Illustrated Teacup

Family | Lifestyle | Food | Tattoos | Southampton

Friday, 26 May 2017

Thank You Notes #2 - the garden renovation edition

Another month down, and I think this one has been one of the hardest months of the year with the knowledge that it's my last full month at home with my baby boy before I return to work. The weeks are flying by and I'm slightly overwhelmed by the next chapter of our life, but I do know that is the very best for our family.

We've also undertaken the huge task of renovating our garden which I'm not going to lie has been completely transformed in the two years we've been here.


Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Why bedtime is my favourite time of the day - and not for the reason you might think! + a mini nursery tour

I came up with the idea for this post one bedtime and was in a slightly nostalgic and loving mood. By the time I actually got back downstairs from putting Henry down, I was in less of a loving mood with bedtime due to his refusal to actually go to sleep.

However this scenario of bedtime is reasonably rare, and for the most part, our bedtimes are probably my favourite time of the day on a consistent basis - and not because it means kid time has ended and adult time can begin.

No, for us, bedtime is generally a fun and happy experience for the entire family, and ends the day on a high note, which I think is pretty important. Everyone wants to go to sleep happy right?

Monday, 22 May 2017

Eat your heart out at Kungfu Eastleigh

Honestly I can't tell you the last time I went to a buffet restaurant. They have a few, sometimes unfair, associations of not being particularly good food. But I'm here to prove you perhaps a teeny bit wrong about this perception, with a little help from Kungfu Eastleigh*. 

So Eastleigh has always had a tie to our house, as it was were I got my first job when I moved to Hampshire for University. I took a further two jobs in the town centre and have seen its development, though I must admit it has been a while since I was last visiting. In fact the last time was when we registered Henry! 

Anyway, we were invited along to try Kungfu, which is in the old Real China site, but with a refresh. In fact Kungfu has to be one of the prettiest buffet's if not restaurants I've been to. 

Friday, 19 May 2017

Champagne from the top of the Spinnaker Tower

Every so often, something hits my inbox that is so unique and different I get really excited and truly happy that I blog. Such an email came for Sotonbloggers about the new launch of Champagne Sundays at the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth.

As a Southampton gal I have to admit that Portsmouth isn't a city I visit very often, though every time I do I'm reminded that I really need to explore more. And this has alway included one day going up the Spinnaker Tower... and I can now tick that off the old bucketlist!

Along with a few others from the Sotonbloggers gang we went along to the launch night of Champagne Sundays* to sample beautiful British champagne and sparkling wine and take in the amazing views over the sea and Portsmouth coastline.


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Happy Four Years of Wedded Bliss - mostly

Oh hello fresh faced Danny!!
Four years ago today a beardless Dann and a one-sleeved, well, me, tied the knot.

It's been a rollercoaster of  a ride for the last four years with plenty of ups and downs, and the occasional spiral turn too!

All the years of our marriage have been pretty great, if a little bumpy, but I think this last year has been the highlight.


Monday, 15 May 2017

Motherhood: Becoming the Mum I am

You know those people that always knew exactly what they wanted to do with their life, in what order, and when. They knew they were meant to be a nurse, doctor, police man, soldier or teacher. They knew their calling from the days of dress up, or when they picked their GCSEs. They had a plan and a life's calling. They knew if and when they would want a family.

I don't really think I ever had that. I knew I wanted to be successful. And from a young age wanted to travel, and from my early teens I wanted to write. And in the back of all that, I knew I wanted a family. But I never really knew the order, and I never really worked out which I wanted more.... until recently.

Motherhood. It changes a person. It readjusts your priorities. Whether you want it to or not.

For me, it's the silent calling that I would be the person I am. I truly believe I was made to be a mother.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Henry's 11 month update

This is the penultimate update for Henry's first year of life and these updates are just getting harder and harder to write as we get closer to his birthday (how has it been nearly a year!?!?).

I have to admit, I do really love this age, and as he gets older I think I love him a tiny bit more. His personality is honestly shining and I love that about him so much! He's so happy and although he can throw the mother of all tantrums, he is mostly an utter joy to be around and spend time with (not at all making it 100x harder to go back to work).


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Making Fruitsicle Pops with Nuby UK

You know those parents who's kids refuse to eat fruit and veg.
We're becoming those parents.
Fruit isn't the problem, Henry is a pretty big fan of fruit, but veg is slightly problematic at the moment.

