About Me

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Currently, I'm a stay-at-home mum to an inquisitive and often rambunctious three year old girl and her sunny little brother. In a former life, I was a lawyer. I know which I prefer. On the odd occasion that I get some downtime, I knit, crochet, read, sew, sing badly, dance even more so, enjoy a glass of wine and watch bad TV, sometimes in varying combinations of the foregoing and not necessarily in that order of preference.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Future's So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

Sometimes the only way a girl can cope with a trip to the supermarket is by putting on her shades, even though it's grey and rainy, and munching on a biscuit.

Yep, another ordinary moment here in West London. 

This post is my contribution to a lovely project started by Katie over at Mummy Daddy Me.  Do head over to see what she's been up to.  She takes beautiful photographs and writes wonderfully too.  This week's Ordinary Moments post is particularly heart melting and contains such with which I can relate. Just beautiful. 

Monday, 17 February 2014


There was really only one event last week: Mr Man's birthday!  I'm not quite sure how a year can possibly have passed since he was born but the calendar assures me it has, so I guess I have to accept that my baby is now heading rapidly towards toddlerhood.

Festivities were immense, making it difficult to choose pictures this week. In the end I opted for Birdie proudly displaying the peanut butter cookies that she baked

and the birthday boy trying out the bell on his new trike. 

Happy days.

This is my contribution to the 52 project - do head over to the lovely Practising Simplicity blog written by Jodi, who takes fantastic photographs and will show you how this project really should be done. You can also take a look at all the wonderful links to other bloggers who take beautiful pictures of their kids.

Hanging out the bunting

It all started like this:

A little bit of crafty fun to decorate the church hall where we held Birdie's 3rd birthday party.  A big pile of felt, a pair of pinking shears, a little embroidery floss and some ribbon.  It took an evening and I had three lovely long strings of pretty bunting.  The perfect quick project.

Then I added a big pile of sticky felt flowers and some glue and sequins...

and a small and very enthusiastic little girl, keen to decorate her bunting.

The party was a big hit and the bunting looked great.

I packed it away for next year.

Then we had Christmas bunting, with the enthusiastic little girl and her best friend going nuts with the glitter glue and pom-poms to make some beautiful little Christmas trees, just perfect for stringing along a crochet chain.  We were on a roll.  The requests to "decorate more bunting" were daily.  The pile of felt, which Hubby had insisted was far too large when it first arrived, and the supplies of glitter glue and sequins diminished.

Then we hit upon the idea of using the bunting to decorate Birdie's bedroom

and suddenly there were requests for more bunting, in ever more intricate shapes.

Then it occurred to me that Mr Man needed some birthday bunting for his party, since the original birthday bunting was a little girlie and had been co-opted as bedroom bunting.  So out came the felt and the floss to make some rainbow bunting.
I realised at this point that I'd actually used up all the rolls of ribbon that Hubby had declared would be a lifetime's supply and needed to buy more!  I wondered if this was a warning that enough bunting had been made, but dismissed this in favour of the much more likely answer that not enough ribbon had, in fact, been purchased after all.

Before I knew where I was, I was buying fat quarters to make dinosaur bunting, on the grounds that it would be perfect for a boy's party and, well, it could always be used to decorate his bedroom after the party (if you ignore the lack of dinosaurs in the African savannah that is the safari-themed nursery)... As I sit at my sewing machine, I feel we have come a very long way from some pinking shears and spot of very easy hand-sewing. I suspect this way madness lies.  A small voice in the back of my head, that I ought to know better than to listen to, whispers "or business opportunity".

Yes, definitely this way madness lies.

Friday, 14 February 2014

{this moment}

Joining in with {this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.

To see more, check out the comments to Soulemama

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The Day After

Yesterday was anything but ordinary.  Yesterday was Mr Man's first birthday!  I cannot believe how quickly the last year has gone, or how quickly they change and leave their newborn days behind them.  He looks more and more like a little boy now and Hubby keeps making ominous remarks about a haircut.  The words "Over my dead...." may have been muttered darkly in response.

We had a lovely time yesterday, opening presents from Mummy, Daddy and Birdie; singing "Happy Birthday" at every possible opportunity; taking the new tricycle to the park; eating cake; and having chips at the pub for tea. Mummy and Daddy even finished the day toasting our beautiful boy with a glass or two of champagne after the kids were safely tucked up in bed.

