Thursday, 17 September 2015

Top 10 Best places to visit in South London #8 Horniman Museum

Wouldn't this be a beautiful place to get married? Had I had a summer wedding and could have guaranteed the sun (we were married the day before Christmas Eve) I think I would have had our wedding in this lovely orangery. You could be forgiven for thinking this was a hot summer's day but the weather cannot make it's mind up at the minute and it was more of a chilly but bright kind of day - my favourite kind of weather (I would never survive in a hot climate)!

So the weather promoted a visit to number #8 on our little list of lovely things to do in South East London and it starts with a spectacular view across our beautiful city. There is an urban wives tale that once upon a time you couldn't google 'Horniman Museum' because it was considered an inappropriate-verging-on-pornographic-name-for-a-museum. I'm not sure this was ever true but it even if it was, it couldn't be further from the truth. The Horniman museum is large enough to have lots to keep the littlees entertained but not too large as to be overwhelming and can be easily completed in a half day trip. Follow this up with a picnic in their stunning gardens or over the road to a fab sandpit park called the Triangle and you've easily got a full and varied day out .

I love......... how the parking is easy peasy (opposite on Sydenham Hill is the best spot), the big wide open spaces for buggies, the music videos of religions and celebrations, the outdoor instruments and the aquarium with it's cute seahorses. Seahorses and dragonflies are some of my favourite things.

Pip and Bean love........ the see-through hive, the stuffed animals (although I find taxidermy pretty weird) and the half term arts and crafts.

Squidge loves.........the musical instrument try-out room! She's always up for making a noise!

The Horniman is at it's finest in the school holidays where they have storytelling and arty workshops, they put a lot of thought into making the museum family friendly. When we visited this time - there was even sheep shearing and yarn spinning looms in the gardens.

Word has it....the giant stuffed walrus even has its own twitter feed! If that doesn't make you want to visit today, I don't know what will!

Monday, 7 September 2015

Someday I will look back and miss..... the small things

The boy loves his trains, he is slowly agreeing to getting his trains back out after having a few months where he wouldn't because Squidge would break up the rails and he couldn't bear that! I watched him today, thinking that in just a few days he starts school and how his tastes and likes will develop and change but how I hope that he doesn't lose his transport obsession as its so cute to sit and watch him play! Although, I have a little bit of sadness at Bean going to school, a little bit of longing to bottle and keep this moment, I do feel we need to desperately get the family back into some kind of routine.

Over the last few days, the peace and fun of the summer holidays seems to have vanished and Pip and Bean have been arguing and fighting and Pip has been moping around the house, annoyed that I have gone back to work but she hasn't yet gone back to school! Believe me- I would much rather swap!

And so, although the summer's been great, a chance to catch up with them all and for more cuddles and plays and above all listening to their chatter, I do think we're the kind of family that is used to being busy and thrives on a routine and so there's a little bit of me that wants it all back (as well as the bigger part of me that is already loathing the early starts, the late evenings, the constant rushing around from one place to another.........)

So as an ode to the Summer, here are the little things, normally forgotten in a blink that I will miss about the kiddos and how they have been these past six weeks.

I'll miss Bean putting both fingers up his nose and blowing hard to shootthem out thus demonstrating to me how a rocket is launched!

I'll miss Squidge's  little pigeon phrases "sit me mummy." "Oh no all stuck" and demanding Mr Tumble and her 'Nummy' at regular intervals throughout the day. I'll miss the look Squidge gives you when she knows we're trying to tactfully convince her to get in her buggy or drink milk from a cup- this morning she brought me a bottle from the dishwasher and tried to demand I transferred her milk to it from the cup, she's swiftly becoming a little madam! 

I'll miss Pip and Bean's little nighttime plans where they plot to have a midnight feast and keep bits of their dinner, their chocolate from pudding and try to sneak them upstairs. It's often a cue that something is afoot when Pip asks 'do mice like.....' After I warned them we might get mice if they continued to sneak food upstairs.

Oh, I am so relying on this blog to be my second memory, this blog can remember all the little things for me and also all the feelings and emotions about the big days, so that hopefully I can look back and remember what life was like and how it was back in the summer of 2015.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

My little boy goes to school

The last couple of days have been filled with those predictable back-to-school-tasks..... the school shoe shopping trip, the haircuts, the sticking name labels into every item they own.....

