Friday, 21 October 2016

The Twelve Weeks of Christmas - Week Five - The Christmas Eve Box

As I mentioned in my "Christmas Traditions" post, this year our Christmas Eve box will focus around Phoebe's bedtime and Father Christmas & Rudolph coming to visit. One of my friends got me thinking about it and what to put in it back at the beginning of August so I've been having a mooch for a while and made a few purchases already.

It's entirely up to you what goes in to the Christmas Eve box. I purchased our crate from Apple Crates as I love their designs. As well as doing them for individual children they also have designs for family boxes too.

As the focus is going to be around bedtime we've chosen to include a bedtime story. For me, there was no other choice but to have "The Night Before Christmas". I managed to find a gorgeous version on Amazon with papercut pages and a really beautiful pop up scene at the end.

I just love it and it's the perfect book to bring out year after year at bedtime on Christmas Eve.

We've also included a letter from Father Christmas, a "Nice List" certificate, some reindeer food and a decoration to hang on the tree.

These are from The Festive Studio and are perfect. I love the reindeer food (it's just porridge oats and glitter so you could make your own if you wanted to save a bit of money) and I can't wait to sprinkle that across the lawn with Phoebe in her jim jams.

I've included a board for her to leave a drink and a mince pie on for Father Christmas and also a carrot for Rudolph. 

This came from The Pencil Tree on Etsy. They've personalised it especially for Phoebe and you can choose whether you want it for Santa or Father Christmas along with a greeting. Their service was great, really quick and the board is gorgeous!

I've also decided to include some Christmas pyjamas, a plate for Rudolph and a mug for Father Christmas. I'm still waiting on these arriving so will update with pictures and links to buy when they get here. I'm so blinkin' excited!

72 days and counting! K x

Friday, 14 October 2016

The Twelve Weeks of Christmas - Week Four - The stockings were hung

How is it Friday again already? These weeks are flying by far too quickly for my liking at the moment. Anyway, here we are again, and I've got another Festive Friday post for you...stockings!

I thought I'd try and vary things and add in a couple of tutorials. (I use that term very loosely so bear with me on this one, I've never done anything like this before.) A couple of years back I made my husband and I a Christmas stocking each and I've been waiting ever since to make one for any additions we would get to the family. So, here I am, making a Christmas stocking for our little girl!

What you will need:
Fabric (I've used scraps and remnants)
Scissors & pinking shears
Greaseproof or pattern paper
Sharpie pen
Ribbon or trimming
Sewing machine (helpful but not essential)

1. To begin with, I drew out a stocking shape on some greaseproof paper. As I hadn't got enough of the green fabric to make an entire stocking I designed it to look like more of a patchwork stocking...
Top tip: Number each triangle in the order it runs on the stocking, it makes it so much easier to match panels up after cutting them out...believe me, I learnt that the hard way!

2. I then turned the stocking shape over and cut out from the right side of my patterned fabric...

3. Once I'd done this, I then turned my stocking pattern back over and cut it into the triangular pieces. I did this simply because I was only making one. If I was making more, I'd have done two separate stocking shapes and cut one of them up so I could use them again. I alternated the pieces between the patterned and the plain fabric and cut them out. You should end up with something looking like this...

4. I then pinned all of the triangles together leaving about 1cm seam allowance and stitched along each seam. Once you're done it should look like this...

After sewing all the seams I ironed the stocking front to make everything sit flat and flush.

5. Once all the seams were lying flat I switched the sewing machine to a zig zag stitch and went over all the joins on the right side to make it look a bit more "patchworky". I used a sharpie pen to draw a large 'P' on some red felt and cut that out, I stitched a bit of glitter ribbon down the P too to make it a bit more festive and sparkly. 
I attached the P using some leftover cross stitch thread and a blanket stitch. After you have added your embellishments to the front panel of your stocking you can then join it to the back. 
Pin right sides together and run round the edge leaving about a 1cm seam allowance so that you can pinking shear the edges to avoid lots of fraying. Turn right side out and iron again to smooth all seams.

6. I then cut a strip of patterned fabric 1cm wider than the stocking top, you can cut it to whatever depth you like depending on how big you want the cuff at the top to be. I turned up 2cm and pinned it in place, to kill two birds with one stone I also pinned the glitter ribbon in place at this stage so that the turn up seam also held the ribbon in place...

