22.5.15

PARK LIFE

When the sun is shining on a Saturday morning, the only thing to do is pack a picnic and head to the park. Sandcastles in the sandpit, walking-practice and (when you're the small one who loves to eat said sand) cuddles with Mama and Daddy.

Oh and that dragon head?! Josephine and Ben got crafty before we went to the park (while I slept in...heaven!) and made this absolutely brilliant mask. It's even better in real life. A keeper, for sure.

21.5.15

SPRING DAYS


















As I sit and type this the rain has poured, the thunder has rumbled and it's cold and dark outside. Looking at these pictures from a couple of weeks ago makes me wish for the sunshine and warmth to hurry up and come back. It doesn't really feel like spring, let alone summer, has properly arrived yet. Sunny days are followed by cold and windy ones; the wellie boots are worn as much as sandals and it's hard to tell what the weather will do from one moment to the next.

Isn't it ever so British of me to spend a whole blog post discussing the weather?!

In other news...Coco & Wolf denim bloomers are my go to item for both the girls and Amy & Ivor moccasins are the best and make foot photos awesome, always.

19.5.15

CORALIE'S FIRST BIRTHDAY










It's been a while since I have regularly blogged here, but I think about it everyday. It's just that there's always something else that needs doing, some task that needs completing or (more likely) a sofa or bed that's just calling my name. Thankfully I have a niece-obsessed sister who tells me to get a move on and blog already ;) So do bare with me while I play catch-up...

Coralie's actual birthday was a slow, quiet day, just the four of us. Playing in the garden with new birthday presents from Nanny and heading to the village to gather a delicious birthday picnic, that ended up being indoors because of the rain. And of course plenty of "this time last year..." It was a perfect day, and we caught up with family and friends at mine and Coralie's joint birthday party on the Sunday where there was plenty of cake, pass the parcel and presents.

Still can't believe our baby is now one!

7.5.15

ONE

'The buds on the branches blossom and flower,
The blackbirds sing in the leafy bower,
And over the hill comes the rising sun,
To shine on the fields, and on you, little one.'

Bramley Hedge: Poppy's Babies, by Jill Barklem
 
Our darling Coralie, happy first birthday. We love you xxx

Out in the garden earlier, just as Josephine was on her first birthday. Wearing the same coat and waterproofs. But this time there are bluebells and not snow.

26.4.15

HAPPY

The happiest little soul in all the world.

24.4.15

EASTER: westonbirt arboretum


















While Ben was off work over Easter, we headed to the beautiful Westonbirt Arboretum to enjoy the spring sunshine. We've wanted to go for so long and I'm so glad we finally made it. And the Family Trail that was happening over the holidays, with a treasure hunt and craft sessions along the walk, meant Josephine adored every second too and happily walked for two hours straight (before deciding she needed 'a carry' about ten minutes away from the car!) Plus with dogs running around and sky-scraping trees to point at, Coralie was more than entertained.

I love an impromptu afternoon trip with my people :)

22.4.15

LITTLE SISTER




WEARING: Top and tights: Zara // Bloomers: Bonton (eBay find) // Moccs: Amy & Ivor

Now I know how much Josephine adores being nursery, I can happily focus on how to fill the three afternoons a week when she's not around. Of course Coralie naps for a large portion of that time, but there's certainly a shift in dynamic when Phiney's away.

The little sister becomes top dog, and has the run of the place...

On Josephine's first day at nursery, Coralie spent the whole afternoon calling for her ('Jo-za, Jo-Ja?!') but by 3.30pm on Tuesday, she'd realised that suddenly there was no-one to tell her not to place with the big sister-imposed 'out of bounds' toys, and Coralie was in her element. If you follow me on IG or Facebook, you'll have seen the video I sneakily took of her stealing a drink of water from Josephine's cup...the cutest, cheekiest thing ever!

And, of course, it gives me the chance to lavish some one-on-one time with my growing-too-quickly baby girl. Games round here tend to be dictated by Josephine, which Coralie finds a way to get involved in, but it's been so fun to play some baby games with her instead, and see her really thrive. Her absolute favourite is rolling a ball backwards and forwards to each other. She literally shrieks with excitement with every roll.

