9 months with Bea

Bea is 10 months tomorrow so I’m a little behind with these posts – I must catch up before she gets to One! The last 2 months have been so much fun, despite my being back at work, as Bea is becoming more and more of an interactive little person.

We’ve been lucky enough to be getting around and meeting blog friends recently and made a trip up to Scotland to see Roz in Glasgow and met up with Kirsty too. Bea loved meeting the babies and her tour of the forever house then topped off the visit by waving for the very first time at Kirsty!

Since crawling, life has been all about moving for Bea. Toys are no longer of interest and instead she’s all about handles, plugs, wires, radiator valves and anything else inappropriate. She’s moved on really quickly from crawling to pulling up at 35 weeks; Only 2 weeks later and she was standing in her cot and we had to lower the cot base. We’ve covered all the plugs with child proof socket covers but theres still a lot to do to baby proof the house and we just try to make sure there’s nothing for her to hurt herself on around on the floor.

Bea has never been a babbly baby, and in fact when other babies were ba ba ba-ing Bea was still quiet, just doing occasional shouty noises. Around 36 weeks though everything changed and chattering was the order of the day. She started making ‘Bwa’ sounds over and over and over and chattering back to you if you repeated them back to her :)

It didn’t take long before her repertoire of noises was improved however, now we have Ca ca ca… too!

I’ll leave it there before I fall asleep or encroach on the next month, do share your stories of where you’re at with your little ones if you have them!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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

Spotted: Secret Linen Store Kids!

You all know I love the Secret Linen Store. Modern designs and great quality at competitive prices. Now I’m very excited to say they have extended their talents to kids bedding and it’s just as inspired as the original range.

We’re not yet at the stage of needing ‘big bed’ linen but when we do I have already shuddered at the thought of character emblazoned kids bedding or pretty pretty ditzy florals and cliched cars and space ships. These designs feel fresh, modern and on trend enough to keep stylish parents happy, while in bright and striking colours that kids will love too!

I love the stylish grey stripes and fun teal bubbles!

What do you think readers? Would your big kids like these?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

My house: Kitchen reveal

This post has been a very long time coming… I think we were back in the kitchen and using it about a month before Bea was born in July last year, but its taken me a considerable amount of time to take decent photos in good light, then I was thwarted by a camera malfunction (which is why some of the photos show different items in them!) but it’s finally ready to share. (Want a recap on what we started out with? Theres a few more pictures in our new house tour.)

I’ve shared various planning posts about the kitchen before which I have linked at the end of the article. If you read any of these posts before, you might know that we bought an ex-display kitchen that was about to be dismantled from a shop that was being refitted. It was a massive saving and whilst it was still not a small amount, it saved us I reckon about 50% on similar inframe solid wood kitchens. I absolutely love the style and the quality is also amazing. The smaller drawers have wooden dividers and felt lining inside, everything is soft close and has a heavy feel of quality about it which I’m really happy with. The units were originally a mix of dark brown and this soft grey (Farrow and Ball’s Dove Tale) so the whole thing was repainted to match. The handles were part of the deal and I’m so glad I didn’t have to choose any myself as I think it might have sent me over the edge! We chose Great White (also F&B) for the walls as it has a hint of pink which I felt the room needed as it’s west and north facing so can appear cold. It goes beautifully with the kitchen units I’m pleased to say!

We chose all SMEG appliances, mainly after searching for a range style oven. There were two reasons we went for a range instead of sleek inbuilt overns… firstly the kitchen aesthetic suited a range and secondly, we actually couldn’t configure the layout to work with a wall mounted oven set up anyway. Once we found the right range (we wanted one with clean lines and so many are covered in twidly buttons or have vintage design details,) we then looked at the rest of the SMEG range and found them to be competitive with other brands of comparative quality so we bought a 60/40 fridge freezer and our dishwasher from SMEG too. So far, we’re very happy with all of the appliances, particularly the oven. :)

The sink (as un-sexy as it is to talk about) was a big deal for me. In the old kitchen there had been a single sink and I can’t tell you how much it irritated me that there was no second or half sink to empty things into for rinse into. I wanted a sleek modern square one and it took me ages to find one that was reasonably priced but I finally did in B&Q, from their Cooke and Lewis range. I know not everyone likes stainless steel but it worked with the stainless steel range and hood and I like the finish personally. For the taps I searched high and low, but we ended up reusing the tap from the old kitchen when I realised all the ones I liked were exactly the same!