As I sat and watched my little boy have his hair cut and how he tried to catch the hair and keep it in his palm, it struck me just how little he is. I think my eldest daughter seemed more ready for school than Bean does, granted she is a September birthday, but she just seems more emotionally ready. But Bean seems just so little that I want to wrap him up for just 'one more year' and keep him little and cuddly.

The summer has been both wonderful in terms of extra time to snuggle with Bean and to relish in his little-ness but this summer has also brought out another side of Bean! There's been a lot of anger and shouting and screaming and he's been oh-so-emotional about the slightest thing. I'm sure it's connected to his impending arrival at school but also the leaving nursery and the collapse of any routine. 

But as I watched him get excited about trying on his uniform and how he wore his PE kit all day yesterday! I realised he will be fine. Despite all the emotion and the tiredness that I will expect to appear in the first few weeks, he will be fine. It may be the end of an era but it's also the start of another very exciting era for my little boy. One of friends and learning and belonging and independence and of course, I'll be right here when he needs a cuddle and when life gets all-too-much, as it does for us all. Good luck little man- I just hope you love school as much as your sister and make some lovely little friends to grow up with. We can't wait to see how you'll turn out! x

Saturday, 22 August 2015

An unpredictable kind of day.....

We had one of those days today where everything you set out to achieve turned into something else and the day sort of passed you by in a blink of an eye with so much and so little happening all at once.

Bean woke up all emotional (this is common of late) and he had a temperature so thought he was poorly. I cancelled all plans and decided to have an easy day. By 10am, Bean had perked up so there were smoothies in the garden and there were a joyous few hours where he played a whole host of imaginary games with Pip - from "let's go camping" to "creating a costume shop". I love their little make believe games and love to hear happy sounds emulating from their room. After Squidge and I had visited the costume shop and paid for our goods, I heard Elodie exclaim "you were an amazing shopkeeper Finlay! This is the bestest thing we have ever done together!"


Come afternoon, we decided on a picnic in the park and all bundled into the car but no sooner had we turned the corner of our road when Squidge threw up all over the car! So-much-sick-everywhere! (F.Y.I projectile vomit gets in every nook and cranny of a car!) and so we returned home and camped out in front of the telly for snuggles and a snooze.

The day progressed with Squidge being sick a further 5 times, including in the buggy and by the end of the day, I was also feeling dreadful (which later turned into tonsillitis and put me in bed for a couple of days).

Despite the poorliness and cancelled plans, it was lovely to do nothing and I'm thankful for one more week off (only wish it was two!) It's been a whirlwind summer, and sometimes doing the ordinary, everyday is what we all need before we head back to school and work and a brand new year.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Top 10 Best places to visit in South London #3 Greenwich

I love living in South London and as we ponder on where life will be taking us next, I thought it was high time I listed my praise for South London and all the fabulously free things there are to do here! So I've compiled my top 10 list of the best places to rock on over to this summer. If you live nearby and do end up visiting (or if, like us, these are your regular haunts too) do let me know what you think? Have I missed somewhere out? What would you include?

So, without further ado...... I'll start with the first. The posts won't appear in rank order because I can't get my life together enough to have us visiting different places in order of my preference (our weekends are far too chaotic for that!) So we are starting with our 3rd best place to visit: Greenwich.

3: Greenwich 

What's not to love about Greenwich? It has everything you could wish for in a family day out. A great market (Weds and Fri-Sun) with some fab gifts and yummy food from pretty much every country you can think of. I love wandering around and enjoying the colourful food on offer at every corner.

We always make it an essential to try and encourage the kids to munch on something a little different and try something new. Sometimes this idea flops (like trying the Portugese Paella, which incidentally was delicious, my children are just boring.) But Brazillian Chirros are always a hit obviously!

Once you've feasted your eyes on all that the market has to offer, there are some lovely gift shops or you can marvel at the Cutty Sark. There's the park which I love because it has so much space, there's always room for a picnic or a kick about and the play park has had an upgrade so it's definitely worth a visit. Climbing to the top is an essential for the view and to cool down after the climb, Greenwich has the best choice in pubs around for a beverage or to listen to a local band or two. Most are family friendly with gardens. Our favourites include the Union (try the Raspberry Beer) or The Mitre for yummy roasts and somewhere a little more quiet. 

