Sunday, 30 September 2012

Autumnal Balance

Every household makes it's own rules regarding domestic chore division.

Couples take into account their shared interpretation of a "clean home". They consider factors such as hours spent out at work, hours children and pets demand, skill sets, chore satisfaction and where chores lay on their individual and shared priority lists. Some couples label jobs as "pink or blue". Some would say men cherry pick the "glory chores". Sometimes there's a "chore martyr". Characters come in to play. It's complex. 

It's complex and by the time you think you both have your rules and roles defined... You go and have a baby. Then you may have a party on maternity leave. You may have one "at work" more than the other. You may have jobs the other PHYSICALLY can't do (like breast-feeding). You also have a whole pile of activities that both parties are defining differently, you might think it's a "chore", he might think it's a "pleasure". Some things are a pleasure if they're only done once a week, as opposed to twice a day and then they become chores. 

The integrals are endless. The negotiations are difficult. Investments are emotional. Communication becomes more essential than ever and at the exact same time you loose all your time, patience and energy for communication. 

There's no point in me going in to the specifics of our domestic chore division. It won't apply to any other couple in the universe because every couple is different. 

Suffice to say this weekend represented two things;

1. Steve and I hitting our balance in domestic division. Like when you change gears on an old bicycle and you get that clunking and clicking and the resistance behind the pedals staggers, all followed by a last snap in to place and wheel find their stride. Like that. Feels ace. High 5 Mr. A.

2. Total immersion in to Autumn 2012 and all the joys of autumnal activities.

Missed this off my list... Blowing and counting the "o'clocks"...

 Rope swings...                                    Muddy puddles...

Locking down for domestic chores is always more welcome when it's chilly...

Star bursts, way better with low winter sun...

It'll be a sad day the day she is too big to be carried...

HATS! (Sainsburys 25% off clothes, this was £3!!!!)

Pulling out old jumpers from last year...  Leaves JUST turning...

I'd like to claim domestic goddess status with this veggie patch, but it was the allotments on our walk...

The crawling has LITERALLY come along in leaps and bounds...


Some of the most wonderful things are found in the ordinary. Especially when there's balance.

First Quilt Attempt...

Not least amongst my divinely domestic weekend activities was finishing a quilt I've been working on for a few weeks... Well not solidly... I did a load over a couple of days a few weeks back... Then I ran out of fabric and momentum.

Anyway! A freakishly long Sunday morning nap and the Ryder Cup being on the tv (ALL WEEKEND!) meant I managed to pick it up and finish! It's covered in flaws, the fabrics weren't well thought out (more of a what do I have in my fabric bag?) but here it is... And I'm rather proud...

18cm squares...

Sew in 2s...

Iron after every sew...

Build it up...

Complete panel...

White border, cotton batting, pretty backing...

Smile smugly.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Button Confusion!

HA HA! After countless threats to hurl my laptop out the window I can confirm that I HAVE A BUTTON! BEHOLD...

Ah ha! The genius continues as I also have created a GADGET with which to swap the button!

Now I need more coffee...

The Blue Owl

A friend of mine told me about a shop up the road from us called The Blue Owl, she mentioned the words "homemade", "baby clothes" and "crafts" and predictably I was sold on checking it out.

Basically this shop is all about stuff I love. Essentially it's a children's second hand clothes shop. There are two good parts to this, I can buy really high quality, hardly worn children's clothes AND I can sell my outgrown baby clothes (that I don't wish to keep for Alexander 2) through them!

I had made a personal pact with myself during pregnancy that I would get on the eBay selling wagon. My newfound inner eco-warrior that cloth bumming has released, demands it of me. One mans junk IS another mans treasure. Secondhand is not just for the frugal, it's for EVERYONE. Now I'll be honest I haven't got around to selling on eBay as of yet, the listing, the horror stories of tedious complaints and the drive to the post office all put me off. With my new discovery of The Blue Owl I needn't bother! I just take my old baby clothes us there (providing they're a half decent brand) and they will sell at roughly half the price of the original RRP and I will get half of that! Brill!

What else does The Blue Owl do? BEAUTIFUL handmade taggies and baby blankets. Quirky greetings cards and wrapping paper. Some home decor bits like bunting, ornate notice boards and bookends. Also super nice smelling candles and bath bombs which make the whole shop smell divine.  Finally they have a little table in the middle of the shop where you can sit down and make your own jewellery! I NEED to take my niece, she will love this.

The whole place is, in a word, charming. The whole place looks good with it's vintage, country cottage atmosphere. Smells good thanks to the strawberry sorbet candles. And it just IS good with it's responsible approach to recycling children's clothes, sourcing locally made products and generating creative outlets for children. I had to post it up.

So what treasure did I find? Well, as rarely as this happens in any shop least of all a second hand shop, I found EXACTLY what I was looking for! A gorgeous John Lewis snowsuit. Immaculate condition, £10 and suitably roomy to last her the entire winter. I am over the moon with it!


