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Country Home Pregnancy | Pre-Pregnancy Planning or Tempting Fate

Hello my loves, 

This is a bit of a different post here on Our Country Home Comforts but it's one that I hope you enjoy all the same.

It's no secret between Mr R and myself that starting our own family has always very much been a part of our plan both as individuals and now more so as a couple. Whilst I'm not yet announcing that I'm pregnant (I'm sorry!) it is something that I've been thinking more about lately as this time next year is the initial time we're hoping to be pregnant or be close to being pregnant.

I've been having conversations with friends (one of whom has recently got married and we're all eager for a bump!) and we're divided when it comes to deciding how much is tempting fate when it comes to starting a family. It's a little like when you're a little girl and dream of your wedding day, and collect wedding dress pictures and stick them in a book (or on Pinterest today) only with planning a family it's a little different.

One of my friends who's already had children said when she felt broody and had "the talk" with her husband, she started buying cute baby outfits and baby catalogues and even pregnancy books to get herself ready for becoming a mom.

As many of you know, I've been crocheting baby blankets for friends and custom orders for about 4 years now and a colleague from work has just given birth to a gorgeous baby girl, so naturally we're all talking babies now. But when I got asked the question "Why don't you crochet a few baby blankets and clothes and put them away for when you have a baby?" I was shocked. My first response was "no! I couldn't possibly do that, it would be tempting fate!"

Since then I've been pondering it and I'm still torn. I still think that maybe it would be Tempting Fate for Mr R and I if I began crocheting blankets, jackets, booties and mittens for a baby we're 'yet' to conceive. However I've also come across two other people who've said that they both began either making things for their baby whilst they weren't yet trying for a baby, or buying baby clothes, blankets etc. Both of these ladies went onto have healthy baby girls so it can't have tempted fate can it? πŸ˜‡

When Mr R and I talk about having our own little family and our own Baby R, he gets this absolutely adorable grin on his face and I just know he's going to be an amazing Dad - something I'm very much looking forward to witnessing everyday of my life. I love the thought of being a Mom, and especially to his children, and to carry his baby will be the most precious time of my life with Mr R 😍🀰♥️πŸ’™

So, I guess what I've come on my blog to say, to ask you really, is what would you do or what did you do?

I'm 30, Mr R is 37 and we both want to become parents in the next 18-24 months, given our ages and our desire to be parents... So is it tempting fate to crochet/make/buy baby blankets, booties etc before becoming pregnant or is it a nice way to prepare for pregnancy?

I'd really appreciate your joining in on this conversation because I can see both sides to it. I can see my superstitious side and I can see the side of joyfully preparing... Whilst I know only I can make the decision based on what I'm comfortable with, I'd love to open this up to you to get your opinion because my friends and I are a little bit divided.

Mr R, if you're reading this... Don't worry... I'm only a tiny bit broody πŸ˜‰πŸ™ˆπŸ˜‚

All my love, 

Dawn-Tracy xxx

Country Home Crochet | First World War Poppies

Hello my Loves, 

I am finally getting around to writing up a blog post about my crochet! I can hardly believe that it's taken me so long to actually do it. I think a lot of the procrastination has been centred around the fear of it "not being good enough" which is silly really. 

I have another post that will follow up from this one all about the 100th anniversary of the First World War ending and it's special connections to us- and I think it's going to be an emotional one - Sorry! But at least I've given you a heads up. 

But today I want to share with you the making of crochet poppies that I have been busy making to mark the centenary. 

Above is a process pic or a WIP picture of the completed red poppy and leaf. This was before I crocheted the black centre of the poppy and sewed them together. I followed the YouTube tutorial by Sarah-Jayne over at Bella Coco (you can watch by clicking the link below) 

Bella Coco - Poppy Crochet Tutorial 

I found this tutorial really easy to follow and created the red part of the poppy within 8 minutes for my first try as well! The leaf was also really simple and easy to follow. The only thing I struggled with was creating the centre of the poppy because I really am hopeless at making a magic circle/ring to crochet into. Instead I used a darning needle and sewed back and forth across the centre until I'd created the circle centre. 

I have chosen to not crochet a stem but if you did want to make a stem it's pretty straight forward. Chain the length you want the stem to be, and then double crochet into each chain and slip stitch to join at the end, chain 1 and cut the yarn (wool) and pull through to close the stitch. 

I've attached a pin to my poppy by sewing it on so that it doesn't fall off when I wear it. You can easily pick these pins up from haberdashery shops or online at places like Etsy. But please see if you can support your local shops as it makes a massive difference to the owners and don't you think it's wonderful to buy local? I know I do. 

