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

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

The Garden in Winter…

Waking up on a cold, frosty and foggy morning here reminded me I had some frosty shots of our garden that I took a few weeks ago to share with you all. One of the reasons I chose the style of planting that we went for in our garden is that part of the intention when planning is to choose plants that have striking form in the winter months. They might have fabulous seed pods or just hold their shape in the early winter and I happen to think that there is nothing more beautiful than frost coated flower heads in the depths of winter, with the low sunlight streaming across the garden. I was fascinated to see how my planting turned out in this respect and I’m pretty happy!



In fact it’s actually time now to start chopping down the old dead stalks and seed heads ready for the new growth to come through and generally tidy up the garden. It’s also a great time to prune your shrubs if they are getting out of hand. (You can’t really go wrong doing it now but if you prune them hard and they are the kind of plants that flower early on last years wood, you might sacrifice this years flowers.) If you want to be really brutal and reclaim your garden you can chop them by 2/3!


If you would like some winter form in your Garden, here are some plants to look out for that have featured in these pictures:

  • Rudbeckia and Echinacea
  • Sedum
  • Monarda
  • Verbena
  • Verbascum

And of course grasses :) (the pale floaty one you can see here is called Stipa Tenuissima – plant it in swathes of 5 or more for a mass effect.)

It’s also a good time to look at your garden and see where the bare patches are. Now is the time to think about putting something there that would look good at this time of year – something with berries, an early flowering blossom or shrub, or with interesting coloured branches. And if you (like me) are wishing you had got around to planting some bulbs last autumn, go and pick a few up at the local garden centre, ready potted and put them in for instant colour.

Happy gardening readers!

Rebecca x

January Joy: Try some new recipes

One of the things I wanted to do for my New Years resolutions was to eat a wider variety of food. I don’t know about you guys but I feel we are in a rut of eating the same 5-10 dishes night after night, Spaghetti Bolognese, Fajitas, Stirfry, Pasta, Salmon… In winter theres the added problem of eating too much stodge so I wanted warming winter foods that wouldn’t make me look like a polar bear even if I felt like one. I’m not so sure about how I’m doing on that last point but I have found some great recipes I thought I’d share.


The Carb-free comfort dish: Cod, Cauliflower and Chorizo mornay
The healthy breakfast: Bircher Museli with Apple and Banana
The Vegetarian option: Roast Aubergine Parmigiana
The one your kids will eat: Cheesy ham and broccoli pasta

To inspire me with some new recipes I bought Good Food magazine and I really enjoyed it. All of the recipes above have been tried by us from this months magazine and I’m seriously considering a subscription – it’s £5 for 5 issues right now! Despite being carb free the cod mornay was amazingly satisfying and comforting, the bircher muesli is awesome for getting some fruit in right at the start of your day and the cheesy pasta was a massive hit with Bea – including the broccoli!

Have you tried anything new this month? – I’d thoroughly recommend all of these!

Love,
Rebecca x

Thanking you kindly…

As a child I was always brought up to write thank you letters, and I mean to everyone. People we saw regularly, people we had already thanked at the time of receiving the gifts and people far away. As an adult, I try to keep writing them but admit, time gets the better of me and sometimes it’s frankly embarrassing after so much time has passed to send a thank you letter so late!


Image Via The Glitter Guide: 7 Sweet thank you cards
Now that we have Bea, its made me think a lot more about thank you’s and the act of writing a thank you letter. Personally, when I give someone a gift, I do it without the expectation of thanks. I don’t give to receive thanks in return, but simply because I want to. I might want to celebrate someones birthday or new baby, or just cheer them up and whilst a thank you is lovely to receive, I don’t count them or look out for them. In fact there are occasions when I would rather NOT receive a thank you letter… I’d would much prefer that new mum spend an extra 5 or 10 minutes cuddling her new baby than thanking me for the gift I sent.

Now we have Bea, a whole new world of thanking people has popped up, and I feel I ought to write thank you’s for all of her gifts too. But when she’s not actually writing them herself, I’m not actually teaching her to appreciate the thought, effort or financial generosity behind a gift (which I would plan to do in future with an older child,) and it is one more burden for an ever growing mummy to-do list. So I’ve decided that we will write thank you’s for geographically distant relatives and people we won’t see to thank. Those that we do see will be thanked in person on receipt of the gift and family/friends can have electronic thank you by way of photo or email messages showing the presents in use.

I’m curious to know readers, what did you do growing up and what do you do now, (or plan to do) with your children?

Love,
Rebecca

The Small Things… LOFTi Laundry drying rack

(In the past, one of the things that held me up from blogging was that I felt my posts were going to be one-dimensional or too simple if you like, but there are so many things I find and love and want to share that I’m creating a new column for them called ‘The Small Things’. Short and sweet. ;) )

When I was growing up we lived in a house with an old fashioned airer that was fixed to the ceiling and had a pully system to raise and lower it for hanging the washing out to dry on. It helped that it was in the same room as the boiler (and I believe some people will have seen them above Aga’s?) but it was a demon at drying clothes in the winter. As a result I don’t remember having a tumble dryer when we were growing up either. Since we moved into this house and when Bea was small we now have somewhere to put a dryer (the cellar) and bought one, but I have been wholeheartedly disappointed with it – I find it shrinks Bea’s clothes so they don’t last long at all, and apart from towels which it is great for, the drying takes forever. Bedding just gets in a big warm wet ball.