Of course we're not pushing the veg too hard, with an 11 month old it just seems pointless. So instead we're focusing our efforts on making sure Henry gets plenty of fruit into his diet, and maybe the odd veggie too.

And we may have found the perfect way to get those all important fruits and veg into our little boy, with a little help from Nuby UK. We've been testing out their Garden Fresh Fruitsicles* maker and it is probably one of the best weaning tools we've used.


Monday, 8 May 2017

Redefining my wardrobe and the issue of the mum tum

A lot changes during and after pregnancy, and one of the biggest (after you know actually producing a child) is the change to your body. I both loved and hated being pregnant, and getting used to a changing body was definitely hard.
Post-baby, I shrunk down reasonably quickly and got back into my pre-pregnancy jeans within a few weeks of giving birth, which I must admit was quite pleasing. However, the weight-loss stalled...


Friday, 5 May 2017

Haddock Linguine from Gousto

Getting new food ideas with a little one can be really hard work, and to be honest, with full time mothering and running a house, plus the prospect of going back to work looming, finding new recipes and dinner ideas is pretty low on the agenda. 

We've always been interested in trying out a food subscription box for meals, so we tried out Gousto* last month, and we've been super impressed with the dishes we tried!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Chickens, dogs and garden fun

Although I'm often very sad that we don't live closer to our families (obviously this was our choice by deciding to stay in Southampton) but I take a lot of solace in the fact we don't live too far away and we can make special memories for our family.

With the Easter break and my sisters wedding, we decided to spend the entire long weekend at Dann's parents house. 
It's fast becoming one of our favourite places, and I just know Henry and any future littles are going to make so many memories here.  

Monday, 1 May 2017

Picnics with Littles and Minene

I always dreamt of picnics in the park with my family, and luckily for me, we live in a city with an abundance of parks.
We're also very much into getting outdoors at the moment and making the most of the beautiful weather we're having recently.

So last weekend we decided to head out for the afternoon and have a little picnic in Palmerston Park in Southampton, one of our favourite spots at the moment. It's filled with pretty flowers and plenty of shady trees, perfect for sitting under and letting Henry have a crawl around. After a quick stop in M&S for supplies we were ready for an afternoon in the sunshine.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Thank You Notes #1 - the Wedding Edition

Anyone else absolutely in love with this month and all the sunshine it's brought with it? Cos I know I am besotted!

So I love a blog series, and one of my absolute favourites is the Little Letters by Love Taza. I love little lists of things (my never ending to-do list is an example of this) so I thought I'd start my own!
I've always been big on Thank You notes, an instilled habit from my mother, and I wanted to create something cute and happy. So the Thank You Notes blog series has come to life.

So here goes... my April Thank You Notes - the Wedding Edition!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza and Pasta

I'm a carbs kind of girl. There's no way around that. It's just a fact. Mashed potato is my go-to comfort food. Pasta is my go-to quick and simple dinner dish. Pizza is my favourite take-away! So yeah, carbs are definitely my friends (though my waistline probably - definitely - disagrees)

Amongst the plethora (oh damn that's a good word) of new restaurants to join us in Southampton is L'Osteria*, which is the home of pizza and pasta.
It's the second one of it's kind for the UK, with the first in Bristol, and we Sotonites (is that a word?) are very happy to welcome them to our sunny city!

Monday, 24 April 2017

Living Room Tour

One of the things I love most about being a home owner is the fact you have free-reign to do whatever you please with your home at any time. 
We're very lucky that we own our three bed house, and we have a lot of space to work with, which is particularly handy with a rampant 10 month old crawling all over the house. 


Friday, 21 April 2017

Lambing Season

So today's post is basically just a bunch of photos from Easter weekend back up in Bucks with Dann's parents, just because I really loved the photos, and I like sharing, especially when it is super super cute - like baby lambs!! 

One of our favourite things to do when we're back in Hambleden is to go along for the dog walk in the afternoons. Henry is obsessed with the dogs, and loves to go out in the carrier. He sits and laughs and chats away happily, plus we get some exercise too.