If you decide to make yourself a poppy, PLEASE make a donation anyway to The Royal British Legion using the link below; 

Thank you for stopping by and reading. I hope I have inspired you and do let me know if you plan on trying to crochet your own poppy (remember to make a donation to the Royal British Legion) or maybe you've already made your own poppy, either way share with me in the comments below,

Speak soon lovely,
Dawn-Tracy xxx

Country Home Teaching | Half Term Teacher Goals

Hello my loves, 

It's finally half term here in the UK and whilst parents are probably wondering how they're possibly going to keep their little ones occupied over the week off school, I'm one of those support teaching staff who is only too glad to be able to have a bit of a break.

I do sympathise with parents when it comes to keeping their little ones occupied and engaged. It can be surprisingly difficult to ensure your child doesn't utter the "b" word - for those who don't know the word is 'bored'! 

However, as I'm "on my holidays" as some of my little ones in my class like to say, I'd like to focus the attention on me and what I hope to enjoy this half term. This is my list of 5 half term teacher goals for October 2018

1) Firstly, I just want to relax and do absolutely nothing! I know the reality is that this is unlikely to happen as I'll find something to do even if it's scrolling Instagram and Pinterest for crochet and craft creation inspiration (that can take ALL day long 😁) but I'd like to complete this as closely as I can.

2) Also, I want to spend some time completing, planning and starting crochet projects that have been neglected lately. During term time it can be hard to fit in time to crochet due to the intricate detailing with some of the stitches. When you come home from work and are exhausted the last thing you want to do is something that needs your full attention. This is something I can work on and perhaps spend 15-20 minutes an evening just crocheting to relax?!

3) One of the most important things I want to do this holiday is spend time with Mr R. He's been working so so hard lately on the house renovations as well as working long shifts and generally making it all look easy! I've told him this so I feel able to tell you but he seriously makes it all look easy staying on top of it all. Even if he doesn't feel like he does all the time, I'm in awe of him and he inspires me every day, so thank you Mr R for being absolutely incredible 😘 Which is only one of the reasons why I just want us both to take time out and spend it together relaxing, doing something fun and not in work mode.

4) READ A BOOK - the last book I read was a young adult fantasy novel called A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas and it took me almost 13 weeks to read it! πŸ™„ Granted a lot of that time I was on my summer holiday and spending lots of time with Mr R visiting places and making lifelong memories together (so I'm not complaining) but it was largely because I was too tired to read at in bed after coming home from work. So, I really really want to read a book from cover to cover this week!

5) Reorganise my wardrobe - it's time to put the summer clothes away and get out the cosy autumnal/winter jumpers, cardigans, and scarves! Hooray! Lol πŸ˜‚ I do love the cosy seasons when you can layer up your clothes and wear cosy socks (or as I say to Mr R - my sexy socks 🧦). I'm also itching to give the wardrobes a good clean and refresh with Zoflora. It's also a really ideal opportunity to clear out any clothes I no longer want, fit (as I've lost weight), or are just faded.

So, I think if I plan this with precision I might be able to pull it off! I'm looking forward to seeing what I achieve this week and what I simply enjoy! 

Right my loves, I'm off to watch Strictly Come Dancing now as its Halloween week and I always love the spooktacular performances. 

Speak soon lovely, 
Dawn-Tracy xx

Country Home Teaching | 4 Ways to Control Anxiety at Work

Hello my loves, 

This week I started back to work with my fancy new title of "Specialist Support Practitioner" and "HLTA". I really wasn't ready to go back - who is? But I do welcome to routine as I failed during the summer holiday to stick to any routine - I think I was just so happy to not have to complete any more assignments I kind of rebelled against routine and consistency. It did me good though. 

Starting a brand new routine or going back to one you had previously can throw the best of people, but when you have anxiety it can make that experience so much more tiring with the cycle of adrenaline rushing through your body and then the crashing down when the adrenaline wears off. It's that Fight - Flight - Freeze reaction to situations that we perceive as a threat to us (and our sense of safety).

This past week has brought a reintroduction of my work routine, as I've mentioned I work part time in a primary school, and this year I'm spread across two key stages (year 2- KS1 and year 5- KS2) so with that brings the need for me to use different vocabulary, have different expectations for the pupils and my own performance and role, different relationships with staff and pupils, different struggles for pupils (and myself!) and a whole load more besides. 

