White Cotton Peonies

Feeding the ducks with a toddler & husband who’s afraid of birds!

ParentingWindsor / Nov 16, 2017 / 0 Comments
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Having purchased a membership to Savill Gardens a few months ago, it’s become one of our favourite spots for spending a few hours on an afternoon. With perfectly preened gardens and lots of grass, it’s the perfect environment for Bells to let loose and to burn off some of that energy I so wish that I had. Oh, and there’s a pond…. A huge big pond with ducks, ducks that Bells loves to feed.

This week, Dickie joined us for one of our Savill Garden expeditions. We went armed with croissants and leftover pizza crusts (we had to make do with all that we could from lunch given we’d forgotten to arm ourselves before leaving the house) to feed the ducks so that Bells could excitedly shout ‘wak wak wak’, the closest to quacking that we’ve managed to get.

Now I should add at this point that Dickie has an irrational fear of birds… which I’m sure is pretty unfortunate when you fly for a living. When I say fear, he doesn’t just dislike them, he hates them. His disdain for birds is as great as his love for McDonalds, which is not to be underestimated. You can imagine his dismay when one time he was waiting for food in the waiting bay at McDonalds Drive-Thru and the guy came over to hand him his burger just as a pigeon landed on his wing mirror. Before I knew what was happening, the window was being buzzed up and down as Dickie battled to decide whether he really wanted the burger THAT much. That was a huge day.

So, back to feeding the ducks. It turns out that the fear isn’t just reserved for birds with pointy beaks… it extends to pretty little ducks also. Don’t even.

I hadn’t considered the issues that feeding the ducks with Dickie in tow might cause. We arrived at Savill Gardens and Bells rushed to the pond. As she stood there ‘wak wak wak’ing, she couldn’t wait to get her hands on our improvised duck feed. I noticed that Dickie was quieter than usual but thought that he was enjoying watching Bells in her element. Fast forward 10 minutes, some very short arms and an even shorter throw span and we pretty much had ducks (and birds) standing on our toes.

At this point, Dickie’s grip on Bells hood definitely tightened somewhat and whilst in no danger whatsoever, he’d started to guide her backwards. Realising what was happening, I couldn’t help but melt into fits of laughter… probably not the support that he needed. So my word of advice to all of you Mama’s out there… if your husband is afraid of birds, feeding the ducks probably isn’t the best way to spend an afternoon. Lesson learned.

An introduction to our family…

ParentingPersonal / Nov 13, 2017 / 0 Comments
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Dearest Second Child,

Quite frankly, it amazes me that I’m writing this note given that I never thought that I’d have children. I didn’t really like them you see. Then your sister came along and it turns out the cliche is true; kids aren’t as bad when they’re your own and Bells is pretty awesome as you’ll soon find out.

I guess I should give you a bit of an intro to us. I’m Mel, your mummy. I’m 30-something, sadly much more something that 30 nowadays. I used to be a bit of a shopaholic with a penchant for red soles…. now the only soles I seem to buy are those from Clarks every SIX weeks for your sister. I’m not resentful about that at all.

I never sit still and never seem to stop, constantly juggling a thousand balls (often soft play ones that I find under the sofa!). Every morning I promise myself an early night and every night I find myself aimlessly scrolling through Instagram. Instagram is a photo sharing website but it’ll be so uncool by the time you read this that I won’t bother to explain any more.

I love being a mummy. You might not always believe me when you hear me muttering ‘dick’ under my breath as your sister tosses her dinner on the floor for the 5th night in a row, but trust me when it comes to bed, I always cuddle her for a little longer than I need to. I wish that I could stop time, to keep you both little forever, for you to fling your mucky hands around my neck and plant a sloppy kiss upon me. I just wish that she’d keep her food on the table.

Then there’s daddy, or Dix as I fondly refer to him (please don’t let that be your first word). He’s awesome. He’ll make you laugh harder than you can imagine, especially if the Tickle Monster makes an appearance. This is likely to leave you with a beard rash but mummy is unlikely to rush you to A&E as your sister has played guinea pig to that previously.

Daddy is a Pilot, or a Training Captain (TRE as he tells me every god damn day) to be precise. It means that he works weird hours but when he is home other people are often at work which makes it awesome for queue jumping at Peppa Pig World.

Daddy believes that he knows what it’s like to give birth to you as he ran a marathon. Once. Quite a few years ago. It still proves to be a bone of contention. Moving on…

Bells is your awesome older sister. She’s cheeky, strong minded, fiercely independent and has a very naughty laugh. She’s yet to cry when she falls over and mummy is a bit worried that this part of her brain is missing. Her favourite TV shows are Mr Bean, Ben & Holly and Oddbods, no doubt she’ll introduce you to these soon. Ideally not when she’s woken the whole house at 5am and it’s the only way we can hope for a few extra winks.

