29 August 2015

3.3 miles of a forest

3.3 miles doesn't sound that long does it. Well, it isn't really, unless you are about a meter high and toddling on your short little legs following mummy around.

When we went out, I didn't anticipate going for a toddler-sized mini-marathon. I imagined we will go to a park, find some puddles, jump about a bit, pop down the woods and go back home. But the lure of the green paths, muddy paths, and humming trees was a bit too much and she kept on pulling me towards the path, further and further away from home. We just followed along the path, enjoying the sunshine and the scenery. We saw lots of dogs, a few sheep and some ducks.

We did a BIG loop around the forest and through the park. To be exact, a 3.3 mile of a loop. At the last leg of the journey we had to stop a few times to have some little moments of rest, sitting in the tree shade. To be honest, it wasn't just her, I also needed that little sit-down moment. The journey took us a couple of hours. The last few hundreds of meters I had to carry her, poor little girl.

You can imagine that she had one GIANT nap that day!

What is the longest walk you have taken with your kids?

27 August 2015

Toddler OOTD #30 - Pretty little strawberry dress

When is the right time to wear a pretty dress? Is it when you are going to a party? Or how about when you go on a date? Or maybe when you go out to the town? Or in the life a toddler, is it only when you go to a birthday bash, or a play date, or out for a babyccino with mummy?

Well, I've always been of the opinion that clothes and washing machines are made for a reason. That is to wear them and to wash them... No point saving clothes for any special occasion. As a toddler it is even more important to use those pretty dresses and gorgeous shoes _everywhere_ you possibly can, as those damn little monkeys seem to grow out of their clothes in a fortnight... 

And that includes wearing a white dress with dinky little strawberries if you want to, where you want to, even if it is in a sandpit. Or skidding on grass. Or even jumping on a little puddle. Because mummy knows how to use that washing machine!

Do you save clothes for special occasion or wear them where ever and whenever you want?

25 August 2015

Very easy oaty blackberry and apple crumble

I love a good crumble. My favourite crumbles are of an oatmeal variety, using lovely rolled oats instead of a more traditional crust made with flour. I sort of try to kid myself that by using oats in a crumble, it becomes health food... After all, it is fruits, berries and oats, so it must be healthy. Right? This blackberry and apple oatmeal crumble was inspired by my many moments of recent foraging trips to our local park, which is brimming with blackberries.

Easy recipe for a blackberry and apple oat crumble - delicious and quick to make!

Easy recipe for a blackberry and apple oat crumble - delicious and quick to make!

I am of the firm opinion that a crumble must be made from the heart. I never really do a measured crumble. It is a messy, chuck it all in and measure with your eyes and your mouth type of a crumble that gets my juices flowing. However, as this is a recipe post, I have made an attempt to provide some measurements... But as with all good crumbles, feel free to ignore the measurements and be inspired by the moment!

oatmeal blackberry apple crumble

oatmeal blackberry apple crumble

2 large cooking apples
4 punnets of blackberries (about 600g)
2 tbsp cinnamon
generous sprinkling of sugar (about 100g)
100g butter
100g rolled oats
100g sugar

Peel and core the apples, chop in pieces about the size of your thumb. Place in the bakeware with the blackberries, sprinkle cinnamon and about 100g of sugar on top, and mix well. 

Chop the butter in small pieces, and in a bowl, pinch in the rolled oats and sugar into the butter. Sprinkle on top of the apple blackberry mix.

I use a deep round glass bakeware, which is 7-8 inches (20cm) in diameter, but anything in that rough size would work. Bake in the oven at 200C (180C fan oven) for 20 minutes or until golden and a little crispy on top.  

Eat with some vanilla ice cream!

oatmeal blackberry apple crumble

(The blackberries let out a lot of liquid, which is lovely drizzled on top of the ice cream. The topping is lovely and buttery, and if you like it really thick, try increasing the butter, rolled oats and sugar into 150g each)

21 August 2015

Mummy heels, mummy style

I used to be a heels kind of a  girl. Heels, heels, heels. It didn't matter whether I was walking on a beach, walking on sheer ice (hey, stilettos are almost like ice picks aren't they?), riding a bike or just walking to the shops and back. Heels all the way.

