Monday, 31 March 2014

40 weeks...and the countdown is over!

I wrote this at 40 weeks...but am only getting around to publishing it now!!

So I've been so busy trying to play catch up and blog all our road trip adventures, that I've missed blogging about this whole exciting pregnancy thing! so I thought I'd just sum everything up right I sit here at 40 weeks plus 2 days...and there's still no sign of baby!

We are SO very excited to meet this little know some people just grow up knowing that the one thing they want to be in life is a mom and I was one of those people!  I have been making lists of baby names since I was old enough to hold a pen! and Mel and I spent many hours as children trudging through the argos catalogue picking out our cots to our highchairs and everything inbetween!  I used to babysit tons when I was growing up...and once I'd put all the kids to bed, I'd love tidying the houses of the families I was at and pretending that it was my house and imagining the day when I would be putting my own kids to bed! 

To say we were excited to find out I was pregnant is the understatement of the century!


There is never anything I have wanted more in my life than this! One of the most annoying things I've found whilst being pregnant is all those people who already have kids who come up to you and go 'what are you letting yourself in for, good luck - you're going to need it, life is never going to be the same again' and they're all so down on having kids...but what they don't know is I know that life is never going to be the same again and I'm fully on board with that because I've been wanting and hoping for this change in my life for so long that I'm so ready to take the sleepless nights, the handing in your social life at the door, the days of getting baby sick in your hair etc... I'm ready and excited for it all! and if I never get a good nights sleep again, so long as there is a beautiful little baby to keep me company I'll be happy! 

Aside from my extreme sickness in the first two months of my pregnancy, the whole rest of my pregnancy has been an absolute dream! I've had zero pelvic pain, zero heartburn, zero symptoms of any kind that I'm even pregnant aside from a growing belly! I feel really lucky that I've had it so easy! and even now my due date has passed I'm not frustrated, and desperate for baby to get here, and I'm not horribly uncomfortable - I feel just as well as I always have done and I know baby will come in it's own time so for now I'm just relaxing and enjoying!

Since we found out I was pregnant when we were living in Canada still, it was an excruciating 5 week wait until we were back in the UK before we could tell our families, because telling them over skype wouldn't quite have been the same!

We broke the news to my mom and dad and Mara in Ikea! Where else?! haha! Since it is a family favourite of the Jones family! We got back from Canada on 25th July, the day that our nephew Ellis was born - we saw By's family in Milton Keynes on the Thursday and Friday and then on the Saturday morning we planned to drive up to Leeds to meet the little cutie! The plan was Mom and Dad were still going to be there, but their plans changed and suddenly they were back in Shropshire! We were desperate to tell them so we called them at 7am on the Saturday morning and said maybe we could make a pit stop at the Birmingham Ikea on the way up to Leeds just to see them and grab some meatballs! So that is how we ended up breaking the news to them there! We had made this little slideshow on our laptop of our American road trip and we had the final picture be the 3 pairs of Converse in a row to tell them we were expecting! Well...there was a laptop malfunction by me, and somehow during the slideshow I leaned on the mouse and it skipped right through to the end - there was lots of confusion before I eventually had to tell them I was pregnant! My mom said it was a lot to take in all in one week with Ellis just being born too!! Luckily, when we made it to Leeds I played the slideshow for Mel and Arne and when they saw the 3 pairs of converse they got it straight away!!

Our announcement pic!

I met with some of my school friends a few days later to tell them the news too! We went to Bill's, which is a fave of ours and had some delicious food.  During the meal, I got up to take a picture...and had planned that this would be the moment I told them.  So as I was pressing down the button and telling them to smile, I said 'say Gem's pregnant' but because the lighting was so dim in the restaurant my camera wouldn't focus and so it didn't capture the look on their faces as I told them! I started saying 'oh no, it's not working' and someone thought I said I was joking.  Caz replied with 'that's not a funny joke' and then I had to tell them it wasn't a joke and I was really that way of announcing the news kind of backfired too!!!

Straight away Caz said she knew it! and she did...she knew before even I did! Back in June, I was skyping with her a few days after our weekend away to the hot springs in Canada when I was so sick and I told her how sick I'd been for days and straight away she said I was pregnant! I said no, but then just a day later the test told us otherwise!

So just to be good sports, the girls put on their best fake surprise faces since I didn't get a picture of the real deal!

So let's take a look at some bump pictures!

This was at 20 weeks and when I decided my bump had finally appeared! Although, when I excitedly posted this picture on Facebook my dad called to tell me he had a bigger 'bump' than me, and that it didn't look like I had a bump at all! 

