This month I love

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Project Life scrapbook

I have a new love. Scrapbooking.

There, I said it. I'm a scrapbook nerd.

Well, I'm not sure the scrapbooking community would accept me as one of their own just yet. I'm just dipping my toes in the washi tape waters, so to speak.

I'm sure Hobbycraft saw a pretty hefty hike in their web traffic after one of my favourite vloggers Lily Pebbles posted this video. I hadn't heard of Project Life, but it was obsession at first sight.

I've always loved the idea of scrapbooking. So much more personal than just sticking a load of photos in an album. And I have a cheeky little creative side that I don't get to use very often, so I've been just waiting to discover something like this.

Basically, Project Life is scrapbooking made easy. You have a binder and a load of plastic pocket inserts, which you can fill with photos. You also need to purchase a core kit, which is a selection of different sized cards for decoration and journalling. All you need to do is fill the pockets and personalise to your heart's content. 

Over the past couple of weeks I have been accumulating a basket of craft supplies - tapes, stamps, stickers, adhesive dots. You name it, I've found it.

I've also discovered some amazing bloggers and YouTubers whose Project Life spreads are nothing short of amazing.

I found Juli Makes Things via Instagram, but she also makes Youtube videos. I love the way she uses typewriter text and lots of different textures / effects in her spreads.

Through Juli, I came across Laura Rahel who blogs about documenting memories. She also has an Etsy shop selling some of her own Project Life card designs. Laura is a fellow monochrome enthusiast, which is right up my street. Once my damn printer is back up and running I'll definitely be placing an order.

I have a long way to go clearly, but I hope I manage to keep it up for the whole year. Maybe I'll share some of my completed pages here. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a date with my hole punch and some glittery washi tape.

My new favourite sandwich

Friday, 23 January 2015

This, my friends, is what's known as a sandwich game changer. And if that's not a thing, it should be. Trust me. It's that good.. 

There are few rules when it comes to sandwich making if you ask me. The more filings and flavour combinations the better.

Obviously I didn't invent this sandwich, but it's a new one for me and might not be one you've thought to try before... so I'm sharing the sandwich love :)

I've tried this on all manner of breads but nothing tops the humble bagel. There's something about the slightly chewy but crisp texture of a toasted bagel that just works. 

So, once you've lightly toasted and buttered your bagel, add a thin layer of houmous to one half, followed by thin slices of avocado. Top this with some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then add two slices of crispy streaky bacon (I had to use ham in the sandwich photographed, because we were out of bacon, and its definitely not as good). On top of this you want to put a fried egg (little tip - break up the egg yolk as its frying so it isn't quite as runny when you bite into it). Whack a dollop of sweet chilli sauce on top of the egg and you're done. Sandwich perfection, right there. Enjoy!

♡ Little bits #12 ♡

Thursday, 22 January 2015

1. And so it begins... 2015 has good things in store, I can feel it :)
2. Me and my mama ♡
3. Loved taking my two little cubs to see The Lion King on stage. I worked with the press team for the original West End production nearly 15 years ago (wow, that's depressing) so it has very special memories for me. They loved it.
4. Taking photos is a part of my everyday life, but I never print them. This year I'm making an effort to print my favourites for the whole family to enjoy, not just me as I flick through my phone. So I'm starting a scrap book. It's taking me a while to get into the swing of it because it's not something I've ever done before, but I can tell I'll love it once I get going.

5. What makeup brush mama? What Laura Mercier concealer palette? Monkey!
6. A lot of chocolate was harmed in the making of these cookies. Keep your eyes peeled for the recipe. It's a good 'un.
7. Mama's night out. And on a school night too. Mine's a frozen margarita :)
8. Post tantrum cuddles with my tiny one. And an apparent addiction to leopard print.

Hope you're all having a great week!

Diagnosis: Mumnesia

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

I write this just after encountering a particularly dramatic toddler meltdown. My 20-month old spent a few (loud) minutes this morning in the hallway, sat on his new nemesis 'the thinking chair'.

All because I wouldn't let him eat his sister's strawberry chapstick.

I'd forgotten about this bit of parenting. It seems I'm suffering from mumnesia.

