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Wednesday, 12 July 2017

FIRST LITTLE BED

After I had my daughter, Poppy, two and a bit years ago, I thought that I was done with the whole child bearing business and just had to focus on keeping the two I already have alive. So whenever Poppy got too big for something, or I realised that I really didn’t need every fancy baby gadget that I had either bought or been given, I gave them away. I didn’t anticipate having a need for them again in the future. But someone, somewhere had different plans for me; and now that I am nearly half way done with cooking my last bun {and this time it will be the last one!} I have begun to realise that I don’t actually have very much at all.

The few pieces of clothes that I did keep of Poppy’s are of no use as, whilst I have no objection to boys in pink, I think I would be pushing it to put my little boy baby in her flowery, pink baby grows and frilly summer dresses.

So the search for baby essentials has begun. And by essentials, I really am just going to buy what we really need. I mean in Finland, you are sent home with a cardboard box and pretty much good to go. In the years since 1938, when they were first introduced, the boxes contents have changed slightly but essentially, they offer new mums all they need to take their little bundle home. The box given to mums now contains:

§  Mattress, mattress cover, under sheet, duvet cover, blanket, sleeping bag/quilt
§  Box itself doubles as a crib
§  Snowsuit, hat, insulated mittens and booties
§  Light hooded suit and knitted overalls
§  Socks and mittens, knitted hat and balaclava
§  Bodysuits, romper suits and leggings in unisex colours and patterns
§  Hooded bath towel, nail scissors, hairbrush, toothbrush, bath thermometer, nappy cream, washcloth
§  Cloth nappy set and muslin squares
§  Picture book and teething toy
§  Bra pads, condoms

Looking down the list, there are certainly some things that I will need to adjust; I’m not sure I will need a balaclava (unless it is for me to wear to cover, what I am presuming will be, a very tired, unmade up face for the first few weeks of life with a new born and a toddler). Condoms are a wishful thought, I am pretty sure I will have no need for them in the weeks and months after birth and when that time does arrive, I am going to be so full of anti-pregnancy hormone that the strongest of swimmers will fail. But the rest is pretty much on my tick list for the arrival of baby no. 3.

Although I do quite like the idea of using a cardboard box as his first bed, I fear that Poppy will want to join in the cardboard box bedtime action and I have only just managed to get her to sleep in her ‘big girl bed’. I’m not sure I can cope with being faced with her toy boxes being emptied every night and the tantrum as to why she can’t sleep in a box, like her baby brother.

So I am going to be a little less Nordic and a little more conventional-I'm opting for a Moses basket. 
Over the last few weeks I have been looking at different possibilities; who would have thought there were so many?! If you thought a basket is a basket is a basket, you are mistaken. 

My search started relatively tamely with  just a slight twist on the traditional wicker number. I really like this grey felt nest from Mokee and it is definitely  a strong contender. The Wool Nest looks so snug and cosy, as well as being super soft. Best of all, it zips together so even the most clueless DIYer can figure this one out. I love the bold handle colours { there's a choice of Pumpkin Neon Orange, Summer Dash, Pink Mallow and, my favourite, Azure Drop}.


And then of course, as so often happens, Pinterest took hold and I whiled away quite some time getting further 'inspiration'.



I love this hanging baby nest designed by Oszkar Vagi, inspired by the a baby's time in the womb, but I fear that whilst my DIY skills stretch to putting up a shelf and dubious re-sealing of the bathtub, I do not trust my ability to secure something which will cradle a baby. And I'm pretty sure that even if I did manage to get it in position, it wouldn't be long until it, and Poppy, were in a heap on the floor as I'm sure she is probably too big to use it as a swing, and that would inevitable become its principle use. 

As my search carried on, I came across these futuristic numbers by Cascara...

And for the more patriotic...


I decided I needed to tame my search as little, whilst it does at times feel like a little alien wiggling around in there, I don't think my home interior is quite up to space age chic. 

Then I came across this modern twist of the Moses basket by Moba. I love the different colours they come in, ranging from dove grey to raspberry-perfect for a little boy or girl and I'm pretty sure one could be found to compliment any nursery.