I'm not ashamed to say that I've really felt it this week, with the added workplace stress induced problems, friends and colleagues feeling vulnerable due to personal circumstances, I've felt the need to preserve my own mental wellbeing as well as support others with theirs. One thing that you can guarantee working in a school is that things change from one day to the next, and most often throughout the day as well. I'm quite good at adapting to these changes especially so with whether I have to cover lessons last minute, but the changes that come to us from Management can be a bit harder to cope with. My friend and colleague, let's call her 'H' has found this week rather difficult, and no doubt there will be weeks when it's my turn to lean on her. 

'H' has recently been promoted to Assistant Head of Key Stage 1 and this means she's got an increased workload and spends less time in class teaching and has to rely on myself and another staff member 'D' (in fact there's actually three of us 'D' 's working in Key Stage 1), and she's also had some personal news that's understandably upsetting for her. 

So, having had anxiety myself in the past she knew she could come and talk to me and ask me for help. Asking for help is the important thing to do when you feel any form of your mental health and wellbeing is challenged, and it's also often the hardest step - but I honestly encourage you to reach out to someone! 

Some key strategies I've used personally and encouraged my friend & colleague H to use this week, that you can use too included;

. ✔️ Positive self talk - things like 

✨"I'm calm, centred and in control",

✨ "I can handle this, whatever happens, I'll handle it",

✨ "my routine will soon become natural"

✨ "it's all going to be OK"

✔️ Breathing

✨ Breathing in for a count of 7 and out for a count of 11 (5/9 can be a great starting place)

✨ Taking five minutes in the toilet to breathe, breathing whilst sitting marking books, typing lesson plans on the laptop

✔️ Talking

✨ Find a friend / colleague in work that you feel safe talking to and who you know won't judge you 

✨ Talk to them about how you're feeling, discuss your struggles, your worries, what's not feeling right

✨ Listen to each other as you will learn about other strategies that may work for you,

✨ Know you're NOT alone - if you're feeling stressed, worried, anxious, overwhelmed or unable to cope - someone else will be feeling the exact same way (my DM box is always open if you want to chat!) 

✔️Be Present

✨ Be present in the moment. If you find your thoughts drifting towards your anxieties whilst your doing a task bring them back to the NOW.

✨ Focus on what's in front of you on the wall, on the desk. Ask yourself questions to enhance your focus such as; 

  • what colour are you wearing?
  • what colour pens are in front of you? 
  • what's the weather like outside? 
  •  who's in the room?
  •  what time is it? 
  • what can you hear?
The idea of asking yourself these questions is to distract yourself from your anxiety and give your brain something else to focus on. It doesn't take away the issue that you're worrying about but it does help you to self-soothe. 

Above is just a pocket full of tools you can implement into your day to help you control your anxiety at work, there are of course many more. Please try them, and reach out and tell someone. You can even reach me on Instagram and send me a DM if you feel talking to someone who doesn't know you will help. There are also professional organisations you can reach out to; Mind UK, Samaritans, and of course, if you feel that anxiety is becoming a life limiting struggle for you - please, please visit your GP because it was honestly the best thing I did when I lost my Auntie to cancer and I wouldn't be half the woman I am now if I'd not asked for help. 

Try these strategies out, and please let me know how you get on. 

Look after yourself lovely, 
Speak soon, 

Dawn-Tracy xxx

Travel | Our Day to Stratford-upon-Avon

Hello my loves, 

I've been meaning to come back and update this blog for the past few weeks but it's been a pretty busy couple of weeks with one thing or another, you know how life gets a little crazy sometimes? But all that means is that I have so much to tell you that you can be sure that I will have a ton of posts coming your way. 

As I'm still on my summer holidays (we won't talk about September - just yet) I thought I'd start by sharing one of the day trips Mr R and I have been on during my holiday. There's something about Mr R that you have to understand - he is insanely and ridiculously good, no he's brilliant at organising surprises and when he surprises me it's always very very successful! So, Mr R organised a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon for us for the day and when I found out where he'd decided to take us (he doesn't know this) I was so excited inside! 

You see, just the night before I'd been talking to my Mum and said to her that actually I really hope one day Mr R and I go to Stratford-upon-Avon because it's been a while since I'd been there and I'd like to go back. So, I got my wish the very next day - I wonder if it works that quick for the winning lottery numbers? haha. 

