Big Kitchen // Little Kitchen

If you follow me on Instagram (you can here,) you might have seen my post this sunday sharing the Ikea Hack Pete did (I take no credit for the labour but it was totally *my* ahem, Pinterest’s) idea. ;) Now it gets more attention than the actual kitchen does when people come to the house.

I thought this kind of thing was pretty commonplace but guess thats what you get from being a Pinterest addict as many of you asked me to share it… so here’s what we did to make Bea’s mini-kitchen.

It was pretty straight forward. Our kitchen cupboards are painted and we had some of the paint left over so they got a coat of undercoat and then 2 coats of Farrow and Ball’s Dove Tale grey. You can buy the Ikea Duktig play kitchen for £45

We have marble worktops so I found a marble effect adhesive vinyl (basically sticky backed plastic) they we used to cover the worktop, folding it around the edges and cutting in to make it smooth round the corners and under the sink and hob.

We sprayed painted the handles and tap gold (Wilko’s is my favourite for the best gold tone.) I always wanted gold hardware in our kitchen but it didn’t quite happen so I thought why not for Bea?! We are thinking about sourcing some knobs to add to the front of the kitchen above the door with the window to make an ‘oven’ for her but I haven’t got around to it yet.

Of course you could do anything with your IKEA kitchen, and this doesn’t have the upper part that you buy separately – Bea is as yet not tall enough to reach it so we though we would save it for a future birthday ;) . I’ve seen these kitchens done in vintage style with pink cupboards and frilly gingham curtains, or putting a wood effect vinyl on (or real wood top) and adding some metro tiles to the backsplash would be awesome as a country style kitchen.

I hope it has inspired you – it was so quick and easy, and dare I say, although Bea probably doesn’t appreciate it yet, I love that it looks great in our kitchen!


PS! more inspiration here

The 5 best books for babies…

I love reading to Bea and whilst our evening routine doesn’t always involve a story at the moment we do read to her every day, if not several times. We have done this since she was tiny, when it was really more for us than for her, so this is a little list of the best books we found for the first 12 months and I’d love to hear if you have any to add for that specific period.

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

“But the next baby born was truly divine, a sweet little child who was mine, all mine.”

My mum bought this for Bea when she was born, it is such a cute story and I loved reading it to her, in much the same way people enjoy ‘Guess how much I love you’.


One of my favourite books from childhood, I loved reading this to Bea for nostalgic reasons but it’s also one she can interact with by turning the (board) pages and I imagine will grow with her. We even ended up walking around when she’s tired or sad sing songing away, ‘Here’s a little baby one, two, three, carried in her mummy’s arms, what does she see…’ – and now it’s one of the staple gifts I buy for new babies.

That’s Not My Puppy

This was given to us by a friend with 2 kids who clearly knew what she was doing when she bought it! It became the first book that Bea really enjoyed and interacted with due to the touchy feely  panels on every page and with it’s sturdy board pages was also the book she learned to turn pages with herself. We now have Thats’s not my … Monkey, Owl, Kitten and Robot – just for a bit of non-stereotypical reading material ;)

I’d Know You Anywhere, My Love

There are things about you quite unlike any other. Things always known by your father or mother. So if you decide to be different one day, no worries…I’d know you anyway.

Totally schmaltzy in a way only a parent will appreciate ;) this was the first book that I personally ever bought for Bea. We bought it in the US on holiday and as such it is by an American Author, and refers to some unusual animals like the ‘blue footed booby.’ The illustrations are beautiful and it’s just a story I really love reading to her. It also has side notes encouraging children to make the actions for certain animals that we leave out now but will be great later on. I always think of this one as ‘our’ book and it’s another great one for a gift as it’s not that common over here.

The Snail and the Whale

This is the tale of a tiny snail and a great big grey blue hump backed whale…

Overtaking The Gruffalo in our affections comes this Julia Donaldson book about a snail who hitches a ride sightseeing around the world on a whales tail. It has wonderful alliteration and is quite a tongue twister to read but I love books that sing song and rhyme as you read them so I enjoy it and it never fails to settle eea down as a result too. This is a good one for the parent to enjoy reading as much as the child – no matter the age and its long enough to wind down with before bed.

This is just a selection of our personal favourites and is by no means exhaustive. Which books are your favourites for under ones? 

Love, Rebecca


Reaching out to Refugees.

