Life, Lately | September 2017

Monday 25 September 2017

The changing of the seasons always makes me feel a little restless. I’m not sure why but something about the falling temperatures and shorter days makes me want a new challenge, or something to look forward to.

Thinking about any major changes in my life – changing jobs, moving house, getting pregnant – they’ve always happened around this time of year.I’m happy with all the major elements of my life as they are right now though, so I’m struggling to think how I can remedy this feeling.

Do you ever feel like this? What do you do about it? Answers on a postcard please…

I love the trimmings of autumn – smart coats, digging out my giant scarf collection, taking walks through the falling leaves with a latte….but I am already struggling with it being darker when I get up in the mornings! Here’s a little look at what other things I’ve been up to lately…

Nice Day for a White Wedding

We had a family reason to celebrate last month, because my mother in law (who is one of the people I most admire in the world and my 'mum role model') got married to her long-term partner. She's very much the type of person that doesn't like a fuss or all eyes on her, so it was a lovely low-key day.

They had a ceremony at Bridgford Hall but I managed to miss a large chunk of it due to Theo throwing a massive tantrum right at the key moment. Unfortunately, the ceremony was during his usual nap time, and he didn't take kindly to our attempts to move his nap earlier in the day.

Any parent of a toddler will know the absolute sinking feeling when you realise that your kid is past the point of no return and that no amount of bribery or threats is going to stop the meltdown coming down the tracks...

Luckily we were able to join in celebrating afterwards with a garden party and hog roast in his Granny's garden. He loved running around with his cousins and trying to stroke the cows that come right up to the hedgerow at the bottom of the garden. It was a beautiful summer day, and you can take a peek at my wedding guest outfit in this post.

Love for LVL

Just before I went off on holiday, I had my first LVL Lashes treatment (above shows a before and after shot of the difference in my natural lashes!). If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a process where the lashes are straightened and tinted, which gives them a fuller, thicker appearance.

Being properly obsessed with lashes, I’d been thinking about it for quite a while, but it seemed a bit dear for what it was, so I was unsure if it would really be worth it. After deciding I couldn’t be bothered with daily fake lashes on holiday, and also hearing at the CaBella Beauty Masterclass that it was something that really made a difference to the finish of your makeup look,  I took the plunge after finding a beautician who could come to the house and do that and my gel mani/pedi at the same time. And I am totally blown away with the results.

My lashes are fairly long and quite dark anyway, but they’re also pin straight. No amount of curling, no mascara formulation, nothing seems to make them stay curled. So you can’t really ‘see’ them, and I’d gotten into the habit of wearing (subtle) false lashes That is something that even I thought was approaching high maintenance! But now I’ve discovered LVL there’s no going back – and I haven’t worn false lashes since!

The effect is amazing and even with no mascara on, makes me look much more polished and awake. With mascara, even a lash addict like me is happy. I might still wear falsies if it was a big night out, but I don’t need them every day now.

Getting ready is so much quicker – a huge win for a full-time working mum – and I’m even happier bare faced. I love this treatment so much, and its been worth every penny for me. Better still, it lasts 6-8 weeks, so if I think about how much I spent on lashes for that period of time, although LVL is still more expensive, it starts to make more sense when you look at the other benefits like the time saved.

Exploring Croatia's Coast

Returning from sunny Croatia to a UK that already feels autumnal was a shock to the system! Sebastian, Theo and I went to Split for a quick getaway as it felt like a long time since we went to Lake Garda, Italy back in May. But the holiday was a little bit of a mixed bag.

I was so excited to visit as I've heard great things about Croatia, and the country itself was very beautiful. I also loved Split, which is a vibrant city that's compact enough to navigate easily. We stayed in a quiet little beach suburb called Stobrec, about 6km from the city centre, which you could reach easily via a regular bus.

It had a couple of gorgeous small beaches, supermarkets, some restaurants and kids park, and the apartment we hired had a lovely garden with a pool and sweet grapes growing everywhere.

The problem was that Theo is at a bit of a difficult age for that kind of holiday. Although I dearly loved spending time together (some highlights were taking him to the beach for the first time, and taking him swimming in the pool) we ended the holiday feeling less relaxed than before we went. I felt like there were just constant dangers to protect him from, like stopping him running straight into the pool or slipping on the marble steps, and keeping him indoors out of the sun between 12-3 as it was so blazing hot.

I felt like we were telling him 'no' all the time. He's not really old enough to be told not to jump in the pool without Mummy, so it's just at that stage where you have to chase around after him and watch him constantly - hardly relaxing for us!

And having flown only hand luggage, we only had a couple of books and toy cars to entertain him with. It just didn't really work. It dawned on me that we were building the holiday around the kinds of things we like to do - and not around what Theo wants to be doing, and that made it quite hard on all of us.

Next year, we are going to try out something like Centre Parks - a place with lots of activities for children, where we can just load up the car boot with as many games and toys as we want and just have less stress about flying and keeping Theo safe when we get there. We have to make it more of a holiday tailored around him for the next couple of years until he's old enough for beach or city breaks.

Having said that, of course there were lovely moments - and as huge Game of Thrones fans, we loved visiting a couple of the filming locations (Daenerys' Throne Room, Dragon Chamber and some of the Mereen slave rebellion was filmed in Split, while 'King's Landing' is over in Dubrovnik) and also strolling around old-town Split, which is gorgeous. 

