Sunday, 22 September 2013

Where were we...

Life is flying past. Busy, busy, busy. Baby E is 7 months, how did that happen? Little R is 2 and a half. I get so much pleasure from these two little people each and every day but they leave time for very little else, that's for sure! But oh my word, I love spending my days with them ♥ 

In the last few months we have redone the damp proofing in our house as the previous owners did a right botch job. This wasn't easy with (at the time) a 4 month old and a 2 year old. Not to bore anyone but this involved my husband and Daddy chipping plaster off walls, then the damp proof was done and then plaster put back on and then redecorating. At one point it looked like this...
I can't say it was easy doing this with two very small children (It was hell on earth! Dust everywhere and entertaining two little people from our bedroom and kitchen out of bounds!) but we want to sell next year and it needed done, timing wasn't perfect but hey. I'm so proud that we did it. We probably prematurely aged during that month but we did it! and survived to tell the tale. And one big bonus is that now everywhere is painted white - my new all time favourite wall colour.

Craft has been very slow but I have been working on a few things...
 A brooch for a friend
 A quilt for Baby E, similar to the one I made for Little R
I started work on this blanket but I don't think I'm sold on the colours. It's on hold for now...
Mainly I have been working on a new crochet blanket and I just finished it today (never mind that I started it late in May and it's only a giant granny square!). I guess this is a Ta-Dah moment!
 I made the cushions too!
I think I am a happy with this blanket. I had a crisis of confidence over the colours as usual and also wished I had done a different pattern rather than something so simple but I'm up against it time wise. So anyway it's done now and I can't wait to snuggle under it when it gets colder.

Oh and we potty trained Little R over the summer too. So very proud of him. So yep like I said busy, busy, busy. 

I am loving my maternity leave so much. I love spending my days with Little R and Baby E. They just make me so happy. Baby E is the happiest, smiliest baby. He giggles so much, usually at his older brother. He has the most intoxicating laugh. And Little R is a wee chatter box. We were at the fruit and veg shop the other day and he was wittering on about the names of fruit and a little old lady said that I wouldn't be lonely with him around and it's totally true, I love his chit chat and his company. I don't want my maternity leave to end, I would love to spend my days with them forever but in January I will be going back to work. I will probably be crying my eyes out again but for now I'm not thinking of that, I'm enjoying every second (well it's not all bliss, Little R is a toddler after all and babies aren't entirely easy!) with my little family. I know it's a total cliche but having children is probably the best thing I have ever done, I totally understand why some people say that now. I have a PhD, I have worked hard but it's my babies that bring me the most joy and contentment and I don't care if it's trite, it's true.

And finally :: After Baby E was born I discovered Instagram and while I'm not on Facebook and generally shun social media I really love and am fairly addicted to IG because for me it's like mini blogging, but without all the text and long photo editing. I love it for craft ideas and inspiration. I would love to be a more regular blogger but I can't see that happening any time soon as things are just too busy on the home front and I can't seem to blog quickly. I need to simplify the whole process, I take too long editing photos and making everything 'look right', this post is thrown together and none of the photos match in style, sorry. Anyway if you are an IGer, pop along and visit me there.

♥  Thanks for stopping by  ♥ 

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

And then there were two!

Well the wait ended and we have another little baby boy!
He arrived two weekends ago and came into the world relatively quickly. Needless to say Baby E has been rocking our world ever since! Life is suddenly veeery busy again. Little R has been absolutely amazing, after being so nervous about how he would react he totally surprised me and is already shaping up to be an amazing big brother!
 Days and nights are quite blurry with lots of feeding taking place (or as Attic24 says "milk tanker-ing") especially in the wee hours! But I do feel more relaxed than first time when Little R was born, which is great. I have actually been able to sleep between feeds (well for an hour as he is feeding every two hours at night!) but first time round I couldn't even do this, I was obsessed with making sure he was still breathing, so progress! 

Ah a new baby card in the form of bunting, oh sweet sweet. I love it!
Ok so I really don't have much time to write these days so fortunately for you all there isn't an essay today!! So I'll just finish with the sentiment above... Baby Boys Rock!! I am absolutely delighted to have two little boys and I think they are going to bring lots of fun and energy in the years to come.

