30.1.13

A Collection

1, Drawing in his jarmers as I cook 
2, A sneaky shot of my friend living room, I l.o.v.e the horse lamp 
3, Another of Wilf's little friend's 1st birthday, the youngest of the group. We have all reached a year of motherhood!
4, Painted dinosaurs soon to be necklaces..watch this space
5, I think this robot has been featured on these posts before, well he is a rather photogenic little robot
6, testing manual settings on my camera, I quite like this picture!
7, Some foxy badges (choosing a book to read perhaps?)

29.1.13

Meet Ashley from The Stork and the Beanstalk



Hello, my name is Ashley. I write The Stork & The Beanstalk and suggested a blog swap to Fritha, in the spirit of the Blog Hop she is so kindly hosting. I love being a part of the blogging community and getting to know fellow bloggers is always an added bonus. You can blame me for the ridiculous questionnaire below. I stole it from one of those back-in-the-day facebook get-to-know-your-friends survey. So don't go blaming Fritha for my crazy shenanigans. You can read Fritha's answers over on my blog and also enter to win a pretty rad giveaway to her beautiful etsy shop. If you don't check it out, you're crazy. Onto the madness...

1. What time did you get up this morning? 
This is the first question and I'm already confused. Do you want to know what time it was when I first got out of bed or what time it was when I got out of bed for good? I have a six month old. Lets not be foolish.
 
2. How do you like your steak? 
A vegetarian would say back in the cow. I, however, would say on the plate before me. Preferably with some creamy sauce. And a side of french fries. Because french fries go with everything. Except maybe mash potatoes. 
 
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? 

Cinema? What are we, living in 1940? If you're talking about what the modern day refers to as the movie theatre, well then the last flick (slang for movie you old hags) I saw was "The Perks of Being a Wallflower". 
 
4. What is your favorite TV show? 
Cops. The first and best reality TV show. My favorite episode being the one with the snake handler. If you are not familiar with this episode, you're really missing out.
 
5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? 
Am I more than 41 weeks pregnant? Because this has happened twice and each time I wanted to reside for the remainder of my days in a hole. If I'm not fat and anxious, I'd live in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua. Or I'd return to San Francisco, where I lived previously for five years.
6. What did you have for breakfast? 
A belgium waffle with whip cream. I know, I know...
 
7. What is your favorite cuisine? 

French fries. 
 
8. What foods do you dislike? 
Lets just say I eat my vegetables with a full glass of water and an expression on my face that makes you think someone just shoved vomit in my mouth.
 
9. Favorite Place to Eat? 
With children or without? With children = in private. Without children = Anywhere that keeps my wine glass from ever nearing empty.
 
10. Favorite dressing? 
French fries. I know, it doesn't make sense. I'm trying to make a point. 
 
11. What kind of vehicle do you drive? 
A very dirty one with two car seats and, at any given time, an empty water bottle, a grocery list scribbled on a piece of scratch paper, and a blanket in the back. 
 
12. What are your favorite clothes? 
Pajamas.
 
13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? 
Cuba. For the second time. Because the first time was that awesome.
14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?
I can't tell... It's in one of those metal canisters that I just saw on the news because children are reportedly getting their tongues stuck in them. It's true. And it made the news. I would have rather heard a story on the news anchors fake tits or lips but, you know, tongues getting stuck in bottles is clearly more urgent.
 
15. Where would you want to retire? 
In my pajamas.
 
16. Favorite time of day? 
When both kids are napping at the same time. It's happened once or twice.
17. Where were you born? 
Van Nuys. Where porn is filmed in your neighbors yard. No, really.
 
18. What is your favorite sport to watch? 
Gymnastics. 
 
20. Are you a morning person or a night person? 
I'm a whenever-both-kids-are-napping person. Please refer to #16.
 
21. Pets? 
Sarah. Human name and tiger stripes, but she's a dog.
22. Any new and exciting news that you'd like to share? 
The Mayans were wrong. The world didn't end. And, oh yeah, don't stick your tongue in metal water bottles (please refer to # 14).
 
