\ The Memoirs of Maternity
August 30, 2014 0

OMM Design, “D.I.Y Banner” | This Modern Life.

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I’ve wanted a ‘DIY Banner’ for such a long time. I’ve wanted to write out our favourite slogans or words across the walls of Eli’s bedroom – obviously, without the permanent graffiti! So a few months back I finally got mine ordered from the really lovely This Modern Life online store. It was a toss up between the black and the gold – but the black just pipped it at the post. (It stands out against everything). As soon as it arrived, I took out all the letters and laid them out to see what I could write first…

Then realised that the metal fasteners were missing! A very swift response from the very lovely Suzanne meant that a new set of clips were in the post… (thanks a bunch again!)

I set to work…

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Even though Eli’s birthday was 6 weeks away at the time, I knew I wanted to debut my banner then. We removed the antique painting from above our sofa and strung the banner up in the centre of the wall. We were over the moon with it – I think it looks spot on! It was the perfect backdrop for Eli’s 2nd birthday (we will of course be wheeling this out every year going forward! A new little tradition!)

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Obviously, the birthday banner had to come down at some point… boo.

So, I set to work again – this time, I clipped together “Always be curious”. Our family motto. (Which is actually a little longer… “Always ask questions, always be curious.”) We *might* have taken inspiration from a certain Mr Richard Dawkins’ in his letter to his 10 year old daughter there; but it fits so nicely as we’ve always wanted our children to be curious about the world around them – and Eli has definitely always been a curious boy!

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This one is on the wall beside Eli’s library.

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And I just had to keep a little something for Eli’s bed-head too :)

What do you think of the DIY banner? What would be your favourite words to spell out?

MM.

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From the This Modern Life product page for the OMM Design D.I.Y Garland:

We love this multilingual DIY letter banner – use it to spell out your child’s name, a special song lyric, Happy Birthday, or even ‘MARRY ME?’

There are loads of letters in each pack, so you can create several banners with one kit.

Design Tips:

 Spell out your baby’s name in the nursery, or a cute phrase like ‘night night little one’ or ‘wake up bright’.

 Write out favourite song lyrics in your kids room, or use words like ‘PLAY’ and ‘READ’ to define areas of their room.

 How about ‘WELCOME’ by the front door, or ‘LOVE’ in the bedroom? Perhaps a family message in the lounge or kitchen.

 These not only make a perfect gift, they are also ideal for ‘Happy Birthday’ banners, and as a tag on beautifully wrapped presents.

Size: Each letter is approx. 8cm tall.

Good to know: 122 characters in each pack:

AAAAA BBB CC DDD EEEEEEE FF GGG HHH IIII JJ KK LLLL MMMM NNNN OOOO PPP QQ RRRR SSSSS TTTT UUU VV WW X YY Z ÅÅ ÄÄ ÖÖ ÆÆ ØØ Ë Ï Ü ßß Œ Ç Ñ & ! ? ‘ ‘

Plus 18 symbols:

♦︎ ♥︎ ★ ♠︎

August 25, 2014 0

Wot Ma Like | Shy Bairns Get Nowt mug.

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“Shy bairns get nowt”. For those who don’t understand what this means… I shall explain! This well known phrase (an overused phrase by oneself!) translates to: a shy person doesn’t get anything without asking for it.

I absolutely LOVE this mug. My dear friend Christie bought me it for my birthday this year, but due to Royal Mail being HORRENDOUS the birthday gift not only arrived smashed to smithereens but as we were out at time, it was put into a food caddy that was FULL of food at the time. (I honestly don’t know where to begin with that one!).

A few weeks ago, we went back to Newcastle for the first time in 6 years, where we had once lived for 4 years, to visit our lovely friends Christie (who sent me the mug!) and Adam. Our Motherland is a 1 hour drive from Newcastle, so we used a lot of Geordie lingo to begin with, but living in Newcastle gave me a proper tongue from the Toon! This mug is perfect for me and I couldn’t wait to get it replaced!

