25 May 2015

Our new home

It has been a busy busy week. The big event of the week was that we completed the purchase of our new home. We got the keys on Friday.

I really can't believe it - we have our own home now. Our own home.  




We aren't moving in yet, for another month or so. There are so many things that need to be done. Once we got the keys and went back to the house to have a look it really dawned on us the magnitude of the task. 

By the looks of it the last time the house had anything done to it was in the 1970s and 1980s. The kitchen needs to be completely redone, the stairs need some work as they are not safe for children, and a complete re-wiring is in order on top of serious modernisation work. Red velvety plush and dark wood veneer... The lady who owned the property also seems to have been a smoker. 

Today I took plenty of pictures of interiors and once we get the works under way I will share some before and after pictures. Aside from several things being pretty dated and in need of repair, the house as we see it has great potential. However, as often is the case, our hearts and desires are larger than our wallets... But we will do what we can with what we have.

Exciting times ahead!





16 May 2015

Walking the toddler - a trip to Forty Hall

We live nearby so many beautiful places. One of our favourite haunts nearby is an old manor house. You can walk through the woods to get there, have a look at their vineyard, spot some potbellied pigs, buy some tasty happy pork sausages from the farm shop, check out the ducks and the geese, and just relax and enjoy the scenery.

We have been there lots of times, enjoying things from family picnics to Apple Day festivals











We do love it there, and so does our toddler. It is a bit far for her to walk to, so we put her in the buggy for the walk up to the area, but once there we release her into the wild. Well, almost. As she is such a little daredevil and a bit of a escapee artist, we have resorted to using a pair of toddler reins.

forty hill forty hall



toddler walking reins

toddler walking reins

toddler walking reins


It is one of those little things that always makes me laugh a bit inwardly - I feel like I am taking her for a walk like a little puppy. Excited little puppy that wants to run everywhere, jumping everywhere, without any care in the world. So I sometimes refer us going for a walk as us going to walk the toddler.

  



I do love these little walks of ours, even if they can be a bit full-on with constantly pulling her back on the reins, and making sure she doesn't dunk her hear in the pond, or try to jump on geese. Reins do, as you can imagine, come extremely handy in our family!

Do you walk your toddler in reins too? Or are they good girls/boys enough to stay with you?






12 May 2015

How to choose the best Stokke Tripp Trapp accessories for your family

This review will focus on the Stokke Tripp Trapp feeding chair accessories - Newborn Set, Tripp Trapp Cushion, Tripp Trapp Baby Set, Stokke Table Top and Stokke Harness. If you are thinking of buying any of the accessories for Stokke Tripp Trapp read my thoughts about these products to help you consider what your family might need and how much use you will get out of them.

We love our whitewash Stokke Tripp Trapp highchair. In fact, we loved it so much we bought every single accessory for it. Being clueless first-time parents we had no idea what we would actually need and what accessories for the Tripp Trapp would be the best, so we just got them all. Our baby is now nearly two, so I wanted to share my thoughts about all these Stokke Tripp Trapp accessories and review them so it might help other parents.

If you already have the Tripp Trapp chair, you probably know the key idea behind the concept. You can use the chair from a baby (with the right accessories) to an adult. Tripp Trapp and the accessories are designed to ensure your child can sit right up the dinner table, learning and sharing, practically from birth.

If you are looking to buy these items please do check the links below - the links within the body text are set to UK shops, but should you be in US, you can find the items online from these links below.


Best places to buy these items:

If you are in US:  Stokke Tripp Trapp highchairNewborn SetTripp Trapp CushionTripp Trapp Baby SetStokke Table Top, PlayTray (by 4MyKid)Tray (by Stokke)  and Stokke Harness.

If you are in UKStokke Tripp Trapp highchairNewborn SetTripp Trapp CushionTripp Trapp Baby SetStokke Table TopPlayTray(by 4MyKid), Tray (by Stokke)  and Stokke Harness.


stokke tripp trapp newborn set attachment


Tripp Trapp Newborn Set

The idea with this product is that your baby can sit up at the table with you from birth, and be part of the dinner table conversation. I can also imagine the Newborn Set would be useful in families with older siblings, as parents can use it to keep the baby out of the floor and out of the reach of their (ever so helpful) toddler siblings. 

My little one hated the Newborn Set at first and cried every time we put her in it, but after some perseverance she learned to love it. Growing a little bit also helped her to sit more comfortably in the Set.

