A Tiger who came to tea Party

As you may have seen from this post, Bea recently turned two and we wanted to have a bit of a party to celebrate. Why not? Her absolute favourite book at the time was The Tiger That came to Tea and so I decided to loosely theme the party around that, more to give me ideas! A quick search on Pinterest gave me a few ideas for activities and I thought I’d just share it all here.

We ended up having 8 children there, most of whom were around 2 and a couple of older siblings that tagged along. I wanted to make sure they were occupied so the first thing we did was a craft activity painting a tiger face.

We put plastic table cloths down and I pre-prepared felt tiger noses, black cardboard tiger stripes, and google eyes. These were all put on the table in little pots, then each child got a paper plate and brush, and I squirted orange paint onto paper plates. They just had to paint the paper plate orange then add the eyes nose and stripes! I did pre-warn the mums to bring a bib for painting and not to wear anything they were too protective about too. ;) Obviously we all helped them but it kept them quiet and entertained for a while and they all behaved really well – I think because of the nursery ‘herd effect’ of them all copying each other! It’s a good idea to have a bowls of soapy water and an old towel on hand for hand washing afterwards too.

Next we moved onto party games and had a round of good old pass the parcel. After that we had the little ‘tea party’, again loosely based on the book so we had sandwiches and party ring biscuits along with hummus and carrot/cucumber sticks and some ‘tiger tail’ Organix carrot puffs. We already have one mini table and chairs, but borrowed another 2 tables and 6 chairs from friends to make the long picnic style table.

Lastly there was cake! I was intending to make a Tiger cake but frankly saw the light about 2 days before when I remembered that a cake decorating guru I am not! I opted for a ’2′ cake instead and was really pleased with how it turned out! It was actually really easy to make with just a round tin and a square tin (have a look at this tutorial here) although obviously just baking, cooling and icing/decorating did take a quite some time. (If you want a closer look I took a photo for Instagram on the day.)

We also decorated with tiger balloons we bought online and got inflated at the local balloon place. I added a foil tiger balloon because I couldn’t resist and we had an inflatable monkey hanging around too. (It was really hard not to deviate from the ‘Tiger who Came to Tea’ theme towards a jungle theme as the majority of Tiger stuff was jungle related.) As another bit of fun I asked my mum to make some long tiger tails out of tiger fabric and gave them to all the children to dress up in. Predictably some were not impressed but others wore them and took them home!

Over all we just really enjoyed it! It was a bit stressful to organise but I had lots of help and I was really happy to have marked the occasion and have all the memories and photos to look back on. And Bea had a whale of a time with all her little friends.

I hope it has inspired or given you some ideas – little people’s parties are quite a big deal it turns out!

Rebecca x

DIY Chalkboard birthday stats

I’ve long admired those Chalkboard typographic posters or prints that you see from time to time on Etsy (because you can pay people to produce one for you if you are organised!) or Pinterest. I decided I would do something similar for Bea’s 2nd birthday (more to come on her party soon,) and it was a lot easier than I expected.

And Bea is 2! #birthday #toddlersofinstagram #birthdaystats #twotoday #24months

A photo posted by Rebecca Norris (@rebecca_norris) on

I simply used her easel from Ikea and the chalks with it. I first wrote out some of the ‘statistics’ I wanted to include, and then used a piece of scrap paper to design the layout somewhat. This was mainly to make sure I didn’t run out of space writing her name across the top (and it still didn’t end up perfect!) but when I hesitated doing it freehand on the board I sometimes went back to the paper to see if what I was doing was going to work. I was really pleased with the effect and thought I’d share!

Rebecca x

Spotted: Wall Lights

I promised I’d share a selection of wall lights that I browsed before I chose the ones for our Master bedroom, and here they are!

plug in wall lights

  1. Brass wall lamp – Graham and Green £98
  2. Grey Adjustable wall light - Cox and Cox £85
  3. Molecular wall light – Rockett St George £110
  4. Industrial brass swivel wall light – Alexander and Pearl £165
  5. Starkey Wall Lamp - Made.com £59
  6. Reuben Wall lamp - Graham and Green £225
  7. Junction wall light – Heals £115
  8. Rhea Adjustable Wall light - Graham and Green £76

Let me know if you’re inspired, I’m so happy with mine!

Rebecca xo

Lighting up the Night…

Since we decorated out master bedroom, finishing the decor has kind of fallen by the wayside in favour of, you know… the rest of the house and having a baby. After all it’s nice, but the lack of detail has been bugging me. I already have a new dressing table on order – mirrored again to match the chest of drawers and with several more drawers so hopefully it will hide way more of my stuff that currently resides in baskets under the existing dressing table. That should take care of some of the clutter.


