My Month In... July

A month of yo-yo weather! Here are my top five July moments:

1. The Big Crawl

J has been desperate to crawl - he's spent weeks planking and face planting. July saw our little chap conquer crawling! As he moved from a-to-b, his face went from frustration to pride with each move. One of the proudest moments I've ever had as a mama. Now to get baby-proofing the house...!

(Excuse the Christmas leggings, I bought them in the sale back in January thinking there would be no way J would fit into them until Christmas 2017. Oh how wrong was I!)

2. Bargain Hunting

I'd pictured July to be pretty much park-based - but mother nature had other ideas! Between downpours, I'd take J around our local charity shops to pick out some new additions for his library. These Little Grey Rabbit books were an absolute bargain. I've been collecting them since I was born, as my parents used to buy me one every birthday. Now I have J, I've handed them down to him and enjoy discovering older editions in charity shops to add to the collection. The stories are adorable and the illustrations really bring them to life. I hope J enjoys them as much as I did.

3. Belated Father's Day

As Papa B was on holiday during last month's Father's Day, we celebrated this month at our family home. It was a wonderful day - we were so busy with the boys we treated ourselves to takeaway pizza. The highlight of the day was popping J and my nephew N in our old toy train, which Papa B / Grampy had upgraded for them to enjoy. The boys' faces when they went for a ride were brilliant - a really special moment for the whole family.

4. House Planning

I've been perusing Pinterest to start planning our next home. As mentioned in my last post, we're in the process of selling / buying so I've started reviewing our rooms and working out what elements I'd like to do again and other styles and layouts I want to try. It feels quite overwhelming but I'm extremely excited about it and can't wait to share my next journey on here as well as on my Instagram.

5. Bestie Time

Since having J, life's been pretty hectic. I recently realised that ensuring a bit of me-time at the weekend (even if it's just for an hour) is the best thing for my mind - a quick break to reflect and give myself some time out. I also think it's a good thing for L to have some solo time with J, who loves going swimming with his papa! Everyone's a winner. Last weekend I turned my me-time into some well overdue bestie time - we enjoyed a spa treatment together followed by some hot tubbing. As you can see, we weren't going to let the rain stop us! I felt amazing afterwards and ready to enjoy a new week. Talking to your best mate is the best therapy. I'm lucky to have an amazing set of friends who J already recognises when they visit. Having a baby demands so much time - any friend who is understanding of this will be a mate for life. I really am lucky.

What were your favourite July moments?

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My Month In... June

This year is flying by! Here are my favourite moments from June:

1. CORNWALL

The month kicked off with our first family staycation to Penzance. An extremely kind friend of the family offered up her apartment for a week, which has the most spectacular view over the marina. We've never explored Cornwall properly and were so impressed - the beaches, cafes, shops, scenery, locals... amazing. To top it off, we had some friends join us for a couple of days, including one of my bestie's 3-month-old daughter, F. We had a couple of very amusing mornings where J & F would hold hands and chat to each other. Very adorable. J also treated us to a number of 'firsts', from his first "dada" to his first taste of solid food. Which leads me onto...

2. Weaning

Not much more to say here other than J loves food! His favourite tastes so far are apple, banana, butternut squash and sweet potato. His face when he tried broccoli for the first time was a picture - a look I'll never forget-!

3. Family Wedding

It's very rare we get to dress up as a family - mostly due to the high likelihood of getting covered in baby drool. L's cousin got married this month and it was a real treat to be able to pop on some heels and enjoy some fizz with family.

4. Magazine Moment

My bathroom was featured in the July issue of HomeStyle magazine (out in June). A freelance journalist approached me on Instagram to see if I'd be interested in a photoshoot and I jumped at the chance - she was so lovely and I loved picking her brain about the industry and how it all works behind-the-scenes. Such an honour to be featured and loved every minute.

5. House Shopping

So we recently decided that we'd like to move house. This was a pretty emotional decision to make as we've put so much into refurbishing our home over the last five years but now we have J, we've realised we would like to move further into the countryside and offer him the village life. We've found a new house we love and it needs a bit of work. If it all goes through be prepared for some more before and afters! Very excited.

