Saturday 28 April 2012

A Henry Update

So Henry is 15 and a half months now. No longer a baby at all really...
In the style of Madeline, I thought I'd do a little update of what he is like now, as I know he'll be changing so much in the coming weeks and months.
I feel a bit like he is the classic second child, slightly left to find his own entertainment. One of his favourite things is cleaning his teeth, and if he disappears upstairs it's more often than not to the bathroom to stand on the stool and try out all the toothbrushes. He is also into wheels and pushing cars around - or the pink toy buggy (like Swann) he's not fussy!

A few weeks ago he had a little phase of doing a sort of coy look at people from under his eyebrows - very 1950's starlet, and if either Hugh or I told him off for something he'd automatically put his head down, like a little puppy.

Somehow, without me really noticing when, he has started feeding himself.  It was only a couple of weeks ago that he managed to get some food on his spoon and then too his mouth successfully - in fact I think Hugh and I were both amazed and had a 'did you see that too?' moment. Now he's polishing off a whole bowl of weetabix without much parental intervention. It's messy, and his hand still gets quite involved… but he's doing it.
He prefers drinking from an open cup, and is pretty good at it, except when he's not and then we end up with mess and wet clothes.

Every opportunity is taken to get into mischief. Toys are boring, he's much more interested in kitchen drawers (likes the drawer with cans in and he uses them as building blocks). Noise is GOOD, and banging saucepans around or generally slamming things is a popular activity.
Climbing up on anything... the episode above was particularly disruptive as I'd just moved a load of wet paintings to a 'safe' place.
Taking lids off pens and drawing or 'mark-making' if we are going to use the accurate term - is pretty fun for Henry. He got very frustrated the other day when trying to take the lid of a crayon. Didn't quite get that one.

There are some cute bits of behaviour that he has learnt from Coco, like her he runs to the door when the doorbell goes - less a pitter-patter of tiny feet, more stomp stomp stomp. And then he tries to escape. Probably to the playground, which he loves, the slide is still his favourite, but he also likes trying out other kids scooters - something I remember Coco doing.
Like Coco he likes a bit of a dance... no particular favourite music yet, the same sort of cute knee bending/wiggle is performed whatever the tune.
In terms of speaking we are getting lots of chatter, not much is decipherable. It definitely sounds like he says 'bye bye, see you later' and Coco is pretty certain he says her name and now refers to herself as Dodo when talking to him.

He has always been a good sleeper... just a bit of an early riser, and recently he's decided that this old gro-bag with tractors on is his 'significant object'. He just kind of gathered it up one day and started carrying it around. When you put him down to sleep, if he's tired, he will calmly put his head on one side while you do up the gro-bag, then he likes a cuddle and he'll put his head on your shoulder, often idly playing with some fabric, then when you lie him back down he bundles his tractor gro-bag and that seems to keep him nice and calm... (then you shut the door and he normally complains, but I'll ignore that bit)!
I'm trying to keep his daytime nap to the morning so that I get some free time while he sleeps and Coco is at pre-school, but I think he'd prefer to sleep after lunch. Not sure who is going to win that one yet.

And finally, he is a great kisser.
My brothers early kisses, when he was probably about the same age as Henry were called wipers - as in you had to wipe your mouth after you received one; this is very much the Henry style of kissing. He generally goes for the mouth, he doesn't believe in being offered a cheek but if you ask for a kiss you more often than not get one.

Sunday 22 April 2012

Coffee at Nisia's

I'm very lucky that there were quite a few of my good friends who had children at the same time as me. Nisia is a friend from college and her daughter Maja and Coco are only a month apart in age, plus we both have little boys who are only 2 weeks apart, add to that the fact that she lives 10 minutes down the road and you'll realise why we end up hanging out quite a lot...

So when another afternoon of rain was testing my patience on Thursday I popped over to Nisia's for a coffee. Zefi gave her a hand making it...

The house was looking so lovely when I arrived that I asked if I could take some photos - wasn't quite as tidy when we left; four kids playing inside for three hours... (sorry Nisia)!

Words are Nisia's thing - she is a published poet, this is her first collection on amazon. The picture above is one of her poems.

The sofa, that we somehow never quite get to sit on (but then I've always been a fan of a kitchen table).

Maja's bedroom; our friend Lou made the bunting, we are trying to get her to open an online shop; she also made Maja and Coco a quilt each.

