Things I’m loving at the moment

Lama Cushion
The White Company Beaumont Four Poster Bed
Padded Cloud Wall Art
Juno Scandi Dresser & Changer – Natural Oak & White
Distressed Metal Shelf Unit
Rattan Butlers Tray
Timsbury Velvet Mustard Sofa
Iron Window Mirror
New Trapeze Chandelier
Long Ear Hook
Easton Baskets
Chambray Towel
Stamford Single Bed

Last week we all took a very welcomed break to Cornwall. To be honest, very unlike me who could quite happily holiday every month of the year, I wasn’t keen to go away at all this year. We’re nearing the end of the renovation works (well sort of), boxes are everywhere, I haven’t seen our suitcases for about 12 months and god knows where my bikinis are (priorities and all!) so a holiday was the last thing I felt like doing.

Everything’s been feeling a bit of an effort at the moment, with things everywhere and two small children, I’ve been feeling a bit sorry for myself. The caravan isn’t all that bad in the grand scheme of things, it’s kept us all with a roof over our heads which I know is more than those less fortunate can say, but it has started to get me down. It can all feel a bit oppressive in there, cramped, freezing in winter and an oven in summer. I also hate the disorganisation of everything. Paperwork is everywhere, and clothes are bursting out of every cupboard. But, I put my big girl pants on, and embraced our first foursome family holiday, minus the bikini, and agreed to go along.

And we couldn’t have picked a better week! The week the UK was experiencing the start of an extreme heatwave with temperatures in the 30’s. Cornwall felt like we were somewhere tropical. I love Cornwall whatever the weather. We’ve now been for the last three years as one of Luke’s friends has a Chalet there, which is a stones throw from the beach and it’s perfect for little people!

We had initially booked two weeks but cancelled the second as we thought we might go abroad somewhere later in the year, but I’m not sure we will now as there’s still so much to be done on the house and we really need to plough all our money into that rather than a holiday (as much as it pains me to say).

We spent everyday on the beach, and visited a local animal sanctuary on the last day, driving home that same evening (thinking Arthur and Wilf would sleep the whole way home) … didn’t work out that way, and took us an extra couple of hours longer to get home but we’ve now visited most service stations in the south west.

I was always very fortunate when growing up. I have two sisters and we’re all very close. They’re my best friends. Amidst the odd squabble about someone else wearing each other’s top, I have some wonderful memories from our family holidays. My parents loved holidays, which is probably where I’ve got my love for travel from. We went every year, sometimes twice or even three times, and we always went abroad. We stayed in villas and then hotels as we were older and became harder to please.

We never really holiday’d in this country though, so until I met Luke, I hadn’t really been anywhere in the UK to experience places much longer than a day or two. And how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful country!

I have still only visited Wales, Devon and Cornwall, so have a few more destinations to do in this country but once the house is done we’ve said we are going to do lots of long weekends which I’m already looking forward to. I read something the other day that has really stuck with me, which said ‘make every second count when your children are young, you only have 18 summers with them’ (that’s if they stop holidaying with you when they’re 18!) I hope they don’t! But when you put it like that… it’s not much at all is it?! So make the most of it. Every moment, every day, and every single holiday.

So I think whether it’s a few days, a week or longer, some sort of family break altogether is really important. Sometimes the monotony of that daily routine and passing like ships on the night can get you down. For us, with the added stress of the house it can be difficult to enjoy your time together at home sometimes when you’ve got a million and one things on your mind and a to do list as long as the channel tunnel, getting away with a change of scenery can do wonders for your relationships with each other and time to relax.

I’m so pleased we went. Although it now seems like a distant memory!

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Designing the nursery

When we bought the cottage it was a two bed house. The upstairs layout was bizarre, so we had a complete re-jig. What is now Arthur’s bedroom was originally bigger, but we decided to split it and make an office. This would create the third bedroom, but we always planned to extend to make a further, much bigger fourth bedroom (if) our family grew. Little did we know at that point, that our family was going to grow a bit quicker than we thought, with our wonderful Wilfred.

