4.3.15

SPRING IS COMING...


For the first time in a long time, we spent some time in the garden this week. Sure, there were knitted bonnets and winter coats and wellie boots, and we were only outside for about 15 minutes, but it's a start...spring is on its way and I can't wait for it to arrive.

ps. the Clover bonnet pattern by Dover & Madden remains an obsession.



3.3.15

^^^

Over the last few weeks, as we've followed a slow and gentle pace of life round these parts, I've felt the haze of the last year really start to lift. I've written before of how last year was a period of quiet and healing and I feel as though, as March begins and spring is creeping in, I'm finding my rhythm again. Little things like doing the housework (which, lets face it, is always the first thing to get ignored!) are finally getting done and the more I clean and tidy the more I want to go that one step further and really sort out this little house of ours.

Three days after I had Coralie I turned 30, and in the midst of grief and late pregnancy, birth and those newborn days, the rite of passage that often comes with this 'milestone' got overlooked, lost in the craziness. I'm not really talking about the age thing, as such, more of the realisation of hitting that period in your life where you're meant to understand yourself more; what you like and dislike, your tastes, your style, what you really want from your time here.

I am so thankful, and so blessed, to turn thirty married to my boy and with two beautiful, healthy children. To live in a sweet little flat in a sweet part of town. To be able to stay at home with our babies, as I always wanted, to have good food on the table and warm (pretty!) clothes on our backs. And, to be at the beginning of what I hope will be a successful future in photography and my own business.

At the top of my to-do list for weeks now has been contacting some local magazines with the hope of getting my business promoted - getting my name out there. But, something's holding me back. I've sat at the laptop at naptime or in the evening and found myself blogging (or getting lost in Pinterest) rather than type that simple email.

I've never really dealt with a lack of self-confidence. I've always been sure of what I wanted, pretty much always gone and got it, and had the guts to put myself out there - perhaps it's a being the eldest thing. But with this new venture I'm still wondering if I'm good enough, and it's stopping me in my tracks. The feedback I've been getting from families and from all of you has been so encouraging and amazing, but still I doubt myself. And it's got me thinking about influences in my life and the effect they're having.

And by influences I mean the world of all things online. Things that were once inspiring have started stunting my own imagination and confidence, I think. I often spend my time online envying so many things; people's houses or belongings, clothes, figures, lifestyles, talents. Wishing I had more money to spend on this and that. Wishing I could redecorate our own home in this style, then the next day in that style. It's information overload in my head right now and I am taking a stand to simplify.

My friend Lou has made the word Bloom her motivation for this year, and I think she's chosen so well. What a positive, beautiful, encouraging idea, and I've been thinking a lot about it recently. I want to bloom this year, to find my feet and find the confidence again to be more myself. I think that can sometimes get lost in the midst of all things Mamahood.

I'm going to write more about this (I've loved posting something beyond what we've been up to - I've missed finding the time to sit, think and write about the bigger picture) more, about how I'm going to apply it to all aspects of my life. Starting with a social media cull, I've stopped following shops on IG. Sure their beautiful pieces are lovely to look at, but ultimately I end up feeling down about the fact I can't afford those things. It's the same with lifestyle feeds and following so many Pinterest boards. I'm sticking with the couple I love and deleting the rest. It's just not something I need in my life right now.

I feel like I've got the time now to think about what I like and want, and with everything that's happened in the last 14 months I know that's not about possessions and money; it's about life and seizing it for myself and my family. About appreciating what I have now, not feeling sad about what I don't and can't have.

This week I'm going to write those emails, and I hope I find the confidence to press send and put myself out there. I'll keep you informed...

[Photo by the wonderful Tori Hancock. Oh, I can't wait for summertime and sandals and floral skirts...]

27.2.15

CRAWLING




WEARING: Nanny-made cardigan // Zara blouse // vintage French denim shorts // La Coqueta tights // Happy Circus booties // 

Crawling, crawling everywhere. And barely a moments rest...

26.2.15

AFTERNOONS








Since the crazy busy times of Christmas and January, we've continued to enjoy (in the majority, at least) lazy and relaxed days round here. The weather has been cold, windy and often wet, but we get outdoors at least once a day...or else we all go a little stir crazy.

I love where we live. So close to the park, the canal, the little village and, because I'm a city girl through and through, the hustle and bustle of town. We love our strolls into the village for a quick scout around the charity shop and an apple from the greengrocers for Josephine, or slow walks along the quiet streets by house. Often in the morning, before lunch, and sometimes, when the weather allows, in the late afternoon before dinner.

The low, winter sun still offering a bit of warmth, the snuggle of cashmere scarves and woollen coats and hats keeping the cold wind at bay.

Coralie happily watches the world go by, cocooned in her pram, whilst Josephine and I chit chat, decide on our favourite houses and collect little treasures we find along the way.

Gentle rhythms. My mantra right now. Nothing too crazy, nothing too stressful, nothing that takes too much of the little energy I have (sleep deprivation due to teething is the worst!) Just little trips out that, at the end of the day, make me happy; make our girls happy. Simple childhood adventures that leave them smiling, and leave the worries of the grown-up world far away. Remembering to let them be little.

ps. slowly but surely, I've been filling in a few gaps in this little journal. If you'd like to read, there's a post marking the anniversary of my Dad's funeral here, some pictures from our holiday last summer here, and some words about a very special day in St Ives here. xx

24.2.15

THANK YOU!







So, I shot these pictures about a month ago with the intention of making them into thank you cards to send to all the family and friends who gave the girls such lovely Christmas and (in Josephine's case) birthday presents. But time has zipped by and I haven't quite got round to it. Now it's nearly March so I'm being lazy and posting them here and on Facebook instead, with a great big THANK YOU to all your gorgeous people for the thoughtful gifts this year.