The biggest thing for me was the work tops and we finally went with Carrara marble. I LOVED the look of marble but nobody has anything good to say about it in a kitchen. All the stories are true – marble chips, scratches, stuns and etches with abandon, leading to a ‘patina’ of wear which doesn’t bother me at all. The one thing I was terrified of was staining but I’ve found coffee, juice and fruit spots on the marble and all have simply wiped off (although it had been sealed prior to and after installation.) The marble was actually cheaper than any other stone work surface and I’m really glad we went for it still.

The floor was another huge decision – I wanted real wood and although again, people don’t recommend it, I didn’t see any reason why not to go for it – although a kitchen floor does get wet, you don’t leave it wet do you?! We ened up however going for Kardean and its another decision we are really happy with. It looks fab – I wanted a parquet herringbone effect but only the top of the range was available in parquet style tiles. I was very particular about the colour and finish of the wood effect which was only available in the (fortunately) cheapest range, so we chopped the tiles in half and ended up with this oversized herringbone effect. It actually works to make the space look bigger and I love it.

Lastly, the light was the result of a bit of trial and error. I originally wanted 2 pendants over the island and bought some copper fisherman style ones from M&S, but unfortunately they only reached 80cm long from the ceiling. As our house is old with over 3m high ceilings they kind of hung half mast and looked insignificant. The same night they we installed (and removed swiftly) I spotted this statement pendant and made a snap decision to buy it. The electricians weren’t very pleased with me but I’m happy with the touch of glamour it adds to the space.

The stools are the old ones we bought as a temporary measure for the island we used in the kitchen before it was re-done. I haven’t found the right thing to replace them and I actually quite like the pop of colour!

I’ll leave it there for now although I do have a couple of other posts to share on the kitchen including what we would do differently in retrospect and how the things we have chosen have worn, which might be useful for some of you planning future projects. In the mean time, I hope you like it! :)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Suppliers/Sources:

Previous Kitchen posts:

#JanuaryJoy – Plan a project

Good morning readers!

I’ve left some of the prompts for this years #JanuaryJoy deliberately vague to allow as many people to join in as possible and whilst this particular prompt could encompass many things, for me it will be a house project. We’ve got quite a few things planned this year, big and small, from whole rooms to finishing touches. I’m keeping it small for now as I want to enjoy the remainder of my maternity leave dust and stress free, so I thought I’d share a couple of the projects I have in mind for this month.


Alcove storage // Peach and grey alcove

A Nursery wardrobe.
When we planned the nursery (which I will share soon, I promise!) I was convinced I was having a boy and didn’t give any thought to wardrobe space. We have a huge chest of drawers in there but since having a girl I’ve realised I need hanging space for dresses. The best place for the storage is in an alcove to the side of the chimney breast but it’s proving difficult to find a pice of furniture as it’s an oddly sized 66cms wide, so I’m having to think outside the box. I love the idea of being able to see Bea’s tiny clothes and so I thought some kind of open storage might work and hopefully won’t look too untidy as she doesn’t have that many clothes and I can still keep the majority folded in the drawers. Or do I do some kind of IKEA hack with something like this?

IMG_9491.JPG
Garden design by Tom Stuart-Smith.

Deck planting.
When we built our deck outside the kitchen last year we added some raised beds made of sleepers, half the height of the deck. They’re pretty big and the idea is to plant them with tall perennials that will surround the deck with foliage so it doesn’t seem separate from the garden. So the first job is to order some topsoil to fill them as they have stood empty since we built them, and secondly to plant them up with appropriate plants. I’m going for delicate drifting styles, in shade loving plants for one of the boxes on the north facing side and pretty flowers for the other west facing side which gets lots of sun.

