Life Lately | March 2018

Sunday 25 March 2018

Have the first signs of spring reached you yet?

It’s been a brutal few weeks in the UK, with plunging temperatures and unseasonal snowstorms making it seem like the winter would literally never end. But finally, it seems to have turned a corner and you can feel the mornings slowly getting lighter, which always makes me feel optimistic. 

Although my family has been on a sort of extended hibernation mode due to the weather and also everyone coming down with an especially nasty strain of flu (apart from me, smug pregnant lady with a flu jab), there have still been some bright spots. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

The Beast From The East

There’s been no mistaking the impact the extended wintry weather has had over the past couple of weeks. It’s been so bone-chillingly cold outside. And although the international community rightly laughed at us for having a few inches of snow constitute a national crisis, we just don’t have the infrastructure set up to deal with it like, say, Canada do. All this cold has made for hibernation at home. We’ve been enjoying a fire, cosying up under blankets and watching movies on Netflix rather than being out and about. 

And we’ve continued with some small home improvements while we wait for our bigger building projects on the house to get underway. 

First of all, I replaced our tired bedside tables with these rather gorgeous ones from the Audrey range at West Elm. I’ve just discovered this brand and they have so many beautiful pieces - contemporary and chic but still classic. I adored the textured fronts and antiqued gold draw pulls on this. It’s a small detail but it makes me happy! 

Then we also got a couple of new pieces for our living room and dining room. This beautiful quilted leather chair with studding from Julian Joseph replaces a tired bucket chair we’ve had for years and this elegant lamp from Ralph Lauren Home similarly replaces a cheap one we’d had for ages and has made a cosy reading corner. This Windsor Hopsack Ottoman has also turned an unused corner of the dining room into also a window seat as well. It’s been a great idea because it gives extra storage (we have a lot of hidden kids toys down here!) and if we have lots of guests it can be pulled over to the living room to provide more seating. 

I also gave my old faithful dressing table a mini makeover and had a proper clear out of all the makeup I hoard. I’ve had this dressing table since we bought our first house - it’s the Rosalind style from Laura Ashley - but the surface marks really easily and I was looking a bit tired. Luckily, I managed to find a glass top from Ikea that as-near-as-dammit fits on top, which protects it a little more and makes it wipe clean.

I also went ahead and replaced the stool- which was getting seriously rickety - with this Kartell Victoria Ghost chair in clear Perspex. I’ve always wanted one of these chairs, and I think it goes perfectly with the dressing table. I had to pick a style without arms to make sure it would fit. At the same time, I had a good old spring clean! It felt so good afterwards, although my husband would definitely say I still have far too much makeup. 

Theo’s room was given a makeover too. It was essentially still a nursery, with an unused changing table, a breastfeeding chair and a cot that was hurting my back from all the bending, so he was well overdue for an upgrade to turn the space into something more suitable for an active toddler.

There’s nowhere that brings me out in a cold sweat more than Ikea, so I was overly proud that I made a solo trip there and survived! Ironically, I’m trying to replace any other furniture we have from there because I just don’t think it’s great quality, but for his room we needed relatively inexpensive stuff that doesn’t matter if it gets a bit scuffed up.

Their Kallax storage unit is ideal for swallowing all the toys and games he has. It’s made tidying up a lot easier, plus Theo can access everything himself. I also added a bookcase for his ever expanding collection, had a serious clearout of all his clothes- packing away anything that doesn’t fit anymore - and his Kub cot bed had the side rails taken off and a bright duvet added to make it into a ‘big boy bed'. Finally, we added this fun circus play tent and filled it with cushions so he has a little den. Since then, he’s definitely loved spending more time playing in his room!

Pregnancy Update

Week 21+5  and I cannot believe how quickly my second pregnancy is passing! Ever since we found out we’re expecting a girl at our latest scan, things have become more real. Theo has mentioned his ‘little sister’ a couple of times, which always melts my heart. Still feeling quite well, although I’m now fairly uncomfortable at night and have started waking up at 3.30 most mornings.

Obviously this isn’t ideal when you work full time and have a toddler - daytime naps to compensate simply aren’t an option. So I’ve been going to bed really early to try and keep things in balance, and the freezing weather has actually made that easier. There’s actually something nice about waking up super early as it gives me a little unaccounted for time that I can use for blogging or reading - personal stuff I can struggle to find time for- and so I’ve been trying to make the most of it even though I’m so tired! 

I’m still going to pregnancy Pilates and enjoying it, and I’ve now met some other mums through it, which is what I wanted. A group of us descend on our local after each class for a couple of Lime and Soda’s or hot chocolates, and it’s been so nice to meet others and have a good pregnancy related gossip!

We still haven’t really bought much for the baby. Of course, we still have all the equipment from the first time around, so there isn’t all that much we need, although I did go into Mama’s & Papas and get a few things we didn’t go for the first time around that I wished we had!

I got the Angelcare Bath Support, so that I can bathe her in the tub rather than fussing with a separate baby bath, which I hated when Theo was little, and I also got the Mama’s & Papas Starlite Baby Swing. It swings automatically and also features a soothing light display - and even a USB port so you can play white noise or lullabies. With a toddler in the house, this baby may have to get used to being put down to rest a little more than Theo, who spent every moment in our arms, so I thought this might help. 

