31 October 2013

getting ready for...

Christmas! Dare I say that word, but as of tomorrow it will be November which will surely fly by and then before we know it the 25th will be knocking on our door.

Theo has somehow gained all the knowledge of Christmas over night, and if he sees a snowman/ fairy light / Christmas tree / reindeer shape anywhere he will happily announce that it's Christmas. Leaving us puzzled as to who taught him these things and slightly worried at how well advertising works...We've tried to ask him what does he like best about Christmas, and give him helpful nudges towards seeing family and friends, having nice food and giving presents, but obviously he's nearly three and all he probably cares about is GETTING presents. The last few Christmas's he's been none the wiser as to what is going on, but this year I feel it's the start. The start of the "I wants".

We've got a few ideas already of what to get him, but I'm going to try and stick to my only "local, handmade or second hand gifts" rule for presents for him, and for family. We're lucky to have such a varied range of local independent shops on the Gloucester road near us, which I'm going to try to stick to!

As for a tree we've previously used an artificial tree that I used to have as a child, which with a curious toddler and cat saved us having to buy a new powerful vacuum cleaner to clean up all the needles that would inevitably fall from a real tree when falling being pulled over. But this year we are thinking it would be nice to either get a new modern artificial tree  or go to a Christmas tree farm and cut down our own real one. I think that perhaps we could trust Theo a little more...?

Have you started to think or plan Christmas yet? Or do you hate me a little for talking about it already?!

This is a sponsored post...

30 October 2013

we love....pyjamas!

I haven't done a "we love" in a while now, in fact I've not done anything in a while. This whole getting back to normal is taking longer than I anticipated. I've got a million things I want to write about but when it comes down to it I just don't seem to have the inspiration. Maybe its the time of year, the clocks changing and a wedding come down but things are moving slow and sluggish.

But as winter is coming (in perhaps not such a game of thrones ominous way...) it's getting me feeling  all cosy and nothing says cosy like a new pair of pjs, well for Theo anyway! And seeing as we have a daily battle to get him dressed out of said pyjamas as he love wearing them he may as well have some fun and awesome ones to wear for the WHOLE day...is it acceptable to let them leave the house in them?

Anyway here are a few of my current loves...

1- mini boden // 2 - Ava and Luc via Kyna Boutique // 3 - mini rodini // 4 - John Lewis // 5 - Hatley //
6 - The Bright Company via Archies Boutique // Gap 

I think the Hatley train pair would blow Theo's mind...

28 October 2013

forty-three / fifty-two

- a portrait of my child once a week, every week in 2013 -

They haven't always been the best of friends, but are certainly no where near that title yet but I feel that she may be warming to him just a little bit. On a few occasions Alma has been sleeping on the bed when Theo needs his nap and I discovered that if he can lay down and stroke her then he will fall asleep quickly and happily. When he's awake he will follow her around and asks her for cuddles, and says he wants to be her friend and that he loves her, but he still has a way to go in learning that chasing her won't lead to any of those things! But we've certainly made improvements on the tail pulling...

25 October 2013

enjoying autumn

The Autumn months are upon us and in between the grey, heavy and dark rainy days there have been glimpses of those wonderful sunny, bright and warm autumnal days. So we've been been trying to get out as much as possible to enjoy them. I've mentioned on here about my fear of going to various parks when it was summer, out of fear of them being really over crowded and stressful having to watch over Theo all the time. But now that schools have gone back and the cooler weather keeps people away we have been out doing a tour of Bristol and its parks.

Every week we have a day where we meet up with our friends and try and think up something fun, free and not too stressful to do and last week we came up with a fun little outing. We took the train to Bedminster, which in itself is a fun activity for all of the train loving children we possess. Once there we made our way to Victoria park, just a short walk from the station. The boys loved discovering a new park with different surroundings and activities. We soaked up the warm sun, ate a picnic and had a good catch up. 

Later in the week (yes we were treated to two lovely days!) we stayed local and visited St.Andrews park... the one that gave me a feeling of dread all summer! I felt it was about time I braved it again, and we had a great time playing, kicking leaves and searching for conkers.

This week we ventured out to Eastville park in not so glorious weather, but great to be out all the same. Theo's little friend even proclaimed that he "loves being outside" so for us it was a success! We walked around the pond, searched for conkers again and discovered mushrooms. There's something about this time of year that makes being outside so exciting, theres so much to look, share and show and I love trying to teach Theo about the different trees etc.