Thanks for all your kind comments on my last impatient post and thanks for reassuring me. It has definitely been confirmed that "love multiplies'.

Helen xx

Thursday, 31 January 2013


Well it's the end of January and I'm here waiting on my new arrival... I've now gone overdue and as I went 11 days overdue with Little R I think I'm in this for the long haul. I'm trying not to crack up, to be patient and enjoy this calm time before the baby arrives but that's easier said than done! I'm going to attempt a quick blog post and just write about what we've been up to in January as it's been a busy enough month. 

The main even for us after christmas is Little R's birthday. This year Little R turned two. We had a little party low key party with some little ones the same age (two children of friends and his cousin of nearly the same age and his baby cousin - 8 adults and 4 children and 1 baby which was quite enough thank you!).  It was really lovely, tiring but lovely and Little R had great fun. His first bowl of jelly which went down a treat. And I made a birthday cake - victoria sponge with lemon curd, fresh cream and raspberries and a lemon cream cheese icing...
After a lot of searching online I decided to make a two to stand on the cake. I got the idea from here but had to tweak it slightly as I don't know if you can purchase almond bark in Northern Ireland so I used white chocolate. It took me 3 goes for it to work and as I wanted sprinkles on the back I decided to do the number two in 2 halves and then I stuck them together with more melted white chocolate. I was really super pleased with the result.
The main things Little R enjoyed was having his little friends to play with, using the Thomas the Tank Engine tablecloth (massive on his little toddler table but the little ones didn't care) and Thomas the Tank paper plates (train mad that child), blowing out the candles on his cake and of course getting presents (which helped the come down after Christmas!). 
It was a lovely affair but tiring for a 38week pregnant Mummy. Little R and I did this after everyone left...
 Much like the rest of the UK we had some snow but only a little. Little R was super excited especially after watching The Snowman on repeat over Christmas. So when it first snowed we went out for a chilly but thrilling walk...
I have also been busing myself with some crafting. My sister (who I didn't think liked crochet!) requested a crocheted blackberry cover and although I had a fair few projects on the go I couldn't refuse...
I've also been making some hearts as inspired by Attic24...
I have also been working on a blanket for the new arrival which I'll show you after the baby makes his/her debut!
I've been enjoying lots of flowers this month... my overwhelming love of tete a tete and hyacinths really began when i started onto this blogging malarky. I mean I always liked them but now I feel I just have to have them in my home in January to help the bareness after the Christams decorations have gone. And getting some bargains has really helped too... 30p for the last tub of hyacinths thanks to eagle-eyed D! 
The above hyacinth are now flowering and smelling lovely and we have lots of other bargain pots about the house but I am too tired to go on a photography expedition to capture their blooms sorry! And although it was D who found the bargains for me he can't stand the smell but he's very kindly putting up with it, the lovely chap that he is, being heavily pregnant might have something to do with him giving in to my whims!! I've also been doing a little baking to pass the time and Little R has been great at helping and eating...
The next event in January was my birthday and although people have said that your birthday goes out the window when children come, D has always been very good at celebrating my birthday and for that I feel truly lucky because I LOVE birthdays. I LOVE cake. I LOVE cards. A wee pressie is a nice bonus but I am a simpleton and don't require much (although I should admit I was totally and utterly spoilt with what D and Little R bought for me, you will see...). The day started off with all of us in bed having breakfast...
The next bit, of what is in that little package is really magical and special to me...
Some of you might recognise the beautiful little box, if not it's from the super duper, wonderfully talented and inspirational Emma from Silverpebble. My lovely other half had been planning this for months (after listening to me blether on for months, the poor man) and he ordered a commission from the wonderful Emma. Would you like to see...
It's a beautiful necklace inspired by nature and my little boy.  Underneath the main necklace is Little R's fingerprint. Honestly I don't think I have loved an object more in my whole, entire life. The craftsmanship is just amazing. And the fact that I can wear my little ones fingerprint fills my heart with such joy. I can barely bring myself to take it off when going to bed but I really don't want to break it, so I have to be sensible and I put it on my bedside table at night.
I just love it so much and am so delighted and humbled to think of my husband and this wonderful jewellery maker discussing their ideas for this necklace, just for me. 
I have worn it everyday since and honestly I will never tire of it. I am a very lucky and happy Mummy and Wife. D has already got something planned to add to the necklace when the new baby comes and I am so excited by this. And it didn't end there, D also made a rather splendid birthday cake for me - a rather delicious and moreish ginger cake. Little R, getting the hang of birthdays rightly, helped me to blow out the candles...
Very red cheeks on my little one... seriously can we have the eye teeth now before the baby comes... Little R has been tortured with these teeth for too long and I just want them to come... now please!!! I was also treated to a new Cath Kidston mug, the latest country living magazine (a new addiction of mine) and some beautiful cards. My lovely friend Dr T has a stamp fetish and she sent me a set of Alphabet Stamps in the post from Australia. The day ended on a high!
So now I am waiting. I'd like to be able to say patiently but that just wouldn't be true. I am positive that I am doing my poor husbands head in with my moaning but I can tell you that he is being extremely patient, at least someone is!! To be fair I have been knocked for six this week due to a pitiful head cold which has just zapped any remaining energy that I had. I am happy to report feeling a bit better today and more settled and less jittery wondering when the baby is going to come. I am going through a rollercoaster of emotions, excitement and anxiety and nervousness and joy. Mainly my concerns are for Little R and how he is going to react. He has been the centre of my universe for 2 years now and I have loved it all, I just don't want to upset him and I hope that he will love his new little baby sister or brother. I read a wonderful thing online when I was anxiously searching to see what other people felt like before their second baby arrived and one lady wrote the most wonderful thing that I am always going to remember...

