24th May 2016

Pregnancy Update: 24 Weeks

13292827_10156990514160607_1017881221_nHow many weeks? I am now 24 weeks and it’s been a whole 4 weeks since I last did a pregnancy update (bad blogger). I know everyone says this about second, third and ongoing pregnancies, but my bump feels so much bigger and more uncomfortable earlier on this time. I feel huge – even though I am fully aware of how much bigger the bump is going to get over the next 16 weeks!

How big is the baby? As big as an ear of corn. So why is this bump so big?

How do you feel? Apart from feeling huge and slow, I am getting familiar painful twinges when I walk in the bottom of my bump. I wore a bump support belt in my last few pregnancies for the last trimester, but with the heat in Dubai now pushing 40’C every day, I don’t want to resort to that just yet. My husband had the brilliant idea of using kinesiology tape (the kind of the physios use to support muscles) and it’s amazing. I’ve only done it a few times so far, but it makes a huge difference and I’ll definitely be stocking up for the rest of the pregnancy (I checked this with my osteopath by the way and she also said it’s a great idea for pregnant ladies – you can read more information and tips here).

Anything else? Night times are getting so uncomfy. I bought a giant pregnancy pillow, but I am comfier just using two big pillows either side of me so I have just been doing that.  But I still wake up every morning with the achiest hips. I just want to lie on my back!

And the kicks? She’s so active now and also appears to be a little madam already. She hates it when I lean forward to eat, so I get a couple of thumps for having the audacity to do it. Also just like all babies, she wakes up when I want to go to sleep and keeps me awake for ages kicking away. I’m past the ‘this feels weird’ stage and I love the reassurance of feeling her. Stanley loves feeling her kick too – she even gave him a thump last week when he sat on my lap for a story. Possessive already… It doesn’t bode well, does it?

Cravings? My latest craving is packs of prawn cracker crisps from Waitrose. They are so stinky and I probably smell like a big prawn after devouring the whole pack in one go, but I can’t help it – they are just so yummy.

What’s planned? We have 4 weeks left in the UAE before heading back to the UK for the end of June and the whole of July. I’ll need to get a doctor’s note for flying at both 28 weeks and 33 weeks, which doesn’t bother me in the slightest as I flew at 35 weeks with Wilfred. I just have to wear flight socks and move as much as I can during the flight (8 hours). Once we’re home, I can’t wait to escape the heat and spend some time at home in cooler climes, but I know it’s going to be exhausting with school out for summer and trying to complete my work too. We’ll head back to Dubai for August to sweat it out and wait for the baby – I have visions of watching the Olympics while fully reclined on the sofa… Who am I kidding?


27th April 2016

Pregnancy Update: 20 weeks

13081821_10156887587675607_214596333_nHow many weeks? I am 20 weeks and 2 days – half way through already! The first trimester  dragged, but now we’re into the second the weeks are just flying by. It seems crazy that my last doctors appointment (when we found out the gender) was 4 weeks ago now. Being busy with two little boys gives me so much less time to focus on the pregnancy – and this is good in some ways, but sad in others. I’m pretty sure this will be my last pregnancy so I want to enjoy it – but equally, I can’t wait to meet her so want the time to whizz by!

How big is the baby? As big as a mango. This is disappointing to Stanley as I misread the app last week and skipped ahead a week. To be a mango two weeks in a row is a big let down to a 4-year-old.

And the bump? As is always the way with pregnancy, I feel a lot bigger than comes across in photos. I feel like this bump has suddenly popped and my posture has adjusted to that ‘leaning backwards’ style of walking.

And the kicks? Much stronger and more frequent. I still have days when I haven’t felt her for a while and wonder if all is OK, but generally don’t go a few hours without feeling a thump or a kick.