19 October 2013

forty-two / fifty-two

- a portrait of my child once a week, every week in 2013 - 
Autumn is here and we're excited! We went hunting for conkers underneath the horse chestnut trees, kicked some leaves and soaked up the warm autumn sunshine which has been rare this week.

I've been feeling a bit under the weather this week so it's been fairly slow and quiet, but still important to get out and enjoy some fresh air. Hopefully I'll be back to normal soon! 

missing out

So I had a mini revelation, or maybe it was just a realisation, either way I'm not sure why it hadn't occurred to me before.

I was driving in the early evening and I saw people getting off the bus after presumably a days work and making their way home. These people looked about my age, in their early-mid twenties and I started to wonder what their life was like. What it was like to return home after being at work all day, where they lived, with friends/housemates or a partner. What they would be having for dinner, if they were going out that evening, if they were doing a job they loved, on a career path or simply just working for some money to spend or save...? I wondered all of this and then I realised that I, and Rob also are never going to have this. We sort of skipped over that whole early adulthood, wondering about who we are, what we want to be and getting to know each other in our adult lives.

Rob turned twenty-five a few weeks ago, and my 27th birthday is approaching at the end of the year. I mean I feel like we've achieved quite a lot at quite a young age; we have a child, we've just got married, Rob is in a settled permanent career building job, we live in a nice area, have good friends etc. A few decades ago these life events would have been the complete norm for people our age, my parents got married at a younger age than we did and I could have even popped another child out by now. But still sometimes, in this day and age I feel like we've missed out on something.

Some friends of ours have just taken a gap in their job and career to go travelling together for six months. They worked hard and saved enough money to go and I'm very excited for their adventure, but obviously slightly jealous! I know that Rob and I will never have that freedom and chance to do something similar. Even if we weren't saving to go travelling we don't really have the chance to live that life. To both be in full time work, to be saving, to be spending the evenings with each other, going out with friends when we feel like it and doing spontaneous things.

For me I don't feel quite so bad, I'm a few years older than Rob and I feel like I have experienced quite a lot in my life pre-baby already. I started going to festivals when I was 14, have been on two gap years travelling around Eastern Europe, solo around Scotland and Norway, spent six months in India and Nepal, lived in a yurt and two communities in Wales for a year, learning to garden, look after goats and chickens and building our own little wooden house. I've learnt to drive, seen quite a lot of places, completed a University degree and generally had quite a lot of fun. I do however feel for Rob. sometimes. I know I shouldn't feel guilty as having a child was his choice (and perhaps responsibility) too, but I feel that he has missed out on things a little more that I have. He's worked incredibly hard to get to where he is today and to support our family, and I have to remind myself that this all happened when he was 22 years old. Most men his age might not have done the same as he did. I know he had plans to work and save money to travel, as he didn't before he went to uni and that obviously changed when we found out I was pregnant.

Of course some things you can't have control over. Well I mean we could have decided to make the decision to not have a child, and I wonder what our lives would be like then. Where would we be living, what would our jobs be and would we even still be together? I don't know, and really I don't care because that didn't happen and Theo exists in this world and I wouldn't want it any other way. But still sometimes I do wonder. What would have happened if we'd even just had a few years out of Uni together, to get to know each other before we had children? Have we missed out on something that we're never going to be able to get back?

Of course the benefit of having children early is that when they are grown up we will still be fairly young and able to do some of the things we have skipped over now, like travelling, saving and enjoying time together...but it won't be the same. I don't really know what I feel, I feel happy that we have chosen the life we have, and as you never know what will happen tomorrow I'm glad we have experienced the things we have. Learning how to support and grow together, experiencing the love you can have for a child and of course more recently celebrating our marriage. But at the same time I do mourn a little the life that we could have had, the life that the rest of our friends are enjoying. I know that the grass is always greener etc...but I guess you do have to wonder sometimes.

But at the end of the day, things aren't going to change or ever go back to how it was or could have been. I do feel immensely proud of what we've achieved in a short space of time and we've just got to continue to enjoy the life we have been given and accept what comes our way. We are lucky to have the things we do have, our health, family and friends and sometimes it's all too easy to start worrying and focussing on what could have been or what it would be like if things were different. In reality I'm not sure if I would want it any other way, this is the life we chose and I'm happy with that. 

17 October 2013

what's in a name?