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My Month In... May

The weather wasn't as good as April but May was still magical. Here are my five favourite moments:

1. Wedding Anniversary

L & I celebrated our two-year wedding anniversary this month. We received so many lovely cards and gifts from special family & friends - including this personalised vase from Sister S. Absolutely love it! (From Not On The High Street.) To celebrate, the three of us took a trip to...

2. Rome

Spanish Steps all to ourselves.

Spanish Steps all to ourselves.

We've always wanted to go to Rome but never quite managed it before J's arrival. We decided to give a city break with a baby a go and it was fantastic! Hard work (of course!) but J loved all the stimulation - from the art in the Sistine Chapel to his recently adopted Italian Nonna (who took a shine to him in her restaurant where we were having lunch). We walked the ground of gladiators at the Colosseum, toured the Vatican and managed to get the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain all to ourselves at 6.30am (the benefits of having a baby wake you up early!). We stayed in an Airbnb and it was perfect - J could snooze in the early evenings while we relaxed in the living area planning our next day and tucking into some local restaurant takeaway.

3. New Camera

L recently invested in a new camera / hobby - just in time for Rome. I managed to snap Josh looking at L while we were away - it's my favourite photo of him so far as he's smiling at his Papa. Looking forward to more quality photos moving forward as L learns more and more about photography.

4. Eurovision

Ok, so this sounds like a random addition but Eurovision has been a big tradition in my family. We get together and put on a massive feast of nibbles in front of the TV. We chuckle along to the upbeat (and frequently questionable) performances while catching up and toasting Graham Norton's unbeatable one-liners. This year, we pulled countries out a hat and had to dress up and support them on the night. I had Spain, L had the UK and J had Australia. We all thought the UK's entry Lucie Jones did a smashing job (a golden performance, literally!).

4. Instagram Milestone

Really thrilled to reach over 1,000 followers on Instagram - I've 'met' so many lovely people and taken so much home inspiration from this platform. Everyone is so lovely - it's my favourite escape. So many pretty things to look at (especially when I'm up in the early hours with J)!

To see what I've been up to on a daily basis, you can follow me on Instagram here. That's May wrapped up - what were your favourite moments?

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My Month In... April

April was the month of many firsts:

1. First Easter

J's first Easter had to be celebrated with fancy dress, of course! He loved his little lamb outfit and actually didn't mind the bunny ears-! We headed to Mama & Papa B's for the long weekend along with Sister S, my brother-in-law G & baby N. It was so relaxed and, in a way, the Christmas we didn't have (we were all pretty tied up with a newborn and Sister S was heavily pregnant by then). It was the first time we'd all been together since both babies arrived. We enjoyed slow mornings with bacon sandwiches, watched nostalgic films (including Labyrinth - definitely one of my top 5 movies), grazed on chocolate and shared the load of looking after the babies. It was perfect.

2. First Holiday 

We recently returned from our first family holiday together. L's bestie got married in France and we were lucky enough to stay at their chateau venue. I loved walking the grounds of this fairytale venue with J & L in between wedding preparations. We caught up with friends and enjoyed getting away from our routine for a bit. There was a fancy dress party on the Sunday so we dressed J as Sulley from Monsters, Inc., (he was the most adorable monster ever-!). J was a superstar on his first flight - he slept there and back! So proud of him.

3. First Magazine Shoot

Keep an eye out for the July issue of HomeStyle magazine, as my nautical bathroom is being featured! Such an honour and so interesting to see how it all works behind-the-scenes.

4. First Hot Day

J experienced his first seriously hot day of the year in April. We enjoyed a sunny Sunday in the garden followed by a stroll to get ice cream.

5. First Four Months

J reached four months in April, which has been a really big milestone as he's developed so much since month three (as you can see from the photo!). He's so alert and interested in everything. He's learnt to jump (he loves jumping!), has started watching what I eat (he's mesmerised by cereal) and is rolling from back to front more and more. Every day either something in his character or physical appearance has changed - I'm so proud of him and love being his mum.

Follow my Instagram for more regular updates of my day-to-day throughout the month. What were your favourite April moments?

