taste really different and that I’m no longer craving sugary sweets or snacks! Normally when I shop I have to really try hard not to want to pick up a butterscotch yum yum from waitrose or some sweets while out in town. At the moment I seem to want to naturally grab an apple or orange. This is all really good news – I always have struggled to eat healthy food but bump will also be getting these good vitamins and minerals.

So far the biggest issue has been coke. T’other always has a big bottle of Coke Zero by his desk or in the fridge so it has been easy just to take a sip from there. In 2014 I gave up all coke for a year as I had become really addicted. Despite the first two months being really hard when it was still so readily around the flat I managed the whole year.

Now while I haven’t been addicted in months I just want to drink it – this may be due to feeling so tired and my body wanted caffeine. T’other has asked if he should give up coke too as seeing it around was just making me want it more. I’ll admit that it was tempting but instead I reverted to my crafty ways – now T’other has his bottle coke in a homemade cover.

Food seems to be a big topic when it comes to pregnancy – there is always so much talk about cravings and things to avoid so I’ll probably be ranting and raving about more food related topics. Currently bump is the size of a sesame seed so I don’t have any crazy cravings or stories just yet but I bet I’ll have more as the months go on.

Did you find any cravings or aversions at 5 weeks? Are you struggling with anything you can’t eat? Do you have any tips on food when pregnant? Leave a comment below as I’d love to hear from you!

This post was originally written 23rd November and set to go live once my pregnancy is public. 

10 things I love and hate - pink heart button in a book

The Bump Diaries Week 4: Pregnant with TBI

I am officially preggers – this is huge news! For me I’m barely 5 weeks but I’ll have a visible baby bump when this goes live. I wanted to share my story as my pregnancy is a bit different – I suffer from TBI but very few people have documented their journey with this.

I had a head injury 10 years ago followed by 3 more over the next 5 days. I lost 5 months of memory and a few months later I suffered another head injury.

TBI, or Traumatic Brain Injury is basically the after effects of a head injury. As I have had multiple ones all within 9 months I suffered an issue that my brain would swell up if it got worried, stressed or a light knock in a way to protect its self. November 2014 I quit my job as I could no longer handle the daily travel and stress of such a high level – I was taking strong pain killers everyday and wanted to focus on me. For me this was the best decision I ever made as I started freelancing and helping lots of great businesses but I also had amazing flexibility to go to physio and doctors appointments.

Back in March 2014 I was told about some incredible research that pointed to a possible relief of some and even all of my symptoms by getting pregnant. Basically there are two studies going on at the moment that have really positive results in terms of helping those effected by a traumatic brain injury through pregnancy or related hormones.

Bump diariesOne piece of research is currently at the point where they are testing on people (which means it is pretty far) where  patients are given a progesterone treatment within 8 hours of the initial accident and continued for 5 days. While it won’t cure TBI, it has been proven to help reduce swelling and cell death as well as rebuild the blood brain barrier. This is huge news and if it is effective then it could help reduce disability and death all while increasing the rate of recovery. While my brain injury may be over 10 years old, reducing swelling would be a huge help – my doctors have tried other drugs but I suffer too much from the side effects. In other words getting pregnant could help me with 9 months of reduced swelling with the end result of a the family me and Tother have always wanted.

The other piece of research is at an earlier stage but the results are highly exciting. Basically they are testing the impact of pregnancy on animals with brain injury, IQ and memory. They started with trying to find out if getting pregnant increased intelligence and found that a very high percentage of those with a brain injury completely recovered. Their research has found pregnancy helps fix and improves the body to ensure the best for the mother and baby. This. is. huge.

Basically I was given a 70% chance of a full recovery if I got pregnant along with a very high chance of reduced swelling if it doesn’t.

Me and T’other have talked for years about the family we wanted and I have always wanted a bump before I hit 30. Not only was it the right time to start growing a family but it could help me recover – as you can imagine it wasn’t a hard decision for us.

After a few months of trying and failing we have finally managed to get one to stick and in three days time I’ll be at my first appointment.

I actually thought I had no chance this month – no symptoms or anything but a while I realised that I wasn’t feeling ill at all. In a week I’d had no headaches, no dizziness and I was able to go out in the bright sunshine without sunglasses on – this for me hadn’t been the case in 2 years. That was a week ago, I have hardly had any TBI symptoms.

I have had headaches but they are very different from my TBI ones and no where as painful. The dizziness has gone too. I have only been dizzy once but that was after a day full of my normal triggers not effecting me and then overheating from the oven.

Nausea has been the biggest issue – I have been constantly been feeling either sick, hungry or stuffed. Small meals and healthy snacks has been helping.

