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...

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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 :)

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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...

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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?

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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?

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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...

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