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20140725_162903“A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week, in 2014″

W: We had a lovely afternoon by the river (I jumped off a bridge which was fun), followed by an evening with cousins. Winston was rolling around on the trampoline and I love how still he is in this one.

R: The week before last Rufus couldn’t drag himself along the floor – now he is. Last week he couldn’t sit up and now he can. I love watching the determination in his face as he masters new things. He’s getting much faster at dragging himself (something Winston never did), so his ability to sit up has come at a welcome time – a way of keeping him still in times of need. Yes that is grass on his chin!

E xx

Floral arrangements

I’ve been experimenting with flowers this week – not purposely. Winston and I have spent a lot of time in the garden and the hydrangea bushes reminded me that my new book Inspire has a hydrangea garland in it. We enjoyed putting it together and it was surprisingly easy. You need string, wire, scissors and various flowers and foliage – whatever your garden has on offer. You simply lay all the plants out in a long sausage and attach them to string with wire, then hang.

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I’m sad to say that it didn’t last long at all in the blazing sun. The lavender and rosemary are still going strong though.

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On Friday night I enjoyed attending Ladies Night at The Fox and the Magpie. Jam, cream and scones mixed with flower arranging. Our tutor Sarah was brilliant – so passionate, wonderfully creative and the epitome of down to earth. I felt so inspired by her love of flowers. The atmosphere was relaxed and fun, but it was hard not to obsess (at times) about which flower should go where. I can name a few more flowers now – it’s a start!

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I put together two arrangements – one round and one forward facing. By the time I got around to my second, the choice of flowers was quite limited but it meant I could experiment with foliage. I absolutely love the grass.

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I had a look in my garden today and came up with this creation. It’s making me so happy already. I probably don’t have time for a new hobby but I can feel one coming on.

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E xx

On turning 27

I turned 27 over the weekend – safe to say, I’m firmly on the wrong side of my 20s. I am starting to look older than I feel inside. Mentally I’m stuck somewhere between the ages of 20-23 years – although my taste in music hasn’t changed much since I was about 17. Can you tell I’ve been thinking about it too much?

My actual birthday was spent at my in laws. It’s always quite strange spending a birthday in a different place with different people, and I never want people to feel like they need to make a fuss.

Jared booked a B&B in Windermere for Sunday night and then we spent Monday in the glorious sunshine, enjoying everything Windermere had to offer. We started with a trip to Stott Park Bobbin Mill then made our way to the lake for a boat ride, fish, chips and ice-cream.

miss selfridge gingham jeans Jeans: Miss Selfridge Tee: H&M Sandals: Office Bag: Holiday special

I received lots of lovely things for my birthday including a ski session at the indoor slope a few miles from our house, a book, a photograph, a necklace, some postcards, a magazine subscription and a few bits of clothing. Jared now completely understands my taste and he’s good at choosing things that I wouldn’t normally buy (including the trousers I’m wearing above). I wasn’t sure when I first saw them, but now I’m in love with them. He also bought me a real leather pencil skirt which I love, and now need to work out how to style.

We are members of English Heritage which runs out at the end of July. We are desperately trying to squidge in as many last minute viewings as possible. Stott Park Bobbin Mill isn’t far from Windermere, beautifully kept and a real treasure. I had no idea how big the bobbin industry had been in England. 67 mills just making bobbins! We managed to catch a guided tour and it was fantastic. Everything about it was so real and untouched. The machinery still works so they were able to give us a few demos. I will never look at a bobbin in the same way again! I was quite blown away with it all.

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stott park bobbin mill

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After Jared, Rufus and I had finished at the mill we headed to the lake to meet Winston, grandparents and cousins. We started with fish and chips then decided a boat ride was next on the agenda. We had such fun. Jared and I had five children with us, including a baby. It was absolute madness and I could not stop laughing. The sun was beating down and every bit of wind welcome.

It was a perfect day in every way!