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My Month In... March

March has been my favourite month of 2017 so far - here's why:

1.  alertness

J is now out of the newborn phase and with that, his alertness has rocketed. He recognises certain people, goes to grab toys, takes in his surroundings so much more and enjoys quietly watching me as I clear up his toys or pick out his outfit for the day. His character is starting to emerge too, which is a thrill to watch. Every day something changes - whether it's longer eyelashes (thanks to his dad!) or a new noise (he's currently making a baby dinosaur noise when he gets excited).

2. Mother's day

Sister S and I were lucky enough to celebrate our first Mother's Day together as new mums. The sun was shining so we went for a park stroll before tucking into a Sunday roast with our boys. Mama B was away at a wedding so we took her for a seafood lunch earlier in the week. I couldn't be a new mum without her - she's been incredible. For the story behind the photo above, take a look here.

3. spring sunshine

The biggest lesson I've learnt so far is that taking a baby outdoors is so much easier than trying to entertain them indoors. Spring couldn't have come at a better time as J is starting to need more stimulation during the day now he's taking in more. While I love the classes we're signed up to, going for walks in the spring sunshine is free, will help me shift my baby weight (!) and there's so much to stimulate J. Everyone's a winner.

4. keep rollin' rollin' rollin'

J rolled for the first time this month - from front to back. He isn't rolling regularly yet but this was a huge milestone. I am one proud mama.

5. holiday planning

This month we worked out our holiday plans for the year so we have some quality family time to look forward to. While we enjoy our evenings and weekends together, there's something about getting away that makes it extra special. We're off to France next month for a wedding (J's first flight-!) followed by a trip to Rome for our anniversary. We've also got some staycations organised with family and friends as there's so many baby-friendly places we're yet to explore on home soil. I can't wait.

Get a closer look at what I've been up to in March over on my Instagram. What were your favourite March moments?

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My Month In... February

Spring has finally arrived! Here's a look back at my favourite things from chilly February:

1. New Nephew

Earlier this month Sister S gave birth to adorable N and I'm completely in love with him. I'm now an Auntie! I still can't quite believe we both had our first baby within weeks of each other. And boys too! J & N will be in the same school year! Not to mention how fantastic it is to have my sister on maternity leave the same time as me. Looking forward to all the day trips and FaceTimes from now onwards.

2. Valentine's Day

This year I received two cards from my two boys, L & J. As it was our first as a family, L & I decided to skip gifts this year and spend the money on a Deliveroo. An evening involving no cooking or cleaning up was gift in itself when you're busy with a little one. We managed to get J to snooze in his sling long enough to enjoy the meal, while we caught up over candles. 

3. Six Nations

As a rugby family, it was a big moment to enjoy our first Six Nations with J! Sporting his official England shirt from Sister S & Uncle G, he actually enjoyed watching the matches! I'm not sure if he's taking much in but he gurgles a lot at the screen. Seriously cute.

4. New Classes

Sorry it's another baby one but it's what I've been up to-! J & I tried out Mummy & Me yoga and it's so much fun! A chance to stretch out my aching back and arms while J looks up at me giggling. He's pretty zonked by the end of it (as you can see!), embracing the relaxation side a little too much-! J also started his swimming class this month. He's only on his third lesson but he already loves it, even the underwater dips! I got his first smile in the pool this week as he looked up at me from his float while we were swimming around. A big mummy moment for me.

5. Early Nights

Having a baby has meant a pretty hefty lifestyle change, especially when it comes to our evenings. We've started to introduce an evening routine for J so he starts to understand night and day a bit more. While we're not strict with it (as he's only just 12 weeks) he does love being put down after his evening bath now. While I'd love to use my evening addressing all the niggling house tasks that I can't sort when I have my hands full with J in the day, I've quickly learnt that sleep takes priority, so I regularly sleep when J does.

Get a closer look at what I've been up to in February over on Instagram. What were your favourite February moments?

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My Month In... January

Happy New Year!

January is a blue month for most, but as it's my birthday month I always welcome it in with open arms! This year however it's all been about motherhood: my first full month as a new mummy and getting to know J as he starts to grow and develop.

Seven weeks in, sleep deprivation has definitely been the biggest hurdle! - Mixed with the additional energy it takes to navigate new parenting skills. L is now back at work too, so I've had to figure some things out solo and scrape the extra energy together to amuse J in between feeds and sleeps. (Mostly dancing to The Jungle Book soundtrack, singing Twinkle Twinkle and researching baby classes to try out.)