Being the end of April, the field that we walk through is filled with sheep, and they're on their second set of babies, so there are lambs galore! The morning these were taken, Henry, Dann and his mum had seen a very newborn lamb, so I decided to take along the camera for the afternoon wander.

And thus lamb spam has commenced!


Thursday, 20 April 2017

Prepping for travel with littles

After 10 months we're finally getting used to this travel with kids lark.
With family and friends dotted all over the country we often find ourselves away from home over the weekends and bank holidays. 
So we've spent the last few months fine-tuning our travelling, and most importantly our travel prep.


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Down the Rabbit Hole

Some of you may know, though many won't, that our wedding was loosely themed around Alice in Wonderland and her tea party. The story has held a place in my heart for years, so when I was invited to see Wonderland* at the Mayflower Theatre for it's UK and European premiere production.

Being the Easter half term it was an incredibly timely addition to the cities cultural entertainment, which by the way is getting better and better at the moment.

The story combines Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass in this enchanting musical adaptation. They have changed up the story so the essence of Alice in Wonderland is there, and all the characters, but you have a modern day adult Alice with her daughter Ellie down the rabbit hole.


Tuesday, 18 April 2017

We went to a wedding

Are you guys ready for probably the biggest collection of photos I've ever posted in one blog post? Because you must know me and my photographic love affair means I had real difficulty whittling these down!! (I managed to save some for my upcoming Thank You Notes series)

So Easter Sunday was my little sister's wedding. After seven years together and a year and a half of planning, she tied the knot at Taplow House Hotel, and honestly we had the best day! 

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Tattoo healing with coconut oil

I'm often asked how I go about healing my tattoos, and the simple answer is that I keep it clean and moisturised.
Recently I've seen the rise of coconut oil in the beauty and skincare world, and seen a number of people recommend it as a natural moisturiser for healing tattoos too. Having been given a pot of coconut oil from a friend I decided it was the perfect time to try it out and add it to my tattoo experimentation list.

Previously I've been a cocoa butter fan for healing my tattoos having moved away from the usual Bepanthen some years ago. I changed my healing routine from the recommendation of a tattooist, and this time again, my tattooist said it was a good idea too.


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Henry's 10 month update

This last month has really hit home that my little boy is barely a baby anymore. It feels like so much has changed and he's grown up and become this little person more so than ever before.
I know he's still technically a baby, and he's not a toddler yet, but he seems so big now. Of course this has been amplified about 100x by his Godmother's announcement that she is having her own little bundle of joy, but it's been such a rollercoaster of a month that I think I'd have felt this way no matter what.

Don't get me wrong, I'm loving this age so so much, and it just seems to keep getting better and better (nine month update here) and although I do wish I'd relished those quiet newborn baby days a little more, I am adoring this fun, giggly, cuddly and energetic little minx that I get to spend my everyday with.

So why has this month made such a change?

Monday, 10 April 2017

Easter Homemade Rocky Road

One of the best things about Easter has to be the food - to be fair, the best bit of most holidays is the food.
Yes it is not in the least bit healthy, hello chocolate eggs and hot cross buns, but it is truly yummy. 

I've never really done much baking or cooking for a holiday but I thought I'd start changing that up and making an effort around the holidays, because Henry is growing up so fast so I best get my act together. 
To start things off I thought I'd update my Chocolate Biscuit Cake and make an Easter inspired Rocky Road.

Friday, 7 April 2017

6 things that every tattooed girl knows to be true

Did you know that as soon as you get a big visible tattoo life kinda changes a bit! 
Now I've been extensively tattooed for some time now, like 5 years (I started my right sleeve at 22) so I guess I know a thing or two about living with tattoos now!
As I'm working on bringing more tattooey (is that a word? Yeah sure, let's stick with it!) content to the blog here's xx things that every tattooed girl goes through.


Wednesday, 5 April 2017

The Reading List - Quarter 1

Can you believe we're already a quarter of the way through the year??
Nope me either!

So this year, I've been putting more and more effort into making time to read.
I've always thought of reading as incredibly important, and it can easily be developed in to a habit which is the perfect form of self-education.
I also find reading really helpful to un-winding before bed, and helps to clear my mind of any anxieties of the day! It's like my own kind of therapy. And with so much of my focus spent on the internet and social media, I think it's so important to have something that is away from all that.

