Shabby Blog

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Stylish Sunday

It is so cold isn't it! Where on earth did this icy breeze come from and when is it going to go away?

We are holed up at home getting nice and cosy and I have been hunting those warm cardigans out from the back of the wardrobe.  But, were I in need of something a bit special I can highly recommend People Tree!

I spotted this on the front page of their website and I basically think it's the perfect cardigan.  

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Breastfeeding Review - 9 Months

It occurred to me this week as I sat at a busy breastfeeding cafe just down the road, that 9 Months of Nye also means hitting the 9 months of breastfeeding milestone.

My favourite breast feeding campaign 
by Sophie Barker & Kayleigh Brooks for Best Beginnings
I haven't written about breast feeding since I was back in the early days, of what I would retrospectively describe as, a steep and painful learning curve!?  It would be fair to say I am not a patient person and I found breastfeeding so hard to stick with, mentally and physically.  I am trying not to read the previous post I wrote until this one is complete as I'd be interested to see how my memory of the time relates to how I wrote about my feelings back then.  I am pleased to say that all the grinning and baring it was worth it, as I now feel so lucky to be able to feed my son on demand.  Breast feeding truly gives me special time with my son, a place in time and thought to enjoy the peace of fulfilling his needs.

I thought that perhaps writing about the experience now I am so much further into my journey as a mother would be helpful to myself and others.  Especially if this is something I go through again in the future, to at least provide me with a bit of hope that those early days do get better.  Breast feeding has so many benefits for mother and baby that make it a skill worth persevering with.

Nye at 1 month old.
So, at 9 months, I am pleased to report that breastfeeding is going very well.  I find it easy, enjoyable and pain free.  At this age Nye is on solid feeds and only wants milk 3-5 times a day dependent on his mood.  He always feeds on wake up in the morning at around 6.30am, and always before bed in the evening.  Other than that, I take his lead as to whether he is hungry for milk and he usually makes it quite clear as he starts getting a bit grouchy and headbutts my chest.

Back when I was just starting, my body was getting used to the demands of feeding a baby, sometimes constantly all day where one feed would fall into the next with little time for my body to recover.  Breast feeding is hard, it has a certain knack to it, a part of your body which is usually delicately draped in soft fabric is pounced on and chewed on by an overly eager hungry baby and it is so draining.  In retrospect it is understandable.  Breast milk is a babies life source and you can better comprehend them learning their way, now looking back.  They are new to the world and are yet to learn how to do this whole feeding thing with much style or grace.

Now it is so different, even at 5 months the feeding had eased, he is more efficient,  more gentle and so much better at communicating his needs (and I am much better at understanding them.) I remember those forums, those mothers urging me to continue, supporting me, telling me confidently to always stay with it, tell yourself, "just another month". And then, by the end of the week things had improved and they were right, that dark cave turns into a tunnel and you see the light at the other side.  

With time, my confidence when feeding out and about has also massively increased.  I went from trying to avoid feeding in public, to always feeding expressed milk in a bottle, to feeling confident to do it in most places.  Obviously somewhere comfortable is preferable but I don't worry about this, or plan my journeys around it.  These days I'm more concerned by his food, is he getting a balance diet? His naps, his comfort, all the time knowing that I always have the ultimate tool at my disposal. Breast milk!

It has been such a journey, and I feel proud to say that I stuck with it.  I don't think Neil ever imagined a time where I would enjoy it, but in my heart somewhere I knew that so many women could not be wrong.  The time and space you are allowed from weaning created a new enjoyment and release for me.  I even felt a little sad that I was no longer required in quite the way that I was before as milk feeds slowed at around 5-6 months.  

The last week has also brought us the new challenge of teeth that have appeared slowly but surely.  This has led to things feeling a little more uncomfortable but I feel certain that this will be yet another hurdle that is overcome in time.  Who knows when I will stop, realistically I don't want to take Nye's breast milk away without his consent and will carry on as long as he wants it.
Nye at 2 months old.
I know how lucky I have been, managing to stay free of mastitis or thrush.  There are times when it is a little more painful but it passes after a few hours these days, without needing to slather myself in lansinoh.  These times usually happen because I have let Nye get over tired or hungry and he chomps down on me like there is a world shortage of breast milk.  Just now as I allow myself a chance to reflect, breastfeeding seems like such a back story to our relationship.  Something that supports everything else in the background but for the time being it is no longer something I have to think about, a bit like a heart beat.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Our Kitchen - Moodboard

Since we were able to finally fix the floorboards in our kitchen, we've been talking so much about how we'd like our new kitchen to be.  So, to see how the colours would look I created the mood board below.  The only problem is, now I can't wait to get started!
Our Kitchen

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Stylish Sunday

You probably all know by now that I am a tiny little bit obsessed with Sales.  It is true, I can't help but sniff out bargains!

