Work. Wardrobe. Winter.

Today was a day in which our very unlovely front ‘garden’ lived up to its very apt nickname of The Somme. Buckets of mud slip-sliding across chewed up turf really set the scene for a sortie in to Chaddy, along with a baby really quite cross about being strapped down in her chariot.

Alice is 8 months old. She commando crawls, she high fives, she feeds herself, she understands her name and ‘up’ and ‘Dadda’ and ‘tickle’, and plays peekaboo in various forms. Delightful as she is, every achievement and milestone is a reminder that I have to go back to work. Some days I feel a bit misty-eyed about speaking with adults, having a coffee and using my brain all without the constant physical wrangling and half-diverted attention necessitated by motherhood, but other days I plot and scheme about how to stay home with my munchy-munchkin forever (but also how to earn exactly the same income as if I were working full-time. Too much to ask?).

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I think we look a little alike here!

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Not the most flattering angle, or the best styled hair (either of us) – but the giggles were superb!

Today, a grim and rainy Friday where I had absolutely nothing to do except trawl the bright shiny shops, epitomised this push-me, pull-you existence. Nowhere to be and nothing to do except window shop, drink coffee and chat to Alice – I will definitely be a SAHM forever! Distracting a screeching child in changerooms, leaving shops with items unpurchased to avoid a meltdown, walking and walking and walking once she was asleep just to keep her down despite having no more change for coffee and having missed lunch hours ago – I will definitely go back to work!

A half-formed idea of buying some new work clothes pushed me into shops I haven’t visited for quite some time. Post-honeymoon, our house purchase and renovation (and the daily takeaway and alcohol that accompanied it) and pregnancy meant that my work wardrobe undertook rapid and massive changes, and although I have shamefully reverted to regularly wearing some tops I wore whilst pregnant, I refuse to return to work in my horrible Target pregnancy pants. Despite the terror that a full-length changeroom mirror now elicits in me I thought some nice new things might take some of the sting out of the mental countdown I’ve now begun until I have to obey the alarm clock and cram myself on to a train before sitting static all day, away from my baby and without the cheeky option of a quick bit of ‘Location Location Location’ in the afternoon. But that requires trying things on.

Let’s just say that while I tra-la-la-ed my way through pregnancy convinced that my compact bump reflected minimal weight gain, my body was sneakily and steadily spiriting away every single surplus calorie and distributing it in places I wouldn’t notice while I was focussed on my belly. And let’s just also say that post-pregnancy the 500 or so extra calories a day that breastfeeding burns have not even brought to me break-even point. Hence, my horror of mirrors and terror of trousers.

Anyway, I found two tops, a cardigan and a pair of 7/8 pants which will work well with what still fits me from Ye Olde Days, along with some clothes that have been shared between my sister and I over several years. Along with some shiny shoes and practical flats, these will do for the two days a week I will return to work from October to January, and the three days thereafter.

I’m ready to work, almost. I’m not ready to leave her. However even being able to turn these thoughts over in my mind is a reflection of the privilege of being able to stay home for a whole year, thanks to a generous maternity leave policy, the Paid Parental Leave scheme, and a steady income. Work seems like just yesterday but a different country.

The countdown’s on. So much to get ready – most of it mental. But some of it materialistic.

Today:

We went to Chadstone to pick up a repaired necklace, and had a look through shops for clothes. You really didn’t like being stuck in changerooms! You had one breastfeed, a snack and a play before falling asleep. It was a good day to be inside and you enjoyed sitting up like a big girl in your pram and watching everything around you.

We are waiting for Ellie’s baby who was due five days ago and Heloise’s son who was due yesterday. We have recently welcomed Stacey and Jarrod’s Gabrielle Rose and Sarah and Dre’s Grace Ilaria (continuing the naming similarities!).

I’ve stopped recording your sleeps but after a rough patch due to teeth you are settling more easily, around 9:30pm, and waking around 8am with perhaps one or two quick resettles in the evening as you roll over (sometimes you’re not even awake), and usually one feed overnight.

