RE-GIFTING: modern heirlooms

A couple of weeks ago, after my sister found a stash of my old toys at her house, I presented Josephine with four of my old My Little Pony's. I loved these when I was little, even having a My Little Pony part for my second birthday (and then again for my 21st family party, complete with decorations my Mum sourced in the US). The look on Josephine's face when she found them was priceless, and made me so happy that I kept them.

After seeing Phiney's excitement, I was reminded of two brand new boxed ponies that my Grandparents gave me at said 21st birthday that sat on my shelf at uni for a while. I never opened them (despite being so tempted to brush their hair!) and realised that they would make wonderful additions to Josephine's Christmas stocking. I read an article in American Vogue a few years ago all about the idea of re-gifting items at Christmas, whether they be unwanted (but wonderful) presents you've allocated to the bottom drawer, or much-loved pieces you want to pass on to the next generation. Apparently it's becoming more and more popular in even the most upper-circles of American society and I can see why. Not only is it a great budget-busting and green alternative to the mass-consumerism of Christmas, but it ensures a treasured item. My Grandma is awesome at re-gifting and for my birthday she gave me one of her beautiful antique platters. Of course, it helps that her house is like the best antique shop in the world; my Mum, sister and I spend hours when we're there pointing out what we'd happily take home, much to my Grandma's delight.

This year, it may just be some My Little Pony's, but as the years pass I would love to pass on vintage handbags, antique crockery, precious jewellery and favourite books to our children.

And the rest of Josephine's stocking? We've kept to last year's promise of buying just a few select, but wonderful things. Originally working to the Want, Need, Wear, Read idea, then adding a few choice additions and subtracting something to wear, because she just doesn't need anything. They will sit alongside something for her to read (a Moomin number book), something she needs (a little Moomin lunchbox...yes, I got carried away in the Moomin shop, but this girl loves Little My right now) something she wants (a tiny wooden sword from the RSC shop in Stratford for our little Shakespearean) something Mama-made (a plum coloured net tutu for the dressing up box and new hair bow) and something second-hand (a fantastic French board game found at the charity shop).

I love the idea of something Mama/Papa made always appearing under the tree at Christmas and Josephine appreciating the treasure in finding the perfect secondhand/vintage item too. The final gift will be the sweetest writing set, decorated with beautiful illustrations of wild animals and plants. Each year my sister and I would always get a new writing set, and with Josephine writing letters to Great-Grandparents and penpals across the world, this is the perfect tradition to pass on to our children too.

Will you be re-gifting this year, or plan to pass on treasured heirlooms?



This girl and her hats. Always, always wearing a hat. 



So here we are.

Last Friday I finished the 13 week full time freelance job I had landed, and let me tell you it's been a crazy 13 weeks. 13 weeks that have seen the fun of Cornish summer holidays fall away and turn into an autumnal chill and the magic of Christmas. 13 weeks of fitting being a full time Mama around working a full time job at home. 13 weeks of pregnancy, complete with morning sickness far worse than I experienced with Josephine and the worry and anticipation those first weeks bring.

But here we are. I made it through. We all made it through. And I'm proud of us all. I'm more proud than ever to call my boy My Husband. To be blessed enough to have him believe in me, encourage and support me and to hold my hand when I stumble. For ignoring the mess our home has slowly become and for still sitting next to me evening after evening as I boringly worked away in silence. We're so proud of our beautiful girl, who has proved herself to be a total star over the last three months; making the transition from having Mama to play with and read with and sit with all day everyday if she wanted, to having to occupy herself even when she didn't really want to without too much trouble. Without her being as awesome has she has been, I don't think I would have ever got through it. And of course, our little bean, for growing stronger every day. These three. My heart beats for them.

But you know what, mostly I'm proud of myself. To say the last three months have been hard is a bit of an understatement. The first trimester of pregnancy is tough on nearly every woman, especially those of use who get to revel in the delights of morning sickness, but I made it through and here we are. 18 weeks down, a little rounded tummy, a growing baby. The haze is lifting and I feel like I'm back with it. To all those Mama's who work full time jobs and have little ones waiting at home or nursery for them, I commend you. I found it so hard to divide my time between work and caring for Josephine. Always feeling like I had one eye on the time, my to-do list or my emails when I was with her. Never being able to give her my undivided attention. The days she happily played and made up some amazing game or another were that little easier. But on deadline days, as she'd pull on my hand desperate for me to dance or have a picnic with her, my heart broke a little as I told her I couldn't. But I made it through.

Despite the long days and sleepless nights, I've come out of these weeks with a new belief in myself; as a mother and as a woman. And four real positives...