So I've been reading more, and checking out loads of great book instagram accounts, and buying copious amounts of books. So that I can really validate all of my book purchases, I'm going to write quarterly updates on everything I've read in the last three months because I love reading book reviews, so I'm going to try my hand! Plus I'm such an over-sharer.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

On a search for blossoms

It's official, I have become that blogger! Yep spring has sprung (sorry for the cliche) and I am fully obsessed with finding the prettiest blossoms I possibly can, whilst they're around. Of course this has not been helped by my change in Instagram theme, and the colour change from my orange theme on this blog to the pink that it is now rocking! (even if I do say so myself!)

So on Saturday we decided to take an impromptu walk to get some fresh air as we had some sunshine for the afternoon that we were not expecting at all.
Of course I grabbed my camera on my way out the door to get some pretty blossoms!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Rockabye Baby : Why I rock my baby

I rock Henry to sleep. Every day. For every nap time.
I rock him when he wakes in the night, and I rock him when he's struggling to sleep before bed.

I rock my baby to sleep, and I'm perfectly OK with it.

Many will say that I'm making life difficult for myself by rocking him to sleep, and not working hard to break him out of the habit. But as with pretty much all aspects of parenting, there isn't exactly a perfect formula for every child.

Friday, 31 March 2017

What Beauty and the Beast can teach our kids

So I saw Beauty and the Beast last week and three words for you.
It was incredible!!

Now I knew I was going to love it from the start as BATB is probably my favourite Disney film of all time, and the live action might just have stolen that top spot because it was utterly perfect.

Being such a fan, I'd seen many reviews of it, the majority of which where hugely positive. But I couldn't be on social media and not see some of the backlash for the film, especially around LaFou's character *spoiler alert* who is in love with Gaston. Josh Gad plays the role beautifully and to be honest, very nearly steals the show with his performance as LaFou.

I debated so much whether I wanted to write this post, but I decided after reading Toby and Roo's post on the same subject that I just had to - thanks again for the inspiration Harriet!
The thing is Beauty and the Beast isn't just magical and beautifully crafted with amazing songs and outfits and actors, it teaches so much.


Thursday, 30 March 2017

Disney-fy your home

OK so it's no secret that I'm a pretty big Disney fan.
No I'm not generally in your face about it, but we have pretty much all of the Disney collection, and I know most of the songs from the films by heart. My favourite film of all time is Beauty and the Beast (and I think the live action may just have edged it out as my new absolute favourite as it is absolutely perfect in every way and I'm completely obsessed!). I'm currently dreaming of Disneyland Paris for my 30th birthday (seriously Dann, please can we do this!?!?). And I have a rather enviable Disney mug collection!

It's always been my intention to have my kids grow up knowing the Disney films as well as I did when I was growing up, and Henry is already on a good track. His current favourites are Zootopia, Tangled, Frozen, and 101 Dalmations! Luckily I love them all too! We also LOVE the Moana soundtrack!

In light of getting a little more Disney in our life, (and until we can get to Disneyland ourselves) we're adding little bits from our favourites into our home decor and life.
Customised By Me lets you bring a little Disney into your life, but with your own little twist as every product can be customised and made more personal.


Wednesday, 29 March 2017

My first Mother's Day

Last Sunday was my first Mother's Day, and it was a good one! 

We didn't really have a plan as such, but knew that as the weather was looking good (hooray for sunny Southampton) that we wanted to get outside and make the most of all the sunshine! 

So after red velvet pancakes in bed (very good by the way) and presents, we went out just before lunchtime. We decided to walk up to the Royal Victoria Country Park so donned our trainers, our rucksack and grabbed some bits for lunch, and off we went. 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Why I switched camera lens & how I use it

If you've been reading this blog for some time, you'll know that I love nothing more than LOADS and loads of photos! Two of my absolute favourite blogs, that I go back to time and time again, both because I adore their content, but also for mega amounts of inspiration, are Love Taza and Barefoot Blonde, and both are HUGE lovers of over-the-top amounts of photos, which fortunately are all utterly amazing too!

Now back in 2015 I invested in a new 50mm lens for my camera in the hopes of upping my photography game! And well in all honesty, I used it a handful of times, and then reverted back to my trusty kit lens.
Fast forward to 2017 and I decided that I'm going to try again and see if I can master this lens and what it's capable of producing! And I'm pleased to say, I'm actually doing it and the results are fab!