I managed to get the mug back Daaaaaahn Safff in one piece, I’m hoping it remains the case!

Wot Ma Like is an ingenius brand from husband and wife team, Jo & Nick Burrows, who set up the Geordie Mug company initially, before expanding the dialects to include accents such as Yorkshire, Scouse and Manc to name but a few. Their items are definitely one-of-a-kind and make such great gifts and treats for your home. We’ll definitely be purchasing more items for ourselves and others! I do love to give Independant, small and local brands a shout out – so if you’re a new/small/local business, please do get in touch!

You can find my “Shy bairns get nowt” mug as well as other Geordie products on their website: wotmalike.co.uk and you can follow them on Twitter @wotmalike

MM.

August 23, 2014 0

What Eli Wore | Little Bird by Jools, “Retro Pyjamas”.

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So, as dedicated followers of 1970′s interiors, we have been ridiculed a lot – to say the very least.

Some of the following statements are just a few of the regular comments that we get when people come by our house:

“Oh god, my Nana had that when I was a kid.”

“Christ, it’s like walking into a time warp in ‘ere.”

“Erm, my Nana called, she wants her crockery/cushions/lampshade/curtains* back” (*delete as appropriate).

I’d say our parents are most opposed to our fondness of all things 70′s. Apparently, they despised the era and just don’t “get” our love and adoration for the prints, the colours, the design, the style – the loveliness! We’ve had 7 houses in our 10 year courtship, so far – we love the 1970′s and we the feelings are mutual, we’re sure. We’ve collected some absolute treasures over the years – and the 7 houses – and we’ve also had some wonderful things handed down to us. We love that the majority of our ‘time warp’ of a house has a story. Most item’s aren’t just things that we bought for the sake of having a fruity looking house – there is sentiment and lasting memory.

As I have mentioned MANY a time, Little Bird by Jools is literally my favourite brand – EVER. I’ve always wanted to dress our children in that 70′s fashion – but not in the itchy or dowdy fabric’s and styles. Little Bird is spot on with design, colour and that whimsical nostalgia that surrounds being an actual CHILD. It’s a little bit of US.

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So, as soon as I clapped eyes on these fruity pyjama’s, I just had to have them! I ADORE them. I bought them back in July when they were first released and kept them for Eli’s 2nd birthday. It was so tough to not break them out of the wrapping paper! We’ve also kept the wellie’s for The Big Feastival at the weekend too. I’m definitely going to have to dress Eli in both, like the campaign – he’ll look wicked!

As you can imagine, I was pretty shocked when some of the usual folks – who would regularly give us jip for our 70′s affection – commented on the first photo of Eli, above, saying how much they loved Eli’s pj’s… and then I had a dozen comments across the social channels asking where they could purchase such wonderful sleepwear! Oh how the tables have turned… and I LOVE IT! I know they’re still just printed pyjama’s, with a retro inspiration – and I know that just because someone likes these pyjama’s, they’re not automatically going to LOVE our house and the rest of the clothes we dress Eli in. But it’s a start… and we love it all regardless, so we’re not changing for nobody! Hurray to the 1970′s!

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These ‘Retro Pyjamas’ are available in store and online at Mothercare.com now – just click here to purchase!

MM.

August 19, 2014 0

“Beep beep’m beep beep yeah” | I FINALLY passed!

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This time last week I was plodding about the house… already getting nervous about Thursday. For Thursday I would be having ANOTHER driving test. I hadn’t told anyone when my test was (aside from work). Mr Memoirs didn’t even have a clue. I have a terrible habit of getting myself worked up over things. I’ve always been a worrier. More so since having Eli of course, but still, I worry needlessly. Much to my disadvantage when I have an impending driving test!