Then, London happened. It was a gradual change. As my commute got longer, my heels got flatter. It was all that walking to the station and between the tube stops, see. Then, a baby happened. A great big belly sticking out I wasn't about to teeter on my stilettos no more. After the pregnancy with a little baby on my arms and a bit wobbly from all that lack of sleep my feet stayed firmly on ground. And after the baby grew up and started first crawling, then toddling, and then running towards all kinds of mischief, all my beloved heels were forever resigned to be relegated to the bottom of the biggest box in the darkest corner of the loft, never to be seen or used, unless in the grave emergency of a baby-free party or a job interview.

When Brantano suggested I pick a pair of shoes from their online store I was (as always) drawn to the beautiful beautiful heels. And then I of course went to check the more practical flat options. After lots of browsing through a great selection of shoes, and teetering between lots of fabulous options I decided to go for something I've never before had. Something with a bit of heel, but still practical when running after a little monkey. Something that I guess you could term as mummy shoes, or mummy heels.

Eva Farris Hush Puppies Wedge sandals from Brantano

Eva Farris Hush Puppies Wedge sandals from Brantano

Eva Farris Hush Puppies Wedge sandals from Brantano

Eva Farris Hush Puppies Wedge sandals from Brantano

So wedges it was, and the fabulously comfortable Hush Puppies grabbed my attention straight away. And as I've always found with Hush Puppies, these were almost like walking on clouds. Not too high either with the reasonable heel and the added platform. Exactly the comfortable type of a shoe a mummy might need when trying to catch that lightning speed toddler. Or when walking to the shops and back. Or when going to work, after being woefully tired and lacking in practice with that heel-toe step action... (Done all those in these puppies, and in comfort!)

mummy ootd
 Top: By Malene Birger / Trousers: Taifun / Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs / Wedges: Hush Puppies

So, what do you think of these puppies? Are you a heels (or mummy heels) type of a girl or do you keep your feet flat in the ground?

Thanks to Brantano for the PR sample from their shoe selection. 

19 August 2015

Our renovating story Part 5 - Interviewing my renovator hubby

I talk a lot about the renovating we are doing, and what we are planning for the house. Well, I think that now it is finally time to give some credit where credit is due... To my husband. 

My husband has been doing the vast majority of the actual work on the house - both the physical work and the planning work. While I have busied myself at my office job, and focused on maintaining our house budget spreadsheets and frozen pizza stocks, my hubby has been hard at work. He has quite a few ideas he has wanted to implement on the house, and has been really hands on with much of the build. 

We have gotten professionals to do some major jobs, like electricity, plumbing, plastering and installing RSJs, but pretty much all the rest has been done by my (long suffering) husband.   That has included the demolition, dot and dabbing, flooring, dealing with quotes and tradesmen, building our wardrobe, painting and so on, and he will also be installing our kitchen. Pretty impressive, aye?

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to hear a bit about what he has to say about the whole renovation business - after all, that is pretty much what he has been living and breathing for the past three months! (My comments in italics)

What have you enjoyed the most about renovating our house?
My tools, like using my mitre saw, which is very high-powered and a bit nerve-wrecking the first time using it. Learning how to use it, and then seeing the benefits of how much faster and better you are able to do everything is satisfying. For example the flooring would have taken a few of weeks to do with a hand saw. Now it took me all and all 4-5 days. 

And I have enjoyed the creating of things, like doing a wardrobe and raising the floor with a floating floor system.  

What have you found most difficult about the renovations?
I was absolutely dreading the dot and dabbing the wall from the ground floor all the way up to the first floor with no set of stairs (these were removed). Having to do this with a stairwell tower, and using decibel boarding which are 50kg each sheet. Lifting them all by myself, they are about 8 foot by 4 foot, so big big boards, and doing it three meters up in the air. With one wrong step I would have plummeted down.

What mistakes have you made during the process?
Telling you about stuff! (He means me) Whether you know this or not, you assume you know about everything. I could be the whole most authority on something, and you would still challenge me. (I would say I only provide helpful criticism and pointers...)

I wouldn't call it a mistake as such but having to re-do the kitchen floor. Having to pull the boards up again in the kitchen to re-brace things, as I had to adapt to the material I was using. It took day and a half of extra work. I was annoyed but I did it because that was the best thing and enabled us to have a level floor in the kitchen and living room.

Has there been any dodgy things or accidents that have happened?
Personal injuries? Yeah! Got a T4 syndrome in my back I have acupuncture for. The physiotherapist keeps on telling me all the time I have to stop lifting weights. 