IMG_9493.JPG
Bathroom via

Bathroom revamp.
Our bathroom is perfectly adequate and not on the agenda for change for quite some time… if we did change it, it would be part of quite a major reconfiguration of the first floor so we need to give that serious thought. In the meantime, I think I can make it a lot more us, with some simple additions. A new mirror, new light fittings, a bit of paint and some new hooks should make a big difference and it’ll be fun to change a room without all hell breaking loose in the house for a change. ;)

So what projects are you planning this January readers? (It doesn’t have to be house related!)

Love
Rebecca
xo

Star Finds of 2014

I often want to write about something that I really love but since blogging less I lean towards the meatier posts. I thought it would be fun to share the things I have consistently loved throughout the year – that stand the test of time and I use and go back to again and again. Here’s my list, have you got any stand out items from 2014?

Boots Sanctuary Spa long lasting hand lotion £5.50
I mentioned this hand cream when I did a review of several Sanctuary products a while back. It was an immediate standout and has continued to be so pleasing that I have replaced my own and bought it as gifts for other people. It restores my dry hands even after all the hand washing associated with looking after a small baby and after all the diy my hands have been involved in this year.

Burts Bee’s Mama Bee Nourishing body oil £10.99 but currently on offer ⅓ off! (and Baby Bee range.)
I never particularly liked Bio oil and whilst I didn’t always apply oil to my bump to prevent stretch marks (Bad news folks, if you’re going to get them, nothing will stop you, it’s a skin-type thing;) I did use it religiously after giving birth. This mama bee oil smells amazing (citrusy) and made me feel as though I was improving the elasticity of my skin and I still use it all over now. We also use the Baby Bee products at Bea’s bath time and she smells delicious as a result. ;)

Lush Ultrabland £7.25 for a small pot.
I started using this as a cheap alternative to Eve Lom in March this year and haven’t gone back. My skin has never been better and whilst that may be partly due to pregnancy, 5 months later it’s still great. I’m a huge advocate of oil based cleansers balancing problem skin and I think for the price anyone with troublesome skin should try it. Massage into dry skin (I use it to take my makeup off in one step too as I’m rather lazy like that…) then remove with a toner soaked cotton pad or two.

Lakeland mop
I never thought I’d write about a mop being one of my favourite things of the year, but this one has saved my sanity. Whilst having 2 walls knocked through, one door moved and 3 sets of new windows, you can imagine the almost constant dust for the last 12 months. In our hallway particularly the dust settled on wood floors and when we mopped (after brushing and hoovering,) it just pushed the dust around and created dull still-dirty floors. Then I found this triangular mop with a velcro-on microfibre head (replaceable) which you dampen in your floor cleaner then attach and use. I can get round the kitchen and hallway without needing to rinse it under normal conditions and it removes all the dirt or dust. I love microfibre cloths. Don’t get me started on using them for cleaning! (I couldn’t find the exact mop but this one is very similar.)

Instagram
I’m an Instagram addict, sharing behind the scenes goings on while we renovate and try to enjoy normal life too. It’s also the place where I most enjoy engaging with my readers. If you want to follow me I’m here, do say hi!

Inkifi
Following on from Instagram I also love the images it produces – often pictures of Bea I’ve snapped when my proper camera isn’t to hand. A lot of the Instagram printing companies are American but this one is British, well priced, ecofriendly and quick to deliver. I’ve used them twice for pictures of Bea to put in thank you and Christmas cards and will definitely be going back for more. They even have an app to order directly from your phone.

The local library.
Since Bea’s arrival was approaching I’ve started to use our local library more and more. There are so many parenting books out there that it could cost a lot to buy them and often be a waste as one mothers favourite recommendation is a red rag to another mother bull. Instead I loan them from the library and decide what would be helpful to buy and keep – I’ve done this with pregnancy books, baby books, sleep books and now am doing the same with weaning books and I reserve them all online first so there are no wasted trips. Support your local library!

Gel nails.
The last revelation of my year, just before Christmas I had my nails done (first time since Bea was born!) and knowing they wouldn’t make it to Christmas with all the DIY we had left to do and food prep, I opted for a gel manicure. 11 days later they are absolutely pristine, despite me picking screws up off a bare dusty floor, painting, peeling veg and having my hands in dish or bathwater constantly. I would highly recommend them to any mum or just those who can’t make a manicure last. ;) I go to Nailista in Manchester for mine.