It really is amazing – I’m so happy and excited about it all. For years we have always talked about the kids that we wanted and even discussed what we would do if it wasn’t possible for any reason. T’other has always making dad jokes and then quips how he is practising since we started dating – all this week those jokes have increased. I adore the photo that he took when he found out – his smile is amazing and its one of my all time favourite photos of him and probably will be forever now.

Overall things are great and I’ll be sharing my story for anyone else interested. I am so happy and excited and although being pregnant is helping me feel so much better all talk and thoughts are about starting our own little tribe.

Have you found pregnancy help you? Have you heard of progesterone being used to treat those with TBI? How have you felt when you have been 5 weeks pregnant? How did you find out? I would love to hear about your story so leave a comment below!


Leap: February Photography Challenge

It is the end of a leap month so what more a fitting photography challenge for February than “leap”. After last months exciting announcement, I wasn’t expecting this month to be as exciting but boy was I wrong!

Through the years I have done a lot of event photography, covering everything from dance shows, charity gardening events to BMX displays. I have always loved capturing moments of action and delight. Managing to capture a perfect dance leap or free runner leap has always been my favourite photographical challenges.

At first I had no idea what I was going to be able to photograph that would fit leap as I was trying to think about the leap year rather than a form of jump. It was only after taking a friend’s dog for a walk that I realised I was missing the completely obvious leap. Within a week of February I ended up with all of my photos!

On a windy February afternoon I ventured out to Brighton beach with the aim to capture the waves leaping, dogs jumping and the hope of finding the sometimes present skaters. Within 10 minutes I came across a guy on a skate board carrying a hefty camera patiently waiting for something. Quickly I realised he was waiting for the wind to settle so his friend could try a trick over the stairs.

Patiently I waited too but time and time again the stunt was pulled at the last minute. After 15 minutes though he took the risk and flew over the steps and bars leading down to the seafront.

While he didn’t manage to land his trick it was still impressive to see him try and attempt this impressive leap. I loved how this photo came out as you can see the level on concentration across his face as he tried to complete his trick.Skater trying big leap down stairs

As I had waited other skaters with cameras had stopped for a brief chat before flying off down the concourse – Having waited so long just for one leap and the wind nipping at my ears I ventured down towards the piers to see if I could catch up and capture their jumps along the quiet beach. I was so glad when I finally did find them trying lots tricks which I later found out was them warming up.

Skater trying a small leap trick

At first all of their tricks and leaps were just off the ground or over objects on the floor. For me it was really interesting – these guys with just a board and the ground still managed to pull off such a range of different tricks, leaps and styles that I ended up watching more than I photographed.

Soon though their tricks involved leaping up and over concrete seating into a paved pit. The results were hit and miss – sometimes the board would get caught leaving just the skater leaping forward but towards the end they were planting trick after trick dropping down a couple of foot successfully. It really was incredible to see these guys slowly building up their confidence and tricks.

Leaping over at brighton seafront

Fully warmed up they disappeared further down the beach and I turned home with my ears feeling the cold air. Walking back I was happy to find the original two skaters were taking a rest and checking footage. When I asked how it was going they were really open – he still hadn’t managed as it was a new trick and direction that he was trying and the windy conditions were causing a problem. After a few minutes of talking, and having seen my other photos of his unsuccessful leap, he asked if I wanted to see the easier version of the trick he was trying to photograph it.

How could I refuse! He was incredible and his trick resulted in my favourite photo of the day. After seeing the photo he was impressed too and opened up about more events and places I could capture more skaters. It was fantastic to hear all about their industry, including insights and politics I would otherwise not have known.

Leap trick by skater on Brighton Seafront

Two days later I was out with my camera again, though this time I was not alone. Walking a long the seafront with a friend and her dog I was really lucky to capture her dog Otto and others leaping around and playing. He chased after footballs, jumped off steps but out of all the photos my favourite was him playing with another dog. They leapt after a ball together, while their fur whipped around them and ears waved around.

February photo challenge dogs leaping for ball on Brighton beach

I must admit that these are not some of my best leap photos of all time but I am so glad that I took these. I learnt more from the conversations or moments than I did about photography. Sometimes though to get the best photos it is not just about technique but learning about the world around you. I can’t wait to take more leaps and jumps now – it really did kick start my addiction again that normally only rears it head when all the summer events start.

What is your favourite photo? What leap photo have you taken that you like? Have you photographed skaters performing tricks? What leap photography hints or tips do you have? I would love to hear from you so leave a comment below!