So the office has become a nursery. It’s more than big enough for a single bed, but I do wish it was a bit bigger. So it was a bit of a challenge to design Wilfs nursery ensuring it looks good, it’s functional and it can grow with him too. One thing I have spared is the wardrobe. I may well regret this, but, I didn’t want the room to feel too crammed.

Furniture wise, the nursery is pretty minimal with a cot, a changing table, chest of drawers and some wall shelves. I think cots can take up a lot of the space, and we are using Arthurs old cot (which does have a large under drawer storage), but I have seen some very cool oval shaped cots which look great and I think would give a feeling of more space, but for now, Arthur’s old cot works. We haven’t moved in yet, so I expect the room will also evolve and I’ll add to it when we’re living in it. Clever storage will be key, and I’m going to look out for some baskets to store things like his dribble bibs. I seem to have a serious collection of dribble bibs for Wilf! In fact, I’m quite obsessed with them!

I wanted Wilfs nursery to be pretty neutral with just a splash of colour. Mamas and Papas do colour really well, they have a few different ranges that you can mix and match, and that’s exactly what I did, as it gives you a bit of flexibility to add in your own personality. Their colours are bright, but subtle.

This changing mat is a great way to add a splash of colour and I really like mustard yellow, which works well with white, cream and grey. They don’t sell this mat anymore, but its available on Amazon. 

The felt horse door stop is Fiona Walker from Homesense. I had to try and get a horse in somewhere, plus I love a door stop.

This Mamas and Papas Pom Pom Garland is a really clever way to add some personality and fun to the nursery. I wasn’t sure where to hang it though, and might try hanging it up on the wall at the top end of the cot, but it brightens up the cot weaved over the side.

This Mamas and Papas coverlet also matched the garland, and it’s now in the sale! It’s really good quality, and has a plain grey underside. This will last Wilf for years, Arthur my eldest loves to snuggle on the sofa and loves his blankets. I didn’t ever think boys would be like this, and I hope it’s not just an age thing and he stay like this, snuggling his mummy on the sofa till he’s at least 18!

I also put it with this Cam Cam grey wave playmat, which can be a blanket or play mat. Cam Cam is a scandi brand and I absolutely love their stuff. The quality is amazing, and well worth spending a little bit extra.

I adore all of these cushions, but my favourite is Mr Lama!

Cushions are a great way to add a bit of personality and brighten up, what could be otherwise a pretty stark, plain and boring cot. Wilf certainly had lots of fun trying to eat them all!

I am a complete sucker for cuddly toys, so Wilfs room inevitably will have lots of cuddly toys, so I wanted to be able to put them up somewhere to enjoy. In particular Sebastian the Lamb from Cuddle and Kind. They sell unique cute hand knitted dolls, and each doll that’s sold feeds 10 children. So on that basis I might have to buy the entire collection!

These Mamas and Papas mobile birds are a bit nostalgic for me. My parents have some hanging birds similar to these (but probably antiques now) as I remember them when I was a child, and their still hanging up in their kitchen. I saw these and had to have them. Because everything has just been decorated Luke wasn’t keen about hanging things from the ceiling or walls, so for now they are going to live here on the door, but to be honest I think they look quite at home here.

The animal heads add a bit of fun to the nursery, and to be honest I was pleased to put something up on the walls. Every room in the house is painted white at the moment t and although it looks really clean, it can feel a bit bland, and for me these are a great way to brighten up the room. The Fox is from Mamas and Papas and the rabbit is from ReRoom. Lewis, the hare is a lot larger and I think it’s Wilfs favourite as every time he looks at it he has a fit of giggles. Its pretty realistic and even the ears bend (they have wire inside them) so you can change the rabbits expressions with the ears up or down.