Basically this lens is fabulous for people photos, and as that is kind of 90% of my photography, it's a match made in heaven.


Monday, 27 March 2017

The first spring blossoms

Spring Blossoms Southampton
Get ready for some spring time photo spam...
So at the weekend we took the opportunity of finally getting some sunshine and took a trip into the city. 
We stopped off for pancakes - because this entire household loves pancakes - and then took a walk. 
One of the things I absolutely adore about this city is the amount of green space. We have half a dozen parks all connecting to each other and as you walk through them you forget that you're actually in the middle of a busy city centre. 

We stopped off for a bit in the sun under these gorgeous blossom and magnolia trees (anyone else obsessed with magnolia trees too, cos I am LOVING them!) and grabbed the camera to capture probably some of my absolute favourite photos!! Now I just need to remember to get a photo of the three of us together!!  

Sunday, 26 March 2017

A letter from this mama

My first ever Mother's Day...
And on this day I've decided to write to you, all the mothers, mums-to-be, the women who want to be a mama one day, the daddy playing at being mummy, anyone and everyone that cares for and loves a little human, big human or chunky human (mine's definitely the latter)


Friday, 24 March 2017

My 15 minute lazy pasta dinner

Do you know what I really love? Really good comfort food. There's something to be said for carbs and their ability to make us feel full and comfy and cosy inside. These dishes are of particular importance during times of need or when requiring cheering up.

Today I thought I'd share one of my favourite comfort foods, which also happens to be a super fast dish perfect for the lazy cook. We usually save this for evenings when we're super busy, or returning from a trip (the homesickness gets very real, and this helps quite a lot). 

It isn't pretty really, but damn is it warming and loved.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

We didn't go out today

We didn't go out today... or the day before if I'm totally honest.
We didn't get dressed, and we never even planned to.
I wore no make-up and didn't brush my hair.
We didn't leave the house once.

And sometimes that is perfectly OK, even when your baby is a bit older.

The thing is, with the weather like it is in not-so-sunny England, it's hardly difficult to think, that there are going to be quite a few stay-at-home days, especially when you don't have a car during the week (and frankly even if I did I'd probably hate it because this girl HATES driving!).

You often see these mums on the internet that really do have their shit together, and are out and about every single day,and every type of baby group you can imagine, having coffee dates with other mums and basically nailing mum life and maternity leave.

I don't do this.

Monday, 20 March 2017

What's in my changing bag - Edition 2 - 9 months+

I always knew babies came with a lot of stuff, but I was never really prepared properly until Henry arrived. Our hospital bags were filled to bursting just to see us through the delivery and bringing him home. Our newborn changing bag was also filled with odds and ends from the start.

Now some 8ish months on, we're a little more clued up on what we do and do not need on an outing, and Henry's needs have definitely changed, so I thought I'd write the "what's in my changing bag, edition 2". I've put this as 9 months plus, but really I think we've had this set up from about six months when we started Baby Led Weaning.

Friday, 17 March 2017

My baby doesn't sleep through... and why we co-sleep

All the books/google suggest that babies will sleep through the night before the age of six months. Some even from three months old.
My baby does not sleep through the night... at all. Not ever! And he is nine months old.

The thing is, I'm kind of OK with it.
Sure I miss a full nights sleep (OK I a lot miss a full nights sleep).
Sure I do sometimes wish I didn't get woken at night, and on particularly rough nights (thanks teething) I'm practically praying for him to stay in his bed for the night.

BUT I know this won't last forever.


Thursday, 16 March 2017

Date nights for parents

Being a parent means foregoing quite a few things in favour of your little ones. Hot meals. Hot cups of tea (I miss them the most I think). Using the bathroom in piece. Having clean clothes for an entire day. Eating alone. Going out alone. And going out as a couple alone... well we've gone 8.5 months without going out alone.
It's a sacrifice we were of course willing to make, but man do I miss a good old date night.