(Bedding: Secret Linen Store // Pink velvet cushions & Gold sequin cushion: H&M Home // Geo cushion: Conran for M&S // Wall colour: Cornforth White – F&B)

However a more pressing practical consideration has been bed side lights. We had a small lamp on my dressing table but it was really awkward to reach round (as the bed was slightly forward of the dressing table as it is against the chimney breast,) and turn off, and meant the only light was on my side. It’s a small thing to turn it off but it drove me crazy that it had to be me to do it every. single. night! The other issue was that the wall above the bed was really a blank canvas waiting to be used. I didn’t want a simple print or canvas up there and started to think some wall lights would be great. One big ‘but’ stood in the way and that was the fact that our bedroom walls have been lined as well as painted, so having something wired in would have been a massive cosmetic issue and hard to patch up, so whatever I chose had to be plug in.

After looking at lots of different options we chose these Ogilvy swing arm wall lamps from Made.com. They were a budget friendly £50 each and despite my dislike for black, actually work really well in here because of the black accents on the mirrored furniture and of course the black iron bed frame. I had considered the white but think it would have looked very wrong in retrospect. Initially we were looking for more industrial bare bulbs but it didn’t fit with the room at all and I’m glad we didn’t force it.

Look out for a post later in the week on some other options I found for plug in wall lamps. I hope you like the result here!

Rebecca xo

Hello Again!

Wow, it’s been a long time. It seems that life just continues to get in the way of blogging. I started writing this post on the 30th of May and good ol’ WordPress promptly lost most of it… it’s taken until now to get round to finishing. Recently I’ve found myself thinking of lots of things I’d like to share so I think it’s time to get back on the horse. Its been so long though, I think it’s time for a little catch up first. And I’d love to hear from you guys as to whats going on with you?

Going back a little further than the last 2 months, I started working a bit more in January. I used to do 2.5 days of seeing patients and another half day was admin time. It felt like a really great balance as I did 2 full days and friday afternoon, but I’d go in on friday morning to get some work done and keep my admin up to date. Because we are generally understaffed and workloads are getting greater all the time, I offered to increase to 3 full days of seeing patients and do my admin from home (because I don’t have or want childcare for the extra time the admin would require.) I have full access to my desktop from home but it means I’m squeezing paperwork in at home in Bea’s nap times or usually at night, and its really tipped the balance in a negative way. My work days are way busier because I’m trying to pack extra in, I’m staying later and still have stuff to do at home. And that ends up just making everything feel worse. At the moment we still need it at work, but I’m thinking all the time about whether to change things back.

The house is also being a bit of a mental drain, if not a physical one. We started one of our main bedrooms back in January – stripping the walls ready for the mammoth job of replacing the wooden windows, re-plastering, putting a new (old) fireplace in and then getting to the fun part of actually decorating and filling it. Its going to be a playroom for Bea and then in the future will become her big girl bedroom when we need the nursery again. Its been somewhat of a false start however as we have been messed about by the company we ordered our windows from and as I write they are promising they will be fitted next week. Funnily enough, I’ve heard that one before from these guys, more than once, but I’m not going to write any more about it otherwise I am likely to swear. A lot.

We have also got another super exciting house project on the go but that one deserves a whole post of it’s own. ;)

I finally started doing some exercise recently, well in January. I found a running buddy, my friend Meriel, and she basically kicked my behind into making it out of the front door for a change. Being brutally honest I have done pretty much no exercise since Bea was born (another blog post in the making,) and there have been lapses when life didn’t allow or I lost my motivation, but I’m pretty proud that over all, I feel like I can call myself a runner now. I get out at least twice a week and my ‘minutes per kilometre’ number is falling all the time. More than anything the regular exercise has actually made me crave more. I miss it when I don’t have opportunity and I feel good when I have managed to do something, even if it’s a short run. High fives all round!

I’m feeling pretty sad I’ve let things slip around here, partly because I miss the posts I wrote about Bea – the last one was when she was 11 months – almost 12 months ago now and she’s turning into a little rock star. I guess part of the reason I don’t get time to post is that I prefer to focus on her fully, but I miss documenting all her little changes and cuteness. Despite the odd very trying day (hello toddler tantrums!) motherhood is still the best adventure I ever embarked upon.

So I’m going to leave it there, because I want to write more, be here more, and if I waffle on much longer I won’t manage another post!

Now what have you been doing so far this year?

