Day trips with our sweet friends Amy and Bertie are always filled with adventure and laughter. The kiddos have such fun together and I adore my talks with Amy; chatting about family and work, the challenges we face as parents and what the future holds. Throw in a beautiful woodland setting, delicious picnic and glorious sunshine and it really was a wonderful morning. 



Little girl's first ponytail. 

The rain poured outside and we sat on the bed chatting and lounging and messing about. I played with her hair, as I so often do, and for the first time managed to pull it up into a ponytail. Josephine looked in the mirror with delight. Half recognising herself, half confused. 

Looking very grown up suddenly. 

With that wild hair tied back, you can really see her beauty. Those lips, those eyes. She belongs to a different time, so regal. 

ps. as someone with sticky-out ears, I am reveling in how beautifully flat to her head Phiney's ears are!



"A portrait of Josephine, once a week every week in 2013".

Her peachy skin is now beautifully bronzed; her brown ringlets have turned blonde in the sun; her unblemished limbs are now scraped and scratched from weeks of bare legs and days in the woods. Summer is awesome. 

Taking part in Jodi's 52 Project.


REVIEW: designers at debenhams

Finding beautiful clothes and dressing Josephine is most definitely something I love doing. I can't help myself. In fact, I think I have more enjoyment finding her pieces than I do myself. It probably has something to do with the fact her teeny clothes are often substantially cheaper than the items I want.

I'm proud of the fact that the vast majority of her wardrobe is filled with second hand or vintage finds, so it takes something special to make me hit the high street in search of something for her to wear. 

This summer, we were very grateful to be contacted by the British department store Debenhams. Stocking everything from men's, women's and children's clothing to homeware and beauty, this store is a staple of the high street. I was asked to pick out a few of my favourite pieces for Josephine to road-test and I couldn't see past this adorable blue summer, covered in little embroidered fish, and the floral top below, that comes with matching. Both have been worn constantly throughout the summer, and I'm happy to say that the floral shorts will continue to be worn with tights this autumn (her tiny bottom meant they were too big until now!) There is also a delicious chunky cream knit waiting to be pulled out as the cold weather arrives. 

All pieces, by Designers at Debenhams, have been faultless. The quality is sublime and the cut and fabric both quality and traditional - I'm a firm believer in children being dressed like children, not mini-adults, so the traditional and classic silhouettes of all these pieces really appeal to me. 

As for Josephine's opinion - she can't help but swish and swirl in that fish dress...it's most definitely been one of her favourites :)




When the heat becomes too much, impromptu sprinkler fun is the only way forward. These two could have danced in the water for hours. 



"A portrait of Josephine, once a week every week in 2013".

Her basket is never far from her arm when she's in the garden, to carry the treasures she finds and her favourite little nik naks. 

Taking part in Jodi's 52 Project.

The summer version, I think. 

The winter version.
The spring version. 



On Thursday Josephine turned 18 months old. That year and a half has zipped by, and what a year and a half it has been. The best time of our lives. You fill our hearts with such warmth and happiness little one. 

Since finishing the Monthly Portrait series I've missed the reminder to write (or type) about the little changes in Josephine; the new developments, the funny things she says and does. I thought this landmark would be the perfect opportunity to record those bits and bobs we don't ever want to forget.

^^ You gather the fallen leaves from the trees in the garden, and meticulously place them on the netting over the strawberry patch. Every day. 
^^ You pat Jenny's back when you give her cuddles, to comfort her. As I do to you. 
^^ When I do the washing up at lunchtime, as you sit and eat your food, the sun bounces off the water in the sink and light glimmers on the wall. 'Fairy!' you cry. And we watch it dance across the ceiling. 
^^When I get you dressed and do your hair in the morning, you like to run to the mirror and see what you look like. You smile the biggest smile to your reflection, and often (hilariously) say 'pretty'. You certainly are my gorgeous girl. When I get dressed, you often say the same to me too. And I love you so much for that.

^^Every day new words, and yesterday you put three words together for the first time. 'Here go, Daddy' you said, as you passed him the hose pipe in the garden. You've since said the same thing again to Daddy and also 'here go Mama' about 75 times!

^^You were born to be outside. I doubt you're happier than when you are, especially if Daddy's around to help plant vegetables and water the garden with. The new hose we were given was a massive hit with you. 
^^Teddy and Jenny go everywhere with you, as does your pram. They picnic with you, head to the 'shops' with you, sit on the sofa and play in the garden with you. You will always love them, I'm sure. 
^^Falling over. If Daddy or I sit on the floor (or anyone else for that matter) it's not long before you're pushing us over, shouting with glee 'ova, ova!' Then you pull us up (often frowning and grunting 'heavy!') before pushing us back down. It's the most hilarious thing, apparently. Quite often, you then climb on us and make 'clip clop' sounds. Mama's and Daddy's make pretty good horses. 
^^Twirling, twisting, dancing. Always. 

^^Strawberries and peas from the garden are hard to beat. Especially if you've picked them with Daddy.
^^Saturday morning is Mama's lie-in so you and Daddy have a lazy time, messing around downstairs. Bacon sandwiches are a big part of this tradition, and a favourite with both of you.
^^With the current heat wave BBQs have been the meal of choice (in the last 3 weeks we've had double what we had all last summer!) Hot dogs are your favourite. Chilli and garlic sausages, bread rolls and ketchup. All make you a very happy bunny.

^^You love music as much ever. Your favourite song right now is 'Happy Birthday'. You sing it over and over, whether or not it's someone's birthday. 
^^On a rainy day about a month ago, we cuddled on the sofa and watched Mary Poppins on Netflix Kids (well, the first 45 minutes at least. That is one long film!) I've never seen you react as quickly to a song as you did when Julie Andrews started singing 'A Spoonful of Sugar'. The song, the dancing toys, the whistling bird, Jane and Michael; you adored it all, and danced so happily for the entire song. It was so awesome.

