Sunday, 29 June 2014

A sunny weekend and the best house guests

Last week our amazing friend Nikita came to stay with us with her daughter Lola for a long weekend. They'd come down to the Island to visit a couple of times last summer, but this was the first time that Arlo and Lola had hung out and been old enough to really acknowledge each other. Watching them together really gave us the warm and fuzzies. The sun shone, Lola learnt how to say 'Aaaaar-loo', Arlo learnt how to crawl as fast as Lola could toddle, and they both spent a lot of time chasing each other round and round the house. They are BFFs already and it's just so lovely to see.

Having a house with two babies in it is really different to having a house with one baby in it. That may sound obvious, but there were lots of pros and cons to having them spending their days together, and it inevitably got me thinking about what it would be like to have two all the time, and if Arlo had a little sibling to boss around and throw food at and make laugh on a regular basis.

The good stuff: they make each other smile and giggle all day long, amuse themselves, play games and keep each other busy (ish). They also totally knacker each other out which was amazing - tired babies sleep really well, which makes for nice evenings for us. But what also happened was that the house was even more of the following than it usually is (and it usually is): noisy, messy, covered in smushed banana. I'm not really bothered about all that stuff, but it did feel like we needed to be a bit more on the ball than usual. If one's napping then it's a fairly safe bet that the other isn't, so goodbye to collecting your thoughts (as well as tidying, washing, drinking coffee, trying to quickly apply blusher in a bid to look remotely normal/ alive-looking) during nap times. It was wonderful to see them together but looking after two between the three of us was hard work too.

Conclusion: one baby is enough to keep us busy. For now. But frequent house guests are the best. Our little house felt all quiet and empty after they left. Come back soon Nik and Lolly!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Friday I'm in love... with animal prints for little people

I'm a sucker for a sweet animal print, and I found all three of these in one shopping trip to h&m the other day (sadly looking for Arlo rather than myself). The jungle print is actually a little sleeveless vest which I'm not sure is a great look for a one-year-old, but I fell for the print so much I couldn't resist. I love that these are so obviously prints for kids - I'm not a huge fan of kids clothes that look too grown up, like exact copies of what adults wear. There's plenty of time to dress like an adult when you actually are one -  for now we'll be enjoying wearing one of these (admittedly fairly surreal) animal scenes:

a) dayglo parrots, hippos and cacti on a natty vest
b) a handrawn city panda and koala listening to tunes, scootering and playing catch in the park
c) a mouse in a bobble hat riding a cloud unicycle with his circus pals

Monday, 23 June 2014


A very quick post to capture a sweet morning spent swinging in the sunshine. We headed out to the park early this morning and had it all to ourselves. It was sunny but not too hot yet, and Arlo and I curled up in the big round swing that you usually can't get anywhere near when the park is full. We giggled and cuddled and looked at the sky and felt the breeze and it was the loveliest start to a day I could think of. Afterwards, Arlo hung out by himself for a while and I couldn't resist taking a quick snap to remember the morning by. This guy is such good company.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Trains, tractors and automobiles

A few snaps from a recent day out at Robin Hill on the Island. Arlo 'drove' a little wooden tractor and digger, and then we had a tractor ride for real which went all round the site, which is also where Bestival is held each year. Alex and I tried to figure out which field was which and which stage went where (admittedly our Bestival memories are somewhat hazy), while Arlo looked at the ducks and geese. Nice to be an Island tourist for the day.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Friday I'm in love

Source: Pinterest

I'm always in love with Pinterest, but this week I am particularly in love with this amazing Swedish penthouse flat that I found and can't stop looking at. We've only been in our house for around 6 months, and we have a very long list of things we want to change. This apartment ticks many boxes of either DIY I want to take on, or decor I adore. Let me count the ways:

  • The white floorboards - I love this look, and after the blood sweat and tears (all Alex's) spent sanding the floors in our bedroom when we moved in, it feels like a much easier option for the floorboards when we finally rip up the carpet in our spare room - hoping to do that very soon at some point in the next ten years.
  • In fact, the white everything - this is just how I like my walls, white everywhere. It makes everything else in the room stand out, gives light and makes touch-ups very very easy. Apart from a wall in the kitchen that I was compelled to paint pink as soon as we moved in, I think every other wall in the house is white.
  • That sofa - it's the perfect pink. 
  • And the yellow chair! It's just the right combination of mustard and wood and comfy and low.
  • The bedroom wallpaper - it's ace and perfect just on one wall against all the white. Another thing I want to do that's on the house DIY mega-list 
  • All the windows everywhere letting in so much natural light! 
  • The roof terrace. It's potentially the least-baby-friendly outdoor space that could ever exist, and I'm pretty sure that if I actually went up there I'd go a bit scared and have a sudden urge to throw something off the top, but it's a really lovely and peaceful spot

