Saturday, 30 August 2014

Happy Monday

Some shots from a very happy Monday spent outdoors where we'd camped the night before. Ever since Alex started working a four-day week, Mondays feel like such a treat of a day, like when you had a class cancelled at school at the last minute and it felt like the most joyous, genuinely free, time.  We picnic-ed (should that have a k?) with old friends and their young children, who knackered Arlo out just nicely.

Feels strange to look back on these photos now, because it's like the season has changed completely in the space of a week or so. The view from my window is grey and gloomy and I (secretly) quite like it. It's September soon and I'm ready for Autumn.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Things I'm thankful for - the birthday edition

May I draw your attention to the perfect round dome of clotted cream pictured above? It was a truly joyous birthday sight, made even better by the fact that we were baby free and had several hours to partake in Afternoon Tea in the sunniest place on the Island.

In case you missed the huge sunnies in my last post, it was my birthday this weekend. I'm now officially 31, and I'm alright with it. One year in, my thirties are my favourite decade so far. The best present I got this year was a small, enthusiastic, walking man - Arlo is officially a walker now and it's amazing to see him strolling around in what I find a surprisingly casual manner, as if it's what he's been doing all his life.

The Bank Holiday weekend was so full of lovely happenings that it's reminded me of a few things I'm thankful for, including:

  1. Buying myself flowers. Such a simple yet bloody lovely thing - why don't I do it more often?!
  2. Hearing Arlo call "mama" from the other room and waddle round to find me for cuddles
  3. Friends that energise you just by being near them
  4. Really good coffee (Arlo's sleeping is not so good at the moment so this is what's keeping me going most days) 
  5. Seeing Arlo hang out with both his new cousins in the space of a couple of weeks. He is mad about them both
  6. The Arthur theme tune. It's been featuring pretty heavily in our house at the moment. The first note is enough to get Arlo bopping in his seat, and it's been subject to many a family sing-along lately. Too catchy! And also - how good is Arthur? It tackles interesting subjects that kids need to know about in a non-patronising way. This week alone it's covered topics including brand marketing tricks, how reality TV is edited, and why it's OK if your mum and dad fight sometimes (in an episode called "mum and dad had a really big fight" that was actually RIVETING. I don't want to ruin the ending, but it was all OK in the end because "disagreeing about something doesn't mean you don't still love each other." TRUTH.)

Friday, 22 August 2014

Friday I'm in love... with change

It's my birthday in a couple of days. This is an exciting thing. Not only because of the obvious (cake) but also because every year my birthday seems to mark change. Apart from the fact that I become a year older each August (yes I did just feel the need to explain what a birthday works, sorry), my birthday always used to mark the beginning of the end of the summer holidays and so bring with a fizzy exciting feeling that I get when change is afoot.

The summer in general has always been a time of change for me. Obviously it's been the beginning and end of many school and university years, but it's also seen me leave for, and return from, a year of travels, start and finish various jobs, meet Alex on a blind date (8 years ago tomorrow - blimey), move house a few times, become a mum and become a homeowner. The last three things on the list all happened in the same summer last year. Big year.

So thinking about all these different chapters got me a bit worried - what's changing this year? I'm in the same place, doing the same job, and to the best of my knowledge not due to give birth any time soon. Then I realised. This year I have Arlo. So now every year is going to be jam-packed with change. I can't bloody wait. I'm already ridiculously excited about the prospect of Christmas and Arlo learning to say "why?" at some point in the next 12 months, not to mention seeing my new little nephews get bigger this year, along with a million other things that I can't even imagine yet, that will change me in different ways.

So thanks summer for getting here early and sticking around for so long, but hello autumn and cosy nights in and new winter coats and putting a little stocking at the end of Arlo's bed in a few months' time. I'm embracing change and I just can't wait.

Ps. Have had this stuck in my head ever since I wrote the title of this post. It's only natural.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

No escape

Timehop informs me that I posted this quote on Instagram two years ago today. It's a Seth Godin quote that I remember seeing on a Sunday afternoon as I was thinking about work the next day and being really taken by it. At the time it got me thinking about what it was we wanted from life and how we could go about getting it. It took a lot of planning and do-ing, but I'm proud to look back and think that in two short years we've made a real change to our lives, and done just this.