This rabbit head is part of a Hedgehugs Nursery with woodland themed furniture and accessories that ReRoom provide as a complete room. Alternatively you can pick and choose from their complete collection. Their concept is really clever, and if designing a nursery fills you with dread, they can do it all for you. They kindly gifted this rabbit head, which I thought would go really well with what I had planned for Wilfs room, and the fox (even though it’s smaller) still goes. So it shows you don’t always have to opt for the matchy, matchy sets.

These shelves are from the Great Little Trading Company. They come in two different widths, and I chose the narrow ones for Wilfs room, but I also bought them for Arthur’s room. Not only do they look good, they’ll be useful, not just for books but for cuddly toys too. I’m really keen for both boys to read lots of books, so having somewhere to showcase their books is really important to me. I plan to rotate their books, and keep refreshing the shelves too. I would also like to add a little chair or a bean bag cushion in this corner for Wilf for when he’s a bit older and can sit and enjoy looking through his books or somewhere for mummy and daddy to sit and read to him. Arthur’s always been a real bookworm, so I’m hoping Wilf will be the same.

The grey knitted lampshade is from Mamas and Papas, and is a great neutral colour that will go with anything.

This origami play mat from Mamas and Papas, (now sold out), is great and I love the colours, it stores really easily as it folds up quite small. It also has a cushion on one side so he can lie on it or use it for tummy time. It works well with this Mamas and Papas wooden play arch, the hanging toys are velcro so can easily be removed and you can add other toys too. Its taller than most wooden arches I’ve seen before, so I think it’ll last Wilf quite a while, it also looks good! Which helps! I do prefer wooden toys over plastic, but I know they don’t always stay looking as good for that long, from little teethers, and just getting bashed about.

Wilf loves this little chime toy – fawn from Mamas and Papas and it has an actual removable fur gilet! How adorable!

SHOP THIS ROOM:

*This post is a collaboration with Mamas and Papas and Reroom and all items listed have been gifted, but chosen by me.

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Since buying the cottage, Luke has been summoned (by me) to work on the renovation. This has meant that most evenings, practically every weekend, including Bank Holidays, I’ve spent parenting on my own. Of which I have learnt to have the upmost respect for single parents! It’s not just me that misses him though, as Arthur is a true daddy’s boy and when daddy is around, I don’t get a look in. He loves to imitate his daddy and say he is building a house, being a builder, complete with his construction hat, hammering everything in sight (luckily in the caravan, so he can hammer away as hard as he likes!) … I won’t be so relaxed when we’re living in the house.

With the amazing weather we’ve just had over the May Bank Holiday, I have to stop myself saying, ‘forget the house Luke, let’s all do something together’, but this weekend, more so than most, has been really important, as the final bit of carpet is finally being laid in the lounge and on the stairs. After having to cancel our first carpet fitting because we all had flu, and our youngest Wilfred was in hospital, the next booking was an admin error at the carpet shop and wasn’t booked in the diary, so we had to wait until their next available slot which wasn’t until May. So you can see why this is a bit of a monumental occasion!

So Luke worked tirelessly all weekend to get the lounge ‘carpet ready.’

I’ve been scrolling through social media all weekend at everyone’s sunny spent days at home or out somewhere fun with family and friends. Whilst I’m feeling like I’m doing a pretty rubbish job at entertaining Arthur, and looking after Wilf, spending the whole time wishing daddy was with us (and that we didn’t live in a caravan, which feels like a microwave in the warm weather).

Saturday I thought I’d brave it on my own and take Arthur somewhere fun, as after locking both children in the car a few months ago and Luke having to come and rescue us (smashing the window in as we didn’t have a spare key). I have pretty much avoided any adventures on my own ever since.

So, I took them both to a local ice cream farm, Churchfields. Obviously Wilf isn’t quite old enough to appreciate or experience ice cream, but mummy can for him! I didn’t rush there as all we do in the week is get up early to take A to pre school so I like to give him a bit of time to play and relax in his pyjamas (and maybe it was a bit for my own benefit too!)

