Just a note to say that I have moved my blog to a new address.
Drum roll, please!
My blog can now be found at http://www.rainbeaubelle.com
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It’s just hit me, tomorrow is July and it’s less than two weeks until my baby gal turns one. Better get organising, as first born has been talking about the party we will throw for her for weeks now. In his mind this involves all his friends and all his sister’s baby friends, playing games such as putting the babies in the middle and the older kids dancing round them! Sounds highly unlikely to me, not least because the way things have gone this year I have hardly made it to any play groups and my daughter’s social life is not quite as far-reaching as my son’s was.
Baby gal’s baby friends are probably limited to two! So I think the plan is to have a small gathering, weather permitting in the garden, with lots of bubbles, cake, and party hats… if I’m brave enough to try to wrestle one onto the birthday girl. I reckon I’m going to try and make some, inspired by this kind of look from Caravan Shoppe. I just stumbled across this site and it’s fantastic, so many cool things to be inspired by, and best of all you can print out these hats for free! I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.
Anyway that’s the hats sorted, now what about the pressies? I want to buy something really special for my daughter’s first birthday, so I’ve been looking around for inspiration and come up with a few ideas.
When I was small, I had a favourite doll called Audrey who went absolutely everywhere with me. She had her hair pulled, tweaked and cut off until it was completely bald at the back and sticking straight up on the top. One of the family, Audrey even made an appearance at our wedding when my dad brought her out during his speech. Experience tells me you can’t pick your child’s favourite toy, but if I could pick an Audrey for my baby girl I would pick one of these.
From Cambridge-based Lula Handmade, these rag dolls are created from upcycled vintage fabric and have a wonderfully vintage feel to them. I love that they can be customised too, it makes them that little bit more unique. Looking through the colour options now reminds me of when I was little, lining up toys in the shop with my mum, deciding which one had the cutest face! Am I the only one who did that?!
I also love this Red Riding Hood handmade doll, from Wild Things Funky Little Dresses. They also make gorgeous outfits for kids aged 0-6, definitely worth a look.
What are your best present ideas for a one-year-old? Apart from the boxes and wrapping paper they come in… I would love to know. X
What would you do if you had hours to kill while someone you loved was having major surgery? It’s not a question you get asked very often I don’t suppose. I’m down at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge, while my husband has an operation to fix his poorly bowel. He was due to go down to theatre at 8am, and I have been awake since 5.30 trying to stay calm and keep my mind off things. Speaking to his surgeon yesterday, if all went well he could be done by lunchtime, but if there were complications it could take all day.
As lunchtime for me is usually 11.30 (come on, I get up really early), it’s now gone 1pm and I am starting to sweat. I’ve tried listening to music (Beck, Elbow, Joni Mitchell, all too maudlin so had to turn to Pharell and the Polyphonic Spree for forced happiness), I’ve read the papers (thank God for my iPad) been for a walk and shopped online (another jumper from Gap and a cute apple print top for baby gal). I’ve spoken to my mum and called the recovery ward, only to be told he is still in theatre and to call back later. I wish I hadn’t bothered.
When I finally get the call it’s 2.30pm, and I jump so high I nearly hit the roof. When I hear that everything has gone well, I fire questions at the surgeon just to make doubly sure there haven’t been any setbacks. After all, every time we’ve been in hospital since this all happened last May we’ve rarely been given really good news. In fact, as I walk from my room to see my husband, a massive smile across my face, I wonder if the last time I was in a hospital feeling this happy was when baby gal was born last summer.
At last, I feel like a huge weight has been lifted and things seem to finally be going our way…
PS As you can see from this photo, the op was on the 28th but it’s taken me a few days to find the time to write this post. I’ve been kind of busy as you can see! My watch was a Christmas present from my husband, chosen by me after much deliberation and ordering and sending back of several other styles. Can you see a pattern here?!
I’m a big fan of Dr Seuss and so is my son, and my favourite story is Oh, The Places You’ll Go! It’s the one I always choose at bedtime (if I get to choose), so much so that I don’t get to choose very often anymore. “Oh muuuuum, you always choose that one!” and so on. This year on World Book Day we even dressed up as The Cat In The Hat, and had so much fun and won a book token too (yay!).
The reason I’m telling you all this is that this book is really striking a chord with our family at the moment. I love the opening, the anything is possible feeling of “you’re off to great places, you’re off and away!” Surely that’s what we all want for our kids, to love and nurture them, show them what is possible and send them on their way in the big, wide world. With many, many return trips home that is. But the part that rings true at the moment is the part about the waiting place.
‘You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wriggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across wierdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…’
As I said before, my husband fell ill last spring and although his recovery so far has been amazing, he still has a long way to go before he’s back to where he was before. The next step is another operation, one which we hope will see him off his nutrition drip and more able to lead a ‘normal’ life. It’s been a long wait, and much as I am a supporter of the NHS, as anyone who has lived at its mercy will know when they say something is one month away that usually means two, or in our case nine!
That day is coming closer now and much as I am feeling anxious about it, I’m taking comfort in the simple, day to day things, like spending time as a family, reading books with the kids and just generally pretending nothing is going to happen. Because you never know, today might be our day, and when it is, we will finally be off and away!