♥ "Love doesn't divide, it multiplies" 

Thank you for reading. Thank you to new followers, I'm tickled pink that you want to stop by. And also a BIG thank you to Hazel at Cupcakery. Hazel very kindly nominated me for the Liebester award and I am truly grateful and chuffed to bits. But sadly I don't think I'm going to get the time to pass this on and do a post on this... it has taken me a lifetime to do this post and time is just not on my side these days. So thank you Hazel for your kindness.

Over and out xx

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

❆❆❆ Christmas 2012 ❆❆❆

Christmas 2012... well it's typical of me that while everyone else is writing their synopsis of 2012, and wishing Happy New Year, I'm just getting around to telling you about December and Christmas! I guess it's better late than never. Well I hope so anyway. 
 I really had been looking forward to Christmas for what felt like forever and it has gone by in a flash. I always feel sad when it's over but I am still enjoying spending these relaxing days with my little family. So here's what we've been up to...
We got our tree on Friday 30th November, ready to decorate in time for the 1st of December. It's a Fraser Fir, my all time favourite type of Christmas tree. It was a little more difficult this year as one of us had to run distraction with Little R while the other one tried to put on the lights and then the decorations. I used to be a rather fussy Miss when it came to the fairy lights, well I mean D used to put them on and I used to observe and give rather strict directions and oh how times have changed, I'm just so happy to get the tree up and I just give D free reign with the lights, what's the point in stressing? Right? Well I don't have time anymore, Little R and bump are keeping me rather busy and I don't imagine that changing any time soon! So D does the lights (and did a good job too) and then I did the decorations and Little R amused us greatly, it was a lot of fun. We have mainly red and white decorations, not to follow any trends or fashion, it's just what I like. So here's what it looked like...
I treated myself to a little Christmas purchase... well it felt like rather an extravagant purchase... an Emma Bridgewater Joy plate. Some people are able to furnish their kitchen crockery entirely out of Emma Bridgewater which does amaze me slightly so I was more than happy to be able to invest in the little plate. I really wanted it to start our own wee tradition and use it as our plate to leave out for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve and that's what we did this year. It was such fun!
December has been a very busy month as amongst other things I filled the advent calendar with lots of fun things to do. One thing I was desperate to do was to visit the christmas display at a local garden centre. It was such an amazing place. There were animatronic Santas everywhere. Little R loved it and to top it off there were little trains hidden all about the place and as he is already a train fanatic this definitely was a hit for him.