Rebecca
x

Spotted: Selfish Mother

Because… Aren't we all? @selfishmother #SelfishMother #GoodTee #winglet

A photo posted by Rebecca Norris (@rebecca_norris) on

I think for many of you reading I won’t be the first one to share the Selfish Mother #GoodTees project, but I recently bought one and haven’t stopped wearing it, so had to share.

The Mother Shop is full of sweatshirts (boyfriend style, scoop necks and new pastel summer weight scoop necks just added,) with brilliant slogans for busy mama’s. Mine is grey with a bright coral ‘Winging It’ emblazoned across the front, but there are simpler ones like ‘Mama’ or 80′s throwback fonts and titles like ‘Maverick’. Best of all, theres a charitable donation made form all the profits:

*When we say ‘all profits’ this means £15 from the sale of each sweat going straight to help others!

As of January 2016 we’ve donated over £75,000 to charities including Women for Women International, KIDS, Help Refugees UK & The Refugee Council. Simply by kitting you out! Help us raise more and wear your allegiance on your chest…

I’m about to buy another one because right now, this ticks all my ‘getting dressed int the morning’ boxes. Super soft, comfy, washable, looks great with jeans… and done!

Get yours here and tag me on Instagram if you do!

Rebecca xo

How I Wore: March

Hello there Readers!

Well wasn’t that a blustery weekend!? I really wish all the days could have been like Friday which was a perfect Spring day  here but no. Torrential rain, hailstones,l and galeforce winds prevailed. Oh well, at least there was Chocolate! And Roast Lamb. I think I prefer the latter…

On to “How I’ve Worn” March. The month has seen me return to work after 10 months Mat Leave. That went fast! I can’t deny its busy of a morning (understatement), and I’ve been pretty slack at taking daily photos, but my return to work outfits have mostly consisted of dresses which has been quite liberating after months of “one up one down”, plus they are a no-brainer of a put-together outfit.

  

Topshop Dress / Ash Boots

H&M Jumper (old) / George Skirt (old) / R&B Boots

I’ve also worn a fair bit of green. Don’t ask me why, I’ve just been drawn to it. Especially Khaki. Oh, and flat shoes. My  Apple Watch tells me I now walk around 14,000 steps a day, and that’s just my commute to and from the office now we’ve moved to basically Shoreditch. Any walking between meetings is extra. Heels are firmly in my bag to change in to these days!

   
Something new for me though has been on the beauty side of things – I introduced a darker lipstick into my make-up bag and I must say I’m rather liking it. Definitely one for more reds/oranges (Nars Red Sqaure being my favourite), this wine colour is really growing on me. The lipstick itself is also amazing. Very hydrating and good colour – from a brand I didn’t know. One to try if you are in the market for a new lippy. There’s a fab range of colours. 

You’ll also see in the picture above my Mothers Day gift from all three of the guys in my life. An initial for each of them on different metals (Silver for R, Gold for C and Rose Gold for O). A very thoughtful, and unexpected, gift :)

I’ll try and be better for April. I’m hoping that Spring will finally, well spring, so I can relegate the Opaques and boots for bare ankles and no socks at least!

Enjoy the last couple of days of the month and I’ll be back next week with my roundup.

Erin xx 
 

What to Buy: March

Morning Readers!

So supposedly Spring is upon us, and whilst the cherry and magnolia (my favourite) trees are blossoming, it’s doesn’t feel very Spring-like. I spent the day in London with Hubby on Saturday celebrating our 5th Wedding Anniversary and it was certainly fresh!

However, the shops are full of all things Spring so here are a few of my favourites to add to your “What to Buy” lists this month.

Frills

   

M&S Shirt (instore only) / ASOS Dress

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with frills. I love them, they hate me. I’ve managed to make them work in the past by wearing a vertical frill, or a frilled hem, but anything up top has been a no-no, just adding bulk to my shoulders and chest that I certainly don’t need. I now know that if you are over a C cup, frills aren’t your friend, but I’ve found a couple of options this year that do actually work. I’d suggest sizing up in the M&S shirt but both are nice nods to the trend (and in one of my favourite shades).

Nana Shoes

   

Topshop / Mango

These are marmite and the men in your life won’t understand them, but they ARE comfortable and crutially, give a little bit of height. It’s taken me a while to accept these, as I’ve not found a pair I’ve LOVED. Something about the elastic on the front toe puts me off, but this Topshop pair is more of a ballet pump with a heel. Plus, they go with everything despite the print. I’m all about comfort these days, especially as I have to walk at least four miles a day now I’m back to work, so these are a nice in-between style.

