Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Eeking out Romjul

My favourite Christmas decorations from all I've spotted out and about - the Momins in the window of Brill, EC1R.

Oh hello there - sorry things have been a bit very quiet over here lately, we've just been enjoying a good old Christmas break. Christmas with a toddler that understands what it's all about for the first time is just so magical. Sat on the sofa on Christmas Eve, out of nowhere, this little exchange happened:

Arlo: thank you mummy
Me: for what?
Arlo: Christmas

Not ashamed to say I shed a small tear - it's been a really lovely break, and just what we all needed.

And in particular we've been having a wonderful Romjul (I've just found out what that means, and I love the concept - you can see more info here). We got back home from London the day after Boxing Day and since then we've been lost in a lazy, what-day-is-it / is-there-any-chocolate-orange-left / shall-we-have-an-afternoon-nap kind of time, and it's been wonderful. So more exciting blog-type stuff to come, I promise - for now, I'm off to eek out the last few days of Romjul.

Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, 14 December 2015

The elephant on the tree

Decorating our little Christmas tree last week was probably one of the best things that's happened to me all year. I say little, it's actually just about as big as it possibly could be, touching the ceiling so that our Christmas robin is perched on the side of the top branch rather than very top. Breakable decorations have been placed high up (out of little arms reach) with safer things at the bottom. A long standing tradition in our house is to buy a new tree decoration each year. This usually is something I find very hard to do, as I can never decide on just one! This year I wanted to get something Arlo would love, and when I saw this in a local shop I knew it was the one - a little pink elephant. Hand-stitched and made from bright pink silk, he's pretty fragile (there's already a bit of stuffing sticking out the trunk due to some rigorous cuddling endured when Arlo first spotted him) but I hope he'll become a tree stalwart that we hang up every year, reminding us of this Christmas. The year Arlo loved elephants, understood who Father Christmas was, and gasped at the tree every morning like he was seeing it for the first time. The year I got butterflies in my tummy just thinking about his face when he opens his presents (which may or may not also be elephant related. Clue: they are). I hope elephants really don't ever forget, because I want to remember this Christmas forever please.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Friday I'm in love... with a Christmas gift guide for a little animal-lover

I'm finding it a little tricky to find the perfect Christmas present for Arlo this year. I don't want to go mad and get him loads of stuff, I just want to find one great thing that will really make him smile on Christmas morning. One thing's for sure - it will have to involve animals in some way or another, because this boy is animal-mad. A few of the things I've been eyeing up over the last week or so include: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

Sunday, 29 November 2015

An alternative Christmas tree - how to make a Christmas 'twig'

When it comes to Christmas decorations, I definitely fall into the 'More is More' camp, but I can totally see why people would go down the 'tasteful and discreet' route too. For the last couple of years my mum hasn't had a traditional Christmas tree - in theory this is down to what she says is doing a more 'low key' Christmas, but in practice she bought a new sofa a couple of years back which means there isn't actually any space for a tree even if she wanted one. Last year she had what we fondly referred to as "the twig" and I happened to be over for a cuppa a this morning when she decided to try "the twig" out for a second year. I couldn't resist snapping a few pics because it's just SO gorgeous. This is such a pretty, simple alternative to a traditional Christmas tree, especially if you're short on space, because you can sit it on a table or shelf instead of using floor space for it. 

