Saturday, 30 March 2013


"A portrait of my baby, once a week, every week, in 2013." 
Early morning sunshine. This little one has been getting more active this week. Deciding that perhaps she'd like to crawl after all. She's also mastered blowing raspberries and can now multi-task: crawling and raspberrying as she goes.

Last week, I loved this sweet sleepyhead and these little toes in big shoes.

As ever, joining in with Jodi.

My other 52 project photos are here.

Friday, 29 March 2013

This Week: March#5

1, 2 & 3. A musical week: jingling, shaking and drumming. I might regret buying that tambourine...
4. A new-to-us blanket for keeping baby toes warm in the snow.
5 & 6. Changing around the kitchen cupboard on a whim - raiding my jar collection, and scribbles with a permanent marker. I now smile every time I open that cupboard. One day, I'll have all the jars out on a shelf, but for now they'll have to stay tucked away.
7. This thyme plant seems to grow an extra inch each day - I think I need to give it a haircut. Through the steamy window was a garden full of snow. A warm kitchen was the best place to be. 
8. We started the week by having our dining room floor sanded - cue Tuesday being spent cleaning every surface in the kitchen that had been covered in wood dust. We love it though so the cleaning was worth it! The floor was obviously victim to some hot coals at some point - that's what those big black dents in the floor are! We've now got to choose tiles for the fireplace hearth - we're erring towards the grey on the left I think.

Hope you've all had a brilliant start to the Bank Holiday weekend. We kicked it off in style this morning with pancakes, bacon and maple syrup at the American diner with the our NCT baby pals! Tomorrow I'll be making a big chocolate cake in preparation for a big family get together in Somerset...and trying to sew a quick Easter bunny for Baby!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Making for Mother's Day

In a fit of madness (or creativity, I'm not sure which) I decided to try and craft all the presents that we give away this year. So far, beaded wire earrings for mum's birthday, a rich fruit cake for dad, a hand-lettered book bag for my sister-in-law, and a lemon curd and blueberry loaf cake for a friend have all been created and seem to have gone down well. I didn't want Mother's Day to be any different, so got searching online for ideas.

I came across this scarf tutorial on The Village Haberdashery's blog and thought it looked beautiful. Gorgeous, light Nana Iro double gauze fabric, bright colours, and pom poms. How can anything that's been be-pommed be bad?! I thought this would be a hit with my fabric-loving mother-in-law so got sewing. It was dead easy to do, and only took about an hour, with baby cuddle intervals! (I know many people would say it was my husband's job to buy his mum a present - he'd normally buy her a bunch of flowers - but we both appreciate her and everything she does, and I enjoyed making it too which was an added bonus!)

The scarf was a hit - and she assures me, was worn constantly on her recent trip to Paris! I love the giving of presents and seeing the recipient's reaction, but knowing that the present is used and loved is the ultimate joy.

I decided to go down the fabric route for my mum's Mother's Day present too. Both her and my dad are a bit bicycle mad (they do have a car, but it doesn't get used much!) so when I saw this fabric in my local upholstery fabric shop, I knew I had to make something for mum with it. (It's Totnes by Ashley Wilde for anyone interested). I was going to wing the bag pattern as usual, but ended up tweaking this free pattern to make the bag big enough to use when out shopping, soft so it can fold up, and gave it handles that can go over your shoulder. I was so pleased with how it turned out, and most importantly, mum loved it too!

I've got lots of 1st birthdays coming up over the next few months, plus a few friend's birthdays so I need to get thinking of more presents to make. Any ideas gratefully received!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Nature in the home

One of the things that was high up my list of wants when we were house-hunting was a big garden. I wanted somewhere our children could run around, have a sandpit, grow carrots, and spend the long, hot summers (ha!) outside. With the house we bought, we were lucky enough to inherit a well established garden full of beautiful flowers and trees that had been lovingly tended by the previous owner. Over the past year, I've loved watching the garden over the seasons, seeing plants springing up and the colours change.

One of the first colours that appears in our garden, in early March, is the bright pink of the Camellias. While it's perhaps not what I would've chosen to plant (especially as there are 4 large bushes!), their brightness is much appreciated on days when it is deciding to snow yet again... So as I went to empty the compost bin earlier (the life of glamour I lead...), I decided to snip a few of the pink blooms and bring their cheeriness inside.

