Monday 30 September 2013

Shop & Play At the Little White Company

Normally I try to keep shopping and children apart.
I have memories of being dragged to the shops on a Saturday when I was young and then getting told off for hiding in the rails of clothes... and one particulary strong memory of my parents getting cross with me for lying on a pile of (probably very expensive) rugs in Liberty...
However, last week Coco, Henry and I broke all my shopping rules when we were invited to visit the Little White Company on Marylebone High Street (any excuse to have a little jaunt to Marylebone) for their Shop & Play event.

If only every trip to the shops included this much distraction for the kiddo's

Henry getting ready for some decorating action with the Biscuiteers... he didn't want to take this apron off for the rest of the afternoon.

Coco took the biscuit decorating very seriously - the gingerbread was seriously good, I had to do some bargaining on the tube on the way home to get a taste of it and Coco and I agreed that it was the best gingerbread we'd ever tried.

Colouring the cardboard rocket... (and the floor too... whoops)

I loved this giant colouring page... reminds me a bit of You Choose, one of our favourite books.

So while Coco and Henry were distracted I got the chance to do some browsing; expect to spot this jumper and these tights in some future posts.
Also I was eyeing up the very nice nightwear. Coco has suddenly decided she wants nighties; two things you don't really need to know about nighties but I'm going to tell you anyway:
1) There are very few un-peppa/minnie mouse-branded nighties to be found anywhere (research carried out at Westfield by yours truly, for my sins).
2) It's virually impossible to get 100% cotton nighties, strange, but true...
So I think as the Little White Company offerings are both 100% cotton and beautifully un-branded Father Christmas will be making a trip there for some nightwear nearer the unmentionable event.

Coco in her super-efficient-sweet-estimating mode...

Having a little snack break.

Coco on the hunt for treasure while Henry had just parked himself on the floor and worked his way through his snack box... and any other half finished ones he could get his hands on, still in his apron, natch.
Meanwhile Mummy was just lusting after the white painted ercol bench...

Thanks to the Little White Company for inviting us along to their event. We had a very nice time... in fact I had trouble getting Coco out of there. They didn't ask me to blog about this event, but as we had such a great time I thought it was only polite to do so!

Sunday 29 September 2013

A Portrait A Week 39/52

Coco - swinging in the long early evening shadows... she wants to go to the playground everyday after school, kind of boring for me but I feel like we should do it before autumn sets in properly.

Henry - much to my amazement we've cracked potty training. We had a go in the summer and it didn't really work so we went back to nappies, then a couple of weeks ago we decided to try again and that was it, we've had a couple of accidents but really nothing on the scale of what I was expecting. I was seriously dreading it... but I'm glad I stuck to my guns and just waited until he was ready to go for it (well, except that I didn't and I did give it a go before he was ready, obviously - but you get the gist).
He does go about like this a lot though.

One portrait of each of my children every week in 2013. 
A 52 project started by Jodi of Che & Fidel

Sunday 22 September 2013

A Portrait A Week 38/52

Week 38 - Show & Tell
Coco - showing me a drawing she did at school with her new style flowers.
Henry - found a worm in the garden and put it in a scoop to show me.

One portrait of each of my children every week in 2013. 
A 52 project started by Jodi of Che & Fidel

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Our Summer Alphabet

This started off as an instagram project - something I could easily do on my phone while the children were around as I was getting frustrated not being able to DO anything in the holidays... but as normal, I didn't really get around to finishing it (see my disclaimer over there in my profile <<) but now as it rains and rains and rains what else have I got to do but finish this?
So here you go; our summer alphabet, just some stuff we got up to in, you know, in summer!

A - Alfresco painting at Gunnersbury triangle nature reserve.
B - Bubbles (both the adult and children's varieties), BBQ, beach... lots of B’s this summer
C - Camping (but only one trip unfortunately) and caterpillar - my sister kept Coco’s pet caterpillar and filmed it when it emerged as a butterfly for her.