I've been here before alright. My first born Dylan would bang his head on anything he could find. In pure rage. Not particularly hard and the tantrums were usually short-lived but, being my first baby, the head banging really upset me. I needn't have worried. This phase soon passed and was replaced by throwing things at his baby sister for no apparent reason. Every cloud....

(He's eight now and a very polite, gentle, lovely boy by the way).

Meryn on the other hand, could never be bothered with the rage; but boy could she whinge. She's still pretty good at it actually. 

It wasn't so much a tantrum, but more a long, whimpering Academy Award worthy performance. Followed by the need for lots of cuddles; which was fine by me.

So which toddler tantrum style is Ayden going to roll with?

So far I'm seeing a dash of diva and a hint of hissy fit, but he's never too cross for a cuddle.

It's funny. Even with a gap of five years between Ayden and Meryn, I was well-prepared for everything a newborn brings - and really looking forward to it all - but I'd forgotten so much. Milestones, teething remedies, the specifics of weaning, how often I'd forget the little red book at health visitor appointments. And the toddler tantrums. I'd definitely forgotten about those.

So, despite the apparent mumnesia, it seems I need to root about in the darkest corners of my brain and find the other bits I'd forgotten. Like how to look anything other than gobsmacked when Ayden throws himself face down on the floor and thrashes his little limbs around like a complete nutcase. And how to keep calm and choose my battles. Maybe it's not the end of the world if he doesn't eat my homemade Italian casserole with the rest of the family and would prefer to squash the butterbeans between his fingers before feeding them to the dog. 

I'm also going to try and forget that he took the set of 'pems' (crayons) that Santa brought him and created quite the toddler masterpiece on my painted doorframe. 

I remember having quite an impressive repertoire of distraction tactics when Dylan and Meryn were toddlers. Better get those out again then. And the wine. Whoever invented 'dry January' clearly didn't have a 20-month old!

Gaga for Bobo

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Ok, I'm bored of winter now. As I write this, ice balls are plummeting from the sky, shooting down my chimney and, despite two jumpers, woolly socks and my cosiest pj trousers, I'm still bloody freezing. So I'm consoling myself with a cuppa and a spot of SS15 online browsing. 

The new Bobo Choses collection dropped this week and it's a corker. Enough to transport me from dreary January drudge to balmy, beachy summer evenings... for five minutes at least.

Bobo is up there with my top three favourite brands to dress my children in. The design is always original and imaginative, with bags of personality. Just like my three wild ones.  

Here are my top picks from the collection:

Bobo Choses romper

Ghost print jumpsuit. £35, Cissy Wears. I just know this will suit Ayden perfectly. He has a couple of Bobo jumpsuits and I love the slightly over-sized fit. This one has little ghosts all over it. Love, love, love.

Bobo Choses watermelon shorts

Watermelon print baby shorts. £20, Cissy Wears. I don't think I even need to explain this one do I?

Bobo Choses dress

Grey Petit Monster dress. £28, Cissy Wears. I love all my children in grey. Actually the whole family is pretty mad for marl. This dress is effortless for summer. Perfect to throw on with flip flops for a day at the beach. 

Bobo Choses watermelon romper

Watermelon romper. £35, Monkey McCoy. It's those watermelons again. Combined with the softest terry towelling fabric and I literally can not resist. I mean, how cute is this? 

Bobo Choses Mr Peep tshirt

Mr Peep long sleeve tshirt. £28, Scandinavian Minimall. This is right up Dylan's street and will look great on him. I like that he'll be able to get some use out of it in the cooler months too. 

As predicted, I love pretty much the whole SS15 collection. No surprises there. What are your favourite items?

Confessions of a non-runner

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

I'm not a runner. I wish I was. But it doesn't come naturally to me at all.

My husband on the other hand will run for 10 miles quite happily. Because he wants to! Uch. I can't ever imagine a day when I choose to run that kind of distance.

What I have noticed is that, although I'm crap at it (at the moment), I'm a better person when I run. This hit me like a tonne of bricks on Sunday. 

I hadn't run for weeks. Who am I kidding... months! And I wasn't feeling good about it. I'm very much motivated by guilt. When my husband runs, I feel like a complete sloth in comparison, so will usually haul my lazy ass out the door. After a (literal) kick up the bum on Sunday I headed out for a 3km run. Not particularly far, but better than nothing.