Her favourite words are ‘Toto’ when she spots any animal (our annoying cat is called Tonto), ‘See Ya’ when she’s bored of hanging out with you and ‘Baba’ just to remind us that she too is also a baby. 6pm is Bells favourite time, right before bath. Regardless of what mood she’s been in all day, when she’s running around in her nappy, she’s never been happier. If you can’t find her, she’ll most likely be hiding behind the curtains in our room, please act surprised, even though she does it every night.

And so that’s us in a nutshell. It’s a pretty crazy family, but it’s so much fun. Our house is filled with love, so much love… and plenty of laughter too. Hugs are available on tap and Team Kentish are a force to be reckoned with. We’re very much looking forward to meeting you, now please be kind to Mummy…

xox

Maternity musts from Isabella Oliver

Uncategorized / Nov 4, 2017 / 0 Comments
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Take a perfectly good garment, add ‘Maternity’ to it’s label, remove any tailoring, add an unflattering pattern and you’ve pretty much created most of the maternity garments that I’ve come across recently.

Of course, there are the fail-safe brands such as H&M, Topshop and ASOS for the essentials like jeans and vests. However, when it comes to the things that make you look and more importantly feel good, there’s definitely a gap in the market. Up until now, I’ve resorted to items in bigger sizes from many of the shops that I would usually shop in but after a while, you end up looking like a sack of potatoes and well, that’s just not fun.

Enter Isabella Oliver.

I had discovered the brand when I was first pregnant with Bells and fell in love with their stuff immediately. However, this time around (second pregnancy and all), I’ve been scraping through, making do and not really investing in any more maternity wear given I know it’s the last time we’ll do it. The result? Quite frankly, I’ve been miserable. My confidence hit an all time low and I wish that I’d done something about it sooner.

When the lovely team at Isabella Oliver got in touch to congratulate me on my pregnancy and offered to send me something from their new collection, I was over the moon. Choosing one item took FOREVER as I love everything, but I finally selected the Annora Maternity Intarsia Knit. Gorgeous.

The jumper arrived a couple of days later and I can’t tell you how happy I was when I opened that package. It was well made, reminded me of the quality of stuff that the non-pregnant me used to purchase and was cut beautifully (hello V-neck that doesn’t cut off 2 cm below my neck like a grandma!). What’s more, it’s reasonably priced and so doesn’t break the bank either.

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As soon as I popped the jumper on, I was beaming. Dickie noticed immediately. Of course he loved the jumper, but more so, he loved how happy and confident I was just by wearing something that I loved. As so much of the range can be worn post-pregnancy, I’ve decided to bi
te the bullet and to buy some more. I know that I’ll get wear out of it, I’ll have more than a few months of being happy and confident and Dickie will get less of an ear ache, so everyone’s a winner really.

Here are some of the other bits that I’m lusting after…

TOP PICKS

Tessa Maternity Roll Neck Jumper £129

Brunswick Maternity Dress £99.00

Caia Maternity Stripe Top £65

Maternity Obi Belt £69

Rosie Maternity Print Top £69.00

You can check out Isabella Oliver’s latest range over at www.isabellaoliver.com.

To the team, thank you so much for my knit, I completely love it and you’ve helped one rapidly expanding pregnant mama regain her confidence and for that I’m indebted to you! xox

7 Funny household ‘toys’ my toddler couldn’t live without…

Parenting / Nov 2, 2017 / 0 Comments
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Dealing with the ever-changing demands of a toddler is tough. You think you’ve got things sussed and the the little blighters do a 180 without any warning. Things are definitely no different when it comes to entertaining them.

I’ve found it so hard to keep Bells occupied over the past few months, generally we find ourselves out and about most days in the hope of wearing off some of her boundless energy (where can I get me some of that?). Toys that once couldn’t be lived without are now dead and burried, this toddler business is ruthless.

Recently, Bells seems to have discovered some toys of her own that she loves. Check them out:

THE WASHING MACHINE
It must be on and nearing the end of it’s cycle. There’s nothing more fun than re-starting the whole wash, especially if mum’s in a rush to get something washed.

THE DISHWASHER
Sitting in the dishwasher can provide hours of endless fun, but it’s that much better if it contains knives and scissors. If mum is telling me not to touch anything, the game becomes even funnier.

THE OVEN
Must be hot. Obvs. If the grill’s on, even better.

COMPUTER MOUSE
Helps if it’s wireless and becomes a lot more fun if mum is in the middle of composing a REALLY important email. This can sometimes lead to a chase around the house which just an added bonus.

