Friday, 4 December 2009

Just a quick note...

...because I am serious about blogging again and it's been more than a week.
The thing is, I'm currently in Melbourne. We booked on Tuesday and flew down on Wednesday. The main purpose of our visit is that my little sister was in the final of a singer/songwriter contest here on Wednesday night. Graeme came just for 24 hours or so, but Lily and I are here until Sunday.
So, if you're in Melbourne or know it well and have any recommendations for what we must see, I'd love to hear them. Otherwise, I'll let you know what we've been up to when we're back in Sydney.

Read More......

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Six Months have passed...

So much has happened, so much to talk about...

And yet, I don't want to spend so much time dwelling on what's been and trying to catch up that I don't get a chance to do and be in the now. Was that too profound for my first post back? Or too muddle-headed because I am feeling a bit daunted about attempting to launch back into blogging regularly?
Either way, I've been seriously thinking for the last few weeks that I need to get back into this whole blogging thing, both in writing for myself and interacting with other blogs. Then, this morning, I found myself leaving comments on some blogs (also the first time in ages) and felt a little embarrassed putting my website down when it was so outdated, so here I am.
So, what's been happening? I'm going to limit myself to 5 bulletpoints with no more than 2 sentences each...
  • We're living with my parents while we build a house in a new suburb in south-west Sydney. Luckily, 3 years in London means we are used to not having enough space for all the things we wish we could do...
  • I've recently realised why knitting was such a great hobby in London - it is the one (and possibly only) thing for which the British weather is perfect. Also, the knitting projects you should take on here are very different, especially if you want to get any actual use out of them.
  • Lily is great. She's 17 months old now and is able to throw tantrums and make ridiculous demands with the best of them, but 95% of the time she is funny and cute and friendly and helpful and smart and clearly turns me into one of those people who gush about how amazing their kid is.
  • My social life already seems to revolve around my kid's activities, which isn't such a terrible thing, except the fact that she was born overseas and therefore, I don't belong to a 'mothers group', since they seem to be formed around a group of newborns and consequently, I'm finding it hard to 'fit in'. It doesn't help that I'm not raising my kid according to mainstream society's 'rules'.
  • As if I need more crafty pursuits, I've taken up quilting. Of course, I haven't actually finished one yet, but this one will eventually be Lily's:

If you haven't heard from me again a week from now, feel free to leave a comment and tell me to get my butt in gear.


Read More......

Thursday, 28 May 2009

big sigh

Our house is almost empty.
This morning, two men came and packed most of our belongings into boxes and took them away.
In order for them to be able to do that, we have spent a good part of the last 3 weeks going through all our stuff and deciding whether we wanted to keep it and, if we did, whether we needed to take it with us or could live without it for 3 months.
I am quite happy to say that we took 5 big garbage bags full of clothes and linens to a charity shop and that we have a massive pile of stuff that friends are going to take and use.

I have a bunch of things I want to do before we leave the UK next week, but right now, all I want to do is sit on the couch, listen to some music and knit. And that's just what I'll do.

Read More......

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Uh, yeah

Sorry about that. I didn't mean to only post once in the whole of April. But, unless this blog is your only point of contact with me, you will know that life is very busy here, what with planning our big move back to Australia and all (so not ready for the movers to turn up in 3 weeks - they'll pack for us, but we have to have the place sorted enough that we can point out what to pack and what to leave). Anyway, because I am supposed to be sorting, packing, getting rid of stuff that's not coming, etc, I have, of course, spent the day doing things like writing blog posts and updating ravelry... oh, and playing with, feeding, changing, encouraging naptime to, a little being that seems to have suddenly turned into a toddler.

OK, more ravelry updating to do and then I should be back to show you some of the stuff I've been working on...

Read More......

Monday, 6 April 2009

Sunday Update

Oops, didn't mean to go a full 4 weeks without updating... Although, we haven't actually been at home on a Sunday since I last posted - last week we were in Switzerland, the week before in Belgium and the week before that we spent the whole day with friends who are headed back to the USA very soon.

