25 Aug 2016

I'm not the mother I thought I'd be

Back in the day, you know, BC (Before Children), I had a pretty clear idea of what kind of Mum I was going to be one day. Or so I thought. Suffice to say that nearly six years into this motherhood malarkey and two kids later, the reality doesn’t quite match those ambitions of the past. To demonstrate just how naive and foolish I was, I’ve compiled my top five vision vs reality fails.

Before I had kids, I imagined I would be calm and composed at all times, always in control of the situation and the picture of patience and serenity. The truth is, I lose my shiz on a regular basis, shouting at the top of my voice for a hundred times “Becky, put your shoes on for Goodness sake!!! Put them on!!” or “Alex, no! No! No Alex! Alex stop!!! Noooo!” and things to this effect, while cursing and muttering profanities under my breath. The easy going, unshakeable Mum I thought I would be, I am not. Obviously, the little munchkins are to blame for testing and stretching my patience levels beyond the imaginable sometimes!

I pictured myself happily playing with my kiddies, doing Pinterest worthy crafty things – all educational and didactic, of course – playing with dollies and racing cars, dressing up as fairies and superheros and creating our own fantasy world. In reality, the thought of dressing up as a fairy, superhero or any kind of role / pretend play makes me want to drown myself in gin, and I admit that more often than not I find in-door activities with the littles mind numbingly boring. I shudder at the thought of messy play in my just about semi-tidy house, and as for crafty things – well, anyone who knows me will at this point already have spit out their drink with laughter, because you do not get more un-crafty than me. Damn you Pinterest!
Add to this the fact that I work full time and struggle to juggle work, chores and quality time with the kids at the best of times, I resort to “i-Parenting” via iPads and iPhones more than I ever thought I would. That said, we do try to venture out and about and play outside as much as we can, and this is the kind of activity I do do and enjoy. I guess motherhood is all about playing to your strengths and riding out your weaknesses, isn’t it?

Oh My Gosh, when I first started weaning Becky, I spent a fortune on organic and exotic produce, rustling up home cooked meals and feeding her everything from avocados and papaya to figs and pomegranate to giant couscous, hummus and prosciutto. My little cherub was going to become a mini gourmet, loving all foods, especially tasty, healthy ones. Picky eaters? Pah! What picky eaters!?
Fast forward a couple of years, and after initial enthusiasm for different cuisines, Becky started to eliminate whole food groups off her daily diet. We are now pretty much down to three main dishes that she eats: Buttered toast, (plain) pasta and tuna, and chips and fish fingers / alternating with chicken dippers. We have gone from a colourful plate of food to beige blandness. So far Alex is still eating more things than Becky, but I can already see a pattern emerging and it’s only a matter of time before Alex, too, will be drawn in by the power of beige. And I? I have come to the realisation that there is absolutely nothing I can force down my kids’ throats that they don’t want to eat, so in utter desperation that they at least eat something, I’ve let all gourmet ambitions go and have instead stockpiled bread, pasta, frozen chips and chicken dippers which I serve up to the kiddos on rotation. Needs must.

I really thought I would be the disciplinarian of the house, a no nonsense Mum who takes no crap from anyone. And don’t get me wrong, there are limits to how many of my buttons I let the little ones push; there are definitely certain boundaries that I do not allow them to cross. But overall, I’ve been a lot softer than I ever imagined I’d be – partially, because they are just so darn cute and often have me wrapped around their little fingers. Partially also, because I’ve learned to pick my battles and let certain things go – because otherwise we’d be in a constant cycle of tantrums, tears (mine and theirs!) and time on the naughty step, and life, frankly, is too short. And I think between us, John (who is a lot stricter than I ever thought he’d be) and I are doing a pretty good job of raising well adjusted and (relatively) well behaved little humans.

Parent bore
The one thing I never considered myself to be is a very maternal mother. Before I had them, I had never been particularly “into” kids, and I certainly never thought I would become one of those parent bores who spam their Instagram and Facebook feeds with constant pictures of their little darlings and their mini milestones. After all, I’m not “just” a mother, but also a professional woman with a good career and lots of other things to talk about! Only, here I am, clogging up my Facebook and Instagram feeds and showing off about my little duo ... Yawn! To be fair, they are just so dead cute and clever and obviously ever so advanced...Haha! See, I’m doing it again, I just can’t help it!  What has become of me?! I’ve been totally spellbound by my babies like all the other mothers and fathers before me.

So, I’m not the mother I thought I’d be - but I’m ok with that. Because on the flipside, what I also could have never  imagined in a million years is the total, all-consuming and unconditional love you feel for those little terrors (even if they absolutely drive you up the wall sometimes!). Always and forever.

* Linking up with #TheList


21 Aug 2016

My Sunday Photo 21st August 2016

I love this shot: My gorgeous daughter at Durdle Door in Dorset. It just screams fun, childhood and zest for life - and sums her up to a tee.


12 Aug 2016

Girls bedroom inspiration

A couple of weeks ago I posted about my inspiration for Alex's bedroom, so I thought I'd complete it by posting my inspiration for Becky's space. We are just about finished with redecorating our living room, then we can move on to my office, and then, finally swap the kids' bedrooms around. As we are reconfiguring our rooms and who has which, it's a little bit like those games where you have to shift one thing in order to move the next one into its place. Sigh. But we'll get there eventually, one step at a time.