Tempted to try a twig of your own this Christmas? It couldn't be easier:

  • Go for a lovely winter stroll. Keep an eye out for discarded twigs.
  • Bring a twig home and spray paint it white in the garden (not strictly necessary but this is what my mum did and it totally works)
  • Pop white twig into the right kind of pot or bottle (essentially something with a narrow neck so it stays pretty upright).
  • Pause to put on some Christmas music at this stage to really get into the festive spirit - current faves are Christmas Wrapping, Driving Home for Christmas and Stop the Cavalry.
  • First you need some lights. White bulbs keep it classic, and small and delicate are good. We used ones that are on a very thin wire, which is great because they can be 'moulded' into whatever shape you need and the little LED bulbs looks like they're just floating in mid air. So far, so pretty. 
  • Then you can add some ornaments - rules of thumb we stuck to: small and dainty are best (plus really heavy ones can bend the twig), stick to pastels and non-traditional Xmas colours like pink and turquoise, anything that's bird-shaped particularly works, seeing as it's a twig and all, and use the ones that mean the most (which for us include; the only two remaining ornaments my mum has from when she was little and a couple of dubious-looking felt creations my sister or I made at school). This is really were 'Less is More' comes in, and I had to stop myself from hanging something from every branch available - just a smattering of the most delicate and pretty ornaments is all you need. 
  • Stand back and admire. Join in with whichever Christmas tune happens to be playing, if the moment takes you. 

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Thursday, 26 November 2015

This was the week that...

Source here
  • I got a new haircut that channels the queen that is Peggy Olsen and I've been wishing I was as cool as her
  • Adele spoke about parenting and got it SPOT ON (when does she not?) 
  • I wept along to Suffragette at the cinema (if you haven't already - go see it!)
  • I read Caitlin Moran's words of advice to her 13-year-old daughter. Wish someone had said this to me twenty years ago. Bookmarking this now for Arlo in another ten years or so 
  • Arlo discovered the joys of black crayon. On the walls, shelves, floors...
  • I rediscovered my love for this album which is as brilliant as it is short 
  • I read this article about how virgos are misunderstood and nodded along a lot 
  • Arlo and Alex both got new Doc Mart boots and I lusted after a pair too

Friday, 20 November 2015

Friday I'm in love... with pom poms

It all started with a hat. A simple bobble hat for the winter months. I've been looking out for one on my travels and along the way I've been noticing lots of pom poms all over the place - from bags to shoes, and jumpers to jewellery. So this winter I fancy pom poms in a few other places than just a hat, starting with these shoes which I LOVE and stopping off at a few other bobbles along the way. Above are some of my faves. (Minus jewellery you'll note - even I draw the line at pom pom earrings.)

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Long days and short years

Sept 2015

Sept 2014
It's easy not to notice time passing you by. Weeks whizzing past, months coming and going, new years on the horizon (IT'S ALMOST 2016 FFS!) Then sometimes something stops you. I snapped this pic of Arlo on the beach about a month ago, while we were trying to squeeze in the final paddle of the year (it was chilly, but we did it!). It reminded me of some pics I took a year or so ago in the same spot, and I dug them out to have a look. Such a difference. This boy is getting so big. So clever. He knows more words now than I can count. He's a dab hand at a jigsaw. He sings songs all day long. And he's got a cracking sense of humour. From a squidgy little pudding a year or so ago, stretching up to try and reach a door handle, to a proper boy now, opening doors and climbing and figuring all kinds of stuff out on his own, this boy is grown. Sometimes the days feel very long indeed, but it's times like this I'm reminded that the years are short.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Weekend eats - Alex's banana muffin recipe

Here's the thing about me - I'm a terrible baker. It's just not my thing. So I'm afraid I'm not the mum who's always got a fresh cake in the tin ready to go. If that's even a thing any more. So it was with great excitement that our bare cake tin became filled this last weekend when Alex did some baking. He made a batch of banana oat muffins which were a) delicious, b) blimmin filling, and c) very easy to make, so I've been assured. One of these muffins was enough to fill each of us up until lunch for a busy morning, and they're made with lots of good stuff like oats, banana, and walnuts, so I'm sharing the recipe here as it's a real winner.

