As most of you may know from listening to my Snapchat, we are moving!!!! We bought a house that had to be gutted & renovated from top to toe, we are basically working with a shell! I plan to bring you on this interiors journey with me as things start to move forward.
But to kick start things I thought I would begin by bringing you some kitchen design ideas and inspiration. Our kitchen went in just over a week ago – the counter top hasn’t been put on yet and a few bits so I will hold off on showing you pictures ’til it is further on. We went for a white kitchen (the exact colour is Farrow & Ball ‘Strong White’) and we picked grey for our island (the grey is Farrow & Ball ‘Manour House Grey’), our work top when it does go on is Carrara Quartz.
For me, the kitchen is the heart of the house, it is where we will spend the most time, so in that regard it is the most important space for me and most likely where you will spend the most money too!! like everything when it comes to interiors and design there is SO. MUCH. CHOICE. I think it is really important to do some research and try to get a feel for what it is you really want and what you love, it can be overwhelming when you first walk into a kitchen showroom. Thankfully we knew exactly what we wanted to that made life a small bit easier.
Here is some inso on various kitchen styles to give you some inspiration and you are start saving to that house file you have on your phone (I think its a great idea to save down all images you see that you love, even if you are not sure why you love it, it’s that bank of imagery that will help form the basis of the vision for your home)
When it comes to your kitchen there are so many decisions to make not only about style (modern, farmhouse, traditional etc etc) but also colours, splash backs, floors, islands, chairs and stools, worktops, knobs and handles, sinks and lighting….. Hopefully this will give you some ideas!
So I have officially hit the half way mark, well this week sees me reaching 21 weeks. I feel should be zooming about the place with lots of energy this trimester but I have to admit the past week or so I have been struggling; I feel really really exhausted, all the time. I have a lot of aches and pains too, my back in particular is always aching. I wake up fine but by lunch time my back is very sore.
Let’s talk health
Last week I had less movement than normal and as I said I just didn’t feel ‘right’, after a few days of worry I rang Holles Street and they told me to come in immediately, I spent about 4 or 5 hours in the triage area but they listened to baby’s heart beat and scanned me and all was well, it was great peace of mind. My advise to anyone is trust your instinct, if you feel off or movement seems different GO IN. I felt ‘silly’ and like a was wasting their valuable time but you know what, in hindsight, I should have called them sooner.
This week feels totally different, so much movement, all the time. I LOVE the feeling of my little baba moving. We had our big 20 week scan this week and it went so well, it’s such a great milestone and we are so so happy and relieved all seems to be well with baby. As for my type one diabetes, I am not having a good week, or maybe two weeks, my blood sugars levels are constantly changing, and so my dosage has to be changed all the time. The nurses in Holles Street are such a great help but it hasn’t been a great couple of weeks from that perspective. That’s just type one diabetes and pregnancy unfortunately, different growth levels with baba, different hormones levels and so on, all will interact with my insulin absorption and blood sugar levels.
This is the face of our joy when we got out from the scan being told everything looks healthy and well….
Let’s talk work
Everyone tells me I should be resting more, but as you mammies know, that is close to impossible with a toddler! I am a stay at home mum half of my time and the other half I run The Style Fairy, and I suppose a hell of a lot more goes on behind the scenes with The Style Fairy than you might imagine; even small things such as getting back to peoples messages, emails and comments can take so so SO long each day – Often hours! In the background I am also working on brand collaborations, pitches and proposals for potential brands, agent meetings, brand meetings, general admin and then off course the actual content creation for the blog and all the social media pages, it’s never ending! And truthfully?….Most of the time I feel I am not succeeding at either…..The Style Fairy or being a mammy!! But I think that’s the age old battle all working mammies feel, and I am lucky I get to spend as much time as I do with Annabelle Ivy.
As most of you will know we are also moving house and in the process of COMPLETELY doing up the house we are moving in to, we hope to be in by April… seems impossible but we have some really great people helping us. We didn’t at the beginning and it slowed things down and brought major stress on the whole project but anyway, I’ll come back to that.
Anabelle Ivy was born at 36 weeks and it is likely I will have a similar situation with this baba so hence the rush to get in and get somewhat settled, especially for Anabelle, I would love for her to have some time in her new home before the new arrival turns her whole world upside down!!