23. What did you want to be when you were little? 
A gymnast. 
 
24. What is your best childhood memory?
Teaching gymnastics to neighborhood friends in the front yard with my sister, being found by my mom in between the clothing racks at a store when I thought I was lost, riding bikes in campgrounds where the smell of pine trees filled the air. 

25. Are you a cat or dog person?
I once had someone proposition me to kill their cat. I considered it. 
 
26. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? 
I'd rather no max out my credit card. I'd rather someone else max out their credit card on my behalf. They can pick the store and I'll spend their money. Any takers?
 
27. Always wear your seat belt? 
I used to, but then people started telling me I didn't need to wear it unless I was in the car. 

28. Been in a car accident? 
Yes.
 
29. Any pet peeves?
No.
I lie. Who doesn't have pet peeves? Here's a few: 

-The length of time it takes my husband to shit on the toilet. I mean really, why must men sit over it for so long?
-That sucking/slurping sound people make while cleaning their teeth off with their tongue. One woman I work with does this constantly. I try not to sit by her.
-Day light savings. Gimme my sunlight back, dammit.
-Conversations where the dialogue consists of movie quote after movie quote. I can't remember movie quotes for nothin' and I'm always confused during these conversations.
-The sock monster that lives in the dryer.
-Calling a company and having to talk to a computer that doesn't understand my swear words and doesn't take my anger or impatience into account.

 30. Favorite pizza topping? 
Cheese. I eat like a 9 year old. I don't like things mixed or touching. Burritos, for example, scare me.
 
31. Favorite Flower?
I pretty much feel the same about all flowers. 

32. How many times did you fail your driver's test? 
I didn't. I studied because I really wanted to be able to drive myself to Denny's so I could eat a grilled cheese and fries whenever my heart so desired.
 
33. From whom did you get your last email? 
Some insurance company inquiring about sponsorship on my blog ::scratches head:: I'm not seeing the connection... 

34. Are you married? 
I am. Willy is my husband and I'm taking a photo a week of him every week this year. You can check them out here. He's handsome, right? He farts very loud every morning. 
35. Do anything spontaneous lately? 
I spontaneously let a little pee out last time I coughed. I delivered two nine pound babies vaginally, cut me some slack.

 36. Like your job? 
I'll tell what I don't like: I don't like not having a job and having to sell my body on the street corner. 

 37. Broccoli?
This question confuses me. 
 
38. What was your favorite vacation? 
Any one that involved a passport is engraved as a favorite in my book.
 
39. Last person you went out to dinner with? 
My husband. And children. We were feeling brave. It was a hole in the wall Mexican place down the street and I thought I was going to freeze because the door was cracked open to allow the power plug to run to their food truck that was parked in the front. On the brighter side, I drank a coke made in Mexico in a glass bottle. Those are always the best.
 
40. What are you listening to right now? 
Willy making babbling noises at Van so that I can finish this ridiculous questionnaire. Fritha, I'm sorry to have subjected you to my crazy antics. 
 
41. What is your favorite color? 
Would you believe that this question has been the one holding me up. I can't choose.

42. Have you ever been robbed?
Only of sleep. Kindly refer to question #1.
43. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
I hate when I have to be a crayon because Sarah (our dog) always eats me. Thus, we stopped playing the dress-up-as-a-crayon game.

44. Do you drink?
I'd be dehydrated otherwise. 

45. Red bull or coffee?
Neither. Because I'm breastfeeding. Please refer to #16 regarding children sleeping being my favorite time of day. Caffeine doesn't bode well when trying to get an infant to nap. 

Thanks for being part of my blog Ashley! (funny and pretty and yet I don't resent her)

28.1.13

She Inside

It's January, it's raining and I'm day dreaming about bright summer dresses, can you blame me?
1, Apricot Sweater 
2, Blue Floral Blouse 
3, Orange Pleated Dress 
4, Gold Feather Necklace 

26.1.13

4/52

 'A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013'
Wilf - during his illness he became addicted to rice crispys..something I blame Tom for entirely. This photo was taken as he tried to share to with our cat Rockie and frowned at said cat's reluctance to join in.

