Friday, 18 July 2014

California Dreaming

I first fell in love with the USA through books. My collection of hundreds of books that held the secrets of other worlds hidden within their pages, waiting to be devoured and relished. We couldn't afford to go on holiday when I was growing up, so I spent my summers curled up in the shadows of trees, exploring foreign lands through literature. The majestic mountains of Kefalonia in Captain Corelli's Mandolin, the haunting landscape of Chile in The House of The Spirits, the intoxicating and ethereal ambiance of Japan in Memoirs of a Geisha

I fell into these other worlds eagerly, longing to be transported to places I could only dream of, where life was bright and opportunities endless. If I shut my eyes and let my thoughts drift away, I could picture myself in the land of the free, I could almost feel the salty sea air on my face, see the palm trees as tall as buildings, swaying in the breeze, the sun full and round, shining brighter than any star I'd ever seen. 

One of our regrets after William and Noah died was that we didn't take the opportunity to go travelling. In the days and weeks afterwards, when grief consumed us and made us heavy and sunken with sorrow, day-to-day life became a battle and it didn't occur to us to do anything but struggle to survive each day. With hindsight, we wished we had packed our bags and flown far from the house which held loneliness and silence within its walls. We should have forgotten Christmas, and the faking of frivolity for the sake of others. We should have left the woe and disappointment behind us, and fled to somewhere new. We should have gone to all the places we'd always dreamed of going, and experienced at least one of our dreams, since life had killed the dream we had of raising our twin sons.

I dream of California and all the things we might experience there. The warmth of the sunshine on our faces as we watch a spectacular sunset over the Pacific, the wind through our hair as we drive a vintage Cadillac convertible on Route 66. Breathing in the tranquility and peace of Yosemite. Marvelling over the beautiful Santa Rosa mountains. Kayaking down the splendour of Lake Tahoe. Feeling small and humbled by giant redwoods at the National Park. Exploring the quaint and picturesque Carmel-by-the-Sea. All these things and more. Perhaps it would help us heal, help us believe that life can be good again. And then for the fun. I'd thrill my inner child at Disneyland, take a ubiquitous tourist snapshot underneath the Hollywood sign, be wowed by a trip to Universal Studios. Let go and laugh and forget for a moment the heartache we carry with us.

And my ultimate Californian dream? To make it our home. To live there, in and amongst the wonder and possibility.

Who knows, maybe one day soon my dream may come true...

For more info on the #DreamBig Project - Visit California

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Cosatto 3Sixti Highchair

When it came to choosing a highchair for Henry, I wanted something which was safe, easy to use and quick to clean. The bright and bold Cosatto 3Sixti Highchair fulfils all three requirements. As always with Cosatto products, the design is vibrant and fun. I picked the cheerful Hapi Apple print, but there are seven other colourful designs to choose from, bound to delight babies with their primary colours and repetitive pattern.

What makes the 3Sixti different from all the other highchairs on the market is that the seat unit can be rotated 360°. This feature is especially useful at the moment as Henry is going through a spell of separation anxiety and likes to keep an eye on me at all times! Being able to swivel the seat allows him to keep me in sight whilst I clear up after a messy mealtime. The gas-lift height adjustment is another unique (and fun!) feature, enabling baby to be lowered to table height to join the rest of the family, or boosted up to the height of a breakfast bar.

The all-singing, all-dancing highchair seat is also able to recline, which I found useful when Henry was learning to get to grips with his sippy cup and needed extra space to lean back to take a swig of his water! And if you're lucky enough to have one of those enviable sleep-anywhere babies, it's ideal for a post-meal nap if your little one gets snoozy. The tray section is completely removable, so once Henry is older we can pull the chair right up to the table for him to join in mealtimes with the family. 

Henry is a messy little eater. Spoons have their contents catapulted across the room, bowls are dropped, messy hands make their way on to any available surface.  As someone who wants to spend as little time as possible clearing up, I'm thankful that the 3Sixti is ultra quick and easy to clean. The removable green tray means I can quickly rinse off any spills after each meal and clip it back in place in a matter of seconds. A quick swipe with a wipe over the PVC fabric is all it takes to clear up any stray food, and it can be fully removed for a more thorough wash.

The 5-point safety harness gives piece of a mind that your energetic escape artist won't be able to make a break for it mid-meal. I love that the 3Sixti also features a pommel, keeping Henry seated in an upright position without slipping down.

Both Henry and I love the Cosatto 3Sixiti Highchair. Colourful, practical, easy to use - it has everything covered when it comes to making mealtimes more manageable with your little one. Another great product from Cosatto!

Available to buy from all good retailers

Received for review as part of the Cosatto Brand Buddy Scheme

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Thursday, 10 July 2014

Etsy Finds - Nursery Decor

I love sourcing unique, fun decor for Henry's nursery, so I regularly browse Etsy - a treasure trove full of quirky accessories, whimsical designs and personalised pieces. These are the items currently on my wish list, I'm sure they'll be making an appearance in the nursery soon!