It was a wonderful, exciting and happy day and I have tons of photos that I could share.  However, none of them were "ordinary" moments in the sense I'm trying to capture.  They were special and worth capturing but I'd rather share pictures of the kids "just being". I won't struggle to remember Mr Man's first birthday, whether I blog about it or not as the landmark events stay fairly clear. But the day after, when my daughter announced that she couldn't wear clothes because she was a mermaid (a mermaid who, the eagle-eyed amongst you will note, can wear shoes), when she tried to take off her brother's pyjamas ("because he wants to get dressed and I'm helping him") and when she carefully arranged everyone so that they could watch Mike the Knight together (apparently inflatable rabbits are big fans) before trying to get her brother to compete in a hopping race on the rabbits even though he can't yet walk. 

That's the kind of day I need to capture for the Ordinary Moments. That's the kind of crazy but totally normal if you're a toddler day that I need to capture because, for all it feels like some kind it belongs in some kind of parallel universe, it is in fact a regular and entirely average day in my world right now.  As such, there will be hundreds more like them and they will all blur and fade.  In fact, often, by the end of the week, I'm talking to someone and I start a story with "Birdie did the most hilarious thing the other day.  She was... What was she doing?  She was...  Well, she said....  Oh, I don't remember... But it was very funny" before looking awkardly at the table and wondering whether I can have more coffee.

So, my lovely little man's birthday is not the moment I'm recording this week. The day after however, could not have been more ordinary if it had tried.


Six weeks in to the 52 project, and I'm really enjoying it.  It's reminding me to document what we're doing; I'm starting to think more about the pictures I take when I do it (although I don't think that shows yet) and I find looking at all the other wonderful pictures being shared very inspiring. I love looking at the craft in the photographs and also find the activities depicted are often a source of inspiration for what we can do as well.

I don't normally struggle for a pic of the boy - narrowing down the choice is normally the hard part, and there's usually two or three standout pics to choose from (well, standout by my lowly snapper standards, nothing troubling David Bailey, obviously). This week however offered pretty slim pickings.  Mr Man caught a nasty tummy bug in the middle of the week and was poorly for the rest of the week.  He looked actually green on Wednesday night and then looked pale and off-colour, acquiring a strange bluish tinge around the eyes and nose.  Not good.  He also wasn't really doing much other than having cuddles and feeling sorry for himself.  Understandably so, but they didn't really feel like moments i wanted to capture "on film" (you know what I mean, I'm from the dark ages, all photos are "film" to me, even though I haven't used a film camera for almost ten years).

So, when I came to review the pics from last week, there was only one set of pics of Mr Man and only one pic within that set worth sharing. Here he is looking pale but due to the wonderful skin-enhancing effects of smothering your face in yoghurt:

Birdie in the other hand was much easier this week.  I'd got some great shots of her playing at home and out and about, but there was really only one shot to sum up my fearless little warrior last week:

Much to her dad's concern/upset, we spent Friday afternoon in the park learning how to climb down the rope. He is not a fan, particularly of how far away I stand while she's doing it.  I say she needs to learn this stuff and she needs to learn how to do it safely. I'm also hoping that getting to climb all over the place in the park will burn off some energy and reduce her almost obsessive need to climb on all the furniture at home.  Well, I can dream can't I?

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Planning, being naughty and the dangers of Internet shopping

Sometimes I fear I'm not so much a crafter as a collector.  I collect craft supplies. How else to explain the piles of yarn, fabric, paper, notions burgeoning in every spare corner (and quite a few not so spare areas too)?  I have more than I can possibly use, and yet more keep appearing.

I've been this way since I was a child, when the lure of the bookshop and the stationers first took hold and my pocket money would be converted into paper (reading books, notebooks, drawing pads, sugar paper, coloured card, writing paper) and endless sets of colouring pencils, water colour paints and pastels. I still have a big box of supplies upstairs. The paints probably need to be given up for dead but the pastels sit there, waiting for small hands to be slightly less small so that I can gift them on.  And I have more writing paper than a person who barely manages to send thank you notes (and shamefully didn't manage to do that for her son's birth or christening, or her daughter's birthday, last year) can possibly need.  And yet still I linger over art supplies and coloured pens and have to fight the urge to buy them whenever I see them.

The only things that have changed since then are my interests have diversified, so wool, fabric and all manner of shiny accessories have been added to the list of items coveted and purchased, and my bank balance has increased, making the acquisition of these items ever easier.  And then we come to Internet shopping. 

Ah, Internet shopping.  My friend, my enemy, my guilty pleasure, my downfall.  I love Internet shopping.  Many happy hours are spent browsing and buying all manner of bits and bobs.  It is so easy.  So quick.  It comes with the pleasure of the postman delivering parcels.  I've always loved receiving parcels. It is the perfect antidote to a hard day with the kids.  It is so much less stressful than packing up the kids and taking them with me to the shops.  And the kinds of shop that struggle on the high street these days (or maybe never really existed on the high street) like button shops, felt shops, ribbon shops and more can flourish online as women (and probably some men, but I suspect mostly women) like me sit down with a glass of Chablis after getting the kids to bed and daydream about all the things they will make in the free time that the wine and the pretty pictures on the screen temporarily makes then forget they don't have.  