Have you got any great finds for 2014?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

SALE time!

Good morning readers!

Thanks for bearing with me over the last couple of days. We are having a bit of a nightmare in the house. Having decided to re-do the lounge in time for Christmas (in October, so not that last minute!) we were so close on Tuesday when the fire fitter, joiner and decorator were all starting or finishing off. We haven’t even got a tree up yet and the house is a mess with new furniture stacked all over the old stuff. Disaster struck and the totally incompetent fire fitter (who clearly didn’t know how to work with marble,) cracked the marble hearth completely in two, meaning we couldn’t get it done. He then disappeared saying he was getting a new one and texted the next day to say he wasn’t coming back. He says he’s going to pay towards a replacement but I’m not holding my breath. We have now got someone to do the job but it will be on Monday so Christmas remains on hold; I’m taking until next week to get straight and try to enjoy what’s left of the Christmas build up. Plus I want to enjoy Bea after ignoring her for days whilst trying to organise builders etc and feeling like the worlds worst mum. :(

In the meantime, the sales started today! Here’s a few bargains to get you started! (Shop quick and you’ll still get them in time for Christmas!)

Kurt Geiger: Sutter UGG boots £169 (from £240) plus lots of party shoes!

Anthropologie Sale!

The Whistles sale started this morning.

There’s 35% off on Christmas finishing touches at Cox & Cox.

The Mama’s and Papa’s sale is on too.

Happy shopping. Have you finished all of yours yet?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Five on Friday…


Image from the Free People blog

Pretty free Christmas downloads for your table by Kelli Murray on the Free People Blog.

When I’m photographing my house as each room gets improved, I’m often despairing that it doesn’t look as good as I imagine on camera, or compare to the home tours captured around the interwebs. This post by Emily Henderson shows comparison images of her home photographed AND photoshopped for Domino! Who knew they even did that for house tours? Well, I feel a whole lot better now!

Loving the weather inspired goods made by PygmyCloud on Folksy (found via 91 Magazine – did you know you can get a yearly subscription for £7? A perfect present for a crafty friend.)

I’ve been reading lots about sleep patterns lately after a pretty fraught week with Bea (Growth spurt? Wonder week? Sleep regression? Who cares. It’s passing!) and this site has lots of useful information.

I’m more interested in planning the decor of my Christmas table to be honest than the food on it and I’m more than tempted by the lovely decorations and candleholders or sticks from Rockett St George, plus some of them are already in the sale!

Also, don’t forget #FFfestivefun! I’m so enjoying seeing all your tagged photos’s – check out the prompts here and keep joining in!

Happy weekend readers!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

It’s time for some Festive Fun!

Hi Everyone

Since we are almost at the start of December, to get us all into the spirit of things, I thought I’d set up a little challenge for you all.

This started as me thinking about it as a “style challenge”, as I know those prompts help me to plan what I’m wearing on a daily basis, but this is going to be much more about the upcoming Christmas season, and the fun that’s about to be had.

Welcome to #FFfestivefun!

Above you will see some prompts we’d love you all to get involved with – either by way of a style challenge (this is how I’m going to approach it) or by interpreting them in other ways so you can join in anyway ;)

Rebecca has created this kind of thing in the past with #JanuaryJoy so it won’t be new to you, but as a reminder, the numbers in the image above correspond to dates. As is the norm here on FF, there will be no weekend tasks.  You don’t have to do every single one – just share what you can. I’ll even do a round up mid-month of what’s been going on :)

If you would like to follow along with Festive Fun please feel free to spread the word on your own blog (and use the image above,) or tweet about it using the tag #FFFestiveFun. It would also great if you can post pictures on Instagram using the same hashtag.

I can’t wait to see what you will all be doing! Roll on Monday… ;)

SEASONS GREETINGS!

Erin xx

 

Would you… wear your baby?

