Saturday, 27 June 2015

My favourite corners #5: Arlo's chest of drawers

Tucked away in a corner of Arlo's little bedroom, just behind the door, is this ramshackle chest of drawers. It's special. It was in my mum's room when she was a little girl, then I used it as my bedside table for many years when I lived at home, and it now sits in Arlo's bedroom, housing all his clothes and lots of little keepsakes. The shelves were built by my grandad - my mum's dad - who sadly I never got a chance to meet, but it feels so so nice to have something he made in the house, being put to very good use for his great grandson.

As it's been handed down from generation to generation, it's had a few knocks and scrapes along the way, and is a bit on the rickety side, but that's all part of the charm for me. Alex and I made a start of freshening it up for Arlo's room a while back, mixing up the perfect shade of turquoise and painting the shelves white. To be honest, we fully intended to paint the rest of the bottom white as well (I suppose it's the 'chest' part of a chest of drawers?) but we've never got round to it and now I kind of like it this way. Let's just say we've got used to it because who knows when we may actually get round to painting the rest of it? (Clue: quite likely never).

The shelves contain all kinds of bits and pieces that I want to keep. Most of these I know I'll want to keep forever actually - like the sample that Alex's mum stitched for Arlo when he was born, knitted gifts made by loved ones just for him, Mrs Ted, my favourite teddy when I was little, handprints that already look smaller than I can ever imagine Arlo being, favourite birthday cards he loves to look at over and over, the little box that has Arlo's dried out little belly button stump in it (interesting/ gross-out fact: My friend gave it a sniff and said it smells like Ribena)... all kinds of special things. A rotating list of interesting things that I expect will change from year to year as this little boy grows up and a different toy or book becomes flavour of the month. But while the contents of these shelves may well change, I have a feeling the shelves themselves will remain a constant. I plan on having these for a very long time and hope hope hope that someone else will carry on looking after them beyond that too.

Ps. You can see some of the other favourite corners from the series here and here, if you fancy a little look-see x

Home Etc

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Why good friends are just the greatest

I spent the happiest morning I've had in a while this weekend, just watching these two play in the garden. They've known each other since they were teeny weeny, probably about two months old, where they met in a baby massage class that Arlo used to fart his way through like a trooper. Luckily it didn't put little Isla off, because they've been best buddies ever since.

Over the last two years they've had all kinds of fun together (you can see some of their escapades - and marvel at how much they've grown! - here) but I don't think they've ever got on as well as they did today. They shared and helped each other, chatted and bossed each other around, it was so sweet. And particularly nice for me and Isla's mum because we got to have a proper catch up without having to stop to yell things like "DON'T EAT THAT!" and "SHARE!" every five minutes. I hope these two will be buddies for a long time, just like I hope me and Isla's mum will be pals for a long time, having shared many a bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived day together in the early baby days. The days where all we could do was mainline coffee and tell each other "this won't last forever" (which it didn't, thank absolute F).

In other friend news, I met up with an old friend from school this week. Soz for the cliche, but he really is one of those pals where "a year can go by and you feel like no time has passed at all". Wanky as that sounds, I know this to be true because it HAD been over a year since we'd seen each other, and it WAS just like  no time had gone by. It was brilliant. I left our dinner with a spring in my step, big smile on my face, and little hearts where my eyes should be. It was this, plus watching Arlo play today that made me realise so acutely what I want for him when he grows up. And it's not necessarily a good education, well-paid job, blah blah blah - I want for him to have brilliant friendships. People he can be 100% himself with. That he can share the dark times as much as happy ones. Mates that pick him up and make him smile. And that allow him to be a brilliant friend back - to listen and support and look after when they need it too. Because aren't good friends just the greatest?

Sometimes you teach your kids things along the way, just by being you, and they pick up on them in the magic way that they do. Other times I think it's worth stopping and telling them straight the things that are important. This is one of those things that I want Arlo to know, and plan on telling him just as soon as he might answer me with something other than "choo choo!". So I plan on telling him: Good friends are important. Be one.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Friday I'm in love... with black and white spots

Just lately I've been feeling very diy-inclined, and have been perusing my Pinterest boards for inspiration. I have a board dedicated to black and white spots for interiors, which is a look I love. It is such a classic combo that looks gorgeous with pops of colour, and is really versatile. It can look super-stylish, like this classic bathroom or artfully arranged gold shelving unit, or fun and playful, like either of the bedspreads above. And how about that Dalmation chair!? Totally un-child friendly (I wouldn't let a felt tip pen within a 3-meter radius) but that only adds to its desirability.

The easiest way to add a splash of monochrome spots to your house? Add some fabric, like the light curtain above, or some cushions. Because black and white spots are always going to look fresh. Just ask Cruella.

Home Etc

Sunday, 14 June 2015

What a difference a door makes

So we've finally made a start on our Spring diy to-do list and sorted out the spare room. After we got the wall taken down up there (SIX months ago!!) the room was useable, but not so nice to hang out in. There were big holes in the ceiling and wall where the partition wall had been that needed to be re-plastered and the whole thing needed a coat of paint to freshen it up. It had also, in the grand tradition of rooms that are 'spare', become a bit of a dumping ground for all our crap things that had no official home. We've since had the walls plastered and painted, which looks great, but the thing that has made SUCH a difference is painting the doors.

