Life lately…

  • Of course, life lately has been mostly taken up with meeting the needs of the new little person in our lives. Last week I blogged about Sam being a month old already. As scary as it is how quickly time is passing, it’s fascinating watching him grow and become more alert, responsive and playful.
  • We’re planning our first trips away as a family. At the end of the month we’ve got a few nights in a cottage in Nidderdale, and in the summer we’re planning to go camping in Dorset and Pembrokeshire. We can’t wait to introduce Sam to tent life and hope he likes it! There’s also our trip around Europe that we’re still hoping to be able to pull off.
  • In the meantime, I’ve been getting out in the fresh air as much as possible and enjoying local walks in the sunshine.

Continue reading “Life lately…”

One month old

Before you have a baby nearly everyone says, “Enjoy every minute, it goes so fast.”

It’s a cliché because it’s true. At the weekend, our son had been in the world for a month. Already.

Sometimes savouring the moment is hard. Days can be filled with nothing much. His feeding and sleeping habits are pretty much everything in my life at the moment.

Recently a friend shared this article on Facebook, about the writer getting a reminder that despite the daily, relentless juggle of parenting, these are the days that one day we’ll look back on nostalgically. (I add here that although having a newborn is hard at times I imagine it gets a whole lot tougher when you have more than one child, and they’re actually mobile).

I’m surprised by how consumed and fulfilled I am with the banal tasks involved in bringing up a baby. This and other signs mean I have officially entered ‘mum’ territory, that it has changed me and I can never fully go back. Continue reading “One month old”

Hallway renovation – before and after

The hall, stairs and landing have been the last part of the house that we’ve renovated.

For quite a few months, they’ve been the only areas to still show signs of the dodgy décor we were surrounded by when we moved in three years ago, much of it seeming to have been untouched since the house was built in the 1970s.

I wasn’t exactly sad to see the back of the what-were-they-thinking half-and-half pink and blue combo :) … but I did kind of like it being there as a reminder to us and visitors of the big changes we’ve brought about throughout. Continue reading “Hallway renovation – before and after”

Our kitchen in a magazine!

It was funny walking into W H Smith and seeing my face smiling back at me from the cover of a magazine.

It was funny seeing the same thing in my local supermarket a few days later, when I’d sort of forgotten and wasn’t looking for it. I didn’t know whether to speed away from the magazine section or hang around to see if anyone noticed and wanted an autograph :)

So my kitchen and I are on the front cover of the May 2016 issue of Your Home magazine. Continue reading “Our kitchen in a magazine!”

Our baby boy has arrived

The day we’d been waiting for for about nine months arrived a week early.

It started in the early hours, as I lay in bed wondering if that was the sensation of my waters breaking.

For the next 16 hours, nothing much happened. Four hours after that, I was bringing our son into the world.

People talk about this instant, overwhelming love you feel for your child and I wondered if I would I get that straight away. People say they love their child before they’ve even met them, and when I was pregnant I wasn’t sure I could say that I did.

But I was sure I loved him when he was placed on my chest, brand new, wriggling and crying. He was covered in blood and goo, but he was so beautiful. We called him Samuel. Continue reading “Our baby boy has arrived”

Ikea Live Lagom project update

Being about half way through Ikea’s Live Lagom project, I thought I’d post a quick update on my progress.

Have a look at my previous posts, which explain what the project is all about – basically, ways of living more sustainably – and the Ikea products I have chosen to help me do that.

My aims for the project are to:

  • cut food waste by storing it better, cooking in batches and growing my own vegetables
  • using more energy efficient lighting
  • making the house cosier without turning up the heating – by, for example, covering a bare wood floor with a high pile rug and using a block-out blind
  • storing things more efficiently, so we don’t end up buying things we don’t need

Now with baby coming and no garden to speak of, we haven’t yet been able to make progress in all of these areas. Throw into the mix that our boiler was condemned in January (happy new year!), after which we were reliant on electric heaters for two weeks, so we haven’t been able to track any saving on our energy bills.

However, I do think I’ve made progress on batch cooking and storing food better, and that this has reduced the amount of food (usually fruit and vegetables) that we throw away. Continue reading “Ikea Live Lagom project update”

Countdown to baby

We’re now counting down to baby’s arrival in days, rather than weeks. Single figure days, in fact.

It’s incredible how quickly due date has approached as we’ve neared the end.

My maternity leave, which began a few days ago, kicked off with a bit of a fright. My consultant and midwife began raising concerns that baby’s growth is tailing off, which could be because the placenta was not functioning properly.

You know, the placenta that provides oxygen and nutrients and basically keeps baby alive?

I was referred for a scan to check the blood flow along the umbilical cord a week later. Cue seven days of worry and little sleep, thinking the worst things, constantly checking baby was still moving well. They’d said if they found a problem, I’d be induced (it would be two weeks early) – so there was a fair bit of frantic bag packing, washing, buying of last-minute things, and more washing.

Thankfully, everything was shown to be working perfectly, so now it’s as you were. Waiting for ‘things’ to happen and not really knowing when that could be or what it will feel like. Continue reading “Countdown to baby”

Weekend at Oulton Hall

My husband has never had any type of spa experience.

He was even very uncomfortable having a massage from a physiotherapist after a back injury. When, in the past, I’ve said I thought he’d enjoy a spa day if he tried it his look told me I had a lot of persuading to do.

But when I received an invitation to spend a night at Oulton Hall in West Yorkshire I basically gave him little choice. We needed a break and I wanted some time just the two of us, especially just a month before baby’s scheduled arrival. (Being a cunning wife I played on that aspect, rather than the spa treatment which would be included).

His novice spa-goer status was exposed on the morning of our visit. Talking about the treatments we might have, he said: “Can I just have a sauna?” It was all set to be an interesting day. Continue reading “Weekend at Oulton Hall”

Our 2016 travel plans

The days are getting longer and lighter, and I’m starting to remember what it’s like to feel the sun on my back. Instinctively, my brain turns its attention to travel plans for 2016.

I think – as I do most years – of road trips and campsites and the sea, of long, carefree days and watching the sunset.

Then a little someone kicks me in my ribcage and I’m reminded that this year could be very different.

Travel-wise, the year has a lot of potential. I, of course, am spending much of it on maternity leave with no particular place to go most of the time. My husband has qualified for a sabbatical from work so, as well as his regular holidays, he gets a nice, eight-week chunk of leave that will start in late summer.

But before we feel able to leave the house, we’re going to have to get used to bringing up baby. Even once we feel comfortable with the basics, we might find we have a little one who doesn’t like being in a car, or who makes so much noise at night it will make camping a no-no.

Nonetheless, I’m tentatively making plans in the hope that some trips will be manageable – and even fun! Continue reading “Our 2016 travel plans”

About gratitude…

It struck me as interesting that in our Valentine’s Day cards this year, my husband and I both said the same thing to each other.

“Thank you.”

I think we’re kind, caring and openly appreciative of each other most of the time. But this was the first time we’d both felt moved to put those words down on paper, at the same time.

And on the day that is supposed to be all about love, and passion.

I wondered if it was something I should be worried about. Was it the right thing to say, on Valentine’s Day? I quickly came to my senses.

I mean, on Valentine’s Day 14 years ago I might have bought him a karma sutra calendar. But we’ve been living in each other’s pockets for more than a decade now. Things change. Habits change. Priorities change. Love has changed (and got stronger).

We have so much to thank each other for, this year more than ever – so there should be no shame in saying it. Continue reading “About gratitude…”

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