Friday, 27 February 2015

Friday I'm in love... with colourful kids' rooms

I want to give Arlo's room a bit of a revamp in time for the summer - it's starting to feel a little 'babyish' and now there's no doubting he's very much a 'boy' these days. So my good friend Pinterest has been helping me out - here's some of my favourite kids rooms I've been gazing at for inspiration (and there's about a gazillion more here too, where they're all taken from) - there's always room for more colour.

Home Etc

Sunday, 22 February 2015

"So when are you going to have another one?"

Arlo: keeping us busy since 2013.
If I'm hearing one thing a lot these days it's "so when are you going to have another one?" Waaaah! Do we HAVE to have another one? I'm not sure why everyone feels like we should be planning for baby number two but for me (for both of us actually) it's way too early. WAY. Like years way. I have the utmost respect for all parents because it's hard. And life is a bit of a tightrope as it is, and we're balancing and moving along it OK, but throw a big pregnant belly or a newborn into the mix and I think it could all come tumbling down (or at least my marbles might anyway).

For example, Arlo's learning all about the art of the tantrum at the moment. And he's getting pretty good at them. Like yesterday when he didn't want to leave the park and staged a 'sit in' in a big muddy puddle and it took the both of us to carry him home. Or when he didn't want to put down the three Peppa Pig bike bells he picked up in Halfords, despite us reminding us that a) he doesn't have a bike to put them on, and b) even if he did, just the one bell would be sufficient, and he did some good old fashioned kicking and screaming in the middle of the shop (this was also yesterday. Yesterday was tantrum day). So let's just say he's keeping us busy.

But then he keeps us busy in other ways too. Like when we sit in Arlo's reading corner and he gets down every book on the shelf, one by one, for me to read him, and we take our time looking at every page, me reading the words and asking Arlo to point out different things on each picture. Or when I'm hurriedly trying to do something like make dinner or check my work emails or load the dishwasher, and he comes and tugs at my trouser leg and holds his chubby hand up to take mine to lead me to his play kitchen and help him make a cup of tea with his play kettle, reminding me that everything else can just wait and it's good to stop and focus on the important stuff - like making a pretend cup of tea to feed to a stuffed lion. Or when we while away a good hour on youtube looking at videos of happy elephants which make him smile the biggest, brightest smiles, and I feel so grateful to be able to have days where elephant videos can happen and be the most important thing on our to do list and think how sad I'd feel to have to say to him "sorry I don't have time to watch that video of elephants dancing along to Happy by Pharrell" (this is an actual, real thing: you can watch it here if that kind of thing floats your boat. It definitely floats Arlo's because we've watched it around 27 times today already).

And when people say "I just don't know how I could ever love anyone as much as I love little Tallulah/ Oscar/ Penelope" (delete as appropriate) I know it doesn't work like that, and love's not a finite entity that you need to re-allocate when someone new comes into the picture because you just make more of it to go round and everyone fits in just fine. It's not that I'm worried about finding more love for another little person, or Arlo getting less love as a result, but I want to make sure I can still show that love. Give him that time. Be able to drop everything to help him out with his busy duplo-building schedule. Help him solve the mystery of where he hid the blue crayon. Be available for sitting on when he wants to watch cartoons. And I know that when and if we add another little squidge into the mix it will all work out and we'll fit everything in and our days will get a little more mental and even more happy, but we're not in a rush. We're enjoying the way it's going at the moment. These are the ways that I want to spend my days - elephants and all.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Hide and seek

Some shots taken on a recent walk with Arlo one day last week. We've discovered a nearby cemetery that makes a great walking spot because Arlo can run free without any cars nearby, discovering new paths through trees to collect fur cones (his new favourite thing to collect and bring home from walks), running round the nearby buildings and hiding in corners and doorways until I come and find him. His hiding game isn't particularly strong, because I think he must still be at that 'if I can't see them then they can't see me' stage, but that's no bad thing because I don't like to let him out of my sight either. He's way too cute for that.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

My favourite corners

I am so nosey when it comes to other people's homes. I am a sucker for a look at a lovely interior and spend probably a bit too much time pouring over pictures on pinterest and blogs, getting all inspired. I see shots people take of their beautiful homes on my favourite blogs and I dream of doing the same but the reality is that with Arlo running around our house is never tidy for long enough! So instead of taking photos of whole rooms, I snap pics of little corners from time to time - and I thought I'd share them from time to time too.

One of my favourite corners of the house is our little 50s sideboard, rescued from a dark corner of a charity shop before we even had a home to put it in, and kept in my mum's shed without its legs until we moved in. It just fits the wall between our dining room and kitchen perfectly, like it was meant to be. It's been given a little clean up and filled with colourful (and breakable) things, like of crockery and glasses collected over the years. It even has a little hidden drinks cabinet on the left, which doesn't get dipped into as often as I'd like.

On top of the sideboard is one of those portable record players that Arlo (ahem) got Alex for Father's Day. He's good like that. It's next to an ancient CD player which means we can play albums in almost any outdated format we like of an evening (I think I even have my beloved minidisc player from 2004 somewhere if we want to complete the set). Arlo is fascinated by the record player and watches intently when we put something on, trying to figure out how it all works. We have a bit of a family ritual of putting on a record while dinner's cooking and dancing round the kitchen together like hungry loons, especially on days when Alex or I have been at work, kind of like a small celebration of our family reunion. Which makes this a happy corner of the house. And one of my favourite places to be.