Building a house or totally renovating a house takes so much time – It totally sucks you in. To give you an idea, the house we are moving into was gutted – I mean totally totally gutted, we were essentially left with the shell, so we have all the external building work done, the windows in, re wired, re plumbed etc and now we are starting on interiors! Oh the kitchen is in, so thats a big step. I will be doing blog on this journey in the brand spanking new INTERIORS section of The Style Fairy so keep your eyes peeled for that if interiors is your thing!
Let’s talk Faaaasssssshion
Enough moaning Naomi, get to the good stuff I hear you say 😉 Maternity fashion, so what have I bought, what am I looking at and where is the best place for maternity style?
First things first, I know, everyone wants to talk about jeans, jeans, jeans…. In fact, it’s such a hot topic I am doing a separate blog post all about maternity jeans, at the moment I am wearing a few brands so I can give my take on them all; POCOS, Penneys, ASOS, New Look, and a pair from iClothing just arrived in while I am working on this blog post. I will deffo try get around to that blog post this week.
The best place to see all latest fashion buys or bits and pieces I may get sent from brands is my Snapchat, my username is: thestylefairy. I am not on it constantly, I am not one of those people who feels the need to document EVERY element of my day (yawn), but I share bits and pieces of everything from my outfits, shopping, hauls, home, interiors, Anabelle Ivy, pregnancy, beauty products, that kind of thing!
I have bought a mix of maternity clothes and non maternity, when it comes to non maternity, I just keep an eye out for styles I know will work with a growing bump and go up a size (or two or three).
Here are a few pieces I have bought recently or that I am loving….
H&M have a really great maternity range, at good prices. I’ll reserve comment on the jeans for now, but they are great for jumpers, basics (t-shirts, tops and vests) and also some lovey dresses, jackets and knitwear. See the full range here
Penneys have also now launched a maternity collection, I have the jeans (again I’ll chat about those again in the jeans blog). From their maternity range I also picked up a long sleeved striped top, perfect for under blazers. I also bought a long line mustard blazer (from their normal range) to go with this. I’ll share a picture when I wear that outfit.
In general Penneys is great for picking up bits and pieces throughout pregnancy without spending a fortune. In particular keep an eye out for oversized knit wear and cardigans, jackets and blazers, shirts and blouses (just buy a few sizes up); shirts are great, I especially loved them in the later stages of pregnancy the last time, worn with a vest or t shirt and leggings. You know yourself, but it’s handy to pick up basics there too like vests etc, although as bump starts to get bigger I prefer maternity vests as they are longer and cover bump properly.
RI don’t do maternity, but I have picked up some bits recently that I wanted to share. Blazers are a great way to dress up a simple jeans and t-shirt look and you know blazers are a big wardrobe staple for me, they are ideal in pregnancy too, just buy a size up, and wear with your maternity jeans. I got this first one, (I got the size 12) but River Island have a really great selection of blazers in at the moment:
I LOVE love love ASOS, pregnant or not pregnant. But as it happens they have one of the absolute best maternity wear collections. I often recommend ASOS for maternity occasion wear, some really fab, on trend pieces. They also stock a range of maternity brands so it makes life easier when it is all on the one website.
Don’t get me wrong, I am also a big fan of wearing ‘normal’ clothes where possible, I don’t believe you always have to choose from the maternity ranges. Keep an eye for dresses that are stretchy or have the right cut and shape that will accommodate the bump – Wrap dresses for example are great!
For example just bought this dress, it’s not maternity so I went up a size and it sits lovely on bump
I also bought this, again, not maternity but plenty of room for bump. Love this dress. Also blazer style dresses are great as by their nature they are smock style so work great for maternity wear.
Lastly, I also bought this oversized tunic top, it’s so comfy and perfect over bump, add a belt above bump if yo want t define your curves a little! And it’s on sale!!!! I can’t wait to style this up!
Another tunic style top, also on sale
Topshop also do a great maternity range, on the pricier she but some fab pieces. Great for knitwear, pyjamas, and day dresses. Spotted this dress this week and it’s really nice.
iClothing have a maternity range, although it is a little small at the moment, hopefully they expand….pardon the pun 😉 See their full maternity range here.
I have these leather look trousers, lovely stretchy fabric, I haven’t worn them yet but can’t wait, I would style with them a chunky polo neck jumper or wear with one of those tunics from ASOS I showed above.
iClothing also have some fab wrap dresses, non maternity but would still work very well over bump.