The first four weeks of 2013, over! Shall I say every week how fast they are going?? I will try my best to stop now. Wilf is all better, we enjoyed a birthday party today and are off to another tomorrow. Happy Weekend xo

25.1.13

I guess we have a toddler?


The past week or so has been a funny one, we have seemingly done nothing but still I feel like I've had no time to sit or think or get the simplest of tasks done. Wilf was suffering from Impetigo for about five days in total, although he didn't seem seriously troubled I think he generally didn't feel great and so couldn't sleep very well either. There was a night where he simply awoke at 3am and that was it, up for the day! The next day I even broke my rule of not napping and had a glorious half an hour snuggled up together, something I have missed a little since he has moved to his own room.
Our decision to stop co-sleeping was one of necessity, in that he simply will not stay in the bed anymore. Something that was really confirmed over the past week as I tried to get him to sleep I went back to co sleeping only to be kicked in the head, jumped on, crawled over..for hours and hours. Now at a year he (and I) sleep a lot better separated. That being said whenever I thought about sleeping arrangements pre Wilf's birth I always envisioned a year being the bench mark for co-sleeping, it worked so well for all of us for so long and then one day it didn't and that was that. It's a decision I feel comfortable with. 
Apart from the past week or so with illness we have all been sleeping so much better, so much in fact I am starting to think of the past ten months snatching 45minutes in a row as a bad dream that didn't really happen. Did we really live through that kind of sleep deprivation?? The main thing that has helped with Wilf's sleep? Cutting out night feeds. Again at a year I feel comfortable with this decision, we needed to try something new and I felt confident that he got enough during the day and was at an age when he would be able to sleep some long stretches without breastfeeding. A friend asked me if I wished I had done this six months ago and I think the answer is no, it wouldn't have been right (for us) at the time where as it now does. Breaking the 45 minute cycle he was stuck on has made a dramatic effect on his day time behaviour, he seems so much more aware and refreshed and has started eating with gusto. We still breastfeed maybe 4 or 5 times a day and we still start the day anytime between 5am and 6am (with maybe 3 or so wake ups in the night which he settles down and falls asleep again just being soothed and 'tucked in') so he is certainly not 'sleeping though the night' every night (although weirdly he did once a week or so ago!!) but we are all feeling lots better in ourselves. Isn't sleep great??
We haven't been having as much fun in the snow as I see lots of you are, largely due to illness but also I think Wilf is still a little young for it..he did love to watch it snow down though and sat by the window pointing and smiling. I have been enjoying everyone's snow men pictures! 
This week has whooshed by again as they all seem to these days, and now the weekend hurrah! Oh and a certain little boy took 5 steps on Thursday! So I guess we should call him a toddler now? wow! 
Hope you all have great weekends! xoxo

23.1.13

A Collection

A very small collection, I started a course to learn how to use my camera manually. I have been wanting to do something like this for over a year now but not had the time nor spare cash. Funny enough just before Christmas I entered a giveaway over on Capturing Childhood's FB page for a free entry to their E Course and won! 
I still have an Blog Design E Course from Elsie to work through so clearly I am slightly ambitious in getting through both of these plus looking after a one year old full time (plus blogging, plus freelance illustration, plus my Etsy shop, ah!). Whilst I feel slightly overwhelmed at all of this I do love getting stuck into a good project.
I hardly ever take pictures indoors as the light is just too dark, I hate using the flash so my camera is usually just set to 'no flash' or 'speedy man' (that's a technical term right there ;)). But as this is the UK and the winter it does get hard to take any photos in these settings without them looking blurry. I've fiddled with the manual setting before but never knowing what any of the buttons actually mean, got frustrated and gave up.
The first week of the course sped by and on Sunday I finally managed to sit down and take a proper look, I was introduced to 'shutter speed', 'manual focus' and 'aperture' and after initially feeling swamped I managed to take the above pictures. Not great masterpieces I agree but not dark and not blurry so I consider that a win!
1, Wilf's little friends that afternoon, he picks each up and they babble to each other and sometimes kiss. He loves these four, oh and giraffe not pictured but currently a meal time buddy that needs to have a bit of whatever is on offer before Wilf 'nnno!' he squeals and thrusts giraffe into the food, laughs then takes a bite for himself.
2, Maddie cat, in her natural habitat (sleeping)
3, A collection on a shelf, I like how you can see the lights in the reflection, clever no? ;)

