Category Archives: New beginnings

So, are you missing London?

missing londonI still love going back to London. We all do. When people ask if we miss it it’s a difficult question to answer. I think my husband does more than me. I love being back there – the buzz, the scale, the opportunities – but I’m seeing it through different eyes now.

I don’t feel like it was the best place for us to continue our family life, and that was one of the most important reasons for moving. However, I didn’t fall out of love with it (when you’re tired of London etc.) and I’m glad it’s still only an hour and a half away. My sisters live there as do some really good friends and I do miss them.

I’m enjoying our life here and making friends at Scrip’s school, our local toddler group and in the village generally. I love the fresh air, big skies and space. I love the fact we can hear owls in the garden and see buzzards overhead. We can walk to school past fields and hills and head out to pick blackberries from our door.

So, I do wish I could bring some of my London life here – particularly my family – but I appreciate why we moved and everything we all have here.

On the eve of my little girl going to school

Going to school

 

Tonight you let me wash your hair
No fuss, as if the water wasn’t there
You dried yourself and put nightclothes on
Tolerated the toddler’s evening fun
You chose two stories and patiently waited
You spelt out some words, really concentrated
Then I kissed my little girl goodnight
Set the gro-clock, turned off the light
And closed the door on our life so far
Four and half years of my biggest star.

You’re excited, apprehensive, keen to start
I echo your feelings, but there’s also a part
That can’t let that eager little one go
Feeling sadness I’m trying not to show
School’s like a marker, a new path we must find
And I’m worried we’ll leave a little bit behind
I know you must learn, and change and grow
The journey’s exciting and there’s a long way to go
But in a way I suppose you’ll always be
My bright, loving baby, indefinitely.

 

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Mummy Times Two

A guide to turning one – by Baby D

A guide to turning oneBaby D’s first birthday has been and gone with all its ripped tissue paper, cake crumbs and crawling in and out of cardboard boxes. We were joined by family from both sides of the country and it was a lovely day, despite some worrying news hanging over us.

With Scrip, turning one meant so many things and some were similar to Baby D but some totally different. I keep getting told not to compare the two but she’s my only other baby template so it’s hard not to. With D, one year seems to have been a real marker and he’s been frantically upskilling in the last few weeks so he could hit the milestone with a bang.

So this is Baby D’s guide to turning the ripe old age of one year old:

  1. Reveal your lightning quick crawling and start pulling up on everything – particularly relatives. Remember, walking’s for wimps (but if ‘helpful’ people encourage you to try to walk, respond with stiff legs and an instant sitting position).
  2. Use this occasion as an opportunity to eat as much as you can (don’t forget, honey and runny eggs are now fair game). If there’s a party, polish off crisps and at least a few pieces of cake and hoover up any dropped crumbs quickly and efficiently.
  3. Grown ups are likely to be distracted with ribbon and nibbles so now’s the time to try and get into those places you’ve only ever dreamt of going. Like the understairs cupboard, toolbox or a peep inside the (hot) oven [yes, this happened].
  4. New toys are for exploring – namely banging together or throwing, whatever kind of toy they are. Ride-ons are for pulling up on or pushing over. And it’s important to move on from each toy with record speed.
  5. Lull your parents into a false sense of security with a few nights of sleeping through around your first birthday (‘we’ve finally cracked it!”) and then bring them down to earth with a bump the day after.
  6. Your sister is now fair game for hitting (hilarious), pulling hair (even better) or wiping your nose on (convenient).
  7. And whatever you do and however much mischief you cause, know that your family couldn’t love you any more if they tried.

Happy one year Baby D. 🙂

 

The big move

So, we’re in and it all feels a bit surreal! The walk to pre-school past fields, sheep and a few ponies. The need for wellies everywhere! The frost in the mornings and stars at night. The pheasants on the high street (well, we’ve seen one). The shops that don’t open for milk until breakfast is over (that definitely caught us erstwhile Londoners out!) We’re in rural South Gloucestershire and I can’t quite believe it.

Scrip has done brilliantly so far and baby D LOVES the tractors. While I’m still absorbing it all here’s a taste of life over the last few weeks. I’m all boxed out (and there are still 15 to go…)

moving house collage

Wow 2015 and hello 2016

Hello 2016Judging by my Instagram feed, it looks like I’m not the only one seeing in the New Year with a glass of Shloer and a boxset. Last year I was pregnant and tired, this year I’m the parent of a baby and a pre-schooler and still tired!

Even if I don’t make it to the full 12 bongs of Big Ben, it’s been a pretty amazing year this year and we have a lot to be thankful for. There’s also been a lot of change and there’s a lot more to come. My top five moments from 2015? Probably these:

  1. The birth of baby D on 15th April. Simply amazing (if a little fast!) and Scrip becoming a fantastic big sister
  2. Our family holiday to France in August. Fun, family and more than a dash of good red wine
  3. Handing in my notice from my job this November. Liberating and terrifying in equal measure
  4. My husband getting a new job in Bristol after what seemed like endless interviews this December. The start of a new era
  5. Our first Christmas as a family of four. Truly magical

And what I’m most looking forward to in 2016?

  1. Moving into a proper house with a garden and bigger rooms for Scrip and baby D
  2. Scrip’s first day at her new nursery and then, *sniff*, new school next September
  3. Going it alone with work. Eek
  4. Family and friends visiting us when we move (please come soon!)

I hope you have a truly lovely night tonight and an even better 2016. Cheers.