And, there's plenty going on here, but lots of it I can't/won't write about on a publicly viewable website. In fact, I'm struggling to decide what I should say right now. Probably shouldn't have left this so late in the day to write. Here are some highlights of the last few weeks:

- Lily and I went along to a craft show and helped out on the Learn to Knit stand. OK, I helped teach some people to knit, Lily just acted all cute and drew in the crowd :) It was a great day and definitely something I would volunteer to do again. The rest of the craft show wasn't too exciting, although I did manage to spend a bit of money on some bits and pieces, including 10 skeins of Mirasol Hacho wool that was too big a bargain to pass up, even if it did break my rule of only buying yarn if I know what I am going to knit from it.

- Spring has sprung and we've been spending more time outdoors. Lily loves the swings at the local park. She also chats back at nature when the birds are singing or the wind is blowing. I've taken lots of photos of her surrounded by spring plants, especially daffodils - I love daffodils.

- As I said, we spent literally a full day with friends a few weeks ago. We met up at Church in the morning, grabbed some lunch to go, made our way to Kew Gardens where we picnicked then had a wander around, caught an over-crowded bus (there was rail trackwork, so replacement buses, and traffic jams) to Chiswick and had dinner all together. They go back to the USA soon, victims of this 'credit crunch' thing whose placement in the UK has been deemed too expensive.

- Lily has discovered the wonders of animals. She patted a dog in the park last week and today we took her to Kew where they have a petting farm over the Easter holidays. Photos will (should) be on her website soon.

- There's a massive post over at our website about our trip to Switzerland last weekend. If you really need more to read, go there.

Read More......

Monday, 9 March 2009

sunday update

This week was all about the babies. OK, so most every day for me is all about the baby, but we spent a lot of time with other babies (and toddlers) as well.

Tuesday and Thursday both saw us checking out a local playgroup - well, I would call it a playgroup, but here they seem to use that term for what I would call pre-school... Anyway, this place is basically an open-house in a church basement for parents/carers and their under-5s, although there didn't seem to be many kids over 3 - probably because they send them off to school at that age here. They have a cafe, a bunch of play equipment, a separate area for the non-walkers to play in without getting trampled, plus a second-hand shop. Apparently there are also other activities in some of the separated rooms, but I wasn't able to get clear information on them. The best way to sum up my experience of it so far is that it's one of those things that's a really great idea, but doesn't quite live up to potential. But hey, Lily had heaps of fun playing with the other babies and some different toys and I got to chat to some other mums, so it's a perfectly worthwhile way to spend one morning a week (we went twice this week because I was told that there was different stuff on on the different days - either that was misinformation, or [more likely] there just wasn't any indication of what different stuff was happening).

Afterwards on Tuesday, we went to Westfield to have lunch and do some shopping. I don't think I've mentioned how excited I was when Westfield opened. It's not even about the shopping. It's all about the familiarity of not just the Westfield brand, but the big open layout, the decent toilet/babychange facilities, the presence of a food court - it's like the shopping centres I'm used to back home, which is not at all common here. On Tuesday, we probably spent about 3 hours there and all I bought was lunch, though I did make some notes about possible gifts for Lily's first birthday...

On Friday, after our usual library visit and snack with friends, we went to one of the posher local high streets, to seek out something in the art supply shops and also to scour the charity shops - if you're going to look in second-hand shops, I always recommend the most affluent bit of town, because that's where you find the quality stuff, although I didn't get anything this time. We did buy some cheap books from the discount bookstore though and I was thrilled when we got home and Lily just wanted to play with and look at her new books and not eat them.

Yesterday, Lily got her first pair of proper shoes, as in shoes that have soles suitable for walking on (but soft ones, since her little feet are still working out their place in the world). Unsurprisingly, they were fairly huge for her age and we had to go up half a size in length in order to get ones that were wide enough for her giant wide, pudgy feet - as in, the H width still wasn't quite wide enough in size 4, so we went up to a 4.5H. There are no cheap shoes in Lily's foreseeable future, since they just don't make them wide enough. Again, this doesn't really come as a surprise - my feet are still too long and wide to buy many brands of shoes. Or, more accurately, non-brands... it's the brand-name ones that tend to actually come in suitable sizes and therefore cost the money. Oh well, 'quality over quantity' seems to be becoming a stronger mantra for me every day.

Today, we had a small insight into why we are so tired - not only have we all had a cold, which makes breathing and therefore sleeping quite tricky for the smallest member of our family, in turn making sleeping a luxury for us, but we discovered this afternoon that she's broken another tooth.