The plight of the people fleeing Syria has been in the news for months, years even. This weeks pictures of Aylan Kurdi, the 3 year old boy drowned attempting to escape with his family really brought it home to me, as the world is finally starting to see past propaganda stories about benefit seeking immigrants and focus on humanitarian relief for the affected people. As you probably know, his mother, brother and 9 others in that boat alone died.

Before this picture it was some particularly brilliant news coverage that had got me thinking about their devastating situation. I have often in the past thought that if Britain were facing war and my family at risk, I would leave at once. I am a Doctor, I would find work elsewhere, we would be safe. Listening to the devastating stories that are emerging it is clear these people are also families, with professions and skills. There is nothing to distinguish between us other than location and circumstance. Seeing Aylan Kurdi’s little body on the beach just broke my heart, all I could see was Bea and another families anguish.

So I thought this weekend I would share a few ways you can help. I can’t sit and do nothing any longer, hoping the European governments do the right thing. At a time of year when we are planning house improvements, new clothes and holidays it all seems futile when whole families would give anything for safety, food and shelter. Here’s a few things I am doing, and if you have any direct ways of helping I would love for you to share them here.

  • Donate to the Red Cross
  • I was also directed to a group called Kos Kindness. The group was set up a couple of years back to help Greek families in poverty due to the economic crisis there but are now also inundated with refugees. There are several ways you can help. There’s a crowd funding page to help with delivery and an Amazon wish list that is kept up to date with what is required. You can buy food from a local supermarket and get it delivered online (the delivery address for Kos Kindness is on their Facebook page.) I’ve seen people are talking about sending shoeboxes full of practical items like toothbrushes, nappies, clothes, shoes and soap.
  • Many of the national newspapers are also publishing advice and links for practical ways you can help. Here are some from The Independent and The Guardian.

What are you doing to help?

Love, Rebecca.

PS. Some of you may have noticed the blog has been down for a few days – it’s all sorted after an administrative error so we will be posting as usual next week. Thanks for bearing with us.

If the shoe fits…

We bought Bea her first pair of shoes at 11 months… I wouldn’t have bothered but it was summery weather (now a distant memory!) and she was walking a lot holding our hands around the garden, so I wanted her feet protected. It was a tough decision though, as you may know babies feet are still developing, so they should be out of shoes as much as possible. We figured it would just be brief spells so decided to go ahead. She then started walking around her first birthday and shortly after started nursery, where they have to wear shoes to go outside and often inside too. That first pretty pair, from Clarks naturally, are quickly getting worn out so I’m starting to think about autumn/winter footwear for walks in the park, puddle jumping (wellies I think!) and playing outside.

The problem is, its really hard to find nice children’s shoes. I like her to look half presentable so something that goes with everything is ideal, but I’m not compromising on fit for fashion. Bea’s feet are a tiny size 2F so shopping in the likes of the high street stores like M&S isn’t an option as they don’t seem to go below size 4. Added to all of that, a neighbour of ours who used to work for NIKE happened to tell us that NIKE spend more on research in a year into children’s foot development than Clarks turn over as a company in the same year. Which makes me think we’ll be adding some cute trainers to the collection.

I’d love to hear if you guys have discovered any ‘proper’ shoes that are safe and stylish around the internet or high street, suitable for first steps and tiny feet. Please do share!


PS! Feeling a bit rubbish today? This will cheer you up ;)

The post baby body…

Now Bea is 12 months old I finally feel in a position to comment on my body. And honestly, it’s still changing, but I feel I can write this from a position of reasonable experience and with a realistic outlook. Before I start, please don’t anyone take any of this as a reflection or judgement on their body or decisions regarding it. This is purely my own personal experience and not meant to make anyone else scrutinise themselves, mother or not.

When I became pregnant, I was 10 and a half stone. To put that into context I’m about 5ft 7inches. It was the heaviest I have ever been and ironically I feel I got there because I was planning to get pregnant. My state of mind about starting a family was so messed up on reflection that I was constantly refusing to deny myself anything… if I had a pound for all the times I ordered something less than healthy or thought ‘to hell with it, I’ll have another drink…‘ because I thought I wouldn’t be able to eat/drink it during pregnancy, I’d be treating myself to something very fancy. I’d say my ‘happy weight’ i.e. the place where I feel good in my clothes but don’t have to really do much to maintain my weight is around 10 stone or just under, so I was at least half a stone heavier than I should be.