Here's what you need:
Dry ingredients
2 cups plain flour
1 cup porridge oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup (if you don't have any, you can use another 1/2 cup of brown sugar instead)
A handful of walnuts, roughly chopped (or any other nuts you fancy. Or indeed, no nuts either, if you're not a nut fan)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
Wet ingredients
1 1/2 cups mashed banana (which is roughly 3 bananas)
2 eggs (medium or whatever you have)
1/3 cup melted butter or margarine, unsalted
1 tsp vanilla essence or extract (not sure what the difference is. You can see why I'm not a baker!)

And here's what you need to do:
1. Pre-heat the oven to about 180ºC / 375ºF (we set ours to 200 because it's a bit rubbish and always slightly cooler than we need it to be)
2. Put all the dry ingredients in a big bowl and mix well
3. Put all the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl and mix well
4. Add the contents of the wet bowl to the big dry bowl and fold together gently
5. Spoon the mixture into muffin cases - it should make about 12 - and sprinkle some extra chopped walnuts on top for texture
6. Bake for 15-18 mins - start watching from about 12 mins. You're looking for nicely risen, golden muffins that aren't sticky in the middle when you pop a sharp knife in to check
7. Cool for as long as you can wait for, while the lovely smell wafts round the house, and then wolf one down.

They are particularly good for brekkie with coffee - we packed ours up with a thermos and headed to the beach to have ours. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Scrapbooking your memories - how to get started

Earlier this year I thought I'd give scrapbooking a go for a couple of different reasons - one, I love photos. Taking them, printing them, looking back over them. This love intensified a LOT when Arlo arrived, when I realised how quickly he's going to grow up and how important photos are going to be to remember the little things. The other reason I decided to give scrapbooking a go is because I have a slightly-unatural-for-someone-in-their-thirties obsession with stationery. This new hobby of mine gives me a legitimate reason to buy new stationery supplies all the time and I LOVE IT.

I've talked about scrapbooking a couple of times on the blog so far, and I've had a few people ask about getting started and how it all works so I thought I'd do something of an introduction - about what works for me, what you need to get started and (maybe) some inspiration to have a go yourself. So here goes:

L-R: an empty Project Life folder and photo pockets waiting to be filled, and a selection of journalling cards in 6x4 and 3x4 sizes
1. Getting started - the basics
For me, there were two main caveats to scrapbooking when I first started out: 1. it had to be easy, and not time consuming, and 2. it needed to work with the photos I already had, which were all printed out in standard 6x4 photo format. after a bit of research I settled on Project Life, because the format is all geared towards those two things - making it quick and easy to do, and using 6x4 photos, which you just slip straight into photo pockets, it's dead simple. I bought a 12x12 album, which comes with photo pockets inside in two different sizes - 6x4 pockets, for your photos, and 3x4 pockets, for journalling cards. So I also bought a pack of journalling cards to get me started, which come in either 6x4 or 3x4 sizes, and I was off!

Simple layouts with lots of notes capturing everyday life - the little things I don't want to forget

2. Keeping note.
It was really easy to lay out my photos, pick the card designs I wanted, and write little memories on them to accompany certain photos. This was a really important factor for me because I want to remember all the little things along the way that I might otherwise forget, and that's why straightforward photo albums just weren't working for me. For example, I've got journalling cards with lists of Arlo's favourite foods at a certain time, the different words he uses to describe animals, all kinds of stuff. The stuff I want to always remember. And to show him some day.

Some recent subscription box goodies from (L-R) A Beautiful Mess and Studio Calico subscriptions

3. Keeping the supplies coming
Once I realised I was getting into scrapbooking, I wanted more supplies and I subscribed to a couple of monthly boxes that send me goodies once a month. They work really well because I get something different each month, I get to try lots of different supplies that I didn't even know existed, and let's face it - getting parcels in the post is the BEST EVER. So once a month I get a Messy Box from A Beautiful Mess, and Scrapbooking and Project Life kits from Studio Calico. Stationery lovers be warned - checking out these sites may result in some serious purchasing!

