Tuesday 26 March 2013

Then and Now

One of my very first instagram photos was of Coco reaching to touch the glass ceiling in our kitchen.
The other day I posted one of Henry doing the same thing.

My heart aches at the passing of time, it feels like life is moving too fast (... and yet at the same time so slow, oh time, why are you such an anomaly?).

In the words of Ferris Bueller
"Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around you every once in a while you could miss it"

It's amazing how many 80's film quotes pop into my head on a regular basis - I did do a google double check to see if I'd got this word perfect... one slight error (I put 'might' instead of 'could'). Interesting skills.

Monday 25 March 2013

12/52 A Portrait a Week

We had a bit of a bumper birthday party weekend, the perfect opportunity for a bit of party behaviour observation!

Coco  - She loves parties - or the idea of parties, although maybe one of the things she enjoys most is wearing her party shoes, but once she gets there she watches what is going on cautiously. She often seems to be playing on her own and treats all activities with a little air of suspicion. She normally gets into the swing of things just as the party is about to end.

Henry - It's all about the food - especially cake. "I love the cakes" he told me at the party. Today he's been singing Happy Birthday to Otto in his cot before his nap time and has looked at the photos with me, mainly pointing out the ones of the birthday cake. Like Coco, he doesn't particularly join in and yesterday a good proportion of time was spent eating.

Last week this photo from Laura's blog 'The Monster and Me' caught my eye - I'm beginning to get this kind of look from Henry a lot too.

Taking part in Jodi's 52 project.

Sunday 24 March 2013

Liebster Blog Award

Thank you to Lia over at Dizzy Loves Icy for giving me a Liebster award... feels like I've had homework to do all week, but I've finally got around to answering Lia's 11 questions to me and writing 11 questions of my own to pass on to some of the other blogs I read.
So - here you go Lia, my answers... *

1. Who has influenced you the most throughout your life?
My parents - a very constant presence, I think my home has real echoes of their style, my taste in music (although also strongly influenced by my sister) my habit of listening the radio constantly, my love of Apple Macs and graphics and reading and the cinema and needing to do projects. Yep, there is pretty much one root of all my problems!

2. What was the first blog you became addicted to?

Probably Tales of a Junkaholic - which I don't read so avidly anymore, but I do still enjoy. I remember feeling like it was my guilty secret as it really felt like I was being a stalker following this persons life that I didn't know from Adam. Then I started my own blog and realised that it's fine - she was/is sharing what she wants to share.

3. Favourite day of the week?
Gotta be Friday - can't beat the anticipation of the weekend.

4. Hot or cold holidays?

Hot! I can't face spending good money on a cold holiday. Just don't really get that (… and I am still planning on writing my holiday series here on the blog… one day)

5. Book you're currently reading?

For once I can answer this honestly (I've not been very good at reading books in the last few years - I'm afraid blogs have become my nighttime reading) however, since joining the Mothers Meeting book group I have to read… so at the moment I'm finishing The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath but I'm interspersing it with 'Just My Type' A history of fonts - that my Mum leant me - really not nearly as boring as it sounds.

6. Beauty product you can not live without?
I'm so BASIC with beauty, but I do rather like my dermalogica face wash - I use the special cleansing gel.

7. What's for dinner?
Since reading Lia's blog there is quite a good chance it could be tacos… but actually tonight we just had braised loin of pork with a Hugh-invented bean & artichoke stew - which was delicious, perfectly warming for a chilly spring evening.

8. Favourite place on the planet?
I think, right now I'd have to say my home. There is a field in Cornwall, very near to Porthgwarra that I'm particularly fond of too.

9. Here's £100 for just YOU. What do you do with it?
Hmmm, well I do really need a new bag...

10. Favourite toy or book as a child?
Oooh, this is a good question. I think past eight or nine my tape recorder was my favourite. Pre that I was just as in to making stuff as I am now. I made my brother and I 'secret boxes' which were sort of accessories to our spy game, they were our favourites for quite a while.

11. What's your party trick?
I'm pretty good at overly dramatic, pop video esq dancing/miming to 80's music - although give me a few glasses of wine first. Others might say my ability to put my foot in my mouth (metaphorically) it's often a good ice-breaker, but sometimes can back-fire.