22 weeks pregnant and enjoying a day out at Kirsktall Farmers Market in Leeds.  This was also the weekend our nephew Ellis got blessed at church.  As you can see, I wasn't really showing yet at this point.

25 weeks pregnant, and with my mom paying us a visit in Scotland I got her to snap this one of the both of us plus bump!

I felt like it was starting to get more noticeable here!

28 weeks pregnant, and that is a definite bump right there! I was super excited to finally look pregnant! and have people notice when we were out and about!


 30 weeks pregnant, and we couldn't let a pleasant day go by without getting out and about! So Byron convinced me we needed to go climb this craig! It was a little bit tiring, but worth the view from the top!

 32 weeks pregnant and with Caz visiting, we went on a nice long walk around Chatelherault Country Park - you can just see my bump peeking out of my coat here!


37 weeks pregnant! Officially full term in this pic, and still feeling great!

I also got thrown two amazing baby showers, one I knew about and one was a complete surprise! 

I had one down South over Christmas time so all my Harpenden and Uni friends could make it. 
We played lots of fun games, and there were lots of predictions and guessing going on about Baby Braithwaite - most people predicted girl!

It was hosted by Mara, Mel and both the grannies to be!

Baby Braithwaite got spoilt with a lot of amazing prezzies!

I especially loved this little America tee from Auntie Mel!

It was a starry theme, so everyone wore something starry and the colour scheme was yellow and purple!

Mara baked up a storm, like these lemon and blueberry cupcakes! yum.

These carrot cake plant pots of cake went down a treat, made by my mom!

and no dessert table is complete without oreo goodness - some oreo brownies courtesy of Mel!

We also had lots of cute sweets in jars, and hand designed 'Gem's baby shower' labels thanks to my graphics pro friend Jade!

We had to balance out with some savoury star shaped sandwiches, made by Kathy and enjoyed by all!

Even Ellis got involved with the star theme! and as you can see he was loving it!

Me and my Harpenden girlies and Lilia getting in on the starry action too!

and a shot with the Grannies and their 'Granny to be' starry headbands!
It was a lot of fun! 

A few weeks later we were back in Scotland and Byron told me our Bishop at church wanted to meet with us on a Friday night.  So off I went to our church building, expecting just that, and when I arrived I was met with a room full of friends who were throwing me a surprise baby shower! It was a very big shock, but a thoroughly lovely one!

I had to guess who each present was from before opening it, and when I got it wrong I had to stick cotton wool balls to my face - as you can see I didn't guess many right!

We played lots of fun games, like a relay to see who could dress their baby dolls fastest!

and of course the good old classic melted chocolate in the nappy game - can you guess which chocolate it is!

We also ate lots of delicious goodies, but clearly I was too involved in the eating to take any pics!

Here I am with the lovely hosts - Bronwen and Joanne.

...and that's it in a nutshell, the happiest 9 months of my life :)

Friday, 21 March 2014

Discovering the sights of Scotland..


 It may or may not have escaped your attention that we live in Scotland now! We have been for 7 months now, so be prepared for a picture heavy post while I get you all caught up!

Loch Lomond, above, was one of the first places we checked out when we arrived! I had been before in my Stirling days but Byron had never been, and it's only over an hour from our house.

 We took a walk around the Loch and grabbed some homemade scones while we rested our feet!

 A few weeks after we moved, Byron's dad came to check out where we were living so we took him to Loch Lomond too!

 and grabbed a picture of the two of us for once!

We stopped for lunch at this cute little pub that had hundreds of teacups hanging from every wooden beam!

 Scotland knows how to make good pies!

and I've never eaten as much yummy mince/steak as I have since I've been here!


At the end of the month, we celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary!

 by eating out at a place with a polka dot menu! No, that was purely co-incidence.  We picked Guy's because they had venison and veal on the menu and By wanted to try out what Scotland had to offer!

I, of course, had to go for pie again! 

I just can't get enough of their steak pies!

and this tropical pineapple and mango crumble was the perfect way to end a delicious meal!

Mel and Arne and Baby Ellis came to visit and we roadtripped to the seaside town of Largs, for the Viking festival.

 Ellis had a go on his first motorbike!

and enjoyed his first outing to the sea! It was a pretty windy and chilly day, so we warmed up with some amazing Caribbean food!

This pot of rice and peas made me happy! It's an island staple from Turks and Caicos, where we used to live!

 No Caribbean food is complete without jerk chicken, and coconut curry! We were loving how good this food was...and couldn't believe how empty the stall was - literally the burger van outside the tent of food stalls had a crazy long queue and this amazing food was getting passed by, that made me sad! People of Scotland need to be more adventurous!