Over the last 2 years as we have renovated different rooms in the house, lots of the rooms have been out of action as dumping grounds or just out of the way, so we have always had a ‘drying room’. Read: Mountains of clothes hanging to dry, (slowly and sometimes with that damp smell that I hate!) and piles more that have been dumped off the dryer but not put away. I was so fed up of it I decided we needed one of these drying racks and set about finding one. I opted for the Lakeland Lofti aluminium drying rack as it was light and completely smooth so no chance of snagging tights and the like. We have positioned it on the landing of our top floor. It’s not that warm up there, as the roof insulation is virtually non-existent, but its above a radiator and so far I couldn’t be happier about how quickly things dry. The added (intentional) bonus is that once new washing needs to go on it, it has to be cleared and the clean laundry can’t just be dumped on the landing so it is getting put away in a timely fashion. #winwin!

If you have somewhere you could put one, I’d highly recommend it!

Rebecca x

Disclaimer! Edited to add, this is not a paid review, nor was the LOFTi provided for review. It was bought by me and I liked it enough to share.

January Joy: Make some Resolutions!

Hi again! Its so lovely to hear from you all again – thank you so much for the comments, I’m glad to be back. It would appear I’m not more timely than I was tho ;)

So as promised… my resolutions. I know some people dont like resolutions but I’m a goal setter and I just can’t resist January as a fresh start for getting some plans, aspirations and must-try harder goals on paper. I thought about not bothering but realised how negative it felt and although it’s seen as cliche, I can be found making resolutions most weeks of the year so the first is no exception ;)

Here they are. Resolutions, the 2016 edition.
1. Clear out and declutter corners
2. Finish the house
3. Eat better
4. Learn to Knit

I actually started my first one before Christmas with our Cellar. I was brought up purging (my mum is pretty good at it with clothes and as a child we were always made to go through the toy cupboard and get rid of some things before Christmas, which were taken to the local Childrens home.) Unfortunately I’m now busy, lazy and married to a man who hoards. The dangers of having a big house are that you fill it and our lives have exploded from a 3 bed terrace to 3 sprawling floors of space that is rapidly getting filled. The thought of having to pack it up if we moved terrifies me and I’m a BIG believer that if you are putting something into a room to keep it out of the way where it doesnt get looked at year to year, it shouldn’t be in your life. So I’m trying to use my resolutions to action that thought. Clearing out the cellar (4 car loads to the tip later and we are half way there I think!) was an amazing feeling and I want to keep going. To keep it achievable I’m tackling little corners and spots of clutter at a time, rather than unachieveable whole rooms and after reading this A year of tidying I’m thinking I’ll buy the KonMari book – Has anyone read it?

The second resolution is stolen from Pete. We still have several rooms to tackle and others that have been 80% completed but lack finishing touches. We also have an exciting project under investigation which I’ll share if it is actually going to happen. Either way there are lots more home posts to come from FF in 2016!

New Year, new house project…. Fireplace shopping today! #renovation #interiors #periodhouse #fireplace

A photo posted by Rebecca Norris (@rebecca_norris) on

The last two are certainly the stuff of yearly resolutions. Delving a bit deeper though I want to expand my weekly standard recipe repertoire and find some less stodgy but satisfying and delicious winter options. We eat a lot with Bea and I obviously want her to eat well and try lots of things so that needs to be woven into he plan too. I’ve already branch out and bought Good Food magazine which Pete tried a Cod, Cauliflower and Chorizo dish from last night that was amazing, so I’m inspired to keep going.

And it wouldn’t be New Year without a new skill right? I suppose I could say I already know how to knit but I haven’t done any for at least 15 years and even then didn’t know how to cast on or off, so there’s plenty to learn and re-learn. I’d just love to whip up a new hat for Bea when I want to or little jumpers and cardigans, and to know she was wearing something I made with love would be, well… pretty special. Watch this space!

Of course there could be more… date night, trying to get fit again… but now it’s your turn readers. Have you made any resolutions? Got any goals? even if they are not for the year and just on your current to-do list, I’d love to hear them ;)

Rebecca x

PS Look how big Bea grew! I couldn’t resist including a few pictures as it’s been a while… ;)

Happy New Year!

Hello readers! I’m happy to say, I’m back!

I knew almost as soon as I said goodbye that I wanted to continue blogging in some capacity, I value the community here too much to quit completely, but I needed to find a way forward. I think with the benefit of hindsight, because Florence Finds has changed so much since the beginning, it felt wrong to be continually winding down and I needed a clean break to start again. With that in mind, I will be here on a complete ad-hoc basis. If I have something to say, and the time to say it, I will!

I think part of the problem, aside from work, becoming a mother and that little thing called ‘life’ getting in the way, the way I blog has changed massively in the 3+ years since I started Florence Finds. Initially it was very much magazine style with snippets I found everywhere, but over time it has evolved to become a completely personal blog, a place where I share my inspiration and choices. Instead of pinching a couple of stock images of a moisturiser and babbling my thoughts on it, now a typical post documents something I did or am planning and a room update for example requires me to tidy,(!) photograph it, edit the photos, write the post and put all sorts of links in. They are much more time consuming than they were. I used to wrestle with my lack of appetite for trawling the online sites for a new ‘party dress review’ but I have come to terms with just sharing my life now, as I have always just wanted others to have the benefit of my experiences (good or bad,) and to gain the wisdom of so many others doing the same things and going through the same life stages. :) So here I am again.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year… I won’t be doing a traditional January Joy series, in that it won’t be pre-planned, but I think my blog posts throughout the month will reflect the general theme of ‘January Joy’ so I hope you enjoy reading them. I’ll be back with my resolutions tomorrow (as I felt they deserved a fresh post!)

If you are reading this… thanks for sticking around ;)

Rebecca x