And although, surprisingly, we haven’t gone mad with clothes (yet) I couldn’t resist this one little outfit while I was there. I’m not a huge fan of everything pink, but I am definitely looking forward to buying her some outfits, although it feels weird to be looking at the little dresses and things after being used to boys stuff! 

And now that we sort of know what’s happening with the building work to the house and know what room we’ll be using,, I’ve been able to start thinking about a nursery. I’ve had a few ideas for decoration! I’m thinking grey (surprise surprise) with accents of pink and white, plus some oversized floral wall decals I’ve spotted. What do you think?

For names, we have a couple of front-runners. When I was expecting Theo it seemed like there were so many girls names I liked, and so few boys. Yet now I’m having a girl, I’m stuck!  Naming a little person is so hard! 

A couple of my major favourites have been taken already by friends and family. Then I want to find something that is traditional without being overused (so, ideally nothing in the current top 10!) and that balances being ‘pretty’ with being ‘strong’. Add to that considering how it can be shortened, any possible horrid nicknames, both Sebastian and I having to agree on it and how it goes with Theodore’s name and it’s a harder task than I thought! We do have a couple of favourites though, including one that is growing on us both that I think may be the one - although we won’t actually pick until she’s safely here. 

Working 9 to 5 

I’m still absolutely loving my job at the university. There’s never a dull moment and the energy of working on a campus is definitely uplifting. Plus, you get to take part in some unexpected things - the gallery recently hosted a display of Viking treasure to the public and we got to go along at lunchtime before the exhibition opened and actually handle some of it. That was pretty special. I have recently changed roles within the team as well, so I’m managing a different area.

At first I was unsure as it’s taken me about a year to fully understand my old role and I was just finding my feet and looking forward to seeing what I could do and now I’m in unfamiliar territory again! It’s only a few more months until I go on maternity leave as well, which makes it sort of odd, but I think you should never back down from a fresh challenge, and I’m hopeful it will all be positive.

Recently I had a week off although I didn’t go anywhere, I just used the time to catch up on things around the house I never seem to have time for, like reorganising Theodore’s room. 

However, I did book in a couple of little treats as well.

I had my first haircut in a year (I know!) and I’ve gone for a spring restyle with a full fringe, which is something I haven’t had since I was about eight! It’s a completely different look and I’m not sure if I love it on me yet, although it does hide the forehead lines which is a definite plus! I’m not used to styling a fringe so I’ve had to educate myself quickly!

My beautiful stylist Amy at The Little Hair Boutique is so talented and lovely though. Even though I hadn’t been in so long, she made me feel like it was yesterday and as even she did a fantastic job.

I also popped along to Cabella for a one to one makeup lesson with Danica. I was so impressed with the makeup she did on me for my Christmas party, and I wanted to know how to get a daytime glam look super quickly. She did one half of my face and then I mirrored on the other half.

It’s a great way to learn and to get a fresh pair of eyes on your usual look- plus with what she showed me I can easily do a look in 10 minutes, with practice - she was so quick! It proves great makeup looks don’t always have to take hours! I came away with a cheat sheet that has been sat on my dressing table ever since!

Plus on a very rare sunny day where it felt like the tang of Spring was in the air, we fitted in a lovely brunch and walk in the park with Theo. He’s got such a great little personality and he’s so much fun to spend time with now. He loved the French Toast and fruit salad we had at Cote Brasserise - but we did have to stop him drinking the coffee - you wouldn’t think a two year old would be into black coffee but he’ll happily help himself given half a chance! 

I’m Watching…

So I haven’t actually got a current box set I’m working my way through, which is quite unusual for us. I’m so tired in the evenings at the moment that I’m struggling to concentrate on anything. Bizarrely, I have seriously got into ‘Extreme Cake Makers’ on Channel 4, which follows some master bakers and the outlandish creations they make out of Victoria sponge! It’s easy to watch and on at the right time - but I do need a series to grip me and am planning to start sci-fi ‘Altered Carbon’ on Netflix soon…

I’m Listening…

So a couple of my favourite artists have recently released new tracks, which is always a pleasure. A Perfect Circle were one of my cherished favourites while I was a student, and they have dropped three new tracks with an album to follow. Although their sound has mellowed our considerably, and I’m on the fence about a couple of the tracks, ‘Disillusioned’ is proving to be a new favourite. Quite a different sound, but I also like Years & Years and so their new single ‘Sanctify’ has been a welcome addition to my playlist.

I’m Reading…

Joyfully, I’ve made a lot more time for reading books recently. It was a goal of mine this year to read more. I’m a bookworm at heart and studied English Lit at university, but for a year or so I just seemed to stop reading anything but magazines. So this year I’ve been making more of an effort and have read loads of great books!

Among the best - ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro - a haunting classic but one I had never got around to, the thrillers ‘The Intruder’ by PS Hogan and ‘Dead Letters’ by Caite Dolan-Leach (both really well written, pacey and suspenseful, definitely for fans of Gillian Flynn and the like), ‘The Last Madam’ by Chris Wiltz which is a biography of a notorious New Orleans madam and ‘Broadcast’ by Liam Brown, which is one of those books whose developments seem only a step away from our current situation.

And I have so many great reads stacked up on my Kindle thanks to BookBub, a daily newsletter that alerts you to 99p deals in your chosen genres, and actually has some brilliant selections!

So that’s my little world at the moment... what are you enjoying right now? 

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