Monday, 28 July 2014

London, ILY

We were in London this weekend, and on Saturday night I went out to meet some friends at a party on a barge. As I walked down along the Thames I was all excited - to a) be out on a Saturday night, and to b) be right in the middle of London as the sun was setting. I snapped a few pics as I went on my way, and then proceeded to board the boat, and then feel very tipsy after just three drinks.

If one of the good things about being pregnant and then with a very small child is that your tolerance levels go down and you become a very cheap date, then the flipside of that is that you get hangovers that last for days. I'm literally still hungover now, 48 hours later, and nothing is helping. Not all the water in the world, and sadly not the Burger King that was eaten while speeding down the M3 yesterday. I don't think I'll be drinking again for some time.

It's been a few months since all three members of our little family have all been in London together and it felt really good to be back. So good in fact that I felt my first ever little chest-pang of remorse and found myself thinking "did we do the right thing moving to the country?!" It was a brill weekend filled with family and friends, and they do feel a bit far away at times. Sometimes though you need to go away to appreciate coming back, and I was relieved to find that it felt very good to get back to our little house last night - phew! Conclusion: we did do the right thing, but let's make trips to London a bit more regular please.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

On safari

Lately it has been hot. Really hot. So it may have been slightly ill-judged that my friend Susan and I decided to go to Amazon World on the hottest day of the year, seeing it as most of it is under greenhouse-style roofing to keep the temperatures nicely humid and Amazonian (the clue's in the name, should've got that).

Despite the sweltering heat, the babies had a lot of fun. Arlo saw armadillos, lemurs, penguins and iguanas, and lots of fish, which are his new favourite thing to point at. We topped the trip off with a trip to the play park, which was overlooked by dinosaurs (the fake kind, I'm pretty sure). We came back with two sleeping children, which in my books is the definition of a successful day out.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Life lately

It's been a busy old week in the Lewis-Wild household, and some lovely things have been happening that I want to stop for a second to remember before life whizzes by and I find myself preparing for another Monday.

Yesterday Arlo got fitted for his first pair of shoes. They are the bright red version of the shoes in my last post (yay to gender-neutral footwear!) and he looks proper grown up in them. The shoes are the latest in a long line of things that are amazing me and making me feel like time is flying by and he's getting more grown up by the minute. Some of the things he's learnt lately are useful and totally brilliant, like going backwards to get off the sofa or go down stairs safely, eating his cereal with a spoon or waving at people when they say goodbye. Other new tricks are less welcome, like knowing how to turn on the radio, set it to white noise, and turn the volume up. Really loud. (This happens daily - new out-of-reach shelving is needed). All in all he's going through some major leaps at the moment and it's really exciting. And obvs we couldn't resist a little father-son shoe shot. Look how small!

Arlo's grandma, aka my mum (must remember I don't need to call her grandma when Arlo isn't listening) has been a bit of a saviour this week. She looked after Arlo when we had to go to the dentist (four fillings between Alex and me, three of which were mine - ouch), took me out for a trip the cinema, and does things like impromptu washing up when she pops round, which is the way to my heart. She'll never read this of course, because she doesn't own a computer, but I am writing this more to remind myself how grateful I am to have her just around the corner. Here's Arlo climbing into her basket the last time she came round, so she couldn't leave (or so that she would take him with her if she did!)

Other things I don't want to forget this week is how bloody amazing the weather has been, and how nice it has been to be here on the island to enjoy it. The week has been filled with trips to the beach, local parks and dunks in the outdoor kiddy pool, and we've enjoyed picnics and walks with friends (both Arlo's and mine!) - basically all the stuff I daydreamed about when I was in London looking for a change.

Oh and this week I also completed my very first crochet granny square. It's two weeks since I wrote this post about starting a crochet project, and about six weeks since I bought the wool in the first place, so at this rate I may have something resembling a blanket by the time I actually am a granny. This first attempt is pretty wonky and probably won't even make the final blanket, but it's a start, and I reckon every other square is going to get a bit easier from now on. So that's one down, only about a hundred left to go...