22.1.13

Wishing a little (grand) adventure

Once as an icebreaker at a class Tom and I were attending we were asked where our ideal holiday would be. As we went round the circle listening to the answers of the other members of the group we threw each other knowing smiles as we heard the names of exotic locations being thrown around the air. The reason we were smiling was because we knew what our answer would be, if we could go on holiday anywhere? It would probably still be the UK (and its not purely about my utter terror of flying).
I realise this may make us seem incredibly small minded. My own parents I think are baffled by my non existing longing to travel the world, they themselves visiting and living in many different countries and locations throughout their lives and myself visiting some great places as a child. 
Tom and I have been lucky enough to have holidayed in a few places throughout Europe and I greatly enjoyed my time but that being said there are so many places in the UK I still have yet to explore. My Grandfather was from the North of England, his ashes are scattered in the Lake District, one of the most beautiful spots in this country, I have yet to visit. My Niani (Grandmother on my dad's side) was from Wales and my Taidi (Grandfather on my dad's side also) from Ireland, I have yet to visit the places they grew up. My elder brother and his family now live in Scotland and yep you guessed it, yet another place I have never seen. All these places with special meaning to my ancestry and just waiting to be explored. 
We are so lucky in the United Kingdom to have such a small island that varies so much in climate, culture and accent. I want to visit the very south to walk along the beaches in St Ives and I want to visit the very top (my brother does live in Orkney!) and witness the biting cold..(ok well maybe I want to visit in Spring when its not quite so biting) to view the lochs in Scotland and the green of the home counties.
I know it would be fantastic to sip Retsina on a beach in Corfu but I honestly think it would be just as fantastic drinking a cider and eating a cream tea in Devon.
I love the idea of travelling the country, stopping in cottages and gypsy caravans, like this one. I don't like camping but I would be more than happy with a family annex at one many Youth Hostels scattered along the way. 
One of my favourite places in the UK (that I have seen so far!) is Portmeirion. I have been twice so far, once in the height of summer as a child, sunbathing and running to rock pools and then looking up squinting at the beautiful colourful buildings above. The second time I went back with my family bringing Tom with me for new year, it was a little grey but still oh so beautiful and really quite magical. 

Listen, I'm not particularly patriotic and I'm certainly no royalist but there are places in the UK that are simply beautiful. I think if there are places like Portmeirion still to be discovered then I'm very happy for our adventures to be based here for the time being.
What do you think? Do you think it's not a holiday unless you go aboard? Or are you happy with a cream tea and a boat ride to see some dolphins? I'd love to know! 

20.1.13

3/52

'A portrait of my child, once a week, every week in 2013'

'As soon as a drew back the curtains Wilf excited squealed at the snow covered garden and was happy to sit and stare out the window as the snow fell down. We wrapped up and ventured outside for all of 5 minutes, I'm not sure what he thought of it but he did scoop up a handful and try to eat it..'

Poor Wilf has Impetigo at the moment. He is really suffering with it and whilst we had become quite used to some good stretches of sleep over the past couple of weeks we are now down to small handfuls in between lots of upset. He has a cream for it now so it will hopefully clear up soon, we are just trying to pass the time with lots of story books, colouring and playing with his toys together. As it is highly contagious we are in quarantine for the time being, send us some healing thoughts! 