I also love that they are completely cleanable, not just because of any explosions of nappies but I'm pretty sure Poppy's grubby little mitts will be all over it as she attempts to wake him up, play with him, or, if past experiences with friends' new babies are anything to go by, pile lots of toys in there for him. 
The mattress is also included and it is fully ventilated and hypoallergenic-perfect for those little ones with sensitive skin. 


A few weeks ago on Instagram, the lovely Susie Verill teamed up with Tilly and Cub to do a give away of the most beautiful basket. {And even though I didn't win, I'm so glad I saw the post as they are some of the most unique and gorgeous little baby beds.}



They are hand woven in West Africa, using non-toxic plant dyes, providing fair trade employment. Money from each basket sold is donated Afrikids and Sands Charity, supporting the communities where the baskets are made and those affected by stillbirths.  
I just love everything about these baskets. 


The last few I looked at are out of my budget, but they deserve a mention, either for their beautiful design {as is the case in the first two} or the unbelievable price tag for the last. 


I absolutely 'heart eye emoji' the design of this Monte-Rockwell bassinet; I like to believe it would fit in perfectly in my home. It is a beautiful combination of materials and design, enabling a smooth rocking motion. It is all handcrafted and more importantly for a new mum, the cover is machine-washable!





Pod Cot is another example of great design and a distinctive modern look. The clear acrylic sides mean you can see right in and makes checking on baby {ten million times, just in case} much easier.





And as bubba gets bigger, it converts into a toddler bed-the bed which just keeps on giving.


The last bed which I wanted to share was more for the oh-my-goodness-I-can't-believe-it-costs-that-much factor. The Dodo Bassinet gold edition is yours for a mere 38,000 Euros.

Can't quite stretch that far? No worries, the white edition is only 12,000 Euros; as my dad would say, I'll take two of them!

With all things considered, including my lack of billionaire husband and dubious DIY skills, I think the choice is between the Mokee, Tilly and Cub and the Moba; I love the hint of colour of the Mokee and it looks so comfy but the appeal of the wipe clean Moba is also very tempting. Needless to say the Tilly and Cub baskets are just beautiful, I am eagerly awaiting their online store to open.

 I have a little while left yet to decide, although I am already half way through cooking my little Christmas pud and so far have...hmmmm, nothing ready. But at least I have narrowed my options...just as long as I stay off of Pinterest. 

Thursday, 8 June 2017

IKEA AND CHANGING ROOMS



Can we just talk about Ikea for a minute…and how they get you to buy everything that you just didn’t know you needed until you saw it there?

I went on the weekend with a plan. I even did a little sketch of how I intended on styling my Kallax boxy unit thingy. I knew exactly what I was going to buy. I anticipated the odd candle or two making their way into my trolley, they always do; a new corner sofa though…I did not anticipate that! But they got me! I saw it and then just like that, decided to rearrange all the furniture in my living room to make space for said corner sofa bed.

It wasn’t a completely spontaneous decision, in that I have been considering the logistics of our living arrangements as my little one becomes not so little anymore.  We have shared a bedroom since she was born (having only two bedrooms and a teenage son, it seemed only fair that I be the one to share a room with a crying baby). However, in the last few months, whenever I have gone up to bed it is as if she knows I am there and even though she was sound asleep, the moment I climb into bed the demands for milk come. And they aren’t nice, ‘please mummy, can I have some milk?’ they are monosyllable grunts for more ‘nilk’.

Then there are the occasions when I creep into bed, think I have done my best to go unnoticed and there she is, standing up in her bed wanting to get in mummy’s bed for cuddles. There are two main reasons why I relent: 1) when working it feels as though there is never enough time for cuddles, 2) it is so much easier than trying to settle her back into her own bed.

So I have been toying with different ideas, knocking walls down, putting new walls up, finding a rich husband who would have a dream home ready for me or perhaps looking for a new house that I might have to buy myself-this just made me want to cry; I started looking at houses a few months ago, it was impossible to find anything that didn’t resemble a time warp or was so far from work and my family and friends that I would have to change more than just my postcode. I decided that I liked my little corner of London, it was home for now and I would make the best of it.

I decided against knocking any walls down, I contemplated it, got quotes for it and then the thought of the dust and the palaver of getting consent from the freeholder. For surveys and drawings, and someone to tell me if the walls were load bearing, supporting or just in the way, was going to cost me more than a new Mulberry. I thought it was just a matter of knocking on the wall a few times-apparently not.