She often preferred to be in Tripp Trapp rather than on the floor, as she was better able to see us if we were walking around doing housework. We also used the Newborn Set when we first started weaning her. It was much easier for our backs to have her up at the table level with us, rather than on a babysitter on the floor, or in our arms (mind you, best time to start weaning is when a baby can sit upright themselves).

The Newborn Set includes a removable mobile attachment clamp where you can hang a toy from. We found it was useful to encourage our little one to move her arms and she used to "box" with the toy we hanged from it.

There are some unavoidable "poopcidents", and it is a bit of a hassle to have to remove the cover and put it back on. It washes fine though, dries quickly, and we never had problems with staining. We never got the Newborn Textile Set, which is essentially just a second cover with a different pattern, as we didn't find the need for it. 

Did I think Newborn Set was worth the purchase? Yes and no. We really liked this product, but you don't use this for a long time (six months / 9kg maximum).


stokke tripp trapp newborn set attachment

Tripp Trapp Cushion

We got two of these Tripp Trapp Cushions - they go with the Tripp Trapp Baby Set and can be used later just with the chair. I liked the look of them, and they are nice in terms of customising the look of the chair. They wash easily, and stood up to some serious staining excellently. We've had carrot puree, and all sorts of other horribly staining materials being spilled on them and we've managed to get rid of the stains fine without much bother.

We got these cushions originally to provide our baby some comfort. That said, there is a lot of cushioning going on down there in baby pants... Feeding a baby is messy business, and annoyingly we had to keep on taking the cushions off all the time to wash them. So eventually we just stopped using them as it is much quicker just to wipe the plastic Baby Set. There are wipe-clean cushions available from other sellers - we haven't tried these but the reviews are good!

Did I think Tripp Trapp Cushions were worth the purchase? Well, I liked the look of them and thought they were excellent quality, but we used them very little. We might use them in the future I suppose, when we graduate from the messy eating stage.


stokke tripp trapp high chair table top cushion



Tripp Trapp Baby Set

If you want to use Tripp Trapp as a highchair for a baby or a toddler you have to get the Baby Set

You can get them in different colours to match the chair. We have the white Baby Set, and it is very easy to clean. You just wipe it, and that's it! It has retained it's whiteness well, and even with some serious and prolonged carrot action, it has scrubbed up well. So I would say the colour is not an issue, just choose whichever you like the best.

Did I think the Baby Set was worth the purchase? Yes, you can't really use the Tripp Trapp as a highchair without this set. Good-quality and solid product.

Stokke Table Top

The idea behind the Table Top is that you can use it to protect the table when your baby sits up at the table with you, eating as they do, very messily. It can also be used as a protector when your little ones are older, and perhaps doing crafts or painting.

I really liked that this product came with two double-sided templates (4 pictures) to use with the Table Top - we've been teaching our daughter letters and numbers using them. There are also colourful pictures to entertain them. The sides of the Table Top are raised, so if liquid is spilled it stays on the tray and it is easier to mop. The Table Top is really easy to wipe clean although I wish I could just bang it in the dishwasher (the instructions say no to dishwasher, apparently it is not resistant to heat).

It is sturdy. It has stood the test of much banging and fork scraping and looks still fine (scratched, but OK). The suction cups are pretty good, however, if one of them breaks, the Table Top will move very easily. This happened to us, and after emailing Stokke customer service I got replacement suction cups free - great service!

You can also get a tray that attaches to the chair rather than the table. There are two options - PlayTray that was the original version, and Stokke provides their own version now too. We haven't tried them, but if you want to have your baby eat in her seat away from the dining table, then these are handy. 

Did I think the Table Top was worth the purchase? Well, we do use it all the time, but we probably could have done without one too. It has been useful with crafting activities too as our child has got older.


stokke tripp trapp high chair table top

Stokke Harness

Stokke Harness is the second most important accessory for the Tripp Trapp in my opinion (the first being the Baby Set). It will stop your super-fast monkey from climbing out of their seat, and seriously hurting themselves by falling head first down on the floor.

The harness is sturdy, can be adjusted well, and very secure, so the child can't wiggle themselves out or open the buckle (although never say never so you shouldn't leave them unsupervised). It does mean that if I need to pop in to the kitchen or turn my back to our little one for a moment, I can, and I do not need to worry that she is about to fall into impending doom... Because she is securely strapped in her seat, and knows she can't get out, so she won't even try.