Twisted my ankle, falling into a hole. Sliced my hand open a few times. Bruised legs. 

There was a bit of a dodgy moment where I had to take the old staircase off. I had to saw through the last brace as I was still standing on the staircase. So I sawed it nearly to the end, jumped off, and had to saw the rest from the bottom. And I had to hold it up and try to push it away from me and the gas meter (situated underneath the stairs) to avoid it either hitting me or the gas meter. I was also worried that the weight of the staircase falling could have broken the floor boards.

(He didn't mention this, but he also got practically a whole wall of plaster boarding falling on top of him due to poor workmanship by the previous owners).

How is it renovating a house with a wife and toddler in tow?
It is not easy, it is bloody knackering. And I still have to be a dad and a husband when I come back home.

Would you say that the renovation work puts a stress on the marriage?
Yeah. Of course you (again, he means me) have opinions, like everyone would, and there are times when I would rather not talk about the house as I have been there all day long. Or when you are too fortright about your opinions on things, especially when it is far too late to change things. And the biggest issue is when you change your mind mid-way and try to re-hash things. 

When do you think the house will be ready?
I hate that question! I get asked that question by so many neighbours,  so many tradespeople, so many curious people and it is really difficult not to turn around and tell them to STFU. They are just interested. But when you are asked that and you already want it to be finished it just angers you. Leave me alone, it will be finished when it will be finished and will be finished quicker if you leave me alone!

No really, give me an estimate?
Three weeks. That is what I have been telling everyone for the past three weeks. 

Do you know the Dougleas Adams quote? "I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by."

There. A bit of insight into my hubby's innermost world :)  

Anything you would like to ask him?

15 August 2015

Happy 1 year blogiversary Wave to Mummy!

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday dear blog, 
Happy birthday to you!

I can't believe my little blog is now a year old. They say time goes fast when you are having fun. Well, it feels like it was just a few weeks ago that I wrote that first post introducing myself to the blogging world.

It has been a great experience. Alongside recording our family memories and milestones of our little girl, I have connected with so many wonderful people online and offline. I have worked with some great brands doing reviews and giveaways and have also partnered with charity, Plan UK. I even have my own little linky about monthly roundups. I've written a lot, I've photographed a lot, I've learned a lot and most importantly I have had fun a lot. And to be honest, if you asked my husband, spent a lot of time doing this all!

It has been really interesting venturing into the pro-blogging side of things, even if on a very small scale. I've learned that all that work behind the screens takes a lot of time and can be incredibly frustrating when it doesn't come into fruition. And I've learned that you just can't say yes to everything. In fact, I probably say no to most things because I just don't have the time and the energy, and I try to be quite selective in terms of what ends up on my blog.

While I don't have a vast amount of time to be spent on this blog (I am, after all, a full-time working mum) I think I have created a nice little place for myself and for my musings. There are things that could be better designed, there could be better photography, more varied posts, more all kinds of things, but overall I am proud of my one year old blog-baby.

Probably the one thing I love the most about this blog are all the lovely comments. I love interacting with you guys and having a chat, and I love finding out more about you all. I am probably not the greatest at putting myself out there and marketing myself, but that's alright. I've still managed to connect with some fab folk!

I've written 130 posts in the last year. This is my 131st. Phew, it feels like a lot! Is it? Sometimes it feels like you should be posting every day, especially if you want your blog to "go" anywhere.

I am now on a quest to make my blog a bit more reader friendly and would love to hear what you think about my blog. I would love to know what has been your favourite post here or what would you like me to write about in the future.

Anything you would like to see more here? Or anything that just doesn't work, technical or otherwise? I promise, I will consider all suggestions! :)

P.S. I didn't REALLY buy a cake to celebrate my blogiversary (although I may secretly have wanted to). The pictures are from 2014 - my daughter's first birthday cake!

14 August 2015

Toddler OOTD #29 - 30 years old

30 years old... Imagine that. Thirty years ago another little girl was wearing that exact same shirt. Running around a park, gleefully jumping on roundabouts, pummeling down slides and climbing on swings, wearing that same shirt. 

I obviously don't remember wearing that shirt. Or have I seen it in any photographs either. But my mum informs me that I used to wear it. She has saved a few chosen items from my and my brothers childhood, and now my daughter is wearing them. There are the tartan dungarees, worn a bit thin on the knees, and the little blue socks my brother used to wear.