On the crafty front, I am almost finished a knitted dress for Lily, am about a third of the way through a crocheted pram blanket (for which I bought the yarn before she was even born, but which I kept starting a pattern and then changing my mind) and am completely stalled on my February Lady sweater (a cardigan for me) because I have got to the end of the yoke and am somehow a stitch short and can't decide where or how I want to fix it (especially since I can't work out where or how it happened). The biggest problem is that no matter how many great toys Lily has, as soon as I pull something out to work on, that becomes the most interesting thing in the room (books, computers and tv remotes included) so I am finding it very difficult to accomplish much of anything.

Seems Lily has woken up for a feed and it won't be Sunday much longer... so, how was your week?

Read More......

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Sunday (came and went) Update

Gee, what did I even do last week???

Actually, not a lot.

Friday we went to the library as usual. Lily was determined to be centre stage and steal everyone's attention by bouncing, chatting and giggling - the fact that she's already adorable anyway and had her hair in pigtails probably explains the number of compliments she got. I had a very strange conversation with a woman who seemed convinced that I would never be able to wean Lily because I didn't stop breastfeeding her as soon as she was 6 months old... politely disagreed with her, but couldn't convince her that it would be ok... had a good laugh about it later, once I got over the initial 'what the?'.
We then went and hung out at one of our friend's houses and ended up staying there all day, joined later by Graeme for dinner. It was a really great day but definitely highlighted for me one of the problems with this whole 'move overseas for a few years' thing - when we left Australia, it was hard to say goodbye to our family and friends, even though we knew we'd be back - how hard then will it be to say goodbye when we leave here, without plans to ever return? I guess I've always had that fear at the back of my mind and it might be why we haven't been as social as we usually are... I don't really know where I'm going with this train of thought, but I'm going to leave it out there.

Saturday we went to Kew and had a picnic lunch. The spring flowers are starting to bloom and it's really nice - we'll definitely be making the most of our membership over the next couple months.

Really, that's about all we got up to. I've actually done more already this week but I'll save that for my next update, since I have other things I need to do right now, in that precious time between Lily's bedtime and my own.

Question (prompted by the weird conversation I mentioned): If you breastfed (especially past 6 months) how did you respond to people who thought you were weird? Is it too rude to tell them I think they're the weird ones?

Read More......

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Baby Surprise Jacket

This is one of those famous knitting projects that has been made and blogged about thousands of times. It's a little jacket that is knit all in one piece. When you first finish, it looks like this:

Then you fold it once...

...and fold it again...

... sew two seams (and weave in the ends - my least favourite part) and you have an adorable little jacket, which is even more adorable when modelled by Lily.

This was a pretty easy knit once you get into it and I love that the pattern has you knit in some butt ease, so it fits nicely over Lily's cloth nappies.
Ravelry details here

Read More......

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

(yesterday was) Sunday Update

I didn't get around to writing this yesterday and almost missed writing it today as well. I've had one of those weeks where you feel like you never stop, but then you look back and can't quite work out what you achieved...

We all caught a minor bug early last week - nothing major, but it was enough to keep Graeme home for a day and Lily and I housebound for a couple more. Kind of felt like the flu, but like a really wussy strain of it that was pretty easily defeated.

We went for a trip to Kingston-on-Thames on Saturday (there's good shopping and nice restaurants there) and had planned to stop off at Kew on the way home, but there was something crazy and infuriating going on with the buses and it took a ridiculous amount of time to get between Kingston and Kew, so we decided to keep going home.

We missed church on Sunday because we suddenly realised at 10.05 that it was, in fact, 10.05am and there was no way we were ready enough to get sorted, out the door and to the church anywhere near to on time (10.30). It was nice to spend the whole day at home and we were actually quite productive - got some cleaning and other unexciting but necessary house things done.

I finally finished one of my many projects that had been sitting, almost finished, for a while. But that's another post (hopefully tomorrow - I need to head to bed soon, to be sure I get enough sleep before Lily decides to wake up, since that's been very unpredictable lately).

Read More......

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Lily's a Superstar

I've written up my first couple of reviews for Frugi. The kimono bodies are something that we finally bought when we realised that even the 12 months size bodysuits we had were getting tight on Lily - she's in the 6-12 months of these and still has plenty of growing room.

The romper (that's the link you want to see Lily) was something that I thought was adorable, but may not have bought myself. It was sent to us to review and has me wondering if we should get more rompers.

