I’m A Sucker For Stationery

 

Gorgeous modern desk space

Is it just me who spends hours on Pinterest looking at images of stationery and gorgeous desk spaces? Since I started working mostly from home, I’ve been creating a little space for myself to get creative, and that means lusting after post-it notes, pens, motivational prints for the wall, and anything that looks chic and will organise my chaotic life. I’m sure I’ll take some snaps of my work area soon (when it’s finally finished…) and share them here, but for now, I want to share my favourite new website for buying cute little things to brighten up your desk – or just your life.

Ban.do is an LA based company that I discovered thanks to uber blogger Oh Joy! And I pretty much want everything they stock. They ship internationally (hooray) and I’ve already ordered a phone case. Here are some of my favourite things on Ban.do – which are your favourites?

Gorgeous Ban.do buys!

Dress up your desk!

Things That Are Making Me Smile This Week

Buying a new roll of pretty washi tape, reading a new book with my three-year-old, actually making it to the gym every morning for a week rather than talking myself out of it. These are all things that make me happy. It’s funny how little things can make you smile, isn’t it?

This week, these things are making me smile. It might seem daft, but here we go…

 

nice--things

The swimming costume was a sales purchase from Marks and Spencer. I couldn’t resist the bold print – and sshh don’t show it to my daughter because it’s for kids age 5-6 so she’s got at least a year until she can wear it!

Next, a gorgeous sparkly crown from H&M. One of those spur-of-the-moment purchases after seeing it discarded on a pile of pants near the till. Only £2.99 yet will bring my daughter a whole heap of joy when she wears the crown at her 4th birthday party later this month.

Gorgeous sparkly crown from H&M Continue reading

I’m Not That Kind Of Mum… Am I?

Starting school

When we have children, we gradually work out what kind of parent we are. We read books and magazines, read blogs, listen to experts, chat to friends, and it all helps us form an idea of the kind of mum we are.

  • Cloth nappies or Pampers lover? (Eek sorry environment! We had disposable nappies)
  • Pureeing purist or Ella’s Kitchen fan? (I was both, but definitely veered towards my pal Ella, as time went on)
  • Co-sleeper or the mum who says ‘back to your own bed!’ (I’m firmly in the latter camp)
  • CBeebies celebrator or telly ban enforcer? (Praise be to the telly box, I say)

Tiger mums! Attachment parenting! Stay at home mums! Helicopter parenting! *head spins and falls off*

Of course, there is no right or wrong, with all of these choices. They’re just decisions we make every day – we weigh up all the options and our circumstances and make a judgement based on what feels right. And even though I’ve been doing this ‘mum thing’ for nearly four years now, I’m finding that I’m still learning and discovering what kind of mum I am. This week, I learned that…

Apparently I’m the kind of mum who is upset about my daughter starting primary school

Nothing unusual about that, you might say. Until I tell you that my daughter isn’t starting primary school for a WHOLE YEAR. Yet, here I am, feeling incredibly sad at the thought. This week, I’ve been busy working at my laptop and a five minute check of Facebook (like you don’t do that too…) has left me welling up – all those little four-year-olds wearing a uniform, shoes polished and hair brushed neatly. Down our street, I see local children heading off to their first day, hand in hand with their mummy or daddy. They’re just so young. And that will be my daughter this time next year.

But I’m not the kind of mum who doesn’t want her child to grow up. If anything, I’m the opposite. When my daughter was a baby, I willed time to move faster so that I could have a fun toddler to spend time with rather than a ‘I’m giving nothing back to you’ baby (and if I’m being honest with you, so that I could escape my miserable PND-tinged maternity leave existence and get back to work). When other mums said things like “My baby’s growing up too fast!” I would smile and nod sympathetically and say, “Yes, mine too!” but inside I was punching the air and thinking “Isn’t it GREAT?”

And actually, I kind of stand by that feeling – every day, week and month, my three-year-old is learning and developing and it is amazing to see that happen. I love having chats with her and being surprised at what she knows (the other day we were talking about strangers and out of the blue, she said, “You can talk to strangers when you’re with your mummy and daddy but you can’t speak to strangers if you’re not with your mummy and daddy” and I could have KISSED her with sheer delight).

But apparently, I’m the kind of mum who is upset about her daughter starting school – a whole year in advance. Who even knew that was a thing?

 

 

I Bloody Love A Child-Free Break

 

Holiday essentials

Yessss! It’s September!

I’m pleased about the new month starting for a few reasons. It’s my daughter’s 4th birthday later in the month (so we’ll be having a big party – imagine 30 pre-schoolers running around a hall while Demi Lovato warbles Let It Go and you’ve got it nailed), it’s Mr P’s birthday this month (his celebrations might feature fewer Frozen songs) and all of the shops start getting lovely big coats, boots and chunky knits in (although who am I kidding? I can’t pull off a chunky knit without looking, hmm, chunky myself).

But the main reason I’m excited about September? I’ve got TWO child-free breaks coming up. TWO!

I was chatting with a good friend the other day about being away from our kids. It’s one of those weird things that, as a parent, leaves you feeling torn. On one hand, you know you’ll miss your children. But on the other hand… WOO HOO!