The next adventure was to visit the local farm. At Christmas they take you on a tractor ride and one of Santa's elves reads a story on the way. When the tractor stops you take a walk to a field where the reindeer live and then to get to feed them... super duper. Little R had sooo much fun at this, not to mention his Mummy & Daddy & Granda. After feeding the reindeer carrots we went to Santa's workshop and made a little bag of reindeer food to take home and to leave out for the reindeer on Christmas Eve. And then we got to meet Santa... I was worried that Little R wouldn't like that part but he was great and Santa was too. 
Haha the next job was to make some gingerbread men. I really wanted Little R to help but he's still a little too young for this to hold his attention so I just made them myself. I'm hoping in years to come he will help me because I'd much rather do it with him. This story has rather a tragic end to it as the gingerbread men didn't live for very long... 
My two little dachshunds helped themselves to the gingerbread men on the tree. I don't think you can really comprehend what a feat this is because they are only little doggies and they reached the highest man close to the top of the tree. Look at the two little monsters, don't they look like butter wouldn't melt! Well it turns out they are rather fond of gingerbread!  
In December I also finished work and started maternity leave. I am so very thankful to be off work because it was really exhausting in the last month. I gave my all in work because it's so busy and then I was fairly useless by the time I got home and Little R is so energetic so I had to go to bed when he did! Ah at least it's the winter and it's dark outside at 8pm, worse having to go to bed at 8pm when the sun is shining and children are still playing outside! Anyway my last week was particularly exhausting, no wind down for me I can tell you, so when I left work on my last day I arrived home to a lovely hot bath, with a new christmas magazine, some lovely treats, new christmas pyjamas (which did actually fit over the bump!) and candles everywhere. I felt extremely lucky, overwhelmed and very emotional. D finds it difficult to surprise me and this time was no different, I was particularly difficult, I won't go into it but I'll just say that after all D's attempts he had to march me up to the bathroom to reveal my surprise... oh dear I am hard work at times!! Anyway it was such a lovely treat for which I'm very, very, extremely grateful.
A job I really love in December is wrapping presents! I had decided what design I was going to use in about September - brown paper, red and white butchers twine, a handmade label (bought from ebay - someday I will make my own) and some festive washi tape. Oh I had such fun wrapping these presents. Without blowing my own trumpet I just thought they looked beautiful. Sadly most presents go to children who this pretty wrapping is wasted on but hey I had fun doing it so it was worth it in my book. I just love when presents go under the tree, makes it look more festive. Also D moans for days when there are no presents so it's worth it just to make him happy to - he appreciated my efforts which makes me happy too.

I did some crafting in December too. I made some salt dough decorations which I sadly don't have a picture of but my favourite was the one with Little R's handprint. I painted it white and sprinkled sparkly glitter on it. I really wish I had done it last year to capture his first christmas but sadly I wasn't really on the ball, oh well. Another craft I just had to do was to make Little R his own Christmas Stocking. My word, I made rather a meal out of this job because it took me about a whole week to draw out the stocking pattern. For some reason I didn't like any of the ones I found online and thought it best to draw one out myself, and finally I got it right (D teased me quite a lot about the huge mountain I was making out of this job!). I also made a right mountain out of picking the fabric, again D helped but teased me quite a lot. Anyway I'm super happy with the fabric I picked and decided to make the bump a stocking too (think I could be a bit busy next year!). I picked a fabric by Kate Spain which had two different colours in the range, complementary but different. I used this tutorial but used my own pattern. Then to personalise the stocking I added a white felt letter R to the band of the stocking, I think it looks the business and it was just the right size to fit all the treats from Father Christmas - stickers, clementine, crayons and other bits and bobs. I could have bought one but I just felt that this was something that I wanted to make for Little R myself so that he could have it forever and know that his Mummy made it with a lot of love. 
Christmas Day was sooo much fun. We had a little Elf outfit for Little R that I picked up from Sainsbury's as soon as Christmas things came into the shops. D wasn't keen on it when I bought it but he absolutely loved it the moment Little R put it on, on Christmas Eve. I just love the photo of him under the tree as I think it captures our Christmas perfectly. We opened the stocking in bed as Little R likes to get up pretty early so we did this bit in bed before we ventured downstairs to see what Santa had left. We didn't I mean Santa didn't go overboard as we think Little R is still a little young so he got a little piano, books and a shopping trolley (he loves running about with his cousins so we thought, why not? Plus we're getting him a little teaset for his birthday, I'm not into gender stereotypes and he likes making 'cuppa tea' for us so again why not?). We knew that his uncles were going to get him train things as he is a train fanatic due to his Granda working for the railway so we left that to them, as you can see the train set is a hit!
After we opened presents we went out for a Christmas Day walk with the doggies. It was a lovely day, dry and bright and not too cold but cold and damp enough for me to enjoy my presents. D & Little R got me some absolutely B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L wellies, complete with wellie warmers (I have never had any of these before but seriously why not, they keep your toes super toasty!) and wrist warmers all from Joules. I love the bottom photo because it looks like Little R and I have fallen out but we were just having a little rest and Little R is swinging his feet and chatting merrily, tooooo cute. I'm sorry I don't have a photo of the doggies but they were enjoying their walk too much to stay still... they haven't been out for a proper walk in weeks so they didn't stay still for too long!

