Friday, 31 July 2015

Scrapbooking in July: new supplies

I have a problem. I can't stop buying stickers. I tell myself it's for the actually-very-worthwhile pastime of scrapbooking, but I know deep down it's a throwback to my childhood years when all me and my sister ever wanted was that little machine that lets you make your own stickers. We never got it. I'm making up for it now.

As well as some new stickers I also wanted to show off these lovely wrapping papers that I discovered in Oliver Bonas one evening at Waterloo station while waiting for the last train home. I love them and they've been making for great journaling cards to add notes to, or of course little messages spelled out in stickers. The Scrabble letters you can find here, and all the other stickers are from Meri Meri (where else?!)

Ps. This isn't a sponsored post or anything, I just bloody love this stuff.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Revisiting our Spring DIY to do list

I wanted to revisit this post with our 'to do' list of things we want to do around the house because SOME OF THESE THINGS HAVE ACTUALLY HAPPENED. I'm just as surprised as you are. I find my enthusiasm for doing house stuff comes and goes, but I'm in the zone at the moment and trying to make the most of it by getting some of those annoying little jobs done.

So here's what we can cross off the list so far:
  • Get round to painting the alcove in the front room that isn't the same colour as all the other walls (can you spot it!?)  Done! Painted this at the same time as this happened.
  • Arlo's bedroom door has had a coat of primer on it for months now. It just needs to be painted. I really want to do it because I've got his name sign all ready to go on it. It just seems like such a boring task. Must make myself do this. Really happy to have this one ticked off the list - you can see visual proof here
  • Get the spare room painted so you don't see the edges of where we removed the wall at the end of last year. This is the room we've actually done the most to since we moved in - walls knocked down, upstairs loo removed, carpet removed, floorboards sanded and painted. It's getting there! This has happened and it's soooo beautiful. More pics of this to follow soon no doubt.
  • Finish the patio - finally. We're so close
  • Sort out the rest of the garden so it matches the beauty of the patio. painted fences and walls, flowers everywhere, grow something we can eat - some herbs AT LEAST
  • Paint the bathroom. I've already done it once since we moved, but it was a bad impulse colour choice. I'll never be sharing pics of the bathroom unless they're the 'before' images to illustrate how much it's changed and is newly-beautiful because it would be too distressing for you all to witness it in its current state.
  • Do SOMETHING to the front garden. Lick of paint on the front of the house. Some plants. I like the idea of window boxes too. Just something!
  • Pipe Dream #1: some fantastic wallpaper in the bedroom. Inspiration here
  • Pipe Dream #2: new tiles on the kitchen floor. Been pinning pics like a mad woman while dreaming about this. Further inspiration here.

So three important things ticked off, which I'm proud off - not too worried about the pipe dreams happening any time soon (or ever?!?) and actually a lot has been happening in the garden lately. Enough to make me tempted to break those particular tasks down into mini tasks, so I can add them back on to the list just for the satisfaction of ticking them off again (I have been assured that I'm not the only person who does this).

So that feels like good progress with the Spring 'to do' list, and now it's well and truly Summer I'm shifting focus from indoors to outdoors from now on, to try and get the garden looking as lovely as it can before the summer ends and we're back round to winter again (I'm sincerely hoping that hasn't already happened). It's pretty much our favourite place to be at the moment and I hope to spend many more sunny days out there, listening to Arlo playing the xylophone from inside his little play tent. Yay for progress!

Home Etc

Friday, 24 July 2015

Friday I'm in love... with pretty front doors

When I close my eyes and imagine my dream house, the outside looks something like this. It's a simple equation - painted door + flowers + lots of colour = a front door to make you smile. At the moment my front door doesn't exactly make me smile. We inherited one of those plastic, double-glazed front doors that I'm sure is ever-so insulative (if that's a word) but actually not so easy on the eye. I'd love a proper wooden door, with little windows, in a lovely bright colour, plus window boxes on the bay window next to it. And some pots dotted around. Ooh, and a hanging basket too. Flowers everywhere. This is something that's definitely on the long list home-improvement-wise, because it's more 'fun' than 'practical' and there are loads of other, far-more-useful-but less-aesthetically-exciting things that need doing first (E.g. we have a leak in the roof that needs sorting first - BALLS)

Because if you think about it, while a few people actually see the inside of your house, absolutely loads see the outside while they're walking past. So I'd like to have a front door that might raise a few smiles. One day anyway.