We also took Theo for his very first trip to the beach, which was an amazing memory to make together. He loved going paddling, although he called the sea 'a puddle'. We also took him swimming in the pool at our villa every afternoon when it had gotten a bit cooler, and I loved that.

Theo was also an extremely brilliant little traveller, and so well behaved on the plane, which I was eternally grateful for. On the way back, I was quite concerned because take off was right at his usual bedtime (I was fully expecting a tired meltdown - hell, I usually feel like having one of those at some point during a long journey home) but he was an angel - really excited to spot the other planes out of the window, and he then fell asleep on my lap after take off. Even when we landed and he got woken up he was amazingly calm and didn't cry at all. Phew! 

It did help that we were sat next to a young girl who was so pleasant, helpful and relaxed about it all. It makes a massive difference when you have people around you like that. So some happy memories made but also some lessons learnt about holidaying with an active toddler!

While we were away, Seb and I had our sixth wedding anniversary. It seems crazy that we're at six years already (although its 14 since we met!). We actually didn't do anything to mark it in particular as we were already on holiday, but I am so proud of our constantly evolving relationship.

More than anything, it convinces me that you need to marry someone who makes you feel part of a team and always has your back. Parenting together has brought us even closer and I'd say we are more similar now than we were when we met. We want the same things and we work well together. Things feel really good for us at the moment. Here's to the next six!

Theo turns two

Theo turned two the other week, and I just can't get my head around the fact that I definitely no longer have a baby. That two years have absolutely flown by. He's still a little young to really understand what having a birthday means (although he does know that you should get cake!). We decided to keep it a bit low key this year. Once he starts school we won't really be able to avoid doing big parties so for now its nice to celebrate in a different way.

His actual birthday was on a Friday, so he was at nursery. When I picked him up I took a big bunch of helium balloons and his face was a picture! He came home to his presents -  his main gift from us was this electric mini Audi TT. He can sit in it and drive it, or parents can remote control it. It's my dream car but in miniature, so I may want to borrow it for my commute at this rate! You can even connect an iPod as it has a USB port.

Theo is crazy about cars so he was really excited once he realised its something he can actually drive! He should be able to use it up until he's 7 or 8 so hopefully it will last a while - if he doesn't write it off straight away!

On Saturday, Seb and I took him for a day out at Ferry Farm, where you can feed and play with farm animals like cows, chickens and ducks, sheep and goats and domestic animals like rabbits and guinea pigs. There's also a large outdoor play area where you can race mini tractors (which it was really hard to tear him away from) and a really large soft play centre.  We had so much fun!

Then in the afternoon we had family round for tea and a slice of cake, although a few people really let us down which is disappointing. Still, Theo liked the cake that I made him -  a chocolate, vanilla and apricot layered sponge with racing car decorations. I haven't done many iced cakes like that in the past, so I was pleased with how it turned out. Hopefully, he had a really special time celebrating.

I'm watching...

Image result for great british bake off

Despite protesting that it wouldn't be the same after its big move, I have found myself sucked into Great British Bake Off once again. There's just something so comforting about it, and I felt like I had a cake inspiration hole in my life. And actually? I'm really enjoying it.

I think they've been extremely careful to alter as little as possible with the format, and Noel Fielding (whose appointment I was dead against) is actually very sweet - and less irritating than I used to find Mel! Prue Leith is awesome. Hollywood is an a-hole, as always. The mix is working for me. I loved Flo with a passion (she is total #grandmagoals) so I'm gutted she's out.                  

I'm reading...

Image result for capital john lanchester

Somehow, I don't seem to have read all that much lately! Usually going on holiday I'd rip through two or three books but I didn't get a chance in Croatia. I'm working my way through Capital by John Lanchester at the moment.

It's a 'state of the nation' novel set on a single street in London that's being targeted with mysterious letters. It's a fairly sprawling tale that has echoes of Dickens in its 'social portrait' approach.  It's one of those books where the pace ebbs and flows, so that some chapters are really compelling and you tear through them, and some of the storylines are less appealing. I'm actually not sure where it's heading at this point, so I don't know whether I approve or not! I have such a long list of books I want to read at the moment, I'm almost impatient to finish!

I'm listening...

Image result for sevdaliza

Since discovering Sevdaliza she's been on non stop play for me! I'm in love with her albums The Suspended Kid and ISON. She's an Iranian-Dutch singer and songwriter that writes very stripped back, electronic proto-R&B that I'm really enjoying. Her music is slow and hypnotic, quite other-worldly. There's something unique about her tunes that almost seems to come from that sense of mixed geography, a clash of Middle East-meets-West that gives her music an edge.

And its a bit of a random one, but I'm really liking the comeback single of early-80's synth icon Gary Numan! I've heard some of his old stuff (I like a playlist of 80s New Wave when I'm running sometimes) but the new single 'My Name is Ruin' is very industrial - think Nine Inch Nails, which I know he influenced heavily. It's made me want to explore his back catalogue more, especially his 90s stuff.

1 comment

  1. Your son is such a cutie! Croatia looks absolutely beautiful, and your lashes - wow!

    Sophie xx // One Unique