Shabby Blog

Monday, 31 December 2012

10 Month Update

We have completed 10 whole months (plus a few weeks but shhh don't tell anyone).

This month has been full of so many new developments, and lots funny quirky little things.  I am so proud of my son every day.  When we go out and he is so good, so happy and makes everybody smile.  If only I have a £1 for every time someone tells me what a happy smiley baby he is with only the occasional off day. Oh how I hope it never changes.  Although I have had to come to terns with the fact that he is no longer my little baby and is more like a proper toddler with each passing day.  What with all the walking, crawling, chatting, goofy moves and laughter.  In the 10th Month we discovered the sensory room and have had many lovely afternoons there, I've posted a quick video of his first trip above.


So here we have Nye's 10 month achievements:

I think you'll find that's mine...
  • The start of the inner comic is showing, blowing raspberry's, clapping and being a clown just for laughs.
  • Copying adult behaviour, when given glasses putting them on your face and learning to open doors and flaps when shown.
  • Remembering sounds, hearing the sound of the dog and looking for her
  • Standing unaided for a few minutes (until you realise you are and get worried)
  • Finding unexpected things funny, a paper cup that isn't even that doesn't roll straight makes you laugh.

Physical Development
I will get my dog through this tiny hole, just you watch.
  • You mastered full blown speedy crawling (but you still much prefer your feet).
  • Learning that if you can't cruise somewhere you can drop to the floor and crawl over instead
  • 3 more teeth, right at the top which all came through, very slowly 1 day after the other.
  • Holding out hands for required assistance.
  • Waving when waved at to say hello/goodbye.
  • Knowing when you need the toilet and squatting to do so.
Language Development
Look at me!
  • Learning tones of voice, and trying to stop yourself from doing something naughty.
  • The start of language use, dada for daddy and tah for tea.
  • Understanding what basic commands mean, come here and do you want milk?
I'm just sorting the cotton balls, they taste great.
  • Learning and loving to play chase with Daddy
  • Learning to throw things, intentionally drop things and either chase after them yourself or send us to do it for you.

I live fast and nap hard
  • The new strength that you have discovered means that just seeing the rails of your cot means that you are drawn to get yourself on your feet and not lying down even when you are exhausted.  I have had to develop a new duvet wrapping method where i wedge you in so you drop off immediately without struggle.
Your 9 month waking every few hours has been replaced with a new routine which involves you waking up at 2.30am for a feed then going back to sleep until 6.30am.  I am hoping to crack this one when I get a chance to as it's not ideal.

I'm excellent at gingerbread quality control.
  • Starting to learn when you are full, by pushing your plate off table
  • Weaning has ended, or ended some time ago, he eats like a trooper, cold or hot, lumpy, chunky or smooth.  I'm yet to find anything he doesn't like, unless things frustrate him, he will gobble them up.
Bits and Bobs
  • The first signs of separation anxiety, sometimes you will not let go of me and you almost always scream when I go.
  • Your first day without me or daddy, when Nicola looked after you while I filmed Super Scrimpers.
  • You've learnt not to bite me, but you seem to have learnt to pinch us instead.
  • The jealousy when I hold other babies still remains and gets ever stronger, as does your belief that everything in the world belongs to you.
I'm still a Mummys boy

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Stylish Sunday and Miele S6220

I've spent most of this week trying to avoid looking at the sales as we have spent the majority of our dosh on the kitchen but there are some wonderful items out there if you want to grab a bargain.  We have been out to buy a vacuum today as we have well and truly broken ours.  We went for a Which? best buy in the end, the Miele S6220.  It had fantastic reviews on all the websites we looked at so we thought it was worth investing in something that should last us a while which we need.  With Nye constantly investigating every nook and cranny it seemed like the right time to make an investment.  It's been out of the box for only a few hours but it is like no vacuum I've ever used before.  It's so powerful we have to turn the suction down or we can't actually push it around the floor!