I weighed myself obsessively in pregnancy – not out of any concern for what I gained – I always assumed I’d get it off afterwards, but because I was fascinated by how much my body was changing. I won’t say I wasn’t keeping an eye on things, but I was eating everything in sight and so I made a mental note that if my weight ballooned I’d have to start being a bit more healthy. However, normal and healthy weight gain in pregnancy is 1 and a half to 2 and a half stone and watching my weight creep slowly up I never felt the need to cut back. In the end I gained exactly 2 stone, weighing in at 12 and a half stone the morning of my C-section. And I felt like a Goddess – I honestly can’t stress that enough. I LOVED my pregnant body.

You know how everyone tells stories about how they lost ‘a stone in the 24 hours after delivery,‘? Well, I had high hopes. I had a 6 and a half pound bundle, and had shed a placenta, a load of amniotic fluid and a bit of blood… I couldn’t wait to get on those scales with morbid fascination! Imagine my surprise when I had lost a measly 6 pounds! My flipping baby was heavier than that!

Of course, I didn’t care. My ‘baby bump’ took at least 3 weeks to subside and I accepted that it can take a bit longer post c-section. And in fact for many weeks or months afterwards my tummy was round and quite solid. It slowly started to settle but it was at a snails pace. I was (and still am,) breastfeeding but to say that breastfeeding makes you lose weight is the biggest myth in town… I’m sure it does, but if you’re eating for England, nothing can help you! – I took my milk production very seriously and after an astonishing conversation with a midwife early on who clearly thought I was trying to get my figure back at 10 days in when Bea was weighed and hadn’t gained anything, I was told to eat 3 square meals a day with pudding and snacks and to take food to bed too for the night feeds! And I did. Granted I didn’t gain any weight, but I think the breastfeeding mother typically loses weight because of being pinned under a constantly feeding baby and neglecting her own needs – I’m grateful to say that wasn’t me, I was well looked after by Pete – far too well! ;)

As the months went on my weight plateaued then would drop a fraction, then plateau again. Sometimes it bothered me, but on the whole I really didn’t care. I wasn’t desperately concerned with staring in the mirror before I had Bea, and afterward, well, I spent all my time just staring at her instead. When it did bother me I set myself targets, saying ‘I’ll start exercising at 6 months,‘ which became 9 months and ‘next month’. In truth, looking back, I just didn’t want to at all. My head wasn’t in a space that prioritised me or my needs and wants and rather than resenting or regretting that, I just didn’t even think about it. I’m not going to lie though, it was tough walking round in a bikini on holiday before she was even 4 months old.

Reading this back, I just realised I’ve talked almost exclusively about my weight, rather than my shape. That’s partly because its only recently as my weight has gone down a little bit more again that I’ve started to dislike what I see more. I’m still breastfeeding, so my boobs aren’t what they were, but they aren’t totally deflated yet either. ;) Honestly, I don’t really care about them. It did take a whole new perspective when I finally went bra shopping as the shapes and styles I’d normally reach for weren’t working for me at all, but I can’t complain.

I think the part of me that has changed the most is my stomach. It’s the area I have always gained weight in but this is different, I really feel that no matter what I do now, the skin isn’t going to recover its elasticity and go smooth again. A lot of people complain about C-section scars causing a ‘pouch’ of skin, but I don’t think it’s anything to do with that, the skin just stretched so much it can’t recover. I hope I find I’m wrong but I guess it’s just reality that skin that was so stretched won’t be the same afterwards. That said, everybody is different! One positive is that I did get stretch marks when I was pregnant… quite a lot of them and early on – I remember being quite devastated when one appeared at 35 weeks and I still thought I had 7 weeks to go! They were all under my bump but I’m pleased to report that like the ones I got in my teens they are all invisible now unless you scrutinise my skin. So that’s a plus! What bugs me is when you can see that skin and roll of fat through my clothes. Not pretty and really motivating me now to work on getting my shape back.

As I write, with Bea approaching 13 months I’m 5lbs heavier than I was at conception, having done absolutely nothing to shift any weight. I’ve finally had a change of mindset and feel ready to make a concerted effort to get back into shape and work on my waistline, but I’ll save that for another post.

Right now I’d love to hear your thoughts on your body post baby – what has changed and how do you feel about it?


What I thought about post-baby bodies before I had a baby…

Travelling with a baby: Stuff that helps

Before we went to Greece last week we bought some travel gear that we found really useful and I thought I’d share… along with some fun stuff. I wish I’d known about some of these earlier for use out and about at home to be honest, particularly the travel high chair, so don’t discount them if you’re not traveling anywhere!