I dropped the quote in over a pic I took in Cowes during Cowes week - I thought it looked like a holiday snap and felt very lucky to be here. No need to escape just yet.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

A little bit of Cowes Week

When I tell people I've moved to the Isle of Wight, they usually say "ooh, whereabouts?" and I say "Cowes" and they go "is that where they have Cowes Week?" and I go "well obvs"  "yes it is".

Cowes Week is basically a big sailing regatta where they have races every day, and the town fills up with yachties, and gets taken over with food stalls and music and bars and dancing, and everyone on the island comes out for at least one obligatory Cowes Week night out. Alex actually had two CWNOs - one with me and some of our fiends that was pretty reserved, and one with his mates that was NOT.

Apart from nights out, there's lots to do in the daytime too, so Arlo and I made a trip down one day to meet some friends, have lunch and look at the boats - Arlo thinks they're ducks, which is fairly logical seeing as they float on water, but I'm hoping to add the word boat to his repertoire soon, seeing as we're pretty much surrounded by them at the moment.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Friday I'm in love... with new stationery

Bit of a picture-heavy post today, but I just couldn't stop taking pics of my new favourite thing. I got a delivery of new stationery in the post this week, which is the best kind of parcel. I bought a new diary from my favourite stationery shop online, The Magic Notebook. They have the best designs. My plan for this diary is to use it to keep track of blog posts and ideas - I haven't quite mastered a way of scheduling and planning ahead for my blog posts yet, and sometimes a beautiful new notebook is the answer. In this case it definitely is. The beauty of most of the journals from the Magic Notebook is that they don't have printed dates - you add that in yourself - so you can start a diary off from any point. I love the illustrations and little messages dotted all the way through - I'm off to start doodling in this right now.

Monday, 11 August 2014


I am guilty of taking too many photos - I can't just take one shot when twelve will do. I snapped a load of pics of Alex swinging Arlo around while we were watching the cricket this weekend, and when I looked back at them I realised they made a nice little series that captured something lovely, so I've made my first gif. I just wish I also had the audio to accompany the moment because Arlo was giggling his little head off! Our boy is definitely a thrill seeker.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Village life

We spent the afternoon on a village green yesterday watching a local cricket match. There was family, friends, a picnic, and (some) sun. I'm not really sure what happened with the cricket scores (or if scores were being kept at all!), but all the villagers were out in force to show their support. Arlo ate (a bit too much) cake, took off his shoes, and took a few little steps on the grass.  We nearly have a walker!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Friday I'm in love... with storage

So this is meant to be an 'after' photo, but the 'before' view was so horrendous that I couldn't bring myself to actually take a photo of it. Picture the scene: open shelves with clothes everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE. For the first six months or so after Arlo was born, I had a fairly small capsule wardrobe of feeding-friendly clothes - so basically tops that could layer or unbutton to feed Arlo from, usually with baby sick on most of the time. Not my best look, I'll be honest. But then, after Arlo started to eat bananas and various other squishy foods, and the need to feed him all the time subsided, I was able to rediscover my old wardrobe. Not just clothes I hadn't worn for 6 months, but clothes I hadn't been able to fit into while I was pregnant, so things I hadn't seen for over a year. Mostly dresses. Many dresses. It was very exciting.

But while my wardrobe got bigger, my storage didn't, and I basically ended up with clothes everywhere. Not a pretty sight, nor a very relaxing bedroom environment to be in. So I was really excited to order (but less so to assemble) this massive chest of drawers this week. It's the width of two normal chests of drawers, and the drawers themselves are really deep and roomy so it's basically big enough to hide all my mess out of sight... heaven.