I love this little shirt - it is cute and summery, and something light and comfortable for her to wear. And best of all, it is proper vintage, and a proper memory from a time long gone. It is strange to think that once (a long time ago) I was this small and doing the same kind of things my daughter is doing now. Running around, care-free, waving hello to everyone walking past us and chasing after other children.

I do wonder if it might last another thirty years for the next generation of our little family? 

Shirt: Vintage
Shoes: wearing Electro Crocs, earlier neon-pink sandals H&M
Shorts: Sainsbury's

Have you found any treasures like this from your parents stashes?


9 August 2015

No mummy

Now, can you hazard a guess what might be the favourite word of a two year old girl? I bet you can...

No is a word I hear far too often. At the moment everything is a No. A firm, resolute, and a loud No.

She is never hungry, never wants to drink, never wants to sleep. She never wants to watch TV, she never wants to play with her dolly, she never wants to go out. There are certain clothing items that are No, and certain toys that are No as well. And some things are so terrible (like sitting in the bath...) that they become Nonononono items. Until she sits down and suddenly it becomes fun to splash around. Toddlers...

Occasionally I like to test whether or not she is actually listening to what I am saying. Because there is one thing she loves more than anything else... On those occasions our conversation goes a bit like this.

'Do you want to have some bread?'
'Do you want to have some chicken nuggets?'
'Do you want to have some water?'
'Do you want to have some juice?'
'Do you want to watch Fireman Sam?'
'Well, would you like to have some chocolate?'
'......... Yah!'

Mummy's daughter! (I could eat my weight in chocolate, easily).

Do you have similar conversations too? What is the one thing that breaks the resistance in your household? :)

5 August 2015

Our renovation story Part 4 - Inspiration

I think I have moaned enough about expensive surprises, and the difficulties of managing tradesmen for now. Although I am sure I could moan a bit more I figured it would be nice to share a bit about the type of look we are going for and what inspires us. 

We have been watching Grand Designs for far too long, and consequently have developed quite an architectural taste. Our new home is a Victorian property, quite traditional end-of terrace, which has unfortunately been slaughtered by a series of incompetent and marauding home "improvers" over the years. Much of the original features have been lost in the process, which is a real shame. 

Our dream would be to combine original Victorian features with some simple modern touches. Overall we are going for grey and white in the bedroom and in the kitchen, and bedroom can have a bit of pop in colour (blue, green, and berry). I wanted to have one of the bedrooms yellow, but couldn't find the right cold, citrusy pale yellow I had in mind, so a gorgeous berry came to replace that. 

Photos from Houzz app

We are big fans of white and whitewashed wood features, so that is the look we are going for. For the floor we chose bamboo - cheaper than traditional wood flooring and excellent durability. For the stairs we have gone for whitewashed plywood, and are planning on leaving the "stacks" in show, so you get these funky architectural linings. We were drawn towards glass instead of banisters, but as that is the (very) expensive option, we decided to go for something interesting, funky, and cheap... Thin banisters all the way to the ceiling!

Photos from Houzz app

For the kitchen we are going ultramodern. No handles, gloss graphite grey and white, stainless steel Neff appliances, and stainless steel worktops with a welded in sink. So excited about the whole thing! Especially my sink. I am also planning on painting the whole wall in dark grey blackboard paint to act as a giant art wall for us, and potentially installing a little bookcase for my ever-expanding cooking book collection.

For the entrance hallway I want us to get caustic tiles. These tiles then would be used in front of the fireplace for a visual reference. As we just can't afford and don't have the energy to do the fireplace at the same time as the rest of the renovations we have decided to do a quick fix, box it in, and just put candles inside for the time being. Hubby bought a reclaimed wooden mantelpiece for a fiver, which will be a project to restore and install once we move in. 

So many ideas, so little time! And I am getting so excited about the final result - it will be a huge transformation for the whole place.

What do you think of these ideas?

Check my renovation series here:
Part 1 - Our new home
Part 2 - Surprises
Part 3 - Project management

2 August 2015

My Monthly Roundup - My Instagram July 2015

July was a nice month. A chilled and relaxed month. We travelled, and we went out a lot, and we had some celebrations too. On my Instagram page I often try to share those little snippets of everyday life that might never find their way on my blog, and I try to share those little things that make me happy on that day. This month my Instagram was a lot about our trip to Finland, and a lot about family life...