Anyway, back to the main attraction, my picks of the sales.
Happy New Year - 2013
I've tried to pick out something for all budgets but as I am a cheap skate, these are mainly under £30 and includes lots of different colours and styles.

Happy new Year to you all, my motto this year will be DO what YOU love. And right now I'm lucky, because I am.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Elfing Around with Center Parcs

Here we have my wonderful Christmas 'helper'.  I think it may be stretching the truth to say he has been helpful in terms of Christmas tasks but he has been excellent inspiration for the festive season.  As you all know I was selected some time ago to be a Center Parcs family Blogger and they have set us a series of tasks related to some of the many many activities that you and your family can get up to there.  At this time of the year, it's all about the festive spirit.  Did you know that they even have an Elf Academy!?

Here's my festive Elf poem -

An Elf is the person who helps wrap the presents,
cutting the sellotape and paper into segments.

He's always looking down the list with a beady eye,
selecting the gifts carefully and waving them goodbye.

When the work is finished and the sleigh is prepared,
he's helping the reindeer to fly unimpaired.

Finally adorning the world with a cheery smile,
he's off on his way with just the wink of an eye.

- I hope you've all had some lovely time with your family.  We are back at work on the Kitchen here and it's safe to say it has not gone quite to plan.  But we shall strive through the challenges and look forward to catch up with you all soon.

- Jenni

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Nye's First Christmas

What a wonderfully special day we had today.  It was so overwhelming Nye went to sleep at 4.30 and has been in bed since then.  I think he's perhaps recovering from him mammoth feast of roast turkey with all the trimmings. And now, it is time for bed, an early night as far as it goes, and for once no kitchen building!

Thanks to everyone for dropping by the blog throughout the last year, I hope you've all had a fab day.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Stylish Sunday

The festive season just isn't the same without some new cosy comforts in the cupboard.  I so love waking up to new things to wear on Christmas Day and pajamas are such a good way of livening up your wardrobe.  Perfect for comfortable indulgence as Christmas day goes on and why not lounge around on Boxing day also.  Here are my favourites that will give you that warm cosy feeling without putting you in the red.

Winter Wonderland

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and get some time to enjoy some relaxation and good food with family and friends.

Now off I head to the kitchen where we currently have a fair few floorboards missing.  Fingers crossed we'll have a working sink by the morning!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Stylish Sunday

Please enjoy the lovely coats.
Winter Coats 2012

We are freezing to death in our house as we've just got home from a weekend with my family.  Now I better jump into bed before my fingers stop moving!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Holiday Gift Ideas for Mom

Today I have a very special gift for you; a lovely guest post from across the pond directed at your lovely husbands and partners. So men of the interweb take note!  I'm so fond of the great tips that Jen has picked out including a link to a great website called tinyprints who sell gorgeous personalised cards and designs.  I'd not heard of them before and they ship stuff in the UK so there are just perfect.  There are some other great ideas for you to see below and even some practical tips on keeping note of those hints that we might give about what we'd really like.

Firstly, here's a little more about our lovely guest poster:

Jen L. is a freelance writer and aspiring blogger. She enjoys writing about parenting, cooking (especially cupcakes!) and crafting. Jen is happily married to her college sweetheart and a mother to two beautiful little girls. If Jen's not at home, you can find her at Whole Foods! 
Christmas Gift Guide
"When it comes to gift giving many men know what they want to buy, know where to get it and want to do it as fast as possible on their way home from work. But here is a little secret guys. Women know exactly how much time and thought goes into everything you do. Almost every  woman puts the intention before the cost. Involving your children into the gift giving process will not only amplify your forethought but it also displays family values in you that will be appreciated beyond measure. You are showing your wife how important she is, while instilling in your kids how you truly feel.