At the moment, I’m definitely veering towards the latter reaction. I know I’ll miss my daughter loads while I’m away but I think that cocktail drinking and book reading will soften the blow. So where am I going? Well, first up, next week, I’m off the Greek island of Rhodes. Mark Warner are taking ten bloggers to their Levante Beach resort for four nights and I can’t bloody wait. I’m thinking that four nights is probably the perfect number of nights for a child-free break, as I’ll love the novelty of feeling free without the heart wrenching misery of pining for my child. Of course, knowing she is at home with her dad will make it practically guilt-free.

Later in the month, Mr P and I are going to Barcelona for three nights to see family who are going to be holidaying there, and to celebrate Mr P’s birthday. The three-year-old (hang on, she’ll be four then!) will be staying with her grandparents while we head off on a city break. Every time I close my eyes, I can see red wine, tapas and the cobbled streets of the gothic quarter…

So does it make me a bad mum for being so excited (woooo!) about having two adults only breaks coming up? Of course it doesn’t. Just as it’s important to value your time as a family and create fun memories together, it’s important to have time out where you can be on your own or spend time as a couple. It’s healthy to have a balance and take time to think about yourself, what you want in life and what great things you could achieve next, and these are all things that people tend to think about when on holiday.

Of all the things (and there are many) that I’m looking forward to, about my child-free breaks, these are my top five:

1. Having a lie in

Do you even remember what they are like? No, no, I’m not talking about those lie ins your husband or partner might give you every weekend, where you’re woken at 6.30am by a stuffed animal being thrown at your head before listening to your child being ‘shushed’ lots while they’re taken downstairs for breakfast, then as you try to get back to sleep, all you can hear from the kitchen is: ‘I don’t WANT that bowl. I want the YELLOW one’ followed by the theme tune to Peppa Pig blasting from the TV. Not those lie ins. A proper one, where you don’t even stir until 9am and when you do, all you can here is silence. Lovely lovely silence. And maybe a bird chirupping from outside the window. Ahh bliss.

2. Being able to read a book by the pool

In my 20s, holidays meant two things: drinking wine every evening and reading books by the pool. They were a chance to properly relax and switch off from the real world. Now, holidays are about entertaining the kids whilst snatching moments of relaxation (thank goodness for kids’ clubs). They’re fun, but not the same. I’m going to take my Kindle away with me and read as much as I can.

3. Finishing a conversation

I don’t know about you, but if I have the three-year-old with me when I meet friends, I can forget about finishing a conversation. I can start lots of conversations, but you can guarantee that just as I’m getting to the crux of my point, my daughter will say, ‘Mummy! Mummy! Mummy! Mummy!’ until I give her my attention. (She’s even taken to doing it and then when I say ‘Yes honey?’ she clearly has nothing she wants to say or ask, and so makes up something like ‘Why are you wearing a t-shirt?’) So being able to just chat and set the world to rights on holiday will be a treat. Continue reading

My IKEA Shopping List

We moved into our current home nearly five years ago (where does TIME GO?) and we spent three months decorating, buying furniture and doing it up. Because it was our first proper house (after five years of living in a one bed flat) it was so exciting and ‘grown up’ to decorate. “We have THREE bedrooms!” I remember saying. “What are we going to do with three bedrooms?”

A few months after we moved in, it became clear what we would do with one of the bedrooms – it would be a nursery. After thinking that my period was a bit late (but not being too sure because I never kept track of it) and marching excitedly down to Sainsbury’s to buy a pregnancy test, we discovered that I was 3-4 weeks pregnant. SCREAM! So as morning sickness and tiredness kicked in (woo) decorating and house organisation ground… to… a…… halt.

Fast forward nearly five years and pretty much all of the things we didn’t do, back then, STILL need to be done. And plenty things we bought then need to be refreshed. So as such, I’d like to totally revamp my whole house, please. Totally doable, right? Hmm…

But because we’re not made of money, I’m going to focus on a few important things which need to be sorted and then do the rest gradually. And – brilliantly – lots of the things I’ve been lusting after come from IKEA. We paid the store a visit on Bank Holiday Monday (bank holiday fail) but it was so busy, all we left with was a 50p flamingo glass.

Admittedly, it’s a gorgeous 50p flamingo glass, but there was so much more I wanted to buy. So here’s my current wish list, ready for the next time we brave the IKEA crowds. My IKEA must buys:

First up is the Stockholm rug (£100) which would look amazing in my living room. We’ve been talking about replacing our (boring) black sofas with something mid-century for a while now, and this rug would fit in well now, and when we eventually buy new furniture. Also on my list is the Kallax shelving unit (£45). This is for our daughter’s room. We’re going to update it a bit – after all, it’s four years since we decorated it, and she isn’t a baby any more! These shelves look so versatile and lots of stylish mums (looking at you Fritha and Bryony) tell me they have them. The best bit is that you can really put your own stamp on them with the different inserts available.

Next, a must-have for any self-respecting child (!) is a good place to store books. We’re going to buy a large bookcase but we’re also going to buy IKEA’s wooden spice racks (IKEA hack alert!) which make brilliant book shelves and are a snip at £3 each. I love how you can paint them and drill them to your wall to create a stylish way to store and display books. Lastly, the £120 Kura bed looks amazing. You can have it with the bed up high (we’d put a reading corner down below) or you can flip it so that the bed is down below and you have a panel to climb on, up top. One thing to note is that this bed is fairly small in height, so you might find kids grow out of it fairly quickly. We’re unsure whether to go for this bed or a taller one… What would you do?

Different ways to use the Ikea Stockholm rug in a living room Continue reading