If you love storage too, I've been collecting pictures of perfect storage over here for ages - including this lovely colour-coordinated collection in the perfect storage display which I'm currently a bit mad about:

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Camping out

We made the most of our first family three-day weekend by heading out for a night's camping on Sunday. We turned off our phones, drank cider out of tin mugs, sang along to the guitar, built a fire that we had to save from the brink of going out more than once, and had the best night's sleep we've had in a long time. By the morning we all ended up snuggled into the same double sleeping bag, keeping each other warm. Hopefully the first of a few night's camping we get to squeeze in before the summer ends.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

A balancing act.

Something quite exciting happened in the Lewis-Wild household this week - Alex has gone from a 5-day to a 4-day working week. We made a family decision for him to work a day less and spend more time with Arlo while he's little. It means we'll have a bit less cash to spend each month, but a whole lot more family time to spend together, so in the end it was a very easy decision to make.

It feels very empowering to make a decision like that. Right when we were thinking about having a family, a (very wise) friend said to me "the first thing you have to do is realise that money is not important. Then a world of opportunity opens up to you". She was right. As soon as she said it,  something just clicked. Everything changed. With that perspective everything seemed obvious to us and within a year we had moved from London to the country, Alex had left his job, and Arlo had arrived.

'Work/life balance' was a  term we used to use a lot when I worked in London but I never really got it. It didn't feel particularly relevant to me in my full-time, full-on job, and, as I've mentioned before here as a self-confessed workaholic I was pretty happy to give it my all at the time. But now that I've had Arlo I totally get why everyone's searching for a work/ life balance and why it's so important. Don't get me wrong, I would never want to not work, and I do love my job, but doing it part time means I'm lucky enough to enjoy it when I am doing it, knowing I have enough time to spend with Arlo to make up for it.

And it's also got me thinking about the whole 'women having it all' thing, which is apparently something I'm meant to aspire to, if you take all those exactly-the-same-every-week Grazia articles at face value. I think the concept is pretty ridiculous. All any woman - or man for that matter - needs to look for in life is to be happy. If happy for you is getting to the top in your career, bravo. If it's having a house full of kids and cats, high five! If you fancy moving to Peru to become a monk then hey, can't say I quite see where you're coming from, but good for you anyway! It's such a weird (and potentially dangerous) benchmark for women to feel they have to have it 'all', because - psssst! 'all' doesn't actually mean anything, so let's all just give ourselves a break and get on with doing whatever it is we want please.

Funnily enough, since we made the decision for Alex to go down to a 4-day week, I've noticed a few articles online about the benefits of a shorter working week - both from the point of view of employees and employers. This feels like something really exciting, and something we'd never have been able to make happen if we still lived in London. We get to have a long family weekend together every week, who could say no to that?

Friday, 1 August 2014

Friday I'm in love... with the prospect of reading a good book

What's better than a good book? Having some spare time to actually get round to reading one, that's what. I haven't read a book for over a year, and I need to do something about it soon. When the day comes that I don't fall asleep instantly on sight of my pillow, this is my growing stack of reads to get through:

one. Love Caitlin Moran, love her writing, already know I'm going to love this. If you haven't read How to be a Woman yet then I suggest you do so right away. You won't be disappointed.

two. This was a Christmas present that I was so happy to receive but have never had time to read. I suspect it may provide just as many laughs as How To Build A Girl, but for very different reasons. I'm almost a bit scared to read this in case it makes me fall out of love with Morrissey.

three. Wasn't aware of this one until my mum recommended it to me. Apparently she spent many an evening laughing her way through this book and that's enough of a recommendation for me.

four. Not a newie but such a goodie. When we had to pack all our wordly belongings into my mum's shed for nearly a year so we could move to the country and stay with her before finding our own place, I threw away three bookcases worth of books in a bid to downsize. The only novels I kept where by Sue Townsend. As well as this I have every Adrian Mole book ever written, each one all dog-eared and missing covers and pages because they've been read over and over again. Hearing that she'd died earlier this year was one of those rare times when a celebrity death actually makes you feel something - because her books were such a big part of my teenage years. When I heard the news it made me want to read them all over again, and I plan to, starting with this.

So I have the reads, and I have the inclination - now just to find the time! If I can get through one of these this Summer, I'll be so happy. Resolution made.