So anyway. Like with Alex's room, my mind was pretty much made up in terms of the colour scheme I thought we'd go for - pink, of course, no surprise there, as my little girl is obsessed with pink. Becky and I have picked this lovely dusky pink, which we want to put on one accent wall - I draw the line at the whole room, that is truly too much pink for me! - and we will use a nice cream as the base colour.

There is a glossy white cupboard with black doors already in the room and it will have to stay there, because it doesn't go anywhere else, and it also offers heaps of storage space, perfect for all of Becky's bits and pieces. So I thought that pink, cream and a little bit of that black will go well, and Becky also likes it. I love how the bedrooms below have a similar colour scheme, and I think it adds a nice touch.

However, then I also saw these images, with the accents of turquoise in it, and it's got me thinking all over again. Maybe we should do a pink and cream (and the black of the cupboard), but jazz it up with a few more yellows and turquoise, too. I love the combination of the pink and the turquoise, it looks so fresh and inviting. Becky likes it, too, so we may end up doing this.

Becky has an Ikea Kura bed, and I've been meaning to paint the wooden bits for ages; I initially planned on white, but now I'm thinking that this could be the perfect place for the turquoise accents.

Becky loves the Kura bed, because she sleeps on top and underneath she has a little snug for reading or playing with her dolls, and whenever she has friends over, they always end up under there (granted, Becky's current room is very small, so there isn't much space to go elsewhere, but I do think they like the cosyness of the snug). So I'm thinking of putting a second mattress on the bottom bunk, so to speak, so she can have friends for a sleepover and it will be altogether a bit more comfy and soft.

I also love all the little house shelves. I think most retailers do them, from The Great Little Trading Company through Ikea to John Lewis, so I will sure pick up a few of them, and maybe we will paint them in nice accents of turqoise, pink and yellow.

As with Alex's room, I will share a room tour when it's all eventually finished ... in 2018 at this rate, but hey ho.

* All pictures from Pinterest 


2 Aug 2016

Introducing Sleepy Doe

I'm a big fan of small, independent labels, especially when it comes to kid's stuff. And when they are designed and made in the UK, well, then that gets extra points indeed.

One such label is Sleepy Doe, a new British childrenswear brand specialising in luxurious yet fun sleepwear and bedding for children. As you can see in the pictures, the range is lovely, and just oozes quality and comfort.

The range is the brainchild of Bath based designer Sophie Woodrow, who decided to launch the label after having spent ten years in the fashion industry designing clothes for British heritage brands. Building on her experience and inspired by the historic setting of her home town, Woodrow has created unique prints, from the famous astrological architecture to the beautiful botanical gardens that form the basis for the iaugural collection.

The range launched to market last month and features matching children's pyjama sets, bedding (cot sheets, reversible duvet covers and pillowcases) and even limited edition matching mumma pyjamas for those Mums who enjoy twinning (and let's face it, when the designs are this cute, who doesn't?).

All products are super soft and detailed with hand-drawn prints and a  100 per cent cotton interlock, handpicked by Woodrow herself. What's more, the range is manufactured in the UK by independent factories under sustainable and ethical principles.

The initial capsule collection is available from the brand's website , with retail prices starting from £28.


1 Aug 2016

My July 2016

July has been jam packed month; we seem to have done a lot and been out and about a lot, and we've actually clocked up a fair few memories and milestones along the way. So without further ado, here are my July highlights:

1. Becky's first sports day. John and I both managed to take a couple of hours each out of our work schedules and tag teamed to support Becky. I was there for the school picnic lunch (which Becky was super excited about), and the first few sports challenges, while John joined later to take over and cheer Becky on until the end. She deserved a medal, our little champ!

2. We've had lots of summer days out during July; every weekend seems to have been spent at some family-friendly event or other. We are lucky enough to live in a gorgeous rural village with lots of activities and events going on, while Becky's school is also very active in putting on the odd family day or party. This picture was taken during Becky's school's Summer Fayre, which had a medieval theme, with knights and princesses and dragons etc.

3. Spending quality time with the kids has been big on my agenda. I'm so aware of how little time I have and how every second spend consciously and not absorbed in everyday chores and mayhem matters. They are only small once, and I'm determined to make the most of this time.

4. Another village festival, and Becky surprised us by being really brave and wanting to go on the Bunjee-Trampoline-thingy. She is normally not the bravest when it comes to physical challenges, but I have noticed that she is outdoing herself lately and really pushing her boundaries. Needless to say that I was one pleased and proud Mama. Go Becky!

5. More days out followed the next weekend, as we ventured to a lovely estate nearby with beautiful grounds and walks, as well as a pretty spectacular adventure playground that the kids both loved.

6. The most important event of the month was - of course - our gorgeous boy turning 2. Two! Can you believe it!? He had a fab time and definitely cottoned on to the fact that this day was special and that all the attention was on him.

7. School's out for summer: We ticked off Becky's first year of school and she is now enjoying a well deserved break. Only a few more days of work for me and John, too, and then we can join her for two weeks! Bliss!

8. To celebrate Alex's birthday - what do you know ! - we went on another day trip away. This time we visited a lovely Zoo Farm, which hosts a cute though a bit random mixture of animals, from giraffes, elephants and lions to meerkats, guinea pigs, monkeys, crocodiles and, errr, chickens (!). Alex is totally animal mad, so he had a ball stroking the little animals and admiring the big ones - from a distance!

9. Aaaand she's off! Becky learned to ride her bike without stabilisers this month. It only took her a couple of short sessions with Daddy to find her balance and work it out, and we're just a little bit in awe of our clever little big girl! Now we need to practise until she grows in confidence, so we can go for a proper bike ride.

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