Yeah, if you follow Lily's blog and/or are friends with me on facebook (add me if we're not - search for my kateandgraeme email address) you've probably already seen these photos, but I don't care :)

I know, I owe you some better updates than that - it's almost the weekend so I should get a chance to have more than 5 minutes sans-baby.

Read More......

Monday, 16 February 2009

Sunday Update

I have meant to update more over the last week. In fact, I have several things in various stages of completion that are destined for the blog, I've just had a hard time finishing and editing to the point where I'm happy to post. Hopefully I'll get them up over the next week. In the meantime, here's the interesting things we did this week...

On Monday, we walked (well, I walked, Lily rode in the stroller) to the Royal Mail depot to collect a package that they'd tried to deliver while we were away. I ended up getting drenched (Lily was nice and dry under the stroller's raincover) but it was worth it because the package was my first taste of Frugi's new range - 2 adorable new items for us to try out and review. They're both currently drying on the airer after their second wash, the first wash being Monday afternoon - I compulsively wash things before they're worn. The reviews are two of the many part-written bits sitting on my computer, but I want to road-test them at least once more before submitting the reviews. So that I don't have to mention Frugi again this post (I don't want you to get so sick of hearing about them that it turns you off because that would be a loss for you) I'll also say that I got their new catalogue on Saturday and it is beautiful, like a little magazine with articles about the cotton and stuff, plus, of course a whole bunch of adorable clothes that you end up wanting one of everything. I also got some extra catalogues and some little flyers with a discount on them and am looking forward to passing them out when people say how adorable Lily is (because they always do :D).

Friday is Lily and my going out day. Even if we're confined to the house every other day of the week, I make an effort on Fridays. We start off the morning at 'Baby Bounce n Rhyme' at the local library and usually spend at least an extra half hour there, playing with other babies and chatting to their mums, reading books, taking advantage of the carpet to perfect our crawling since we have slippy wooden floors at home... OK, that last one is just Lily. Then we usually move on from the library (or, on the odd occasion, just across the library to their cafe) with at least one other Mum and her kid/s. We also often do some shopping, mostly of the window kind - I do the shopping while Lily has a nap in her stroller. This Friday, we had such a good day out, including eating at a proper restaurant for lunch, just the two of us, we didn't get home until about 4pm... and then completely crashed out.

We (that's a Graeme and I 'we', this time) never really celebrate Valentine's Day, but we did end up going out for a nice lunch and some shopping yesterday - we bought Lily a present, if that counts (not actually because it was Valentine's Day, though, just because we saw a toy we knew she'd love for less than half price). That was, of course, after our first lie-in in weeks that included a skype call with Lily's Nana.

So, what did you do this week?

Read More......

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Pay It Forward

Almost exactly a year ago, Leonie made this post on her blog (go read it, it's a great story, I'll wait, plus, it'll basically explain this post for me)

All done?

So, around Christmas time, I received an amazing package containing some of Leonie's artwork, which I have always loved and plan to buy some of to decorate our future home when we get back to Australia. I've been slack about getting this post up because I wanted to have some photos to show and only just got around to taking them today when Lily drew my attention to the package which had been accidentally pushed under the coffee table, but which she, in her grab-at-everything phase, pulled back out.

Two beautiful prints:

Even the notecard was cool:

(my photos don't do her work justice - the light here is poo at the moment)

So, now its your turn. Leave a comment on this post by next Monday and sometime that day (remember, GMT) I'll pick 3 people at random (yeah, I know some people do the first three to comment, but I'm trying to get those people who read but never comment to come out of hiding - a simple 'hi' is enough to get you in the draw). Those three people will receive a handmade gift from me within the year. The only catch is that you then have to Pay It Forward and make the same offer on your blog. I'll leave that last bit open to interpretation for you - I think it's most in keeping with the idea to make the offer once you have received your gift, but I have noticed some people make the offer on their blog straight away, so either way, you can decide when you know if it's you :)

Oh yeah, just in case you're wondering (because I know I always do), I'll post to anywhere in the world, so get to commenting.

ETA: As my Mum pointed out in the comments, you can get your hands on some of Leonie's amazing work and help out the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal. Check out the details here.

Read More......