When is the next scan? On Saturday! It should be tomorrow, but I booked a few days later as Stanley really wants to come and see the baby. I am slightly concerned that he thinks he is actually going to meet a baby and not just see a grainy black and white picture – but it’s sweet that he wants to be involved. It will also be the first scan my husband has attended too (poor neglected third child) so I like the idea of it being a real family event. In reality, my husband will be chasing Wilfred around a small room while Stanley asks the doctor awkward questions – but hey, we’ll try.

What kind of awkward questions? Stanley has become fascinated with a) how the baby got there in the first place and b) how on earth the baby is going to get out again in September. Today he asked me if I would eventually just pop? I think he might be on to something there, as I feel ginormous already. I usually just reply to a) with ‘I don’t know, it’s magic!’ and b) with ‘Don’t worry, the doctor will take the baby out and everything will be fine’. Hopefully this is enough for him for now at least…

Any more shopping? I’m half expecting my doctor on Saturday to suddenly spot boy parts and announce the whole girl thing was all a big mistake – so I didn’t dare buy anything else since I was first told the gender and bought a couple of things the next morning. My boys clothes aren’t going anywhere either until it’s been confirmed at least once more!

Have you picked the name? I think so (with a long list of back-ups) – but we’ll be keeping it a secret until she’s born just in case we change our mind or it is used by friends before us.

Any cravings? Not really. I occasionally get a craving for crumpets with butter and marmite (which I can’t find in Dubai). And I constantly crave a nice glass of chilled white wine in the evening, but I guess it isn’t toooo long to wait now (in the whole grand scheme of things, at least).

How do you feel? I went down with the lurgy last week, with a horrible cough and sinus infection (oh how I long for strong painkillers and cold drugs!) so that wasn’t fun. But I am pleased to say that the nausea is pretty much gone now and although I’m tired and try to kip every lunchtime while Wilfred is asleep and Stanley is having ‘quiet time’, I feel like I have a bit more energy that I did a few weeks ago. I am definitely getting achier in the hips and got my familiar pregnancy stitch (bottom right side) while walking yesterday, so I don’t think it’ll be long before I’m in my support belt (oh the glamour).

Next pregnancy update in a couple of weeks!

13th April 2016

Pregnancy Update: 18 Weeks

13020634_10156836935155607_1570821002_nHow many weeks? 18 weeks and 2 days now. Time dragged in the first trimester so much, but it’s really starting to whizz by now. I find it hard to believe that I’ll be at the halfway point next time I post an update.

How big is the baby? A dragon fruit now! I find this hard to visualise as it’s not a fruit I generally have lying around the fruit bowl – but I will seek one out when I am next in the supermarket! Stanley has started asking me the size of the baby every week and I’ve found the fruit analogy the easiest way to explain it to him – but he is truly baffled by the dragon fruit and I think he is now imagining his sister as a mini dragon…

And the bump? I feel like it’s popped these last few weeks and I am now mainly wearing maternity wear. It seems a lot higher. I am starting to find it difficult to get comfy at night, so asked my husband to grab my maternity pillow from the top of the wardrobe, but alas it had decided to grow mould over the past few years (thanks to those humid Dubai summers) – so I was straight on Mumzworld.com to order a new one!

How do you feel? Praise be, I think I am finally starting to feel better. I still feel nauseous first thing in the morning until I eat something – but after that, I just need to remember to eat regularly (something every few hours throughout the day) and I no longer feel sick. I am still waiting for that second trimester energy surge though – I am so tired, I could stay in bed 24 hours a day if I was allowed to. I’ve had my iron levels checked now and everything is fine with the giant horse pills I am taking, so I can’t even blame it on anemia. I so wish Stanley still napped so I could climb into bed every lunchtime, but alas he is a ball of energy when we get back from school. I have managed the odd kip on the sofa while he’s watching TV, but that’s about it. Other than that, I am starting to get an aching back and my old pregnancy friend sciatica is showing signs of reappearing. Hoping I can get a little further along before I need to book in to see my osteopath.

