27 July 2015

Remembering why I blog.

Life has been pretty stressful of late. Ok that's a bit of an understatement. Life has been very stressful of late. 
I've had problems with a family I worked with and had to make some big decisions career wise, which is pretty scary when your self employed. We've had a poorly pet. My mum has developed some health issues which unfortunately are chronic and my grandfather has died.  On top of that we have also had some good stress, like Luca turning 3 and our first family holiday abroad. So as I'm sure you can tell blogging hasn't really been top of my priority list, although I have thought about it a lot.  

However, we have recently returned from a lovely week away in the glorious Portuguese sunshine and I've come back feeling refreshed and ready to start again with a new, sunnier outlook. 

Blogging is my hobby, something I love and a way to record our life and adventures together as a family. I have been put off slightly though after reading too many posts aimed directly at bloggers, you know the kind, the ones giving advice about how to go pro, how to publish an amazing post etc. I love these kinds of posts, I love that the blogging world is so open and honest and willing to share hints and tips so that we can all succeed, I really do. However I think after reading to many of these posts I've been left feeling a bit deflated about this little old blog of mine. I felt like blogging had become pointless for me as all the things people suggest you should be doing as a blogger I'm not and I felt under tremendous pressure to live up to some of those amazing blogs out there. After a step back though and a break I've remembered why I blog, it's not for anyone else, it's for me and my family. Obviously we all love a post comment but that's not the be all and end all for me. My blog has brought me some wonderful friends and if nothing more ever comes of this little old blog of mine I will be more than happy with that. I'm not blogging to make money or change the world, I'll leave that to those fantastic writers out there who are already doing an amazing job. 

I'm blogging to record our memories so that Luca can look back in years to come and see how life was for us then. I'm blogging because I enjoy it and surely that's all that matters. So I'm back, (I'd like to say with a vengeance but that's probably not going to be the case, as my laptop is prehistoric) and will soon be sharing some pictures and tales of our first family holiday abroad and an impromptu weekend away with Luca.

Until then my lovely readers (there must be at least 2 of you somewhere) I will bid you farewell. 

12 May 2015

Making a house our home

As I've said before I am desperate for our own home and we are in the process of saving up our deposit, it's on my to do list.   I cannot wait to get stuck into decorating exactly how I want and as outrageously as I want which I can't do in our rented apartment.  Recently I have fallen out of love with our little nest, I think purely because I want our own place so badly, especially now I'm starting to feel a little more broody.  There is simply no space to spare here and so a baby is just out of the question.

Instead of letting myself get down in the dumps over it I have had a stern word with myself and learnt to love it once again. No, our home may not actually be our own but we have put our stamp on this place and  learnt to be creative with the space we have (which really isn't much).  

So here are my top tips on how to make a rented house your own, and therefore a home.

My favourite accessory for every room is candles!  You cannot have too many candles.  They come in so many shapes, sizes, colours and scents that you will be hard pushed to find something you don't love.  They quickly inject a little bit of style into a room whilst also adding warmth and comfort no matter the time of year.  At the moment my favourite is a church candle that is housed in a big lantern I was very kindly gifted by a client.  I do also love our white vase/plant pot style ones, they lined the aisle on our wedding day and now have pride of place in my bedroom.

3 May 2015

Easter Weekend in Snape

Taken a while to get this post done but at last, here is how we spent Easter this year. 

Good Friday, was my birthday and in the afternoon my parents, Aunty, Grandma & step-Grandad (aka Nonna, Papa, Boppa, GG and Chips) all set off for a long weekend away leaving us home alone. Don't feel too sorry for me though, my lovely brother, Frazer and Abbie, his girlfriend, took Luca and me out for some lunch and then we had a girly evening in. After lots of chatter, a few cheeky drinks, gorgeous food and a generally lovely day I was just drifting off to sleep when my phone rang. It was my mum ringing to tell me the B&B they were staying in had a cancellation if we wanted to join them. 

No brainer really!

So on Saturday we packed up our bag, showed my brother how to medicate my bunny and set off for North Yorkshire.  
We were staying in Snape, near Bedale.  It is only an hours drive from us but feels like a million miles away.  Snape is a picturesque village with a small stream running through the middle lined with daffodils.  Little bridges cut over the stream all the way along and big beautiful trees stand regally along the roadsides. There are also old water pumps dotted along the stream just to add to the charm of this place.  