The bathroom - Nisia has a knack for buying chairs! In fact, I'm amazed I've only managed to photograph a few... I'll have to try harder next time!

And of course I couldn't resist a shot of a on-the-way to being cluttered mantelpiece!

Friday 20 April 2012

My Book of 2011

If you've been around here before then you might know about my love of books and of documenting... well, everything (evidence can be found here).

Not surprisingly I'm quite a fan of a photo album and in a bid to get organised (or another way of putting it, in a bid to give myself yet another THING to do) I decided that from now on, at the end of each year, I'm going to make a album of the year.

Very simple, in chronological order.

Just showing what we got up to.

And to remind us of what life was like.

After all; what's the point in taking all these photos if I don't have a nice way to look at them every once in a while?

Now I feel like I've got to go back through the archives and make books for other years... I like rods for my back, obviously.

PS I made these with My Publisher (software ok + final product worth it!) Will probably use them again and want to give blurb a try too.

Wednesday 18 April 2012

The Prolific Artist

We get through a lot of paper in this house (generally the discarded, already-printed-on-one-side variety I hasten to add).

Coco is quite a prolific artist. And I have trouble throwing things away. The few times I have managed to bring myself to throw away an artwork I've been caught out and they've been fished out again, often with a lament implying that there surely must have been some mistake.

So now we are photographing the artist with her work. This way we get to 'keep' an edited selection.

I'm quite pleased with this new plan - especially when it comes to collages, and specially especially collages including glitter.

I have to credit Leen with inspiring me to do this - her photo of her daughter holding up a drawing was my trigger.

*The prince and princess above were drawn on demand by my Mum so that Coco could colour them in. She's pretty good don't you think? My Mum that is.

Monday 16 April 2012

The Mantelpiece

Just in case you were out there wondering what my kitchen mantelpiece looked like today, well here you go.

Rest assured, it's still messy. There are some familiar items there, but some new arrivals too.
We are proudly now featuring Anne Boleyn - the new name for Coco's Disney princess who lost her head (I'm not sure it was that much use to her anyway). The head is there too - can you spot it? She is now destined to join our growing collection of broken things... which we fully intend to fix someday.
We are also sporting some lovely manky flower water. I've decided clear vases are generally a bad idea. A lovely flower card by Sarah Bowman that Hugh's sister sent us and we finished some golden syrup, so have a new pen pot.

It was tidy (boring) a few days ago... but the clutter gathers in so enthusiastically.

Saturday 14 April 2012

Teenage Kicks

You know I keep everything right? I found a bunch of magazine pages that I used to have on my wall at school the other day - I used to have hundreds of pages from magazines torn out and I kept them to move them from room to room, (kind of similar to how I tinker with my space in this house now I suppose).

I just put them up with a bit of neon tape, which frankly is quite acid house - so in keeping with the era I think. I would have soooo loved washi tape back then.

It's quite a strange little selection that has survived tucked away in a manilla folder. Funny that in many ways my taste hasn't changed. I like snap-shot style images, caught moments, words, page layouts. Just putting these up now I noticed that the shots of the girl that it looks like I was obsessed were shot by Juergen Teller; a photographer that I've always liked, but I'm sure I wouldn't have recognised his name back then. The dart board is an old KISS fm poster from when it first became a legal radio station and the money is the £1,000,000 that the KLF set fire to.

This post is dedicated to my GREAT friend and fellow partner in teenage crimes EMILY (mother of George and Mila). Who is 36 today (which means I'm exactly 36 and half).
Every year we write in each others cards in shock that we've known each other for XX years… well now it's 20 years my dear friend, and those monumental teenage days and experiences; so much fun and angst are a long time gone, but yet… still us, still fresh.

While writing this I've been listening to The White Room by the KLF; one of the soundtracks to our teenage years. Two quotes (it's teenage habit that is hard to let go of; and a bit of a Emily/Alexis special - quoting lines from songs…)


"I hum this tune to all the girls I've know, should I care about the chances I've blown?"

Signing off, with a little tear in my eye. XX

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Our Easter Egg Hunt

Due to the fact that Henry was ill poor Coco was stuck at home for the best part of last week, so by the time it got to Easter Sunday we'd already had quite a few visits from the Easter bunny... (hunting for chocolate, it turns out, is a great way to occupy a four year old, who knew!?)

So we had to be a little bit more imaginative with our actual Easter egg hunt.

It started with some make-shift clip boards and a few flags to mark the spot...