1. Go to The Blue Owl.
2. Recycle.

In other news I thought I would share, as it will probably feature further, that I am officially enrolled on to a photography evening course! I am so excited about this. Of course, already, I am light years ahead of myself planning the decor of my at home studio and wondering where we're going to fit my dark room. But in reality this is something, it's a first baby step and who knows... I'm nothing if not an optimist.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Tasty Brownie Recipe

I have mentioned before I did the whole NCT-antenatal-friend-making-thang... If I you didn't read it... I did the NCT antenatal course and made a bunch friends! These NCT ladies and I meet every Tuesday where we get together and one of ours houses and the hostess of the week will put on cake and tea and we swap stories and tips on everything from crack nipples to weaning nibbles. It's fab.
This Tuesday marked my turn in the hosting rotation. I have let the side down for my last couple of turns and disgraced myself with shop bought cakes... Fortunately they let me host a third time and I upped the ante with BROWNIES! 

So short post here are the brownies... 
And here is the recipe link!

(Worth mentioning if you're not familiar with BBC Good Food website that it's awesome! Hundreds of recipes and they seem to pitch a realistic skill level for me. Particularly a lot of healthy mid-week meal ideas.)

A Little Nap Time Post...

Like I said last night, I am back in love with my 100mm lens. It's less practical to take out as it's bigger and heavier... But I dug it out yesterday and had a little play! I am loving this picture at the moment, not only is her skin tone just edible but also if you zoom in you can see me taking the picture reflected in her eye!!!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Tomato Sauce and Roasted Veggie Dippers

I've done this a few times now, so considering nothing spectacular happened to us today nor did anything remotely profound occur to me today here it is... 
Now I make this sauce and pour it over pasta for the grown ups. Then I make roast batons of veggies (today it was just courgettes but I usually have red and green peppers too) and throw them in the pasta too and baby girl uses them as dippers. I have given her the pasta before but she's not bothered about it much. 
So the sauce... Sweat a finely chopped white onion and two sticks of celery on the hob with Olive oil. Throw in (no particular order) two garlic cloves, two tablespoons of tomato puree, a tin of chopped tomatoes, black pepper, bay leaf and oregano. Cook on a medium heat for 20 minutes. 

Tomato sauce and roasted veggie dippers... BOOM.


1. You don't need jars. This is way nicer and you don't notice the missing salt.

2. My baby is cute! SEE! >>>>

3. I am back in love with my 100mm macro lens... Adorable balloon and tea cup pictures to follow.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Tuesday 10

Before I start I can confirm sanity has been restored. A good sleep and an afternoon of friends and brownies and I'm back. 
Sharing a linky with Mummy Rawles today... It's called Tuesday 10 and I guess they pick 10 of something every Tuesday.

This Tuesday is 10 things I wish I'd know 10 years ago. 10  years ago I was 18. JUST an adult. A few months off University. 

So to 18 year old me...

1. You don't have to be "broken girl". I thought it'd be cool to be a tortured soul. It's not. It's just depressing.

2. Lighten up. Cheer up. Think positively.

3. Practice being on your own. Get comfortable in your own company. That took be a while.

4. Your parents are HUMAN BEINGS. Don't be alarmed.

5. Hardly anyone is thinking about you. Most people are always thinking about themselves. SO stop worrying about what other people think of you.

6. You are skinny. In 9.5 years you are going to be 9 months pregnant and look at pictures of 18 year you and think are positively slender. Enjoy it.

7. Do what you love doing. Not what you would like to love doing.

8. If you have to try, he's not right.

9. Be humble more. You're not fooling anybody.

10. Give your friends compliments. You don't sound stupid.


Monday, 24 September 2012

Moody Black and Whites from a Moody Mummy...

On the off chance you did not read my last post, I had a bad day today. So I blogged it up, made a mantra, baked brownies and took some pics to while away a miserable rainy day... So here are some moody black and white from a moody Mummy...

Listening to the rain on the conservatory ceiling, it's a great sound.


I love that she can smile herself in to a double chin. I know I'm in trouble the day this doesn't cheer me up.

Tiredness, Tears and Turds Between My Toes

I need sleep. A whole night of the stuff.

Unless you live in a cave you know that when you become a Mum there are going to be days like this. Days where the night wakes and hours lost to rocking and "shh-patting" accumulate. Days when you morning coffee doesn't even touch the sides. Days when, on account of the tiredness, that tiny thing that happened yesterday, so tiny it wouldn't of even registered with you emotionally pre-baby, is replaying and replaying in your head. Days when tears are really close to the surface. Days when domestic mess pisses me off way more than usual but I have no where near the adequate motivation to remedy it.

I'm having one of those days. I'm having one of those days and then on the morning of it in a frantic nappy change episode I stood in poo. That's right. I squashed a small, perfectly formed and firm (on account of the recent weaning induced constipation) TURD between my big and second toe. Spectacular.

The other week I tried to write away the negativity. Today I am trying a different approach. Today I want to write myself in to positive thinking.