So, off we went to Stratford-upon-Avon. Now, I don't really do the tourist-y thing and continually snap photos and walk around with a selfie-stick - in fact I don't even own a selfie stick! But I took a couple of snaps to share with you. Another reason I tend to not keep snapping away on these trips is because I'm honestly there to spend time with Mr R and enjoy the moments together and capture the memories in my heart and not on my phone. You're probably half going "awwww" right now and half going "oh cheesy!" but honestly, that's always my intentions on days out together - to literally be in the moment with Mr R and capture it right there and then in my heart and mind so that when we're both in our 80s or 90s and beyond we can reminisce about "that time we went to... Stratford-upon-Avon". 

So anyway, aside from the mushy stuff (haha) We had a good walk around Stratford and saw so much amazing architecture! I was literally jumping up and down inside with excitement (Mr R always tells me to let my excitement out and I promise I'll work on it! πŸ˜‡) at how there we were walking in a town that's buildings were evidently historical and you could in the blink of an eye just imagine what life must have been like when William Shakespeare was alive. It was just so breathtaking I spent the entire time walking around with a huge smile on my face (although that did have to do with the handsome guy's hand I was holding the entire timeπŸ˜‰ ). 

The picture at the start of this post was of the old school house that was connected to the church which I did take a snap of but I have to apologise because it's really dark as it was starting to look a little overcast (see below). We walked down this road and I was imagining what it must have been like to be at school all those years ago. We walked to the end of this road and turned the corner (right) and was immediately hit by the more modern houses and it was like walking into another century haha. However, walking down the modern road that led us ultimately back to the town and high street rewarded us because not only did we see a car that had driven all the way from Arizona to the UK but we kinda saw a gorgeous ferrari which Mr R said I could buy him one along with a list of cars he will give me - he loves his cars ! I'll happily buy you one handsome! πŸ˜‰πŸ˜˜

Once we found our way back to the high street we had a leisurely walk browsing the shop windows and in full conversation with each other about life and everything in between. I did spy a Harry Potter shop which Mr R said I could go in if I wanted to but seriously - I had to restrain myself because he might have seen me in an excited state that he wouldn't quite know how to deal with and would probably be wanting the more subdued me back πŸ˜ƒ 

We walked past William Shakespeare's actual house - like where he lived and it's kind of surreal to think that he lived there - and I had a little smile on my face as I thought about what would he think if he knew that hundreds of years later after his death there would be these modern people travelling halfway across the globe, with technology devices on the end of sticks and they were just grinning into them outside his house taking things called photographs and probably doing all kinds of things with Snapchat and filters and Facebook and Instagram lives! All because he wrote a few plays. Like imagine if that happened to us? Makes you chuckle doesn't it.

It's a shame he never got to see just what an impact he made on the world! But we can definitely be certain that he won't be forgotten. 

We also had a nice little walk along the water and sat on a bench to take in the views and I caught a glimpse of a lovely elderly couple sitting on a bench and the gentleman caught my eye and smiled at Mr R and I and how happy we were together. I half wanted to ask him what he was thinking as he was looking at us but I didn't, I just smiled back as we walked past them holding hands. 

I can't really end the post all about Shakespeares town without sharing with you what our favourite works of Shakespeare actually are can I? So Mr R says it's The Merchant of Venice (which I loved doing in drama class at school - despite not liking drama one little bit) and mine is Macbeth - because I love to be a little bit daring lol No, I genuinely love Macbeth with it's symbolism of how the roles of guilt, greed and power can impact your sense of self identity and psyche. What can I say, I've always loved Psychology. 

So that was our lovely day out to Stratford-upon-Avon, a day that I absolutely loved as I always do, and a great place to go for a bit of history, architecture and fun! Oh and coffee was good! Seriously good in their Pret-a-Manger - how could I forget we had coffee and something to eat πŸ™ˆ It's a really lovely coffee shop with so many places to sit and the staff were really pleasant! 

I hope you've enjoyed reading about our day out, and please leave comments if you have been to Stratford-upon-Avon, and tell us what your favourite part was, 

Looking forward to chatting soon,

Country Home Books | A Whiff of Scandal

Hello again my Loves, 

Today it's Book Lovers Day and as I already have a beautiful Book Blog - A Page of Fictional Love I thought it would be a lovely occasional feature here on Our Country Home Comforts

So, today I'm sharing with you my thoughts on a lovely book I read by Carole Matthews, and I also get to showcase some of the essential oils that I use in my own daily life to complement this post. 

Image Copyright of Our Country Home Comforts

A Whiff of Scandal was a book that I almost put down and back on the shelf, but something about the blurb, the cover and the way the characters in the village were behaving convinced me to continue on and read their story. I am so glad that I did. It has been such a long time since a book has had me laughing out loud in the bath, on the sofa, in the park, ... basically anywhere I could read. I laughed so much that it was almost ridiculous (my laughing that is) if it wasn't so entertaining! 