Greenwich holds a special place in my heart because it's where Mr M and I had our wedding reception and where Mr M proposed but also because it was a weekly trip for me when I lived in Deptford and we'd head down with Uni friends. But even without the nostalgia, it's a fab place to hang out for the day and plenty to do for little ones. I hope you'll visit!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Let's go Running (well maybe jogging is more appropriate!)

We I'm still not quite ready to say 'I enjoy running.' Certainly, it has been easier to get my trainers on and actually get out there but this might be because it's the holidays and I haven't got the usual fall-back of excuses that I frequently resort to when I'm working. I did however, have a lovely run this evening in Ireland. This is the second year my parents have had their house in Ireland and it feels lovely to settle back into the familiar routines, lazy mornings, long breakfasts (because it's usually raining in the mornings) and beach days, pottering about in rock pools. 

I've only been on three runs since I've been in Ireland, this is not going to get me the kind of fit I need! But today's run was interesting and a damn sight more beautiful than running in South London. I ran along the Newport river and nearly ran headlong into a sheep. Then I took a rural road route that winded up with a loch lapping at my heels. It's also lovely to run in the cool with a little breeze (or occasionally a very strong wind) to keep you cool- I can't abide running in the heat! 

I am hoping that at some point, I become a proper runner and run for the pure enjoyment rather than just because I want to get fit. I am hoping that running will help me appreciate scenery (even south London scenery) and obviously the main aim is to lose some weight and get healthy and there is also the minor point of being able to run the London marathon! 

I'm not sure l'll ever forget getting the email saying 'Congratulations! You have a place on the London Marathon! It was one of those crazy things I decided to do after I'd finished watching the marathon back in April. In fact this will be my third attempt at entering the London Marathon, previously my applications haven't been accepted and I guess I presumed the same would apply this year as well. I didn't actually for a moment think I'd get a place and now I actually have to run it! I was not expecting that! 

It is something I've always wanted to do, my friend Emma and I have always talked about entering the marathon and watched it frequently back when I lived in Deptford and we could walk to the course. Given that I can actually only run for about 25 minutes, the thought of actually completing the marathon and raising all the money seems a bit of a pipe dream! I am hoping there are lots of other mad people who started from such a low starting point as myself and succeeded?! 

For now, I'm just content with just donning the trainers every other day and attempting just to run.....anywhere......

If, there are any other mad hatters that are running the London marathon- I'd love to hear from you! 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The week our house went on the market!

Eeek! After months of little discussions over glasses of wine and thinking of 'what ifs' and 'planning our futures''s finally happening. We've gone and popped our house on the market.

And now I feel a little unsure....nervous and sad because I do love this little house and our lovely neighbours. I don't want our house to feel that we don't love it but it is time for new adventures.

We weren't quite sure when the best time for a move was. We'd like another bedroom, we'd like to be a bit closer to lovely places to walk without having to get in the car. We'd like a bigger garden for tree houses and water fights and pets. We'd like little, silly things like a drive, a garage and side access (goodness, we sound old!) but we'd like all of this with the same kind of character of this house (oh and the same size kitchen would be nice!)

And throwing this in with the fact that our favourite parts of South London are also the most expensive and well....we may not be able to move at all!

But it's worth a try. Given that we travel to the kidlet's school (after not getting into the school 0.2 miles down the road grrrrrrr....) nothing is keeping us here at the moment and there might just be the perfect house hiding round some nearby corner......

But as the sign went up and the house details were sent to us, I had a little question of 'are we doing the right thing?' I looked at the pictures the estate agent sent and thought, I'd buy that house all over again! 

So you may see lots more photos of our little house popping up on here, so that we can cherish the memories and savour every last drop of the last 5/6 years. This house has seen two births, changes of jobs, BBQs and Bonfire Parties and I'll certainly miss it's charm.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Ideas for a Woodland Nursery and Blackout Curtain Essentials!

I'm dreaming of a whimsical, woodland nursery! The kind you see in magazines when the parents are super organised awaiting the arrival of their first child. However, we didn't manage to be that organised for our poor third child. Squidge is now 18 months old. Crikey Oh Reilly (how on earth is that spelt?) where did the time go? 

Unlike our other children, Squidge seems to be more comfortable in our bed than her own and spends a good portion of the night in our bed as opposed to hers! I don't really mind. She's a super good sleeper and I find her little snuffles comforting. That said, I really need to address the issue of her mismatched bedroom and I'm convinced she would cease to wake up at 4am searching for our bed if we had some blackout curtains. It is obvious to anyone that Squidge is our third child, the others had a nursery ready for their arrival, complete with blackout blinds but with poor Squidge, we just never got around to it.