Another great idea - ask the kids. Speak candidly with your children and ask them what they think Mommy would really like for Christmas. You may be surprised at what you hear. I guarantee you will not hear the word earrings. You will probably hear vacation, housekeeper or Nanny. You may hear of a designer bag that you were never aware of because you’re a guy and never watch Fashion Police or Wendy Williams. There may be a new fragrance, cashmere accessory or a pair of Italian designer boots. Kids are around Mom at times when you are not and have the tendency to remember everything they hear, even when she is speaking to a friend on the phone. If she loves to read, have her favorite book ready to go on an e-reader as a virtual stocking stuffer. Never, ever rule out a piece of fine jewellery. Just be certain it fits her style and taste and is something she will always treasure.

Keep in mind, Christmas gifts don’t have to wait until December 25 to be received. A thoughtful gesture a husband can do is to volunteer to take on some responsibilities that are usually delegated to Mom during the holidays. Aside from shoveling snow, stringing lights, and hauling in the Christmas tree, men can help in other ways, too!

One way would be to begin early, sit with the kids, go online, and design some personalized holiday cards using websites like Tiny Prints. You can select family photos and compile a collage card design. Your wife will be grateful to know that tedious task is completed. While you have the kids designing photo cards online, you can also use those pictures to make other personalized items for mom off the same website, such as mugs or a custom iPhone case, which  make perfect stocking stuffers.

With all the toys and items cluttering your house, memories from an activity will last longer than any gift will. Planning a day trip or activity is one of the best gifts, in my opinion. Cloud9Living is a phenomenal resource to find exciting, affordable experiences in your area. Imagine giving your wife the gift of a hot air balloon ride or a candlelight dinner from a personal chef. Experiences together can mean so much more than any physical gift.

My last piece of advice is the best anyone can give. Pay attention to what your wife says! Keep a mental note of any hints she may drop, such as a vacation, or things she wants to do. Utilize apps on your smartphone, like Evernote, to help with this. Can you imagine the look on her face when she receives a gift from you, based on something she mentioned during the summer? The greatest gifts are the ones that show true thought and dedication."

- Good luck everyone, the race is on to get everything ready for the holidays!  What do you think?  Is there anything in particular that you are eyeing up?

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Stylish Sunday

Ok, I admit it, I won't be wearing all of this gorgeous getup on Christmas day but I think I will splash out the full £25 on the dress! I'm loving this navy blue and gold combo which I think brings an air of glamour to what could be a rather Over The Top look.  I have to admit, the sequins were encouraged by Making It Lovely.  Who couldn't do with a few more in the wardrobe?  What do you think?
Christmas Day Outfit 2012

Thursday, 6 December 2012

2 Weeks In - The Kitchen Rennovation Continues

So we are almost 2 weeks on from when we began the alterations to the kitchen.  We started off by writing quite an extensive to do list of things we'd like to get done by the end of the first weekend but events have got ahead of us and we aren't quite where we would like to be.  However, all our kitchen wall cabinets have now been installed.  So after almost two weeks without storage we finally somewhere to put our cups and glasses which until now have been stored in an empty laundry basket. This one, no less!

The kitchen still looks pretty much like the above, but with a few less boxes.  Most of the boxes are for the bottom units and 1 very high full cupboard which will house the oven.  Annoyingly, because we have rearranged where the bottom cupboards will sit, we can't take each bottom cabinet out one by one.  They all have to come out together.  It's this that makes it rather tricky, but we plan to get the majority of the work done THIS weekend! Wish us a bucket full of luck, we will need it.  Not to mention the fact we have never been able to find where to turn the water off in our house so we'll have to freeze our sink pipe, remove the current unit and reconnect and install the new one, as the clock ticks and the ice melts.

Issues like the above wonky socket, do need resolving and I have purchased some shiny new sockets to replace the ones that we had when we moved in which are completely covered by grout!  I am pleased to say that the walls don't look anything like this now as Neil has painstakenly plastered almost two entire kitchen walls.  Plastering is a very difficult art, and we have had to invest a fair amount in purpose built tools, but it was a choice of either hiring a plasterer £££ or buying a large number of tiles to cover the dodgy walls ££.  I've done a breakdown of the tools we have needed for plastering further down the page and it has been worth the cost as we get to keep the tools forever. Where as workman's time and tiles don't stay with us forever.