After our Christmas Day walk we had some lunch and then Little R & I went off for our nap. Dinner was all prepped and it was time to relax. My brother joined us for dinner so it was just the four of us. We had to wait for dinner as my brother had to work for a few hours on Christmas day so by the time he finished Little R were up from our nap and it was time to get the dinner on and have our starter. We had smoked salmon bellinis and prawns with chilli, garlic and ginger on toasted ciabatta. These went down a treat, the prawns were specifically requested by D and he enjoyed them very much. Then the main course was Roast Beef. I absolutely love taking photos of food and nice dinners. I was a little worried that people in blogland might think this was slightly insane but I'm very happy to say that I have seen many people posting pictures of their Christmas dinners and this made me smile. So dinner was Roast Beef (just didn't fancy turkey), mash and roast spuds, cauliflower cheese (a christmas must in my family), roast carrots & parsnips, roast onions, stuffing, brussel sprouts and lashing of gravy (we are also gravy nuts in my family and I'm very slowly and steadily turning D into a gravy nut too, well it's been 16 years and he isn't quite as mental as my family are which means more gravy for us, but he's nearly there!!). I love decorating the table at Christmas but I went for understated this year, I left my new table cloth do the work... red and white polka dot oilcloth. Dessert was unphotographed but absolutely D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S. My brother doesn't really bake but took on the challenge for Christmas. I must admit I was a little apprehensive but I need not have been for he made one of the best desserts I've ever had - Chocolate Roulade with spiced winter berries. Yummy Scrummy. After Little R went to bed the three of us played scrabble and went to bed very happy at having such a relaxing and wonderful Christmas day in great company. 

Mostly over December and Christmas we have been doing a lot of this... Little R and I have been napping together most days since I have been off work, I don't seem to have much stamina at 8 months pregnant so I'm enjoying relaxing with him (although I'm slightly worried that I am creating bad habits). And then when he goes to bed in the evening I have been going to bed too and reading my christmas magazines (with a little treat or two! A chip shop from my home town does the most amazing ice-cream with melted marshmallow, D has been kind enough to pick me up some and bring it 30 miles in a cool bag! Normally I couldn't eat too much of it but I have a seriously sweet pregnancy related tooth!). I have only just discovered the joy of Country Living... it's so beautiful but I don't want to get too hooked as it also makes me quiet envious of the owners... think I might save it as my Christmas treat!

We have also watched The Snowman about 100 times since the beginning of December, Little R absolutely loves it. We get requests for "Snowman, Boy" at least a couple of times a day and we fell in love with the new animation The Snowman and the Snowdog (I almost cried my eyes out watching it for the first time on Christmas Eve). So now we get requests for "Snowman, Boy, Dog", ahh it melts my heart. 
Artwork courtesy of D and sketch pad courtesy of Granda.

So I'll leave you with a snap shot of a December day in my family, enjoying time together, a little glimpse of the advent calendar (never really got a good enough photo of it to show you but we loved using it), Little R nibbling on a gingerbread man I didn't put on the tree (one of the few), the doggies getting a little couch time (they aren't really allowed up anymore due to Little R and the new baby on the way, but hey it's Christmas) and our Christmas hats (I forgot to wear my antlers).

I hope you had a very lovely Christmas and I hope that 2013 has lots of amazing things in store for you. Thanks for reading, following, commenting and for making this blogging malarky a world of fun.


Helen xx