Little B’s big boy room

This project has taken us months. I blogged some before pictures back in May, and at that stage we were probably a few months into the work. Mainly because we weren’t in a huge rush to do it as the little man has been happy in his current nursery, but we also needed to get a few trades in for jobs that were outside of our skills (largely plumbing!). My brother is a carpenter and yet again he’s been a huge help – brand new skirting board, plus refitting the door after the carpet was put down.

I had a vision in my head for how I wanted this room to look, more contemporary than some of our other rooms, as eventually if we get planning permission for the extension I think the house will gradually move towards that style. It needed to be something that would grow with him for a few years to come. He loves his books so I also knew I wanted to create an area where he could read, that’s where the teepee corner comes in.

My starting point was the feature wall, with that plan in my head I wanted to keep the rest of the room white (Farrow and Ball’s Wevet), which is quite unusual for me. Mr B kept looking at me like I had finally lost the plot when I covered the wall in masking tape to paint the mural. I used three colours for the mountains to give some variation, I took the design around the fireplace (which we’ve left covered up for now, we didn’t have the energy for that this time round, plus it leaves more room). I’m so pleased with the fabric, it took me ages to find something that would work with the scheme but I think the pattern goes perfectly with the mountains (it’s a Clarke & Clarke fabric called Brio). I interlined them to keep them looking full and decided in the end to just do a tape header, I had planned to do pinch pleats but it wouldn’t have looked right. The teepee is from the Great Little Trading Company and the storage units are Ikea. I will still need to add a few finishing touches such as floor cushions and some prints for the wall but it’s almost there and he loves it.




Wheels in motion 

A quick update on our latest project. We submitted plans last week for our extension, now crossing fingers and toes we can get planning permission. It took a little bit of time to find the right architect and then final plans that really worked for us but we’re now really excited. We’ve put in for a double storey down the side of our house which extends a little out the back as well. We have a 250ft garden so loosing a bit of the garden really isn’t an issue for us. If approved, it’ll give us an extra bedroom and bathroom upstairs plus a huge open plan kitchen/diner/family space with a utility room at the front of the house. Moving to the next house on the ladder really isn’t an option right now, plus we love where we are, so this really would enable us to make the space really work for us. We’re a year or two behind on what was our original timescale for this when we bought the house but I think living with the space for that bit longer has really helped us to be clearer with what we want from extending. I’ll keep you posted. 

New projects 

It’s been a ridiculous amount of time since I last blogged. Life has been very hectic with a toddler, a return to work and a number of house projects underway! 

We’ve started putting the wheels in motion to extend our house. When we bought it this was always the plan and now feels like the right time to do it. We’re in process of getting plans drawn up so it’s very early days, but it’s very exciting as we’ll likely change the layout of the house downstairs a fair bit plus gain extra rooms upstairs. Lots of blog posts to come on that I suspect.

In the meantime we’ve been working on our spare bedroom. We thought this one day may become the bathroom so didn’t plan to do anything as yet but after discussions with our architect we now know it will definitely be a bedroom. So we’ve started doing it up for little B. We had to rip out some old cupboards which used to have the hot water system in, a lot of mess but it’s really opened up the room. I’m starting with a blank canvas, we’ve so far painted the walls and ceiling in Farrow & Ball’s Wevet. But I have a plan in my head for a mural wall and lots of other little features to make it a fun space for him that will hopefully work for a few years as he grows 

Leftovers, still… 

We had an amazing Christmas. And an scrummy Christmas dinner, our turkey was a free range bronze from our fab local butcher. I tried to not go too mad with extras like cheese and things but we still ended up with a fridge full of stuff which we’ve slowly gorged ourselves on since the big day. I have been running out of ideas for how to use things up, I hate to waste food.

Today’s blog recipe is inspired by my mum. We had lunch at hers today before taking the little man swimming. She’d made some savoury scones using her cheese leftovers. Joshua happily tucked into a Stilton and cranberry one and it inspired me to use mine up in the same way.
I’d only got Brie left so this is a recipe for Brie and cranberry savoury scones. I made half into adult sized and the other half into Joshua sized portions so that I can freeze them for snacks.