The design is super cute, with a little kitten as the buckle.

Also, I don't know what kind of a magic ingredient Stokke puts in their products, but this one as all the other accessories is resistant to staining and scrubs up well. 

Did I think the Harness was worth the purchase? Yes, most definitely, I would not do without this. In my opinion, this is the second most important accessory after the Baby Set. Toddlers are fast and a bit nutty, without this I think we would have had some painful accidents.


stokke tripp trapp high chair table top

Summary


So which accessories to choose once you bought your Stokke Tripp Trapp? We liked all of them and used them all, and obviously in an ideal world you'd just get everything. However, as we all know, money doesn't grow on trees and you have to prioritise.

So, when choosing the accessories consider these points. If I bought the Tripp Trapp to use as a highchair, I would definitely purchase the Tripp Trapp Baby Set and the Stokke Harness. The Baby Set is essential, and in my opinion the Harness makes it a lot safer for older babies and toddlers. The Harness is a safety device and has saved us from lots of trouble. Not all kids try to get out of their chairs and if you are at an arms length all the time you might not need the harness.

The Newborn Set  is useful as you can keep the baby away from the floor (handy if you have older kids) and babies may enjoy being able to see better and sitting at the same level as you. Downside is that the set can be used only around 6 months. Tripp Trapp Cushion looks nice, and you can customise the chair with different patterns. While weaning and with toddlers likelihood is that the cushion gets very messy and you have to wash it constantly (very annoying) but you might have more use of it with older kids when you take the baby set away.

The Stokke Table Top looks nice and is entertaining for the kids with the different pictures. It can be handy to use as a crafting area as well when kids are older. You could live without it as well and just wipe the table as needed if you are not worried about table being damaged or stained. Alternatively you can get a PlayTray or Tray (by Stokke) which attaches to the chair rather than the table.

So pick and choose based on what you find most useful, and I hope my review of the different accessories has helped you to decide what accessories your family needs most.


Best places to buy these items:

If you are in US:  Stokke Tripp Trapp highchairNewborn SetTripp Trapp CushionTripp Trapp Baby SetStokke Table Top, PlayTray (by 4MyKid)Tray (by Stokke)  and Stokke Harness.

If you are in UKStokke Tripp Trapp highchairNewborn SetTripp Trapp CushionTripp Trapp Baby SetStokke Table TopPlayTray(by 4MyKid), Tray (by Stokke)  and Stokke Harness.



Have you tried any of the Stokke Tripp Trapp accessories and what did you think about them?




7 May 2015

Toddler OOTD #23 - Bright pink spring jacket

Spring is here - finally! To celebrate spring we finally got this gorgeous little jacket out from the wardrobe. It has been waiting there several months, waiting until the rains would stop and the sun would shine... And it finally is spring. Canvas shoes, trench coats, and dresses. Spring. Oh yeah. 





It is so much more fun to take outfit pictures when it is relatively sunny and warm outside. The light is better, and you dress better too when you aren't swamped inside a big thick coat and a few woolly jumpers. You will finally feel like it is time to ditch the black and beige and grey, and graduate to bright, airy colours in celebration of the glorious sun. 




At least, that's how I feel. Our little madam dresses in fabulous colours and cute styles throughout the year, no matter if it rains or shines, is freezing or warm. I should probably take a leaf out of her style book sometime... 


Patch jeans: Trift store find (similar here from Next.)
Bright pink trench jacket: Esprit (similar here Next)




Even I made a little bit of an effort with a maxi dress and a matching scarf! 

Does spring make it more fun to dress up? (I think it does...)





4 May 2015

A week in the life of a working mum

What is life like when you are a working mum? Busy, I can tell you. Life does suddenly become so much more hectic when you have kids... I do wonder what did I do with all my time before I had a baby, really, what did I do? Because now, my life feels like it is pretty full-on most of the time.

I wanted to do a weekly capture of my life, as it is at the moment. Busy, lots of things happening, even if it is mostly commuting to and back from work. So here it is - my week Monday to Sunday.