At 8 months, Alice:

  • Weighs about 10kg and is about 72cm long.
  • Wears 0 clothes but is edging in to some 1s for width.
  • Has 7 teeth – 4 on top and 3 underneath. Teething has been marked only by disrupted sleep (what’s new?!). She teethed 7 teeth in 10 weeks!
  • Started solids at exactly 6 months and is a little dynamo. She has tried absolutely everything put in front of her and even though not much of it makes it to her tummy, she investigates and explores and enjoys it all. She likes to use a spoon herself and won’t let anyone feed her. Still can’t sip from any kind of cup though!
  • Has Mumma’s mouth, nose and chin; Dadda’s eyes, eyebrows, forehead and face shape.
  • Has started to grow more hair.
  • Has started swimming lessons with Dadda and mothers’ group and is getting braver in the water.
  • Can commando crawl and does lots of rocking on all fours. She has been sitting for quite a long time and is really quite speedy as she wriggles around.
  • Is a happy and giggling baby. She now knows what it means when something is taken away from her though and seems set to be a good whinger.
  • Is practicing spending more time with Grandma and Grandpa.
  • Loves singing and has a definite sing-song voice of her own.
  • Babbles a lot and is starting to say Da-da more to Dadda.
  • Understands her name, ‘up’, ‘tickle’, ‘boobie’ (no surprise), and we think ‘Dadda’.
  • Shakes her head to ‘nononono’. She high fives, is learning to wave, and has just started handing me her spoon when I say ‘more’.
  • Is not yet pulling to standing but hasn’t really had much opportunity.
  • Likes a late bed time, but also sleeping in.
  • Is still called Allie by Grandma, and Honeybun, Bunny, Munchkin, Munchy and mostly Bubba.

After eight months, Mummy and Daddy:

  • Just think Alice is delightful and are so proud of her.
  • Are getting more sleep. A solid night is a thing of distant memory.
  • Are looking forward to their wedding anniversary dinner but have booked a restaurant very close by in case of another emergency return call!
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Two weddings and a baby bump.

I’m at that age, and have been for some time, where weddings are a frequent occurrence in our social calendar. I have two weddings coming up, a week apart, with the same group of friends – and I’ll be 36 and 37 weeks pregnant respectively at each.

Sartorial challenge accepted!

I think that each wedding will be quite different in style – Wedding #1 will be a modern, stylish, formal affair, whereas Wedding #2 will be a low-key, offbeat, relaxed event. And as the guests at one will be many of the guests of the other, I can’t get away with one dress with different accessories!

Option 1 below is a satin knee-length dress from Ripe Maternity. I have tried one one and it was … ok. I felt pretty dowdy but I’m not sure how much of that was the dress and how much was me. A plus would be that I could also wear it to a wedding in February with the same people and easily breastfeed, so I think that one repeat wear amongst the same crowd would be ok. At $180 it’s reasonably priced too, but I wasn’t so keen on squidging into a size XL!

Option 2 is a dress from Two Birds Bridesmaids, which is where my bridesmaids’ dresses were from and I just loved them. I’d probably get versatile knee-length black. They can be wrapped many different ways and worn with a bandeau underneath. The plus here is that they are not specifically maternity wear, although they are preg-friendly, so could happily be re-worn as a LBD for many years. However, they are the most expensive of all the options at $340.

Option #3 is a similar idea to the Two Birds Dress – a multi-wrap LBD. This one has gold backing, but doesn’t come with a bandeau so the back exposure factor is high. It’s about $200 which is cheaper than the Two Birds dresses. Jessica Alba likes it though …

Option #4 is the classic cocktail dress. I’m not really a fan of high necklines on me as they don’t suit my decolletage (ie: boobs) but this one is quite cute. At $230 I’m not sure I would want a dress that covers up my best and sometimes only assets!

Option #5 might be too hot if it’s a summery day, and I don’t think that the length is flattering, but I like the print and think it could be re-used. It’s also a cheapie at $100-ish. On the other hand, I suspect it could look frumpy in real life.

Option #6 is a lovely cut but only comes in this cobalt and at over $200 I think it’s too much to invest in such a shocking colour!

Crave Grecian dress from QueenBee Maternity.

I’m not sure what I’ll land on; I have dropped my days to 4 a week and only have 5 weeks of work left so there will be plenty of time for sorties to the shops (although many of these are online so postage time needs to be factored in). I suspect that Wedding #2 might be best served by a non-maternity summer maxi, which could be easily sourced with minimal effort and lots of choice. For Wedding #1 I am very tempted by a Two Birds dress for future usage purposes but might need to do some swift talking about the cost-per-wear principle!

As for accessories, shoes will be whatever fits and whatever I can bear to wear for an extended period of time! Some sparkly flat sandals will probably be the go. For Wedding #1, the more formal event, I’ll crack out the rocks and wear my NTRHR, and diamond pendant and diamond drop earrings, both my own wedding jewellery. Worn jewels are alive jewels! For Wedding #2 I think I can look for more fun and out-there stuff, and will probably have a good sniff around Lovisa for some bright and cheerful accessories. I wonder if these neons are too much?! I like 5 and 15 but 2 might be pushing it!