Does she have a name? We have a top contender, but definitely not decided yet. We picked Stanley and Wilfred’s names by 20 weeks and I loved knowing who they were for the second half of pregnancy – but I just can’t see that happening this time, as there are just too many names I like. I think you can be more creative with girls’ names, which means there are too many options. I quite like the idea of waiting until she arrives and seeing what she suits, but I usually like to  announce a birth with a name. We will have to see – but either way, I’ll definitely be keeping that a secret until she arrives.

Any more shopping? No I don’t dare!  I am still half expecting to be told she has turned into a boy at my next scan in a few weeks, so will wait until we get another confirmation that it’s definitely a girl. Then I’ll sort through my boxes to find the things that can be gender neutral – and work out what we need. I think sleepsuits and blankets will be top of my wish list, as I did go a bit blue-crazy the last few times! She can wear these things of course, but I would like some girly bits to mix it up.

Cravings? Crunchy nut cornflakes drowned in milk! Can’t get enough of them. Also back to my original craving that I’ve had through all three pregnancies of sparkling water with lots of ice (weird but true).

Anything else? Three of our closest friends have had babies in the last few weeks (welcome to the world Cecilia, Beatrice and Oliver!) This has made me even more excited about September, but it just seems so far away still! Cecilia is right here in Dubai and I am hoping for cuddles this afternoon. Hopefully Wilfred takes it better now than he did a year ago, when he nearly smashed up a living room when he saw me with a newborn. Here’s hoping anyway… There’s a reason Wilf always appears as Wild when I type it into predictive text…

12th April 2016

Stanley’s 4th Birthday Party at Kids HQ

12992778_10156833067165607_1383427204_nI had grand plans for Stanley’s birthday party this year. I wanted to give him an old-school children’s party in a decorated hall, complete with jelly and ice cream, pin the tail on the donkey, pass the parcel, and homemade bunting. It was going to be beautiful.

And then I woke up and realised I am exhausted from growing a baby, working every hour under the sun, and of course being a mum of two – so I started looking around for easier options.

Kids HQ appealed on several levels. Firstly, because there is lots of space and I didn’t want the party to be cramped (Stanley is now at school and we wanted to invite his whole class). Secondly, because there is a comfortable coffee shop on site for adults to hang out while the kids have fun (let’s be honest, we need coffee and we need a seat on a Saturday morning). And lastly, because the boys love the play area and I’d heard very good things about the parties.

So it was decided – and I booked his party for a Saturday morning 10-12pm and our amazing party organiser Amna got in touch within days to ask me to choose a theme. Stanley was given a long list of options including minions, superheroes, and cars – but he isn’t really into any of those things and asked for a rainbow theme (which melted my heart a bit). Amna sweetly agreed to accommodate his request, so that was decided. I gave her a vague idea of numbers (between 20 and 25 was my guess) and we also chose the food option (chicken nuggets and chips for my nugget-obsessed boy).


Other than that, there was very little organisation involved. I needed to order a cake and wanted to do my own party bags (although Kids HQ take care of this too, so we added the two together).  I made an order through my favourite decoration site Party Camel for both the cake topper and party bags/contents – and I ordered the cake from Hummingbird Bakery (vanilla frosting and sprinkles, with a rainbow striped cake inside). The cake was a very reasonable 250 AED for the largest size, which was delivered to my door.

A few days before the party, I confirmed the numbers. When the big day arrived, we arrived at Kids HQ with a very excited Stanley – and he was treated like a star from the moment he walked inside! We were so impressed with the staff – and all the kids had an absolute blast for the two hours of the party (one hour playing outside in the jungle gym and one hour playing games / eating). The rainbow room was so beautifully decorated that I actually felt a bit teary at the effort they’d made (alas, he did get homemade bunting after all, even if it wasn’t made by my fair hand).

I barely had to lift a finger, which is exactly what I needed when seriously lacking in time and energy – but yet he had the best morning and will still be talking about it for months to come I think (although he is already planning his 5th birthday party, so there we go..!)