After all these years of not driving… and not even wanting to drive, to it becoming such a necessity in my life that I was without. It wasn’t just the umpteenth walk up to the ‘local’ hospital for Eli’s physio appointment, or the walk up to Sainsbury’s for the second time that day, for the million things I’d forgotten (and having to cart it all back on the back of the pram)… or the fact I was trekking 2 HOURS every day to get Eli to nursery and back. It’s so much more than that. It’s the freedom to whisk my family away if need’s be. To be able to do things my friends do; and not miss out because the car seat would be a problem. Of course, I really wanted to be without the trek to the nursery. Nobody want’s to walk 2 hours every day in the howling wind and rain (granted, it was a lovely walk when the sun shone, but since July the path has been treacherous to say the very least – thank you Brentwood Council for making a massive pig’s ear of your roads – which in turn, made a massive pig’s ear of the path!). We’re free – as a family. And that’s so exciting.

I honestly cannot believe it. It feels very surreal.

My first drive was the nursery run. I felt liberated and a nervous wreck. I parked 5 minutes walk away in a pub car park because the nursery forecourt is a driving nightmare. Picking Eli up on Friday felt amazing. I did feel like I was an illegal driver however, and it really felt like all the other drivers KNEW I was new to the roads… it’s like they were all looking at me in my car. So very strange. I know they weren’t looking, at all!

The car still feels very big and I must have stalled about 40 times in the 6 drives I’ve done (mostly trying to get off the drive – it’s a hill). But all in all, I *think* I’m getting there. I CAN drive. I AM a driver. And that feels nice.

MM.

NB: I took 5 driving tests. Proof that you shouldn’t ever give up – if you want something, you will achieve it, eventually. Also, Brentwood Test Centre has a pass rate of 36% – they’re ridiculously harsh; to the point that I was failed on my last test because I wasn’t dramatic enough with how I was making observations – the examiner agreed that during the “incident” in question, I “did look”, it just wasn’t “obvious enough”.  I’d failed my previous tests for similar issues. I knew I was a good driver at heart, I let the nerves get the better of me, but this time I wasn’t going to be beaten! Plus my Provisional License was due to expire in October this year and I sure as hell was not going to get that renewed – I NEEDED that Full License! And I got it! DON’T GIVE UP – KEEP ON PLODDING! And you never know, if you’re taking your driving test as a ‘mature student’ like I was, maybe you might have a nicer test centre who appreciate how difficult it is to not be that ruthless and overly confident 17 year old! I will keep my fingers crossed for you. 

August 17, 2014 0

The Big Feastival 2014 | We’re ACTUALLY going!

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I enter competitions on a whim. I forget about them. I entered The Big Feastival competition via the Jamie Oliver ‘Gold Club’ back in December… at the time, I remember saying to Mr Memoirs, “We should keep that weekend free, just incase!”. His obvious reaction was “No need, we never win anything…”. He’s eating those words right now, because I DID WIN!

We’re so so excited, I can’t even put it into words! And that is saying something.

I’m even excited about the camping part! Which is DEFINITELY saying something.

We’ve always wanted to go to The Big Feastival – as we’re huge fans of Jamie Oliver, and Alex James fan’s to boot (I was always on team BLUR, of course). This is literally the perfect festival for us, especially with Eli in tow too. It’s hugely family-friendly (heck, Justin Fletcher A.K.A Mr Tumble and actual Mr Bloom swoon are there too!). There are dozens of activities and area’s to keep little ones entertained. Plus, and most importantly, this is a foodie festival. With all our favourite chef’s in attendance! You can see the list of who’s-who, here> CHEF’s.

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The marketing team at Jamie Oliver have been absolutely fantastic. They’ve been super swift to reply to any queries we’ve had and have kept me up to date with everything. The tickets landed on my doormat this morning, giving me a new lease of excitement – WE’RE ACTUALLY GOING!

So – what’s the plan when we get there?

Well, we’ll unload the car and get the tent up as soon as possible – and get settled in! We tested the tent a few weekend’s ago and it was super easy to assemble – which is good news because I would get bored so quickly otherwise! For the first time ever, we also have a camp bed; there was no way we could sleep on the actual floor for a few nights (we literally have the bones of elderly people!).

We’ll then head into the festival, which open’s at 11am!