Friday, 18 July 2014

Friday I'm in love... with a new wardrobe (for Arlo)

Arlo's at a stage where he's just about grown out of all his clothes and is ready for the next size up, which means I can legitimately start looking out for new, slightly-less-small clothes for him to wear. These have caught my eye this week: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven.

Number six was actually a birthday present from our lovely friends Nikita and Lolly - Arlo isn't quite big enough for it yet but I can't wait until he can start using it - it comes with a little hood for rainy days, complete with bee antennae which is going to get some use come rain or shine, that's for sure.

Number two I picked up for Arlo a couple of weeks ago, and he's been wearing it around town (aka the park and his Caterpillar Music class) this week - it's nice and light which is nice considering we're having some kind of HEATWAVE at the moment.  We've spent lots of time outside this week, catching up with friends, so this Friday I'm also in love with the sun, and being able to enjoy it.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

What I've learnt about parenting

A little while ago a friend asked me what I'd learnt about parenting following a whole year being a mum. My immediate answer was "nothing!" but it got me thinking about what I've learnt (if anything!)

When you've just had a baby you do get a bit inundated with advice, ranging from well-meaning suggestions to forceful opinions on the latest theory or 'rules' for parenting. It's a bit overwhelming to be honest - especially when you're in the vulnerable state of having just pushed out a little squidgy baby who needs constant attention and feeding when what you really want to do is have a nice cup of tea and afternoon nap on the sofa.

I actually feel quite strongly about not giving parenting advice, because it can be bloody annoying is such a subjective topic, so I usually only give advice when I'm asked for it, and even then all I really know is what we tried and what worked for us. So with that in mind, here's what I've learnt over the past year:

  1. You'll probably never feel like you're on top of it. Well, I never really do anyway, I think that's pretty normal. If you get through most days with both of you still in tact, and can look at it with a smile on your face, then you're doing ace.
  2. Be kind to yourself. Don't beat yourself up about your parenting choices. Being a stay-at-home mum is hard. Being a working mum is hard. Being a bit of both and trying to do both as best you can when you're a bloody perfectionist is hard (ahem). However you make it work for you is just great for you.
  3. The bad bits will pass. This one I definitely know to be true - nothing lasts forever with babies, not the cluster-feeding stage, not the crying-all-night stage, and sadly not the I'll-just-leave-him-gurgling-here-on-the-bed-while-I-nip-to-the-loo-and-know-he'll-be-right-here-when-I-get-back-again stage either.
  4. Be flexible. You can't really plan what's going to happen with a baby - the thing is that they're their own little person with their own little mind right from the get go (I don't think I was quite prepared for that) so you may need to take a different approach depending on how/when they want to sleep or feed or play or cry. I try not to worry too much about the future and just focus on getting through the now without any major disasters.
  5. Enjoy it. I'm serious - I need to remind myself sometimes. In honesty, I think I missed out on a bit of that 'oh wow I am overwhelmed by the surge of pure love and emotion' stuff in the early days, perhaps a bit blind-sided at the time. Now that I've relaxed a bit I've realised it's basically the most fun you can have - it's like having a best mate by your side, making you laugh and smile all day long. What's not to enjoy?

Friday, 11 July 2014

Friday I'm in love... with beautiful Instagram feeds

I love instagram for a bit of interiors inspiration. Here's a few of my favourite feeds - can you see a trend? I hadn't really noticed how similar these all are before but I am partial to a nice monochrome scandinavian interior. These are the kind of homes that make me want to be more of a minimalist:

scandinavianhome is all monochrome and string shelves and font prints *sigh*
hildagrahnat has the most perfect turquoise-green kitchen wall and I have to admit to a bit of a fangirl moment when I spotted that I have the same coffee table as her. Her blog has been one of my faves from the start.

carolinavd's beautiful home comes complete with this lovely doggie. I like both.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Into the blue

Look at that blue - no filter, I swear! Arlo and I went spent a morning in East Cowes last week on what was meant to be the hottest day of the year so far. The sea and sky were the clearest blue. To get to East Cowes you have to get a little chain ferry, which is Arlo's new favourite mode of transport. He spent the whole journey with his nose pressed to the window, looking at the boats and sparkly sea. After a walk along the shore we stopped at the play park, which is complete with a kid-size swimming pool for little ones to splash about in. We spent a while sat on the edge, dangling legs and splashing each other. Arlo got another tooth to add to his collection this week, so he now has five little tooth pegs to show off, which make for such a cute and goofy smile. Of which there were many on this day.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

A new craft project for a non-crafty girl

Just look at these lovely, perfectly plump balls of wool - they are so nice to look at that I can't bring myself to actually open one and start doing something with it.