We're now at a stage where we feel Henry is in a good enough place with his night time routine that we can leave him with someone else (hoorah!) so that's what we did. Henry's Godparents kindly took over the ropes for the night and allowed us to go out for our very first date night as parents.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Henry's nine month update

Oh my goodness I really can't believe we're at nine months! I no longer feel like I can say I'm a new mum, or that I have a tiny baby, because he's been outside in the real world for longer than he was inside. He's now 39 weeks old (39+2 to be accurate) and he was born at 38 weeks + 6 days! It's hard to get my head around. I felt like I was pregnant FOREVER, waiting and waiting to meet this tiny human, and now he's here, the time is flying by. He's not a defenceless little baby anymore but a bouncing, climbing, standing and babbling little lad who is growing into the most wonderful human being that I could ever have wished for (soppy mum moment over...... maybe).

So yeah, nine months old. Nine months and two days.... and wow has it been so much fun.

So what's new?

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Becoming a Conscious Parent

The world of parenting comes with decisions. Oh so many decisions.
To breastfeed, or bottle feed?
Baby Led Weaning or Traditional Weaning?
Organic Cotton or Normal Cotton?
Baby Wearing or in a pushchair?
Disposable nappies or cloth nappies?

None of them wrong, all of them right.
Today's post is about nappies. Honestly a topic I never really thought I'd ever blog about, but I love a good debate, a little education and trying new things.


Friday, 10 March 2017

Embroidery Love Affair

Something I've noticed as I get ever closer to 30 and move further away from my early twenties is how often fashion is re-visited. I can't be the only late twenty-something that has noticed that half of New Look resembles their teenage wardrobe, and the nostalgia is more than welcome.

We've seen the of chokers in full force, some of which are the plastic kind, and the other are the upgraded velvet cuties. Midi skirts are also making a huge comeback, one that I am loving, possibly a little too much. And then my favourite of all the returned childhood and teen trends - embroidery! *heart eyes*

I'm a little obsessed with everything embroidered at the moment, and luckily (or unluckily if you're my bank balance) it appears to be everywhere too, which I'm a-okay with (sorry again bank balance).


Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed Recipe

Right so it's my first Mother's Day at the end of the month, and to say I'm excited would be an understatement! We didn't do anything last year whilst I was pregnant, as for me it just didn't feel right.

Anyway this year,since becoming a mother myself, I've really realised how important our mums really are (yep, I'm super important don't you know!). I know for a lot of people Mother's Day can be really hard, and in some respects it is for us. We don't live too close to our family, so seeing them on Mother's Day isn't hugely logistical and remind me that, like my mum, I'm basically doing this motherhood on my own (of course credit to Dann where it's due).

So to celebrate Mother's Day, and hopefully get you inspired, with Blind's Hut* I've put together a little recipe post (and back story) for the perfect alternative Mother's Day Breakfast in Bed!


Monday, 6 March 2017

Seven mum and baby essentials

Having been in this game for 9 months now (where did the time go?!) I feel like I'm in a reasonably good place to give some friendly mama advice.
We've been pretty lucky that most stuff we've bought or been given has been useful, or at least used, with very little being a waste of money (thank goodness as babies can be sooooo expensive).

As a little disclaimer, I'm of course working from what worked for us, and this is definitely not the be all and the end all. Just a few things that I think really helped us, and honestly, most mums should probably try if they can.

Now you're obviously going to need the basics, such as a travel system/pushchair, car seat (you need that as a minimum to get baby home from the hospital!), a place for them to sleep, and clothes, nappies etc. This list is the little bits and pieces.


Saturday, 4 March 2017

What's Inside: February Degustabox

It's a new month, which means a brand new Degustabox* delivery. The foodie highlight to my month. 
This month was a good'un with lots of brands, new and old, and a real mix of healthy foods and naughty treats.

So without further ado....
(there's a money off code at the end of this post just FYI!)

Thursday, 2 March 2017

City Walls and Polka Dots

Aside from the food,one of the things I love about my fair city is the mix of old and new.
In amongst the huge building and new complexes, lies the city walls, weaving their way through the city and break out to inject a sense of history.

They also make for really great outfit photo locations! Double win!

When we went out for lunch for Dann's birthday last week I decided to take out my new Metisu dress for a little show off, and of course get some OOTD photos against the city walls. Of course, as is always the way with Southampton, it was windy AF but I was utterly determined to get these photos, and actually I think they show just how floaty and fun this dress is.


