Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Mis-courage & the running girl




Okay, this is it. I’ve written down a running schedule for the next nine weeks. It's the countdown to my first half marathon (October), followed by my first marathon (April)! God those words seem so foreign...I'm a beginner. A total novice. It feels damn good!

It’s all in the name of my mental health and for Tommy’s Baby Charity.

We suffered two miscarriages on our way to meet Baxter. The first happened at week 12. That’s three months in. Three months of excitement and positive dreams to the future. Three months of so much love for that little peach in my belly. Having seen its little heartbeat on two occasions, we’d begun to tell our loved ones. Then all of a sudden our dreams were lost. 

Maybe one day I’ll write in length about what happened. I’m just not ready for that to be online yet. (But you can ask, I'll remain open to those curious. It's important.)

The second miscarriage happened so very near to finding out we were pregnant. The day after, to be exact. My dreams dashed silently as I wandered the streets of London while playing tour guide for old college friends I hadn’t seen in years. I’d popped into the national portrait gallery loo, and well, you know the rest. My husband, so busy at work directing a play which debuted that week, was left in the dark. It was the first time I wasn’t open with him. I didn’t want him to be upset when he was working so hard.

I was slowly dying inside and no one knew.

With time we healed. With open ears, I was able to tell my story to those willing (and unwilling) to listen. I don’t expect most people to understand, but I do want to raise awareness. Miscarriage is loss. It’s a grievance. With the help of good friends, family and charities like Tommy’s it gets better.

I was nothing short of nervous through my entire pregnancy with Baxter. But we made it through to full-term (and then some! At 42 weeks, he was sitting comfy!). Baxter is truly a gift we never thought we’d have. 

So in the name of mis-courage I’m running for the babes we’ve lost and the awesome little dude we brought into this world. 


I hope that you’ll help support me in these races and support Tommy’s and the work they do.

You can help sponsor me here: 

http://m.virginmoneygiving.com/mt/uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=RunKaylaRun

we’ll always love you

my tiniest mascot

Friday, 7 July 2017

Art deco dreamland

Currently in an art deco dreamland getting ideas for a cake commision. Drawing inspiration from the newly renovated Everyman Cinema in Muswell Hill (it’s absolutely stunning!) and various other sources. I may need a trip to the cinema after this…






Russell Busch / Varvara Stepanova / Mexican Mint Deco / Kristina Krogh / Chinese Deco

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Mama's milk


A few weeks after Baxter was born, and feeling slightly adventurous in my new role, I began to arrange meet ups with mothers I’d met during pre-natal yoga (yes, I’d become one of them). The yoga was a free perk from the hospital I was using, and a much welcome calm to the head fuck that was pregnancy. The other mothers-to-be were a perk, especially when I knew I wasn’t alone in my constant battle for the loo, sleepless nights, achingly restless legs (I could go on and on and on)…

We’d meet. Babies still in their bellies, as I was one of the first to pop. All looking over my little man as he lay sleeping in his basket in the grass. “Oh, I hope my baby is as calm as yours.” “He’s perfect” A little wriggle, a tiny cry and out would come the bottle for a feed. Yes, the bottle. My perfectly content little boy would not take to the breast. Every few hours, I’d sit hooked up to a breast pump - I can still hear the mechanical whirs as the plastic cones syphoned what little milk I had to give into canisters, the sharp sting of milk shooting out of me, the dewy stickiness of yellow milk inescapably covering everything. 

I would sit for hours, slave to that machine, trying to give all that I could to that beautiful little boy of mine. In the earliest days, I was lucky enough to have my mother here, she’d bake oatmeal cookies, serve fennel tea, light a dyptique candle, dim the lights and leave me to it. Locked in my room. whomp whomp. whir whir. spray spray. whomp whomp. whir whir. spray spray. Hands holding the pumps. The bra that holds the pumps conveniently delayed in the post. No freedom to flip through a book, or even easily eat those biscuits and sip that tea. 

whomp whomp. whir whir. drip drip drip. 

Time went on. The other mamas had their babies. All taking to the breast.
What beautiful sights of clinging babes. Nursing their mama's milk. Free from bottles. Skin on skin.

I happily kept on with the bottles. Switching from my own milk to formula, in order to keep up with his growing demands. My hollow legged son.

The midnight messages from the other mamas grew less. Hearing that I wasn’t having the same “feeding issues” as them. But we just trecked on. My little night owl and me. Taking turns with my wonderful husband. Thank goodness for that incredible man. Thank goodness for not being the CONSTANT food source. Cause, man, it’s exhausting.

You know, motherhood can be a very isolating place, but only if you let it.
Whether you ditch the boob. Ditch the formula. Or use both.
Whether your partner pitches in, or not.
Do what works best for you and that little bundle of awesomeness you made. And don’t let anyone make you feel like you aren’t doing your best. Because chances are, you are.


And p.s. at six months they’ll be on solids and all that faff will seem a blur.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Big living in a small space: dining area upgrade part 2

So, it’s been a few weeks setting into our new little dining layout and what a difference it’s made! What used to be an invariable dumping ground of unwanted chairs and unread post, is now a safe space for the B-man to crawl and play while we cook. (Can’t you hear those wooden spoons banging away?) There's also more storage for his quilts in the cozy sitting area now...where I like to laze and go over the day with T while he cooks.