So that’s enough words – and now for the pictures! Thank you so much for everyone that came to Stanley’s party and all his amazing gifts – and most of all, thank you to Kids HQ for making his day so special. If you are looking for a party venue, I highly, highly recommend it!

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7th April 2016

How does it feel to know we’re going to have a little girl?

12920918_10156790562490607_571516257_nNo pregnancy update this week, as I’ve decided to post them every fortnight so that regular readers who have no interest in my bump don’t get bored (and honestly, I don’t blame you!)

So I thought I’d write a post addressing my feelings on having a little girl in five months time, since we found out a week ago today.

First thing first; I am just relieved that everything looks healthy with the baby. I haven’t had my 20-week scan yet, where they look in minute detail at the baby’s organs – but my obstetrician did take a quick look (as I guess he does as every appointment) and baby is looking healthy thus far. That was a huge relief as the long 4 weeks between appointments is enough time for it to play on your mind that something may be wrong.

Finding out that we are 99% likely to be having a little girl in September later that night, however, still seems a bit surreal!

I was open about the fact that I would probably choose a little girl (if mother nature was kind enough to let us choose) – but that didn’t mean I was expecting it. At all! In fact, I was fully expecting to hear that it was another little boy. I have always imagined my future surrounded by boys and could visualise how the three of them would look together. We’d chosen a boy’s name and even a middle name – and all our baby boy clothes are stored neatly in boxes with the ages on post-it notes on the front.

If I’m honest, I’m still not willing to fully believe that it’s a girl until I’ve had it confirmed again at the next scan. I felt confident enough to do a gender reveal on the blog last week as my obstetrician obviously felt confident enough to put it in an envelope – but the 1% chance he might not have spotted boys’ bits is enough for me to feel cautious! I opened the wardrobe the other day to look at the boy’s clothes (wondering how much I’d bought in gender neutral colours!), but definitely won’t be sorting or rehoming them until we have at least a couple more confirmations. It’d make a great story for this blog if we do suddenly find out he made a mistake!

But if it is a girl? I’m nervous, but very excited to add her to my brood. I can’t wait to start shopping and have already got name ideas whizzing around my head (although it seems there’s too much choice to ever agree on a name, but we’ll have fun trying).

My boys – especially Stanley – are delighted. Stanley says ‘we’ve got too many boys already’ and I was kind of dreading breaking the news if the baby was another blue one. He was so happy and has already named her (not a bad suggestion actually, so we will see…)

The news has also eased my fear a little of my boy’s lovely brotherly relationship being effected (which I know is utterly ridiculous, as she will still bond with her brothers and everything will change, of course). But I guess we have these barmy fears when we are expecting another little person.

So to sum it up – I am delighted, but finding it hard to believe. I have five months to get my head around it though – and I know that when September rolls around, I’ll be bursting with excitement to meet her (and then stop in my tracks when I have to change the first nappy!)

2nd April 2016

Boy or girl?

My husband finally got home at 9pm on Thursday evening and we ripped open the envelope a few minutes later (I’d like to think he was just as excited as me, but his pizza was getting cold so who knows?) He looked first, made a shocked face, and started to fold the paper back up – so I ripped it out of his hands and opened it myself to read the news.

I had all sorts of plans to take pictures of blue and pink balloons or cupcakes to break the news in a creative, arty way – but then Stanley asked if he could draw a picture so I had a better idea… So on that note, I’ll hand over to the boys to reveal whether they are getting a new baby brother or sister…

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So there we go – it’s PINK. I couldn’t be more shocked – to be honest, it hasn’t sunk it properly yet, but we are both absolutely delighted.