New home, new (affordable) decor

   

 So, as of last week, the big move out of London is on…

With any house move comes organisation, paperwork and expense, but also the fun stuff like planning new bedrooms for Scrip and D and of course, us. I’ll be sad to say goodbye to our airy loft room (although it does reach extremes of heat in the summer and cold in the winter), but my Pinterest account has also been buzzing with new home decor pins.

I love neutral shades that can be accessorised, so we’re going for alternate walls in light green and yellow for D and light peach and yellow for Scrip. We’re recreating our calm light grey walls in our bedroom whilst most of the house will be off-white.

As for bedding, I’ve recently discovered Yorkshire Linen, a British, family-run company who offer luxury bed lines online or via one of their stores. I like the range and the site is easy to navigate. I also love The White Company for stylish inspiration.

For the children’s rooms I usually head to Ikea for cheaper styles, Vertbaudet for reasonable bed linen (look out for sales) or the Great Little Trading Company which has some great fun designs.

I’ll try and post as we get into the decorating and accessorising but in the meantime, my dream (affordable) home will mostly be emerging via Pinterest.

This is a collaborative home furnishings post.

Life with a newborn – #winning or #failing? 

 Ten days in and having sent my mum my standard morning sleep progress report text – a positive one – she replied ‘#winning’. Which made me smile. I’d had a few hours’ sleep strung together not once but twice. Result. 

It made me think. These last few days of starting to get grips with a newborn again as well as becoming a mother of two have had their ups and downs. Those winning moments are brilliant – you feel you can achieve anything. But as with anything, they’re balanced out by the little challenges (or fails) along the way. 

And that pretty much sums up the first week and a half (in between all the lovely moments and staring in amazement at our gorgeous little boy):

#win – putting him down and him settling straight away in the Sleepyhead
#fail – next wake up was a five hour feeding session. Who knew they were even possible? From one side to the other on and on (ouch) and grizzling in between

#win – soundly sleeping all the way around our first shopping trip
#fail – then taking 45 minutes to latch on…

#win – first time in proper clothes (including Little Brother top, obviously)
#fail – changing after 5 mins due to suspect yellow stains appearing

#win – figuring out the Ergo Baby carrier and having a nice stroll 
#fail – struggling with playground/swing pushing logistics with carrier on (frustrated Scrip)

#win – calmness in first bath – we use a Tummy Tub – and a helpful Scrip to sponge him
#fail – D inconsolable after leaving the water

#win – Scrip being curious and loving with him (mostly)
#fail – her enthusiasm bubbling over as noisy toys piled on top of him, waking him up (instant wailing)

I expect the pattern will continue like this for a little while, but the wins of being a family of four definitely outweigh any of the bumps in the road so far. 

Introducing our newest arrival 

 

Little D arrived on 15th April – the day before my birthday and the best early present I could ever have. I say early – he was 12 days overdue in the end and although it was all pretty intense and quick I was able to have a water birth in the birth centre and avoid an induction planned for two days later. 

Scrip is everything all at once – excited, proud, confused, a bit jealous. I guess it’s all to be expected but we’re involving her as much as we can whilst making sure it’s not all about D. She suddenly seems so grown up and even more loveable. 

And as for him, he’s pretty perfect. We’ve already had a tongue tie diagnosed and snipped, poor mite. So feeding is challenging but we’re getting there. He’s also very hungry so very little sleep but what did we expect?

Mostly I just can’t believe we have a new addition – and a male one (Scrip’s freshly washed baby clothes are largely redundant!) and we’re enjoying these special early days as much as we can. I know all too well they don’t last long. 

Going back to work – 6 tips I’ve learnt

Toddler spilling pensBeing 31 weeks’ pregnant (it still doesn’t seem real – even when it’s there in black and white) work should be something I’m thinking about winding down rather than starting afresh. But a few things recently have made me cast my mind back to when I started again post-mat leave just over two years ago. I had a difficult time back then, partly down to issues that I hope I don’t ever have to face again. And that’s without factoring in missing your little one, parental guilt etc. etc.

But there are definitely also positive learnings to be made from my experiences and if I could help my younger self to cope and can also remind myself for next time, here’s what I’d say. Continue reading

Pink or blue? Our toddler colour clash

Pink and blue footprintsThere’s a colours theme in my home at the moment. Much of it revolves around pink and blue. It’s not all about the new baby – although we don’t know if it’s a boy or girl – it’s more about Scrip and her sudden insistence of which colours are her favourites and which are appropriate for her and her friends.

Starting at the end of last year she’s very clear that her favourite colours are pink and purple, and her  nannyshare buddy’s favourite is blue (he’s a little boy). I’m asked if I like pink and purple, as are most females, and same with blue for Daddy and males.

I’m not quite sure where this has started. Maybe it’s the drip drip effect of cartoons and clothes and toys (particularly those advertised on TV). We’ve never deliberately set out to buy her lots of pink things but she has ended up with her fair share. But by no means is her room a frilly, pastely assault on the senses. And we’ve actively tried to buy a mix of ‘girls’ toys’ and unisex ones.

Of course it might be a phase, as most things are (or at least we tend to reassure ourselves they are). Or it may be that her favourite colours are genuinely pink and purple and may continue to be. But what started with requests for a pink teddy and pink vests just before Christmas has now turned into pink everything (‘can this Lego cat be pink?’, ‘can muzzy be pink?’, can I have pink play doh’).

In the meantime I have a feeling I’ll have to learn to love the colour. After all, blue is for boys.