There are three doors in our spare room, so there's quite a bit going on. One leads to Arlo's room because you have to go through the spare room to get to his, the other is a cupboard and then there's the door you use to get into it in the first place (obvs). Previously all three of these doors had been bog standard, unvarnished yellow-y pine. Pretty gross. So we've had them all painted white to match the room, and it's such a transformation!

The above is the door that leads to Arlo's room, before and after. I hadn't realised before how much a dark door can suck the light out of the room - now that all the doors and woodwork are white like the walls, the whole place seems lovely and light and airy. *grabs paintbrush and manically starts painting all doors in sight*

I bought the letters on the door for Arlo the first time I ventured out of the house for a walk to the shops after he was born - I fell in love with them. Turns out they feature three of his favourite animals ever that spell out his name (Alligator, Rabbit, Lion. He's not sure about Owls). I've been waiting to put them up on his bedroom door ever since he had a bedroom. It's taken a while but it was worth the wait.

ps. more pics of the finished spare room to follow too, it's just not actually quite finished yet. Bear with.

Home Etc

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Snapshots from holiday

A few pics from our first ever family holibobs last week. I didn't take lots of photos while we were away, and I don't have lots of words to go with them, except to say it we were in a very happy little family bubble for the best part of a week. We sang, we laughed, we explored. We had lazy days and (some) active ones too. We had really good eats. We forgot what day it was most of the time. We didn't really want to come home. It was all the things a holiday should be.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Holiday shopping

Picture the scene - it's the first full day of your outdoorsy family holiday, you're in a cabin in the middle of the most beautiful woods, with bikes ready to go... and it's raining. Proper grey with the kind of drizzle that you know isn't going anywhere. What do you do? You turn chicken shit into a chicken salad (line shamelessly stolen from Pete Campbell on Mad Men, my new fave). We headed to Winchester for a day of light shopping (the best kind). We also ended up getting steaks for lunch, so it may have been the best decision we ever made. 

Winchester is beautiful, and a wonderful place to while away a day. The most beautiful thing about it is The Hambledon, aka my favourite shop in the world. I'll take one of everything please. They get bonus points for playing the Car Share playlist when I walked in too, which brought me much joy. Arlo was sleeping in the pushchair, and Alex was absorbed in another shop, so I had lots of time to browse. Browsing is the best. 

Anyway, I spotted these gems in the little back corner of the shop and I snapped them right up - lots of gorgeous stickers which will be just perfect for scrapbooking, and washi tape in the cutest patterns - they are from Meri Meri, which is a brand I'd never heard of before but now that I have, perusing their website is my new favourite thing to do. Just the prettiest perfectest stuff. Expect a follow up post soon filled with pics and pics of scrapbooking pages I've whipped up using these goodies. 

Nb. the storage boxes and cute number paper clips I discovered in Ikea a few days later. The boxes are the perfect size for storing stationery, although one of them remains empty so I'd better get back to The Hambledon pronto to stock up on more supplies...

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Back to life...

You know that thing that happens on holiday at some point when you start referring to your hotel room or apartment as 'home'? Well that happened very early on while we were on holiday this week. We had a little two-bedroom cabin booked in the middle of the woods, and after about half an hour of us unpacking, including Arlo covering the floors in train tracks and us filling the fridge with essentials (milk, prosecco), it felt just like home.

So, now that we're back home home, and back to reality - like both of us back at work next week, and needing to do about five loads of washing, and something in the bin smells really bad - I just want to say 'bye' to our temporary little home in the woods. Bye to a week where I didn't wear a watch because there was no need to know what the time was at any point. A week where a lot of laughing happened. Where it was more than acceptable to drink a bottle of prosecco a night. And hot tub relaxing happened on the regs. Sigh.

It wasn't exactly a jam-packed holiday, and we didn't do lots - some hours were whiled away watching cartoons on the sofa, we spent a lot of time drawing elephants, and wooden train tracks needed rearranging often. But whatever we did (or didn't) do all week, we were all together. One whole week spent just the three of us. We all needed it. And Arlo loved it. No-one had to leave, we didn't need to wave anyone off to work, or drop anyone anywhere for the day. It was just the three of us, doing whatever we felt like. So bye, and BIG THANKS to our cabin home in the woods.

Monday, 1 June 2015


Well, another year has passed, this guy turns two years old today. We had a family get together yesterday with two cakes (one cake per year - I might regret making that a tradition as the years tick by!) and today we're off to Arlo's spiritual home, aka Peppa Pig World for a special birthday treat with just the three of us.

The trip to see Peppa et al is kicking off a week's holiday in the New Forest, our first ever trip away as a family. So if things are a little quiet around here, that's why. We'll be in a little cabin in the woods, finishing off leftover cake(s) and generally having a bit of a relax.

So Happy birthday Arlo, thanks for being the funniest and sweetest boy. I love you so much I'm willing to endure the Peppa Pig theme tune on repeat for the next six hours. That's pretty big.