Two different layouts for a 12x12 album

4. Playing with layouts
After a while sticking to simple layouts using 6x4 photos, I started trying out new things - different photo layouts, new embellishments, cutting photos to different sizes... the one thing that doesn't change (except for the large shot of Alex and Arlo on the beach above) is that I always just print out my photos in standard 6x4 photo size, because I can't be bothered to faff around with different sizes for printing. Other than that, anything goes.

Recent shopping hauls from L: A Beautiful Mess Shop, and R: Tiger

5. My favourite supplies
Along the way I've tried out new things and picked up a few new supplies to help satisfy my stationery addiction me add more colour to my scrapbook layouts. There's load of amazing supplies out there to try, but if I had to pick my three absolute faves right now, they would be:

  • A great pen: my favourite is one I bought from the A Beautiful Mess shop, in the first pic above - it's an Extra Fine Messy Pen, and it's perfect for me, it writes over any kind of paper (including directly onto photos, which is fun), is the perfect thickness, and I swear it makes my handwriting better too!
  • A mini stapler: Also from the A Beautiful Mess shop (and I swear this isn't an ad, I just love that place!) This little stapler CHANGED MY LIFE* when I got it. Rather than using glue and leaving marks everywhere, I use this to attach things to journalling cards and photos and I love it - it's so quick, so neat, so pretty. It even comes with mini staples in lots of different colours (also pictured above) so you can match it to the page 
  • Alphabet stickers: These come in all shapes, colours and sizes, and I've bought these from loads of different places, and they're the quickest and easiest way to add some interest to a scrapbook page - more examples of this below:

So that's it for now - if you're a fellow stationery fan and fancy giving scrapbooking a go, I really couldn't recommend it more, it brings me so much joy to pootle around with a pen, some scissors and stickers and make layouts that I hope the family will look back on over and over again. If you like this kind of stuff, or enjoy perusing pictures of stationery on Instagram (who bloody doesn't?!) then I have a little side-Instagram feed which I use just to share scrapbook layouts and supplies - there's a whole little community online sharing awesome stuff so do come and check it out if you fancy it. Any other questions on anything scrapbooking, I would love to answer them (I could talk about this stuff for hours!), so do ask below in the comments.


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Friday, 6 November 2015

Where we walked this weekend #5 - the beach picnic edition

We've been having some  productive old weekends round here lately, I honestly don't know what's gotten into us. The morning after the clocks went back, because we were all up even more ridiculously early than usual, we found that we had got ourselves ready, had breakfast, mowed the lawn and made a batch of banana oat muffins all before 9am. I'm aware this makes us sound like we've really got our shit together, but in fact this is the OPPOSITE of what our weekends usually look like, when it takes circa three hours just to coordinate getting all three of us out the door and ready to do something. So wanting to make the most of the extra hour, we got our wellies on, made a thermos of coffee, packed up the muffins and headed for a beach picnic (was toying with calling it a beach-nic, but I don't think that really works, so I'll refrain). The sun shone, Arlo chased seagulls, we contemplated a paddle (too cold) and then sat on the slipway, with tin mugs of coffee and a muffin, and just felt a bit bloody lucky to live in this lovely place, to have Sundays to ourselves, and to get an extra hour of family time every once in a while.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Now I am 32...

I very nearly just posted this picture all on its own, as a bit of a 'silent Sunday' post, but I thought it probably deserved a word or two of explanation. It's a shot of a recent page I pulled together for my scrapbook, to mark my birthday a couple of months ago. It's the first layout I've ever done without a photo in it, because I wanted to try and remember all the things floating around in my head as I entered by thirty-third year - in particular, all the things I'm thankful for. In the midst of all the boring day-to-day stuff, and schedules and work and who's-made-the-packed-lunch and we've-run-out-of-nappies and please-please-wait-for-the-potty moments, there's loads of really good stuff happening, you just have to try and stop for a moment to remember it all...