Hello Baby Hoop Art || Hello Lovely Cushion Cover || Cloud Mobile || Personalised Cloud Hoop Art ||  Baby Love Hoop Art

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Sunday, 6 July 2014

Henry's 8 Month Update

Henry's personality has very much blossomed over the last couple of months. These are the words I'd use to describe our 2ft 4", blonde haired, blue eyed baby… 

Tenacious. Stubborn. Vocal. Passionate. Energetic. Impatient. We certainly have a spirited little boy. Henry knows what he wants and makes it clear to all around if he's not happy with something. (Equally, he laughs loudly and with gusto if something pleases him, and constantly charms strangers with his big smile.) 

Henry has been difficult this month - extremely clingy, tantrums aplenty and overall, very exhausting. He is so active and wants constant attention. It is not enough to be next to mummy, he wants to be on mummy! Heaven forbid if I dare move more than a few feet away from him. Suffice to say, Henry is very much a mummy's boy. It is sweet, but tiring when it's for a solid 8 hours a day. Although the frustration is soon forgotten when we grabs my face, pulls me close to him and covers me in sloppy kisses!

As much as it is testing at times, I know it's completely normal for babies to have a period of separation anxiety, and it's a sign of having a strong bond. As I tell myself daily, better to have a baby who doesn't like to be parted from me than one who doesn't notice or care if I leave. And the way Henry pumps his legs in excitement and lets out squeals of delight when he sees me makes it all worthwhile!

Weight: 18lbs 12oz at his 8 month visit.

Sleep: Still sleeping through the night, thank goodness, but we've had some bad days where he will just not nap, when I count down the minutes until daddy returns home!

Diet: Henry has 4 bottles a day, although he's a lot less interested in milk and the amount he drinks is gradually reducing. We finally had our appointment with a dietician to discuss Henry's cow's milk allergy. We'll be starting the milk ladder soon, fingers crossed he has (or will) grow out of it. For now I'm using Koko Dairy Free as a substitute in his food, which he seems to enjoy, but then anything must taste better than Neocate formula! Henry seems to have gone off being spoon fed my lovingly created baby foods, so I'll be focusing more on baby led weaning now, as he seems to prefer feeding himself.

Clothes: Still a tall baby, being on the 75th centile for height, so he's moved fully to 9-12 month clothing now. He races through the sizes so quickly, I can't believe I'm packing away yet more clothes!

Likes: Being close to his mama. Going for walks. The swings at the park. Turning the pages of books. Lift-the-flap books are particularly enjoyed now. Banging his drum. Shaking his maraca. And everything he's not allowed to touch.

Dislikes: Having his nappy changed. Before I know it he's flipped onto his tummy and his little naked bottom is making a break for it!

Milestones: Henry is finally crawling! He adopts an army style commando crawl rather than a traditional all-fours position, but it enables him to move across the room. Despite now having the ability to explore anything and everything that takes his fancy, Henry only has the desire to crawl towards two things - me, and the laptop! Henry can take a few steps if you hold onto him. He pulls himself up on anything he can get his hands on. Teeth have still not emerged, but I can see around 6 peeking through the gums - let's hope they don't all cut through at once! Henry has now learned to wave which is just the sweetest thing to see, and he's also on the way towards being able to clap his hands.

Each day now we're noticing new changes in Henry. He is growing up so fast and now when we look at him we're seeing a little boy emerging, rather than the baby face we've been used to. I cannot believe his first birthday is just a few months away (I write these updates towards the end of the month, so Henry will be 9 months old next week.) It seems like just yesterday I was pregnant, and now here we are with a child who is rambunctious and playful and has his own character. The very fact he is able to cuddle me and cover my face with wet, open-mouthed kisses amazes me. He is fast becoming more independent and it is bittersweet and scary and exciting all at the same time. He is my world.

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Friday, 4 July 2014

Life Lately

Matt and I celebrated our 7 year anniversary a few weeks ago. We decided to mark the occasion by taking our first night out since Henry was born. Dinner and drinks were thoroughly enjoyed, but we were a little ambitious staying out until 2am - looking after a teething baby with a hangover and a just a few hours sleep is never a good idea!

It felt good to get dressed up again, though. My usual day-to-day mummy attire involves jogging bottoms, a t-shirt, a makeup-free face and a ponytail, so I loved donning my new ASOS heels and trying out the Benefit Push-Up Liner (amazing). I also got to apply my beloved Chanel Rouge Coco Shine, which has sat boxed and unused on my dressing table for far too long.

Henry can be a real handful at times, he's been especially difficult this past month, but he always takes my breath away and makes me forget the frustrations when I see him sleeping - he is so beautiful and I love him so much. Morning cuddles are a delight, he is such a blessing in our lives.

I've been looking through our Kalkan holiday photos with much longing, despite only returning two weeks ago. We miss it so much, so we're now planning our next holiday for September. We're thinking Greece or Italy this time. Let me know if you have any recommendations!

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