Here we have Neil taking off the kitchen cupboards, they were surprisingly well attached to the wall with two brackets at the back of each cupboard.  Unfortunately, the brackets and screws had rusted together so we had to crow bar them out of the wall.  Naturally this left massive holes in the wall so we've used filler to make these good, before plastering over. All of this needs time to dry and has been slowing us down with the limited evenings and weekends we have to do things in.  Luckily we were loaned a dehumidifier from my parents in law when we moved into the house which we have failed to return.  This has helped us so much over the years.

To do the plastering we have needed:
Plaster Paradise
This is the first wall Neil plastered, it was previously covered in tiles, but we don't think these are needed, and didn't want to spend the money on replace them! Instead we have had to spend time and money plastering them but I have to say, it has been well worth it.  All we have to do now is give them a sand over and it will look fantastic.

As we only have one trowel, whilst Neil was finishing off the second round of plastering, I started putting together the top cabinets as we were able to get these off the wall and measure where they needed to be.  (Fingers crossed our measurements are up to scratch in an end terrace that has non straight walls.  The only place I had to build them was the dining room hallway and it was getting a little difficult to move anywhere once they were constructed!  You'll also see the bags full of cooking ingredients on the right as we spent the first week with no kitchen cupboards on the wall.  The good thing has been having to clear things out though, did I really ever need 3 jars of pickled onions!?

Corner cupboard in process

While I was building cabinets, Neil carried on with the plastering, trying to make good the area where the second wall cupboard will hang (in the corner).  This also included plastering the window sill which was previosuly covered with tiles until we set to work chiselling them away.

Where there were previously bare walls, like behind the cabinets the previous owner covered the very uneven walls with lining paper which we have removed and plastered.   Once the plaster was on, dry and sanded I used an old white emulsion as a base coat.  Then used our new paint, Contemporary White from Homebase.  Once everything is painted I can't even imagine how good it will look.  It's already starting to come together as you can see below with the arrival and installation of the first wall cupboard and the built in microwave.

So now it's on to stage two this weekend, so I guess Friday night will be a busy one as we prepare for the base units.  This will include removing all the tiles from the floor and laying down the 4 ply wood sheets that have been cluttering up our hallway for the past week!  I'm excited but a little daunted at the same time.  Maybe I need to go back to my inspiration board to keep me sane...

Kitchen Plans Dec 2012

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Stylish Sunday

So today I displayed my work for the first time in a shop.  You can now buy a full range of my Ginger Bisquite cards and gifts at Jill, Pop Up shop in Sydenham until Christmas.  I've tried my best, with limited time, to create new Christmas designs which I hope are extra special cards to send to friends and family.

I'm currently sitting at the computer designing our Christmas cards for this year.  Naturally I have dressed Aneurin in some rather fetching festive gear (Neil thinks it's practically child abuse, boo)  I shall post up the design when everything is printed and sent so that it doesn't ruin the surprise for friends and family.  But for now here's a little sneak of my uber cute baby boy.

and on with the Christmas style parade... (the last thing our house needs right now is more clutter.  Up with the kitchen, then out with the festive decorations) Practical, Yes! But I can't cope otherwise.  Here's a lovely link to my Christmas Pinterest Board which includes stylish decorations, home made gift ideas and a few festive printables.  Do let me know if you have any good Christmas Pinterest links :)

My Christmas Craft & Inspiration Pinterest Board

Monday, 26 November 2012

Stylish Sunday

Forgot to post this up yesterday!

I came across these beautiful breastfeeding and babywearing necklaces but frankly they are stylish enough to be worn all the time.  Once payday comes around I think I'll be heading straight to the KangarooCare store on Etsy.  The only problem is there are SO many different combinations of styles and colours I'm finding it really difficult to choose.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Boom! The kitchen lands!

I cannot remember if I mentioned that we went ahead and ordered our new kitchen. If not, we ordered our new kitchen!!