Sunday, 18 October 2015

A sunny window: how we made our window boxes

I've talked before about my love of flowers, and this weekend we finally got round to making something that's been on the to do list for ages - window boxes for our front window. It was SO much fun, made me SO happy and looks so blimmin' ace that I implore anyone reading this to whip up a window box or two - it's guaranteed to make you smile very time you get home, and it's also been an instant mood lifter every time I look out of the window. The whole thing took less than an hour to do and was so easy I thought I'd share the joy - here's how it went:

STEP ONE: go shopping (aka the fun bit). First of all, we went to the garden centre to pick up some supplies - here's what we got (L-R): a 25l bag of compost, 4 x trays of 'bedding' flowers (each of these had six little pots in), 3 x window boxes, one long and two short, 20 x tulip bulbs, 1 x big bag of daffodil bulbs, and 3 x bigger cyclamen plants. The whole lot came to about £45 and we actually ended up with more than we could fit in our three boxes, which we used to fill a few extra flower pots of various sizes by our front door, so you could do this with less if you wanted. 

STEP TWO: drill a few holes. Our window boxes didn't have any holes in, so we used a drill to make some holes in the bottom to make sure the water could drain through. This was actually a lot of fun and I probably got a bit carried away and drilled a few more holes than were strictly needed.

STEP THREE: plant some bulbs. We wanted to make sure we'd always have something flowering all through the year, so we planted some bulbs underneath the surface to pop through in the spring when other things will have died down. We got a mixture of tulip and daffodil bulbs and planted them in a couple of inches of compost.

STEP FOUR: get some flowers in! We put one cyclamen in the middle of each box - we'd bought one that was a bit bigger than the other two, which went in the longer box.

STEP FIVE: fill the gaps. Then the bedding flowers went in either side to fill the gaps - we did this by eye and tried a few different combinations until it looked about right. My favourite of all the flowers we picked up were the ones below that look like big daisies with a hint of pink on the petals, and as these were quite tall, one went on either side of the cyclamen in the long window box, to add a bit of height either side. Each box had a trailing flower on each end, and then we used little bedding flowers to fill any gaps.

STEP SIX: put them in place and water like mad. Then came the fun bit - putting the boxes in place! We used some small wooden blocks to sit the pots on so they would drain, and then watered them. And watered them again. And then gave them another water for good measure. They basically need to be completely, ridiculously watered.

STEP SEVEN: admire your handiwork. FOR LIKE EVER, because you'll see them every day, and they're just going to get better and better as the flowers grow and fill out the gaps.

So that's it - super easy, and super fun too. As Alex is a landscape gardener, he gave me lots of tips along the way - here's what I learnt:
  • When it comes to flower arranging, visually it works to have an odd number of plants 
  • Things need a lot more watering than you think they do
  • You can't necessarily just buy all the flowers you think are prettiest, otherwise I'd have window boxes full of pink flowers and it would all look a bit 'matchy matchy'. After some persuasion from Alex, I realised that you need a mixture of colours, heights and types of flowers to look natural and set each other off 
  • Referring to compost as 'mud' in front of a landscape gardener, even if the first time was a genuine mistake, and the second was meant as a joke, will not go down well
  • Novelty watering cans, no matter how cute they seemed at the time, just AREN'T efficient pourers, as Arlo discovered during one of the many watering sessions...

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Friday, 16 October 2015

Life lately - am I a bad blogger?

Things have been a title quiet round here lately. I mean right here on A Sunny Island, not in actual real life, because actually everything else has been pretty bonkers lately, which probably explains it. I've felt a little bad to be honest. Like I've neglected the blog a bit and not been doing all my 'blogging duties' - writing regularly and keeping up to date with all my other favourite blogs and being really good at social replies etc etc. Does anyone else ever feel like that? Part of me thinks I should be better, then another part reminds me that hang on, I only really am doing this for myself and if it's not fun, then why do it? One thing I always promised myself was that if I fall out of love with blogging for bit, or life comes along and gets in the way, that I won't feel bad, or try and make up for it with rushed posts just to 'fill' it - I only ever want to write because it's fun and I have time to sit and relax and share something. That's why some posts have had long gaps in between lately. It's highly likely no-one even noticed anyway!