All these images, plus lots more pretty front doors, can be found here.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Same time, same place

When you have a little person in your life, parks become a pretty big deal, and when you find one that works, it can become your favourite place to be for a little while. I never quite realised this PB (pre-baby) but not all parks are created equal. You need the right 'stuff' for your child's height/ age otherwise it can be a veritable death trap filled with things too high and too open and too easily fall-off-able. So for this reason we have had a favourite park for the past couple of months, with the right combination of things for Arlo to feel challenged but not on the verge of breaking his neck if he takes the wrong step.

It's become a little routine of ours to visit this park most days when I'm off work - and while Arlo plays, I like to snap away. I hadn't realised how much until earlier this week when I scrolled through iPhoto and found reams and reams of shots taken at this park. Enough for me to realise it's become one of our favourite places to be. It's the mundane everyday, but it's a very happy little everyday place for us. Just looking through these pics from top to bottom has made me realise two things: that this boy doesn't stop growing, and that he has a nice line in snazzy trousers. Long may our happy routine in crocodile trews continue.

 photo HappyDays New Badge Small_zpskpfebjmi.jpg

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Pretty in print

I like to try and bring back a memento from each holiday we go on - it's not always particularly linked to the trip itself, but just something bought at the time, that I always remember it by. For example, on one pre-baby city-break to Bath, we bought back a butter dish. In Corfu, it was a pot stand. No correlation to the nature of the trip, just things we liked at the time. 

So when we went on our first family holiday last month, I wanted to bring something back and actually, Arlo chose this one, which makes it even more special. In The Hambledon, aka my favourite shop, aka shopping heaven (you can hear me wang on even more about why I love the place so much here) Arlo woke up just at the end of our visit to point this print out to me. It has a raa raa (lion) sitting on an oo-ee (elephant), so it ticked all his boxes, and he spent the next ten minutes doing his elephant impression in appreciation. It's also covered in balloons which seemed fitting seeing as it was the day after his second birthday. He loved it, and so did we, so we took it home, framed it (Ikea do the perfect fine frame that is the ideal match) and here it is - hanging in pride of place in the spare room, which since its spruce up was looking quite bare and in need of some wall adornments (you can never have too many frames in my book).

You can also see it from Arlo's bedroom when you look out the door, so I like the fact that it's the first thing he sees when he wakes up in the morning and wanders through to our room to wake us up. This is now a thing, because he's now tall enough to reach the door handle and escape let himself out of his room when he wakes up in the morning. While there are plus points to this (e.g. I don't have to actually get out of bed to go and get him when he wakes up now, I can just squeeze him in with us and try and eek out a few more moments of sleep in the morning) it's been happening daily at 5am, which is a minus point that kind of out-weighs anything else. More sleep please.

Home Etc

Friday, 17 July 2015

Friday I'm in love... with pink. Again.

Now, I'm aware this isn't the first time I've devoted a post to the colour pink, but recently I found myself with a little selection of some newly acquired things, that all happened to be pink and very photograph-able, so I couldn't help but photograph them, as you do:

  • The Aspinal pocket mirror was a gift from the bride at her wedding last week - each of us bridesmaids got one. It's a bit too pretty to use, so for now at least its main function is just to be looked at, and stroked from time to time. It's the perfect colour pink.
  • I also found these beaut stickers on eBay (after this shopping trip, I've been on the hunt for more Meri Meri goodies), which are already being put to good scrapbooking use.
  • And in other exciting stationery news, I finally got my mitts on a agenda this month and I'm in love with it. I do love a good diary, but this is something super special. It covers 17 months for a start, so lasts longer than your average diary, plus it's filled with the sweetest stickers, secret messages and beautiful illustrations. I am yet to actually write anything in it yet, because it's just to perfect brand new (anyone else have that about stationery? Too pretty to use) but am looking forward to start doodling all over it from August onwards. 

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Making new traditions

I love it when something unexpected becomes a bit of a tradition. Three years in a row we've gone with my sister to watch her other half play cricket on the village green of the sleepy little village we grew up in. The first year, Arlo was a tiny new-born that we all took turns holding and staring at, the second year, my sister had a new-born of her own, and Arlo practised taking wobbly steps, and then this time round we had two little toddlers running around and causing havoc. This year we: fed ducks, played in the park, ate animal biscuits and tried to join in with clapping the right players at the right time. I hope this is one that we do year after year - who knows what next few visits could bring?

What Katy Said

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Learning to let it go

So here's the thing about me: I think I'm a bit of a control freak.