Kick Flare Jeans

   

ASOS / Topshop*

I’m talking of the cropped variety here, not full length – they’re still a little 90s for me – but don’t underestimate the leg lengthening qualities of these. Wear now with boots and into Spring/Summer with trainers/wedges/espedrilles. *The Topshop version I’ve linked to are the Tall version but stores have the regular version in stock.

Nike Cortez   

Available at ASOS

Hands up who had a pair of these in the past? That’ll be me at university. A white leather pair with blue swoosh. And my goodness did I love them to death. Those paired with a denim button up a-line skirt were my uniform. The Cortez seem to have had a resurrection of late and metallics, colours and the fresh white (from Forrest Gump fame) all feature highly for this Spring/Summer. It must be my comfort quest coming out again, and my “Original” trainer obsession, but I do love these.

Embroidery

   

Zara / Zara / M&S

There’s a caveat here. There is some AWFUL embroidery around at the moment IMO (Zara I’m looking at you) but also some very wearable styles if coloured stitching is your kind of thing. I love the dress featured here but I hate the fact the back is sheer. What’s that all about? How does one wear a bra comfortably (can you see a theme here?!) Personally, I’m not into oriental things (or Bomber jackets – see Chest issues above!), but there’s no denying the detail on this jacket is gorgeous (and a good price point). 

I hope this has inspired you a little as to what’s around. It’s a bit of a weird season in all honesty, but the above items are definitely my favourites!

Will be back at the end of the month…

Erin xx

Spring Capsule Wardrobe update… (2016)

Before todays post, I just wanted to say that you for all your comments on my last post – Mama Body certainly struck a chord with lots of you and I hope you’ve all found the same reassurance and comfort in the responses that I did. x

When I started the whole ‘capsule wardrobe’ revolution in my life, the intent was to do a new capsule every season, so 4 a year. (For those not familiar with the idea that doesn’t mean a whole new wardrobe 4 times a year, rather refining it, adding a few new pieces and clearing out old/worn out/unsuitable for the season pieces so everything works together.) In fact, I find I prefer to have 2 big overhauls a year, for summer and mid-autumn. Around April/May and Oct/Nov seems to work for me and the whole point of capsule wardrobes is to make life easier, so how ever it works for you is the right way, not rigidly following my plan or anyone else’s. However, right about now, I always feel a strong need for a fresh injection of fun and colour into my wardrobe so I thought I’d share the pieces I recently bought to do just that.



Hare with crown jumper £69.95 // GAP stripe ‘Voyager’ embroidered top £19.99 // Kitty drop shoulder knit back jumper £79.95
Shirt Tail Knit £69 // Triangle print Dress £29.99 // Sailor Stripe dress £39.95

New clothes at this time of year is, for me, about addressing two things: colour and lighter layers. I’m over the warm tones of my autumn wardrobe and dark winter cosy layers. I want spring brights but I still don’t want to feel like I’m dressed inappropriately for the grey days still ahead. Fortunately it’s not difficult to do as the stores roll out spring collections that are woefully inappropriate for the weather still but thankfully included spring orientated brights. My favourite shops buy into this whole heartedly… if you’re looking for a cheap update GAP is always full of brights and stripes that signal spring. I also needed to deal with a gaping hole in my capsule, which was going out clothes. Date night is a casual affair these days but more recently I’ve been going out with friends more, entertaining more and getting out with Pete more. I’ve really been scratching about in my wardrobe for suitable options so I needed a couple of nicer things that could be dressed up. Here’s what I’ve ended up with…

Tops are always my main focus as I’ll continue to live in jeans for months yet. Last years white/blue stripe breton has seen better days and my navy/white one feels tired too, so I went for a change with this embroidered one with a nautical nod. I love a sloppy oversized fine knit and this woven front one is still navy so not too summery, but couldn’t be happier with the bright floral splashes on it. (Also loving the potential for styling with some white jeans in summer as per the stock image.) For colder days I loved this grey jumper. I can see it will be a wardrobe stable in this colour but the quirky hare and his crown add a splash of cheer that I can see worn with brighter bottom half options in a few months.

For going out, as I’ve said, a lot of the time it’s a very casual affair for us but other than my staple breton stripes, I’m lacking in dressier tops… This one is a beautiful soft grey and has a collar bone revealing scoop neck, with a delicate lower layer that is flattering when you want to eat a really good meal. ;) With a pretty necklace and skinny jeans, this will get a lot of use for nights out here. When the occasion calls for it however, I’m excited about wearing this triangle print dress. It was a total bargain from H&M, fits really well with a good amount of stretch and is flattering and comfortable. A winner all round. Lastly I couldn’t resist this tunic style striped dress. I’ve been after one for a while and today I’m wearing it with glitter converse style trainers (check it out over on Instagram) and tights but in summer it’ll be great with bare legs and wide strapped sandals.