Of all my childhood memories, the ones which were recorded in photographs are amongst the most vivid. Take this one, of little old me scooping second prize in my hometown’s annual flower show sometime in the 80s. Always the bridesmaid, eh? But it’s one of my favourite pictures, not just because it amuses me how little I have changed, but because it makes me think about how much my mum helped me perfect my ‘flower arrangement in half a grapefruit’ using the sweet peas from our garden. As for the jumpsuit, well I still hold that outfit dear in my heart.
I wonder had I not have had this photo, would my memory of that day be as strong? I’ve tested this theory on first born, who at five admittedly doesn’t have to cast his mind back quite as far as I do. His strongest memories are those which he has seen in photos.
“What do you remember from when you were a baby?” I asked him as he had his bath this evening. “I remember I had curly hair,” he said. Ok… What else? “I remember the magic fountain, all pink with loud music,” he said. “Oh, and mummy and daddy’s wedding, when I wore a flower on my top.” All taken from photos we have around the house.
Of course we all have memories of events which weren’t captured on camera (thank god) and I am only too aware that getting my phone out to take a picture of every happy moment could mean I miss some of the fun that is actually happening in front of the lens.
But there is a good side to going everywhere with a camera in your pocket, and that’s being able to record the happy moments like these. I hope you like the photo, by the way. Still got the same hairstyle!
This post seems wholly inappropriate given the fact I am sat in my kitchen watching lightning flash over those western skies. Three days of Daisy Duke weather, three barbecues down and it seems our flash of British summertime has been put to bed. However, it will be back and when it is I want to be prepared.
All I will say is this. When you see me walking down the street with my small baby gal’s head left open to the sun’s glare, don’t judge me. I have tried and tried and failed to get any sort of sunbathing on her head, and short of using handcuffs I just don’t think it’s going to happen. First I tried one of first born’s old ones, but it was whipped off faster than you could say ice cream. Next I tried a floppy Boden number, with the same result. So I went to the lovely West Kirby kids’ shop, Cowboys and Angels, to ask if they had any solution. A white Name It sunhat with a tie was produced, fixed on, and looked adorable. Seconds later, one tug of the tie and off it came. I’ve also tried a headscarf, but that lasted about 0.5 of a second. But I will keep on practising, even if it takes stealth tactics to succeed.
Any tips would be greatly appreciated. I don’t seem to remember I had this problem with first born, but then I could be wearing the rose-tinted spectacles that come with an ageing memory!
I love the girlieness of gingham and it comes I'm sure from my school days, when the start of the summer term signalled the move from stiff shirt and acrylic tie to light cotton checky dresses. Well it's time again for my uniform to change, these days from leggings or skinny jeans and Chelsea boots to spring dresses and Birkenstocks. And of course, er, leggings, which I'm sure Vivienne Westwood would be horrified to hear, if she had the inclination to care what I wear, which of course she never would.
Anyway this year, as I have precious little time for browsing in clothes shops, I am a die-hard online shopper, relying mainly on my favourite go-to sites Topshop, Asos and Whistles (for inspiration, special occasions and sales!). This usually ends in me ordering far too many clothes in the wrong size, returning them then ordering again before perhaps finding what I want on the third order. It’s a good job I’m on good terms with the ladies at the post office.
This oversize gingham dress is my new favourite, bought from Asos on a recent 25% off offer. I haven’t worn it yet but the temperatures are hotting up so maybe this week is the week! The dress on the left, of course, is for baby gal, who is benefiting from having a mother who loves dresses and for the past five years has only been able to shop for boys. If only they did this in grown-up sizes, I would be in at the basement with this one. It’s from Gap, and comes complete with matching knickers. Now if only they did that in grown-up sizes, we would never need worry about wearing dresses down that windy prom again…
My house looks like I’ve been burgled. No, hang on, like I’ve been burgled but the burglars were hungry, helped themselves to breakfast and left their dishes of half-eaten porridge all over the kitchen table, then decided they needed a change of clothes and emptied our wardrobes out onto the floor. Even the pictures are hanging wonky on the walls, and my eyes feel like they are closing each time I stand still. Was there a party here last night? Ten or even, eek, 15 years ago I might have thought there had been. These days it’s just the detritus of a hectic family life, experienced by so many of us in the rush to actually get out of the house in the morning.
This morning was particularly fraught. My husband has gone into hospital for a blood transfusion, and had to leave the house at 8.15. Before that, we had to change his dressings (he still has a surgical wound on his tummy from last year’s nightmare), get the children washed and dressed and the first born looking presentable for school. This is no mean feat, as his hair has more bounce and bouff than Boris Johnson’s. Oh, and add to that the joys of the school teddy, Bobby Bear, who stayed with us for the second time in two weeks last night. He is starting to take liberties! At least this week we didn’t have to put his pjs in the drier five minutes before the school run. I can’t help but think all this would easier if I hadn’t been up half the night with teething baby gal, who was up and at ’em once again at seven. I’m not complaining, I love being a family and the noise and chaos that it brings. I just wish, like every other parent I know bar a very lucky few, for a little bit more sleep. Are you listening, kids?