Review (ish): Setu chair by Herman Miller

setu-chair-herman-miller-lifebylotte Right so I promised you interiors posts, but I didn't promise you pretty interiors posts (if you want them, may I suggest my friend Vicky's blog Style Made Simple?). I'm starting with this because it's quick and easy for me to blog about (unlike all the decorating/room scheme planning that's been going on and which requires decent photography) but also because it is possibly the most exciting purchase I have made since we moved in. OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but it's certainly ONE of the most exciting purchases.

As with most desk-chained work drones, I have had to endure years of backache thanks to uncomfortable 'ergonomic' desk chairs. When I worked at IPC (now Time Inc, but forever IPC to me) and they moved into their fancy new office (which has since been sold off at the same rate as all their magazines) they gave us all these swish Vitra chairs. They looked lovely - all black mesh and sleek curves, but within days I was in agony. I think because I have a ridiculously long back (seriously I can't wear a swimming costume because they don't reach over my nipples), I just can't get on with most chairs that are sculpted to fit. Anyway, we got free physio at work (like I said, this was back in the days when people still bought magazines and there was lots of money floating about) and I took full advantage of this. After using up my six free sessions and still finding work about as comfortable as walking across nails, I complained to my manager, who ordered me a hugely expensive Stephen Hawking-like contraption which, quite frankly, was actually worse.

Oh god, as usual, I'm being ridiculously verbose here - what I meant to say is that I prefer simple chairs rather than someone else's idea of 'ergonomic'. In fact, some of my most comfortable desk days have been sat on a kitchen chair with a cushion under my bum.

But obviously after a while this set-up gets a bit bum-numbing. I have searched high and low over the years for a solution. Just a comfortable desk chair - not too much to ask, right? And then finally I found one in John Lewis. About three years ago - the Herman Miller Setu. I sat on it and it was like being given a great big bear hug from behind. It was LOVELY. I was in love. But I was also wary - much like shoes you try on and prance about the shop in for five minutes that FEEL comfortable, chairs have a habit of turning on you after an hour. The chair was also expensive. Really expensive. I walked away.

But then I came back. Four times. Every time I went to John Lewis I would go and sit in it for as long as I could get away with before whoever I was shopping with wondered where on earth I had gone. And it was always the same: a great big bear hug. So finally, two weeks ago, I ordered one.

It arrived. I was so nervous. I sat in it but it was just as good as I remembered. Everyone who's visited the new house has also sat in it and sighed in envy. It is a good chair. It's not particularly fancy - in fact the only thing you can adjust is the seat height, but somehow this works. You can't tilt the seat or fix the back or raise the arms but this means you've got less chance of locking yourself into some godawful position which seems comfortable at first but is slowly and stealthily crushing your spine.


Also, even though I said this wasn't a pretty interiors post, it's a pretty chair right? It's bloody lovely to look at. It comes in lots of sophisticated shades - in fact the 'Berry' one, a kind of navy, was my favourite in the store but after much deliberation I went with the neutral 'Alpine' to match my new office decor.

So yes. If like me, you're in need of a new desk chair and you also can't cover your nipples in a swimming costume, maybe go and have a sit on it in John Lewis for three years too. I reckon you'll be as convinced as I was.

Midweek Musings: Foot Muffs and Teeth Whitening

bugaboo-foot-muff-lifebylotte Blimey O'Reilly I'm ill again. Sleep deprivation +  growing a baby last year has clearly left my immune system at an all-time low. I was never ill before I had Chip - actually, before I got pregnant (I was ill quite a lot when I was pregnant which was of course worse as you can't take anything for it). I used to swerve most colds going round but now I seem to be a magnet for them - at the moment the day after I travel on the tube I wake up with a sore throat. Not fun.