Pierced Wonderings

Inside Photo challenge

Photo challenge – Inside

What a month it has been – the number of my childhood heroes who lost their battle with cancer is heart breaking. For me it has also been an exciting month with too many things to mention.

The last few months I have not done any posts for the A Lil’ Hoohaa’s monthly photo challenge. This month I have been able though to turn my camera to the theme of “inside” with all my adventures this month.

I knew one photo right away that I would be able to share but at the start of the month I had no clue of what photos I would have.

Half way through the month my best friend came to visit all the way from Birmingham. With three days to spend together and her car to let us explore outside of Brighton for once, we headed one of the days to Lewes a little town hidden in the Sussex Downs.

While you may not have heard of the tiny old town you have been effected by it – it’s stamp on history is huge and includes triggering American’s battle for independence and the French Revolution just to name two. Hidden in the middle of this ancient town is a partially knocked down castle. Originally with two mounds only one has a building still standing at the top and even then there is only half of the original tower standing.

Inside Lewes Castle Canon - inside photo challengeIt was a beautiful day with the sun slipping in and out of the fluffs of clouds scattered across the sky. When the sun breaks through the clouds almost golden sun seems to light up the old stones making it breath taking. Before you walk up the long steps and slopes up to the tower overlooking the town you pass an old canon in a stunning garden.

The depths of the canon seemed haunting compared to the sunlit colourful surroundings. Void of colour inside it echoed some of its dark history of destruction. The canon its self stood out in the greenery with its grey iron casting, but when the sun shone bright it glimmered green as it reflected its surroundings – only the inside stayed forever dark.

looking inside Lewes Castle

After leaving the sweet smelling garden though we trekked up, stopping to admire the town and country side gradually spread out more and more. The sights were amazing – Lewes castle had a perfect location so that it could see for miles in every direction.

Each step and more of the land spread out for us to see until we reach the top of the mound. Although once stood a tower taking up the whole of mound now only a quarter of the tower remains. A huge indent for a fire place still remains and two doors – one open and one locked.

For us the mystery of finding out what the locked room held had to be investigated. It was in the end just a room for chairs and other items for weddings or celebrations held at the top of this aging castle.

As my friend gazed inside, it was such a wonderful moment. The deep channel down to the door seemed to really frame her as she peered through. I love how the only colour comes from my friend or the brass door knob. Everything else that surrounds her is cold crumbling brick work almost devoid of any hue.

I love the idea of looking inside things and I adore how this captures that interest of finding out.

The other door atop of the mound was wide open and inviting. Inside was room after room that you made your way up tiny spiral stairs to reach a new level. Each level seemed to have its feeling while the wall unfolded the long history of this castle.

Hiding inside the windowEver higher we seemed to go – it felt there couldn’t be yet another level but we were surprised as it felt we reached higher and higher into the sky.

As we reached each level, the windows seemed to get wider. The first level had just arrow slits while the final windows were a metre wide.

Inside this tower the pictures by the windows were haunting – the light dances off a dark figure with glimpses of colour appearing. After taking so many of my friend, I finally had a photo taken sat in the wide window – I loved this photo. It seemed to capture my nose and hair really well but also those different levels of light. Yes I didn’t take the photo but I did spend a long time sorting out all of the settings and discussing the set up of the photo its self.

The level after this was the top of the tower with the open air to reach us after levels of dust and crumbling stone filling our noses. The views were amazing though I struggled to capture its incredible beauty. It was not long until the sound of young kids echoed in the spiraling staircase. We headed back down descending back into town. It was an incredible time and I adored the photos the came from our adventure.

Raspberries in water - inside photo challenge
I could share more photos from our exploration but there were other photos that I really loved that I felt captured the theme better. This month I have purchased myself a fruit water infuser and have filled it with all sorts of fruit. Most fruit looks normal but the frozen raspberries inside this clear design just enchanted me. The frozen air and ice shone every time and added with the refraction it just seemed like a thing of beauty. It tasted it too.

In the morning light, I loved the colours and bubbles captured inside the plastic casing so had to photograph it. All of the photos from this collection but this particular one seemed to capture the twisting of light inside the plastic and water best.

Red flower inside - inside photo challengeAfter last month, where I was hardly sociable at all, I have had an exciting month. Along with visits from a far, I also had friends locally visit. One, grateful for impending homemade Mac and Cheese and game night, she came with some beautiful flowers as a thankful.

For me I loved capturing the different flowers hidden inside the bouquet adorned in the inside with light and dark.

In this photo the morning light was flitting through the curtains covering the flowers hidden inside my flat with a dash of light. This just made the colours and shadows even more drastic than normal than had they been outside.