Joining in with Lou's Nature in the Home series.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Sunshine for my ears

While the floor of our dining room was having the old Victorian black varnish sanded off to reveal the warm, honeyed wood beneath, we fled to my mother-in-law's in the next town to avoid the dust. Head down against the biting wind as we walked to the car, and then having to scrape the final piles of snow off the windscreen, I needed something sunny to listen to as we drove.

Lianne La Havas was my pick. I first saw her perform on the Jools Holland show, standing alone, guitar in hand and decked out in a beautiful white dress. A few weeks after Baby was born and we were plunged into a late May heatwave, we would spend the afternoons outside, lying on a rug in the shade of the silver birch tree, listening to Lianne La Havas' album. It conjours up such memories of hazy heat, it was just what was needed today.

If you haven't come across Lianne before, I urge you to take a listen. Feel yourself defrost.

Saturday, 23 March 2013


"A portrait of my baby, once a week, every week, in 2013." 
Post nap cuddles with Daddy in the garden. This was shot in secret, leaning around the back door, as I loved the moment and the late afternoon sunshine.

Some of my favourites from last week include this thoughtful face, and this hiding one!

As ever, joining in with Jodi.

My other 52 project photos are here.

Friday, 22 March 2013

This Week: March#4

1. Massive hailstones kicked off the weekend...
2 & 3. But the freezing weather soon cleared to leave blue skies, so we whisked this little one off to the park. This is her 'yeah, whatever, swinging is boring' face. Click here to see her excited face once we gave her more of a push!
4. Modern art installation / fallen over fence.
5. Dare I say it (after waking up to a dusting of snow this morning), but there are more signs of Spring!
6. Napping, Scandi style
7. This picture sums up the rest of our week. A sad, pink-cheeked girl who didn't want to be put down. Initially I put the high temps and grumpiness down to teething, but after she came out in a rash, I think she actually had roseola. I'd never heard of it, but seems to be very common. She now seems to be pretty much back to normal so I'm hoping we have a healthy week next week!

Weaning: the story so far

The other day, an NCT friend asked me what Baby's current favourite foods are. My response? "Ermmmmm". Not being able to think about what she was enjoying eating, when I feed her 3+ times a day, made me decide to try and record her likes and dislikes a little more fully. Hopefully, it may also be of use to someone wanting more ideas for what to feed their own little ones. I know when I chat to my mum friends about all things baby-food, I often think 'Why did I never try feeding her that before?!'

Four months down the line, solid food now seems to be a hit. There was a time when spoons seemed to be something to be feared, and sticks of food would be fiddled with but never headed mouth-wards. (But when she managed to sneakily get hold of my phone, that was nibbled straight away. Hmmm, what a monkey). After a tummy-bug set-back just as she was starting to taste more, it took until she was about 7.5 months old for her to actually start getting the hang of this food malarkey. But now, there's no stopping her! (I think the eleventy-billion teeth help too!)

We had always intended to go down the baby led weaning route. But we soon found that a mix of spoon-fed meals and finger food worked best. I was glad that I had the confidence to listen to what the health visitor recommended, and then tweak it and make it work for us.

Breakfast tends to be something porridgey - generally I make porridge for me and then scoop a bit out for her. Cooked apple, cooked blueberries, chopped up raisins, and mashed banana with a sprinkling of cinnamon are all popular additions. She's just started wanting to feed herself now which makes her very happy! We've also tried the Heinz Blueberry porridge (hit!) and Ella's Kitchen Banana Porridge (not a hit!).

Falafel got well squished but wasn't so popular when it came to actually eating it.

I try to make sure that lunches are finger food based. Something carby, some fruit and veg, and some protein.