It was actually just over two weeks ago when we drove down to Ikea and just went for it.  I had been designing it using the online planner for a while but it hadn't really occurred to me that at some point we would be saying, YES, let's do this.  Or rather, it hadn't occurred to me that this was something we could do right now. I was a little scared when I sat down to talk to the guy in the shop and Neil occupied Nye.  Neil really hasn't had much input on the kitchen design or content, so if it's not right.  It is certainly my fault!

Yesterday the influx of boxes arrived and we currently have cardboard and polystyrene taking over the kitchen and dining room.  It looks a little something like this...

The whole design process was really easy, after measuring up and inputting the details we chose the units that we liked and tried to find a combination of draws and shelves that would work for us.  Compromises have been made as we know this isn't our 'forever' home so that's a no to the £1000 range cooker or even a double oven.  But we have managed to organise a built in microwave grill which will free up some much needed worktop space and a gorgeous ceramic sink.  The built in microwaves at Ikea are insanely expensive, I think because they have to have front ventilation.  So, on the day we ordered, we left off the microwave to see if our current one would fit, (no such luck).  However, we have  managed to find a second hand one on Ebay that appears brand new.  I couldn't be more thankful to the lovely lady who packaged it up so beautifully for me on it's travels from the south coast.

Last week we spent as much time as we could getting as much of the painting done as possible.  We first used a steam cleaner to give the walls and ceilings a thorough deep clean which instantly made such a difference.  Then, we used some leftover white paint to give the ceiling a bit of love.  It took us a few coats to really make it sparkle but that alone has refreshed the room.  Next we tackled the walls.  Whilst poking around for paint brushes we found a discarded pot of paint we initially bought for the bathroom and didn't like.  We thought it would be worth a try in the kitchen, as it wasn't doing anything sitting under the stairs, and even after a quick test patch we agreed that we thought it would work really well.  As I'd been dreaming of my white kitchen with pops of orange I spent a while sulking but we've since realised that using pops of orange kitchenware will still be possible and look brilliant.  So, we've already been out and bought up a few pieces of le creuset from our trusty TK Maxx. I really can't wait to see them in situ as I really think they will look ace.  So, the colour palette now looks like this:
Kitchen colours

The kitchen units themselves are an off white colour with a solid wood worktop, and the turquoise, Mountain Rain is being used only on the chimney breast to provide a bit of contrast. I'm also hoping to use some Margareta, wood look fabric to go in the alcoves.  The majority of the paint work is complete now, and we have started taking the tiles off the wall which wasn't too difficult.  Now we find ourselves in the position of trying to work out a good way of taking out the old kitchen, whilst balancing baby duties.  And you know that as soon as you take out the old one, we don't actually have a working kitchen, until we install the new one, yikes! 

So far we've both been googling anything we think will come in handy and have been out to buy a jigsaw to cut the worktops, purchased plastering equipment for the walls and working how we can get the best deal on ply wood for the floor.  It certainly feels like we are getting there, and I have no doubt it WILL be done by Christmas but oh boy is it a daunting task!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Styl(ish) Sunday

Slightly in love with this Gilet, I think perhaps one needs to be inducted into my wardrobe.  I love the contrasting stripey long sleeve t-shirt that comes with it also. Bargain, £16.

Monday, 12 November 2012

9 Month Update

Here we are again with another monthly update, we're actually nearing the end of the 9th month just now.

Where do I start with this month?  It has been truly wonderful with so many developments.  Sometimes I forget that before I know it he will be a walking talking child and then he does something that makes me realise those times will be with us before we know it.  For example, on Thursday 8th November he learnt to wave!

Nye is still loving his food.  He does sometimes decide that at this particular moment he isn't a fan of certain things but always eats at least 90% of what he is offered.  Back in the early days he would be fine if he missed a meal, (if I gave him an extra milk feed.)  Now he does seem to really need the extra nourishment and gets very grouchy if he is without his beloved food.  He currently has breakfast at around 8am, Lunch at 1.30 and Dinner at 5.30.  He has a varied diet, but it is easy to get stuck in a rut with certain things and that bores me to death and takes the fun out of it.  So I do try my best to create new things for him to try, this month he has had brussel sprouts for the first time which he loved and I made some sweet potato falafel which I posted the recipe for on here.