Here's what I've been up to so far in 2017:

1. FIRST SMILE

The biggest highlight of motherhood so far: J's first smile. Mostly because it's a sign that he likes us. - And that in between sleeping, feeding and crying - we're doing something right and he's happy. Always good to get some reassurance!

2. WINTER WALKS

I had no idea getting out of the house would be easier than staying indoors with J - the motion of the pram helps him drift off and it gives me some time to clear my head and get some exercise. Or if L's with me, the opportunity for us to chat - whether it's baby-related or a completely different topic such as holidays and future plans. England has seen some beautiful sunshine this month (even though it's been freezing!) so we've been enjoying bright family walks in the fresh air. This particular walk around our local park's boating lake was fun as it was frozen over apart from a small section, which quickly became a watering hole for birds of all shapes and sizes, with many of them ice skating their way there.

3. BIRTHDAYS

Papa B, my brother-in-law G and I all have early January birthdays so it's always a month of celebrations. I love it this way as it keeps the happy momentum of Christmas going that little bit longer. This year, L and I decided to celebrate a trio of birthdays with our nearest and dearest as L's big day was overshadowed by my labour (!). We booked an area in a local pub and not only celebrated our birthdays together but we toasted J's new arrival. We received so many lovely presents for him from outfits to toys, including this Daddy Cool dog from L's friend, which I thought was lovely as sometimes the dads can get overlooked a bit.

4. BABY CLASSES

I've been scoping out some local baby classes with my NCT friends, from swimming to baby sensory. It's great to get J experiencing new things while getting out and about. J created his first piece of (abstract!) art for L this month. Very messy, but aren't all the fun things?

5. PUB LUNCHES

We've always wanted to explore our local area more and with J now in the mix, we've been using our time at home to enjoy weekend walks to local pubs for lunch. It's also nice not to have to wash up at the end of a long week(!). We recently enjoyed crispy roast potatoes with the BEST steak sandwich overlooking a stunning view of our town one Sunday. It was just what the doctor ordered. 

You can get a closer look at my month over on InstagramWhat have you been up to so far this year? 

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My Month In... November

With Baby L due early December, November was always going to be the month of as much relaxation as possible for L and I. We cleared out a fair amount of our social diaries to re-focus on down-time and final baby prep from mid-November. We still caught up with close family and friends, but in moderation as we've been told that this is the time to really stock up on energy!

With this in mind, here's what I've been up to this month:

1. BONFIRE NIGHT

I grew up just outside Lewes, where the biggest Bonfire Night celebrations in the world occur on November the 5th. It's a huge event in our calendar, but this year needed to be toned down due to bump (he's the size of a watermelon now!). So instead, L and I had a movie night in followed by sparklers in the garden. It's not the usual celebrations we're used to but we had to prioritise this year in the knowledge that we'll have so many more opportunities in the future to celebrate with a bang. It was still a lovely evening and our last bonfire night together just the two of us, which was special in itself.

2. NURSERY COMPLETION

We completed our nursery! See the full nursery tour here

3. VISITORS

Early November consisted of visits from family and best friends who wanted to say a last good luck before Baby L arrives. We're really lucky to have so many fantastic people willing to make the effort to see us - turning up with the most amazing cakes and pretty flowers (like these ones!):

4. RETRO MOVIES

I've been building a list of movies to watch during my maternity leave - mostly consisting of recommendations from friends and colleagues following an 'I can't BELIEVE you haven't seen that' conversation..! Now's the time to start making an indent into my lengthy list. November saw a couple ticked off, mostly cheesy 80s movies including Some Kind of Wonderful and Baby Boom (naturally).

- I've only just discovered Baby Boom was produced by Nancy Meyers - my all-time favourite director / producer / screenwriter. Meyers always creates the prettiest interiors for her films - I've shopped the style of a number of her films over in my ScreenStyle section.

5. AND RELAX

I've really enjoyed a number of classes and exercises that relax my mind/body - from my weekly pregnancy yoga to a hypnobirthing taster session at our local hospital. Mama B and I have also been sewing a baby mobile (below), which I've found so therapeutic! It's all about finding ways to switch off and chill before a busy life period approaches (!). For me it's the above (plus baking) but for others it could be absolutely anything!