17.1.13

Five little lights

A little while ago now NEXT approached me and asked if I would like a gift voucher to spend in their stores. Tom and I happen to live quite close to one of their larger stores so this worked quite well for us.  Pre baby when I had an office job I used to shop in NEXT for work clothes and am a fan of the tailoring on lots of their dresses. I kept hold of the voucher until something jumped out at me. I initially thought of buying yet more clothes but decided that would be a waste as in all honestly I don't really 'need' anymore clothes (did I just say that?!). A few weeks later my Birthday came round and I found out that Tom's mum had also got me a NEXT voucher. Combining the two I was able to buy one of their larger items so I went for this beautiful lamp. 
Tom and I have wanted to make a lamp like this for our living room for quite some time. When we saw this one in NEXT we actually realised that creating our own one would end up extremely time consuming and probably a lot more expensive. We loved that this one actually looked like we 'could' have made it ourselves but saved us the actual bother. It was really easy to assemble and the staff advised me at the checkout which bulbs I would need. The colours also happily go with the colour scheme of our living room (lots of colour!). You can see NEXT's lighting range here
NEXT sent me a voucher to use in their store for this post but all words and thoughts are my own

14.1.13

My first Diana roll

Do you remember a while back when I told you I would be sharing my shots from my Diana F here on the blog? Well they have just arrived (Lomography email you the scans before you receive a hard copy so I have yet to hold them in my hands). This is the first time I have used a Diana camera so I had no idea how they would turn out or if the settings I was shooting in were right for the conditions. Basically like most things in life I disregarded advise or instructions and decided to leap in and see what happens. 
So here are my 5 photos, actually I had three more on this film but they were pretty unflattering for the subjects (think taking a shot just as someone half blinks) so it wasn't really fair to share those on the internet. 
Out of the five I would say I really love the second and last one. I tried to be a clever clogs with double exposing the third one down and probably ruined two good pictures there but its all leaning and experimenting right? It's odd, growing up in an age where digital camera's are the norm it feels quite alien to take a picture and not see immediately if it works. I have another roll ready to use and think I have a better understanding now of what conditions produce better pictures so I'm looking forward to trying again with round two. 
Do any of you have a Diana F camera? Any tips for me? 

13.1.13

2/52

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

We had spent the past few days inside, hibernating. It was time for some fresh air and a crawl around the park. Taken before he got seriously muddy.

A friend and I agreed we had been stuck inside too long, out with the January blues and off to the park. We drank coffee from a thermos and ate just baked carrot cake (an impulse i had felt that morning). We watched our children play together and delight in the muddy field until their noses turned pink.

One thing I've noticed already from this project is it really hits home how fast the weeks swing by. Whilst it makes sense that this is the second week of the year I feel like I only just posted his first picture.

I've been really enjoying looking at everyone's pictures. Do head over to Jodi's blog to see the link up. The lovely Rebekka Seale illustrated the 52 badge and is taking part photographing someone that is important to her each week, I love this idea, such a lovely spin on the project. Rebekka is such a talented illustrator, photographer and writer! 

11.1.13

Can you get bored of looking at Meerkats?

Tom's mum was kind enough to give us a annual family zoo pass for our Christmas present (amongst lots of other thoughtful gifts I was quite overwhelmed). This is such a fantastic gift for our family as it means we can attend at our leisure and not feel forced to look around the whole place in one day to make it worth our money. Tom took the day off work and we caught our little inner city train from our neighbourhood to the station ten minutes walk from the zoo. We had a little stroll around, saw a few of the animals and left within the hour to go for lunch and charity shopping before home in time for Wilf's midday nap, perfect! I know a couple of my friends got the same gift so I'm really looking forward to spending some more time up there, especially in the summer when I can let him loose on the grounds and actually feel like we've done sometimes different with our day. I wonder if you can ever get bored of looking at Meerkats? 
I knew Tom had gotten today off but he surprised me this afternoon with telling me he actually has the Monday off too so we are really looking forward to a long weekend with daddy, hurray!. I know it's only just been the Christmas break but sometimes that start back at work, the dark days and the cold British weather do make you feel a little glum. I've been a bit of a hermit of late so it's nice to have a mini break again. 
I hope you all have fantastic weekends and thanks ever so much for all your comments on this post, I was blown away with your kindness. What a lovely bunch you all are xx

8.1.13

some changes

photo taken last year - nothing to do with the post but thought I should have something to illustrate 'thinking' ;)