Despite it being so cold, we had to get ice cream sundae's at Nardini's because apparently it's the done thing!

Mel went all tourist and got the tablet sundae, and we went for chocolate fudge.

Ellis ended the day by trying his first bit of ice cream! Aw, look how teeny tiny he was!

We checked out the scarecrow festival in Bothwell, a little village down the road from where we live.

 The whole town got involved, and even Mary Berry the scarecrow featured!

 The oompa loompa scarecrow was my fave!

 We also took a trip one weekend to Stirling, so I could show Byron my old stomping ground from my uni days.

We even checked out the Wallace monument, which is something I'd never done the whole year I was there!  Probably because I tried to avoid anything to do with the whole William Wallace saga since that was what made me so unpopular there in the first place!!

 I've made my peace now! which is just as well because we would have missed out on these awesome views!

I also gave him a quick tour around Campus, I was even going to show him where my old room was, and peek through the window - until we discovered my old halls of residence had been knocked down! 

 Mom and Alli came to visit in November and we checked out what Glasgow had to offer!

 I tracked down this South African Deli called Veldt especially for Mom.


 It was bunny chow and boerie rolls all round - happy days!

 The autumn leaves were out in full force as we walked around the Kelvingrove park.

Mom found it hilarious the way everything is 'wee' this and 'wee' that when people talk to you up here! so she had to have a picture by the 'wee pub'!


We had a rather delicious meal at Ubiquitous Chip, which is in the cool little cobbled street of Ashton Lane.

 It was really nicely done out inside...

and it was smiles all round for their tasty gourmet food!

 We also headed to Edinburgh and checked out the farmers market overlooked by the castle.

 We got some venison to make a casserole with, and some coconut tablet - yum!

The lovely botanical gardens proved a good little spot for a 'bump' shot!

and we had to check out the Missoni hotel by stopping in for a spot of hot choc!

Edinburgh really is beautiful in the autumn.

I love this charming little street with all the coloured shops!

We finished our day with a spot of afternoon tea...

with the castle in the background! It was great to show my mom the delights that Edinburgh and Glasgow had to offer!

A few weeks later my uni friends, Tash and Lucy, came to visit so it was my job to play tour guide again!

We started off in Edinburgh, and the girls had to get the touristy shot with the bagpiper...even though they were rather embarrassed about it!

We caught up with our old pal, William! and checked out the castle...

There are some pretty great views from up there!

We finished off our stint in Edinburgh by showing them my fave festive building, The Dome...

I had admired it from the outside on our last 2 visits...

but this was the first time I had ventured in!

It was quite amazing with lights and decorations everywhere!

You also got hit by the most festive smell as you walked through the door because all those garlands wrapped around the columns were intertwined with tiny bunches of cinnamon sticks!

We headed back to Glasgow for some dinner and settled on Bar Gumbo because we were in the mood for monster burgers topped with onion rings...

the real deal mac n cheese...

and big slabs of meat!

I also couldn't resist taking them to my fave fairy light lined cobbled street in Glasgow, Ashton Lane - it's the cutest!

I showed the girls around Glasgow the next day, although it always pales a bit in comparison to Edinburgh!

So we browsed round some shops and had a spot of lunch at Cup Tea Lounge...

it was so fun spending a whole weekend catching up with my psyc girls...

and of course eating yummy cupcakes!!

Whilst we were in Glasgow the foresters went on a hike to Ben Lomond.

Hiking accompanied by krispy kreme pit stops is always a good combo!

They couldn't have asked for better weather, look how blue that sky is!!

As you can see, it was an amazing view from the top of Loch Lomond down below!

Byron's promised to take my non pregnant self back to this spot so I get to see it for myself!

A week later, By took me to a spot he had found on a site visit for work one day.

The hike up Laing Crags was a bit steeper than anticipated for me and my 30 week bump but luckily my breathing techniques from my birthing class helped me make it up the hill!

I loved all the autumnal colours of the trees down below!

Byron, rocking his 'tache for Movember!

We finished out the year with one final visit to Edinburgh..

and another visitor! Caz braved the Scottish cold to come and see us and the bump!

Everything was looking super festive in the city! With the giant wheel and twinkly lit decorated trees!

We checked out the Christmas market...

and finished our night at a delicious Italian restaurant!

We awoke to another blue sky day, which is just such a rare thing around these parts! so we made the most of it and headed for a nice country walk around Chatelherault...

How we love having visitors, and being able to show off this lovely part of the world we are living in these days!