We had a babymoon! Which is a sentence I never thought I’d say. Basically, it was our annual holiday, but for one reason or another we hadn’t had our usual holidays this year (changing jobs, moving house, IVF…). We thought we should use this chance to get away before it became difficult for me to travel.
We live in London and I’d just had to fly long haul for work (USA) so we thought we would take advantage of the Eurostar links to mainland Europe, and head to Bruges. Neither of us had been, but it’s the kind of place where people always say, “Oh Bruges! I love Bruges!” – and it’s the capital of chocolate, so that was good enough for me.
First things first, we figured this would be the last blowout as non-parents (all things going okay, OMG, I still worry about this) so we thought we would stay the night in the St Pancras hotel (posh hotel right by the Eurostar station). It was fun! We arrived in the afternoon and went for an Italian meal and went to the spa. My doc had okayed the spa (he seems to think people get overly worried about things) so I stayed in the main pool and lay in the bubbles a bit, but stayed out of the sauna and steam room. We enjoyed the indulgence and it meant we could get up leisurely the next day, have a big breakfast and wander a few minutes to Eurostar…
St Pancras Hotel
If that staircase looks familiar to people of a certain age, it’s because the Spice Girls’ song Wannabe was recorded here! We resisted the urge to re-enact it…
Well, everyone was right. It really is a very picturesque place!
Chocolate strawberries! Followed by hot chocolate!
These robots were made out of chocolate. At a place called The Chocolate Line. There were lots more chocolate shapes for sale around Bruges, but I don’t think I can post them on the blog as they were a bit rude!
I seriously loved having breakfast every day. Our hotel was so nice!
Out and about in Bruges. Everything looked like a postcard.
The tower from the film In Bruges, which we enjoyed watching in our hotel room… Fortunately we decided not to re-enact the film! If you’ve ever seen it, you’ll know what I mean!
The horses who take tourists round the city have regular breaks for food and water. It was quite comforting to see this. We thought we might go for a horse ride tour but decided to do it in another city (New York, central park?) which is less easy to walk around! Bruges is pretty compact so we enjoyed walking around it. Even at 6 months pregnant!
There is a place called The Beguinage where unmarried women had to live historically. You had to pick between the Beguinage or the convent. These women were allowed to work and got to live in a pretty nice place. In fact all the buildings in Bruges were very picturesque!
The lovely breakfast buffet in our hotel. Unlimited champagne and mounds of soft rinded cheese, both of which I couldn’t partake in whilst pregnant! Oh well. I enjoyed it nonetheless!
After we visited the Friets Museum (chips/fries museum!) and the Chocolate Museum, we headed to the Diamond Museum… We saw a demo of diamond polishing (57 surfaces!) and the vat of “diamonds” below is the number that get processed in a year!
We went for a lovely lunch at Le Pain Quotidienne. We kept finding we weren’t that hungry… We called it the Bruges effect! Maybe we have to do big breakfasts every day and forget about dinner?!
On our last full day we went for a long walk around the city. It was lovely. A beautiful autumn day…
And on our final day we found out that my favourite shop from Lille (France) had a shop in Bruges! Aux Merveilleux de Fred. “Merveilleux” I have posted about before – they are meringues sandwiched with cream and decorated with chocolate. I love them!
On our final night, we decided we were too full to have a proper dinner, so popped out to have authentic Belgian waffles instead!
On our final day we decided to take advantage of the jacuzzi bath. It was my second, and T’s first! So peaceful… It had little bubbles from the bottom of the bath, rather than jets, so I think that it was okay. I enjoyed it!
We did do a bit of shopping in Bruges and bought our first outfits together for B. (I got a couple when I was in the US, but none that we had both picked together.) Poor kid is going to be dressed for his entire childhood in a naval or animal theme! (Much like his mother on her days off.) We got a few little babygros and this nice stripey number. I actually found it quite alarming how large 3 months is! We also got a cute little outfit in Brussels on the way back. It’s a red sweater and trousers with a raccoon motif. I think T is finally realising I’ve found a whole new outlet for shopping!
Slightly wrong order to let you have the holiday photos first, but before we left for babymoon we went to the Baby Show in London. (Dog went to his dogparents for a little holiday. We missed him so much we even bought a cushion in Bruges with a picture of a dog like him on, and slept with it on our bed, haha!) It was a bit hectic but we found it pretty useful. Mainly because we realised we had a good grasp of the things we supposedly need. And you do realise that people buy a lot of stuff for a baby! My baby shower is in a few weeks so we might get a few of the smaller things, so need to take stock after that.
We were pretty restrained although we did get a breast pump and a storage solution (these disposable freezer bags) as I’m going to have to go back to work after a few months. I took a book on holiday The Informed Parent (A Science Based Resource for Your Child’s First Four Years) which I kept reading excerpts to T from, and we decided based on the science we definitely need to try and breastfeed B for at least 6-9 months, so at least a few months would need to be pumping and storing. They did a good offer at the show. It might not work, of course, but we’re trying to think about it in a positive way and hope it does. (Slightly alarming – maybe I’m turning into one of those Earth Mothers. Believe me you will never see me with my boobs out in public! But I’m becoming more and more into the idea of breastfeeding if I can, and attachment parenting if B will tolerate it… ha. Come back in 6 months when I’m a hippy.)
Anyway, we finally decided on the stroller! (Pushchair, pram, buggy!) The Stokke Scoot. (Ignore the horrible colours in the link… The new colours are coming out shortly. We are going for the grey in the picture below.) Funnily enough we never had even considered this manufacturer because I was familiar with their other insanely expensive Xplory model, which retails for over £1000! No really, not a typo! Also it is not that compact. I had been arguing against the super-lightweight prams that T favoured – too rickety on uneven surfaces and not comforting enough for longer rides – and T spotted this one. It’s their “compact” model. Not actually that compact but it fits in the boot (trunk!) of a car. More importantly it’s a nice cocoon for baby and suitable from birth. Hurrah for finally agreeing! Stokke is super “lifestyle” brand and they even have a magazine, so here’s the pictures from that. (I’m not Scandinavian and I can guarantee you my legs will never be that long and skinny!)
We are also excited as we have ordered our car! We didn’t have one, living in London (it’s all public transport round here) but we decided to get one so it would be easier to go and visit the grandparents and ferry B around, and also we’d be able to go and visit some further away parks with Dog. We decided to get a Nissan Qashquai. (Slightly different model than in the link but you get the picture. A good family car!) We have had a few on rentals and enjoyed them and of course more importantly Dog likes sitting in the footwell! Plus it should be easy enough to store the buggy in the car rather than hoiking it up 8 flights of stairs!
I got a notification this week that I was entering the third trimester. It is just crazy and still feels surreal. I want to believe it, and there is a great big belly hanging out on my front side, but it still feels a bit like it can’t possibly be happening to me. On the plus side, B seems to make his presence known plenty. Although he does sometimes take a while to wake up in the morning. (Like his mama.) I have more stretchies despite practically dousing myself in Bio Oil. I definitely noticed I can’t sleep as easily as I wake up with back pain and my nose is all blocked up. Apparently regular pregnancy symptoms. I guess I don’t mind that much as I figure all the discomfort and stuff is what I’ve wanted for so long. It does feel really surreal to think that everything is going to change in a few months. I like the way it is! I’m hoping the next stage is better!
Bumpie of the week… in the jacuzzi!