Considering all my options, one of which was for me to move downstairs, I started looking at sleeping options for someone who had been kicked out of their bedroom and demoted to the living room. Really, at 33, I’m not sure how much I really need a bedroom-it’s not as though I have posters of my favourite band to hang on the wall or need someone to sulk in when my mum tells me off; whereas both the kiddos have far more shit than I do and I would much rather it be upstairs and out the way than downstairs where I spend most of my time anyway. It’s also not as though I will be inviting any gentlemen callers round any time soon so am really not in the need for a romantic boudoir.

I have spent quite some time looking at different sofa beds, day beds, hidden wall beds (again, not really an option as I don’t want it to be a permanent feature of the house) so whilst my Ikea purchase wasn’t completely spontaneous, I did not go there with the intention of making the purchase; I was planning on ‘just having a look’. Does that ever happen in Ikea?

With sofa bed bought and delivery planned for the next day, I then had the task of rearranging the room to make space for the new arrival. The main intention of going to Ikea was to get a few new storage boxes and maybe a few plants (which I will probably kill as I always forget to water them, until they are wilting, the leaves are curling and they are pretty much ready for the compost heap).
Quite a few hundred pounds later, I had all of that and more, including a bag of mini Daim bars-I’m not even entirely sure if I really like them {having not eaten one for years} but I now have more than enough to eat and make my mind up. *Update and verdict: I like the initial crunch, and chocolate of course, but fear for any dental work I may have had done in the past as the inside bit, I assume it is pure sugar, sticks to all crevices.




Saturday was spent rearranging furniture and faffing with shelves, boxes, plants and pictures and then on Sunday came the task of building the new sofa bed, after it was delivered. Thankfully, I am relatively handy with an allan key and having learnt to take my time and look at the instructions really carefully, on more than one occasion (in fact, it wasn’t until I was dismantling my dressing table that I realised I had but one of the front curvy legs on the back-oops) I have had to take things apart and reassemble as I didn’t get it quite right the first time round. But not with the sofa bed! I took my time {stopped for the occasional Daim bar} and managed to put it all together without any need to disassemble anything, effing and jeffing at the whole idea of flat pack sofas. And with it perfectly build and the room finally restored to {its new}order, it seemed only right to pull out the sofa bed and have a little snooze. 


Monday, 29 May 2017

CHELSEA IN BLOOM



This weekend Poppy and I went to look at some of the floral displays in Chelsea which were there to celebrate the Chelsea Flower Show. I've never been to the show, although I would love to one day. I will probably have to dose up on all the hay fever tablets though, as just driving past-with the car windows open-caused me to sneeze a gazilion times.

Poppy loved all the animals, even if she was quite dissatisfied that there were no penguins. I tried to explain that penguins do not live on the safari but sometimes it's just easier to suggest we 'just keep looking' for the elusive penguins.

We started off in Sloane Square where we found an elephant, crocodile and hippo.

'He's going to bite my finger!'



Of course Poppy was more interested in the flamingos, which were not made of flowers-even though she didn't stop talking about seeing the flowers all the way there.




Then we strolled along Symon Street to find a rhino, and then on to find a lion and purple giraffe, although she would not accept it was a giraffe because they aren't purple, of course.




Making our way onto the King's Road we passed Kiehl's, where the shop assistant was taking down the last of their floral display. He kindly offered Poppy some flowers to take home and whilst he gave them some much needed water and put them in a bag, I had the chance to do a little bit of shopping. Great marketing ploy!
I am not very green fingered, in fact I have managed to kill every plant I have ever owned. I now stick to cacti and species of flora which do not need a lot of attention, or water, as I always forget until they are looking worse for wear.
The three little potted plants we rescued from the last of Chelsea in Bloom looked very much like a plant I might own. I said I would attempt to rescue them, knowing full well that the little suckers didn't stand much chance at all. However, I am going to try my best to bring the little guys back to life, even if it is until I forget to water them again.

 At least they could get no worse!

Two days later, looking a little healthier already...