Rubber stamps attached to the flags...

... and hidden (in the loosest sense of the word) in the garden.

The egg hunters and their clip-boards, finding the letters to stamp their Easter message and win a tiny chocolate egg!

Yep, and for some reason Coco felt it was necessary to wear her cow costume...

Monday 9 April 2012

Easter Egg Boxes

So my high hopes of Easter baking and crafting were thwarted by a poorly Henry.... but we were saved by the bell as my parents had Coco to stay for the night on Saturday so I quickly got to it on Sunday morning before they bought her home again...

Egg decorating on Sunday morning.
I'd had an idea to make Easter egg boxes - instead of buying traditional Easter eggs. I was imagining a mixture of chocolate and other treats hidden inside or under fake eggs.

A few of Coco's 'real' decorated eggs.

And one of the fake eggs which had chocolate hidden inside...

Coco's Easter egg box.

Two boxes of Easter eggs - one for Coco and one for my Mum and Dad, each box had four real decorated eggs and two fake ones (call me decadent).*

For my Mum and Dads egg box I used two of these metal hanging eggs which I found in a little shop in their village on Saturday... am hoping they go on sale and I can get a few more for future egg boxes (I'm already planning on recycling this idea for next year).

I think this might have to go down as the first of our family traditions... I'm quite into the idea of family traditions at the moment, got any good ones you want to share?

*Of course I'm not that mean and Coco did get a big chocolate egg too... it's bad, but sometimes I can't resist spoiling her.

Monday 2 April 2012

The Elusive Eight Hours & My Bedside Project

I think last night (and I'll whisper this, so as not to offend anyone) I got almost eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. 

That's not to say I feel as amazingly fresh and revived as I probably should.
But I do feel pretty GOOD.

I realise I should probably have made my bed before taking this shot but I'm grabbing ten minutes of blog-world time before Hugh starts work ... and this may also serve as a 'before' shot as I'm in the middle of a little bedside table & light re-design. Which makes it sound very grand.

Currently - 
Table: Ercol table, the middle of a nest, Hugh has the smaller one on his side and the larger one has our telly on downstairs*
Light: BHS from back in the day... the other one of the pair that I had is broken though
Wall paint: Sand II by Paint & Paper Library
Woodwork paint: Stone IV by Paint & Paper Library
Bed: Fat Fat by B&B Italia (a pre- married life and babies purchase)!
Bedding: Muji
Photos: Boots print outs of some instagrams

The plan is to make a bedside table/drawer and to get some wall mounted lights... and to introduce a bit more colour.
And now I've blogged about it; I'm going to have to make it happen!

*My Ercol table story...
I was considering buying another set of these tables but the prices have sky-rocketed since we got ours at the Criterion on the Essex Road. My Godfather is an 'antique' dealer; or rather more of an antique buyer, he doesn't often get around to selling much, and when we bought our first flat Hugh and I went to see him as he said we could have some furniture. He has a crazy, massive house. Totally unheated and full to the brim, in fact he has a barn which literally is piled high with stuff. He gave us some chairs which were retrieved from the top of the said pile by him and Hugh climbing up various other bits of furniture. Anyway, I spotted a nest of Ercol tables in the bath (a rather fetching pink bath in fact) and asked if we could have them; I was told 'no'. Obviously they had a purpose there. However a couple of weeks later I got a phone message from my Godfather while I was at work (he'd been quite rude to my colleague actually, when he couldn't get hold of me) informing me that there was a nest of Ercol tables in that week's auction at the Criterion and that he'd left a bid of £100 for them on my behalf!
Ah, the cheek... but, as you can see we got them and I'm very glad we did.

Can't resist another little story here... the first time Hugh met the Godfather, he couldn't quite believe it. He was sitting on a sofa that was COVERED in cushions and my Godfather explained that he'd got them in a charity shop somewhere and they were so cheap that he'd just had to go back and 'buy the lot'.  This became a catch phase for the day as everything Hugh enquired about, in a polite kind of way, the Godfather would just wave his hand and announce how he had a few more of them as they were so cheap he 'bought the lot'. This included vases, cutlery, chairs and as I remember, some sort of strange hand-made four inch high gollywog brooches. He is truly addicted to shopping.

So that is the story of my Ercol tables... and a small picture of my lovely, eccentric Godfather.

(Wow, this is a slightly longer post than I expected to write)
Happy Monday everyone!