The first half was amazing. I felt fantastic. Free. Elated. Alive. Happy. The rest of it sucked, but I have to focus on the first bit if I'm ever going to get out there again.

The part that has really stuck with me is how I felt for the rest of the day. We all know that exercise makes you feel happier, but running seems to give me more motivation in general. I have ideas after I've run and I want to get up and do things.

It's finally dawned on me that to be the best version of me that I can be, I need to run. And I need to remind myself of that next time the lazy little troll in my head tries to tell me otherwise. 

So I'm getting out the big guns. Four fail-proof motivational butt kicks that should help to keep me on track.

A workout buddy. I told you, I'm motivated by guilt. The only surefire way to get me moving is someone else telling me that they're doing it. Sad, but true. My husband has declared 2015 as the year he runs a marathon. That's not going to happen for me, but his training should motivate me to at least up my 3km to 5km. Maybe even 10.....

Instagram guilt. Most mornings I've had a cheeky scroll through my Instagram feed before I've even managed my first sip of coffee. So, tapping into that guilt factor again, I've discovered some revoltingly fit people to follow whose early morning runs/spinning sessions/beach yoga help to take me from 'can't be arsed' to 'still can't be arsed, but I'm going anyway'.

Plan, plan, plan. I talked yesterday about making more of an effort to plan out my weeks. I intend to include workouts in that. I'm far more likely to get out if I've written it down and decided when I'm going in advance. For January, I'm combining running with Yoga with Adrienne's 30 Days of Yoga programme; so that's daily yoga routines in the morning and (hopefully) three runs a week. 

Have a goal. I'm not going to do anything stupid like sign up for a half marathon, but I would like to push myself a bit. Who knows, I might surprise myself. My goal is to run 10km this year. I'd never consider aiming for that before but, for some reason, for the first time this year I thought... why not!? 

For now, I'll stick to my trusty little 3km route, but you'll be the first to know when I tip the 5km.

What motivates you to get active? I need all the help I can get.

♡ Little bits of our Christmas ♡

Monday, 12 January 2015

Long overdue, but I'm back. And determined to work harder to fill my tiny corner of the internet with memories and ramblings. 

I loved blogging last year and, at times, felt like I'd found my groove with it; posting regularly and with content I was really proud of. Where I fall down is lack of planning. Actually, my lack of planning lets me down in lots of areas so, yes you guessed it, I'm starting 2015 determined to do something about it. And this time I mean it. Honest. I've even bought a time planner, so it's bound to happen, right?

So, Christmas happened. Months of preparation and, just like that, gone. But it was great. Two weeks of uninterrupted, family time. Movies, chocolate, wine, cuddles, presents, laughs and cheese. Oh, the cheese. 

Here's some of the best bits.

1. I took my little ballerina to see The Nutcracker as a pre-Christmas treat and it was wonderful. She sat on my lap, mesmerised by the whole thing. It's lovely to spend some time one-on-one with each of my little ones. It's not often I get chance to do it, but I want to make sure I take each of them on a 'mummy and me date', of their choice, a few times this year.
2. Dark chocolate and mint m&ms. Amazing. That's all.
3. Loved watching this bunch of loonies skating about on the ice. It was their first time and they loved it. 
4. Off to a Christmas disco. Could they look any more grown up!? 

5. Date night margarita. Mmm could do with one of those right about now...
6. Figgy the elf returns. I loved watching Ayden following his big brother and sister every morning as they searched for Figgy. He loved it.
7. Baby vs ice cream. Guess who won.
8. We're big BabyLit fans and loved reading this book over Christmas. 

9. Discovered this delightful drink over Christmas. Like Baileys, but waaaay better. I recommend.
10. Baby + Elmo = true love ♡
11. Christmas cuddles with my little ones. Add gingerbread and its pretty much perfect.
12. Roller skates from Santa were a big hit this year. We spent a few chilly, sunny afternoons trying not to fall flat on our faces. I say we. No chance you're getting me in a pair of roller skates!

It definitely took me longer than normal to accept going back to reality this year. I'm not sure why, but even last week, with the kids back in school, I was still leaving it until the very last minute to get out of bed and start the morning chaos. 

I managed my first run of the year yesterday though and felt so much better for it. It gave me the kick up the bum I needed and I'm feeling far more motivated because of it. 

...that planner might come in handy after all.