8oz self raising flour

2 oz butter

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/4 milk

Brie – use however much you want depending on how strong you want the taste. I used about a quarter of a whole one.

Good handful of dried cranberries.

I’d forgotten how simple scones are. And you don’t need any fancy equipment. Just rub the fat into the flour using your hands until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the rest of the dried ingredients in, I chopped the brie up reasonably small to try to get an even distribution. Then add the milk to bring it together. Roll out to about 2cm thickness, cut out your shapes, coat with an egg or milk wash and bake in a hot oven for about 12 minutes. Best eaten while they are still warm I say ; )

My year

I truly cannot believe that we’re at the end of 2016. What a year it has been. It’s been an amazing year, even if I feel I have lost half of it in a sleep deprived blur.

I’ve always found myself getting a touch emotional on New Year’s Eve. I don’t know why, except this year I do. It’s been mad, unbelievably rewarding, challenging but full of absolutely wonderful memories and moments watching our little man grow from a 10lb screwed up wrinkly bundle to the happy, smiley and non stop little human that he now is.

Without realising it he has completely changed me. I worry a lot less about trivial things, though I worry about him all the time still. I’ve developed a patience I never thought I would have. I’ve tried to be the best mum that I can, but I still question myself every day and feel guilty on the bad days where I feel I’ve got it completely wrong. Other days, (which is in fairness most of the time, we just still don’t talk about nights!) when he is just an absolute delight to be around and I see how much happiness he brings to other people I am completely floored by how much I love him (and truly can’t believe we made him). He has taken all of my energy, time and focus. I could of been a better friend to many of my pals, and a better wife this year and I feel bad about that, but it’s tough to do everything. That’s something I’m still trying to get my head round and find the right balance. 

I fell in love with our village as soon as we drove up to it to view our house but this year has made me really realise how lucky we are. There’s an amazing network of friendly people in our village, our own fab (small but perfectly formed) toddler group and access to beautiful countryside, which I’ve seen more of, more than once a day usually when I have been manically walking to entertain the little man. I would hate to leave this village, and it’s made us more determined to make the big alterations to our home to make it work better for us for the next few years. Watch this space for more blogs on that subject.

Part of me misses the old me, the social butterfly, always organised, always well presented (ok that last bit is a fib, I’ve never been polished but what I mean is washed hair and a bit of make up and no snot down my front), but what I have in exchange is irreplaceable. The old me is in there somewhere and it’s my New Years resolution to make a little bit of time for her (really not sure how I’ll do that yet) and the other people that I love. 

(These pictures were taken exactly a year apart today, and yes it is ok now to laugh at how fat my face and hands were, I can now find it funny!)

The end of the (boob) line

The little man turned 9 months last week. I’m not sure why, but this felt like such a big milestone to me. I think it’s something to do with him being out as long (well almost, if he had of arrived on time) as he was inside cooking.

Over the last month or so he’s really lost interest in milk and basically dropped all of his day time breast feeds. Night time of course was a different matter. I was down to one bf every 24 hours after we got home from holiday and we made the decision that it was the right time for all of us to stop. I’d told myself that the last night feed before he turned 9 months would be the last to make me stick to it. I gave him an extra long cuddle before I put him back down into his cot and silly as it seems had a bit of a cry about it. He’s growing up so fast.

It’s been a roller coaster of a journey. I can just about laugh at those crazy first few (well 6) months now. I’m still not sure how I managed to keep going with it. A friend recently asked me if I would do it again? I didn’t hesitate to say 100% yes. It’s not been easy, especially as he refused the bottle so it meant for the first 6 months feeding was entirely my responsibility. But, as tough as it has been, on the whole, I’ve loved it and I’ll miss it.

So now we’re in a brave new world. One where Mr B can help with the feeding overnight (to be fair he always got up with me when I was bf, although as I keep saying to him it’s not quite the same!) and one where I can have a little bit of freedom (what’s that?!) to go out without having to stress about getting back for a feed. I’m pretty sure my friends will be glad to not have to see my boobs any more and be able to have a conversation with me without a little person hanging off them.