We’re really looking forward to seeing presentations/tasting’s with our favourite Chef’s, as well as joining in all the toddler activities we can feast on! Eli is very, very good with his food, so we’re certain he’ll get stuck into munching whatever he can. As reader’s of my blog, and friends of mine IRL, will know, I’m massively mildly obsessed with Little Bird by Jools. Basically, there is little else that I will dress Mr Eli in, other than Little Bird. It is my imaginary children’s fashion made reality (and probably better than my imagination to be honest!). And guess what? Little Bird will be at The Big Feastival too! Last year there was even a catwalk (I can’t cope!), which I’ll so be FROW of with Eli. Hoping he doesn’t gatecrash though – I know he has a soft spot for Jools and her design’s too! I’m literally so excited I can’t even contain myself!

Just look how adorable these kids are man! LOVE LOVE LOVE Little Bird!

So the countdown is officially on, now that tickets are in hand! T-minus 13 day’s! This weekend we’ve bought Eli some new threads to keep him cool or warm and dry across the Big Feastival weekend. That’s the only trouble with a British festival, you really need to pack for ALL weather! I’m certain we’ll have an amazing time whatever the weather will be. There are adventures and memories to be made… and that’s the main thing.

 

MM.

 

PS – any tips you have for camping with a 2 year old would be greatly appreciated!

Here is the line-up (in full, more or less).

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August 11, 2014 0

Belle & Boo | Birthday Badge Cards.

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Mr Eli recently turned 2… and it wouldn’t have been an occasion without Belle & Boo would it!
I love Belle and Boo; you can read my previous Belle & Boo posts below>
- Mr Eli’s 1st Birthday!
- BRAND IN FOCUS | Belle & Boo.
- Belle & Boo | Very Merry Christmas (book).

Belle & Boo recently launched their “Badge Cards” collection – a range of 8 number cards for lovely little girls and boys, complete with birth-age badge. You can shop the new collection here> Badge Cards.

Sadly, at the minute there are only 3 ages for boy’s, but I’m sure Belle & Boo will have a great response to the cards and will hopefully extend the range. The “Ellis & Easy” badge card we bought for Eli is so charming and playful. We’re big aeroplane fan’s in our house, so this card was perfect for Eli (who will also be going on a plane for the first time very soon too!). What’s more, the badge is a safety badge, so you can let your little one show off their big age without the worry of them being covered in pin-pricks!

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We love this card so much that I will be framing it and adding it to the growing collection of prints he has in his bedroom – it will fit in just nicely!

MM.

 

xx

August 9, 2014 0

Mr Eli turns 2!

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I can hardly believe it. Our darling little boy turned 2 on Wednesday!

We had a wonderful day celebrating. We started off our day at 5:30am, (as we do most days!), we had lovely cuddles in bed before heading downstairs. We’d set the living room up the night before, ready for Eli to pounce bright and early the next day. We sauntered down the stairs and said a big “1, 2 3… HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” as Eli entered the room. He stood completely still, mouth gaping, in utter shock! It was amazing. We must have stood there for a minute before he gathered that all these bright and exciting presents were actually for him! It was so sweet. He spent the entire morning overwhelmed, not quite sure where to look or where to run to next. It was amazing to see him opening presents this year, and even better when he realised what was actually beneath the wrapping paper. Just the best feeling in the world – I could have watched him all day,  as he was just enjoying EVERYTHING. He even blew out his candles himself this year! (I spent the day previous baking his cake – never have I ever been so stressed in the kitchen in all my life! Blog post on the cake to follow)

We went off to the Big Smoke a little later than anticipated due to the present-opening overload. The weather forecast was torrential rain for the day… but it was bright when we got to London Zoo; and swelteringly hot by mid-afternoon. We went to Colchester Zoo for Eli’s 1st birthday last year… think we may make a Zoo visit it an annual thing for Eli’s birthday as he absolutely LOVES the animals! To the extent that he cried when we would leave a section of the zoo to move onto the next area! His highlights were definitely the giraffe’s, hyena’s, goat’s (!!!) and all the different monkey’s (takes one to know one!).