So what's been happening around here? Might be quicker to list what hasn't been happening around here, like: clothes washing, proper cooking, sleeping, that kind of stuff. It's been a funny old month which has mostly consisted of:

  • CAR STUFF: god I hate car stuff. We spent one dramatic Sunday afternoon stuck on the forecourt of a Sainsbury's petrol station with flumes of grey smoke billowing out from our car bonnet. After a long wait the mechanic told us what we'd been suspecting for a while - it's time for a new car. We'd been piling money into the old one to fix one thing after another and it was time to cut our losses. So we tried other cars, found one we liked, and I did a little silent sigh to myself as I handed over the credit card and paid the-most-I'd-ever-spent-on-anything-ever-in-one-go (not counting the house, because that just feels like Monopoly it's such crazy money) and now we have a new one. So after quite a few weeks of general car 'faff' it feels nice to have it sorted. 
  • YET MORE CAR STUFF: something else has been happening over here this past month too. I've finally done it. I've got back into a car and attempted to drive it. This time no-one beeped at me or drove into me or anything (unlike many of the other times when I tried it the first time round, when I was seventeen and wore enormous flared corduroy trousers. I wonder if those two things could be connected?) so I consider this new venture a success so far. I really feel like driving has been my Achilles heel for all this time, so I'm hoping I can finally pass this time round. Besides, as my mum thoughtfully pointed out, "how many idiots do you know that can drive? You must be able to pass!"
  • AND SOME HARD STUFF: we've been going through a really difficult phase with Arlo when I drop him at the childminders, he's been getting so upset. He's had clingy phases before but nothing as bad as this, lots of tears and holding on tight and it is the singularly Number One Most Horriblest way to start a day at work. So that's been quite hard BUT (and I almost don't want to say this because I don't want to jinx it) when I dropped him off yesterday there were no tears, he said good bye and then wandered off to start playing with something that caught his eye (I didn't see it but bets are it was elephant-shaped) so I'm super hopeful that phase might be ending. 

I don't want this to feel like a neggy round-up of 'bad stuff that's been happening lately' because actually all of the above are total par for the course and nothing in the grand scheme of things. So I'll finish with an arbitrary list of stuff that I'm thankful for right now, at this very minute: winter woolies, The Apprentice, moisturiser, Fridays, naps, wood fires, how much Arlo loves his animal pals and the lovely people who write lovely comments on my posts and give me the warm and fuzzies on the regs (if that's you then BIG love).

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Where we walked this weekend #4 - the beach edition

We spent a nippy but sunny hour or so on the beach this weekend, strolling, paddling, drawing in the sand. Our little tradition of a walk each weekend is becoming one of my favourite parts of the week because we get to visit a different bit of the island each time. This time it was a far away corner we haven't visited since Arlo was a teeny tiny bundle in a baby sling. This boy's getting so big lately I feel like I can't keep up, it's like we're on fast-forward. If anyone can remember where I left the remote please tell me. I wouldn't mind pausing for a bit and staying as we are for a while.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Two years of home


Timehop kindly reminded us of an anniversary today - it's two years since we picked up the keys on our first little house together. The 4th October is a date I'll always remember for that very reason, but this year it almost passed me by, so I was glad of the reminder. When we first moved in, I didn't write this little blog, so I didn't know about one of the most important things to do when it comes to diy: THE BEFORE PHOTO. I do love a good before photo - there's nothing like looking back at what a room used to look like to make you truly appreciate your efforts. IF ONLY I could go back in time two years today, I'd be snapping pics left right and centre in a way I'm pretty sure would annoy Alex (it usually does).