For one, we now have a savings account. With actual money in. For the first time in years. We can plan for future adventures and rest assured that if we need it, emergency funds are at the click of a button. Plus the car's MOT and tax have been paid for, Christmas presents are all sorted and we're all cherishing the little rare treats we've allowed ourselves.

I've also proved to myself that, despite not working for almost two years, I still have a brain that works pretty darn well (I've wondered if that was the case at regular intervals since Josephine was born!) I'm ready to throw myself into a new, very exciting venture with a revitalised work ethic and understanding of what I need to do to make it a success; the time I need to put in and the fact that I really can make it happen. 

In the world of motherhood we can have our tricky days, I'm sure the other Mama's out there can relate. Before I started working I feel those days had started to get to me; that my patience was wearing thinner than I'd care to admit and that daily tasks had become more tiring (and sometimes tiresome) than before. Just a few weeks into working however, I was reminded in the glory of that slower pace, a simple life and the wonders of time; time to play, to craft, to read and to just simply be. Time I no longer really had. Jodi's series on practising simplicity started at a similar time to my job and I couldn't have asked for a column that spoke to me more. I took her words and tried to apply them where I could, amongst the crazy schedules and deadlines I was working to. Now I plan to re-read them all, to move into this new stage of motherhood refreshed and more knowing of how I want to spend my days, and I want to feel about them when I lie in bed at night; no regrets at reacting to situations in the way I did, no annoyance at not achieving this or that task. 

Finally, I missed you guys. I missed not writing here, and sharing the everyday magic that has been happening over the last few months. Thank goodness for The 52 Project; I wonder if I'd had been here at all if it weren't for those photographs. If you're still here and still reading, thank you. I feel happier than ever to continue this space, to watch it grow, and I have a few new features to come that I hope you'll love. 

How has your autumn/spring been? I hope it's been revitalising x

I love the pops of purple amongst the autumnal brown and yellow leaves in our garden. My favourite time of year for the truly wondrous colours. 



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

Forever making dens under tables, no matter how small they may be. Surrounded by her favourite toys and books, she can be there for all morning. 

Taking part in Jodi's 52 Project.



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

Josephine in Autumn. 

Taking part in Jodi's 52 Project.



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

Tucked away in her 'house' with her head in a book. Our little bookworm is already exploring the classics...

Taking part in Jodi's 52 Project.

A few weeks ago, my Mum, sister and I went to Stratford Upon Avon to see David Tennant in Richard II. It was completely brilliant. As was the gift shop, where I bought a few Christmas presents as well as this beautiful Little Master Shakespeare copy of Romeo and Juliet. Josephine adores this book. The illustrations and colours are lovely and her favourite page is 10 Kisses. 

My Mum started taking my sister and I to Stratford when we were pretty small (to see a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream) and we've been going ever since. We can't wait for Josephine to be old enough to join us on these trips. I know she'll love the theatre, and it's hard to beat the magic of Shakespeare. 

ps. that box has become an integral part of Phiney's playtime. It's used daily as a house, bed, boat, car and a pram for her dolls and cuddlies. I wonder if we'll ever be able to throw it out!



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

The only photo I managed to snap of Josephine in the Halloween costume I made her; a parrot to mine and Ben's pirates. She wasn't overly bothered about having her picture taken at this exact moment in time. Such a spirited little bird right now...

Taking part in Jodi's 52 Project.



A morning at the park with lovely friends, on a crisp and sunny autumnal day, is hard to beat. Especially when you throw in some raisins and a park bench, plus a few cheesy smiles and posing for the camera.



WHAT PHINEY WORE: Kitipongo Dress tk maxx // Handmade Cardigan // Tights h&m // Hair Bow happy circus // Desert Boots clarks (find similar here)

This week, Josephine is wearing the sweetest dress I found while rummaging the rails at TK Maxx. I have a love/hate relationship with that store. It's awesome if they have what you want in the right size, but so often you find the perfect piece and they only have one of them, three size too small. Ben shops there a lot for work clothes so I take a look in the kids section for Phiney when we go in. The reduced, past-season prices are always so reasonable, and sometimes you can snag a real bargain. When I bought this dress (for the grand sum of £12) I also found a soft grey Petit Bateau cardigan for next winter for just £10 (reduced from £65!). If you're happy to scour the rails, it's a great shopping destination, but if bargain hunting isn't your thing, i'd stay clear! 

My Mum made Phiney this beautiful cardigan from a vintage design she found in her pattern stash. It coincidentally matches this dress so perfectly and I love it's longer length; perfect for autumn. Having my Mum on hand to whip up a cardigan in a matter of days is wonderful. Thank goodness for your pro-knitter Nanny, Phiney. 

Finally, Josephine is the best model for my Happy Circus hair bow clips and I have to make her some more in other colours soon. They just look so sweet buried amongst her curls.