When I was looking tirelessly for bridesmaids dresses I spent hours on Mod Cloth looking at their beautiful things.  They are really bright, quirky and quite retro styled, so totally up my street.  At the time shipping to the UK was a little difficult but they seem to have sorted that these days so purchase on ladies!

Here are a few of my favourite picks.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Our Dream Kitchen - with help from Rated People

I barely know where to start when trying to document our kitchen renovation requirements.  Let me first explain that our kitchen is the last room we are attempting to tackle in our house since we bought it nearly 2 1/2 years ago.  I am sitting at my keyboard now and I know I need to go and take some photos to document the work required but I am a little scared!  There is currently, missing plaster on the walls, bodged tiling, a cooker who's front has fallen off and... a few holes in the floor! (To name but a few of the issues.)

Our ideal Ikea Kitchen haven
Me trying my best to spruce up broken cupboards, extractor AND cooker)
We put off work in the kitchen as I think we were trying to avoid admitting that there were some quite serious problems in there to tackle that would require a bit of investment time and money wise.  Now we have a semi-mobile baby scooting around we must take action on the holes at least!

So here goes with our major renovation plans!

First we need to tackle the floor.  That means ripping out the entire kitchen, cutting out all the rotten floor boards, treating the surrounding area and then relaying a new floor.  The bodge jobbers who previously owned the place laid wall tiles as floor tiles directly on to the floor boards.  needless to say, until yesterday this was lurking underneath our ill fitting dishwasher and washing machine.

We really were at the mercy of our appliances as we knew that sooner or later one of them would go through the floor. (Particularly when the washing machine was doing a spin cycle) Poking around with the help of my dad yesterday confirmed this and thanks to his hard work he has fixed the floor for us.

So, now the floorboards fixed we need to move on to the other troubled areas and could really use a financial boost to get things under way, especially if we want to have it done before next Christmas!

Please excuse the pictures above, I fear I should have had a health warning on the top of this post.  It would mean so much to us to be able to sort these out.  At the moment it seems hard to believe that it will ever be our dream kitchen but I am convinced we can get there with just a bit of help.  So to inspire us all I have created a wonderful inspiration board of what we have in mind.

Here is my Pinterest board of just some of the inspiration I would like to bring to our dark, dank and thoroughly dreadful kitchen! So, tots100 & Rated People, is our challenge accepted? renovation

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Center Parcs Family Blogger 2012-13

After entering the Tots100 competition some weeks ago to win a chance to be a Center Parcs family blogger, I certainly did not expect to be one of the winners! But amazing as it is, I am, after I entered with my Dream Short Break board on Pinterest. 

Yesterday saw the chosen bloggers making our way to Sherwood Forest, to have just a taster of what we can expect when we visit with our families.  Originally the gathering was due to be at the Elveden site but due to logistics Sherwood seemed a better location for all of us.  I was, at first, a little disappointed as for me, Elveden feels closer to home.  But when I went to book the train tickets, it was only a just over 2 hour train trip from where we live in South East London to Newark North Gate which is the nearest station. So, it's nice to be proved wrong sometimes!

The whole trip was a little daunting as not only was it the first time I would take Nye on a long train journey, but I would also be doing so alone.  However, the idea of spending the day at Center Parcs was enough to convince me that it would be worth the trouble and I am so glad I went.

The itinerary of the day came through a few days before the event and it sounded like a fantastic opportunity to get to meet the other bloggers and learn more about what we would be doing over the coming year.  This was my first time ever meeting other bloggers and it was a little daunting, but everyone was really friendly.  Thankfully, having a baby that smiles at everyone is a great ice breaker!

On arrival at the station we were greeted by the lovely Lilly who escorted @MerrilyMe in a taxi to the venue.  The rest of the day ran just as smoothly and felt incredibly relaxed.  I really felt it came across how well organised every thing about the day had been, and I cannot fault how incredibly kind everyone was to me helping me juggle all my bits and pieces, keep track of what was going on and occupy Nye. Massive brownie points go to all the team for their amazing help, be it making Nye laugh hysterically with fluffy squirrels, carrying my bags or generally looking out for us.  All without ever having to ask.  I really did feel like an honored guest and that alone has left me feeling at ease but also refreshed.  There was a lot of talk yesterday about the brand image and what Center Parcs is all about and from what I saw and experienced everyone who works there seems to live and breath this.

