House Tour Part II: Bedrooms

Picking up where we left of with the living room and kitchen, let’s move to the bedrooms. I’ve posted about Milo’s room before, but ai think that now he’s in a single bed, there won’t be much more change here, until a. we move out, or b. he moves out. One or the other. Our bedroom is also fairly static now, which is nice. When we moved in, the big bedroom was being used as the kids’ room, and it was SO BLUE.

Master Bedroom

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There’s not a lot of storage space in the flat, so we have to sneak it in wherever we can. That’s a Mandal bed from Ikea, sadly discontinued. I love it because the drawers are massive. The four drawers literally span the whole of the bed base. There’s A LOT in there. All the Christmas decorations, all my fabric and craft supplies, and one drawer is dedicated entirely to our shoes. Rock and Roll.

The blanket. OH THE BLANKET. I’ve wanted a Pia Wallet Cross blanket for FOREVER and I’m so happy I took the plunge. If you’re on the fence about getting one, just suck it up and order. You can eat beans on toast for a few weeks- no one will mind.

George Nelson saucer lamp was from eBay and it’s got a couple of holes and was in pretty poor condition. We cleaned it up with caustic soap and it’s been great. I’m itching to do something else though…I’m just not sure what. The print at the end of the bed (yes it’s a print – it’s gloss black on matte black, and with good reason) is from GFDA. <-Possibly NSFW! The vintage Anglepoise model 90s were liberated from a skip years ago, and the bedside tables are coffee tables from Marks and Spencer, a long time back. I’m trying to find some new ones though, I think bedside tables should have drawers.

Paint, as the living room and Milo’s room, is B&Q Colours premium matte in Victorian Lace.

Milo’s Room

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So, Milo’s room is pretty much all vintage or bespoke. It’s a super small space so we had to get creative. The room is EXACTLY wide enough for a mattress. In practice, this means that a bed doesn’t actually fit, because of the skirting board (or ‘trim’ for our American friends). So, we had to find a single bed that had inset legs, and preferably, storage. We found this bed in a second hand shop by accident. I’ve got birch ply all ripped and ready to clad the frame and drawer fronts, but the bed fits, and that’s the main thing. The cute ice cream strip blanket is from Atlantic Blankets on Not on The High Street.

The desk and shelves are Elfa track and bracket with birch ply, and it’s the same system we used in the living room. The idea here is that as Milo get’s bigger the desk can just move up with him.

I love the lights above Milo’s bed. It’s just an EKBY shelf bracket and string lights from Ikea. It has such a lovely warm glow. Speaking of warm, you may have noticed that there are no radiators or other visible forms of heating ANYWHERE. One of my non-negotiables in the flat was underfloor heating. For some reason, these flats don’t have a gas supply (the house literally next door does, so it’s not a pipe issue, IDK??), meaning that EVERYTHING is electric. That’s fine, but electric heating options are somewhat limited. Originally the flat had old concrete night storage heaters. Inefficient and ugly. The electric underfloor heating is cheaper to run, nicer to look at and well, it’s just nice.

House Tour Part I: Kitchen and Living Room

Whelp. I’ve promised this for months (years). Today I finally got my act together and set up the wide lens and the tripod and got some shots of the flat. My flat is super tiny (48sqm), but I think we manage to pull off family life here pretty well. Without further ado, on with the show (LINKS AHEAD!!)

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So. A breakdown on the finished article. The bare brick wall was created with Keswick Blend Brickslips. It was reasonably expensive, but not *much* more than a fancy wallpaper feature wall. My dear, long suffering husband stripped the original wallpaper (seen here), then laid the slips much like tiles, and then pointed the fresh brickwork with actual mortar.

The wall colour is actually super cheap B&Q Colours Premium matte in ‘Victorian Lace’. We have the same colour in both bedrooms and the living room, and it’s a lovely soft white, with just a hint of blue-grey. The flooring is from IKEA, they don’t do flooring any more, which is probably for the best, as it’s not really holding up super well. I’ve had to cut waaay back on the steam mopping. Boo.