Bless Coralie, I don't think she was really feeling the props, but Josephine...well, my Dad would be proud of how enthusiastically she got into character. That pirate?! Pure genius.

Some of my favourite photos of Phiney, ever. They just show her funny, excitable, confident, playful, hilarious self so perfectly.

ps. the amazing crowns were made by our wonderful friend Amy. You can see a little tutorial over on her blog if you'd like to make your own.

23.2.15

WHAT PHINEY SAID

For the last couple of months Ben and I have been jotting down some of the brilliant things Josephine says, because - let's face it - some things we're bound to forget. And we just don't want to forget these gems. We need to do this more often, I love that we have a record of what she says and how she thinks at this age. Some one-off one-liners, some phrases we hear every day.

"Mmmmm, this porridge feels comfy in my tummy."

(To her PomBear crisps) "Come on, little one, your Mama in my tummy already!"

Josephine: "Coralie's a giant monkey!"
Me: "So what does that make you?"

Josephine: "A giant panda."

"We need to wash Coralie's hair this day?" (Every. Single. Bathtime.)

"I saw two diggers and two tractors. That's very impressive."

"I love Coralie. But I don't love her dancing."

Josephine: "I not want to be a big lady."
Me: "What do you want to be when you grow up then?"
Josephine: "A lion."

"Seriously...." (About everything. Teenager in the making.)

"Aw-right darlin'?" (In a cockney accent that makes her sound remarkably like Barbara Windsor.)

Josephine: "Thank you, Mama."
Me: "That's ok!"
Josephine: "Thank you, Mama. I say it twice so you don't forget."

She's wonderful, this girl of ours...

12.2.15

MONTHLY PORTRAIT









WEARING: Vintage French romper // La Coqueta tights // H&M boots

On Saturday Coralie turned nine months old. Three quarters of a year, it's hard to believe. This has been a big month for this little one. A couple of weeks ago we moved Coralie into Josephine's room and so far so good. Thankfully Coralie waking in the night seems to barely stir Josephine and if Josephine has woken, Coralie hasn't batted an eyelid. And listening to them chat in the morning before we get up, and seeing Coralie's cot filled with the toys Josephine has passed her, is the sweetest thing.

There are finally two teeth (almost!) poking through at the bottom. So close, they may have even popped through but you're determined to not let us see. The only opportunity is when you do your cheesiest of grins, and then it's hard to do anything but laugh!

Whilst you're not crawling, you've figured out how to get around in your own way, and nothing is safe from your grasps (and drool) now darling girl. Through a mix of bottom shuffling, turning around, rolling and pulling you find a way to get to what you want (and the words 'no Coralie' are now in frequent use because of it!) You're also pulling yourself up onto your knees, and sometimes your feet - those legs are getting so strong.

It's crazy to think that when Josephine was just a few weeks older than you are now, she was taking her first steps. I quite like that you're not there yet though Coralie, you can stay my little baby for a while longer.

You love to cuddle your toys, especially your baby Lara, and snugs are always accompanied with long and enthusiastic 'aaahhhhs'. It's so sweet. You love anything that makes a noise, so adore the musical instruments that are in your toy basket, and Josephine is really good at building you towers to knock down, which you think is so awesome. You really do adore that big sister of yours.

Despite the ongoing teething, you are still the happiest little thing in the world - never really moaning, always happy to sit and play or watch (especially the washing machine...you LOVE the washing machine!)

You are so good at waving at saying hello and goodbye, and shout Dadadadada all day long. You love to dance to any music that you hear, and do the cutest singing along too.

Basically, you're absolutely brilliant Coralie and we all think your hilarious! And oh so sweet. We all love you so much, more everyday xxxxx

6.2.15

INSTA-JANUARY

1. A little fairy in her pjs.
2. Our Ergo adventures.
3. Our girl started dance classes and the cuteness nearly kills me. She adores it.
4. Tiny party goers at Josephine's 3rd birthday.
5. Overwhelmed with excitement when she opened Nanny's (my Mum) present to her on her birthday - a Jessie doll!!
6. Love this little creature and her crazy expressions.
7. When we go for walks in the freezing wind, I am so jealous of her snuggly cocoon!
8. In love with these colours, and that beautiful girl.
9. Josephine and I indulged in some pretty epic train track building, with some of the new pieces she got for Christmas and her birthday.
10. My girls: Josephine planting the biggest kisses on Coralie and Coralie being exceptionally happy about it. So much love.

30.1.15

THREE: a walk at dusk








After the fun of Josephine's family birthday party, we spent the afternoon just us four. We went for a walk at dusk, wrapped up against the cold winter air, and we told Josephine of the day she was born. Unable to believe our little baby is now three.

29.1.15

THREE: party time









For Josephine's birthday this year, we decided to throw Josephine two parties - one with all her little friends a few days before her birthday and one with family on the day itself. We chose a wild animal theme, packed cardboard lunch boxes with yummy treats, iced cupcakes and devised a treasure hunt. It was an hour and a half of absolute madness (and I barely took a single photo!) but the children loved every second. If only we'd remembered to do the birthday cake...after everyone left, we discovered it on the kitchen worktop!
 
*Josephine's invitations - any excuse to get stamping!
*My sister beautifully illustrated every party-goer's lunchbox.
*Animal masks for the treasure hunt.
*Ben and I devised a treasure hunt for coloured scrolls with stickers inside (again drawn by my clever sister) that, when put together, made an animal face. We had no idea if it would work, but it was an absolute success.
*Everyone 'adopted' a cuddly animal as a prize for completing their puzzle.
*Balloons make everything festive.
*Tiny glass bottles (that my best friend had her Dad save from his pub for us!) and paper straws. The children adored them!