White Cotton Peonies

Top 10 Books as Bedtime Stories for Babies & Toddlers

Parenting / May 19, 2017 / 0 Comments

I’m a massive fan of reading to Bells and she seems to love books, so we often spend hours browsing book stores picking out new books to read together. Generally this consists of me offering her a pile of books and her throwing the majority on the floor. The ones that don’t get thrown, come home with us.

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Storytime has become one of my favourite parts of her bedtime routine and I’ve read enough to tell a good story when I see one. At this stage in her development (coming up to a year), it’s good for her to have stories which rhyme to help her learn about intonation and they’re more fun to read too.


I’ve created a video to take you through our top 10 and have included links for each of the books below:


  1. Kitchen Disco by Clare Foges & Al Murphy
  2. Odd Dog Out by Rob Biddulph
  3. The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright
  4. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
  5. Grrrr! by Rob Biddulph
  6. The Koala Who Could by Rachel Bright
  7. Sunk! by Rob Biddulph
  8. Night Monkey, Day Monkey by Julia Donaldson & Lucy Richards
  9. Blown Away by Rob Biddulph
  10. There’s a Bear on my Chair by Ross Collins

I haven’t been paid to promote these books, or gifted any of them, I just genuinely think they’re good and am always on the look out for new ones, so if you have any recommendations, please do let me know. I’ve linked through to Waterstones for all of the books above as they seem to have amazing discounts at the moment, but you can find them in all good book stores.

If you enjoyed the video, I’d appreciate it so much if you could give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel – I’m still a newbie, so any support would be appreciated.

M xox

The time I got paint happy…

Interiors / May 17, 2017 / 0 Comments

I’m a person to get things done. I don’t procrastinate. I don’t have patience to wait. I never sit still. When I want something done, I do it, simple. This usually is a good thing, it keeps our house running and whilst Dickie is more measured in his approach, I like to think we balance each other out.

You can imagine my twitchy fingers after we’d moved into our ‘forever home’ to find each and every wall stained where mirrors and pictures had been removed thanks to the open wood fire. No problem I thought, the previous owners had left pots and pots of the Farrow & Ball paint that they’d used, so I’d just touch up the marks. I was itching to get started.

After waiting 4 whole days to prove to Dickie that I do have some patience, I finally decided to tackle it one Wednesday night at 11.30pm. Of course, I had none of the right tools and so there I was, clumsily balancing one leg on the sofa, another on the windowsill as I went about making the walls all spick and span. Next up the hallway, the dining room, the kitchen.

I went back to inspect my work in the living room, thinking that the paint had time to dry (after all I like to keep the house at sauna temperatures at all time) only to find to my dismay that the paint that I’d used hadn’t matched. I mean, it would have done probably 5 years ago when it was likely to have been painted, but now, there were shiny bright brushstrokes where the dirty marks used to lay.

I went out to the hallway, the same there. The dining room? The same. Kitchen? Same… and there our refurbishing project began. So to all of those who have been admiring our handy work on Insta and have complimented us on how quick we’ve been, I kind of left us with no choice :-/

Next week, I’ll share a post, giving a little tour of the living room complete, along with the colours that we used and what’s next at the top of Dickie’s list of things to do, *ahem*, I mean our list of things to do.

M xox

p.s. if you have any decorating disasters, do feel free to share them in the comments below so that I can use them as evidence to Dickie that I’m not alone…

Coming to a Tube near You soon…

ParentingVideo / May 16, 2017 / 0 Comments
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For those of you who have followed me for a while now, you’ll probably remember that I started out in the world (not literally, just virtually you’ll be pleased to hear) on YouTube. What you may not know is that my videos were silent because I hated my voice and not because I wanted to impersonate Bob Marley.

Gradually as work became more demanding and my hours became longer and longer, I was finding it impossible to keep them up and eventually they came to a halt. Now, I look back at the Randommel channel and whilst it was fun at the time, it just seems a bit too young to go back to… there’s only so much awful dating advice that you can give when you’re married and have a baby. Life went and got in the way.

However, I am keen to start videos again. whilst I still hate my voice, I’m starting to think that sitting down to record a video may be easier than Bells hitting each of the keys with Peppa Flipping Pig. Time will tell.


I’d love it if you would subscribe to my White Cotton Peonies channel to keep up-to-date with my latest videos. I’m also going to be posting here more regularly, so don’t forget to check in.

Big love,

M xox

The Power of Not Caring

Parenting / May 14, 2017 / 2 Comments

When Bells was born, we were sent into somewhat of a tailspin. We’d had 9 months to prepare, she was planned for, it really shouldn’t have come as a shock, but I remember Dickie looking at the nurse and asking if he could pick Bells up and her response? “Of course, she’s yours, you can do what you like with her”. We both looked at each other like bunnies in headlights.

Then of course, there was the first night at home. The night she wouldn’t stop crying and we passed her from one to another and back again, wondering where we could find the mute button.

With Bells nearing her first birthday (where has the time gone), I look back and realise how far we’ve come as a family. Don’t get me wrong, I still Google the answer to most questions that I have, frighten myself silly when I look up potential illnesses that she could have and worry that my “mother’s instinct” needs a reboot and is totally wrong. But, on the whole, I’m pretty proud of us.

Looking back, I spent the first 6 months trying to prove to everybody, including myself, that I was a good mama. The house always had to be immaculate, Bells had to be dressed as cutely as possible, I had to look my best at all times with perfectly polished nails and sheer panic would set in if she cried in public. Of course she did, many, many times.

However, something switched. At 6 months, when Bells turned into a proper little person and started to engage with me, I stopped caring about everyone else… all that I cared about was enjoying her. The result? A much happier baby, me being much more relaxed and the bond that I was so desperate to form all of that time, genuinely appeared. Whether I’ve gained confidence, whether we’ve gotten to know each other better or whether I’ve just become completely exhausted I’m not sure, it could be and or all of the above.

I don’t know if I’m the only one that has experienced this, or whether it’s common? I know for sure that I can’t be the only one trying to keep up appearances and maybe if we were all a bit more honest about how we are feeling, we’d all have a much healthier attitude towards parenting. Who wants perfect anyway? It’s boring.

I’d love to hear from you, so feel free to leave a comment.

M xox

p.s. I’ve come to terms with the fact that she will always having resting *****/grumpy face to strangers, but at least I get the smiles now 😉

Twinning is winning with ChattyFeet

FashionParenting / May 9, 2017 / 0 Comments

You may have noticed by now that I am somewhat of a fan of twinning (who isn’t, right?) but what you may not know is that I’ve also got a bit of an obsession with socks, bright ones, silly ones, the more outrageous the better.

My favourite thing to do is to pair them with a really sensible outfit, under my Louboutin boots so that nobody knows I’m secretly a child, apart from me… that is until you’re asked to remove your shoes at Airport Security and you can see people quietly amused. Gotta love a shock factor.

You can therefore imagine how happy I was when I discovered ChattyFeet and found that they did parent & sock sets….. ALL DREAMS COME TRUE.


They’ve got 12 different funny designs, my favourites were Kate Middle-Toe (see what they did there), Vincent Van Toe and these gorgeous Yoko Mono ones.


Bells seemed to love dressing the same as her Mama although her obsession with her feet has now gone into overdrive. I’m happy to report that this hasn’t happened to me.



If you fancy getting in on the action, you can pick them up for £11.50 for the set over at www.ChattyFeet.com. … although I kind of want to keep them as my very own secret.

M xox

NB: The socks were kindly sent to me from ChattyFeet. How lucky am I? Thanks guys!