THE LIFT BUTTON
Only the one with the bell drawn on it, clearly.

THE EMERGENCY CHORD IN DISABLED/BABY CHANGE TOILETS
You know, the red one? Yeah, that’s great for tugging, but only when mum is taking a cheeky wee before we leave.

HAIR STRAIGHTENERS
Great if mum is running late and is in a rush to get herself ready. Clearly they must be on and incredibly hot.

Obviously I’m delighted by her choice of toys, it doesn’t cause any frustration at all. I’ve been told that distraction is key but I’m yet to find anything which trumps a washing machine with bleeping lights and buttons. Tell me I’m not alone?!?

The struggle is real people, the struggle is real.

M xox

URBAN VILLA, WEST LONDON BOUTIQUE HOTEL: REVIEW

LondonTravel / Oct 31, 2017 / 0 Comments
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When we were invited by the guys at Urban Villa to check out their West-London boutique hotel, I thought that it would be a great way to escape for the weekend and to try something new.

If I’m honest (which I always am with you guys), I was a little apprehensive about spending the weekend in Brentford. Not that there’s anything wrong with the place, I just wasn’t sure what we’d do to fill our time as Bells is near impossible to keep still for more than 10 minutes and therefore getting her into Central London was going to be out of the question. My apprehension grew when we arrived at the hotel… much more quickly than I’d anticipated thanks to it’s location next to the A4. Now a country bumpkin, I wondered how I’d cope with the noise.

I need not have worried about anything.

Complete with it’s own car park, there was plenty of room to park and unload Bells at a leisurely pace before making our way through to the hotel entrance. As soon as we stepped inside of the doors, I felt awful for having misjudged it, I knew I loved the hotel immediately.

THE VIBE

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The lobby is filled with the backdrop of cool music, comfy seating and lots of tempting reading material. In terms of the decor, think New York loft apartment (signs are graffiti) blended with British luxury. I actually managed a whole 15 minutes reading Monocle whilst Bells was asleep one day, I was more than happy to put it mildly. The reception is manned by chilled “ambassadors”, happy to help but not on your case and I have to say, I found the whole experience completely refreshing.

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THE ROOM

After being given our key, we made our way up to our room, which was actually more of an apartment complete with lounge/diner/kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and glass enclosed balcony which ran around the outside of the building, connecting each of our rooms. Bells was in her element running around each of the rooms, hiding behind doors and generally creating mischief. The interior oozed urban chic and each room came with a TV which they actively encouraged you to pair with your phone to avoid expensive cheesy hotel movies. I liked this hotel.

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The apartment came with so many more facilities than I’ve ever experienced with a hotel before. Not only did it have all of the basics that you would expect, it came with a microwave, oven, dishwasher, full sized fridge, decent sound system, Nespresso Machine, free wifi and huge bathroom (complete with a bath which as any parent will know is a god send). The hotel is next door to a Sainsbury’s and so it’s super convenient for picking up essentials and making yourself truly at home.

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THE AREA

As for the location, we couldn’t hear a peep from the road, it was completely silent. We spent Saturday exploring Kew Gardens (only a 4 minute drive from the hotel) where Bells burned off plenty of energy and we went for a stroll in the evening, stopping for a couple of drinks in the local pubs before taking a leisurely 15 minute stroll to Kew where we had supper at The Cricketeers (who were super kid friendly!).

Whilst the hotel has a bar, it’s great to grab a cocktail (or two) but I’d make other plans when it comes to dining. The hotel doesn’t supply a breakfast but with everything you need to make your own (the hotel will even send someone to do your shopping if you wish!), that’s not an essential. We personally found a great little café called RADA just opposite the hotel where I experienced the best fresh orange juice of my life and a veggie breakfast to die for. With the breakfast costing just £7 (including a latte), I was happy to make the few steps across the street.

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IN SUMMARY

I can imagine that the hotel might have originally been designed with the business traveller in mind thanks to it’s amenities… however it worked so perfectly for us as a family. The large storage meant that we could tuck the pram away (no more playing let’s shuffle around the pram), the kitchen meant that I could prepare food and milk easily for Bells and the location meant that it was easy and hassle free to get there, not to mention it’s close proximity to one of my favourite areas of London… Kew.

If you fancy doing something different this weekend with the family, heading into Central London (only a short train journey) or you’re looking for somewhere to stay before jetting off from Heathrow, I can’t recommend Urban Villa highly enough. I know that we’ll be back for sure. Be sure to check them out (deets below) as they’ve got loads of deals on at the moment! Rooms start from £79 per night…

UrbanVilla.com
Kew Eye Tower
GWQ Development, Ealing Road
Brentford
London, TW8 0FL