Elora Maternity is an Irish owned online maternity boutique. I wore lots from them in my last pregnancy and plan to again this time. Visit their site here. They stock beautiful maternity jammies , as well as some gorgeous occasion wear dresses, plus some nice day to day tops. Here are some pieces that caught my eye, although the owner of Elora Maternity has been in touch with me and said they are expecting a lot of new stock over the coming weeks.
Zara obviously doesn’t do maternity wear but I love them for blouses, tunics, blazers and basic vests.
This is one of my favourite maternity brands but be warned it doesn’t come cheap. But the quality is second to known. I invested in a white shirt from them in my last pregnancy and it is still perfect:
It also comes in a red stripe and a blue stripe – so fab! If you do invest it will be worthwhile
If you have an office job there are some really stunning work wear pieces,all very high quality. Plus they do some stunning dresses too.
Ok I think that’s more than enough fashion for this time.
This is probably my most requested blog post in a long time!!!! 🙂 After Christmas we headed abroad on holiday to Gloria Palace Amadores in Gran Canaria.
During the holiday and afterwards I have been inundated with emails, snaps and messages asking where I was, would I recommend it, was it family friendly etc. So here goes…..
As some background, this hotel has massive sentimental value to me, I am very attached to Gloria Palace Amadores because I have been going there since I was maybe 10 or 11 years old, every year, same week with my family.
Location, Weather and Flight
We love going to Gran Canaria in January as you are guaranteed the sunshine! Not scorching heat, but it is normally around 25 or 26 degrees, every year without fail, we always have good weather in January. Gran Canaria as an island varies massively in temperatures, for example Amadores, Mogan and Puerto Rico will be significantly hotter than the likes of San Agustin (in Winter) so be careful with that.
We always book the hotel directly and then the flights separately. Both Ryanair and Aer Lingus fly direct to Las Palmas Airport, the flight time is approx 4 and a half hours. Flight times are tricky, the way out is always great but the way home it is a late night time flight so not ideal for babies and kids, but we survived! If it’s suitable for you, it is always worth checking flights from Belfast to Las Palmas, often cheaper and better times.
On arrival we had booked car (and a car seat) and a driver was waiting at the airport to pick us up, it was fantastic and takes away any hassle of getting to and from the hotel. The drive from airport to hotel is approx 40 minutes.
The hotel is very family friendly, any time we have been there is always packed with families. There is one main baby pool, along with a kids club, a small playground and for older kids there is tennis courts.
There is a jam packed schedule every day of activities, if you or older kids want to get involved….From aqua aerobics, to spinning to bingo to tennis to bowls to cocktail making.
The kids club is small but good, Anabelle Ivy is only 2 so she didn’t go in alone any time, but I imagine for children from 3 or 4 years upwards it is great as there is always staff there to draw and do activities with the kids. They have a little itinerary every day.
To be honest we spent ALL morning in the baby pool, it is just a really nice, small safe area, after her nap then in the afternoons we usually went to the playground area with her,
For adults there is a fabulous big infinity pool, (beside the outdoor bar), and also a second pool on a totally different level where there are less kids (and noise)… Suffice to say I wasn’t up there at all!!
Every night there is a kids disco at 7.30pm followed then by a movie, the disco was the highlight of Anabelle’s night ! Each night there is also a show for the adults; some are really awful, some are entertaining! Most nights we were in bed by time the show started as Anabelle was always exhausted by 9pm/ 9.30pm every night.
The rooms in general in Gloria Palace are very big and spacious. My mum and dad were with us this year also and they were staying in a standard room, it was huge; really fab. This year and last year we stayed in one of the family suites and it really gorgeous, So spacious, double balcony, insane views, really beautiful and ideal for us as it was two interconnecting rooms. Always request a sea view room or a pool side room as the views are what make Gloria Palace. The most breath taking views I’ve seen.
We went all inclusive and I feel it is worthwhile, especially with kids. And also if you and your partner drink alcohol, if you are not on all inclusive the price of drinks at the hotel are very dear so for drinks alone the all inclusive is worth it 😉 Not that I was drinking this time around, but we still like to go all inclusive.