Breakfast - Porridge fingers with raspberry's and strawberry's.
Lunch - Cod with fresh tomato, cucumber, onion and peas.
Dinner - Egg parcel made with spinach, pepper and mushroom with chicken strips and orange loaf cake for desert.

 Nye's sleep has been pretty consistent this last month, apart from this evening (obviously!) when he woke up about an hour after we put him down.  (I gave him another feed and laid him down to sleep which worked a treat.)  He has slept from 7am-7pm without a sound pretty much every night.  Some nights he has actually slept longer as he has recently been a little unwell and had some tiring days.  I know his sleep has definitely improved as he even slept perfectly when we went to visit my parents over half term.  He also now greets us in the morning standing up against the bars in the cot as if he is a prisoner waiting to be set free.  I absolutley love that first moment of eye contact in the morning when I go to pick him up and he does a little excited squeal, massive grin and bounces up and down ready for me to pick him up

Nye just loves people, he enjoys making everybody smile and enjoys listening to conversations.  He has started getting annoyed if I come in to rooms and don't say hello to him but so far he hasn't had any stranger anxiety.  This month his speech has come on quite dramatically.  He now babbles constantly, and is clearly trying to communicate with us. The sounds are now less repetitive and much more varied.  When I have some food I am feeding him and he wan'ts more he consistently says 'ah bababa'.  So, even if not speaking actual words, he does at least have his own language.  The variation in sounds has increased. From Ba and Da to Ma, Di, Bo, Aa.  However, unfortunately he has also perfected a high pitch scream which he now does to get attention if he is bored.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, this week Nye learnt to wave!  He absolutely loves being waved at and waving back and it fills me with joy and amazement.  He now waves at the dog and inanimate objects (perhaps he's not quite got the hang of it just yet...) But oh is it gorgeously cute or what!

Nye can crawl but still hates being laid down on his front and because of his resistance he is not the quickest crawler on the block.  He is a little more tolerant now he has realised how to pull himself up off the floor so even if he's complaining to me he can pull himself onto his feet.  His dislike for being on his knees is balanced out by his love of walking.  He has been able to stand alone on his feet for months now but as every day goes by he gets speedier.  He loves to cruise around furniture and this month he has truly mastered crouching  and even ducking so he can get under the table.  If I leave him for a few minutes whilst I pop to the loo and I come back and he's the other side of the room and I can't help wonder how on earth he got there.  But, he always looks incredibly pleased with himself.

This month we bought Nye a really lovely play table which has two sides, one full of twirly, noisy gadgets and the other with a board for connecting blocks and storage underneath.  He absolutely loved playing with this when we bought it at my parents but since we have got home his favourite things to look for are the lid off my lip balm, pens and roller glue.  Even if you are certain there aren't any in his vicinity he will seek them out and find them while you are not looking.

Peekaboo is most certainly his favourite game, he loves looking for me when I hide behind things.  An instant hit that always makes him giggle the most amazing little laugh.  And I think it is safe to say that 'Wind the bobbin up' is his most favourite of all songs.  It can even make him hush when he gets out of the bath and has to be dressed (his least favourite of ALL activities).

He also loves books, he will listen to them for a few pages then he will take the book from you and amuse himself by turning the pages.  Nye has also been on his very first swing in the park whilst we met up with my old school friend Claire.  He has really started swinging his legs this month (especially when he sits in his high chair) so he loved doing this in the swing.

This Month Nye sprouted his very first teeth.  I remember the first one cut through on a Saturday, the day after I was complaining to a midwife that he still had none.  Then lo and behold a second cut through on the Sunday.  Since then they have been gradually pushing their way through and are now almost there.  With the sighting of the new teeth we went out and bought Nye his very first tooth brush which he loves to chew on.


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