Anyway in the midst of my head-cold-and-sleep-deprivation fog, I did something pretty daft. So I thought I'd share it. When we bought Daph's buggy (the Bugaboo Bee 3 - does anyone want me to do a review? if so, let me know!), it was summer and the lady in the shop said not to bother with buying the foot muff as she wouldn't need it until it got colder. So we didn't. But at six months she progressed from the carrycot to the normal pushchair seat and I realised her little toes were getting cold, no matter how many blankets she had on her lap. So I remembered the foot muff thing and went onto John Lewis's website and ordered it. Probably in the middle of a feed while I was thinking about eighty other things. It was £95 which made my eyes water but I thought it was one of those things you just had to stump up for and reasoned she'd be using the buggy for a few years to come. There were several colours to choose from, so I got bright yellow, because the sun canopy is bright yellow and I assumed they should match.

(Bear with me, I appreciate this story is already long and boring). When it arrived I opened it, raised my eyebrows slightly at just how yellow it was but shoved it on the buggy anyway. Within five minutes of our first walk avec foot muff it was already dirty from me scraping it along a wall. I suddenly realised what a terrible, terrible idea a bright yellow foot muff was. Of course it just so happened that I'd put all the packaging out for the binman that morning (who'd been and gone), so I couldn't return it even if I'd not already made it filthy.

I did a bit more research when I got home and realised that you can get foot muffs that fit ANY BUGGY for about £40 online. And they don't have to be bright yellow - they can be a far more practical grey or black. The moral of this story is: you don't need to spend £95 on a Bugaboo matching foot muff. Don't be an idiot like me.

I hope the bloody thing is washable at least. Everytime I look at it now I am going to think about what else I could have spent £95 on (like some nice clothes for me! SOB).

In other news, I went to the dentist this week, which was relatively unremarkable, although I do love the fact your treatment is free when you've just had a baby. My (NHS) dentist offered me some sort of fillings for my receded gums which sound painful but like a good idea, so I'm going to go for it while it's still free. She also mentioned teeth whitening (not free). It's not cheap but I'm seriously considering it as my teeth are so horrible and yellow (and I hardly ever drink red wine - NO FAIR). I've done those illegal Crest whitening strips (ordered from eBay) before but they really hurt my sensitive gums and the effects wore off quite quickly. If anyone's had any experience of the Zoom whitening system - please let me know! I've googled it and everyone just goes on about how painful it is, which doesn't really fill me with hope. But whiter teeth are just the sort of thing I feel would get me out of my postnatal beauty slump (along with a decent haircut, which I'm doing next week).

Finally, you might have noticed that I've redesigned my blog logo. I only just realised how bloody awful the last one was, so I've gone completely minimalist (read: unimaginative) and feel much happier with it. Also, I keep meaning to say a big thank you to everyone who's followed me on Bloglovin' since my shameful begging post - it's really cheered me up and is much appreciated!

31 Weeks


I'm 31 weeks today! There’s definitely something about passing the 30-week mark that makes you think that from now on, EVERYTHING has to be about the baby. I’m sure this is also because I’m now on maternity leave, so I’ve got very little in the way of day-job-work to distract me. Anyway, being 31 weeks has suddenly got me all in a flap about the fact that the baby will be full-term and therefore may be born at any time in only SIX WEEKS. Squeak!

Everyone I’ve spoken to has said that first-time babies are always born late, so I had almost resigned myself to not having Chip until September. But then I googled it and discovered that statistically first-time babies are as likely to be early as they are late, so that’s a load of nonsense. Also, with my placenta issue, if I haven’t had him/her by 41 weeks they will induce me, which means that he/she will definitely be born by 2 September! A very strange thought.

I’ve had mixed reactions about my August due date, with some people saying they hope I’ll hang on so the baby is born in the next school year so that he/she isn’t the least developed (read: most stupid) in their class, and others pointing out that an August baby means one year less of childcare for me (as the baby will be going to school almost a year earlier than babies born a week later). Truth is I actually don’t care at all when Chip is born. I just want him/her to be healthy and for me not to rip in half during labour. Oh and for my feet to go back to normal after (more on that later).