9 March 2015

Fairburn Ings

After seeing You Baby Me Mummy's photo on Instagram of her little lady feeding the ducks, I realised I've never taken Luca to feed the ducks.  I decided this must be rectified soon and as Ant was off work the very next day we went on the hunt.  

After taking to Facebook to find the best places to feed ducks near us we opted for Fairburn Ings.  This is an RSPB reserve and a stop off for lots of different birds during their migration.

It has been a place I have visited many times as a kid but I haven't been for such a long time.  It has changed massively since I last went, it is now a conservation site with a cafe, children's play area and volunteers on site to answer any questions you may have.  There are walkways all around including wheelchair and buggy accessible ones, and little areas set out for different activities, like the duck and swan feeding platform and the pond dipping areas.  For £2.50 entrance fee per car there is quite a bit to take in.  

We headed for the cafe first to buy a bag of duck and swan feed, £1 for a big bag, as bread is bad for them.  We then grabbed a hot chocolate as it was quite nippy out and sat and watched the cameras set up in the nest boxes around the area.  It was quite interesting to watch some of the birds building their nests and I want to go back when they have laid their eggs.

We then headed outside and went for a stroll around some of the walkways and peek out of the hide.  We were lucky to get quite close to a few birds on our little walk and Luca got very excited to see a robin so closely.  

6 March 2015

The 'Music' Me

I've linked up to Mama & More's All About You linky a few times now and it got me thinking. I love to hear all about my parents and grandparents life when they were younger and seeing photos of them and what they wore, what they did etc. so I've decided I am going to start my own little series that is all about me.  This will hopefully be something that I can show Luca when he is older and give him am insight into my life, whilst also giving you all a chance to get to know the 'me' behind Little Luca & Me.

First up I've decided to introduce you all to the music me.  Music is such an important part of my life, I could not live without it, so it felt like a good place to start.

Music has always been a HUGE part of my life and some of my earliest memories are of going with my Grandma to watch my Papa perform with his band, he played the saxophone and the clarinet and could sing (not at the same time, he wasn't that talented).  He was very musical to say the least.  I also remember him singing to me as a young child, old war songs, lullabies and nursery rhymes such as Bless 'Em All, Tie a Yellow Ribbon, My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean and Daisy Daisy .  Songs which have never left me and I sang to Luca as a tiny baby to send him off to sleep. Songs that to this day make me feel relaxed and safe.

4 March 2015

It's booked!!!!!

At the start of the year I wrote my to-do list for 2015.  Number 6 on that list was to go on a family holiday. Well guess what, we are!  We officially booked our flights yesterday and so now can safely say that in a few months we will be jetting off to sunnier climates and I cannot flipping wait.  Our last holiday abroad was before I was even pregnant with Luca, when me and Ant spent two weeks in France and the weather wasn't exactly kind to us.  I'm a cold person so I crave sunshine and heat and I cannot wait to feel it on my skin.  We are only going for a week but a week is better than nothing and it means we haven't sacrificed too much of our savings (see number 5 on my to do list).  

So in a few months we will be sunning ourselves in the Eastern Algarve in Portugal in this gorgeous place. 

21 February 2015

Darlo Baby Clothes

When the lovely Chloe from baby wear brand Darlo contacted me to ask if we would like to review some of their clothes I was very excited, their products are so bright and cheery whilst being very chic and simple that I would have loved to dress Luca up in them.  Unfortunately though my (not so) little man is it bit too old for them now so instead I had to choose someone to gift them too.  

I introduced you all to the lovely little Jax in this post recently, and because he's just so cute (hence why he makes me so broody) I thought he would be the perfect little model for them.  So after a quick chat and a coffee we got him all dressed up and ready for his close ups.

I will leave it to his wonderful mummy, Jade to let you know what she thought of the clothes. 

1 February 2015

I love my job but hate being a working mum!

I love my job for many reasons, one being that I only have to work term time if I want. This meant that I had two wonderful weeks off over Christmas.  I spent nearly every single minute with Luca and it was absolutely perfect.  We spent lots of time in our pj's just playing or snuggling whilst watching films together.  As a working mum this is definitely what I miss most, just hanging out with my little dude.   I also felt the stress seep out of my every cell after about three days. Honestly I felt like I had complete control over our house again, the wash basket has never been so empty. There was no rushing around and trying to get housework done on an evening and preparing for our next day of work, which is my usual routine.  I haven't felt so relaxed in a very long time.  I had really got my mummy mojo back and our days together were crammed full of fun with our house being clean and tidy.