We had a very full day at the zoo and Eli had TWO naps! TWO! We had a not-so-good experience at Strada in Camden and headed home – we didn’t get in until 10:30pm! Time certainly does fly when you’re having fun!

Eli is the happiest little boy who loves adventure’s. It’s incredible seeing him grow – I never thought we’d actually be able to see it happening before our very eyes, but he is developing every single day. He completed our lives he arrived on 6th August 2012 and we couldn’t be prouder parents. Eli is quite literally magic.

Our precious boy, always ask questions – always be curious. We love you to the moon and the stars and back!

Here are some snaps from Eli’s 2nd birthday celebrations!

#MrEliTurns2

MM.

x

#MrEliTurns2

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So there we have it. As of 21.43 on 6th August, we have our very own 2 year old human!

 

 

 

 

July 13, 2014 0

Recipe | Banana Loaf? Banana Bread? Banana Cake? … whatever you like to call it!

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One of my favourite things to do is cook and cooking/baking with Eli is double the fun! Eli has Wednesday’s off from nursery, so Wednesday is OUR day. We usually do fun things like go to the local play group, paint or bake. Or as last Wednesday would have it, all three – and more!

I had 2 very over ripe banana’s – which is often the case. So one of my favourite things to do with those banana’s that are well ‘past it’, is to make this delicious Banana Loaf. I call it Banana Loaf, but I know people who fondly refer to it as Banana Cake or Banana Bread. Whatever your preference, this is a fail safe, incredibly yummy recipe! I have adapted the recipe, from Mary Berry’s “Baking Bible” and added a little secret ingredient at the end, which I know goes down very, very well with my family! There’s usually very little left after it’s been freshly baked… but it does have a good shelf life if you can resist the temptation of eating it all in one go!

Happy baking!

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BANANA LOAF*

Ingredients.
100g Softened Butter
175g Caster Sugar
2 Eggs (I used Medium, but Large is the preferred if you have them in!)
2 Ripe Bananas (mashed)
225g Self Raising Flour
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
2 Tbsp. Milk

Optional.
Sea Salt (I use Maldon Sea Salt Flakes).

Method.
1) Preheat the oven to 180C / Fan 160C / Gas 4.
2) Lightly grease a 2lb loaf tin, then line the base and sides with baking parchment.
3) Measure all ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat for about 2 minutes, until well blended.
4) Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the surface.
5) Here comes my secret ingredient! I love to sprinkle sea salt flakes over the top before popping the tin into the oven. It adds texture and has such a nice contrasting taste to the crust. It’s very well received by those who have eaten this finished product!
6) Bake in the pre-heated over for about 1 hour, until well risen and golden brown. A fine skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean if the loaf is ready.
7) Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out, peel of the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.

*Recipe adapted from “The Baking Bible”, by Mary Berry.

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Honestly, one of the easiest recipes to bake. Always tasted. Always works! Perfect for using up those miserable looking banana’s to boot! You can of course always add sultana’s or even chocolate chips to the cake batter. It’s a very adaptable recipe!

Let me know how your’s works out!

MM.

July 8, 2014 0

Me & Mine | Me and my shadow.

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This is me and my shadow. My darling boy.

We were walking back from an afternoon at the local park. Eli was obsessed with the big boat, that is on springs, kind of bouncy-see-saw-thing. It doesn’t do an awful lot, but it definitely captured Eli’s imagination.

MM.

 

July 5, 2014 0

What Eli Wears | Little Bird by Jools.

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You’re likely to see a lot of posts about Little Bird by Jools Oliver on my blog – ones like these: Brand in Focus and Proper Boy’s Shoes.

I actually adore Little Bird at Mothercare. As mentioned, several times, we look like we live in the 70′s, so Little Bird ensures we all match!

This is one of my favourite little outfits that Eli is currently sporting: ’74 Blue Tee, Green Terry Towelling Shorts (I KNOW!) and Navy Buckle Shoes.

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All styles available from Mothercare.com

MM.