After a bad night with Wilf up several times, I wasn’t on very good form. We arrived at Churchfields, popped Wilf in the pram and couldn’t find the car keys. I ended up emptying the nappy bag, ransacking the car and getting into an unnecessary flap whilst Arthur just kept asking ‘what you doing mummy?’ In the end I picked Wilf back up out the pram thinking maybe he was hiding the keys and he was lay on them… thank goodness!

I had the idyllic idea that Arthur and I would sit down and have a nice lunch together whilst Wilf slept peacefully in the pram, then Arthur could have a play and an ice cream and we’d go home.

This is what actually happened…

We find a table and sit down. Of course Wilf starts crying, no actually, screaming. I picked up a menu and asked Arthur what he’d like for lunch. He doesn’t want anything. He doesn’t even want ice cream. The queue looks enormous. I’d need to order our food, tell them the table number and sit down again. That will involve taking the pram and Arthur with me to queue. Sounds simple, but it never is, is it. Why can’t these places have walkie talkies for lone parents with children? Don’t you think that’d be so much easier?!

I sack off the idea of lunch. Logistically I just don’t know how we’d survive that queue and go back to the table with Arthur who doesn’t even want anything to eat.

There’s a soft play area through the restaurant, past the enormous queue. So I thought I’d try wearing Arthur out. To get the pram through the restaurant area I have to practically lift it to get it over this really inconvenient strategically placed hump in the doorway. Every door at this place seemed to have a hump (I’m sure there’s a technical term for these ‘humps’). They’re basically large inconvenient steps in the doorway that isn’t pram or wheelchair friendly. We walk past a glass cabinet with enormous ice cream sundaes on display (I mean seriously!)… obviously Arthur wants one of those and won’t move until he has one. So we get in the enormous queue.

I managed to avoid a sundae and he had an ice cream cone instead. Wilf wants to be picked up and Arthur also wants a cuddle. A two and a half year old with an ice cream cone on one of the hottest days of year sat on my lap… more of it went on my lap and feet than in his mouth.

We’re ready for soft play after that. I carry the pram over another door hump, which is actually a lot bigger than the previous humps so I do my best ‘I can cope impression’ and lift the pram over the hump. Do you know, not one person offered to help me?! He’s bored after about 10 minutes anyway and wants to see the tractor that we passed on our way in. Clamber over more door humps, and see tractor. He spots a pig in a field in a ‘pedestrians not permitted’ area (basically someone’s private land). Try telling a 2.5 year old it’s someone’s garden…

Look at pig. Suggest leaving. Return to see pig again. Walk away. Return to pig again. Look over at car park and wonder why someone has left their boot open. Realise it’s my car. At least it’ll be cool in the car.

On Sunday, friends were coming over late afternoon as Luke needed some manpower help to hold some oak that we bought to cover the big steel in the lounge. I stayed in with Arthur and Wilf till they came over, but it meant being stuck in the caravan melting as the gardens so overgrown and dangerous with lots of building materials everywhere and a big bonfire, there’s was no way I could police A and keep W out of the sun safely. I was suffering with serious cabin fever by the time our friends arrived, but they came over with both their boys, who are virtually the same ages as our boys. Both our eldest’s are great little buddies so no matter what we do they always have a good time together.

The cottage is in a really great spot, it’s close enough to the town centre, but far enough away to feel semi rural, and the lane we live on is a single track so it’s pretty quiet. There’s a lovely walk to a well known pub that everyone flocks to in the summer called The Camp which is right on the bank of the River Severn. So Luke finished off late afternoon (yey!) and we all took a walk to The Camp with the big boys travelling in style, in our Radio Flyer.

Moments like these that we do get to all spend together as a family make it all worthwhile, and are often better than any day out (particularly days out without daddy!) Often Luke will say he’ll ‘clock off’ a few hours earlier to go for a walk together and go up to the local park and every time I feel so fortunate about where we live. There’s plenty to do with a lot of things in easy access.

Our old house wasn’t in the best area, and not somewhere I’d ever suggest to go for a walk. It’s a lovely area and I can’t wait for the boys to grow up around here, enjoying all this outdoor space.

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