Thursday, 31 October 2013

The Garden Diaries: October

Roses are still going - I love these dark red ones / Dogwood is looking beautiful / I love the red tinged edge of the smoke bush / Sedum has darkened to burgundy / Amazingly, the courgettes are still going - I picked 5 baby ones this morning! / Hydrangeas / Hellebores are gearing up for flowers in the next few months / The blueberry bush - the colour changing leaves slightly make up for the fact it's never produced any fruit / My wild cherry tree that I won in a Yeo Valley competition - fingers crossed it grows!

The garden is looking rather tatty at the moment - it's in need of a good sort out before the winter months arrive I think. There's lots of cutting back and pulling up to be done, although having read Alys Fowler's article, I may leave the runner beans alone to see if they survive the cold. The pear tree is in dire need of attention from a tree surgeon I fear - we've had no edible fruit from it and everything has turned black. I've just bought a few bulbs (including these beautifully dark ones) to brighten up the front door, and a few pots of cyclamen and something silvery (I don't remember the name. My mum has just told me it's called cineraria - thanks mum/gardening guru!) to add colour until the tulips bloom. Garlic is ready to be planted, and after reading this article in the Guardian this week, I'm tempted to put in some broad beans too.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Quinces - Nature in the Home: Week 2

We gathered up some of the quinces last week - collecting the ones that had already fallen from the branches. The bucket of fruit has sat in the corner of the kitchen ever since then. I still have to decide what I'm going to do with them all - marmalade, chutney, roasted or pickled are all contenders. While the quinces await their fate, a few of them are being decorative in the living room. As the heating warms the room, they are adding a delicate rose/honey/citrus tang to the air - pffft, who needs any of these air freshener plug ins when you've got a bowl of quinces?!

Technically, these are not true quinces - these are Japanese quinces, aka Chaenomeles japonica.

Joining in with Little Green Shed's Nature in the Home.

I also have Junior Nature in the Home this week - my little one obviously wanted to join in with her decorative plate of banana pennies...!

Sunday, 27 October 2013


"A portrait of my baby, once a week, every week, in 2013."

A grey, blustery day on the beach. Being chased by Daddy, feeling the wind in her hair and watching the dogs on the sand = a brilliant toddler afternoon.

Joining in the Che and Fidel.

This Week: October#4

1. First train trip to go and see this exhibition. We loved it, especially the What the Ladybird Heard section. Lunch out at Wagamamas afterwards as a treat.
2. R's birthday on Tuesday. Blueberry and Sour Cream Cake after steak, blue cheese and potato wedges. Yum.
3. Amazing colours on our walk to playgroup.
4. New slippers. I'm guessing they won't stay white for long...
5. Enjoying a cosy reading nook at the library.
8 & 9. A trip to Great Grandma's included a quick wander on the beach. Not the most suitable beach attire but she loved running on the sand.
10. Being brave with red lipstick.
11. Playing around on the air bed. Bounce bounce bounce!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Autumn Leaves - Nature in the Home - Week 1

A few crunchy coloured leaves collected on our wanderings over the past few weeks. Put high on a bookshelf, out of reach of inquisitive little fingers.

Looking forward to getting back into the weekly rhythm of joining in with Nature in the Home.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

This Week: October#3

1. I've filled a little basket downstairs with family photos. She loves to look through them, chatting away.
2. Even putting my shoes on is dangerous now the Duplo are on the loose. One of the Duplo people had a ride in the washing machine this week too. Whoops!
3. These have sprung up in a shady spot in the garden. I must look up what they are.
4. Half cat, half girl. Lying down in the sunny spot on the rug.
5 & 6. A poorly girl who has been in need of lots of cuddles. Teddy hasn't fared so well and has required two baths. Uh oh.
7. After a pretty rubbish day of poorly toddler-tending and many loads of washing, I was in need of a breath of air. Stepping out into the garden, the anenomes were still in full flush. A few snips later and I had a little bottle full to bring inside to brighten the windowsill.
8 & 9. Spending lots of time at home this week. We finally gathered all the quinces that have dropped. And then coming inside to wash our hands led to happy times playing with the water.
10. A quiet play with the Duplo yesterday morning for a slightly wobbly, off-colour girl. You can see the heaps of washing currently draped around the house too...
11. Popping outside in her wellies. Polka polka!

Saturday, 19 October 2013


"A portrait of my baby, once a week, every week, in 2013."

A sad, poorly girl.

On the mend now though, much to our washing machine's relief.

Joining in with Che and Fidel.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

17 months

Dear my favourite girl,

At 17 months...

Favourite words: mum, dada, down, teddy, gone, shoes, keys, cheese, zip, drink, swing, vroom vroom, brum, zzzz (bee buzz), raa raa (the noisy lion...), roarrrrrr, , miaow, ahhh (when stroking teddy/kitten/dog), baba (baby), du duh (digger), round and round (washing machine!)