Monday, 27 February 2017

Cabana | Rio Street food in Southampton

Illustrated Teacup is certainly becoming the home of Southampton food at the moment, and I really kind of love it. Mostly because it means that my fair city is gathering an enviable collection of great food places, and I'll happily try them all!

Last week, myself, Dann and Henry had a Monday lunch to ourselves (annual leave for the win!) so wanted to try out somewhere new and a bit different. This came in the form of Cabana and their amazing Rio inspired street food! Now hold onto your sombreros for a post filled with food and many, many pretty photos... because Cabana is basically the best place ever for photos!

Having never really eaten Brasilian food we knew this would be a bit of an education for us, but we love anything a bit out of the norm, and a bit of spice is always a hit with Dann.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Water Baby

Henry's been a little water baby since he was tiny - he is the biggest fan ever of bath time (read my essentials bathtime post, and our bedtime routine here.) and loves nothing more than splashing about.

I'm also a huge water fan. I love the sea, being by the river, and being in the pool. I find it relaxing and calming, and think it is the best kind of exercise you can get. 

Thursday, 23 February 2017

A little help from our....

local handyman!!
I bet you didn't see that coming.
Yes it took me an age to come up with that blog title. And yes, it will likely not help at all with this blog post explanation, or rank me well for SEO but hell, I kind like it.

Anyway, we've been thinking a lot about the final bits and pieces for our house. Maybe it's because Spring is getting thankfully closer, or maybe it's because Henry is on the move (OMG is he on the move) and I want the house sorted before we completely run out of time and hands!

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Happy Birthday to my love

So today my love celebrates his birthday!  This is our ninth celebrated together which is kind of astounding in itself! 

Nine years of birthdays and seeing you grow into my favourite human on the planet (we celebrated nine years together three days ago too!)


Sunday, 19 February 2017

Chocolate delights for weekends at home

Yay for Sunday's am I right? Ok so I'm writing this post on a Monday on the signature Monday low from a lovely weekend with my boys, and right now while you're reading this I'm back in Bucks with Dann's family ahead of his birthday on Tuesday, but hey, let's celebrate Sunday! 

One of my absolute favourite things to do on a Sunday daytime is bake. I find baking totally relaxing and it's nice to have some yummy treats for the week too. My go-to recipes are the brownies from this 3 ingredient recipe post, or my favourite banana loaf (also if you're looking for the perfect meal outside of the usual Sunday roast, check out this Lamb recipe). 

However a couple of weekends back I thought I'd try something new from one of my many recipe books, The Big Book of Baking. As a fan of GBBO the book is a great one, though I always get a little nervous about the recipes as they are always more skilled cooks than I am. To ease me in gently, I tried the Very Quick Cupcakes.

What I love about the cupcake recipe is that is made with just your general store cupboard items, bits that pretty much all bakers, and to be honest most kitchens, will have in at all times. 

Friday, 17 February 2017

Loving you - JORD watches

Tomorrow is mine and Dann's nine year anniversary! Nine whole years as a couple! (We celebrate four years of marriage in May FYI). 
I always like marking the big occasions in our life on this blog as it's sort of like my personal online photo diary. I also know that Dann reads all my blog posts, so I can write something super cute and if I've forgotten a card (sorry, again) I'm kind of covered! Does it get more romantic than a specially dedicated blog post? I think not!

We've learnt an awful lot in the last nine years, not only about each other, but about life in general. Having a child together has probably been the biggest trial of our lives (anyone who thinks having a child will save your marriage is so far wrong they may as well be on the moon) but also the absolute best thing to happen to us too.

The thing about love, and the thing I think is most amazing about it, is it ever changing. Some days you're totally smitten, and other (more tired, anxious or stressful) days it takes a back burner. It develops as each of you develop as a person, and I think that's kind of special. 
Neither of us are exactly the way we were nine years ago. Think 100 hair style changes, more body fat (for us both) more tattoos, better style, less sleep, more stuff, less shoes (me), more shoes (Dann).We've gone through heartbreak together, redundancy, job changes, four homes together, collected debt together, been on holiday and had the absolute best days together. 

I couldn't have given birth without him, I couldn't bring up our son without him (and I know that's vice versa too, ha ha) and I would not be happy without him. It's been a nine year rollercoaster of a ride, and for two people that don't even like rollercoasters, we're not even slightly ready to get off!
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