My doctor told me he is 99% sure, but not to do too much shopping until we confirm it at the 20 week scan. So I obviously completely ignored his advice and ventured into the girls’ section of GAPKids on Friday morning and made a couple of impulse purchases. It’s not a section I ever thought I would shop in for my own children and I was overwhelmed by the pinkness. I think this shopping habit is going to get out of hand… I have to admit that after walking around on Cloud 9, I did catch sight of an adorable baby boy babygro when I was walking out and had a small pang of sadness – but I was never going to get both genders and I feel very lucky that I have two lovely boys at home already.

So the big question remains… What on earth am I going to call this blog? Answers on a postcard please!



17th March 2016

Pregnancy Update: 14 weeks

12527876_10156698108425607_1359576450_nHow many weeks? I’m now 14 weeks and 1 day – and still feeling sick! I think it’s tailed off slightly in the afternoon and evening, but the morning is just as bad. I’m starting to worry it’s never going to stop and this is what I’m going to have to deal with the whole pregnancy. I know a lot of ladies have it worse and I shouldn’t complain, but it’s hard when you have to leave for the school run at 7.15am!

How big is the baby? The size of a lemon! I’ve started to feel flutters, which I did with Wilfred in Week 14 too. Not consistently, but when I sit down and have a quiet moment, the baby flutters away. I’m not sure I like the feeling much at this stage, but it’s definitely reassuring.

And the bump? I’m definitely showing earlier this time, but I guess that’s because my body knows what it’s doing and has already stretched twice. I’ve started using Bio Oil again day and night (it’s seen me through two pregnancies and no stretch marks yet) and started to pull out my maternity wardrobe (and made a first order from amazing Dubai-based maternity company Blush and Bloom.

When is the next appointment? I have an appointment in a fortnight, which I’m hoping will also be the day we find out the gender. I am still having very mixed feelings about this. I can’t imagine being told ‘it’s a girl’, where as ‘it’s a boy’ is very familiar territory, so this is what I am fully expecting to hear. I’d still choose a girl if we had that luxury, but I can clearly visualise my future with three boys and it kind of seems right. I may feel a smidgen of disappointment at the scan but I’d get my head around it very quickly (a quick delve in my box of blue newborn outfits should sort that out in a matter of seconds!)

Any name ideas? I’ll keep it a secret, but we have a boy name fully sorted – and a few girl names we also like. I don’t want to make the mistake of thinking too much about the girl names unless I need to – I made that mistake the first two times and it was wasted brain power!

Cravings? Not really cravings, but I can’t get enough of juices and smoothies at the moment. Also wishing I could eat all the things I’m not allowed to. And still hating the taste of meat unless it’s smothered in sauce.

Any other symptoms? I was very anemic in my last pregnancy, so have been on strong supplements from the beginning, but I can still feel my levels are dropping as I have heart palpitations after eating and my tongue is showing the signs (gross). These are both signs of plummeting levels of iron for me. I’m going to ask for a blood test at my next appointment so we can come up with a plan, as I feel totally wiped out in the afternoons and evenings (this is why I haven’t been blogging much, as I am usually like a nodding dog on the sofa by 8pm).

I’m planning to update you on my pregnancy weekly or fortnightly, as long as you are interested – so let me know if you like the updates and I will keep taking pictures of the bump and sharing all the news!

3rd March 2016

We have some news!


For the last couple of months, I’ve found it almost impossible to write posts for this blog.

Because I write from the heart – but I couldn’t yet share what was inside it.

Every time I sat down to write a post, I stared at a blank screen. The words didn’t flow.

Because I wanted to tell you everything.

I wanted to tell you about how I have woken up every morning since Christmas with awful nausea. About how I chomped through two dry rice cakes on the school run every morning to get myself through it. About how I went through 4 outfit changes every day at 7am until I found something that successfully hid my swollen tummy.

I wanted to tell you about how I have been feeling. About how the thought of bringing back out the moses basket, breast pump and steriliser one last time is both wildly exciting and terrifying at the same time. About how the thought of holding a newborn again in just six months time fills my tummy with excited butterflies – but that past experience tells me to prepare myself for broken nights, sibling rivalries, and the challenge of working out a whole new routine. About how I have swung between feeling sad for the boys and remembering we are giving them the ultimate gift.