Monday, 9 February 2009

Sunday Update

We've spent the last 9 days travelling around Germany with a one-day detour into Czech (as the locals call it) to see Prague. We had a great time and are constantly amazed and thankful at how great a baby Lily is - she travels like a champion. We kept notes as we went around, so hopefully we won't take too long to put it up on our travel blog. My personal highlights included the east side gallery of the Berlin wall and the design classics in the Applied Art Museum in Cologne.

As you probably know, London has been hit by a massive cold snap while we were away. At first I was annoyed that we were missing our first decent snow in London, but then I remembered that once the novelty wore off, the reality would quickly settle in and the reality is that London is just not set up to cope with any weather other than overcast and in the teens (in degrees Celsius). No snow in sight when we got home though, just lots of rain, though Graeme said he saw some snow from the tube on the way back from the airport.

In other news, Lily broke her second bottom tooth. We noticed it yesterday morning and think it might explain the huge inconsolable crying episode on Friday evening. Her first top tooth is also visible, but hasn't actually broken through yet. As graeme said, she looks like she's going to be one of those babies that shows signs of teething for months before one breaks and then they all appear in quick succession.

My plans for this week include a lot of laundry, catching up with friends and trying to convince Lily to sleep in her own bed - she much prefers to sleep in our bed, even though hers is joined directly to the side, and has been enjoying doing just that while we were away.

Read More......

Friday, 30 January 2009

Bound to Happen

So, Tuesday was a very productive day for me (you know, in case you couldn't tell from the 4 blog posts). I updated websites, did some emailing and facebooking, got laundry sorted, thought I was finally making progress on my massive to-do list.
Then, Tuesday night, Lily decided she wasn't going to sleep, wanted to feed every hour, etc, in preparation for yesterday, when I could hardly put her down without her bursting into tears. Mid-afternoon, I realised she was feeling very warm, took her temperature (as best I could - she really does not like me sticking the thermometer under her arm) and decided it was time for the paracetamol, which thankfully kicked in and she was actually pretty happy for the rest of the evening, if a little sleepier than usual. I put it down to the lingering effects of a little cold she's had and the fact that her tooth is coming through.
Fast-forward to just before 3am this morning. Lily wakes up for a feed and is burning up. I couldn't get the thermometer to finish it's reading (wiggly Lily), but it was already over 39 when it had slowed right down. Graeme got on the phone to NHS Direct and over the next hour or so spoke to a nurse and then the on-call doctor about what we needed to do. Thankfully, another dose of paracetamol, opening up the window a slit and taking off all her clothes but her nappy combined to help cool her little body down and we were able to get a bit more sleep. We took her to the doctor just after midday just to get her checked out, since we are supposed to be going away on Saturday morning and we don't want to leave the country if she's really ill, but the doc said she is a bit red in the ears and throat, but from what we'd told her is probably at the end of a viral infection and she didn't need antibiotics or anything.
Obviously, since I'm getting the chance to write this, she's doing much better this afternoon. Still a bit warm and not much of an appetite, but playing and smiling. Well, except right at this minute, because she's just decided she's hungry and tired...

Read More......

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Onesies for Kaitlyn

Alison has been one of my best friends since we were about 15. In November, she also had herself a little girl. So, of course, I had to make a little gift.
Kaitlyn was much smaller than Lily at birth, which was good, because it meant that I could use a couple of the unworn plain white bodysuits I had put aside and never decorated for Lily - they were the size Lily wore straight away, but didn't fit Kaitlyn until I'd gotten around to making, packaging and sending them :)

The two tops, ready to wrap. A lily from Lily and a 'K' because it's the best initial of them all. I was going to make a third 'from Graeme' but couldn't think of anything appropriate and besides, I was already past my self-inflicted deadline. I'll make it up to her on her first birthday :)

A detail of the K to show my mad stitching skills (click to see bigger). I also took a close-up of the lily, but while my stitching skills were spot-on that day, my photo skills weren't and it's blurry...

I can't wait to meet Kaitlyn and for Lily to have a playmate with whose Mum I can also spend hours hanging out (so far I've only met one person who fits that category, but that's another post). Hopefully, our little girls will have as great a friendship as we do.

Read More......

Visiting London

I've just finished typing up a (pretty long) message to my cousin who is planning a trip to London and the following is a variation on what I end up typing out every time someone asks for advice about coming to London. It's the general stuff that I think you should know/do no matter who you are or what interests you. Just figured I'd put it out there for more people to access (plus, next time someone asks, I can just point them here).