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E xx

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 strawberry picking farmer copleys20140718_074448“A portrait of my boys, once a week, every week, in 2014″.

W: I took Winston and Rufus strawberry picking earlier in the week (although R just slept in the baby carrier). We are quite late in the season; making the strawberries harder to find, but I think it made it more fun. W enjoyed it once I finally prised him (kicking and screaming) from a vintage tractor they have near the entrance – no easy task. When I put a strawberry in the punnet he said: “Thanks Mum” and when I showed him a new find he would say: “Fantastic Mummy”. Aside from the tractor incident (!) I felt that we had such a special time together, doing something so simple.

R: This cheeky guy is on the move this week – maybe it’s the food? Ha. He’s a bit crazy to be honest. He can confidently and quickly roll over and drags himself along the floor to get toys. Winston is having to learn sooner than expected to share. Ru hones in on something and goes for it. I’ve heard Winston saying to him: “I’m going to have to move you now, Rufie Ru”…along with some not so pleasant shouting. I feel like things are changing too fast – I was enjoying the stage we are at.

E xx

Why I hate weaning.

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Rufus hit the 6 month mark last weekend. Weaning has been in the back of my mind for a while, but I didn’t want to start properly until I’d had a little refresher session using my usual books and websites. I probably sound slightly crazy.

The truth is – I hate weaning for two reasons. Firstly, it is so messy, unbelievably messy (particularly when they start to self feed) and secondly because now I have to take extra clobber with me when I leave the house. It is great having the only food your baby needs on your body – it’s one less thing to think about. Now I have to think about bibs, spoons, bowls, jars, snacks…the list goes on.

We were so excited for Winston to start on solids when the time came – Jared and I decided the date and made sure we were set up to video the whole event. We were bursting with excitement and fully expected him to wolf the whole lot down. It was the biggest anticlimax ever. He started gagging, doing a strange quivery dance and he didn’t swallow a thing. On the video all you can hear is me saying: “I think we’re about to kill our child on camera”, “Do you think he’s ok?”, “Stop filming!”…over and over. Hardly ideal. Then a few hours later we could not stop laughing at how ridiculous our expectations had been. Why would a baby suddenly know how to swallow when all they had ever known was milk? I look back on that moment of naivety with great fondness.

Over the past week or so Rufus has tried bits and bobs such as strawberries, blueberries, nectarines, corn on the cob, sweet potato, avocado and banana. I started him properly a few days ago and he seems to be enjoying himself. He’s eaten everything he’s tried so far and he’s much better than Winston was at swallowing (sorry W).

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I don’t subscribe to stage feeding or baby lead weaning. It comes down to confidence and practicality, so I do a bit of both. I have mixed feelings about Gina Ford, but I do follow her timings for when to introduce meals to encourage them to sleep through the night, which means breakfast is not introduced until later. Winston slept through from 7 months once he was established on a couple of meals a day. Is eight hours sleep too much to ask? I have high hopes if you’re reading Ru.

I make a huge batch of pureed veg to put in the freezer (so I know he’s getting some nourishment) but then let him munch on bits of fruit and veg here and there. I keep the veg slightly lumpy, add herbs and then add some olive oil for a bit of healthy fat. They look very unappealing I know. And even less appealing when you’re cleaning it from the floor. I might have overdone it with the cabbage greens, but they were on offer so it was rude not to.

Weaning recipes for baby

Recipes

1. Sweet potato, cabbage greens, carrot, mint, olive oil and black pepper.

2. Sweet potato, courgette, cabbage greens, mangetout, coriander and black pepper.

3. Carrot, peas, cabbage greens, spinach, olive oil and rosemary.

4. Swede, carrot, parsnip, olive oil, rosemary and black pepper.

first baby foods

I’m going to leave it a while before introducing any wheat based products and a couple more weeks to introduce protein. This is my plan for now anyway. I feel so out of practice, so it could be all change.

How exciting must it be to discover so many new tastes and textures?

E xx