Operation Pick-Me-Up: outerwear

One of the challenges of pregnancy for me has been finding clothes that are work-appropriate, comfortable, stylish, and that are not so loose and baggy that they disguise the bump too well and make me look just a bit porky. I don’t think that I can honestly say that I’ve achieved a work wardrobe that achieves all of these things; while I have been fond of my range of long-sleeved lycra-mix tops from Ripe Maternity, I have been frustrated and despairing over the limited range of work pants. Two identical pairs of el crappo black pants from Target and a billowing pair of grey stripey ones from Ripe have tided me over but I have never felt that they flattered me or looked smart. In fact I have frequently felt like a clown.

Thank heavens for those tops! But all good things must come to an end and those five tops have been on weekly rotation for a number of months now, and while they are still going strong quality-wise, I am hopelessly bored by them and am looking forward to spring being sprung and getting in to something brighter and lighter.

I started my search at Ripe again and although the spring catalogue looks promising, there was little in store to tempt me. I was looking for tops that would do some or all of a number of things: take me through the rapid expansion of the third trimester; be appropriate for the post-birth period; and hopefully be breastfeeding-friendly. What frustrated me about the Ripe nursing selection was that they were mostly lycra-mix, clingy and fitted, which is fine when you have a nice firm bump out in front but less so once that bump has deflated.

I realised that post-birth it will be high summer and I will be unfit, well above fighting weight, probably quite soft and wobbly around the middle, requiring ready access to my boobs, and above all needing to avoid wasting time feeling self-conscious about the aforementioned factors so that I can focus on the Bunny. I needed a selection of loose, flowing tops with front access.

(I did pick up this singlet in navy/white and grey/white stripes from Ripe though for an all-in-one singlet nursing top:)

I ventured into Sussan on a rare lunchtime out of the office knowing that the clothes there tend to be generously-sized (bump city) and lean towards the style I was looking for.

Bonanza! I walked out with:

This scalloped lace singlet doesn’t give boob access and probably won’t accommodate a full-term bump, but it’s quite cute and post-birth the heavier front will provide some helpful texture.

This top is a bit more peasanty that I’d usually go for but I’m a sucker for navy and its boobage access is excellent.

This T-shirt isn’t feeding-friendly but it’s loose, comfy, non-crush and it also comes in an emerald that might be coming home soon.

I also bought another peasant-style top in a white and emerald Ikat print with tiny little pompoms on the hem, like the white one below. Although I’m a fan of loose tops I didn’t think that the more tribal print was typically ‘me’, although Buzz thought it was exactly like what I’d normally choose which makes me think that my style is interpreted somewhat differently from what I think it is. Hey ho.

I was pleased with how easily I found a number of tops and even if they’re not what I’d usually go for, they tick all the most important boxes for the next few months. There were in fact even more things that I think deserve another look, and I’ll go back for the second run soon. I feel quite relieved that with the sun shining more and my belly about to enter a rapid growth phase, I have some new things to make me feel like I match the weather.

Sunny Sunday in Greenwich.

Sunday lunch in Greenwich Village.

Valiantly trying to work stripes, yellows, neutrals, blues and whites together. Not sure how successful it is.

Shoes: Havaianas
Jeans: Hudson
Belt: Forever New
Singlet underneath: Target
Singlet: Petit Bateau
Cardigan: Banana Republic
Bag: Guess
Sunnies: Gucci
All other accessories the usual suspects.

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Leaving on a Jet Plane

I’m ashamed to admit an organisation fail. It’s 9:11am, we’ve been at the airport for about 40 minutes, and our flight doesn’t leave until 2:20pm. Yes I misread the itinerary and didn’t double-check.

Luckily I am comfortably but not too sloppily dressed. I long for a return to the days of glamourous travel, but am frankly too much of a devotee to comfort to dress to the nines just so I can sit ravenous, squashed into a fairy-sized seat, desperate to go to the loo but unable to wake the sweating behemoth next to me (not Buzz!), pinned in by a tray table and blocked by a drinks trolley in the aisle. Add a tight and scratchy outfit to that and the Air Marshals may need to be called.

Shoes: Converse Chuck Taylor Lights in Optical. Classics.
Jeans: Hudson
Singlet: one of my bulk-bought Target specials.
Top: Indigo. Wish I’d bought two. Oh I did.
Watch: Toy.
Chunky Kate Spade cuff.
All other jewellery the usuals.

Excuse lack of photographic focus. It was early and pre-coffee.

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The One That Got Away

Filene’s Basement, Boston.
Missoni.
Racks and racks of it.
75% off. Read it and weep.
This one: black, spangly, long and lovely.
$599 down from about $1700.

I left it. I’d like to imagine me wearing it at various swanky soir√©es but that’s not really my life ( I think it’s actually HRH The Duchess of Cambridge’s).

But I have these memories.

(The weird bulge coming off my chest in the sideways photo is not a weird boob growth; it’s a protruding ruffle on my top).

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