Loving: playing with the duplo, anything with wheels that you can push around, lions, cats, dogs, cuddling teddy and putting him to bed with a blanket, playing with the dollies and pushchairs at playgroup, reading books, making a blurble urble urble noise, playing with the clips on the pushchair, camembert, trying to put on your tshirts/trousers/socks, your new doggy slippers, cream crackers, wearing your new shoes, pulling washing off the airer and wearing pants around your neck, watching raa raa the noisy lion, looking at the family photos stuck on your bedroom wall, getting out of the bath and being wrapped up in a big towel, doing the actions to zoom zoom zoom we're going to the moon, joining in with the two little teddies song, the push-along furry dog at playgroup and wearing your wellies.

Not liking: nappy changes, having to sit in the pushchair when all you want to do is run around, not being able to cuddle all the teddies in the charity shops, not being able to get books out the book-box.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Toothbrush Battles

Every morning and evening we have a battle on our hands. The battle of the toothbrush. We unscrew the cap on the toothpaste and she runs towards the bathroom door, waving her hand to say 'Noooooo!'. 

But in the past few days, we've made a bit of a breakthrough. All thanks to Elmo and his infuriatingly catchy toothbrush song. 

In two days we've gone from her clamping her mouth closed and crying, to actually being able to properly clean her teeth without any fuss at all. Thanks Sesame Street!

The song should come with a health warning though - it will be your earworm all day. "Brush brushy brush..."

Monday, 14 October 2013

Barcelona (with a toddler!)

1 toddler.
2 flights.
3 nights.
6 Metro trips.
12 tapas dishes.
35 minutes queuing for La Sagrada Familia.
600+ photos taken.

We had a whirlwind visit to Barcelona a few weeks ago. 2 and a half days of good food, beautiful architecture, Spanish history and sunshine. Not so much a relaxing holiday, more a chance to experience Barcelona life and spend time together having fun.

Highlights were...

La Sagrada Familia - whether or not the architecture is your cup of tea, the sheer scale of the project is enough to make your mouth gape. The stained glass windows are beautiful - and will look even more stunning once they're all in. The queue to get in were less stunning - we had a napping toddler so it was manageable. Had she been bored and squirmy, we may well have turned round and headed elsewhere.

Strolling around Barri Gotic (the Gothic Quarter) - beautiful winding streets, apartments towering above you with plant and laundry strewn balconies. The shade was very welcome during the heat of siesta time too.

The Metro - not exactly a highlight of our trip, but so much better than the internet had led me to believe. We avoided using the metro at first as we'd read that it was a struggle with a pushchair due to lack of lifts. As it was, most stations we visited had a lift AND (perhaps more importantly!) the trains are air conditioned! Ahhhhh.

Toddler + aeroplane - we'd both been rather sceptical as to how we'd get on on the plane. We were worried that she'd want to be running up and down, clambering over everything (as she'd be at home). But as it was, she sat happily reading stories, playing with toys, and chatting to the lady across the aisle. Phew! Fruit pouches were a lifesaver for take off and landing, and small zipped bags/purses filled with small toys will now be my travelling aide of choice.

Everywhere was so child friendly too - there were many smiles, chats, waves and hair ruffles for her from both locals and tourists. So many dogs being walked around the city too, which meant many cries of 'Dah!'.

Less good was the ten minutes of over tired toddler screaming we endured before our return flight to Birmingham - everyone was looking at us with a look of 'Oh no, I really hope they're not on OUR flight!' She did finally zonk out in my arms for a 30 minute power nap, before waking up, confused, in the plane.

Have you visited Barcelona? What were your highlights? If you're considering a trip there, go go go! Just go for longer than 2.5 days - we found we had to cram too much in!

Saturday, 12 October 2013


"A portrait of my baby, once a week, every week, in 2013."

Peek a boo!

Autumn sunshine. A riverside stroll with Grandad's dog and her cousins. Playing at the park. A happy afternoon for this toddler.

Joining in with Che and Fidel.

Friday, 11 October 2013

This Week: October#2

1. Coordinating well with the play equipment.
2. New shoes! Buckles to fox the velcro-nimble fingers.
3. A new favourite book.
4. Sleepy girl is sleepy.
5. The nerdiest plate I ever did I buy. It features the shipping forecast. I love it. £2 from the local charity shop.
6 & 7. A walk to the racecourse. Her favourite game at the moment is to leg it in the opposite direction, whilst giggling madly and waiting to be chased. I stood still, wanting to see how far she'd actually go before she decided to come back. This far, it would seem. This was also the day she was the clingiest of the cling-ons. Odd creatures, toddlers.
8. Autumn tones.
9. Duplo is the biggest hit.
10. Love this outfit.