My Weekend With Pamela McGookin, Owner of Bella Bump Maternity Dress Hire


The best time to get up on the weekend is?

live on weekends. I try to get up around 7:30. However, if my week has been hectic, I tend to turn off my alarm clock and sleep in. My mornings usually start with following up on all social media inquiries for my maternity dress rental business, Bella Bump Maternity Dress Hire and social media posts. After that, it’s time for coffee and my personal social media, planning for the weekend ahead and an ever-growing to-do list. I work full-time in recruiting, which often involves traveling and flying, so weekends are catch-up time.

Breakfast or brunch?

I start every morning with a coffee as soon as I get out of bed. I’m more brunch, I have porridge, or if I have a meeting and go out for breakfast, I like to have something I wouldn’t make at home, like poached eggs and sourdough avocado. French Village in Belfast makes the best breakfasts. It has to be one of my favorites.

What does an ideal Saturday look like?

As I work full time, I don’t have much time to catch up with my family and friends, so my ideal Saturday is a day to meet my sister and her family (they live two hours away) or my best friends. . It’s really simple things for me. My sister is a great cook and makes the best scones so we are spoiled when my family is staying. When I meet the girls I was friends with in school, we meet locally for breakfast and don’t stop to breathe while catching up on life.

What would your perfect Sunday look like?

My ideal Sunday would be a drive with my boys, heading somewhere for a nice lunch. We always like to try somewhere different. Our final stop was The Plow in Hillsborough. I had pheasant and we had a lovely walk in the castle grounds, with coffee and sweets for the trip home.

Do you prefer to be indoors or outdoors?

No one loves a party more than me, so when I get an invite for breakfast, lunch, drinks, a night on the town or a weekend getaway, I’m there. Dining inside, I guess, is the answer to your question.

How have weekends changed with age?

My weekends, even when I had a young family, were filled with action. Concerts, work parties, award ceremonies, swimming lessons, scouts, jujitsu competitions. The joke was, I would go to the opening of an envelope. I guess Covid changed all that. I am not complaining. In fact, I enjoy the slower pace of life. Now I really sleep. I have friends over for dinner and drinks. I bought a hot tub, and there’s nothing nicer after a crazy week with a glass of prosecco.

If you could eat anywhere in NI tonight, where would you go and why?

I have to say my favorite restaurant has to be Fetta Nera in Carrickfergus. He honestly makes the most amazing pizzas and garlic bread – it’s a must.

What would you have?

I usually have the wood smoked beef brisket stone baked pizza with jalapenos, pickled shallots and arugula. It’s really beautiful, the best pizza by far.

On weekends, you will always have time to…

Spending time with my family and having time for myself. Life is busy, and during the lockdown, that’s one thing that stuck with me. As a family, we spent very little time together before the Covid. We all have busy social lives, which I encouraged, but there comes a time when you have to say no. You get exhausted, and I was exhausted but I didn’t realize it. Lockdown helped me refocus on what was important: our health and well-being, our diet, and the things I was doing well and didn’t take credit for.

Do you sometimes work weekends?

I work most weekends with Bella Bump Maternity Dress Hire. I’m very lucky to keep my own diary so I can write a weekend once in a while when needed – I’ve just returned from a lovely weekend in Edinburgh with two of my old school mates. school. Due to the nature of my business, on weekends moms-to-be are generally free to travel, and I encourage them to bring someone with them. When you’re pregnant, you dress in a totally different shape, so it’s nice to get a second option from a friend. I can have appointments on Friday night, Saturday or Sunday, but my job is fun and I love helping moms look fabulous for their special occasion. When you see this mom-to-be looking in the mirror and smiling back, you know you did a great job, and that means everything to me.

Who would you most like to go for a drink with and why?

It would have to be Olly Murs. Ever since he came out on stage on X Factor all those years ago, there was just something about him. He was just naturally talented, funny, so I’m excited to see how far he’s come. I honestly think he would be a lot of fun at a party and I think of all the dance parties he would attract.

Are you a weekend cook? If so, what is your culinary specialty?

On weekends, I try to cook a lot more. Saturday night we would have steak from our local family butchers with the works – mushrooms, red onion, garlic potatoes, pepper sauce…yum. Even my eldest son says nothing beats it.

What’s your dream Sunday dinner?

I like to have something that I wouldn’t cook at home and I like to try different things. I’m happy to drive somewhere different with my family or friends. I think of fish. I ate the most beautiful hake in the Rabbit restaurant a few weeks ago. I would definitely go back.

Who do you usually eat with on Sunday evening and where?

On Sundays, I always cook a traditional Sunday dinner at home. Old fashioned roast beef or stuffed pork tenderloin are our family favourites. My husband works shifts, so Sunday is the only day we all sit together as a family around the table and catch up on the week.

Too tired to cook…what do you order to take away?

If I don’t have my Fetta pizza I usually have an Indian from Mayur in Carrickfergus. I know people who travel from Belfast to get takeaway from here. It’s serious it’s so good. I usually have lamb biryani – it really is the best. We are spoiled living in Carrickfergus.

Head to the cinema… what are you going to see?

If I go to the cinema, it’s for a girl movie or James Bond. I’m not a big movie fan. My friends all know that I only pick-and-mix and usually fall asleep.

Stay in… what TV/streaming/catch-up programs are on the menu?

I don’t watch much TV, but I’m definitely a fan of Love Island or Married at First Sight. I never really watched TV. I would much rather meet up with a friend for a walk or a coffee.

What are you reading? Your favorite type of book?

I love a good autobiography. I am currently reading Becoming by Michelle Obama. It was a gift I wanted to buy myself. She talks openly about things that a lot of people are uncomfortable discussing. There are laughs, and how beautiful is she?

Bedtime is?

I don’t have a bedtime routine. On Monday nights, I like to be in bed by 9:30 p.m. My days are busy, so this was part of my post-lockdown self-care. Tuesdays are a bit later as I take guides. I usually arrive home after 9pm, buzzing, and it’s hard to shut down. The rest of the week is just when the work is done. I try not to eat after 7 p.m. in the evening, and that includes having coffee. I’ve been known to have the odd weeknight glass of prosecco. Well, it would be rude not to, too.

Bella Bump has just celebrated its two years of activity. To see a selection of accessory dresses for hire, visit bellabump.co.uk

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