Lately I've been looking for a project. Alex has many, many hobbies - so many he can't keep up with them all really. He's often found spending an evening holed up in our garden shed recording music, or practising drums, or at the skate park with friends (for clarity, he's not a teenager, he's approaching 30). Me though, not so much - I think in honesty the old me used to be a bit of a workaholic and in some ways my job became the thing that took up most of my headspace whether I was in the office or not.

Anyway, now that I have a better work/ life balance I quite fancy a little project - something to make that would actually be useful. I really am not a 'craft-y' person, and I don't have a great track record of this kind of making things, or starting things and seeing them through. Not a great start, admittedly (!) but I've decided that a crochet blanket would be a fairly low risk first project, based on a few factors:
  • Wool shopping is fun - have you seen all the colours?!
  • A lovely granny square crochet blanket is multi-use, and something we can use for years and years
  • I'm thinking (hoping) it will be fairly straightforward - I can work on it square by square. How hard can it be to crochet one square?

I'm sharing this on the blog as an incentive to keep up with it, but given that I've had six plump, untouched balls of wool sat on a shelf next to the bed for several weeks, It may take a while. In the meantime, I've started a pinterest board of granny square blanket inspiration, (including this lovely fellow enjoying his crochet blanket) which is keeping me far too busy to actually do any crocheting. Yet. Watch this space!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Things I'm thankful for this week

Sat on the London train on the way to work yesterday I was thinking that it's been a pretty good week - it's not often I get 5 mins to sit and reminisce like that, and it was nice to stop and look back rather than always just being in the moment and focusing on getting things done all the time.

So in the spirit of celebrating the small things, I wanted to make a note of the things I've been thankful for this week - so that I don't forget them too quickly:

  1. Finally teaching Arlo how to give kisses, and being woken up on Friday morning with a big smacker. I opened my eyes to see this squiggly little face peering down at me and my heart melted.
  2. The ferry ticket man telling me I had a "very nice, very creative signature". My kind of compliment.
  3. Listening to one of my all time favourite albums in full with no interruptions.
  4. A night out in London - and making the last ferry home by minutes.
  5. Celebrating with my friend and team mate Hannah on a VERY well deserved promotion
  6. Sweet notes from sweet friends to tell me they're actually reading (and enjoying!) my blog. I frankly feel surprised to hear that anyone reads it at all, so big thanks if you're having a little peek at this right now - don't you look lovely today :)

Friday, 4 July 2014

Friday I'm in love... with pink

Having a little peruse of my pinterest boards this week I was struck by how many pictures of pink things I had. Really loads. Pink has been my favourite colour since I was about four years old (see my pinterest profile for a visualisation) and it probably always will be - here's a few of my favourite pink things at the moment:

one: the notion that I need an alarm clock is clearly laughable, as Arlo has my morning wake up call covered, but I want this on the bedside table for aesthetic purposes alone.
two: I've been inspired by this post to look for a statement wallpaper for our bedroom and this totally does the job. Lots of pink, lots of colour, floral without being twee, and it's called Blazing Poppies too, which just about tops it off for me.
three: not even really sure what this snack is, but I want it. Even if it's just to look at for a while.
four: I was devs to discover that Topshop have stopped making my favourite shade of pink lipstick this week. This seems like a pretty good alternative.
five: love this watch. I have a little look at it online roughly once a week and it just doesn't get any less perfect. This is probably what prompted the whole pink thing this week because I've been thinking about it probably quite a bit more than would be considered normal.
six: in recent house news, next on the to do list is a new front door. Guess what colour I want to paint it?