I'm going to ask the following (not quite )11 bloggers to join in. **

Nice Kind of Blue
Pregnancy Joy and other Things
I Know
Circle of Pine Trees
940 Sundays
Five on the Door
Albert and the Lion
Bristol Parenting Cafe

These are my questions to you:
1. Which is your favourite post on your own blog?
2. Do your 'real' friends know about/care about/read your blog?
3. Is there anything that you regret NOT doing in your life (so far)?
4. Camping or Boutique Hotel?
5. Best way to get from A to B?
6. It's 8pm on a Friday night, what are you doing (in your ideal world)?
7. Done any good projects recently?
8. Best thing to do within a few minutes of your home?
9. If you could learn a new skill, what would you choose?
10. ... and your superpower, if you had one?
11. Finally, why did you decide to start a blog?

* I've also got 11 questions to answer from Abigail - more homework for later in the week!
**Lots of the blogs I read seem to have been awarded the Liebster in these recent times - so I didn't quite get to 11!

Friday 22 March 2013

Bringing in Spring

As I'm being a bit of a woose about the weather I'm not really hanging out much outside (except when strictly necessary, two bike trips to school and back in a day is normally enough for me). Poor Henry is pining for the playground... every time we ride past he says 'park' or 'slide' in a hopeful voice.

I feel a bit like I'm missing out on all the new growth in the garden though so I thought I'd bring a bit inside instead... when we planted the garden last year we got quite a lot of teeny-tiny hellebores. They've all come out and flowered this spring year and I've been enjoying their blooms from a warm distance - but they are also annoyingly a bit hidden from view, so I decided that I'd bring some inside instead, which somehow feels a bit mean (but they are just plants).

We also actually got around to planting some seeds a couple of weeks ago which are starting to germinate on top of the toy cupboard in the kitchen - I don't know when I'll feel like going outside and planting them out... sounds like a Hugh task to me.

We are still protecting our agapanthus plants inside, but amazing how much they have shot up since I took this photo a couple of weeks ago.

I'm joining in with Lou's 'nature in the home' series again this week.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

2012 on my kitchen mantlepiece

I'm not quite sure how or why I got quite so obsessive about documenting the mantlepiece in our kitchen, but it turns out I took a lot of photos of it last year.

Only the most exciting ones made the cut for the blog (here), but now I'm going to bore you with a whole lot more.
Continuing on the new video theme (been losing my temper with iMovie pretty regularly)... here is a review of our 2012 via the medium of the mantelpiece, plus a whole lot of clutter.

2012 on the Kitchen Mantlepiece from me on Vimeo.

So pleased to have finally done this! A big fat tick-off the to-do list... I know, my to-do list is full of strange and pointless tasks. It's why I have to have a blog - where else could I share this c**p!?

Monday 18 March 2013

11/52 A Portrait a Week

Coco  - Checking out her reflection in the glass of the oven door after I clipped her hair back for school. She is getting much more self-aware nowadays.

Henry - Playing in (what is hopefully) the last of the snow*. He was picking up ice from the top of a bucket of water and throwing it on the ground so it smashed... nice destructive streak there!
(I took my camera out in the snow as I was reminded of Abigail's really lovely shot of her son Theo a few weeks ago).

Taking part in Jodi's 52 project. *Just as I typed that it started to hail!

Friday 15 March 2013

10/52 A Portrait a Week

Coco  - Flushed cheeked from running around with her friend last Saturday morning - it was a joy to watch her playing, now she is at school I don't get to see her interacting with her peers so much and I miss her.

Henry - Playing with water, he loves pouring and he loves the teapot - but after a dramatic incident where he pulled the hot teapot down off the surface and poured hot tea on his arm he knows to be wary now. Learning by experience is effective, but often painful.

Taking part in Jodi's 52 project.

Sunday 10 March 2013

Two of Henry's Favourite Books

A post in celebration of book week - a bit late - as normal!
If ever there was a good excuse to have children it's so you can get to enjoy all the great children's books out there.
So many wonderful books.
Henry didn't take to books as enthusiastically as Coco did, but he is making up for lost time now and he very cutely gets obsessed with certain books at the moment (I kind of remember Coco going through this phase too).

These are two of his current favourites (the ones we are having to read again and again and again...)

Where is the Cake
We originally bought this book for a friends little girl when she was going through a cake-obsessed period (oh, yeah, we've had that phase too), and even though Coco was about two months old I ended up buying a copy for her too as it's so beautiful.

I'm very happy to 'read' this over and over again. Especially as it has no words - so you can read it very slowly or very fast.

There is so much going on in each page and so many little sub-plots, we are still discovering new ones even though we've had the book for over five years now. As Hugh said to me the other day "Have you followed the turtle yet? It's a good story - a heart-breaker!"
Surely that's enough of a teaser to make you want to buy it?

 I love that Henry always demands that I "read it, read it".
"No words Henry, Mummy can't read it"!