D - Brilliant dinosaur puppets at the Regents Park Open Air theater production Dinosaur Zoo (it's on tour until Nov) and dancing... a lot of dancing to Daft Punk this summer.
E - Eating, on the way back from our holiday in France we stayed in a hotel with a great restaurant and Coco and Henry had their first fine dining experience... Coco will tell you the ice cream and chocolate sauce desert was the best; ever.
F - Freckles, Coco is getting more each summer and ferry - we got the overnight ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo and slept in bunk beds, a great way to travel.

G - Gardening - if only Henry really could mow the grass...
H - Heat wave - this is our thermostat hitting 31 degrees - oh, it was nice wasn’t it?
I - Ice cream... natch!
J - Jumping - in and out of the swimming pool like a yo-yo

K - taking liberities a little tiny bit as I think strictly we were canoeing... but you know, I'm making an alphabet here and there are some really awkward letters around.
L - Labyrinth - the maze at our hotel on the way back from France was a source of delight
M - Martini’s on Hugh’s 40th birthday!
N - Nature... we did a great nature hunt at the Holland Park Ecology Center - a good find for holiday activities.
O - The great Outdoors; from the garden to London's parks to waterfalls, woodland and seaside. It was good to be out there.

P - Paddling pool (before it got attacked by a fox one night and totally ruined) there is one photo I wish I had of this summer and it was of all four of our family standing in the paddling pool and eating ice creams on Hugh’s birthday.
Q - sorry - gave up on 'q' (I'm really NOT good at finishing stuff, but sometimes you've just got to let it go).
R - and... Relax (quick, now, while you have the chance)!

S - Sunshine, swimming, sea and sand, so many great summer S’s!
T - Trugs - the most useful things ever.
U - Umbrella, Henry spent a lot of time putting the umbrella up and down and then up again.
V - Vegetables, we’ve eaten well from the garden this summer... salad and onions, peas and sweetcorn, courgettes and tomatoes.
W - Water - Henry's obsession with the tap or hose or any other water source was a pretty strong theme of our summer.

X - X-ray, Henry’s broken collarbone (and the image that triggered off this idea).
Y - In the absence of ice cream it has to be yogurt... in this case eaten by hand.
Z - Zarena, a seriously good auntie who put us up in Wales and came to stay at ours too - the saviour of my sanity over the summer holidays and very usefully, for this alphabet, her name begins with a Z.

Sunday 15 September 2013

A Portrait a Week 37/52

Coco concentrating and Henry helping Hugh to make breadcrumbs - he was pressing the buttons, natch.

Not such rich pickings this week.
Back to school, and rain and low light (and my 50mm lens got a knock on holiday so is out of action)... excuses excuses I know!
I'm home alone this morning, we were meant to be saying goodbye to summer in style with a camping trip, instead this lot are all partying without me (at a friends house instead of in tents this time though). I've opted out, I've got a cold so I'm keeping my distance. Am feeling a bit sorry for myself missing out - but it's also quite nice to have some space on my own. It's been a long time since I've been completely home alone, no children, no partner, no lodger; just wish it was no cold too.

One portrait of each of my children every week in 2013. 
A 52 project started by Jodi of Che & Fidel

Wednesday 11 September 2013

A Coffee (& lunch) at Paulines

I haven't done a home post in ages - I have a list of peoples houses I want to photograph - but I have to pick the moment to ask them (I think it's quite an odd thing to ask of someone really, especially non-blogger friends; which most of mine are) and then sometimes when I visit I forget my proper camera or the light just isn't right - but finally after about two photo session/toddler plays/coffee/lunch dates I have this lovely flat to share; thanks to Pauline for letting me snoop around her home!

My friends Pauline and Jonas have a wonderful, bight, top floor flat. Pauline was on maternity leave with her baby Jeanne for the first half of the year and then Jonas took over the parental duties in July.... so Henry has got to hang out with Theo, who is nearly three, quite a bit this year. We love visiting Jo and Pauline as they live really near the tube station (as do we) so our door to door journey is about 20 mins but includes a scoot and a train ride. I love it as their flat just has that lovely calm vibe...