- Don't pay £20 for the hop-on, hop-off bus. Instead, buy an all day bus pass or zone 1-2 travel card (which includes the tube as well) and go where you want. You won't get a commentary, but you don't really need it if you have some sort of travel book, or know your English landmarks really well :) See the Transport for London website for all the info you could possibly want about public transport (

- Take advantage of the fact that almost all the museums and galleries are free to get into. Pick the ones that appeal to your interests and visit, if only for a couple of hours. This is also good for when the weather decides to be uncooperative.

- If you have more than 3 days, use one of them to get out of London - England is a beautiful country, but sometimes London just feels like any other big city. Go to somewhere like Oxford for the day, but make sure you pre-book a train or catch the 'Oxford Tube' (which is actually a bus) otherwise it is an expensive day trip. Or do one of the more touristy bus trips to Stonehenge, the Cotswolds, somewhere else that seems interesting to you.

- Go to a show on the West End. I love the theatre and would (and did, before Lily was born) go every chance I get, but even people who think they're 'not into that sort of thing' will find something that appeals. Avenue Q is crude and hilarious, but American. If you want something British, I've heard that Billy Elliot is amazing, but haven't actually seen it. I personally loved Les Miserables. (Why, yes, they are all musicals, but not only is that mainly what I've seen, it's also what tends to run the longest and appeal to the most people)

- Walk through Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Make sure you have some peanuts for the squirrels, because they will come up and take them from your hand. (The second part of this one is probably not so exciting for anyone who encounters squirrels on a semi-regular basis, but we don't have squirrels in Australia and I think they're adorable)

- For the more touristy things, pick the ones that coincide with your interests. I absolutely loved the Tower of London - the history, the crown jewels, all that, but I know other people think it's a waste of a day. Flipside, some people think Madame Tussauds is the best thing ever, whereas we only went because we could get in free and while the waxworks are impressive from a skill perspective, it's not something I'd ever pay to see.

Read More......

Yep, that's me

Check it out.
I am so ridiculously excited about this, I can't even begin to tell you - is that really lame of me?

Read More......


As we all know, I had neglected this blog for awhile. While I was gone, blogger has continued to make changes and updates. The only one I've explored so far is Following and I like it. You may (or may not) notice that I no longer have a blogroll on my sidebar - if you want to see what blogs I read (or should I say subscribe to, since some of them have been even more slack about updating than I have in the last year or so) you can just go to my blogger profile and see the blogs I am following. So far, I have only added people I know in real life, but I will add other stuff as I get to it.

I guess another way I could do this is to share my Google Reader list (I'm pretty certain I can do that...) but I don't know if people like my Mum even know what Google Reader is... do you?

Read More......

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

About Me

My 'About Me' in my profile used to say:
A 20-something Australian girl who is still struggling with what I want to be when I grow up, even though I have two degrees in areas which I enjoy. I have moved to London with my husband to experience new things and see the world.

In ways, it's still appropriate, but in other ways, it's now so far from accurate, that I felt the need to change it, especially with my renewed effort to keep on top of this blog. But what to? How do you summarise yourself into a short little statement and yet make yourself stand out from every other blog's 'about me'? Why do I feel the need to stand out? I think it's because I don't just want to be identified as 'Stay at home Mum, expat, crafty' - maybe because pretty much every blog I read myself comes under one or more of those categories. But then, is that such a bad thing?

By the way, for now, I am not struggling with what I want to be when I 'grow up', because I am doing it - like any job, being a Mum has it's ups and downs, but right now, I wouldn't have it any other way and thankfully, the long-term job prospects are good :)

Read More......

Monday, 26 January 2009

Sunday Update

I'm calling this the Sunday update, because Sunday is usually when I'll get a good chance to write, since Graeme can be in charge of Lily for a bit. That said though, I already know I probably won't get to write it every week, since we are finally getting back into the whole travelling thing - you know, the primary reason for moving ourselves to London - and will be away about one Sunday a month (like, next Sunday). Anyway, the feedback from the 2 whole people who actually bother to read and comment on my blog is that you want to read this sort of thing, so I'll try my best...