Popular bread-y things are:
  • Toast and sandwiches are the perennial favourite, with a variety of toppings and fillings. Soft cheese gets heartily sucked off the top, hoummus was a surprising hit, mashed avocado was a bit slimy but seemed to go down alright, and mashed banana resulted in big expressions of "yuk!". Scrambled egg works quite well in a sandwich, as does tuna mixed with a little greek yoghurt.
  • Crumpets are always a hit, and because of their texture, they break into small, manageable chunks for chewing. 
  • Drop scones are also a favourite (see here for a recipe). Spinach and cheese, carrot and cumin, and apple and cinnamon all work well. I tend to keep a stock of these in the freezer that can be quickly zapped in the microwave to defrost, and then heated through in a toaster bag.
  • Sweet potato 'chips' - sticks of steamed sweet potato dipped in egg and breadcrumbs and then fried in a little butter. These are really tasty...ahem...
Current fruit and veg choices include:
  • Cucumber - gets well chewed and has the added bonus of being cooling on sore gums.
  • Banana - gets rather slimy after it's been squished a few times though! (And don't get me started on picking it up off the floor all mushy...yuk!)
  • Chunks of peeled plum.
  • Peach slices (from a tin! I tend to just give it a good rinse if they are in syrup, so as not to send her on a mad sugar rush)
  • Pineapple (again, can be from a tin, handily!)
  • Segments of orange are hugely popular and she mushes them until there is no juice left!
  • Peas.
  • Trees of broccoli (although you do then spend the next hour finding the little green broccoli flower top bits everywhere!)
Most of Baby's protein tends to come in the spoon-fed meals but she does like:
  • Matchsticks of cheese - I've never bothered buying mild cheddar, and she now seems to be developing a taste for strong cheese! That';s my girl! Edam seems to be popular now too.
  • Scrambled egg/mashed hard boiled egg.
  • Frittata/omelette - the bonus being with these that you can add veg and other protein to them. Pea and feta was pretty yummy, as was spinach and cheddar.
  • Cold chicken - chopped into small bits, it's good for encouraging the pincer grip with her fingers.
  • Ham and philidelphia sandwiches are always popular, but I try to only ever put a tiny bit of ham snipped up as it's so salty.
This is how much she loves breadsticks! (Please excuse the nappy in the background...no-one could ever accuse me of having over-styled photos, ha!)

Current tea time favourites are:
  • Chilli con carne...minus the chilli! Mixed up with tiny pasta/mashed potato/sweet potato - and I'm sure it would be good with rice too. I keep this in cubes in the freezer for nights when our dinner can't be tweaked to be baby friendly.
  • Spaghetti bolognese. Again, good from the freezer.
  • Tuna pasta - onion, carrot, tinned tomatoes and peas cooked down for about 10 mins. Stir through cooked pasta and tinned tuna and then warm through. Again, freezable.
  • Tuna pasta 'mayo' (actually Greek yoghurt stirred through).
  • Sweet potato, spinach and red lentil dhal (a River Cottage Veg recipe) without many of the spices.
  • Chicken and pea risotto.
  • Cheesy sweet potato with added veg.
  • Spinach and chicken pasta - defrost some spinach from the freezer, snip it up small, mix in cooked chicken, pasta, a blob of hoummus and some yoghurt. Tastes good!
She's also a big fan of the Organix finger food crisps too and has a small obsession with the Ella's Kitchen 'Puffits' (teeny crispy balls - great for encouraging pincer grip!)

Having her second course: the dropped bits in the bib...mmm, tasty.
Our essential feeding clobber includes Ikea overall bibs (cheap, colourful, and dry in minutes once they're out of the machine), the Ikea Antilop highchair (a bargain at £16, and easy to clean which is always a bonus), these spoons (plus this one is good when she wants to feed herself as it has a shorter handle), and a big stack of flannels for cleaning up sticky fingers and a messy mouth!

For those reading this with older children, please share your wisdom in the comments section! What else did your little ones love eating? What do I need to add to my shopping list for next week?
And those with tiny ones, I hope there may be a few ideas for you within my ramblings!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Nature in the home

The roses are starting to crumple now. White, pink streaked blooms. Papery petals softening. My Mother's Day flowers from my sweet babe (I'm assured she chose them herself....hmm...).

As I'm a sentimental fool, I wanted to have a photo of these first Mother's Day fleurs. So before they turn brown and drop petals all over the floor, they're my nature in the home post for this week, joining in with Lou and the others.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

It's a swing thing

I'm not sure why it's taken us so long to get Baby on the swings, but between the rain showers last weekend, we finally took her to the park. As you can tell from the photos, she loved it!

We started swinging her quite gently and sedately. She sat there, looking content but not excited by the new sensation. So we pushed a bit harder. Wheeeeeeee! Arms and legs waggled, face lit up, "ah ah ah ah ah" - much better! She does seem to have a bit of a daredevil streak, and this obviously applies to swinging too. So that's another activity to add to our list of 'possible-reasons-to-leave-the-house-during-the-week' : a trip to the swings!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

10 months

Dear Baby,

So...double figures. It seems apt that your number is bigger, as you're looking more grown up by the day, and learning new tricks all the time. Signs of the toddler in you are emerging quickly now, but you still have all your baby sweetness, podgy legs and snuggly cuddles.

