Illustrated Teacup

Family | Lifestyle | Food | Tattoos | Southampton

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Happy Christmas - see you in the New Year


Anyone else very excited right now?
Our house is feeling very festive. All the presents are under the tree.
Our Christmas food is in, and we have mulled wine at the ready.

We'll be treating ourselves to more Christmas films (Love Actually, The Holiday, maybe more Arthur Christmas cos I am loving that film) and an evening on the sofa tonight ahead of our first Christmas as a family of three.
I'm honestly feeling truly happy. All I've ever wanted was a family of my own, and Christmas is the best time of year for families I think. I know that Henry is going to have no idea what is going on really but I'm still so excited - yes I'm busting out the camera for the ENTIRE day!!

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Thursday, 22 December 2016

He's behind you | Robin Hood at The Mayflower Theatre


I really think Christmas is the season for experiences. It's not all about presents and food (although they are both pretty damn good) but all the experiences that make December such a magical and memorable time of the year.
In keeping with starting some new traditions this year (see our Gingerbread Houses, Henry's Christmas Eve box and the start of our Christmas decorating) I went along to the pantomime.

I haven't been to a pantomime in a long time, since I was a little girl and my Nan would pay for us to go at Christmas. I'm fairly certain we saw Cinderella and Snow White. It's another tradition I really want to do with Henry when he's a little older as I think there's something so special about the panto. It's like nothing else you'll see on stage, and creates some amazing memories.

The Mayflower Theatre* kindly invited myself as part of the Sotonbloggers to attend their press night of Robin Hood, and it was an experience I'll never ever forget!

*SPOILER ALERT*
I won't detail the whole show, but there will be a few spoilers, so if you want to go in as clueless as I did, stop reading now!!

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Sunday, 18 December 2016

The Purrfect Christmas



With Christmas just days (yes, DAYS) away we've been thinking a lot about how we're going to spend the day.
Of course it's a pretty special one as it's our first with Henry, but it's also Archimedes's first Christmas on his own without Dante as a companion for two years. We've decided we want to make this Christmas even more special as Archimedes has been so good with Henry the last six months (OK the first three he kind of pretended that Henry didn't exist, but since then, he's been brilliant).

I'm working with WHISKAS to show you our purrfect Christmas, with a little help from Archimedes.
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Friday, 16 December 2016

28 parenthood confessions


We all know that parenting is hard work. And we all know that there is no real right or wrong way to bring up a child - with a few exceptions of course. But it's really easy to get bogged down with the perfect appearance of parenthood that is broadcast across social media and blogs. Hey, I'll even admit that I don't exactly publish posts on all the crappy bits of having a baby. I want my bit of the internet to be as positive as possible, but I also want to be realistic.

I've made a lot of mummy friends through this blog via social media, and they are all great girls. I'm loving see all the new babies joining us month by month (at getting mildly broody too - my tiny baby is getting big very fast!). One thing I've noticed though is that we don't always share the little secrets of parenthood.

So today's blog post is a little, ok, maybe a bit of a large list of confessions from my six months as a parent. None of them of really big issues, just little things, that I';m sure many parents have experienced, or that new ones are going to shortly. The secret side of parenting.
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Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Henry's six month update


It's that time of the month again!!
Yep Henry is another month older, and we've hit the half way mark to his first birthday, and my return to work!
Not going to lie, it's been the fastest six months of my life, and I'm slightly scared how fast the next six months are going to go.

We're fast on the approach to our first Christmas as a family, which I'm so so excited about, and Henry has many super cute outfits - which I bought in 6-9 months, so they're going to be too big initially but thought they'd get better wear out of them!

As with his five month update, I'm going to include a little list of facts and fun bits about Henry:

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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Time travel for parents with Lifecake


Since Henry was born I've become a bit of a photo junkie. Ok,well, I've always been a bit of a photo junkie - you only need to look through this blog to see I spam you guys with about 100 photos for every blog post - sorry about that.

But since Henry arrived, my photo addiction has definitely gotten worse. To be fair, he is super cute, and as he's gotten older I've definitely been taking more and more photos (some of this may be down to realising I didn't take as many as I would have liked when he was really little, probably due to life adjustments and lack of sleep, so I'm compensating). And like any self-respecting mother I want to share ALL of the photos. However I'm very aware that not everyone on my Facebook friends lists wants to be inundated with photos of Henry. And I have a set criteria for images for my blog, so a lot of them aren't appropriate.

We also live quite far away from both sets of Grandparents, so they only really see him every couple of months, and through photos.