In the past 48 hours or so, Lily has well and truly squashed any remaining part of her little-baby-hood. On Friday evening, she suddenly decided that she'd worked out how to move herself and commenced what we call 'commando crawling'. She looks just like when you see people (usually at some sort of military academy) in movies crawling under barb-wire fences - hardly lifts herself off her belly, but uses her arms to pull herself along and wiggles her hips to move her feet. I took some video, but since it's Graeme's domain to upload videos (I do the photos) and he hasn't gotten to it yet, you'll have to wait to see that.
And then, yesterday, she grabbed my finger and shoved it in her mouth (I'm quite used to this now) and when she bit down, I felt not the familiar gummyness, but the beginnings of a tooth. Then I tried to get her to show it to me...

I did get a photo of the tooth later, well, really it's just a slit in her gum at the moment, but that'll go on her photoblog.

Other than that, our week has really been quite uneventful. I just realised I said 'our', not 'my', but the fact is that anything I do, Lily does too, so most everything is going to involve her too. Anyway, I need to go do some sewing - I'm making a new baby carrier that's kind of a hybrid of the two I already have. I hope it works out as well as it looks in my head :)

Question: We haven't given her anything for the pain she may or may not be feeling with this whole tooth coming through thing - how am I supposed to know if she's in enough pain to need baby paracetamol? So far, we've only given it to her when she was running a fever, because that is a physical thing that we can tell externally. I don't wanna give her drugs if she doesn't need them, but I also don't want her to suffer needlessly...

Read More......

All About Baby Clothes

(this came out longer than I thought, so I am warning you now, if you are uninterested in the dilemma of clothing a baby with a big butt, just go through and click on all the links to see cute photos)

As most of you know, Lily is a cloth nappy baby. We used disposables for her first couple weeks (when her poop was gross, she needed her belly button to have air to breathe and I couldn't face washing nappies every day) and still use them when we go away, but the rest of the time, she's in cloth. I am so glad we made this decision - it is cheaper in the long term, especially since future sibling(s) will also wear them; we have never really had an issue with nappy rash; no stinky nappies to have around the house until garbage day; no nasty chemicals right next to her butt. The ONLY downside so far is that we like to air-dry our washing and that can be tricky when it's an English winter and the nappies therefore take a full 24 hours or so to dry.

Oh, and it makes her butt ginormous. Personally, I think this is adorable. I also think it's part of the reason she sat so well, so early - she had some extra weight and support (I'm sure this is just silly, but I choose to believe it anyway). Problem is, most people use disposables and therefore, baby clothes aren't made to fit over big butts like Lily's. For the first 6 months or so, we managed to get away with just having her in slightly bigger sizes than her age. It helps that she's always been rather barrelly in the chest too, so there wasn't too much issue with onesies/bodysuits fitting both top and bottom. However, as she's become more mobile over the last couple of months, she's really starting to stretch out - continuing to add to her already 'tall' length, but losing some of the chubbiness. So, at 6 months old, she had clothes designed for 9-12 month olds that didn't fit her at all anymore - too small in the butt, but too long in the leg.

The first week of December, I went on the hunt for clothing that would fit over a cloth-nappied butt. Plenty of people are using cloth nappies these days, so there must be stuff out there, right? Well, not really. I found lots of other people complaining about the same thing in forums and a single, solitary company called Cut 4 Cloth that was recommended over and over. They're not called Cut 4 Cloth anymore, they're now Frugi and I am writing all this to tell you that I am in love with their clothes. They are totally adorable, organic, fairtrade, great quality, everything good that you could hope for in clothing for any member of the family. All their stuff for under 2s is cut so as to fit over a cloth nappy. They do baby, girls and boys ranges, but we have already bought from all three, since the boys clothes are just as cute and we have no problem dressing Lily in any colour (besides, we'd like to have some clothes we can re-use if our next kid is a boy - see Lily in the 'boy' and 'girl' version of the same style top). They also have beautiful nursing tops (I only own one so far, but there are 2 more on their way and I am really hankering after that dress) which is great, since my wardrobe has become all about being able to discreetly feed a very inquisitive baby. As can be expected from such ethically produced, quality clothes, they're not cheap, but from what I've seen so far, are totally worth the price. Plus, they have great sales if you can wait until stuff is not 'in season' (although, I can't really see anything we've bought so far being out of season, other than maybe the summer dresses, but even they can be wintered up, as Lily shows here). I've just placed my fourth order with them today and have so far spent... well, more than I want to say, really, but worth every penny.