So that’s it for another couple of months. If I can muster the time and energy I’ll do some outfit posts of how I’m integrating these into my current wardrobe, then look out for my spring/summer capsule in a couple of months! :)

Rebecca x

Mama Body

I’m often thinking about motherhood issues I’d like to share here and rarely get time to sit and tap something coherent out but I’d love to encourage some honest discussion, so here’s the first in a series… more to follow.

Let’s cut to the chase today, how do you *really* feel about your body now you have had a baby?

I’ve thought about writing this for months… putting it off mainly because I wanted to reach the fabled ‘other side’ that I’d read so many other super mums accounts of. The holy grail of your pre-pregnancy weight, feeling like you’ve ‘got your body back‘ and regaining your pre-motherhood confidence. Turns out at 19 months post partum, I don’t think for me at least, that perfect triad actually exists. My body has gone through many stages – post partum ‘bump’ (that lasted weeks longer than I expected,) then months where I was heavy but truly didn’t care as I was so wrapped up in my beautiful baby. The first realisations that I wanted to try and get my weight down only started to creep into my mind around 10-12 months after having Bea and co-incidentally, perhaps with a slightly conscious moderation of my cake heavy diet, I started to very slowly move towards my pre-pregnancy weight. For a while I was happy with the slimmer silhouette I saw in the mirror then I started to look at the finer detail. And it’s fair to say I don’t love what I see.


Image of Amanda, via the 4th Trimester Bodies Project on Instagram

I’ve gone to write this so many times and hesitated. In part I suppose I hoped I’d miraculously lose weight/clean up my eating habits/suddenly find the desire or time to start exercising regularly and the whole issue would go away. In part because it’s like there’s some kind of shame in admitting that under your clothes (because in reality most of what I dislike isn’t really visible,) isn’t as attractive as the media tells us it should be. And whilst I know there are truly genetically lucky women (some amongst my friends,) who have lost weight quickly, through feeding or otherwise, and still look great, the media and just your average blogger posting about how they got their weight down/body back by cutting out sugar/rediscovering their love of pilates/breast feeding, really doesn’t help.

So the truth about my body is that it still doesn’t feel like my own. I’m still feeding Bea morning and evening. This week she has been particularly clingy and my body rarely feels like my own unless she’s asleep in her cot and then, ironically I miss her. My boobs haven’t done too badly for feeding her and don’t look a whole lot different, although I’m currently missing the fullness pregnancy and feeding imparted. I’m sure everybody feels differently about the parts of their body that are different after a baby, but for me it’s my middle that bothers me the most. My waist seems to be just… absent. And my stomach muscles, whilst still present, (I know – I regularly try to tense them to check they are still there!) are hidden under a layer of blubber and seem intent on just sagging out of shape when I am relaxed… so all the time. But the thing I hate the most is the skin. I got stretch marks under my bump in about my 35th week of pregnancy. I expected it because I suffered with stretch marks in my teens but they are so faded now I hoped they would disappear to the barely visible silvery lines the earlier ones left. Whilst they are less visible now and pale, they’ve totally altered the texture of my skin. Stood upright you’d never notice but any bending forwards reveals the crepe-like texture and loose skin I loathe.

Loathe is a strong word and not how I feel about my ‘self’ I hasten to add. Fortunately I have never based my self worth on my external appearance but even though I consider myself to be unusually self confident, there have to be things and times when you don’t feel perfect. Even as I write this I feel almost defeated in admitting it. I’m mentally straining for a positive comment or course of action to round off this blog post with, to say what I’m going to do about it, or how I’m going to change myself. But I think what I really want to say is it’s ok to feel like this. That maybe acceptance is the way forwards and the way to ultimate happiness about your body after having babies. Perhaps the cliched end is that I’d go through it all again and worse for Bea. Being a mother is so much better than having a perfect (if it ever was) body and I’d much rather spend time with her than time pursuing it. In my case, most of the time motherhood is distracting enough to prevent me dwelling on the reality of my ‘new’ body. But it’s a part of motherhood nonetheless.

Now it’s time to hand over to you. How do you really feel about your body? Have your feelings changed? Perhaps you feel differently to me? I’d love to hear your thoughts readers :)

Rebecca x