Home Etc

Friday, 13 February 2015

Friday I'm in love... with Valentine's

Happy Valentine's Day for tomorrow one and all - it's not really something we go big on in the Lewis-Wild household ("we don't need to be told when to be romantic by society!" etc etc) but any day where everyone's encouraged to share the love and people are slightly kinder and smilier than usual gets a big thumbs up from me. I love anything with red hearts on all year round so today seemed as good a day as any to share this LOVEly pic I found which has been making me swoon this week - it's got a winning wallpaper-heart-booze combo that makes my heart flutter.

All this Valentine's talk has got me thinking. I use the word 'love' a lot. In the last 24 hours alone I've declared my love for everything from a cup of tea to Jennifer Saunders to a certain pen that writes really nice and scratchily, and of course Arlo & his papa too. I think if you genuinely mean it, then you can't over-use it. I'm all for celebrating the little things that I love because they're great. To be mindful of what's happening now.

Like, I think realising how much you love a certain pen can make a boring chore like writing a list something really joyous (honestly!) Taking a moment to stop and think about how nice it is to sit and have a quiet cup of tea makes you enjoy it more and savour the moment rather than it passing by while you're busy thinking about something else, like; the washing, or whether Sienna Miller's haircut would suit you, or how a child can get through four pairs of shoes in six months. Sometimes I find myself juggling a lot, thinking ahead to much, and not stopping to enjoy what's happening now. So this Valentine's weekend I'm going to make sure I slow down a bit and enjoy every little bit of it. I do love weekends after all.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

New finds

When you're a toddler, parks are important. We spend a lot of time at various parks. I don't like being cooped up inside with Arlo for more than a few hours before we go stir crazy and need to head out - for some fresh air, and some space. Our nearest park is a lovely little walk away, through leafy walking paths that mean we can avoid the road most of the way, that open out to lots of green fields. As Arlo's got bigger, different parts of the park have come and gone as his favourite (we're still working on getting down that slide!) so I feel like we know every inch of it. The hill we like to climb up and run down, the place where we met that grumpy dog and his even grumpier owner, the trees we hid behind when it was sunny. So although we love it, it feels like it's been fully explored.

So imagine my joy when we discovered a brand new park we never knew existed - one that's really colourful, mostly wooden, with unusual and new things to discover. One that was completely deserted so we had the place to ourselves, and without a grumpy dog owner in sight either. It's unfortunately on the other side of the Solent, but it's right near the ferry port, a place we often find our selves waiting with time to kill before we can hop on the ferry home, so it's going to become a staple part of our trips to the mainland from now on. Arlo and his crocodile trousers loved it.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

TV or not TV?

Arlo's concentration face (taken while watching Peppa Pig, obvs).
I bloody love TV. It's one of my favourite things and always has been. From being woken up at 6am by my little sister to go downstairs and watch cartoons, coming home from school and watching back to back shows from Byker Grove to Neighbours and everything in between, or the tears shed at the final ever SATC at uni, it's always been a part of my life. I probably watch less TV now than I ever have done, partly because I have less time these days than I used to, but also down to the fact that honestly I just don't think there's much good on the box at the moment. (But not for long: new Walking Dead series starts TOMORROW and I am EXCITED).

So. TV has always been a part of my life. But it's now creeping into Arlo's life and I'm not sure how I feel about it. We've always had certain TV rituals for Arlo at a certain time of day, like an episode of In The Night Garden before bed, or when he was very little a bit of Waybuloo to fall asleep to in the pushchair (I'm glad that little phase is over because Waybuloo is seriously weird/ very annoying). But lately he's asking for TV more and more, and letting me know the specific shows he wants to watch at any one time. And if I say no it's not pretty. Tantrums happen if Arlo doesn't get Raa Raa the Noisy Lion on demand. He's started picking up my laptop and making little snorting noises to let me know that it's Peppa Pig that he wants (it's pretty cute and in honesty I do find that tactic hard to resist).

I know this is can be a devisive parenting topic, but I don't think there's any harm in a bit of TV, as long as we're talking about kids watching kids programmes. These are shows that are designed to teach and entertain little eyes, and if they're having fun and you get 10 mins to have a cuppa, then that's win win in my book. In truth anything that involves a hot cup of tea for me is essentially a win. I also think TV has a unique calming experience (again, with the right show) that is bloody useful if you've got a grumpy toddler who's trashing the kitchen cupboards or throwing lego at your head or climbing the bookshelves. It can be absorbing and offer a bit of down time. And that counts for you too, obvs.

So TV will remain a part of our routine, but I think I need to make sure I'm the one reaching for the remote, and not the other way round. Just like all life's best things (e.g. Nutella, Prosecco, episodes of Breaking Bad) moderation is key. I'm just counting down the days until I can introduce Arlo to the good stuff - it won't be long until we're lolling along to the Simpsons together on the sofa, and then I won't mind how long we watch for.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Friday I'm in love...

It's my favourite day of the week so I thought I'd share a few finds I've discovered and enjoyed of late:

Happy Friday to you if you're reading this! Hope it's as perfect as Helvetica.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Into the woods

Walking this weekend at a place called the 'Great Wood'. We discovered secret paths and jumped over streams, saw sheep and collected sticks. The first picture is on the way back, with Arlo steadfastly refusing to walk any further - he found some puddles to jump in that he just couldn't bear to say goodbye to. So that's him, standing firm, arms by sides, stuck in a face off with us that seemed to take ages, and resulted in us all getting quite muddy. We won this time, but it was hard work. That boy knows what he wants.