Because after a healthy 12-week scan yesterday, I am happy to share that our baby number three, god willing, will be arriving in September.

A little brother or sister for my boys.

The last pea in the pod.

The baby of the family.

I’m so happy to be sharing this news with you all finally – and hope you will join me as my bump grows bigger and we get ready to become a family of five.

I am already counting the days until I get to hold this little one in my arms.

30th January 2016

Wilfred’s 2nd Birthday Rainbow Party


Wilfred turned two yesterday – and after a day celebrating at Emirates Park Zoo (worth a visit if you haven’t been) and opening presents at home, we gathered this morning for a small, but very lovely party to celebrate.

I have some big thanks to say first. Firstly to my friend Elena, who really is the kindest person in the history of the world and not only offered her garden for the morning (a treat for us garden-less folk in Dubai Marina) but sent out an appeal for tables and chairs in her community and drove around gathering them all weekend with her equally lovely husband Chris. She’s a keeper – and we are very appreciative to both of them for allowing 14 sugar-fuelled children to run around their garden all morning.

Secondly to my friend Carol, who loaned us her bouncy castle for the morning. The kids had a ball and there are only a couple of black eyes (both belonging to my boys, of course…)

Also to my friend Simone, who is very talented behind the lens and took photos of the morning so I could share them with you in this post. We all know that professional photography doesn’t come cheap these days, so I feel very lucky to have a friend that happily brings along her camera and snaps away.

We had such a lovely morning, surrounded by our best friends in Dubai – with our youngest guest only 2 weeks old (and not even due for another week, making her a very special guest indeed!) Wilfred says a big thank you for all his lovely presents and to everyone who made an effort to come along on what was probably the coldest morning in the history of Dubai (I exaggerate, but at least the rain held off).

In typical second-child-style, Wilfred hangs out with his brother’s friends and their siblings most of the time – so it’s lovely that he got a morning to be centre of attention (even though I’m still not entirely sure he understood it was his party!) I really wanted his party to be simple – like the birthdays I had as a child. Nothing fancy – just cake, laughter, party food, and friends. I think we achieved that this morning, so without further ado, here are a few details about what I ordered and purchased for the day – and below that, the photos of the morning.

Cake: Hummingbird Bakery. Order online here, with delivery to your door.

Decorations: Party Camel (food boxes, cake decoration, party bags, table cloth). Order here.

Party Hats, Balloons and Food: Waitrose

Message Light Box: A Little Lovely Company

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13th January 2016

Our ‘M is for Mama’ session with Lidiya Kalichuk Photography

When Dubai-based photographer Lidiya Kalichuk Photography got in touch to tell me about her new “M is for Mama” package back in December, I instantly fell in love with the concept. Before our session, Lidiya sent me a questionnaire that asked “What makes you happy as a mother? What do you want to remember?”

After some thought, I filled it in. “Weekend mornings,” I said. “The boys in pyjamas, flour covering the surfaces after we’ve made pancakes together, and late morning strolls in the sunshine on Dubai Marina in hunt of strong coffee.”

Lidiya read through my answers before she arrived on the morning – and as we mixed, ate, sipped, strolled, and scooted our way through our morning, she stood back and photographed it happening.

As far as we were concerned, it was just a normal morning – but I already know that I will treasure what she captured that day forever, long after the boys grow out of those pyjamas and stop volunteering to help me mix pancake batter.

Here are my favourite images from the day – and if you would like to book Lidiya for the ‘M is for Mama’ package yourself, she is offering Mum of Boys readers 10% off her prices. The package includes 40 digital images, as well as a set of 6×4 prints and an album to arrange them and jot down some memories. You can contact Lidiya to request price details and make a booking by emailing lidiya.kalichuk@gmail.com and can visit her website at www.lidiyakalichuk.com

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