Anyway, my first week of maternity leave has been lovely, and basically felt like a mini holiday. I’ve been out seeing friends a lot for lunches, brunches and dinners, and generally just pottering about. I even went back to John Lewis’s baby department again, but this time with my Mum. Sadly it was no more successful than my previous trip. In fact the only difference was this time it was my Mum saying ‘Oh it’s all a bit overwhelming’ as we wandered around marvelling at all the baby nail scissors and bibs and stuff. Again we left empty-handed, save for a helpful 'John Lewis Baby' brochure of ALL THE THINGS I WILL NEED. It’s on the coffee table. Progress.


We did also go to JoJo Maman Bebe however, where I found it impossible to resist this little rattle. Despite my Mum saying ‘Charlotte, people will BUY you things like that, you shouldn’t buy them yourself!’ But... where’s the fun in that?

I’ll probably do a separate post on the bits we have bought so far, but suffice to say that I feel we’re getting there on the clothing front - the only part of baby shopping that doesn’t freak me out. Although who knows if August babies need long or short sleeved baby grows? I’ve got a mixture of both just in case… (I’m also still slightly confused as to the difference between a sleep suit and a baby grow but hopefully all will become clear at some point).


But enough about the baby, back to ME. I’ve had some new symptoms again this week, which I shall now moan about for your reading pleasure and my future self’s nostalgia:

1) Crazy dreams. This may be due to us finally beginning to watch Game of Thrones (yes yes, I know, eighty years late to the party) but my dreams are so far off the sane-scale these days that I’m starting to become concerned. They don’t make any sense at all. Last night I was in a 4x4 being washed through a tsunami in the Devonshire countryside on my way to an interiors photoshoot. I think this may be a weird hybrid of issues in my life at the moment: the possible need for a new safer car (although I hate 4x4s with a passion), the possibility of moving out of London (although Devon is certainly not on the list of potentials, much as I’d love it to be), the fact the house we had an offer accepted on last week has flooding issues (we’ve pulled out), and well, me missing a big photoshoot for one of our clients due to being on mat leave. Just weird. Every morning I’ve woken up and gabbled, all excited like a five-year-old, ‘I had the weirdest dream!’ to Oli, who this morning made me laugh by replying ‘Yes, well tell me after I’ve been to the gym’. Message received loud and clear: other people’s dreams are BORING. Ahem. Moving on then…

2) For the last three days, my hands and feet have been really stiff and puffy when I wake up in the morning. I googled this and apparently I have rheumatoid arthritis. Of course, I don’t have rheumatoid arthritis because I’m pregnant, and so instead I have carpal tunnel syndrome. Not nice. I have to flex my hands and wrists for a good few minutes to try to get them to loosen up after I wake up - I literally have no grip otherwise. Annoying. And much sympathy now for those who do have rheumatoid arthritis.

3) My feet continue to upset me. My poor feet! My feet will never be the same again!! They are elephant feet. I hate them and they hate me. I miss my old, slightly bony, vein-riddled feet SO much. I miss my shoes! I’m actually praying to the god of feet that these fluid-filled bags of skin return to their normal size and shape after Chip is born because I can’t bear to spend the rest of my life looking down at such squidgy monstrosities.

4) And finally, I am definitely feeling BIGGER. I feel like a proper pregnant person now, and have started to wear my bump and my awkward waddle-walk with pride. I am using this as an excuse to eat more too (resistance to massive weight gain is now futile). My appetite is huge and seems to require at least two ice creams a day. A few weeks ago I discovered a wondrous thing known as ‘maternal fat stores’ which are apparently key to you having enough energy to breastfeed when your baby is first born. Basically I’m allowed around an extra 3kg of fat on my body by the time I’m full term. So now, whenever I sneak to the freezer for another Cornetto and Oli gives me a look, all I have to say to him is ‘maternal fat stores!’ and he rolls his eyes and leaves me alone. This bit of pregnancy I am getting on with quite well…

28 Weeks

28-weeks I'm 28 weeks today and edging ever closer to 30 weeks, which to me sounds VERY far along. Squeak! Best of all, I am firmly in my third trimester now, and the baby picture on my baby app looks like a proper baby with podgy little legs and arms. I celebrated my 28 week milestone with a growth scan, which I had this morning.