At 10 months you are:

...Chatting all the time. I've been trying to keep a record of all your 'words'. Currently, 'mamamama', 'dadadada', 'rararara' 'ah ah ah ah' (combined with waving hands = I want that!), 'hejar' and 'e-tuh e-tuh e-tuh' are your main topics of conversation.

...Pushing yourself up to standing and experimenting with side-stepping your way along the furniture. Eeek!

...Toothier by the day - molars are beginning to make an appearance...unfortunately, much to baby's unhappiness and our lack of sleep.

...Turning everything into scarves and hats. I'm already envisaging the dressing-up box we can create when you're older!

...Gaining an understanding of what's going on around you. Excitement when I open the cupboard where your bowls are kept = food time! Excitement when I put my dressing gown on in the morning = time to go downstairs and play.

...Very mummy focused. My little koala baby. You want to be with me at all times - you squawk if I leave the room, or even, on a bad day, if I turn my back! I have to remind myself that one day, you'll be shrugging off my cuddles, so I'll make the most of them now.

We're now on the countdown to her first birthday party. Aargh! Just a small family do at home in the garden. I've started myself a board on Pinterest so I can collect all my ideas for her party. I'm hoping for sunshine, balloons and happy faces.

Saturday, 16 March 2013


"A portrait of my baby, once a week, every week, in 2013."
This little one is so desperate to be standing - she's starting to get the hang of the trolley now (but it still sometimes shoots off, taking her arms with it, but leaving her feet behind!).

One of my favourites from last week was the angelically sleeping Wilf with his beautiful pout and flushed cheeks.

As ever, joining in with Jodi.

My other 52 project photos are here.

Friday, 15 March 2013

This Week: March#3

1. Those toes are just so munchable. 
2. Favourite game: wearing things as scarves.
3. Or hats.
4. I had to make these to use up the buttermilk left over from making this. What a shame...
5. Sunshine streaming through the window on a day full of snow flurries. The weather couldn't make its mind up. 
6. A bunch or three of cheerfulness. See here for more floral happiness.

I also sent my first #postcircle letter, received my first #postcircle letter and bonus complicated crochet bookmark from the amazingly talented Alice, had a wonderful stomp round the woods and saw woodpeckers in action (I was too excited/scared to make noise to get my camera out!). Not a bad week really!

Hope you've all had lovely weeks, and have even lovelier weekends planned.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Nature in the home

The sign propped up against the box containing stacks of these paperwhites read 'Buy a bunch of cheerfulness'. How could I refuse? 

Three bunches for my £2 meant I had enough to spread their dainty petals around the house. Some for the hearth, some for the table, some for the bedroom. Little corners of Spring.

Joining in with Lou's Nature in the home series.

Sunday, 10 March 2013


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

This little one has been so happy and chatty this week. I love spending my days with her.

Last week, my favourite photos included this sweet stripy babe, the beautiful light and soft colours of this picture and the pure joy of bike riding/chocolate features on Laura's blog. 

As ever, joining in with Jodi.

My other 52 project photos are here.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

This Week: March#2

A busy week...

1. Somerset: A musical weekend with Grandma and Grandad. She loved listening to music in the kitchen with Grandma - arms waving, legs kicking! 
2. Playing Grandma's guitar was a big hit!
3. A freezing cold walk in woods I've visited since I was Baby's age. I loved the colour of this lichen (it actually looks a similar colour to our living room walls!).
4. Trying to encourage this one to crawl. She's so close, but much prefers pushing herself up to standing. Any tips?!
5. Beautiful cherry blossom.
6. Late afternoon Spring sunshine coming through the window.
7. My mum and dad have had this mirror ever since I can remember and it's turned into a bit of a family joke: 'You're looking great today darling!'
8 & 9 & 10. The rest of the week has been filled with Mother's Day sewing and birthday crafting for my sis in law (yes, she's called Helen too!)...all to be revealed soon!

Hope you've all enjoyed the sunshine this week - the weather forecaster has just said we may be getting snow this weekend so it seems Spring may have been short-lived, boooo! And have a very happy Mother's Day!