I now spend every morning having a sit-down breakfast with the boy, which we weren’t able to do in the old layout due to the book piles on the table & lack of space for his high chair. Teaching him table manners is really important to me, so it’s great to have a nice space to sit with him in.

We are planning for some even bigger changes to our home in the year to come. A new bathroom and kitchen/dining room. A more cohesive flow to the house. A safe place for our family to grow. A transition to our forever home.

But for now, here are some before and after pics of our new-to-us dining area.

After: 




Before (Eep):


Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Nine months in. Nine months out.



Dear Buddy

For forty two weeks I felt you grow inside my belly.
Queasiness at any food not beige, slowly turned to tiny bubbles, to butterflies, to swirling tickling alien-like lumps, to left hooks in my ribs.

Here we are, nine months later. 

Now you say ‘mommmm’ and ‘dada dada dada’ as we enter your view. Dragging yourself, commando-style across the room to be held. Barely finding your knees. Pulling yourself up onto the couch and your cot at any given opportunity (mostly to grab at a remote).

Bringing constant smiles. Such a happy little person. You teach us what it is to be happy.

We are infinitely better with you.

I love you,


Mommmm

Saturday, 4 February 2017

The importance of me time


Ever since giving birth, all my love and energy has gone into that little man who once was a pipe dream and is now a tiny human made up of big smiles, little chub rolls and fierce eyebrows (where did they come from?!). From day one, I was a mama who relished in the fact that easy little B, was a little too easy. Who were all these mothers dying of exhaustion? Not me. Sighing as I slipped into a bubbly bath, dyptique lit (breathing in the dewy wooden scent). Slowly sipping on a daily coffee (a chocolately black fuel of dreams). This is what me time is? Isn't it? Months down the line, I found out: no.

Around seven months in, exhaustion hit me like a brick wall. Where did it come from? What was I doing wrong? Yes, sleep regression had creeped its head for a third time, but that was easily fixed by retreating with my not-unwilling husband to the sofa bed. A bed we'd gotten so used to back in our lodger days. So what was it? The days went on and all I wanted to do was sleep. I couldn't entertain the now crawling little squidge as he too'd and frowed from record player cable to guitar to telly box. Lunging after him in an endless cycle; my own mini, unwanted workout.



So I stopped to think. What the hell was wrong with me?

And then it hit.

Nutrition. A word I'd gotten so used to durring pregnancy. Swallowing vitamins in textbook proportions. Making sure to get them through eating a good breakfast or brunch...oh god, brunch! A thing of fairytales. In the haze of night feedings, turned to weaning - cooking mouth watering foods for Baxter that even I would indulge in (he loves a good cous cous and chili), I forgot to feed myself.

Quickly, I ran to the cupboard and pulled out the vitamins that my community health worker gave me less than a week into bringing the squidge home (was she from a fairytale too?). Gathering up enough saliva to swallow one in desperation. The hour passed and seemingly instantly I felt a lift. Was that it?? If only.

Although coffee and a nice bubbly soak is great for a quick fix. I've found my ultimate me time is through vitamins and a healthy breakfast every day. Simple, yet so simple to forget in the throws of new motherhood.


Mamas, papas and my beautiful readers: take five minutes to make yourself the best you. It's what I'm learning to do, and I feel much damn better for it.

**I was recently chosen to be a beta tester for bloglovin' - you can see this post, and hopefully more on their new site feature. You can also follow me on bloglovin, by clicking the icon in the right hand corner or clicking here.**

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Big living in a small space: dining area upgrade

We’ve made the HUGE decision to remain living in our one-bedroom flat as a family of three for the foreseeable future. So now I have the task of making this space liveable with a quickly growing tiny human.

No problems, eh? I’ve missed a good challenge.

This week I’m tackling upgrading our dining area into a second living space. Using a blend of our existing items and some new buys, we're hoping for a new-to-us space to work and eat in, and for Bax to comfortably play where we can keep an eye on him as we cook (that boy is on the gooo). I recently gave our antique bureau a new lease of life and it’s proving to be a great workspace. Now for the rest of the room to catch up...


Here are a few of the items we’re hoping will make the space more liveable (clockwise from top left):


Baxter’s retro style Bloom highchair was like a glowing beacon through a thrift store window. When Bax is big enough, it lowers down to be a cool chair. It’s pink and the boys don’t care…total win.

Rattan chairs in soft colours help make the space feel lighter and brighter (we grabbed ours on special promotion - similar khaki & peach). T found this solid white style during a run (don’t you just love it when people throw things out?)

Compact dining table to replace our well-loved, chunky table. The mint drawers are perfect for storing baby wipes and telly remotes (I know, I know. 6 Music at the dinner table, other channels for wind down time)

The Just Be print is several seasons old from Oliver Bonas, but their print collection is still strong. We also plan on getting several prints from local artist The Mossy Hill in homage to the town we call home.

This storage bench is surprisingly comfy and offers a place to hide shoes. We’re definitely going to be upping storage space in the months to come! 

Adding velvet cushions for cuddling or buffering B-man’s falls when he learns to walk.

A geometric short pile rug to make those cold tiles a bit more homely.

Before and after pics will come soon.


Are any of you trying to make it work in a small space? Please share your tips!