Finally – I wanted to share the ultimate inside photo though I can not take any claim to taking it. When I found out the theme was inside I couldn’t help but laugh – this would be the month I had my first ultrasound of our first little one. For me it was clear, this is how I’ll share on my blog about the baby – an inside photo of our little bundle of joy. It turns out either I have a poser already or they were having a nap in the perfect position – we got the perfect first picture.

It is such an exciting time and why I haven’t been able to blog much as appointments and morning sickness has eaten up my time. Out of all the photos this month, this is definitely my favourite.

So these are all my inside photos from this week – what is your favourite? Do you have a favourite inside photo? I would love to hear from you so leave a comment below!

Pierced Wonderings


Made Brighton: Best of Jewellery

This weekend I have been up and down the aisles of Made Brighton and it has been fantastic. The show is full of wonderfully created pieces of art, fashion, home ware and jewellery.

I love jewellery but I hardly ever find things that I like on the high street. As someone who can’t wear gold this is even more of an issue and even in Brighton’s famous laines, it is mainly all similar looking engagement rings or gold. In the past I have travelled to various places known for their creative jewellery but At Made Brighton there was so much choice in such a small space.

While there were thousands of different pieces on display here are my 5 favourite pieces of jewellery.

5. Fabric inspired pendant

Cool silver necklace: check out my top picks from Made Brighton

If you know me well, you’ll be aware that I have gotten into sewing over the last two years. Deep in the middle of the whole show was a stall full of jewellery all based on sewing, knitting, and textiles. There were pendants of famous types of fabric weaves in silver that filled the walls to bracelets with sewing techniques. I love the story and passion of all things sewing about it all yet this pendant just stood out.

You can see Kate’s whole collection at including this pendant necklace for £50.

4. Unique Silver links necklace

Cool silver necklace: check out my top picks from Made Brighton

Of all the jewellery, there was one piece that you could not miss – set on a black velvet display it’s unique silver links stood out beautifully. I loved the care and attention made to ensure each link in the chain was beautiful and unique all at once. There were other pieces by the same artist but this was the one that brought you in with its eye catching nature. It is hard to photograph its true nature as it is such a 3D piece of art but even flat images show that it is something extra special.

Called Angles and Curls, this necklace is beautifully created and you can see more of this exciting range at or e-mail to view the whole collection.

3. Delicate Silver spiral necklace

Cool silver squirrel necklace: check out my top picks from Made Brighton

I love animals so I adore this cute squirrel necklace. It was such a popular range that I struggled to get to the stall for a closer look at first. You could get just the acorn but for me the adorable squirrels running up and down really makes it for me. You can get this necklace for £135 and the other items in Phoebe Jewellery’s Woodland collection here.

2. Silver flower pendant

Cool silver necklace: check out my top picks from Made Brighton

Now for me there is more of a story behind why I love this – though it is beautiful and had everyone fighting over it. Growing up my mum would plant lots of cool and fun flowers in our garden – my favourite though was the Fuchsia bushes that sat on the corner of the whole garden. With a name like Annabelle, it has always been hard to find anything with my name on it like my sister could.

My mum rather than ignoring her daughter’s frustration searched and found that there was a type of Fuchsia that was called Annabelle. She planted it and a few months later after it started to flower she showed it to me and told me that it was better to have a beautiful flower bearing my name than anything else. It is something that has stuck with me since and so has the love of Fuchsia’s.

As you can imagine finding a necklace that was beautiful, silver and shaped like a Fuchsia is just wonderful. So close to Christmas I wish I could have justified buying it but I’ll be keeping nbNg’s details close by for when I can justify getting my self one!

This is available in a load of other metals but for me the silver one for £100 was definately my favourite. Check out their website for all their amazing designs.

1. Silver kingfisher cuff

Cool silver necklace: check out my top picks from Made Brighton

I love really delicate jewellery – for me fine metal work beats big diamonds any day. Walking past Helen London’s stall without buying anything was so hard as it just was everything I love.

Every piece of jewellery had such beautiful and fine detail. While I didn’t have a chance to talk to the designer, I loved every piece as they were everything I love and look for in the jewellery that I wear. Out of all the jewellery at Made Brighton, nothing stood out or was as beautiful as Helen’s Swan bracelet. It was gracefully beautiful and I have never seen anything quite as incredible.

For more details about Helen, visit now or view her Filigree collection to purchase some of her incredible work.

This design really does show what unique, beautiful and incredible items that you could come across at Made Brighton. I hope that in the future I’ll be able to see more designs from Helen London and even own my own too.

Made Brighton is open tomorrow for one more day at Brighton Dome if you would like to search for your own favourites.

