Life, Lately | June 2016

Wednesday 29 June 2016

Hello dolls. Well, its been literally a year since I posted one of these ‘Life Update’ kind of posts -  I haven’t done one since I was pregnant!

But they are always the posts I am most drawn to on other people’s blogs - I love a little window into the life of people I read about - so Ive decided to resurrect them!

Life with a young baby can be a crazy whirlwind - there are high and low points, but if I’m honest, there is a lot of routine and a little mundanity as well, and you pretty much kiss your social life goodbye.

Sometimes I felt like there wasn’t much to write about. But here we are, slowly but surely finding a new normal, and life has begun to feel pretty good again. Here’s what we’ve been up to….

Changing Rooms

After what felt like a lifetime, our new bathroom is finally finished!

I do love a deep bath on a Sunday night, and I really missed it while the renovation was taking place.We’re lucky enough to have a small ensuite, but having both of us crammed into there in the morning plus trying to fill the baby bath up from the shower in there was getting quite old.

I don’t want to share too much here because I am planning a post all about it very soon, but suffice to say we went for something a little quirky that I’m looking forward to sharing.

The bathroom is one of the first major renovations we’ve done to this house since moving in a couple of years ago (the baby kind of slowed down some of our plans), and although it was painful in places it has given me a taste for it, and we are both keen to crack on and get some other little projects sorted.

Bye Bye EU

What a shocking decision in the week just past for Britain to be out of the E.U.

I don’t want to go too much into politics on this blog, partly because I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion, partly because I feel exhausted of hearing about it, but something so momentous cannot be ignored entirely.

I am utterly heartbroken about the Leave vote. I honestly didn’t think that many people would fall for it, especially as all the very transparent arguments about stricter immigration control and extra NHS funding are now openly being revealed as smoke and mirrors.

I can’t understand how that is allowed - I mean, if you bought a washing powder on the basis of some claims that turned out to be complete lies, you’d be allowed to take it back and the company would probably be investigated. So how something has overwhelming important as this is allowed to be mis-sold to voters is beyond me.

I have many European mummy friends who work at the University here and have chosen to live here and start families, and it feels like a slap in the face to them. These are talented people who contribute so much to our economy and culture.

Ever since my childhood, my economist Dad who worked on a lot of European funding projects has shown me the power of trade deals within the EU. Every single major business was against leaving. In my own career, I have seen many worthwhile projects completed with European funding.

The EU is by no means perfect, but it would have been so much better to try to effect change from the inside. It will still have a big influence on our lives, but now we will have less say.

At least as part of something bigger, we stood for unity, peace, trade and cooperation, but now it feels like we are stepping away from that and towards darker small mindedness and separatism.

It just feels like a huge mistake has been made. I’ve been waking up with a feeling of dread and loss each morning that I cant put my finger on for a few seconds, and then I realise why.

I can only look ahead and see sharp econmic challenge, harder times for young people and further fracturing of the UK as Scotland, Wales and Ireland may leave us now. This is not the future I wanted for my son. I didnt realise it would affect me so emotionally. But now I feel like Im looking at my friends and neighbours wondering which one of them did this to us.

With that and the disgusting behaviour of Brit football fans at Euro 2016, its the first time in my life Ive felt ashamed to be British.

Love Bites

We’ve managed a couple of family days out recently where we went for really nice meals.

It's important to both of us that Theo is used to eating out from an early age and that he grows up knowing how to behave in public. He has been a little angel so far, just happy to soak up the new atmosphere and try different food with us.

First we tried Zaap Thai. Thai food is definitely one of my favourites and I loved this place as it puts a fresh twist on that with a 'street food' theme.

Stepping through the doors is truly amazing- the interior is styled to look like a night market complete with stalls selling clothing, subway carriage and of course the motorised tuk tuks.

Every detail has been looked after and it feels like a very immersive experience. As if that wasn't good enough, the food is superb.

My Pad Thai was one of the best I've had outside of actual Thailand, and Seb had an equally delicious Nasi Goreng. The atmosphere and the service were also excellent and it was such a unique venue- I highly recommend checking it out if you're visiting Nottingham.

We also went for a lunch at Perkins, an old favourite of ours. I talked about visiting a couple of years ago and it's never let us down since- the food is always unfailingly yummy!

This time, I had a crispy duck salad to start, followed by a beautiful salmon dish and a chocolate tart with earl grey ice cream for pudding. Completely delicious.

The restaurant is set in a former village railway station and has a lovely ambience. There's also a beautiful garden if the sun shines! I was interested to see that they do themed nights based around a city - say New York - where they choose food, wine and entertainment around that city’s specialties.

Visiting Batman

We also braved the patchy sunshine to have a family day out and a picnic at Woolaton Hall and Deer Park. It's a stunning stately home that was used as Wayne Manor in the recent Batman films, and it's only a few miles from where we live, making it ideal for an impromptu day out.

We packed up the car and set out for a day in the sunshine. Theo loved meeting all the deer in the park lands!

I want to make sure we do lots of things like this before I go back to work at the end of next month so I can make some happy memories to tide me over when I'm missing my little boy.

Girls Night Out

I finally went on a long overdue girls night out the other week! I did go to my work christmas do a couple of months after Theo was born, but it doesnt really count much as I left straight after the meal and spent the whole night nervously calling home. This time was so much better!