BUT looking back through an old file today I found the original estate agent details from the very first time we looked round. Well thumbed, I remember looking at the pictures over and over while we made the decision to put in an offer and waited for the months and months it took for it all to happen. So excuse the quality (because they're basically photos taken of a piece of paper) and behold - the before pictures! Orange walls and all. The 'before' shots are the ones on the left, and 'after' is on the right - did I need to say that?! I don't have corresponding 'after' shots of the exact same angles in each room (for the kitchen in particular, but I had to include because painting the white wall bright pink has made such a difference), there's LOADS of stuff still to do, but looking back on these shows me how far we've come. Here's to many more years in our happy home, many more diy efforts, and (if I've got anything to do with it) MANY more before and after photos to come.

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Friday, 2 October 2015

Friday I'm in love... with the best winter coats

...time to go Winter coat shopping, that is. As has become tradition, I've been enjoying a trawl through the shops (online of course - actual bricks and mortar shopping options are fairly limited over here) to look at coats for the big Winter Coat Shop. Last year's picks were pretty colourful, but this year I'm looking for something a bit more classic. No matter how many I look at, I keep coming back to the old favourites - parkas, fur collars, trenches... now to just choose one. Or seven.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Where we walked this weekend #3 - the 'sorry it's late' edition

When I talked about our intention to go on a family walk every weekend this Autumn, each time to somewhere different so we'd see and appreciate more of the Island, I did it on here so that we kind of had to stick to it, and that's why I'm so keen to show that we're actually doing it - because we are! In fact, this walk was from a few weekends ago now, but things have been so busy around here that I've not been quite up to date with posts and things so I'm playing a bit of catch up now.

So this walk involved a walk down a hill, past a lighthouse, and down to the prettiest little bay with barely anyone on it. We ate a picnic at the bottom of the hill, looking out at the handful of people in floating around under the sun in their canoes, wishing we were too, then went to investigate rock pools, which Arlo loved. The beach (or more accurately, "beesh", as he puts it) is his absolute favourite at the moment, which is pretty lucky considering we live on an island that's totally surrounded by them. Of note: the weather was totally amazing, summer's not over yet! Plus, we marched all the way back up the hill in one go without having to stop for a little rest (the usual option), which we were pretty pleased about. Planning for future walks to be less uphill where possible.

Friday, 25 September 2015

My favourite corners #6 - our wobbly little mantel

I haven't done one of these 'my favourite corners' posts for a bit now, but while having an arrange of our mantelpiece today I realised it's one of my favourite little parts of the house. It's in our middle room, which I spose is technically the dining room but that feels like too grandiose a term for this room if I'm honest. Our middle room is the heart of the house really, seeing as all the best things happen in here, like (most) meals, nice cups of tea, and it also has the really comfy chair that I did all Arlo's feeding in when he was little, and is still my favourite place for a little sit down whenever I get the chance (seldom). Plus it's where the record player and radio are so that means most of the music and dancing happens in there too. So this is a busy room all in all.

This week I've added two new additions to the mantelpiece - these candlesticks which were a late birthday present from a friend. I wouldn't have bought these neccessarily but I'm so glad she did because now I've unpacked them and tried them in this room, I love them! I think the best presents are like that. They frame the big mirror above the fireplace just right, I love the colours and they also make me feel very grown-up to be the-kind-of-person-that-owns-actual-candlesticks. Plus she gets brownie points for choosing ones that are a) very hard to break, and b) very light if they fell on your head - I think these are as toddler proof as candlesticks get!

So they have a happy home on our wobbly mantelpiece alongside a collection of things that have all earnt their place over the last two years - the letters I bought as a moving in present to ourselves when we bought the house, the scented candle my friend gave out as her wedding favours, and a vintage radio, passed down in Alex's family and very precious, that takes pride of place. Each makes me smile for different reasons. In a house where most things need to be functional to suit the needs of a small and usually irrational person, it's nice to have a very little part that's for nothing else but looking at and smiling.

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