It's also lovely to be able to pick up all the choke-inducing hazards that can find their way onto the floor when Josephine's playing, and know that there's nothing Coralie can get to that she's not allowed; that she's free to roam and play independently. Apart, of course, from that pesky bin...the number of times I have to say the phrase 'Coralie, stop eating things out of the bin' is verging on the ridiculous. Kids. They're so gross.

But, oh! Also so beautiful. And funny and cute and beyond scrumptious. And, unbelievably, one in just a couple of weeks...

20.4.15

WARRIOR PRINCESS

I'm a feminist. I'd like to think everyone is these days. I always have been, but raising two girls really brings it into focus, and it reminds me that Ben's a feminist too. Our daughters believe they can do whatever they want to, be whoever they want to; because they can. It will take hard work, but their gender is certainly something that won't stop them.

Being a girl won't define what she can like or dislike.

Josephine loves the outdoors so much; playing football and digging in the mud, gardening and running and messing around. She loves Cinderella and Tangled and dance class and tiaras and pretty dresses. She plays with dolls and she plays with Lego and trains. She does press-ups with Ben and talks about bit fit and strong and she asks if I can put nail varnish on her fingers whenever I'm painting mine. She pretends to be a Mama and she pretends to be a cowboy. She doesn't see any limitations, any 'normal' games for girls. All she sees are things she wants to do and things she doesn't want to do.

I love the fact that she's such a wonderfully strong-willed and determined little girl. I love that her favourite Disney films are Mulan and Brave (both with kick-ass female leads) and I hate the fact that when we looked at buying Phiney a Mulan doll at Christmas they were all dressed in her Geisha costume and not her army one. (I also hate that when it was her birthday all the 'birthday girl' cards were Frozen - which Josephine has never seen - and all the cards with Cars and Toy Story characters on - which she loves - were for the 'birthday boy'. But that's for another post...)

Children are such sponges. They pick up on so much we don't say, and so much we do but don't think they hear or understand. I love that I am able to stay at home with my children 24/7 and spend these precious years with them, but I also love that, more and more, I'm heading out with my camera and can tell Josephine I'm going to work. That I can be a role model to her as both a working woman and a Mama.

Right now my focus is the image side of things. To grow up in a world fuelled by images of thin and beautiful models and movie stars, of fad diets and the importance of the right clothes, the right hair, the right size - it's so tough. More for our children's generation than our own, with so much technology at their fingertips. As Josephine gets older I try not to talk about being unhappy about this or that when it comes to my body, or about loosing weight or being fat. When she asked why my tummy was still 'all soft and round' a few months ago I made sure I explained that it was because I grew Coralie in my tummy and it got big and was going down now, but wasn't that such an amazing thing for my body to be able to do? I want to find the balance between her being confident in her body and her looks (unlike me) and yet not consumed by it.

It's the beginning of a long journey that I know will only get harder as she gets older and goes to school, and we can't fully control what influences she's exposed to. But I'm hoping we're giving her the best start, that feminism isn't really a term she has to warrant because it's a given...

Josephine got that tiara up there with some Easter money my Nan gave her. She put it on as soon as we got home and said 'let's play a game where someone has to save us'. I frowned, worried. Was she already programmed to think that as a girl she was the helpless princess waiting for a prince to save her?

'You need rescuing because you're the princess?' I asked...
'No, Mama. I'm the princess so I can rescue you.'

That's my girl. My warrior princess.

16.4.15

EASTER SUNDAY: family
































I love Easter. I love the food, the chocolate, getting together with friends and family, the crafts, the chocolate, the warmer weather and promise of spring, the chocolate...

Ben also tends to have a nice long holiday from work and our 10 days with him at home were so lovely. Just hanging out at home and in the garden, a few little adventures and plenty of fun times.

Easter Sunday especially was such a lovely day. It was so good for all the family to be together, smiling and having fun, after my Grandad died. I know he would have loved to have seen everyone happy, especially all the children. Family was the most important thing to my Grandad, and I think that in someway he was there with us all that day.

Ben entertained the children for ages with thousands of bubbles, and the Easter egg hunt is always a highlight.

Happy days :) I hope you all had a lovely Easter with your families too.

Apologies for the slew of photos...just so many lovely ones that I want here in our journal. So many portraits that show the little ones' personalities so sweetly :)