The lure of online shopping intersects with my enthusiasm for planning, resulting in many happy hours organising an ever-growing and unlikely to be completed list of things to make and do.  And therein lies the problem.  If I actually had to leave the house and go to a real shop, most of my ideas would stay just that.  They would never leave the planning stage and that would be fine, because you can't get in much of a mess just daydreaming about stuff and you can still wile away many happy hours thinking and planning for when you finally get a chance to go shopping but you don't actually have to come good on any of these these grand ideas.  You cant really get yourself in any trouble.  Then in steps the internet and you get all carried away.  You promise that you won't.  Not this time.  You've learnt your lesson (yes, I'm staring accusingly at you, 12 plastic tubs containing yarn that is yet to be knit up).  But you have a really great idea for using some of the stash up and you only need a couple of extra bits to make it work... And, well a few fat quarters for bunting for your son's first birthday can't do much harm... Oh my, aren't those animal prints gorgeous? Robert Kaufman does such pretty prints.  They'd make a perfect quilt for the safari themed nursery and, well, you never redecorated when you had the second baby and so he's been a bit left out while your daughter had curtains and cushion covers made for her before she was born and has received blankets (including that epic log cabin that you spent three maybe even four months knitting) and had her whole room redecorated not long ago so, really, he deserves a quilt.  

And before you know it, you've emailed the fabric shop for help selecting colours to complement the prints and have ordered enough fabric to make two pairs of trousers for the kids, a dress for your daughter, bunting and a quilt.  All of which you are going to do in your non-existent spare time.

Friday, 7 February 2014

{this moment}

Joining in with {this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.

To see more, check out the comments to Soulemama

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

A Sunny Sunday Afternoon

But it involved anything but lazing.  Hubby and I have always been fond of getting out for a walk on a sunny afternoon, especially a cold wintry one. In fact, it doesn't even need to be sunny so I suppose in some ways we were made to have kids - we head out and about in all but the wettest of weather and are big believers in the mantra "There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing choices".  So, it isn't really that much of a hardship (or a surprise) that our firstborn is a hardy soul who seems happiest outside.

This Sunday was brisk but sunny so we bundled up and headed out after lunch.
The stick had already been gathered on a previous excursion and transformed into a "magic staff" so this is actually how we departed the house rather than how we returned.  We didn't go far, just to the park about a mile down the road, but it was a journey that necessitated much "checking your map, Mama", involved us being chased by Tick Tock Croc and included an interesting conversation about who we like best: "Daddy or mermaids". Quite an expedition, even by Birdie's creative standards.

The playground we went to is probably Birdie's favourite of the local parks and is certainly my husband's favourite. It has a good mix of stuff for climbing, allowing our little monkey to really get stuck in, and traditional playground equipment, with plenty of things the little man can try out too.  We had a blast. Swings were swung on, ropes were climbed, fireman's poles were slid down, logs were balanced on, the great big treehouse thing was scaled again and again in ever more ingenious and hair-raising ways, and most magically of all, my children played together.

There was nothing fancy or unusual about our afternoon.  It was exceptionally ordinary. Precisely why I want to remember it.  Four people enjoying each other's company and a (currently all-to-rare) sunny afternoon. It also feels like it marks the end of a chapter; the start of Mr Man's shift from babyhood to toddlerhood; from sitting in the buggy watching to being in the thick of it; from laughing at his sister spinning like a crazy thing to being the crazy thing doing the spinning.  I still have plenty of times and places where he is my baby, but the park is, most definitely, not one of them any more.

Monday, 3 February 2014


After the previous week was so awful, I made a conscious effort to regroup last week.  I tried hard to be gentler, particularly with Birdie ("I'm not a baby, Mama, I'm a big girl"), but also with myself.  I made an effort to have more fun with the kids, to try to connect with them, and to listen more to what Birdie was saying with her behaviour as well as with her words.

We did a bunch of stuff, mostly at home due to the truly vile weather but we also managed a couple of lovely, mostly sunny, days out in the fresh air which I think helped all of us to feel better.  I won't pretend it was all fun and larks but it was definitely an improvement and it showed when I came to choose snaps for the 52 project. I had loads of each kid and a fair few of the two of them having fun together.  It was pretty hard to choose.

In the end, it had to be Bathtime Baby

and Bouncing Birdie (apologies for the quality of this one, it's really hard to take a clear shot of a small girl on a bouncy castle on an iPhone, but I chose it for the energy in the picture and the happiness on her face rather than the quality of the picture; also, yes, that is a Hallowe'en costume she is wearing at a friend's February birthday party...)