Recently I was contacted by Lifecake to try out their mobile phone app* which is specifically designed for parents. I'll describe the app the way the team does "parents can upload images and videos of their child, creating a seamless timeline of every moment. They can then privately share them with friends and family". Basically this is absolutely perfect for us. And I'm going to tell you why.
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Monday, 12 December 2016

Gingerbread Houses with Friends


I think one of the best things about Christmas has to be the food. Am I right? There's nothing like really good good to get you in the festive spirit.
And the food at Christmas is always so special too. Pigs in blankets, mince pies, chocolate log, Christmas pudding, turkey, candy canes and gingerbread houses.

And I seriously love gingerbread houses. We decorated our own a couple of years back, but as this is the year of starting traditions, it only seemed right to get decorating again.
As Henry is still a little young (OMG next Christmas guys, next Christmas is going to be amazing!!) we decided to have a decorating contest with our friends (and Henry's Godparents) Alice and Arran one Friday night!

Alongside our competition we had Bailey's and Bucks Fizz, pigs in blankets and mince pies of course, to get really Christmassy.

We picked up the houses with lots of decorations and icing from Tesco.
Here's some photos from our evening - we even voted on a fave - but you'll have to wait til the end of the post to see who Twitter crowned as our winner!!

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Sunday, 11 December 2016

6 things I've learnt in six months as a parent


I actually can't believe I'm writing this post.
Well I can, but it's come around so so fast. Every single month when I write Henry's update I can't believe another month has gone by.
It's singularly been the hardest and best six months of my entire life.
I've grown so much as a person and changed so much in these short six months, but bringing my little human into the world has been the best and biggest achievement of my life.

There have most certainly been really really hard days, hard hours, more tears than when Alice in Wonderland tried to drown Wonderland and many a frustrated moment. But there's also been the biggest smiles, smiles that hurt my face and brought happy tears, laughter from an entire room, and the biggest sense of pride.

Every day brings a new challenge and a new adventure, even on the days when we've stayed at home away from the cold. And honestly, I could not imagine my life any other way. Henry, my little boy, the light of my life, has taken my breath away.

So he's to six months, and six things I've learnt in that time.
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Friday, 9 December 2016

Christmas Gold with Cue Camera


On Wednesday, things got a little bit festive.
If you're a local to Southampton you may well have seen the shiny gold mini building that has joined Guildhall Square for December, and contained inside is a little Christmas treat.

Cue Camera is making it's mark on the city, and helping city-goers get in the spirit with their mini photo studio/large scale photobooth. Now I'm a BIG fan of photo booths. I've worked for a booth company and class the owner as a good friend. I also love photos (like you couldn't already tell) and I REALLY love Christmas. So basically this was always going to be a winning combination for me. Throw in a group of bloggers and it's a match made in heaven.

Right, so the Cue Camera pop-up studio is two shipping containers that have been transformed into a photography studio and changing rooms, and kitted out with literally 100's of Christmas costumes (there's a brochure on their website) for everyone in the family, including babies and the dog! Using green screen technology, you get dressed up and throw some shapes, and their professional photographers snap away and create your perfect Christmas card photo. At the end you select your favourite and take it home!

I popped along with the Sotonbloggers for the evening*, which included a lot of laughs, and singing Merry Christmas to the people passing us by!


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Thursday, 8 December 2016

Winter walks are good for the soul


I'm writing up this post (sorry it's going to be scheduled) after we took a little winter walk to the woods. We just got home, and I'm feeling really happy. Like content happy. And I just wanted to share really - and I guess that's kind of the point of blogging isn't it.

So basically we had a Saturday afternoon with zero plans. Absolutely nothing! And because the weather was clear, we decided to take a walk to the woods near our house and get some fresh air. Myself and Henry have been a little bunged up with the start of colds,and have been hiding away for the last couple of days, so I thought a little walk would help clear us up a little and give us something to do - anyone else always fall into arguments if there's no plans for the day?? Maybe that's just us!

So out we went in layers of jumpers, walking boots, and Henry in our Ergobaby on Dann.
And it was nice.
We talked, away from social media, without TV, without distraction. We talked about Dann's TKD, about dinner ideas, plans for Christmas, what we want for the future. We took a shed load of photos too (you'll be seeing them here - ha ha sorry, not sorry). We found a horse and of course went and said hello. Henry took a nap. We found a local pub. We popped to the shop and picked up bits for dinner.

And we came back happy and content.

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Wednesday, 7 December 2016

A card with a difference with Choosey cards


Anyone else in love with this season? I didn't think it was just me.