1. This was a little snap from BritMums Live (a blogging conference for parent bloggers in UK) -  I wrote about my experience at BritMums but possibly the one thing I will forever remember is that I became a Guinness World Record Holder at the event (alongside about 700 other mums and dads for wrapping people as toilet paper mummies... OK a bit random but still!). 
2. In Finland we enjoyed the outdoors a lot, and this scenery... At my parents summer house <3
3. Little toddler fashion picture - she chose those shoes herself at H&M. 
4. We went to an amusement park with friends, and met up with another friend who had just given birth (pretty impressive tottering to an amusement park about three days after!). Our little group consisted of one newborn, three toddlers, one child and five extremely knackered adults!

5. When the first two words you hear in the morning are "No Mummy" you know you are in for a long day...
 6. Finland really is the land of Crocs - we saw them everywhere and we of course had them too! They are great at the countryside.
7. My little girl loves flying - as we were taking off the loudest sound you could hear in the plane was "Wheeeeeeeeee!". I am a nervous flyer myself and was mainly thinking about our impending doom (which obviously never happened...).
8. Love running around our local park- it is such a happy place for us. This picture was from a blog post about some ShoeZone trainers gifted to us

9. For a Throwback Thursday I shared a little snap from over two years ago... A great big belly shot. I was so happy, pregnancy suited me, and I really want to have another one now!
10. At the park, chilling, feet up in the air (because we just don't care!). 
11. Our little monkey has been a bit difficult this month and waking us up in the night... Not all is lost though in the sleep-deprived state as I discovered my new Starbucks favourite - Caramel Coffee Jelly. Because sometimes you need a sugar-slap in your face with a caffeine-kick up the butt.
12. Our trip to Coram's Fields was so much fun. Seriously, it is probably the best kids park in London so you should gander over there if you have a chance.

13.OK, the literary event of the year I was not going to miss. I cracked open my new book and a box of Guylian.
14. A little snapshot from my phone from Finland - a toddler really needs nothing else than a bit of sun and a bucket to have great fun!
15. It was my fourth anniversary at the end of July - my wedding day was the happiest day in my life and just wonderful. I wrote a bit about our first, second, third and fourth anniversary celebrations and how with kids anniversaries just get trickier and trickier to organise...
16.Every mummy (and daddy) knows what these are... Little treasures from great big adventures. 

And that was my July on Instagram and life in general.

In July I tried to make a conscious effort with my Instagram - I love it as a social media. I wanted to post one picture a day, just to see how that would be like. Well, I did forget all about my promise midway through, but still managed to post a fair few nice things in there. Let's hope August I'll manage one post a day in August!

Do you guys have Instagram accounts? And how was your July?

Linky below - if you would like to learn more about the linky idea check my page about My Monthly Roundup. 

Wave to Mummy My Monthly Roundup

You can use this HTML code for the linky badge. 

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1 August 2015

Our summer holiday in Finland

We've just returned from a two week holiday to Finland. Well, OK, we returned about three weeks ago but it has taken a while to get into the routine back home, starting to sort through my photographs from Finland, dealing with the house renovations, and other life admin type of stuff. This time it was just me and the little one travelling as hubby had to stay behind and do dot and dabbing, and fitting and other fun and exciting things back home.

Going to Finland for the summer is always enjoyable. It reminds me of all those summers from my childhood and teens when we'd go and sit in the park, chat with friends, forget everything about any worries we might have, go for a dip in a lake and wonder at the midnight sun. We would just relax and be.  Enjoy the summer, be it hot, sunny, rainy, or cloudy, and just be. Present.

During this holiday we did the regular Finnish summer things. Relaxed at the summer house on the countryside. Barbecued sausages and drank ice cold cider. Lounged in the warmth of a wood burner sauna. Bought fresh pea shoots at the market and peeled and ate them while walking around the town. Spotted seagulls and kingfishers at the seaside. Met friends, ate ice cream, slept late. You know, the stuff summers are made of - fun and relaxation.

Here are some of the pictures from our holiday. They make me think of the warm summer days, light-filled evenings and fresh countryside air we enjoyed over our two weeks in Finland. There are hundreds of them, but little by little I'll go through them and post some travel related posts - you can find them all under travel and Finland.

Have you had your summer holidays already? How were they? 

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