Love all this beautiful jewellery – make sure that you check out my So Pretty board for all things sparkly and wonderful!

Follow Annabelle Spender’s board So pretty! on Pinterest.

Did you go to Made Brighton? Will you go to the next event? What was your favourite piece? I’d love to hear from you so leave a comment below.




Made Brighton: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Review

As  trained designer, I have been to a lot of design shows in the past and even exhibited at some with my own design work.This evening I headed to the 10th Made Brighton show and it was the first time that I attended this event too.

Each year, before the event officially opens, there is a private viewing were you can get into the event early to get the best choice of things as well as enjoy a far less crowded event with the joys of free drinks. I still can’t believe it but the team behind Made Brighton gave me access to the Private Viewing event!

Beautiful silver necklace - check out my honest review of Brighton MadeI have been to Brighton Corn Exchange before yet when I arrived there is still the buzz of excitement as you walk into an incredible Indian themed building. As I arrived the doors started to open so I was lucky that while there was a queue it moved really quickly.

It is a shame though that the initial feeling of excitement and buzz was stopped with a rather silly queuing system once inside – you had to walk in and if you tried to walk into the venue or to get into the queue of people waiting for drinks you were just directed away to a hidden queue. This was a bit weird and just caused more confusion than anything and minutes later was ignored by everyone. I think there was just basically someone trying from the Brighton Dome team that seemed to be on a power trip of wanting to direct people for the sake of making himself feel better than keep order. This was though I will mention the only small thing that was bad about the whole experience so you can imagine how the rest of the show was if it was just a moment of confusion that is by far the worst thing!

Now I don’t drink at events so I normally have very little choice when it comes to drinks. Most of the time it will be a range of alcohol and orange yet when I requested something non-alcoholic I was offered 4 different options – a first for me at events like this. While the complimentary drinks won’t be about the rest of the event, it was so great that they had clearly thought about everyone going. I must say that the feeling of strolling around stalls with a beautiful glass of juice still made me feel so wonderful and corks were constantly popping around the venue the rest of the evening – one even hit my friend at one point!

While I have been to the Corn Exchange for fairs and events before, I barely recognised it! You walked past a curtain and if it wasn’t for the beautiful and unique mirrored windows above I wouldn’t have realised where I was if blind folded into the venue. The whole place was stuffed to the brim with stalls that many vendors had to share to fit them all in.

Beautiful chandelier - check out my honest review of Brighton MadeI will admit that some of the things were out of my price range – I don’t have £1,900 to spend on a chandelier nor £1,800 on a piece of glass artwork but there were so many things at different prices that there really is something for everyone and an incredible experience as I swept through so many stalls finding more and more things that I wanted.

One of the biggest things that shocked me was just how incredible everything was – I have been to design shows before and none have ever had as many things, even in shows 4, 5 and 6 times as big, as this show did. The creativity of the designs that you were surrounded by is amazing; it is an environment that many young designers struggle to find and yet here was the perfect place.

Made-Brighton-2015-event-lampshadeThis for me has definitely been the best fair that I have come across in Brighton in my 2 and a half years but is also high up on the design fairs that I have attended. I have been disappointed with other craft fairs in and around Brighton before – there were some good items but you’d have to search for them; at Made Brighton every stall was impressive and beautiful. Even after going around all the stalls twice, I struggled to find a stall that was rubbish, tacty or poorly designed; the team at Made Brighton have really been clever with their selection of exhibitors. It may have gone un-noticed to others but Made Brighton’s clever planning of which stalls went were meant that you never saw similar styles down the same aisle and this just added to the creativity that you felt as you walked through the venue. Even with lots of businesses there, you never felt like you saw something twice – every stall seemed to have its own take, style on even simple things like a scarfs played felt and looked drastically different from stall to stall. Based in the heart of Brighton for only the next three days, this is for me a must as you will find plenty of Christmas presents or inspiration.

All in all this was an incredible event and I really can’t wait until the next one now to see what incredible designers I will get to meet. This is not a craft fair – this is a design fair and so expect some of the best bespoke design work locally.

I loved this celebration of design and to be able to go on the Private Viewing event meant that it was just a limited number of people there. I was warned by many exhibitors there just how busy the weekend is so if you do plan to go, try to head there early or try to visit on Friday if you have the chance.

The Good: location, exhibitors, and layout
The Bad: queue system and possibly how crowded it might get
The Ugly: my bank balance…
Overall score: 5/5

Have you been to Made Brighton? Will you be going this weekend? What are you looking forward to see the most? What is your favourite design or craft fair?