Monday
6:00AM Wake-up. My husband has decided to begin a new gym routine and gets up at 6AM, waking me up too. I doze until 7AM, and then get woken up by my daughter and we cuddle in bed, reading a book. I make breakfast and lunch and head to work at 8:15AM.
9:30AM - 5:50PM As I arrive to work, I am feeling exhausted already. My inbox contains a big stinking data bomb request... Welcome multiple Excel sheets and pondering how to model a bunch of financial stuff. Thankfully I have a session on mindfulness and a yoga class to break up the day. I grab Gone Girl for a commuting read from our workplace communal library.
7:00PM I am back home, and slump on the sofa. 8PM I go and put the little monkey to bed, but she is sniffly and I spend a long time cuddling her and trying to get her to sleep. After eating I go on the computer, but forget to update my blog.
11:00PM Off to bed after tidying up for the next day house viewing.

Tuesday
7:15AM Wake-up after a very badly slept night - a toddler with a cold would do that to you. I make my lunch and head to work.
9:30AM - 5:50PM I have a couple of meetings during the day, and go to a data analysis seminar during lunch. Plenty of things to do so the day goes fast.
7PM I am back home and we eat dinner (tasty chili con carne) and put the sniffly girl to bed at 8:30PM. After which we watch telly (Queens Big Night Out documentary) and I blog a little, writing about our home.
12:30AMish I get to bed.  Too tired to go to sleep, you know, one of those annoying nights.




Wednesday
7:15AM Wake-up, after an extremely poorly slept night. My little one was crawling all over me during the night, and I woke up numerous times with a squishy bum sitting on my head. I leave home at 9AM.
10:00AM Thankfully I have taken the morning off - I could not have worked properly anyway after a night like that. I go to a  press event about XLS-Medical new weight loss product. After which I go and see Sony World Photography Exhibition at Somerset House.
2:00PM - 5:50PM I am at work and feeling thankful I will get to go back home soon and rest. Someone has brought a big bag of Hershey's chocolates in and I am finding that resistance is futile.
7:00PM I am back home, and after putting the little one to bed I cook "Sicilian cauliflower pasta" from Meat-Free Mondays cookbook. My husband is the one usually (practically always) in the kitchen, so I am a little rusty, but it works out alright.
12.00PM to bed after putting the washing on. 
 
Thursday
7:15AM Wake-up. Cuddles with my little girl, getting ready for work, as always in the mornings. I am a bit late and catch the later train at 8:45AM. I am still reading Gone Girl - it is a real page-turner. 
9:40AM - 5:15PM I get to work, and feel like most of the day went on doing busywork. For lunch I met a new person over coffee. I've signed up to do monthly networking. The idea is to get to know other work areas and make connections between departments and teams. The guy shows me around his office (which is much fancier than mine) and we grab a coffee and chat about life, career plans and work areas.
6:30PM I left work early as I had a Governor's meeting in a local primary school. Thankfully the school governing meeting is a short one and I am back home at 7:30PM. After eating I get back to reading my book, nearly finished now.
11:30PM I get to bed - hubby is planning to wake up at 6AM tomorrow so better get some sleep.



Friday
5:30AM I hear yelping from my daughter's room. She is so loud I can't sleep so bring her in our bed as my husband goes to the gym. I try and cuddle her and sleep, but she keeps on jumping around so eventually I get up at 7:00AM and start making my way to work after preparing my lunch.
9:35AM - 6:00PM I am at work and do mostly various research bits. I go to a seminar on European finances and the macroeconomic trilemma (oh, yes, very nerdy) and go to the gym afterwards to do interval training and abs. I am on the phone with my hubby quite a few times throughout the day as the house sale is just so stressful and the seller hasn't provided the right paperwork and is just being generally unreasonable and we are trying to find solutions. I had been planning to see some folk for drinks in Angel, but feel so tired I figure it is best to go back home. I've finished Gone Girl and grab Love in the Time of Cholera as my next book.
8:00PM I get back home after a long commute with plenty of delays. Put the baby to bed, eat food, blog, read stuff on the computer and drink an ale. Ah, after the week I feel like I really need one. 
12:00AM Off to bed - I am knackered!

Saturday
7:15AM We get up, eat a nice leisurely breakfast, relax back home and hop in the car...
10:10AM - 11:45AM Some Saturdays we go to a Finnish class as we are trying to raise a bilingual baby. Mostly it is a baby rhyme time type of a group, but this Saturday we are celebrating May Day, which is a big deal in Finland. We have some traditional May Day foods, and dance a bit and play with balloons.
12:30PM - 2:45PM After coming back home we put our little one for a nap, and get ready for our afternoon outing. I also write a blog post about my Instagram April and My Monthly Roundup linky.
3:30PM - 6:30PM We are out to see my husband's sister, and spend the afternoon celebrating her birthday. A nice home-cooked lunch, some cakes, and playing in the garden.
8:00PM After a quick supermarket trip we get back home. We don't make any food as we are still feeling stuffed, but Aili has some dinner and goes to bed at 9:00PM. We watch 22 Jump Street, which is hilarious and makes me laugh so hard I almost cry.
12:00AM Off to bed after loading the washing machine.