What were your November highlights? Let me know over on Twitter or in the comments below...

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My Month In... October

I think everyone felt the temperature drop in October from cool to chilly. This, combined with my ever expanding baby bump, meant a lot of indoor house projects. - But we also made an effort to enjoy a few pre-baby trips that might not happen again for a long while(!). Here's what I got up to this October:

1. Crafting & Baking

L has been a star and re-painted some rooms over the weekends, while I used my limited mobility (Baby L is now the size of a honeydew melon-!) to bake and craft in between resting. Here are my favourites:

2. NCT

L and I started our NCT antenatal course to learn more about labour and childcare (as Baby L is our first!) - but also to meet local parents-to-be who are due roughly the same time as us. It's nice to feel like you're going through the process together, while expanding your local friendship network. We've found it so helpful, I'd definitely recommend it to any new parents-to-be.

3. Aladdin

L surprised me with a trip to see Aladdin the musical in London's Prince Edward Theatre. I'm a big fan of both Disney and musicals so this couldn't have been a better treat for me. It was spectacular! While the songs and acting were impressive (especially the Genie), it was the set and effects that really stood out. The theatre seats weren't their normal red but had been covered in purple fabric (!), the Cave of Wonders was exactly how you'd imagine it to be, plus the magic carpet actually flew around the stage (L and I couldn't work out how they were doing it, it was that good).

4. Christmas Prep

I've always wanted to go to Liberty's world-famous Christmas shop (it has its own floor!) and as my commute to London will be stopping soon, I took the opportunity to visit it with L one night after work. It was the most colour-coordinated, glittery treasure trove I've ever been in. We bought Baby L his first bauble here, which I thought was a nice memory to make. Here are my favourite snaps:

5. Grey's Anatomy

We completely missed this boat 10 years ago - but are now addicted! We tend to squeeze in a couple of episodes most evenings if we're not busy. If you haven't seen it, it's all about the personal and professional lives of five surgical interns and their supervisors at Seattle Grace Hospital. Featuring Patrick Dempsey (aka 'McDreamy'), Ellen Pompeo and Katherine Heigl, I now get what all the fuss was about-! I quite like that the early episodes look a bit dated now - although I heard ABC renewed it for a 13th season, which aired in September. One of the biggest storylines is the private relationship between Derek & Meredith:

With 10 more series to go, this is most definitely my go-to series for A/W 2016.

What did you get up to in October? Let me know in the comments below or over on Twitter.

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My Month In... September

September is one of my most treasured months. Cooler evenings, cosier homes and - for L and I - the beginning of a nesting period before our new arrival in December(!). Here's some of my favourite moments from September '16:

1. Baby Prep

We've been trying to get as much sorted for baby L's arrival before I get too big and uncomfortable-! The nursery has been so much fun designing and stocking. Here are some of my favourite pieces we've bought so far (stay tuned for a nursery tour next month).

2. Getting Comfy

As you can imagine, I'm all about comfort these days. From what I wear to adding some finishing touches to our living room - here are my favourite purchases this month:

3. My Bestie's 30th

This month, I surprised my bestie with a weekend away in a country house, filled with family and friends. One of our closest friends even made it back from San Francisco! It was such a special moment for everyone. We stocked the fridge with her favourite things: Dairy Milk chocolate, prosecco & parma ham (!), hired a karaoke machine, played games & indulged in some Disney fancy dress one evening. It was great to retreat for the weekend and celebrate such a treasured person in my life.

4. Cold Feet

Cosier nights and a growing bump calls for evenings filled with great TV. Since learning the new Cold Feet series was back this month after a 13 year break, I've been refreshing my memory on series 1-5 (as I've mentioned in a previous VCR). Here's the trailer for the latest series:

5. Baking

With Bake Off back this month, I've been enjoying a new-found love for baking. Usually my creations fall flat (literally) but the last two recipes from my Hummingbird Bakery Home Sweet Home book have been a real hit. My jaffa cake cupcakes (+ recipe) can be found here. Here's a snap of my latest batch out the oven: Praline chocolate cupcakes.

What have you been up to this month? Nesting or enjoying this extended sunshine? Let me know in the comments below or over on Twitter.

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