There are Cats in This Book
I'm so happy that Henry likes this book, as I think it's gorgeous - I've given it to a lot of other children (I think I bought about 10 copies at once for my present stash).

There are three cats in the book - and they want you to help them find adventure.

When they get all wet from trying to catch fish they want you to help dry them and Henry dutifully blows on the page. So. cute.
Viviane Schwaz has a blog and has just bought out her new book (today!) which is what prompted me to write this post (something I've been meaning to do for a while).

If you want or need more inspiration for books for a two year old here are a few of the other current obsessions.
1) Miffy - he likes my old Miffy books (in fact he cut one the other day so was in my bad books). I used to love Miffy, she was the Peppa of her day I reckon.
2) Stick Man - I caught Henry 'reading' this to himself the other day. One of those moments I want to bottle up and keep forever.
3) Octopus Socktopus - This book has been through the wars - it's so battered, but that shows how loved it's been so I think it only adds to the charm, the eight wheeled octobus actually only has four wheels now, but as Henry can't count (1, 2, 3, 6!) I don't think he is that bothered.
4) Kipper - There is a page in this book where Kipper wants to sit on a lily pad like a frog. Only if you ask Henry what the frog is sitting on he'll tell you it's an ipad.
5) Each Peach Pear Plum - this is known as 'Pear Tree' and sometimes a request for me to read it is accompanied with a rough rendition of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas'.

Friday 8 March 2013

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

I'm sharing this little video as it's 'something I made' and I hardly ever post things I made here anymore and it took me so long to get the Coco to sing, and to edit it together (even though I've only used the most basic pre-written titles etc and it looks cheesy) but sometimes I need to just celebrate that I set out to do something and I did it, with a bit of help from some small people who happen to live here.

Happy Birthday Jed!

My main regret is that I couldn't get Coco to do it earlier when we would have had natural light... so it all looks a bit dingy.
Oh well. It was done, and that is the main thing sometimes.

The last video I made can be seen here - it's of us having breakfast one morning, and I still love it. Funny seeing little glimpses of my pregnant tummy in it. 

Wednesday 6 March 2013

09/52 A Portrait a Week

Henry: Helping himself to a knife from the drawer so that he can put pretend "BU'ter" on his pretend toast.

Coco: Reading me one of her school books while I take her picture (mummy-blogger-multitasking). I'm quite amazed by this process of learning to read - it seems so complex and hard and yet she is really just getting it. Our lovely friend brought an armful of clothes over for Coco last week (thank you very much Annabel!) and so we've been getting mini fashion shows every night, clashing combinations of tops, skirts and dresses. Oh yes, and she wants to have 'pigtails',  bunches are what pigtails where called in the olden days, apparently.

Last week Jodi (who started this project) asked people to highlight photos they like from the project and share a bit of blog love around. It's becoming a bit of a routine for me to look at a few of the blogs I regularly read on a Sunday night and see their project 52 portraits (yeah, most people manage to get them up on Sunday - mine are slipping to later and later each week...)
Here are the ones I look forward to - full of children I've never met (except for Stanley) but feel like I know in some strange way, such is this blogging world that has taken me by suprise with it's fantastic community.
So - there are the little ones that are so similar-yet-different to Henry: Theo at Abigail's blog and Stanley over on Sarah's blog. Lou's boys are bigger, but Rufus is the same age as Coco. Phinny over at Nell's blog seems to be growing up fast, wasn't it just yesterday I was reading about her first few weeks? And ditto Amelie on Josie's blog.  Plus I feel like I'm getting to know little Bo over at Inked in Colour and Laura's two boys at Circle of Pine Trees and Anna's two small people at Green Tea and Toast.

Friday 1 March 2013

At Home - A little bit of Nature

Some photos of bits around the house - inspired by Lou's 'Nature in the Home' series.

These hydrangeas were given to me on my birthday last October, but have dried out nicely - feels a bit 80's having dried flowers...

Kitchen mantlepiece close up - never as tidy as the siting room fireplace (top photo). Two flower gifts, one little xmas poinsettia from our neighour and a white cyclamen bought home from a January wedding.

Left: I don't get on with pot plants, the polar opposite of my sister who just needs to look at a pot plant and it grows so high it hits the ceiling. This one in the bathroom looks particularly sad in an un-cared for kind of way, but I can't bare to throw out as I was given it by a friend when I had an operation 10 years ago and now I have some weird sentimental/supersticious feelings about it.

Right: Some agapanthus that are temporarily sheltering from all the winter weather.

A cheat - but a version of the real deal we'll hopefully be seeing this summer when the agapanthus flower. This painting is by Sarah Bowman (as I wrote about here).