The sofa is an Ikea Soderhamn, and it’s only a few months old but it’s holding up pretty well so far. The main draw for us is the washable covers – we’ve yet to try it, but I’m sure everything will turn out fine… Other things of note are the Hell Yeah print from Sir Face graphics, and the plant, which is a Sansevieria trifasciata (Mother-in-law’s tongue) and I’ve yet to kill it, so that’s a plus.

The Kitchen

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Ikea Kitchen! There’s already been a total kitchen saga, dealing with the decision to wait until I was heavily pregnant to buy said kitchen, ripping the old kitchen out on boxing day, drawing all over the walls, following Ikea instructions, plastering, tiling on my due date, and getting sooooo close to finishing before Milo arrived.

There’s still a bit of old tumble dryer hose connecting the extractor hood to the wall, so answers on a postcard for solutions to that one, please…

We’ll catch up with the bedrooms next!

The Friday Reset

Where does your week start? Some folks say the week starts on a Monday, others a Sunday. For me, the week has a natural start on a Saturday. Unconventional, yes, but it works for us.

Monday is the start of the working week, the tightly reigned in mornings, and getting out of the house. On time. In the right clothes. And so it goes on throughout the rest of the week. Come the weekend I want to spend relaxed time with my family without pressure, or deadlines, or chores. Saturday and Sunday is where (when?) we can let our hair down (jk no-one has hair here) and relax, but that takes some prep.

Enter the Friday Reset.

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I love the Friday Reset. It’s my way of putting the working week away and prepping the house and my mind for a bit of downtime. It also means I get to put a bit of thought into relaxation, which is sheer indulgence for me. On a Friday there are jobs that get done. I meal plan, and sometimes even meal prep. There’s fresh bed linen all round, and freshly laundered towels. Clean fridge, grocery shopping and fresh flowers. Often I make pancake batter and lay the table before I go to bed. All things that mean we wake up on Saturday with a clean home full of delicious (and indulgent) food. I leave the studio to collect Milo on Fridays and have a playdate with one of our mama buddies, which is a great transition for tuning into Milo and reconnecting, and really sets the tone for the weekend.

where does your week start? Do you have a natural flow?

 

On Swimming and ‘seeing it through’

When you have children, it’s pretty much expected that you will attend some form of ‘baby group’ or another. You name it – there’s a baby version of it. I’ve done yoga, music, dancing, gymnastics…and swimming. Swimming’s totally tops, best of the bunch. So much so that I’ve been doing it for nearly two and a half years. I swim with a local company called Turtle Tots and today I’m guest blogging on my experience, and why anti-social little me has stuck with the group so long. Enjoy!

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Guilt revisited. One month on.

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 19.58.15So…I recently spoke about guilt and I think I’ve figured it out. Where all that guilt is coming from. As humans we still very much live in survival mode. Sure we have nice houses and cars and pets and radiators and jam, but at our very heart we’re still pack runners. We find it hard to throw things away in case we ever need them, we get sleepy after we eat and we have a strong driving force to protect our young.

This generally means we do whatever we need to do for them, without too much regard for ourselves. We’ll catch a spider that’s scaring him even though we’re terrified. We’ll run into traffic to save her without a second thought. We’ll work a crappy job day in, day out, to put food on the table. It’s hard wired. I’ve spent the last two years in hardcore mama bear mode, and the truth is, there was no financial drive for me to return to work full time. We were comfortable with mt part time wage, so the decision was purely selfish. That’s right – this mama did something selfish.