To spur me into some interior design action, this is the 'pre-do up' photo.............

It's seriously lacking in the cutability factor and in desperate need of a little personality. I would love a woodland theme and here are my little lovely visual moodboard of all things whimsical and wonderland-esque!


One: Etsy

Three: Apartment Therapy
Four: Yorkshire Linen and Just Fabrics
Five: Etsy
We are a big fan of blackout blinds, we have a travel one for holidays which has literally saved us, delaying the usual early we're-in-a-different-house-wake ups and this will be an essential for our woodland makeover. As I've found this super gorgeous woodland fabric from Just Fabrics that goes with our theme, I'm going to be using the curtains and linings from Yorkshire Linen to cut out the light from our large Victorian windows. I'd love to say I was attempting to make the curtains but we'd be waiting until next year for those, so I'm relying on the help of an expert friend!

So that's the window dressing done, now for cracking on with the rest of the bedroom! I am time poor and literally poor so am hoping for some inspiration that is cheap, cheerful and quick.
Any other woodland ideas lurking out there on the blogosphere - please let me know. I'd love to hear what you've found!!

For more ideas for decorating bedrooms for the little ones, please follow me on Pinterest


This is a featured post but all words are my own.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Little Makes!

I never seem to get the time to make anything anymore so I have come up with a plan! Aha! I think the problem is I frequently start bigger projects and never finish them so I'm going to start focusing on little projects. Little makes that take very little time but will build to make a difference in the home, in the garden, at my desk...........wherever takes my fancy! Bit by bit these little makes will not only make me feel happy for accomplishing a 'make' but will also build to (hopefully) make my house become more of the handmade home that I wish it to be.

This week, my little make (the beginning of this sentence is misleading - I doubt I'll be able to succeed in a little make every week but whenever there is a spare second or two, I shall nab for 'making'!) Anyway, my first little make was to plant some succulents and mini Cacti in pretty china cups to brighten up a lovely little window we have. It's one of my favourite spots in our kitchen but it's also a spot that gets very little light (hence the shadowy photos!)

I love these vintage china cups that I collected a while ago but didn't know what to do with them. I am hopeless at keeping houseplants. I over water and under water and eventually kill the poor things so I thought cacti would be decidingly easier to look after.

So, that's it. My first 'Little Make'!

Are you undertaking any 'Little Makes' at the moment? Or any 'Little Makes' planned for the future?

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Bank Holiday Frolics

We certainly packed a fair old amount into one teeny tiny (but gratifying) bank holiday! This post is well overdue but it was a busy old week with the first GCSE exam for my students, various VE day celebrations, voting and the usual nonsense........

The bank holiday started with an obligatory trip to IKEA for breakfast. Well, not actually for breakfast, but to buy some frames.....our latest little trick though is to get there mega early to have breakfast and then whizz round - thus avoiding all the general public and people who might tut at my children throwing themselves onto the beds. We seem to have made this trip for the last couple of bank holidays and so I am a little worried that the kiddos think this is a regular family tradition (and half quite pleased they love IKEA as much as I do!)

On the way home, we felt the need for a little cakeage because the IKEA trip was disappointing - we left without frames (none available) but we did leave with a totally useless draining board that doesn't actually fit on our draining board. Damn those cheap buys! So for our cake fix we headed to the most beautiful little garden centre near us that serves jolly yummy cake (I had a salted caramel brownie- truly delicious!) We obviously bought a couple of little plant gems- to plant in our front pots. I won't pretend to know what they are called but they are pretty and purple and rock.

We then headed to a favourite park of ours that has also just opened a café so we wanted to support the opening. Actually, they had advertised real life Morris Dancers......actually dancing on May I felt we ought to honour this tradition. I had a proper giggle when the Morris dancers approached Mr M, saying they needed a 'younger generation' of Morris Dancers! Unfortunately Mr M turned them down on the grounds that this was tantamount to child abuse because they'd have to grow up watching him dance with bells. That aside.... 'The Lakes' café is a lovely addition to our neighbourhood, exactly what it needs. We had a couple of beverages, bopped to the folk music and had a walk around the lake before heading home. The café has opened a little garden next to it, a pretty community led garden which I am looking forward to spending more time in with Pip and Bean in the future.

I felt that we really relished this bank holiday, my new motto: pack it in, live life xx