1. Totseat Kids Travel Highchair £23.99
There was no high chair in our apartment and to be honest we were only offered them at restaurants 50% of the time or less… and I won’t go into the standards of cleanliness of the ones we received. Nothing bugs me more than Bea eating on my knee, squirming and wiping her hands, face and food on my clothes so this was a godsend. It fits on multiple different seat backs (we didn’t find one it don’t fit,) is very secure, rolls up really small and is washable. Genius idea and we will be using it regularly back home too. The only thing is that it doesn’t add much height, but we tended to sit her on a rolled up towel or something which gave enough height and I suspect if your baby was a bit taller then Bea (not difficult!) it would be better. (Koo-Di do a much cheaper one but it’s not adjustable for all the different chair backs so I imagine wouldn’t always work.)

2. Koo-di Pop-Up Travel Bubble Cot Around £40
You guessed it, no cot either… Maybe some other mums can explain to me how you travel with one of the usual travel cots – they seem so big and heavy for suitcases? We bought this months back for going to friends houses but it’s also great for holidays as it’s light, fits into a case when packed down and functions as a mosquito net too.

3. Koo-di Pop-Up Travel Bubble Cot £9.99
For a bit of fun we bought this for Bea for the pool. It was great – after the initial terrified meltdown when we first put her in it! It was brilliant because of the sunshade, so even if it was midday, we could put her in there to cool off and she was covered from the heat of the sun :)

4. Summer Infant Tiny Diner – Green £9.99
Another brilliant find for baby lead weaners or any tot eating out, this was perfect for knowing that she was eating off a clean surface. Some of the places we ate were a bit grubby on the table tops or high chairs and while I’m not normally a clean freak, the last thing we needed in the heat was a dehydrating tummy bug! We sat this under her bottom on a seat (it’s quite big) or on the table and it worked really well – another one we will be using at home too.

5. Frostfire Popup Beach Shelter with UV protection (50+ UPF)
We were worried about keeping Bea shaded so bought this for the beach, knowing that the village we were visiting wasn’t the type where you pay for a lounger and parasol on the beach. ;) In fact, it was too hot even for this as it got hotter in the tent and we ended up buying a cheap parasol, but if it wasn’t as warm this would have been great – it provided good shade, a wind break and decent space for playing away from the handfuls of sand and pebbles that Bea was intent on shoving in her mouth!

Have you got any amazing finds for travelling with a baby? we’ve only got one year left before we have to start paying for her seat so I intend to do a lot more travelling with her over the next 12 months! ;)


11 months with Bea

Tomorrow Bea turns one, so expect all kinds of sentimental reflective writing coming up over the next couple of weeks. I have so much to share on a year of sleep, feeding, fun and love. But first, I need to squeeze this monthly update in before it seems old hat and irrelevant.

Developmentally, between 10 and 11 months was massive, in fact every month feels like that now! Lots of things she has been practising for a long time seem to have finally clicked into place. She can stack the wooden tower of rainbow rings we have and the way she looks so pleased with herself is priceless. Another favourite is zooming around pushing the walker we bought her, although she hasn’t quite mastered turning!

We had our first nights away from Daddy as I went on a work course in the Lake District and totally chickened on leaving Bea behind. I used the excuse that we are still feeding, but really I don’t think I could have left her! My mum came to help looking after her in the day while I went to the workshops and Bea joined us on a walk that was part of it too!

Bea is also becoming more and more sociable and interested in children. It started with getting excited when she went past the park in the pram with my mum and now if she is in a room with other children or passes them anywhere she is so desperate to interact – it’s so cute!

Lastly, we had a little staycation, which was so lovely. We had things to do during it but spending every day as a family together was so much fun. Our usual routine involves us switching off a lot in the week as Pete works late on Mondays and Fridays and I work late 2 of the other days so being together as a 3 is precious time. Bea chose that week to stand up by herself, (she had been cruising for a while but this was unaided,) which was pretty exciting too!

We will be having a birthday fun day tomorrow, do follow along on Instagram, and I’ll be back on Wednesday :)

How are you and your littles getting on?


10 months with Bea…

Whoa, ten months. Seriously, time is flying and it feels like she will be One already any minute. (Edit: I’m a little behind with these and in fact she will be One very soon, sob sob!)

As you can see from these photo’s, Bea’s mobility has gone to a whole other level. Gone are the days of me taking cute photos of her lying down in pretty outfits every week! Just before she reached 10 months Bea scaled the steps of our decking and she now climbs the stairs to bed every night (with us keeping a watchful eye and ready hand behind her!) She pulls up on everything and by the end of the month had started cruising too.