Herein lies the problem. The majority of parents find it difficult to BE selfish. We’ve forgotten how to do it. Now I have a name for my guilt, though. I feel guilty for being selfish, which seems a little ironic, as selfishness is usually devoid of guilt. But, Milo has settled nicely into his new routine and is used to the way his weeks work now. Meanwhile, our weekends have got a whole load better as we really make the most of the family time we have.  I’m super organised with chores, laundry and batch cooking – but that’s another post for another day, and for now, everything’s working. It’s hard to believe that next year we’ll be applying for school places and then everything changes again. That’s life though, trying to put order in the chaos, and occasionally succeeding.

Guilt.

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Our little guy turned two recently and it was a hoot and a half. I still can’t quite get my head around how quickly he seems to be growing, but every day is awesome. Two years ago I was on Maternity Leave, which for those in the UK who qualify (read: have been working with a company with a maternity policy long enough), means you get a bit of time at almost your full wages, and then a bit of time on Statutory Maternity Pay, which is a bit crap. After about six months, you get nothing. I know that there are some countries (WTF America?!) that don’t have any form of Maternity pay and that must suck. For some women, staying home and spending time with this littles just isn’t an option, but for me, it was. I was lucky enough to stay home with my guy for seven months, and even Daddy got a month at home with us. 

After that I decided to go back to work. I realised I wasn’t happy in my pre-Mama role, so I got a job that I loved, and worked three days a week. The decision was partially financial, and partially driven by the fact that I didn’t want to lose my sense of self. I felt that it was important for Milo to socialise and spend time with other kiddos, and almost two years in, and he’s doing just great. I came to a bit of a crossroads recently, and had a lot of options available; one of which was to return to work full time, and in pretty much my dream job. It all sounds great. Milo could spend another day at nursery, which he loves, and another day with his Grandfolk, who love him. Perfect. 

BOOM. GUILT.

All the guilt. It’s the prize that comes with having a tiny human. Parent guilt is quite unlike anything I’ve experienced before, and when it comes to guilt, I know my onions. If he goes to nursery, he won’t be spending enough time with me and won’t be a happy, attached child. If he stays at home, he won’t learn to get on with other children. If I work, I’m selfishly neglecting my kid. If I don’t work, I’m not contributing to the family and my skills are stagnating. Every decision seems wrong sometimes. To try and fix my dilemma I looked to Sweden. According to A LOT of sources, including Unicef, Swedish kids are the happiest in the world. It’s super common for Swedish parents to both work full time, and childcare is regulated and subsidised by the government. Swedish families do more in the time that they spend together, screen time is limited, they eat together. These are all things that we do with Milo. He has high quality childcare provision and we make to the most of the time that we spend together.

There’s still guilt, and I think that will be there, nagging away for a while yet. But tomorrow I will take Milo to his morning swimming lesson, dry my hair, take him to Nursery and then zoom off for my day of filming and editing. After my day is done, I’ll collect Milo, meet Daddy as he walks from the station, and we’ll have a meal that I’ve already cooked, and we’ll talk about our days. And at the weekend? The sky’s the limit.

Thirty

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Yep. I just turned thirty, and it’s the strangest thing. Thirty doesn’t feel like that much of a big deal to me. It’s been a good few years, and I really feel like I’ve grown into myself, into this part of my life. I’m happy with my body, my family’s ace, and I like where I live. I’m doing a job I actually love, and things are pretty swell. I want to talk a bit about my life and face and body at thirty, and who knows? Maybe It’ll be fun to look back on when I’m forty and dealing with a pre-teen? Yeah, totally fun.

FACE

I get told that my skin’s pretty good and for that I’m grateful. A few years ago I stopped fighting my skin and came to terms with its awkwardness. I have super sensitive ‘normal plus’ skin – by which I mean super dry on the cheeks, super oily on the T. I’ve found a mixture of manual exfoliation, super gentle cleansers and and a light but quenching moisturiser is working wonders. I use a Clarisonic Mia once a day with a bit of Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish, followed by Indeed labs moisturiser. In the evenings I use straight up Cleanse and Polish (with the muslin cloth), which pulls off any make-up I happen to be wearing. I sometimes wear mascara and eyebrow pencil, and very occasionally I wear Benefit Hello Flawless foundation, and maybe a cat-eye flick of eyeliner.
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BODY