I’m still waiting for my milk to fully dry up, but thankfully it seems to have been pretty easy to stop. My friends are really enjoying the pictures I’m sending them of me with cabbage leaves stuffed down my bra. That really made for a romantic Saturday night in last week. “Seriously, what’s that smell?” Mr B asked, “It’s me darling, you’re going to have to just deal with it”. But they seem to be helping. Stopping has made me a tad emotional, something to do with the change in hormones I guess and it’s made me reflect on a few things as well as wonder where the hell all that time has gone. I swear some days I can’t even remember what happened in the first 4 months of his life. It’ll be two years this weekend since we had our first miscarriage, sitting in A&E that day I never imagined we’d be where we are today. I’m very thankful for what we’ve got, even if he is a little monster at night and hasn’t wanted me to leave his side for the last 9 months. I can’t imagine life without him and I wouldn’t change a thing, well if I’m honest a little more sleep perhaps…. but he’s worth every bag under my eye and stretch mark on my boobs.img_8752

First family holiday

Well, we survived our first family holiday abroad. There were a lot of raised eyebrows and aghast looks when we mentioned to some people that we were planning on taking the little man abroad. Holidays were ‘our thing’ before little B came along, we’ve been lucky enough to travel to some amazing places and wanted to continue to share these experiences as a family.

We knew it would be a very different sort of holiday, and travelling with an 8 month old probably wasn’t going to be a lot of fun. But in the end we were pleasantly surprised. I think having got in the mindset that it would be tough, and not very relaxing meant that we’d set our expectations low!

So off we trotted  blurry eyed on two hours sleep to the airport for an early morning flight to sunny Spain. Two suitcases, a cheap stroller (in case it got mangled on the plane), a car seat (rather than trusting those out there) and hand luggage filled with enough toys and nappies to cater for an entire baby group in tow. We’d booked an early morning (6am) flight thinking (hoping, praying) that he may go back to sleep. Not a chance. The bright lights of the airport and crowds unsurprisingly really woke him up, so we ended up with an overtired baby going out. But it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I expected it to be. I breastfed him on take off and landing and he didn’t have any trouble with his ears, one of the best tips someone told me. He got a bit fed up of our company half way through but a very kind lady helped keep him amused. Our return flight was much better, 11am so about when he was due a nap.

As soon as we landed and picked up our hire car he fell asleep for the next leg of the journey. We’d hired a villa with our own pool in the hills outside of a little town called Competa – one of the best decisions we made. It was so well equipped and set up perfectly for us. I was able to make and freeze him up dinners just like at home. We soon got into a routine and although (no surprise) his sleep at night continued to be challenging (it had been terrible again in the weeks leading up to going away) he did at least nap well during the day. On a few days he napped for two hours straight. Amazing. We had time to relax, drink a beer and read a book. My friend had lent me one of those sun shades / black out covers for the stroller, they are brilliant, a definite must for taking abroad. We spent most days around the pool, our friends joined us for a couple of days which was lovely and we did attempt the beach one day. We ate out a few times, mostly around his dinner times so he could eat with us, which he loved, the Spanish are so family friendly it made it such an enjoyable experience. We also visited the caves in Nerja, which he absolutely loved. It got us out of the heat too, the whole time we were away it was in the 30’s. The villa had an outdoor kitchen with a BBQ and pizza oven, so as soon as he was in bed we got to relax a bit together outside in the evening sun.

I’m so glad we did it, I think the first time you travel abroad is always going to challenging but at least we’ve done it now, we know what to do differently next time and what worked well. Anyone considering whether to do it or not, don’t think about it, just do it. Life’s too short to not give things a go.

Here’s a few things I found really helpful.

  • Microwave steriliser bags, a brilliant invention and save a lot of luggage space.
  • Feed on take off and landing on the plane.
  • Don’t bother taking lots of clothes for baby. We luckily had a washing machine so could wash things through but if he wasn’t in his sun suit he was in the shade in just his nappy. Or naked. He loves to be naked this boy.
  • Don’t take an expensive pushchair. We bought a Chicco stroller for about £60 (which he appears to love) that reclines so he could nap in it, we weren’t worried about it going in the hold then.
  • If you have a sling, take it. They are really useful for when you’ve landed and are waiting for your luggage. We put ours in our hand luggage.dsc_1397
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