My favourite thing we've gotten so far is the Explorer Bootcuts (modelled by Lily here and here). I love them so much that I have just ordered a pair in the next size up so we will have them when she grows out of her current pair (which, thankfully, shouldn't be for a few months - it's so good to have clothes that fit for longer than 2 months). I also wrote about them to send as a trial review to Frugi themselves, in the hopes of becoming one of their Crusaders (reviewing new clothes, discounted beautifulness - sweet), which is what prompted me to finally write this blog post that I have been composing in my head for the last few weeks. So, here's the review I sent them (oh, and for all my Australian friends - we usually refer to them as pants, but that word means underwear here, so I call them trousers in public, even though it feels weird to do so :D):

My favourite piece of baby clothing is the first ever pair of trousers we bought from Frugi - the Explorer Bootcuts. Finally, a pair of trousers that fit over a cloth nappy without being too big in every other place. The soft, covered elastic waistband pulls on easily over the bulk that is Lily's chubby thighs combined with her cloth nappy and together with the drawstring keeps them nicely in place without looking uncomfortably tight. I love that the drawstring is sewn in the centre back to stop her pulling it out - Lily will grab and chew on anything within reach at the moment, so I like knowing that even when this ends up in her mouth, she won't have access to the whole cord - such a simple little detail that I, and seemingly most other clothing manufacturers, had never even thought of.
Aside from the practical stuff, once they're on, they're the cutest little trousers I've ever seen. The embroidered flowers on the front pockets are cute and colourful, without being overwhelming and the little bird on the back is like a sweet surprise when you see your little girl from behind (or above, as she struggles to try and crawl). The hard-wearing woven cotton has a pretty green tinge, but like the embroidery, it's subtle enough that the trousers will go with pretty much anything else in a little girl's wardrobe. And they have to, because you'll quickly find them in high rotation - ours rarely make it back into her drawers before the next wearing and are often grabbed from the (clean) laundry basket or drying rack to put back on.
Since it's winter, the trousers have only really been worn long so far, but once Spring hits, we'll be rolling them up. Then the adorable little trousers become equally cute shorts with a matching green knit fabric cuff. Plus, to stop adventurous little ones from turning them back into trousers, there is a strap and a pretty little natural button on each leg to hold the cuff in place. This is also a plus when your baby is on the shorter end of the scale and/or needs room to grow - most every pair of trousers can be rolled up, obviously, but hardly any will stay that way and very few will look as good.
Probably the best testament to how much we love these trousers is the fact that we have also purchased them in the next size up...

Question: If you use/d cloth nappies, how do/did you compensate for the giant butt problem?

Read More......

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Starting Over

I am determined to post on this blog more regularly. In fact, feel free to give me a kick in the butt (real, or virtual) if you haven't heard from me in more than a week, ok? So, this is what I'm planning...
- a weekly update (at the least) of what I've been up to, even if it consists of 'spent the whole week trapped inside the house because Lily was sick/overly clingy/just plain weird and the weather was terrible' (*not that those things have happened much over the last 2 months or anything* said in my most sarcastic voice - at least they haven't been simultaneous occurrences really)
- to take and upload photos of what I've been making/cooking/doing that seems interesting and actually share them (I have a reasonable list to catch up on, but am not going to do them all at once, small steps)
- to let you know about some of the things that make our lives great - kinda reviews of the products, places, maybe even people that we enjoy on a regular basis
- to end my postings with a question, to try and encourage discussion in the comments ;)
So, does that sound like something you'll actually read? Or am I wasting my time with this whole blogging thing?

Read More......

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Welcome 2009

I had grand plans for the start of 2009.
- I was hoping to have all my email correspondence up-to-date within the first week (actually, I was planning to have that done before the new year even ticked over, but since I only made that plan 3 days beforehand and I had a clingy 6 month old to look after, well, you know).
- I wanted to sit down and look at what I want/need to achieve this year - I'm not really the resolution-making type, but along those sort of lines, I guess.
- I really wanted to decide what I want this blog to be and get going on updating it regularly again.
I actually think I've made progress on the first part of that last statement, since I've had time to think. I just haven't had any time to 'do'. And I don't have a lot of time to do now, either, as Lily seems to be waking up and will no doubt demand my attention, as she has been doing every waking hour for the last few weeks...

Read More......