So here I am in the throws of tiredness, tears and turds. All consumed, feeling sorry for myself and lost perspective. Will she EVER sleep through again? What am I doing wrong? Am I a terrible parent? Have I managed her night wakes terribly and "made a rod for my own back"?

Get a grip. Change perspective. It's all about my mindset. I am JUST tired. Must take myself with a pinch of salt. Once I have anti-baced the poo smears from her bedroom carpet it will make a funny story. She WILL sleep through again. Remember EVERYTHING is a phase.

Repeat the above until it feels true.

Days like this are good. I learn on days like this. Days like this test my patience, my sense of humour and my energy levels. Days like this make me feel like a real parent. I become a better Mum on days like today.

Plus in the meantime, until I actually believe what I am writing, I find myself forgiving all every time I look down and these eyes look back up at me...


Power on. That's it. Some days are just about keeping going.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Let's Get Autumn Happy!

I had held off for a couple of days. Steve always says I am a wimp with the cold (he's right) and I wasn't going to be the first to put the heating on. Lucky for me he's a total softie when it comes to a certain pink tiny person who lives with us. He caved. The heating is now officially on.

So summer ends and as I cracked open my winter wardrobe and the first of baby girl's fleecy bodysuits, it occurs to me that autumn is here. I'm not sad. I am ready for this. I love autumn. It's my favourite season, Steve's too. It's why we decided to get married in it.

Though I am aware I am not of the majority so I thought I would put together a little "Autumn Happy" inspiration;

  • Hot drinks are better appreciated in the cold
  • Cuddles are better appreciated in the cold
  • Hats
  • Stews, casseroles and roast dinner
  • SOCKS! How my toes appreciate their fluffy haven after months exposed to elements in flip flops
  • Being cosy
  • Euna will need an autumnal wardrobe...
  • The feel good factor related to wrapping her up all warm
  • Red wine
  • Walking in to a warm indoors from a cold outdoors
  • Custard
  • Cold but sunny days
  • Walking
  • Nights in feel more justified
  • Pies
  • No more weather disappointment, it's SUPPOSED to be cold
  • Leaves, bright red ones
  • Coat shopping
  • Entire days on the sofa
  • Rediscovering my faithful Uggs and marvelling in that they will last another year
  • Mittens
  • Films on Sunday afternoons
  • Conkers
  • The 100 additional calories you can enjoy daily on account of the cold
  • Enjoying 200 additional calories daily because your autumn clothes don't judge you like your summer ones do
  • Autumn crafts, most of which centre around maple leaves
  • Remembering the harvest festival from primary school
  • Wind burn
  • Leaving the thermostat too high and feeling practically naked walking around in a vest top
  • My wedding anniversary
  • The excitement of seeing our first autumn as a family, her first Autumn EVER, I love firsts

Anymore? What did I miss? I have just opened my comments up to be from ANYWHERE! So whoever you 100+ people are who are reading me EVERYDAY (thank you thank you thank you) let me know! Give me some Autumn Happy...


1. A lot of my autumn happy evolves around shopping. I need cash.
2. Firsts are exciting.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Joining Tots 100!

TOTS 100 - UK Parent Blogs


Hello blog readers! Let it be known I have NOTHING profound, thoughtful or meaningful to say today, that is working on the presumption I have EVER said anything profound, thoughtful or meaningful on here... 

This is the consequence of my day being centred around some of my favourite Mummy friends, coffee, shopping and lunch. Quick run down is we met at Lakeside. I was first to arrive at the agreed Costa after a BAD night with Euna I sat down and felt very smug about commandeering TWO prime spot tables with surrounding buggy parking areas. I sat for an entire 20 minutes nursing my life-giving caffeine hit (with requested extra caffeine) before looking across the way and thinking "oh there's another Costa there, bit excessive to have TWO Costas in such close range". Yeah. They don't have two Costas in that short a range. I was sat in a Pret. Oh dear. 

Suffice to imagine the day picked up and we had a FABULOUS time. So whilst my dear Mummy friends would not thank me to disclose all the deepest and darkest things that Mummies talk about when in close proximities to each other, here's what I can disclose... My Primark haul...

Knitted leggings £5, Ballet Shoe Socks £1.50, Cardigan £6.00, Long Sleeved T-shirts £3.00

And here modelled on my glamourous assistant are the above leggings and a second set of long sleeved T-shirts (£6.00)...

Finally baby girl was not with out a spot of clever today as when we got home the clever wotsit learnt to get herself from lying to sitting. She even did it FOUR times to make sure I got a decent piccie...

Lessons: (Nothing new...)

1. I'm a SLAVE to a bargain.
2. I make clever babies.

SIDE NOTE: We lunched at Gourmet Burger Kitchen on the Boardwalk... ACE! I love the GBK anyway but today the staff REALLY out did themselves! They could not have more friendly and helpful and oh so politely stifled their gasps as no less than 5 buggies, 2 baby led weaned babies and 5 hyper women descended upon them to rearrange furniture and throw half digested cheese sandwich bits all over the floor (Euna not me). Thank you GBK! More than a few lunching establishments could learn from how you welcome ladies and babies! :D


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