So…the body thing. I’ve always had a variety of body issues-both far too big and far too small. I’ve always had trouble matching the inside to the outside. Whilst I was pregnant I lost a fairly significant amount of weight – so I was lucky that I was carrying excess baggage or I would have been very ill indeed. So. I’m smaller now than I have been for a while and I’m trying to keep on top of that. I’ve recently completed Gillian Michael’s Thirty Day Shred and I’m about to hit it again. It was awesome and hard and yes. It kicked my ass. I’ve got stretchmarks and scars and all sorts of other stories on my body, and I’m cool with that. My thirtieth birthday present was to spend 5 hours in my favorite tattoo shop getting some flowers that will never wilt.

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CLOTHES

As we’ve recently discussed, I’ve embraced the whole capsule wardrobe thing and that’s working out pretty well for me. I’ve been sticking to dark neutrals, and I’ve finally found a pair of jeans that fit. I have a little waist, but a big butt and thighs, so finding jeans that aren’t gapey around the middle is kind of a big deal. I nearly always wear jeans and converse, a vest and some kind of baggy knit jumper on top. Although I’m less wobbly than I used to be, there’s still a fun amount of jiggle going on there. My corporate environment is fairly relaxed, and in the last week I’ve worn a black shift dress, and a shirt with a tie. I’m currently engaged in the search for the perfect relaxed fit tees, but that could take the rest of my days, so I need to relax and let that one happen. My main fashion goal this year is to wear jean shorts and not look ridiculous.

GREY HAIR DON’T CARE

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The amount of grey hair I ALL OF A SUDDENLY have is mental. Since having Milo, my hair has just got progressively more grey and you know what? I’m cool with that. I have no plans to dye or otherwise alter it. I think I can rock the salt ‘n’ pepper look.

THIS FAM THAT I HAVE

And of course, my favorite thing about being thirty is this crazy kid that was a baby and then almost a toddler and is now growing into my buddy. He’s starting to use sentences and make up games and it’s amazing. A couple of weeks ago he ran into the kitchen, thrust out his hand and asked ‘ticket please!’. I have NO idea where that came from but he’s still doing it, so we just roll with it.

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Vive la fam. Vive la thirties.

 

The times, they are a changin’

Change. It’s such a funny thing. It seems to come around when you least expect it, when you’re least prepared, and sometimes, it comes without notice. It’s not until you look back on the way things used to be that you realise things are different now. That’s my favorite kind of change – the natural, organic, flowing change. Change when everyone’s ready and no one notices. We’ve had a few changes in Milo’s bedroom, which I shared last month, and there are still a few more to come.

Lo’s just entered the ‘climbing’ phase of toddlerhood. I love that he’s so strong and confident, but I hate finding him half way up the towel heater in the bathroom. He needs space to explore, space to jump, space to climb. Alas, as we live in a flat with no garden of our own, we must resort to indoor fun. All it takes is a little imagination.

And a swing.

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Both via A Handmade Charlotte

We’ve decided that for Milo’s second birthday (which will be here before we know it, after the magic and noise of Christmas is gone), we’re going to make some changes to his room. We’ll be adding a bouldering wall so that he can climb safely, and close to the ground. Even though we’re in a flat, we’ll still be adding a swing, and we’ll be using a suspension bar between some joists. There will still be plenty of colour and homemade touches, but we need a place for rough and tumble.

Milo's LBB room

  1. DIY Letter bunting, Not on the High Street
  2. Child friendly climbing holds, Amazon
  3. Wooden trapeze swing, Amazon
  4. Moon landscape print, Ruby Rose
  5. Felt ball bunting, Not on the High Street
  6. Swiss cross pillow, Mama made using fabric from Etsy
  7. Mama in Law made crochet blanket