Henry gets stuck into Theo's toys... while Pauline cooks lunch (I of course just swanned around taking photos). The kitchen island/butchers block was from the Old Cinema in Chiswick, which is great for a mooch around if you are in the area.

They did up the whole flat - I believe the kitchen is from a well known Sweedish company - but they opted against too many high fitted cupboards this great plate rack does the job instead.

The hallway runs the length of the flat - perfect for scooting (although I'm sure that wasn't the design).

Their sitting room is large and airy and has a great mix of old and new; records, books, games, comfy chairs, lovely lights...

A few french touches from Pauline...

Trying to convince Hugh we NEED one of these.

Theo's bedroom - he shares Henry's transport obsession.

Jeanne's mobiles

It's nice isn't it!?

(If you want to see some more of my friends houses I've photographed Annabel & Dan's flat, Nisia & Richard's house, Naomi and Dan's flat and AC and Dunc's kitchen.

Monday 9 September 2013

A Portrait a Week - The Big Catch Up

I've failed to keep up with editing and putting up my portraits for the last five weeks - I can't quite believe it's been that long... so here is a bumper edition... it will give you a little idea of what we've been up to this summer.


Coco - in observant mode (both my children like a good stare).

Henry - looking for chickens in my sister's chicken coup when we were in Wales.


Henry - Chasing after Coco down a woodland path - this was in the Holland Park ecology center where we did an excellent nature hunt one morning.
Coco - imaginary play at it's best in a tree/den.


Coco - Very cross that my Mum made her change her clothes for a family visit. She met her Japanese cousin for the first time. Needless to say as soon as she got the opportunity she changed. 
Henry - He still likes a nap but it takes a long long time to coax him to sleep and a long long time for him to wake up.


Henry - a magnet to water, he cannot get enough.

Coco - after the last swim of our holiday; she basically spent every possible minute in the pool, very good for her swimming - she even got a dive stick from the bottom of the deep end.


Coco - still loves her Teddy - who is starting to look every bit of her five years (photo by Hugh).

Henry - on our last outing of the holidays looking out of the tube window. You get a good commentary on other trains/cranes/diggers and general chit-chat.

Thursday 5 September 2013

Milestones #2

Coco starting school this time last year - and Henry starting nursery today

Here we go again - these darn kids insist on growing up too fast.
It was Henry's first afternoon at nursery today; and as with last year and Coco starting school it was me who was the emotional one - although he did cling to my leg and suck at his fingers in quite uncharactistic ways.
The step didn't feel too large though - he is ready and it's only nursery.

I remember when I first took Coco to day nursery when she was 10 months old (I really can't believe I did that... but it did feel ok at the time) I would see other parents taking their children into the over twos area of the nursery but I never thought I'd be there. Then suddenly I was - and now that is a distant memory and I'm taking my second child to nursery. I know it's obvious, time passes, but it still takes me by surprise when I stop to take stock every now and then.

So even though this milestone isn't such a big one I'm allowing myself to feel it.
And to all those new school parents out there I want to send you all a virtual hug.
I was shocked by how hard I found the first term of Coco being at school - the nagging unhappiness that I was feeling when I wrote this post didn't really pass for quite a long time. I hated the school run, the obligitory nature of our new routine the external pressures that I had no control over. Kind of all the same things I didn't like about school the first time around. Not that I didn't like school, I did, but isn't there a rebel in all of us that just doesn't like to be bossed around... especially when you get bossed around in letters written with Comic Sans.

I dearly hope if you are going through your child starting school that you and they find it easy, but if you don't then just know - you are not alone.


Sorry for my lack of blogging - I was swallowed by the Summer holidays black hole. I had a lot I wanted to blog about but... well, you know how it is, if I dared to try to go near the computer then there was guaranteed to be a minor catastrophe.
Oh yeah, and we went on holiday too - that was good; I may blog about it one of these days (Maybe in early November - what are your feelings about non-topical blogging, is it really such a faux-pas?)