I think I may revisit these headings, when I remember. To make a note of these moments in time that we will always cherish. 



Josephine and I have busy lives during the week. We seem to get booked up pretty far in advance with play dates and day trips and meeting friends and family. It's an awesome way to spend our time and we love the adventures we have while Daddy's at work. But sometimes we both need some time at home, time to ourselves. Today was a sweet, quiet day. There were no plans, no must-dos. Just a Mama and her little girl, soaking up the sunshine.

It's on days like these that I like to mix a few little, more structured activities between naps, food and the time Josephine is happy to play by herself, in her own little world. This afternoon, the perfect activity was a garden treasure hunt. So, complete with basket, we began traipsing round the garden searching for trinkets. We talked as we walked, discussing the animals we came across (bees and snails, mostly) the plants we smelt and 'oooh'd and ahhhh'd' over and the truly random bits we discovered buried in the grass (an old peg, a piece of beautiful broken porcelain). 

As Josephine gets older and is both more eager and able to learn, it's activities like these that are fun and educational, for the two of us. I doubt there is anything more amazing than seeing the world through her eyes; the mystery and wonder of the things we take for granted. What are your favourite at-home activities with your little ones? I'd love to make afternoon learning a more regular part of our daily rhythms so any inspiration would be appreciated. Also, I was thinking of buying this book. I imagine most of it will be a little old for Josephine right now, but I wondered if anyone out there had read it and what you thought. 

Tomorrow, our darling girl turns 18 months old. This year is flying by. Days are turning to weeks and months in the blink of an eye. In a few weeks we'll be heading down to Cornwall to stay with my grandparents, and before we know it this boiling heatwave will turn into autumn. It's these quiet days that draw the hours out a little longer, making them even more important. Yes, days like today will definitely become a fixture of our weekly rhythms from now on. 



"A portrait of Josephine, once a week every week in 2013".

She has done more laps round the garden with Jenny in the pram this week than I could count. The patch by the shed is always the shops, the patio always her home. Her imagination inspires and amazes me every day. 

Taking part in Jodi's 52 Project.


HAPPY CIRCUS: new listings

Just wanted to pop by and let you all know that I've listed a whole bunch of lovely vintage pieces in the shop. French, British and even a couple of South American items, all of which are fantastic! Above are just a few of my favourites. 

There are also a few bow ties, hair bows and baby knits on offer at just half their normal price. Yes...HALF PRICE! All were knitted to be photographed for the shop and promotional purposes and are in absolutely perfect condition. Go grab yourself a bargain, because once they're gone...they're gone!! 

Thank you, as always, for supporting my little store. I hope you find something you like :) Happy weekend everyone. 



My final little installment about The Nursery goes beyond that one day workshop and all the technical teachings. It's about how it taught me a little of myself. The importance of continued learning throughout our lives, and the importance of being the best person and woman I can be, to ensure I am the best Mama and role model I can be. 

I've always been a bit of a geek when it comes to education. I loved school, happily attended optional lectures at university, spent study periods in the library actually studying (a rarity, I always found!) and have completed courses since entering the workplace. But after leaving my job as a journalist to have Josephine, there's been little I've been taught or taught myself...you know, apart from how to meander my way through the most important job in the universe; being a mother. In all honesty I'd forgotten how much I loved to learn. To sit, notepad in hand, and to find out something new; to be enlightened and amazed, then to put those teachings into practice and feel excited and confident in the results. 

But I think the biggest thing I learnt that day was the importance of taking time for myself. In the weeks leading up to my big day out, Josephine (and therefore I) had had a rough time with her teeth. She was pretty clingy and moany and in all honesty I was fast approaching the end of my tether. As I stepped off the coach after the workshop though, I felt refreshed, replenished and back to myself; ready to tackle teething with a returned feeling of compassion and lightness rather than the impatience and irritability that had begun to creep in. 

It was never my plan to have nearly 17 months without more than four hours to myself (and that was only on one occasion; most 'me time' was a couple of hours max that was normally spent doing something exciting like going to the dentist or having a meeting at work). Time just flies, and before we knew it, all that time had passed. When I got home from London, Ben said that I needed more occasions like these. Time, here and there, away from home doing something I love; dinner with girlfriends, a trip to the movies, a little shopping trip. And, whereas before maybe I felt that this was a bad reflection on me as a mother or that it indicated I didn't love love spending all my time with Josephine (which of course, is in no way the case) I now realise that having that time in fact makes me a better mother. That in being the best of myself I hope to be the type of woman and parent Josephine admires and respects and wants to learn from, and also that the time we do spend together and the experiences we share are so much more valuable.

This revelation included, I feel over the last month or so I've started a journey of enlightenment in the way I want to parent a little person. While we were pregnant, Ben and I discussed so many things. How we wanted to breastfeed and then let our baby discover the joy of food and eating with baby-led weaning; how we would read to our baby all the time, prefer wooden toys over plastic and say no to TV. Now we're entering toddlerdom, there are new challenges and adventures to pursue and a whole new bunch of thoughts on how to overcome and react and enjoy them. I'm finding such comfort and revelation in Sarah Napthali's Buddism for Mothers, and will be sure to write more about what I'm learning from that brilliant read in the near future too.

Above are some of my favourite captures from the last few weeks, since Tim's fantastic workshop. I've been taking around 200 pictures a day, nearly every day, to hone my art and learn more about photography. I'm loving every second and it's most definitely my favourite hobby right now.