Sunday
6:20AM We get woken up by the little monkey. Desperately we try to cling into the last dregs of sleep by bribing her with an iPhone, but we forgo the losing battle at 7:20AM and get up to have a leisurely breakfast, with lots of coffee.
9:00AM - 11:30AM It is raining, so we stay indoors, watch telly, sing nursery rhymes, read books, and relax.
11:30AM - 2:30PM The little one is having a nap, I hang laundry, on the computer reading and doing a bit of blogging related stuff, and I make us Eggs Benedict for lunch.
2:30PM - 6:00PM After waking Aili up, she refuses to eat, so at 3:30PM I take her to the nearby park. There are geese, ducks, a mansion house, and we walk around the place and I get her a whirly windmill.
6:00PM - 6:30PM We have a Skype chat with my parents, who live in Finland. Aili is engrossed in Peppa Pig so we talk about the house and what to do with the problems and I have a good moan about the whole house buying business.
6:30PM Aili has some dinner, we give her a bath and put her to bed at 8:00PM. Then we have food, watch telly, I do a bit of linky maintenance and read stuff on the internet.
12:00PM We are off to bed, thankful it is Bank Holiday the next day. Loving a long weekend, and we have planned to go to look at kitchens in the morning and go out for a picnic in the afternoon.

Phew! Feels like I've done a lot in just one week...

How was your week? If you have any kids I bet it was busy too :)

If you fancy doing a similar post yourself why don't you post the link in the comments or in the one-off linky tool so I can pop in by too! 

P.S. I've done a 24 hours in the life of a newborn before, which was a fun post, if you want to check that out too. 







2 May 2015

My Monthly Roundup - Instagram April 2015

It has been a long and stressful month. We have been trying to buy a house for a while now, and after the initial lull of waiting for paperwork to arrive we are suddenly in the midst of trying to organise everything and just... Difficult things happen and are getting us worried. Because lots of my time has been spent on various house issues I haven't been around on social media or blogging that much. It has been a bit of a hiatus. 

On my Instagram page I share some nice little things that make me smile. Or make me think. So here are the things that have brought a smile to my face this past month.




1. I am loving the cherry blossom trees in St James's Park - so beautiful. Reminds me of being in Japan and celebrating the hanami.
2. In St James's Park there is this black swan I love visiting, if I decide to have my lunch there. A while back he looked pretty ill, so I was worried it would be the last of him but thankfully he pulled through!
3. I made gorgeous MaltEaster bunny brownies with the brilliant Taming Twins recipe.
4. We went on a jolly to Cambridge with my team - lots of learning, and afterwards we went punting. I punted and didn't fall over the board (although it got close one time!)



 5. These are some older pictures from the blog, when we went to nearby woods for a Mother's Day walk. It is so beautiful there I want to go back soon.
6. And these cheeky chops - how could they do anything else than make me happy (and want to pinch them too! :D)
7. Mish-mash London cool girl style! OK, we were just in a rush, to get to Wickes to look at kitchen stuff for the new house... Just getting prepared for the massive renovation project we are going to undertake.




8. I couldn't help but to share this selfie from our trip to Lapland, although technically it was in March. I want to go back!
9. We also went to feed reindeer there, and I wrote a blog post about us meeting and feeding reindeer in Lapland.
10. The weeks have been hectic, and having some nice brunches over the weekend have made me feel much more happier.
11. And going to the park - our local park is an old pasture for cows... A big park for great adventures!

How was your month? Instagram or otherwise? 

Linky below- here is a post that explains My Monthly Roundup linky idea if you want to get more information.





Wave to Mummy My Monthly Roundup

You can use this HTML code for the linky badge. 



<div class="Wave-to-Mummy-linky-button" style="width: 200px; margin: 0 auto;"> <a href="http://www.wavetomummy.com" target=”_blank”> <img src="http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j24/wavetomummy/Mymonthlyrounduplinkybadge_zps949ba8ed.jpg" alt="Wave to Mummy" width="200" height="200" /> </a> </div>








Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...