Not only that, during our two weeks off together Luca had begun to sleep through the night!  Yes you heard me correctly. For the first time in his two and half years in this planet Luca started to consistently sleep through the night and I started to feel refreshed and energised (ok this had started to happen just before my time off but that's not the point). I felt like this new sleeping pattern was begin to cement itself during our time off and I was definitely becoming accustomed to rising at 7:30 each morning after a full nights kip.

Two days before the end of the Christmas break I started to sense a slight feeling of dread creeping in. Now that I have my new job I never get up feeling like I don't want to go to work, like I said I love my job.  But, I recently posted about the overwhelming feeling of mummy guilt I have been suffering with and I just knew that would raise it's ugly head again by the end of that first week back at work. 

  I was worried that the new sleeping routine may tail off again once.  I was worried that after Luca had finally got over his phase of begging me not to go to work every morning that this too may start again.  I was dreading the general rush that comes with every day I have being a working mum as I try to cram in everything that needs to be done in the few hours I have to do them.

I was genuinely dreading him going back and for good reason it seems.

By the end of my first week back to work we were back to asking me not to go to work on a morning.  Back to telling me he doesn't want to go to the childminders, even though when he gets there he's off without so much as a goodbye! Back to broken sleep! Back to a broken mummy!  This motherhood lark can be crap at times. 

However, I have decided to actively tackle all of the crap.  I have made plans.  Meal plans and household chore plans. 

 I have also made a visual timetable for Luca this week to help him know where he is going every day and who will be looking after him, as although we have a routine it is a relatively complicated one for a two year old, even I struggle to remember who's where and when.

My advanced planning does seem to be working and I have certainly eliviated some of the pressure I've felt previously. So although I am once again exhausted and stressed, I don't feel quite as stressed as I did before Christmas which is always a good thing.

Hopefully Luca's timetables will help too and he'll get back to sleeping through the night again.  I can at least dream, right?

25 January 2015

Broody, me?

I've said numerous times that baby number two is not on the cards for us yet.  We would love another small person to add to our family but it's just not going to happen anytime soon. First and foremost we simply don't have enough space in our two bed apartment for another person, let alone a baby and all the paraphernalia that they come with.  Secondly I just haven't felt like I'm at that place yet. I've had no feelings of broodiness, Luca quite simply fills me with joy every single minute I'm with him and I love the time we spend together and honestly don't want to miss out on a moment of it.  He's at a wonderful age and I'm enjoying it.  I don't feel like I need another just yet. But.... 

A few days before Christmas, our latest addition to the family arrived.  A little pink bundle of joy called Elsie who takes the niece count up to 4!! We met her when she was just 12 days old and I was overwhelmed with broodiness. Uh oh! 

I put it down to a few things, mostly though, I put it down to this little lady taking her time to come.  She has been about 7 years in the making for my sister-in-law and her partner and so she feels a little bit special.  It could even have been because she was looking adorable in all her pink girly clothes when I'm surrounded by cars and pirates and general masculinity too (not something that's ever bothered me before, I'm a bit of a tom boy at heart).  

19 January 2015

A magical Christmas!

This year our Christmas was truly magical. Luca really got the whole Father Christmas thing and we could feel his excitement growing with every opening of his advent calendar drawers. I did my absolute best to feed this excitement with a special calendar that we painted and told him that every night one of Santas elves would come and leave him something in the next drawer.  
Helping to decorate the advent calendar
We had all sorts, from plain old gold coins or a Christmas themed happy land figure to making gingerbread men and decorating baubles as well as Christmassy days out. 

Christmas Eve was better than Christmas Day itself for me. When we got back from visiting Ant's parents (for our first round of present opening) the elves had left Luca an extra note. It directed him to his bedroom where a box was sat waiting on his bed. In it were some Olaf pj's, a new dressing gown, a "Santa please stop here" sign, some reindeer food and The Night Before Christmas book.  Before we even had chance to explain to him what was going on, Luca exclaimed that we must leave Santa a biscuit and some milk and take reindeer food and a carrot downstairs for Rudolph.  He was in his new pj's and wrapped in his dressing gown in seconds.  His excitement was so contagious and as he propped Rudolph's carrot up against his sign I felt tears spring to my eyes. Happy tears, tears of joy and pride. Tears of contentment and a feeling of belonging. Belonging to the two men in my life, my wonderful husband and amazing son, both of whom make my every day that much better by just being a part of it. I couldn't be any happier with our little life at the moment and seeing Luca's face light up as he carefully placed that carrot down for Rudolph, assured me that we are raising a very happy little boy.