So now that the wedding is over and we're getting back to our normal routine it's time to catch up on all the things that have been pushed to the side (including this little blog!) and I need to start organising all the other things that crop up when you get married, like all the boring legal stuff. It still feels a little weird to call Rob my husband, and I haven't even really got the the part where I'm called Mrs!

It took me a while to decide what my name would become, and in fact I'm not even sure if it has legally changed...how do you do all of that stuff?! When Theo was born, maybe because we weren't married we gave him both of our last names. I would like to have the same name as my son, and I am also keen to keep my surname seeing as that I only have sisters, and my cousins are both girls as well, so if in theory we all got married and changed our names, then our family name would end. So it sort of makes sense to take the same last name as Theo. But so far nothing has been changed...is there some manual somewhere that tells you what and how you have to change your name once you become married? How do people know all about this sort of thing because we certainly don't!

Then there's all the other legal things to think about, changing my name on my passport, drivers licence, bank, bills even my email address? Do people actually bother with that? Then there's other grown up things to think of, such as wills and life insurance etc. It's all things that I feel I'm too young to think about, and considering the fact we don't own a house there's not much put in a will. But it would be reassuring to know that we had some sort of plan mapped out if (can't bear to think about) something ever happened to either of us just to know that Theo would be looked after properly. Sorry that's all a bit morbid isn't it, but I guess it's worthwhile to think about.

Any tips on what I need to do now that I'm a real grown up?!

15 October 2013

I bet you look good on the dance-floor...

I have yet to share much about our wedding on here, we're waiting on the official photos back and can't wait to see them, but for now we have these beauties to keep us going. We borrowed a fuji instant camera, purchased film and left it near the guestbook with instructions to take the photo, stick it in the book and write a comment. That didn't actually happen, the photos instead got stuck in the beautiful willow heart my sister made and the camera made its way onto the dance floor...and for that I'm very glad! These photos are amazing, hilarious, sweet and just genius. They are some of my favourite photos of friends and family I have ever seen and I think they captured the evenings revelries perfectly!

love you all! 

14 October 2013


You all must know by now that Theo has a serious Thomas obsession that doesn't seem to be wavering anytime soon. Everyday we either play with his trains, read Thomas stories or watch something Thomas related. Recently he discovered review videos on youtube, or videos that other children have made and he loves them. I find it a bit strange, him sitting watching other children play with the toys you love or watching grown men review all sorts of different sets. Weirdo.

Out train collection is pretty good and most of it has been free or cost very little; a mix of wooden Brio found at nearly new sales or hand-me-downs, die-cast Thomas figures picked up from street stalls or charity shops (some even from 1981!) and new plastic style set found on the street with a battery powered Thomas and various other Thomas trains bought as gifts or bribes...mainly bribes.

In the lead up to the wedding we were both obviously pretty busy and perhaps couldn't give Theo as much attention as we usually do (planning a wedding with a two and a half year old is hard!) and when I needed to get on with something I couldn't really sit and build an elaborate brio track and play with him like I usually do. I felt guilty about it, and what do you do when you feel guilty, well of course you throw a toy at him in the hopes it keeps him occupied! We looked around and found a large range of boys toys available from Argos like this Thomas the Tank Engine train set (would obviously be a good toy for a girl too!) 

We chose this set because it had a fun battery powered Thomas with different voices and phrases. Theo also loves Cranky and we don't own one yet so I thought he'd enjoy playing with him too. The train goes round the track and stops at the different points according to which button you press on the top. It's pretty simple and easy to use and Theo picked it up straight away. He enjoyed pushing Thomas around as well as watching his chuff around on his own. The track is pretty simple to put together, but I'm not sure Theo could do it himself in the right order, and obviously you can'y really make your own design like you can with wooden sets which he does like to do. 

Theo does enjoy playing with the set, and he likes talking along with the voices, taking the cargo from the docks to the sheds etc. The only thing I would say about sets like this is that they obviously don't involve the same amount of imagination or input from the child when playing. When Theo plays with his other trains he likes to reenact stories, have conversations with the different trains and of course builds his own tracks. I find that with most modern toys really they come with all these different pre-loaded functions and activities which are good to some extent to encourage role playing or to direct play, but I don't think they should ever take away the most important aspect of playing which is engaging the child's imagination. Some times I think the best toys are ones that are inanimate until they are picked up and brought to life by a child. That being said I'm sure this track with be played with quite a bit, and makes a good addition to our pretty extensive collection! 
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