I won’t lie, it is tiring, but if it wasn’t for safety, I could leave her to entertain herself for hours. Toys aren’t getting a look in these days, now it’s all about radiators, wires, plug sockets, random bits of fluff or grit on the floor (cue crazy cleaning efforts daily from me,) the cats food bowl… you name it, if I don’t want her playing with it, she makes a Bea-line. ;)

Bea is talking more now and expanding her range of sounds. I think Cat (or ‘Ca!’) is her first word, used accurately for our cats, but also for all animals in general. Of course Daddy thinks Dada is the first one, but I’m not entirely convinced it’s used in context yet ;)

This months big achievement was clapping! I know lots of babies do it sooner but Bea just hadn’t tried at all, then one day I returned from work and it was the thing to be doing. ;) She pretty much hasn’t stopped since! Mum has also taught her to put her hands in the air when we say ‘SO BIG!’ - so cute. Their days together are lovely – I think she has been tiring my mum out but Mum does things with her I wouldn’t think of and I love hearing them laughing (Bea gets quite hysterical,) over something I have no idea about when I’m in the other room.

I’ll be squeezing another of these posts in next week because the week after, Bea is 1! Expect lots of nostalgic reflective and mushy posts while I mourn my tiny baby and celebrate my cheeky toddler ;)

Where are all you mama’s and babies at right now?


PS 9 months, 8 Months, 7 months, 6 months, 5 months, 4 months, 3 months, 2 months and the first month with Bea.

Garden Party Get Up…

We held Bea’s Naming Ceremony in our garden this last Sunday and as one of the reasons we chose a Naming Ceremony instead of a Christening was because we had no personal relationship with any of the local churches, it was important to us to hold it somewhere of significance. Our family home and newly finished garden seemed the perfect place to celebrate and start creating memories. Of course, I wanted to decorate too so I thought I’d share some of the inspiration behind the decor in case you are looking to decorate for any kind of garden party or celebration soon. It was all really simple and easy – mainly because I bought the decor in rather than making (most) of it and I’d recommend that approach for busy mums rather than aspiring towards unrealistic expectations!

I didn’t really have a theme but it is summer and I just wanted everything to look happy, fun and celebratory, so we went with bright colours.

DIY celebration flags // Mexicana fiesta bunting
Confetti Sprinkles Cake // Tags for wishes // Thumbprint tree

Of course, I collected some Pinterest inspiration, then found all the necessary supplies. Our celebrant Janet Lopacki provided us with the tree for a thumbprint guest book but the same one is available to download below. As another memento I cut up coloured paper (from TK Maxx) into tag shapes and left a stack for people to write a message for Bea and we got some lovely ones to keep for her. My intention is to make a scrapbook with the wishes, fingerprint tree and copies of the readings. The flags were a last minute idea to give to the children to wave through the ceremony, also made with the co-ordinating paper. I spotted the decor in John Lewis and made a note of their brand. Theres a much more extensive selection on their own website and I ended up buying it from them via Amazon which was cheaper. I happened to find some in TK Maxx too, although not in the colours I wanted.

(Free printable) DIY fingerprint tree: One Fab Day // Paper decor and fan strings: // Ink pad: Hobbycraft // Paper: (From TK Maxx)

At the end of the ceremony we also arranged a balloon release. I’d do this differently in future, because the message got a bit lost while people removed the strings from the balloons, but the idea was explained by Janet like this:

I know that Beatrice will receive, and give, a lot of love to everyone she meets in life. Today you have been given balloons to release into the sky, the purpose of this in a symbolic sense, is that during the course of Beatrice’s lifetime, the thoughts, hopes and wishes you have for Beatrice today, will be carried through the wind and the weather systems, kept in by that ozone layer, and with each ray of sunshine and drop of rain, that love and those aspirations will steadily come back down to Beatrice.

We have had a few friends take photos that I’m just waiting to come back, but when they do, I’ll share a few here so you can see how it all turned out!


Behind the scenes…

Firstly, let me apologise for going AWOL last week. A little while ago we decided against a traditional Christening for Bea and opted for a humanist naming ceremony. We planned it for our newly finished garden, found a celebrant and invited our closest friends and family. As a consequence, last week was busy!

It was such an amazing day and I’m so glad we did it. I’m going to come back soon and tell you all more about it but here are some pictures of the planning first. I actually enjoyed the build up and the day without feeling really stressed, probably because we did it exactly how we wanted it.

In the meantime, if you didn’t catch Erin’s post yesterday, do go back and have a look at how she wore June.