As part of the day we got the chance to try our hand at some pottery painting.  We were able to choose from a massive range of things, ranging from the traditional mugs and plates to Christmas Decorations and Piggy Banks.  I wanted to do something for Nye's room and decided to go for a ceramic picture frame.  You'll have to keep hush about that as it is being sent to us next week (after being fired) and I want to keep it a surprise from my husband!  We were having far too much fun to be taking photos by this point so I shall have to upload a picture of the finished product when it arrives. (I hope it comes out as good as I remember it!)

So, basically we had a fantastic day in the woods, all topped off by running for the train home which the amazingly lovely station staff held up for us.  

All we have to do now is browse through the brochures, decide what we'd like to do, when and with whom .  Then, the next thing we know we shall be holed up all cosy in an amazing little log cabin in the woods.  Nye's first holiday no less.  What could be more idyllic?

- You can also read all about our day as Center Parcs family bloggers here, on Jo's blog - From the Kitchen SinkAnne from Raisie Bay & on Here Come The Girls.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Banana and Oat Teething Biscuits - Baby Led Weaning Recipe

I have had 2 rather over ripe bananas sitting in the fruit bowl for some time and yesterday seemed like the last day of their life span.  We are due a weekly shop and therefore have no eggs so I was on the hunt for something I could make for Nye using cupboard ingredients. Whilst googling I came across a recipe for some lovely teething biscuits which I have adapted.


  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 plain flour (I used spelt flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 small overripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 tablespoons oil (I used rice bran)


  1. Pre heat the oven to 180°c 
  2. Mix the 'dry ingredients' in a large bowl (oats, flour, cinnamon and baking powder)
  3. Mix the wet ingredients in a small bowl (bananas and oil)
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the large bowl of dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  5. Once combined, take a teaspoon of mixture and roll into a long snake.
  6. Place the 'snake' on the baking paper and squash down flat.
  7. Bake in a pre heated oven for 12-15 minutes.

Monday, 8 October 2012

On Motherhood - Finding out you're pregnant.

Motherhood, is my main occupation at the moment and I find myself frequently considering, how I ended up here, at home, looking after our son.  Dare I say to you all that I love it and wouldn't wish to be anywhere else? (Most of the time anyway!)

So, how did we get to this point?

There I was April 2011, with a sneaky suspicion that all the trips to the toilet meant that there was a chance that we were going to have a baby.  It was nice to have an answer to why I was feeling so odd, but it was also confirmation that these symptoms were likely to continue for some time... Not so joyous!

Since that time, when I asked Neil to get a test and I said the words out loud.  I can still remember walking around outside an office block I was working in at the time in the depths of Surrey.

" I think I might be pregnant..." - I said quietly, trying to make sure the empty street couldn't hear me.

We did the test.  It was positive. One test was all that was required. 

It was a major deal for us, not a massive surprise but something that I knew would take a while to get used to.  I was cautious, excited for the challenge but questioning everything that pregnancy entailed. Were we ready? Could we afford it?  All the sensible things came rushing in to my head, rather than gay abandon!  There was no turning back, had we really thought this through?  

I feel a bit guilty writing this. I'm sure I should be gushing, saying that I was overjoyed and never had a second thought.  In reality, I was speechless.  The next day, we booked a doctors appointment to get the ball rolling.  The Doctor arranged our first scan at Kings. And oh boy did that make it feel 100% real. 

Pregnancy over time was a mind blowing experience, but nothing compared to finally holding our baby in my arms.  It is so hard to believe that there is a real life growing inside you, that you tenderly carry this precious thing that you cannot see and then suddenly bang, they are here and they change your life forever.

It was telling a few select friends that made me realise that I could be excited.  Seeing my friends, so ecstatically happy for us gave me confidence in myself.  It allowed me to think that I could be happy and giddy with excitement about meeting our baby and spending the rest of our days with this special person.

New Years Eve 2009/10 - Pre baby days
Of course nothing can prepare you for the trials and tribulations of morning sickness, heartburn, muscle aches and pains and general uncomfortableness as the due date approaches.  Then next of course comes the labour and the less said about that the better. The only thing I wish I could tell myself in hindsight is to confirm that at the end of it, there will be a baby even if it takes 48hrs + in a hospital!  Eight months later and I can say I would go there again, regardless! 

I wake up pretty much every day and cannot believe how much I have changed, how lucky I am, and how dull and incomplete I feel my life was back then before I was pregnant.  Now I look upon my life with my rose tinted mum specs, and they are the best ones ever.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Stylish Sunday

Oh I am so loving this style! I just need to find the confidence to pull it off and I'd be there. Lovely.


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