So new year, fresh start all that. I wanted to implement some changes on my blog. 
Blogging is such a funny world, sometimes it can seem such a small and personal space, I'm met some fantastic people though it and through this blog hop now for example I am finding such beautiful blogs and engaging with some brilliant people. I love this part of blogging.
A little while before Christmas I received a couple of lets say 'far from friendly' emails, (one much worse than the other to be fair). One of the emailers wrote something along the lines of (I cant quote directly as I've deleted) 'you can see how successful and popular my blog is'. It was those words (and the rest of the email) that really made me feel quite sad about this whole blogging business. Is it really a competition? Is that was its all about? I appreciate I am being very vague on the subject matter and what was so hurtful with the rest of their words but I don't want my blog to hold such negativity and I don't want it to become some kind of playground argument. The mean girls at school, drunk on the sense of importance of 'popularity'..frankly for grown adults its just so so odd. 
For a few days I pondered on why I write my blog, how I feel about negativity and about the competitiveness. I have written about some hugely personal subjects and as such expect some backlash and to be prepared to be thick skinned about people opinions. The fact that these emails were nothing to do with any of the subjects I thought I would get issue with is the thing that struck me I think. 
A week or so later I received an email from a lady going through a miscarriage, she wrote to me to thank me for writing about my own experience and how it had helped her. And right there was when I realised that writing this blog is worthwhile, even if it was to make that one person's day a little easier.
Still the whole idea of competition was sitting badly with me and as such I have taken a small step in removing this from my blog in taking myself down from The Top Baby Blogs. I'm not saying that the people on the list are 'competitive' or are in anyway wrong for being on there at all, I get that its a good way to increase readers and find other blogs to read but I feel like a weight has been taken off my shoulders not clicking that (kinda ugly) little button! On a different note the other thing that sort of annoyed me about that site is the whole 'never ending-ness' of it. I think it would be ok if it was just a yearly voting system with a start and end date but to refresh the counter every few months seems like just a way to get lots of hits on their site, with no real benefit for the people involved? Does anyone else feel that way?
Eh I'm not saying I've never going to enter anything ever again but for now it feels like a good move. Now some other new things
I'm working on (finding some time!) to work on my blog layout, nothing major but I want to make it a little easier to navigate. Perhaps a little cleaner, maybe not, I do love colour!
I'm really liking being part of the 52 project and am loving seeing everyone else's. 
I want to work on more collaborations this year with bloggers I admire. I am loving being part of the blog hop and its given me some great new blogs to read, I'm going to come back with my top ten new blogs I am following soon, perhaps this could be a regular thing. I know I love it when I am introduced to a good new blog :)

Well thats it for now, I guess I am just airing some of my thoughts in this quite meandering post. I hope the first week or so of the new year has been good for you all and you are not experiencing the January Blues. It is so dark! xoxo

6.1.13

1/52

I meant the first picture of this project to be taken in beautiful lighting with a proper camera and maybe edited to look at fancy as could be..turns out as life would have it his first portrait of the year is taken with my Iphone, but at least it is true to life.
I think I mentioned before that one of my goals this year is to learn to use my DSLR manually so this is a great platform to try. Hopefully by next week I will have some new tricks to show you! 
If you are unaware of the 52 project do hop over to the lovely Jodi's blog and see what its all about.
a portrait of Wilf, once a week, every week in 2013
 1/52 - Wilf has worked out how to complete this jigsaw correctly..Tom and I are constantly amazed at his development 

Hazel

On new years eve the last day of 2012 a little (10lb, 8!) lady arrived in the world. It's lovely to think that Wilf will have three cousins now so close in age to him (10months,7months and a year apart).
Wilf was oh so careful when it came to stoking Hazel (something I attribute to him having cats and being told to be 'gentle' many many times a day) the third picture down is my ''caaarefully'' face!
These pictures where taken when she was a day old, as you can tell she is already quite big! Wilf was 9lb 2 when he was born which turns out is the smallest baby so far on both mine and Tom's side, isn't that crazy?? I know babies are meant to get bigger the more you have but I'm happy to give my SIL the prize of biggest baby in the family thank you very much (what a hero!).
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