The food is buffet style! The first day you will pig out and honestly by the end I was sick of the sight of it!!! LOL. I love their breakfasts; so much gorgeous variety; tonnes of pastries, any kind of eggs you want, breads, juices, smoothies, fruit and lots of cereals.
Lunch again great variety; soup, salads (huge salad selection), meat, fish, pasta, pizza. I struggled sometimes to get appropriate food for Anabelle at lunch time though; but she is a very very fussy eater, mostly she ate the rice or soup and occasionally pizza. Oh and chips, there is always chips!!
Dinner is varied with good selection and choice, I think though with any buffet, after a week of it you would be sick of it. Each night there was a country themed night so one area would have foods of that country; so Mexican night, Italian night and so on…. Otherwise dinner was meat options (usually 3 or 4 options), fish options, pasta, salads, rice. soups and massive dessert selection!
Although we were all inclusive we still went out for dinner around 4 times; Puerto Rico is within walking distance and you can take the panoramic lift to the pedestrian walk was (along the cliff edge) to puerto Rico, it takes maybe 5 minutes and there is a strip of restaurants there; the absolute BEST one in my opinion is: La Cantina.
Other restaurants we love (but you would need to get a taxi to) are;
Los Canarios 1 (Arguineguin)
El Gaitero, Puerto Rico
Amadores Beach Club
Beach / Where to visit
Amadores beach is within waking distance, again take the hotels panoramic lift to the cliff edge where there is a pedestrian walkway along the cliff, this brings you down to the beach. Definitely worth a visit!
A day trip to Mogan is also a great idea, we took the boat. Mogan is a really stunning town.
There is a magnificent spa in the hotel, it really is WOW! Unfortunately because I am pregnant I wasn’t able to avail of it this time but I have been many times in the past few years and it’s really gorgeous. It’s called a Thalasso, which means the entire spa uses sea water; there is a massive sea water pool with dozens of jets, a sauna, steam room, jacuzzi etc, plus a stunning area to relax/ chill out after using the facilities. Plus there are the usual spa facilities available; massages, beauty treatments and so on.
Tips for holidays with a toddler
I’ve written a couple fo blog posts over the last year or two about travelling abroad with Annabelle, you can have a read in the travel section of my blog HERE.
Well my news and my bump is well and truly out at this stage. This week makes me 18 weeks pregnant. Wow, ok even writing that scares me a little because time is now starting to fly! The first 12 weeks felt like the slowest in my life though. I have decided for this pregnancy I am going to do a pregnancy diary, weekly or fortnightly or just as often as I can. I plan to share a “bump date” (an update on the size of the bump!!), how I am feeling, what I am up to, what I am planning, what I have bought for baby or me etc etc etc. Just an online diary of my pregnancy….
Since I announced my news I just cannot believe the amount of you who have emailed, snapped or messaged me to say you are pregnant too, I’m excited to share this journey with you.
Pregnancy so far…
Overall I have been fine, no major sickness thank god, the first 10 or so weeks I suffered with really bad nausea and just the usual exhaustion. That has passed, except maybe the tiredness, I am pretty much always tired, but that might be down to running around after a crazy 2 years old!
As I said I am 18 weeks now and in the past two weeks my appetite has been HUGE, I am constantly hungry at the moment nothing is satisfying me at all right now. I’m not craving anything in particular, any kind of food will suffice!!! Oh and I am crazy hormonal, crying at the drop of a hat! I’ll cry pretty much over anything right now. My poor hubby!
When did I find out…
Do you remember the day storm Ophelia hit? It was a Monday, I was stuck at home in my parents house in Cavan and in the back of my mind, I thought I may be pregnant, I just had not been myself but was only a few days late…… So I didn’t want to get my hopes up, because of the storm all the shops in Cavan were closed so I wasn’t even able to do a test until the next day when I drove back to Dublin. And, as they say, the rest is history. Perhaps I’ll have to call the baby Ophelia!!!! 😉
When I found out I was pregnant it was bang in the middle of a really busy time for me, I had several jobs lined up with brands, I’ll never forget the day working down in Kildare Village, I was about 7 weeks pregnant, I felt fat and bloated and nothing would zip up on me, and I was violently nauseous, I never thought I would get through it. I had the best assistant that day, Suzanne, thank you, I told you my secret and you were my angel that day!