We continued to walk along the King's Road and stopped off to see these two beautiful lions, they really were stunning. By this point, Poppy wanted to find a tiger so had thankfully forgotten about the penguins.



On our way back to the car, we passed some giraffes, which passed Poppy's giraffe criteria test, and she quite happily stood there in awe of them for some time {probably annoying the passers by who wanted to snap the perfect pic for their instagram-sorry}.



And not wanting to flood my instagram with all the photos {I'm sure there are only so many flowery animals and toddler pics some of my followers can bear}, here are a few more, if floral safaris are your thing.















Monday, 10 April 2017

MAKING THINGS PRETTY



Today Last Tuesday, was a very productive day; after picking up Pops from nursery and a pit stop in Crystal Palace Park to see the dinosaurs, we went home to get crafty. {I thought she would be more interested in the prehistoric monsters than she was. As it turned out, the gravel on the footpath was much more exciting. I let her play in it, to prevent a full on tantrum, despite a few disapproving mummy glances-whose children were still unable to talk or move independently..you just wait, I thought! I did draw the line when she started to, or attempted to, eat it though.}


This was when she first saw the dinosaurs; her awe and wonder lasted for about 5 minutes...



...then she discovered the gravel!



When we got home and whilst Poppy drew on every scrap of paper with her new flamingo pen-an impulsive buy to prevent yet another meltdown in a shop with far too many ceramic nic-nacs to risk it-I had three jobs to do: spray paint the alphabet fridge magnets; print, frame and hang some prints in my bedroom; draw the outline of a suitcase on a box {it will become clearer, promise}.

I've had blue alphabet letters on the fridge for a while now, and every time I looked at them I wished they weren't blue. Not that I have anything against blue, just they weren't really in keeping with he theme of my kitchen.


Then it dawned on me. Spray paint them! I don't know why I hadn't thought of it sooner as it is a little 'making things pretty' trick I have used quite a few times in the past.

I started by testing the paint on just one letter first; I opted for X as I figured, if it went terribly wrong, I probably would need that less than an A or an E. And it didn't go great. Whilst the paint says it is for plastics, it wasn't adhering very well, it was almost running off the edges.
So of course that meant I had to sand each one of the little things. I hadn't realised until doing this that I had a favourite letter; turns out lowercase L and I are my favourites- for no other reason than they were the easiest to sand and had no little nooks, crannies or holes, which are not helpful when sanding tiny plastic letters.
With sanding complete, I just had to spray them with the paint and transformation was complete. I probably should have taken them outside to spray them, as I did set the smoke alarm off, but to go outside I would have had to passed Poppy. If she had seen me going outside with magnets and spray paint, a job which took 5 minutes would have ended with one, or both of us, in tears-and probably a shade of copper. I thought the risk of solvent poisoning was worth taking.




I'm pretty chuffed with how they turned out...so much so that I have ordered three more packs of magnetic letters off of ebay. Yay! More sanding of tiny letters!


The next quick job was to finish off a project I started months ago. I'm not sure why I didn't just finish it all at the time, although I do have a two year old, so that is probably the reason. In the lapsing time, I managed to lose the black Promarker I used for the other three boxes, so when my new one arrived, I really had to get the job done {before I lost this one too}.


I foolishly started drawing the outline on the box in front of Poppy. She then of course wanted to draw with her, please-don't-have-a-tantrum-have-what-you-want, flamingo pen on one of the other boxes. With some quick distraction, involving telling mummy off for drawing on the box and then finding her some scrap of paper to draw on, I made a quick escape to the kitchen to finish off the long awaited projected. The next job will be to actually sort out what is in those boxes as I'm pretty sure they are full of things which didn't really have a home, so ended up in the box graveyard. But for now, that job can wait.

My final productive task of the day was to print and frame a few quotes for my bedroom.



Sometimes, you  just need a little reminder that everything will be fine and to just get on with shit...and being a mum, that inevitably involves having a messy bun. Maybe once a week I'll get the chance to actually blow-dry my hair so it looks half way decent, the rest of the time it's tied up in something which resembles more of a nest than a styled do.

So my productive day ended with attempting to write this post...I got half way through and then being a mum took over. It's now nearly a week later and I am finally finishing it off and getting it posted! I'm sure there is some irony in there somewhere!