So in conclusion, this is pretty much my dream house. Of course, it's neat and tidy, got lots of sharp edges and has a roof baby death trap, so it's the least-appropriate house for our little family at the moment, but I think that's why I like it so much - because it's a bit out of reach. If you like what you see too, then check out my home board on Pinterest, because I've amassed quite a collection of pins on a variation on the white-walls-and-colourful-everything-else theme.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Things I'm thankful for

This print was one of the first things I bought for our new home - in fact I bought it long before we ever moved in, and kept it in a drawer for months, waiting to be framed and hung in our first very own house. It had been sat on a pinterest board of mine for years before that before I tracked down the seller (check out more of her beautiful work here) and ordered it as a pre-house-warming present - I've always believed in celebrating and finding joy in the little every day things, and as soon as I saw the first thing on the list, I was sold - delicious beverages are basically what make my world go round.

It's hung up right by our front door in the living room - I purposefully wanted to put it up somewhere we'd see it every day as a little reminder of all the things we have to be be thankful for. Amongst other things, things I've been thankful for this week are:
  1. Long baby naps and iced coffees
  2. Cuddles with my brand new nephew Archie on his two-week birthday
  3. Afternoon visits to the cinema with Alex - something that hasn't happened since BB (before baby)
  4. A message from my dear friend (and very talented writer) Sparky that came at just the right time 
  5. The sun beaming over our little back garden all day long 
  6. A surprise visit from a BFF who drove down from London to hang with me and Arlo for a day
  7. Lie-ins. Amen.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

The big one

Last weekend Arlo turned one. I know all everyone ever talks about when you have kids is how quickly the time goes, but wow that year really did go fast! I had been feeling a bit glum about him turning one, I think something to do with him not really being a baby any more (technically, once you're one you're an infant, not a baby apparently, which seems like a bit of a formal way to reference your child in conversation if you ask me) but it turns out turning one is just like any other birthday - you get to have a party and basically be in charge for the day, being spoiled rotten.

Arlo and his grandad playing it cool
Arlo, Alex and Aunty Agnes sharing birthday cuddles
And he was well and truly spoiled - not just by some lovely presents, but also by spending lots of time with his favourite people. My dad was over from New York to visit in the run up, and all of Alex's family came to stay for his birthday weekend so he got lots of family love. The day itself was sunny, and we set up some playthings in the garden (including his birthday present from us, a big top play tent, which has been filled with books and turned into a reading nook in his bedroom) for his little friends to play with. I now realise I didn't take a single photo of the party itself (the sign of a good party) so I'm using these Instagram pics of the set up to give the general gist - think balloons, chocolate cake and lounging in the sun while various one year olds try and hit each other over the head with maracas.

At the party one of our friends asked me what I'd learned about parenthood in the last year, and my answer was 'nothing!' Does anyone ever really feel like they've cracked it? It got me thinking about what I've learned and what I'd pass on, which is probably a worthy subject for another post... if I can actually think of anything! We agreed that being a parent is really hard but really amazing, which is a fairly concise, yet accurate way of summing it up. So thanks Arlo for an at times hard, but mostly totally amazing year.

Happy Birthday Arlo! A party can never have too much bunting.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

The view from my commute


I took this grainy, smudgey photo from the window of my train to work last week - I had a client meeting near Brighton and had to get the little stopping train that goes from Southampton to Brighton, stopping at all the little towns along the way. It took ages but the view more than made up for it - a lot of the way the tracks run parallel to the coastline, following the shore along, and I couldn't help trying to get a few pics on my phone as we went. This was the best of a bad bunch! 

When I agreed to come back to work after having Arlo (and moving so far away from London), I was sceptical about whether I could make the commute work - granted, I only need to be in London about once a week, but the journey up is a walk-boat-bus-train-cab travel combo that can seem a bit daunting when you set off! It has actually tuned out to be one of my favourite parts of the week, as it usually involves enjoying a coffee while it's still hot (a rarity these days), and listening to music, which is something I've missed so much since becoming a mum. It's easy to forget how brilliant it feels to put on headphones and play whatever you want, as loudly as you like. It's definitely something I took for granted when I lived in London and had two hours of commuting every day.

Two of my favourite songs to listen to really loudly at the moment are this and this. They got me doing a little head-nodding dance in my seat and everything.