My friend Katie took me out for the evening and I can’t think of a better person to have guided me through my first post baby girls night out.

Theo is now miraculously sleeping through the night and it makes such a massive difference. I put him to bed before I left and then I could relax knowing he’d probably be asleep and wouldn’t miss me.

We hit the Lace Market area for some well-earned passionfruit martinis and a good catch up. First up, we went to Pitcher and Piano. This is a bar in an old church that is very beautiful, but we took advantage of the evening sunshine to try their new outdoor bar, which was lovely.

After that we moved on to Boilermaker, which is a bar I’ve wanted to go to for absolutely ages and somehow have always missed. From the front, it just looks like a boiler repair shop. Literally, boilers on the walls and everything. I think a lot of people must walk past wondering why all these people are queueing outside there at night!

Once in, you get let through into a tiny broom cupboard with a sink on the wall and you think...what?! But then, you push on one of the walls and it opens onto a secret bar! The cocktails are true works of art (one comes presented in an old fashioned television, I kid you not)

I found a new favourite in ‘Edison’s Medicine’, a concoction of Hendricks Gin, Manzanilla Dry Sherry, lime and plum bitters, served with a glowstick for good measure!

Then we headed onto Tilt for more martinis, which is a great bar with live blues music and a brilliant atmosphere. I had the best time, and I really truly relaxed. It just felt so good to re-engage with an adult social life!

Seb’s First Father’s Day

It was a really special occasion to celebrate Fathers Day this year for us.

Seeing Seb become a father has been truly amazing for me. I always knew he'd be great at it, but just how patient, kind, loving and funny he is as a Dad has made me love him a million times over.

He absolutely treasures Theo and really enjoys his time with his son. He works so hard to look after both of us - not just financially but with the amount of work he puts in around the house and the time he spends with Theo, we both really wanted him to feel appreciated on his day.

So, we made him a nice dinner with roast leg of lamb, noisette potatoes and sugarsnap peas (with Yorkshire Puddings at his request!).

His little gifts were some Twinkies (he's become obsessed with them since we tried them at Christmas when he found some to put in my stocking), a little silver Isaac Mizrahi frame holding a picture of them together and we made him a terrarium.

They can be so expensive to buy - good ones can be £100 - so Theo and I took matters into our own hands and made one! We hit up Homesense for a geometric glass container and found the perfect one for under £10, then a trip to Homebase for some mixed small succulents and a bit of potting soil did the rest.

I was so pleased with how the terrarium turned out! It was easy and fun to put together and is a personalised miniature garden for him. It went so well I half considered setting up a shop selling them!

We had a lovely family day and then I saw my own Dad a couple of days later for lunch. Theo had remembered to pick up some Jura Malt Whisky and a hip flask painted with guitars for Grandad. He's a very thoughtful child...

Hello Ava

Very exciting news was that Seb’s little sister Ella and her husband Mark welcomed a little baby girl, so Im now an auntie again!

Ava was born after a very long labour, but she’s a little cutie with a head of dark hair. Going to the hospital to visit them was quite strange and brought back a lot of memories.

The smell in the lift on the way up made me feel very shaky and sick! Its not so very long since I was in there having Theo, so it was quite emotional.

Ava is Theo’s third cousin along with Annabel and Jude and I look forward to them all being great friends as they get older.

Seeing a tiny baby like that again it was hard to imagine Theo was ever that small, although he was actually a couple of pounds smaller! Its such a cliche but time really does fly.

I'm Watching

Ive been devouring Game of Thrones season six, and I cant believe it will already be over by the time I post this! What an epic series. No spoilers here, so I wont comment any further, but I will say this series has blown me away with the storylines, the acting and the beautiful set piece battle scenes.

Im also working my way through Suits. It was on my ‘must watch’ list for a while, but Im so glad we took the plunge and got into it. I really like the characters and their interplay (plus Im going to marry Harvey Spector when I grow up…) but most of all I love the wardrobe of Rachel Zane. Its giving me serious outfit goals for when I go back to work.

And, shamefully, I am also currently addicted to Love Island. Yes, it is a piece of trash. Yes, my husband is ashamed that I watch it. But to that I say -  every brain needs a light escape once in a while! The twists and turns are as convoluted as any Shakesperian tragedy, albeit with a slightly less elegant cast...Its a bit of light relief, so I’m sneaking episodes on the iPad while Seb is at work!

I'm Reading

I have finally been able to read a book again now that I have my evenings back, so Ive been getting stuck into The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton on my Kindle.

Its a tale about a wealthy merchants wife in 1600s Amsterdam who gets sent mysterious minatures that point to clues in her life as she discovers some shocking secrets about her new family. Its quite easy to read, so I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a summer read by the pool.

I'm Listening

On the music front, Ive been getting into a band called Her who have a great song ‘Five Minutes’ that is featured on one of the new iPhone adverts and has a great riff.

Also, XY&0 which is more chilled out, indie stuff than I normally like, but seems to be really working for me at the moment.

Its more tracks Im adding to my playlist than albums or particular artists at the moment. A couple of my current loves are InS - Love Is Like A Headshot. AWOLNATION - Woman Woman and Thundercat - Heartbreaks and Setbacks. Perfect for a relaxed barbecue, not that the weather is allowing us to have many of those!

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