The book begins with the nosey neighbours across the road spying on the newbie, Rose who is an aromatherapist from London. They are sisters whom live together and are the stereotypical old ladies whom have nothing better to do other than to spy on their neighbours and spread rumours, typical village life as it's portrayed on the tv. Rose gets a reputation as a "lady of the night" thanks to one of the ladies, even writing this now because I remember the gossip in the book so vividly is making me chuckle, but then Rose is later supported by the other sister who changes her mind after visiting Rose for an aromatherapy appointment. 

There's something you should know about the people who live in this village - they all have names connected to aromatherapy; Basil, Melissa, Rose, Anise,...etc. The dishy man of the village is Dan (Spikenard) who lives at Builder's Bottom ( the name of his house) with his long term girlfriend Gardenia. Dan and Rose have several encounters, one even involving being dressed like a Viking! But do they get together? Well Rose came to the village to run away from her past - we all do that or at least wish we could, or we dream of it - but Rose does it! But what is she running away from? Cliff Richard? NO! That's one of those nosey old ladies' rumours again LOL. Don't believe everything you hear. Even Mr Patel at the local shop gets things wrong from time to time. 

What about Rose's stalker? Calling her and breathing heavily down the phone?Reading this part of the story did put the shiver sup me a little - because as a woman we can all imagine how it must feel to be on the end of the phone and have that happen to us! Does she know her stalker? Who is it? And what about when her once dream guy finally offers her the world? Don't you think they always come when it's too late? But is it enough? Can you really mix your past with your future? Is there such a blend for an aromatherapist? 

Rose is very skilled at what she does, so much so that she regularly blends together Passion oils for her new best friend Melissa who is married to the local policeman - but what's Melissa hiding, and is Frank (her husband) the last to know? 

And what about the building development proposal to build apartments? Will it cause uproar or will it be welcomed? Will the villagers pull together or will it cause a divide? Then there's the proposal - who is it that is made a romantic offer of marriage? And what will the neighbours say?!

There are more Whiffs of Scandal in this book alone than there ever could be in a year of Corrie! If you want a thrilling laugh out loud, comedy romance, and a reason to smile everyday, then you really must read A Whiff of Scandal. I'd love to know what happens after A Whiff of Scandal, and what becomes of Builder Bottom, and do those old ladies ever stop spying on their neighbours with ladders and binoculars? I guess that's a scent of the future I must simply ponder on... for now... maybe ;)

Have you read this book? What book have you read lately that has absolutely made you laugh out loud? I'd love to hear all about your reading pleasure. 

If you'd like to read more about books I've read then please visit me over on my other blog by clicking the picture below; 

You can find me on instagram at: Our Country Home Comforts

Looking forward to chatting soon,

Hello Lovely!

Hello Lovely, 

I am so happy to be writing my first blog post here on Our Country Home Comforts!! It's so lovely to have you here. I hope you will pop over regularly for a chat about life, and crochet, and of course all the country home comforts I love such as home decor, lifestyle +  fitness, and the occasional crafts! 

This first post is really just a short intro to me and a 'hello' from me to you. 

I'm Dawn-Tracy, and I'm a 29 year old part-time SEN Advanced teaching assistant and HLTA in a primary school who is contemplating going on and training as a fully qualified primary teacher. 

I love wearing red as it makes my eyes and hair pop, but I love pastels, greys (Im literally obsessed with grey interiors!), and purples for crochet and lifestyle accessories. 

I'm naturally dark haired that changes with the seasons - more brunette in Spring/Summer, and dark brown to black in Autumn/Winter (Although now I've said that, it'll probably change) 

I'm a Cat Mom to Prince Magick, and Cat Auntie to Little Miss Amber who is actually my Mum's cat. My relationship broke down last summer, and I've only just recently started to date, and resurrect my instagram account (details below) that i'm using to document my passions for crochet, my teaching career, and my home lifestyle and garden. 

I'm taking back control of my life, and my dreams and hope you'll join me on this journey.

But for the majority of the posts it will be just me, as I share my love for crochet, home decor and furnishings, gardening, and general lifestyle posts. 

Hopefully that has given you a little insight into who I am, and I really look forward to getting to know you, because there's nothing better than making new friends, 

I'd love it if you pop by, if you'd leave a little message saying Hi, and leaving either your blog address or instagram handle so I can pop over and say Hi back.

You can find me on instagram at: Our Country Home Comforts

Looking forward to chatting soon,