We're really getting into the festive spirit over here, including present wrapping (I love present wrapping for getting me in the Christmas mood) and card writing. This year, I'm trying to put in more effort into my Christmas cards, especially as they'll be the first ones with Henry included in them. I swear becoming a parent has made me so sentimental!

Anyway, alongside our normal charity box of cards, I've gotten some extra special cards for family members courtesy of Choosey*.
Like many card sites online, you choose from a selection of designs, for different purposes, and then tailor the inside to say what ever you like.
What makes Choosey unique is that you can add an AR video to the inside of your card - and to be honest, it's pretty cool.

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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Christmas Eve box


We're properly getting into the Christmas spirit over at our house, and are loving creating lots of new traditions for our little family. After all, Christmas is all about family and traditions.

One of the things I've seen on Pinterest and Facebook over recent years is Christmas Eve Boxes, and I fell in love with the idea. Of course, having Henry meant I needed to start the tradition straight away.

I love the idea of getting the Christmas joy started as early as possible (in December, I'm not completely insane), we get our decorations out on the 1st December and do little trips out to the local Christmas Markets. We have an advent candle, and next year will do advent calendars too. This year though just made sense to start our Christmas Eve Box, and I thought I'd share how I've done it, and on a budget too.

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Monday, 5 December 2016

Seven good moments of motherhood


Motherhood is damn hard!
I knew it was going to be hard, but I guess I kind of under-estimated it, but, boy it is it worthwhile.

Sometimes it's really easy to get bogged down with all the bad stuff. I mean it's always easy to let the bad times over-rule good things in almost any aspect of life, but combined with sleep deprivation and a steep learning curve, it'seven easier to focus on what isn't right, than what is.

So to help me, and hopefully you, I'm sharing seven good moments from my motherhood so far!


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Saturday, 3 December 2016

Why we're choosing Baby Led Weaning - and what we need!


We're fast approaching six months! Yep that's six months as parents. Henry is nearly six months old!!
And with that, means FOOD!!

I've known from the start that I was going to follow Baby Led Weaning for Henry. Today I'm going to talk about why it is right for us. Now as a little disclaimer, every baby is completely unique, and that is wonderful. And every parent is also completely different. What works for one, may work for another, or it might not. I'm by no means an expert. And I certainly don't want to say that I'm doing everything right (gosh if only - but that is never going to happen). I'm hoping that by sharing our thoughts and feelings I can start a discussion, and maybe help someone else with their research, because it's a decision that all parents have to make, and it isn't always an easy one. Who knew feeding could cause so many dilemmas!! You just got to go with your instinct.

So Baby Led Weaning. What is it? 

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Friday, 2 December 2016

Keeping it spicy with Turtle Bay


Ok so you guys know about my love affair with food right? It's no secret that I love to eat, and to be honest, my waistband thinks I should probably cut back, but hella am I listening when there are so many amazing places to eat in the city, and more coming all the time.

The Cultural Quarter of Southampton is really up and coming, and is really starting to make it's mark, and leading the way is Turtle Bay. In fact Turtle Bay was one of the very first residents to the new Guildhall Square and is a firm favourite of mine, with many a lunch (especially since I've been on maternity leave) spent there. Turtle Bay is the home of spice. jerk, rum and reggae, and embodies a rustic beach style, with authentic grills and one pot meals.

Earlier this week (Wednesday to be completely accurate) we popped along for an evening meal*, our first as a couple almost completely on our own since Henry was born (he was with us for our starters, then Alice, his Godmother popped along and took him off for a walk and a cuddle - not going to lie I felt like I'd lost an arm, and I'm now completely dreading returning to work as I miss him so much, but it was nice to have half a meal without distraction and outside of the house!).
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Thursday, 1 December 2016

Christmas decorating with Homesense

It's December ladies and gents!! That means it's officially the month of Christmas and our house is decorated ready for the festive season!! And I'm so so excited!! 

With this year being Henry's first Christmas we really wanted to set up some family traditions - some of which I'll be blogging about, such as his Christmas Eve box, and visiting the Christmas Markets in Southampton and Winchester. 
But the first is all about decorations. 

I think one of the most magical and exciting things about Christmas is how everyone (well almost) decorates their homes to get in the spirit of Christmas. There's trees, and sparkles, and reds and golds and silvers, santas and elves, and holly and mistletoe. 
I always knew that the moment I had a child I would want Christmas to be their favourite time of year, and that starts with the decorating - and the decorating starts on the 1st December (or on the 30th November so it's ready for the first - in the case of this year... we decorated on the 25th Novemeber because I just could not wait any longer!). 

This year, we're starting our collection properly, and we've had quite a lot of help from Homesense
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