However, I stupidly spent last night reading Amanda Holden's autobiography (bear with me on this, but it was all related to the fact that I'm a die-hard Corrie fan, and couldn't believe that Les Dennis was once married to her, so I bought it on my Kindle for 99p to find out more). Anyway, what I hadn't realised was that poor Amanda had lost her baby at 28 weeks completely unexpectedly, so of course I spent the entire night fretting about what was in store for me.

Be warned: do not read Amanda Holden's autobiography when you're pregnant. The poor woman has been through hell and back and my heart goes out to her.

Maybe that's why I was extra emotional today, or maybe it was just tiredness, but anyway I got quite teary eyed watching Chip kicking about and curled up and generally looking perfectly happy. More mindblowing stuff this week - his/her eyes were actually open on the ultrasound! I knew they open for the first time around 27 weeks but it was actually so amazing to see them there so clearly, staring at us from the screen. He/she even blinked at one point and was swallowing more amniotic fluid (seems to enjoy doing this, weird).

We didn't have our nice sonographer this time but another chap (who didn't give us a free picture, meanie), but he was perfectly kind, if a little matter-of-fact, and patiently explained all the various bits and pieces we were looking at. As usual, our baby had his/her legs curled up around its head - certainly way more flexible than me at the moment.

Growth wise, everything looked absolutely fine, but the issue with my 'increased placental blood flow resistance' and left uterine artery were still there, which was a bit disappointing as Dr Google had told me it could right itself by this point. It's obviously not affecting the baby's growth at the moment but it does mean they still want to see me for another scan at 36 weeks and again I have to keep an eye on my blood pressure and stress levels.

Otherwise this week's been a mixed old bag week of symptoms. Here are a few - look away all ye who are squeamish:

1)  My feet. The sun came out and my feet BALLOONED. It was actually ridiculous. I showed them to a few friends who said theirs did the same but not until they were much further along. Here they are at the end of a long day sitting at my desk at work:


I warned you. Yuck! They also really hurt when I walk because the fluid on the top of them seems to wobble as I put each foot down. The only solution is keeping them raised as much as possible - I have a box under my desk at work now and I have been using my poor feet as an excuse to do bugger all in the house once I get home. Oli has been (not so) graciously massaging them with my Lucky Legs gel which is awesome - definitely my favourite pregnancy buy so far, after the dream bed companion that is the Theraline.

2) I have been constipated beyond belief. Sorry, TMI but there you go. No amount of beans has been shifting things, but when I do finally need to go, I have to go. I don't know if this is because the baby somehow kicks things along my intestines but it's a proper rush-to-the-loo type situation. Nice.

3) We went to start our baby shopping in John Lewis at the weekend and all that happened is that I walked around in a daze, feeling totally overwhelmed and on the verge of tears. There. Is. So. Much. Stuff. I don't know what half of it does. I don't know where to start. I can just about cope with baby grows, but scratch mitts, room thermometers, breast pumps, sterilisers, breast pads, maternity pads, nipple cream... like I said, overwhelming. The only thing I KNOW I have to get is a Sophie giraffe thing, because all my mother-friends have told me about them. And I keep spotting them in photoshoots of nurseries.

Added to this the bedside cot we had decided on after much deliberation is no longer endorsed by the NCT owing to a baby suffocating to death while sleeping in it. So yeah, we're back to square one on even that decision! If anyone has any recommendations of cots that you can have next to you (Moses baskets freak me out) please shout!

4) Cravings-wise, Curly Wurlys and ice cubes (not together) have been the order of the day. And cold, cold drinks.

5) I started to get weird period-like pain yesterday morning. It was really strong and painful and made me scared. I limped to work and it went away. I don't know what it was but I'm going to ask my midwife at my appointment next week. I'm anxious to start feeling Braxton Hicks contractions now so wonder if it was that? Who knows?! As ever, the pregnancy learning curve is steep... third trimester, (I think) I'm ready for you!