This is probably going to be an extremely boring post for most people, but I kind of wanted to share with you all the things that have been most enjoyable about my maternity leave so far.
Nice meals. Whether it's nice dinners, eating out or making tasty lunches when friends and family come over (or by myself) it really has been nice to enjoy some tasty food while I've been off. Usually I'll spend the day being quite active around the house and then I'll sit down and really enjoy my meals.
Here was last night's dinner. I love cooking but my boyfriend is an amazing cook. The smell of roast chicken in the house yesterday was just amazing. So comforting. He roasted a whole butternut squash and made a delicious mash with it using various herbs and spices such as cinnamon, butter, salt and pepper. It was delicious. We also had roast potatoes, roasted parsnips, carrots, stuffing and of course gravy to go with the perfectly cooked roast chicken. It was such a bargain too, the chicken was on special offer in Supervalue for €3 when we shopped last week. We just popped it in to the freezer and thawed it out the night before use. There is lots of roast chicken left actually, so today I plan on using it with vegetables and bacon to make a lovely pasta dish. Can't wait!
Here is the butternut squash. You literally roast it whole in the oven for an hour - 1 hour and 15 minutes depending on the size. It comes out deliciously soft. This is when he had cut it in half, but when roasting it he literally put the whole thing in the oven. Simples!
An example of a lunch I have been really enjoying. I LOVE wholemeal pita bread. They're so cheap too. You'll get a packet of 6 for less than one euro in Aldi or any supermarket really. The trick with these are to freeze them until you need them as the packaging is usually just plastic and can't be resealed so they will just go off if you leave them out. When I'm about to use one I just take it out of the freezer about 30 minutes before use and then I toast it before putting all of my delicious fillings inside.
This was today's lunch and it is a combination I am loving at the moment. Packed in to that wholemeal pita is grilled smoked bacon, chopped onion, chopped tomato, lettuce, grated cheddar cheese, salt and cracked black pepper (I am obsessed with coarse black pepper, I put it in and on everything) and then a healthy drizzle of sweet chilli sauce. I usually pop it on to the griddle pan for a further minute, or lash it in the microwave for 10 seconds just to melt the cheese and make it all oozy and gorgeous. I had this today with a bowl of chicken and butternut squash soup. This was a total experiment but after dinner last night we had a good bit of leftover potato, butternut squash, carrot and chicken so I popped it all in to a sauce pan with some boiling water, half a stock cube, salt and pepper and let it bubble away for about 20 minutes. I then liquidized it and was left with the most beautiful soup. Waste not want not right? Love when things like that work out.
This is gas. They say it's very important to stay hydrated when pregnant. I got sick of constantly filling up glasses of water and juice and so my boyfriend had the great idea of using this novelty cup that we brought home from Vegas. It's from 'Fat Tuesdays' which is basically a place that does alcoholic slush puppies in ginormous novelty mugs and everyone walks around Vegas with them. It's perfect for me because I fill it with my squash (no added sugar blackcurrant and apple flavour, in case you were dying to know) and I have it for hours then. I also bring one to bed with me (how sexy).
Fresh sheets. Seriously, did you see that weather today? I'm not even joking, but there really was "great drying" out there. I took full advantage and stripped the beds and had the sheets washed and dried before lunch. I'm already so looking forward to getting in to bed tonight. There is nothing quite like the feeling of fresh crisp sheets! OK so they could do with an iron, but I ironed on Sunday and ironing is literally my least favourite activity on the planet, so they'll have to do.
See what I mean? Great drying. Not only did I get all my sheets washed but I also did a good bit of normal washing and in my opinion nothing beats the smell of freshly washed clothes that have been dried in the garden. They just smell so fresh. The clothes-horse can remain folded up and sulking in the corner for the time being, thank you very much.
Candles. I love candles in general but I've gotten in to the habit of tidying the house and then sitting down to read my book in the afternoon with a nice candle lighting in the room. It's so relaxing. These two Yankee Candles were a gift from my boyfriend's mam and I haven't opened them yet. Very much looking forward to that.
This is another candle I love. It's an Irish company called Ógra. They make lovely natural products using peat, would you believe. I use their face cream, cleanser, and body butter and they also do lovely candles such as this one. It has a lovely Christmasy smell.
Super random I know, but I cannot recommend this shower gel enough. I think it was about €1 in Aldi and I am absolutely horsing through it. It smells divine and the whole house benefits from the smell when you've had a shower. It's fab!
These are my every-day cosmetics (apart from make-up if I'm wearing it, and perfume, and lip balm etc...). After my shower I always use the Bepathen stretch-mark cream on my tummy. Stretch marks are one of those things that few women escape during pregnancy. Mine aren't horrific but I've really noticed this cream makes a big difference. It is a lovely smooth velvety cream and I use it every day. The E45 lotion is great too. Again I use this straight after my shower all over my body. It's great for moisturising your skin everywhere (particularly nice on your legs and feet) and it is a really gentle cream so would be suitable for most skin-types. The little tub in the middle is the Ógra facial moisturiser and it's a really lovely face cream. It has a lovely silky smooth texture and it's great for those days when you don't want to wear make-up and want to feel a bit more fresh-faced.
So we've come to the end of this riveting blog post. If you're still reading, I commend you. On the agenda this week is a) hope the baby arrives (I'm due on Friday) and b) go for a luxurious pedicure with my sister at this place.