You may be surprised to hear the amount fo people who messaged me and asked me, was I pregnant, that I looked like i had “weight’ on and they were happy for me. I was so shocked someone would ask me this, I still am, and this was v early in pregnancy.
Pregnancy and Type One Diabetes
As some of you may know, I live with Type One Diabetes and have had the condition now for 19 years. For the past 3 years I have been wearing an insulin pump (a device attached to my stomach which delivers insulin via a canula in my stomach, I am connected to the device 24/7)
Long long long story short, having type one diabetes makes pregnancy VERY challenging. I won’t go into too much detail, because for non type one diabetics I am sure it makes for a fairly boring read, but it is a HUGE part of my pregnancy so I can’t not discuss it in these diaries. It means there are risks for me and also for baby and I have to be very very closely monitored, since I was 5 weeks pregnant I have been in Holles Street fortnightly, the team there are excellent, but it’s very intense and every day is a challenge.
On the weeks I don’t go to Holles Street I have to ring the nurses and go through my blood sugar readings from that week and they make adjustments to my dosage. At present, I test my blood sugars approx 12 times a day (often much more) On top of that I have complications in my eyes as a result fo diabetes so my eyes and my vision has to be very closely monitored. All in all, I often feel it would be easier to move into Holles Street!! But all that being said, the team in Holles Street are brilliant and it is wonderful to have such support.
Ok so I got bigger WAY faster this time around, jees I was not expecting that. I know lots of you say you couldn’t notice in the photos but trust me that was all just clever angling and posing!!! I also tend to wear oversized knits a lot in the winter anyway so it was well hidden if you did happen to see me in person I was probably wearing something very baggy!. As well as bump popping quicker I just generally put on a lot of weight quickly all over, and my boobs? Holy god my boobs got massive!!!! So clothes became tight very fast. But we are all SO different and so many factors contribute to what size you are or aren’t. None of that matters, once you and baby are healthy that’s all that matters. People do like to tell me quite regularly how big I am, my personal favourite was when my brother asked me “Jesus is that normal Naomi? Like how big you are”!! Thanks a mil Merv!! Anyway, it’s all relative, we are all so different!!
I have not bought ANY maternity clothes yet… I am managing right now on two pairs of maternity jeans from my last pregnancy, one from New Look and one from ASOS. But from now on I am going to start having some fun styling this bump, and I have to say I am really excited. I will share all my style tips here and across my social media, number one on the agenda is jeans – it’s the age old debate! I want to try a few styles and report back. Last time my fav was New Look over the bump. My fav shops for maternity wear are; Topshop, H&M, New Look, ASOS and Isabelle Oliver. I am looking forward to exploring some other brands too this time around.
Also, I like to just wear normal clothes as much as I can and go up a few sizes, I sometimes find a lot of maternity clothes can be a little frumpy! But let’s see how we get on and as I said I’ll share it all here.
At the early stages it all depends on what you wear, some days I look big and others you wouldn’t be able to tell, just depends on the clothes. I much prefer now though and not trying to hide that, I hate that part.
Different the second time around…
Second time mammies….. It’s different this time isn’t it? You know more, you are less naive and I am not ashamed to say I am terrified! I worry about how I will manage with two? How will Anabelle react? Am I a good enough mammy?
Anabelle suffered with SEVERE silent reflux, she cried non stop with the pain and discomfort, feeding was a disaster, she never slept, it was so hard. (many of you know this but I have never been able to bring myself to blog too much about it as we all went through a very tough time with it) What if baby 2 has reflux? Will I be able to cope? Am I strong enough?
I’m incredibly excitedtoo, massively. I can’t wait, I’m scared but I can’t wait. I feel so lucky and so happy to be able to give Anabelle a brother or sister.
The Next Chapter…
To make things just a wee bit busier we are also moving house and hope to be before baby arrives!!! Eeeeeeckkkk… Crazy few months ahead. I hope you will stay with us and follow the journey. Make sure to tune into my Snapchat (username: thestylefairy) and my Instagram, because I am sharing lots of house updates and interiors stuff over there.
‘Til next time
Naomi & bump xxx
P.S. To make tings a little different I am considering maybe recording these pregnancy journals, doing video diaries instead. I am not sure… Would you like that? I thought it could be fun and interactive and will get more interesting when I start to buy maternity clothes and bits for baby. Let me know in the comments section 🙂