Let's try that again: I am a control freak. Anyone reading this that knows me is probably rolling their eyes and going "well obvs" but to be honest, this is a fairly recent revelation for me. I've always liked to be in control, know exactly what's going on, have things in order, be organised and prepared... in work, in life, in everything.

But lately life’s been a bit unruly. I’ve felt a bit out of control and life’s been carrying on anyway in the meantime. It’s quite new and weird and I’ve found it hard. I’ve tried to get back in control but I’ve done it all wrong - at home in particular I think I’ve tried to get back in control by treating daily life like a work project. And by being a bit bossy. Bossy me isn’t the best side of me.

I’ve been feeling a general air of anxiety over the past few weeks and it’s felt so weird - it’s not something I feel very often at all and what makes it harder is that I can’t link it to any one thing. There is no one thing I can ‘fix’ to make it go away and get things back to normal. Life’s happening and I feel out of control and it’s making me anxious.

So what can I do - going 'bossy me' isn’t helping anyone so I might just have to… let go.

Relinquish a bit of that control.

Let go of a few things.

Accept that I’m not wonder woman, and I’m doing my best, and that’s good enough.

Something might go wrong. Oh well. The next thing probably won’t.

Because I thought - what do I say to Arlo a million times a day? Oh well. Never mind. We can build that tower again. We can put the choo choo back on the track. I can pick up the sandwich you dropped, brush it off (6-second rule, right?) and you can have another bite.

And I know he’d say that to me too if he could, (if his mouth wasn't full of his second bite of dusted-off sandwich that is). So I've decided to take a bit of my own advice and let it go. And no that isn't a Frozen reference by the way, luckily we're still a little way off that phase. But I do have that song stuck in my head now *sigh*.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Friday I'm in love... with weddings

Don't worry, I haven't done a complete 360 since I wrote this about why I have no intention of getting married any time soon. I still don't, but it doesn't stop me bloody loving weddings. One of my favourite, oldest and most brilliant friends got married at the weekend, with me in tow as one of her bridesmaids, and it was the loveliest day. The photos of the day are hers to share, but I managed to capture a few little snapshots along the way, in between all the madness - the beautiful bridesmaids' bouquets, a close-up of the lace of my bridesmaid dress, some of the table dressings as we got them ready the day before, and the venue itself, quiet before anyone arrived to make the best party ever. We laughed, we cried, we toasted and danced - all the best things. It's given me the warm and fuzzies, that's for sure.

 photo HappyDays New Badge Small_zpskpfebjmi.jpg

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Building tracks and blowing bubbles

Things have been pretty busy round here this month - of the last four weekends, only one has been spent at home, and that was without Alex because he was away. We're longing for a family weekend where we're all together with nothing much to do. Anyway, right in the middle of a very busy month, I found myself with a quiet afternoon. Arlo and I had nowhere we needed to be so we decided we didn't want to go anywhere. Anywhere except the garden, that is - it was a sunny afternoon so we headed out to make the most of it, with a train set and banana milkshake for Arlo, and the weekend papers and iced coffee for me. Heaven.

Our patio is very nearly almost finished now (you can see it in stages of being done here - thank god we're now past the rubble stage!) and even though there's a little corner that still needs doing, it's very much useable. We've even got a little bed running along the side with flowers planted in it now, very home-y indeed. We've been enjoying it so much, especially Arlo, as these pictures show - we whiled away a very happy hour making train tracks in different configurations, and then I taught him something I now wish I hadn't - how to blow bubbles in your drink with a straw. But he was going to figure that out for himself soon anyway, right?

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Scrapbooking in June - finding a theme

Firstly, I'm aware it's July already (already? How the F did that happen? I don't think I'm ready thanks) and I fully intended to do a little update on June scrapbooking while it still actually WAS June, but things have been a bit blimmin' busy round here. But I wanted to do one anyway, because it's nice to look back over it from time to time.

So this month I've been finding that I'm going a bit more 'matchy matchy' with my scrapbooking pages. When I started out I didn't really worry too much about themes or colours or matching anything, I just wanted to get started and try out lots of things, and I loved what I've done so far, but I've been finding this month that where I have fairly 'clean' page layouts with four big photos from the same time or event, and a strip of empty 6x4 spaces down the centre, I've been sticking to a theme for them all, just like the examples above. It's lead to some of my most favourite scrapbooking pages ever, and is super satisfying because it means you get a whole page done really quickly.

The above were made mostly using supplies from my Messy Box subscription, which I am loving every single month, plus a smattering of stickers that I picked up during this shopping trip.