Since having a little one I’ve been slowly getting to grips with getting around with a baby and all the stuff they require. Because we live somewhere so handy for those with children, the few weeks I spent not driving weren’t a hardship at all and I pushed the pram out often when we went on walks or for coffee or visiting local friends. When we drove I had Pete acting as Jeeves, which included getting the bags buggy. However, when by myself I quickly realised that lugging a pram around can be a royal pain in the behind and often opt to use our baby carrier. (This isn’t strictly news to me – I anticipated I would feel the same about being hands free and more mobile as I’m quite a ‘busy’ person.) Quite a few of you have asked so I thought I’d share my thoughts and ask your opinions on baby wearing too.

For this of you who haven’t heard of it, baby wearing is simply the practice of carrying your baby or child in a fabric or specially made sling or baby carrier. They range from technical contraptions to simple stretchy wraps and costs vary hugely. It’s a centuries old practice and women around the world wear their babies, with well known and accepted benefits to both baby and the adult carrying them. In short, babies are happier and cry less. Parents are more confident as a result and less frazzled as they can get on with their daily lives. Sold? I was.

We opted for the Ergobaby 360 – a new carrier on the market by Ergobaby and had to wait for it to come out. It’s not cheap – £139.95 at John Lewis and we had to buy the infant insert to make it suitable from birth too, for an additional £20. However we justified it with the knowledge this allowed us to carry Bea (and any future babies) right through to toddler and beyond as it allows baby to be carried facing inwards or outwards on the front, on the hip or later on on your back. We chose it over a BabyBjorn as it is supposed to be better for hip development by seating baby in an ergonomic frog leg position.

Once I started using it I loved the freedom, just like I expected. On my first excursion out of Chorlton on my own I took Bea in the Ergobaby on the tram (super easy not having to find space for the pram) to the sling library in Sale (most places have local sling libraries where you can try and rent out slings before buying your own and meet other mums too,) and back. The best thing about it is how convenient it is and that she sleeps in it much of the time she’s in there (much like a car seat,) due to the movement and her being all snug and cozy next to me. We have only used it front facing inwards as thats the only position suitable for her age right now, but it feels secure, brilliantly made and even at this stage is flexible to allow for her position and size.

The major downside for me is the weight of the actual Ergobaby itself – I do get backache wearing it, though I’m not sure if that is due to my ligaments still being stretchy post pregnancy. The Ergobaby has a waist strap and shoulder straps much like a large rucksack you would use for hiking or D of E in school and so the weight is well distributed and it’s comfortable otherwise. I don’t see this as a major negative as we bought it mainly for Pete to wear and for us to use when going places where it wasn’t convenient to take the buggy, and it’s perfect for that as well as the future hopefully.

The other negative I felt was it’s bulk and as Bea woke up out of her newborn haze, she started to get less keen on being put down unless she was in just the perfect stage of deep sleep. One thing that kept her happy of course was being held and I started to get frustrated that I couldn’t get anything done, particularly when Pete went back to work and I had to get on with normal life. I decided to look into a wrap style (this site was a really useful resource in finding more about the different types, as was the site of my local sling library,) to keep her close and happy whilst being light and cheaper, given our initial Ergobaby outlay.

After looking into the various wraps I chose a Victoria Slinglady, (very similar to Moby or Karime wraps), mainly because it’s brilliantly priced (£14.95 on eBay). Baby carrying is very individual and there are loads of different wraps out there but this was perfect for me and I have used it loads since. I did look into DIYing a stretchy wrap (there are lots of tutorials online) but the cost of the jersey was more than this ready made one and as the sling library helpers pointed out, this way I know the fabric dyes are safe if she starts chewing them. Since then we have been out for dinner using it and this post was written with her in it too. I love having my hands back and having her so close!

So, have you got a baby carrier. Do you use it? Or has it always seemed a bit hippyish for you to try? I’d love to hear your thoughts on baby wearing and reviews of the various options and types available…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Resources:
Little Possums sling shop
Sale Sling Library (also known as Harmony Babywearing)

*This post is the beginning of a new series to encourage discussion and promote the sharing of opinion on a wide variety of motherhood subjects. Please share your thoughts and knowledge in the comments!