I then folded the length of fabric in half and stitched along the open end to create the cuff.

7. Turn the cuff the right way out and pin to the inside of the top of the stocking, you can also add a loop to hang it with at this stage. I simply cut a length of the glitter ribbon, folded it in half and pinned it between the stocking and the cuff at the right hand seam.
Stitch around the top and then turn the cuff out to sit at the top of the stocking, the loop should also sit freely so that you can hang your stocking. Mine finished looks like this...

I'm really pleased with it and hope that Phoebe will hang it up every Christmas Eve for a good few years to come. If you have a go at making one let me know, would love to see photos. K x

Friday, 7 October 2016

The Twelve Weeks of Christmas - Week Three - The Advent Calendar of Books

This year Phoebe is way too young for the traditional chocolate advent calendar but I still wanted to do something. I'm not about to take any credit for this idea or indeed, pretend it was mine, I unashamedly pinched it from Pinterest... 

The Advent Calendar of Books.

Phoebe loves a bedtime story and this has been part of her bedtime routine right from when she was probably around eight weeks old. Bath, bottle and story, bed. It works for us so we're going with it.

So, the idea is, you have 24/25 picture books (depending on whether you want it to end on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day) and the child/ren open one every day to be read before bed. I loved the idea as soon as I saw it but thought, jeez, that could work out pretty damn expensive with all those books. This is where The Book People came to the rescue.

I had already bought a Christmas Collection of books in their sale at the beginning of the year which gave you ten books for about £7 I think. The pile above is the pile ready to be wrapped for Phoebe this year and in total has cost me no more than £25. That sounds a lot for an advent calendar but the way I look at it is that I can do this again for the next five or six years using the same books - by the time Christmas comes around again they'll have forgotten which books they've read or love them that much they can't wait to read them again.

It's definitely worth keep checking their website as they often run % off deals throughout the year so you can always grab a bargain.

I've bought some little tags to go on each book too to help build the excitement around how many sleeps to go. I got these from eBay for around £2 and there's quite a few designs to choose from.

I would have loved this as a kid, I was a real bookworm, so I'm really hoping Phoebe will too. Will let you know! K x

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Parenting without parents...

It's not something I ever really talk about or dwell on but after reading an amazing post on facebook today which summed up perfectly how it feels, I finally feel I can talk about things.

I don't really have parents, well I do, but I haven't seen them for seven years now. It's a long story and for a long time I've felt ashamed of that but since becoming a mum myself I now no longer feel ashamed. I just feel incredibly hurt that a parent could treat their own child in such a way and not want them in their life.

That hurt doesn't ever go away. I thought it would once I was pregnant, it didn't. I thought it would once our little girl was here, it didn't. If anything it got a lot worse in the first few weeks of her life and I really struggled with that (the post pregnancy hormones really didn't help)

If anything it made me question their behaviour even more and I can honestly say I've never felt so lonely in all of my life. Yes, I have fantastic friends, in-laws and an amazing husband but sometimes you just want your mum.

I loved our daughter even before we knew she was going to be a little girl. From the moment I saw that blue line I was in love and knew I would never ever make her feel the way my parents made me feel.

I grew up feeling like I was never good enough or anything to be proud of. And that has made me doubt myself a lot since becoming a mummy, but you know what I'm doing ok. Our daughter is just the happiest little girl and a bundle of fun (she has her moments and because she's usually so happy I found it incredibly hard when she was poorly) and I'm going to take some credit for that.

I'm finally moving on and feeling happy with myself and my life and that's their loss, not mine.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Friday, 30 September 2016

The Twelve Weeks of Christmas - Week Two - First Christmas Decorations

As I mentioned in my previous Christmas traditions post, we like to add a new bauble to the tree each year since we were married. As is our annual tradition we went off to London a couple of weeks back while Phoebe was at nursery (the quickest trip to London ever!) to pay a visit to the Liberty Christmas shop.

I was really disappointed this year, everything was the same as last year and nothing really stood out and shouted "buy me!" I've been after a really nice "baby's first Christmas" decoration. It frustrates me that, as beautiful as some of them are, they're all either blue or pink, neither of which will go with our tree.

We also talked about making the tree a bit more child friendly this year and just using wooden or felt decorations so when the inevitable happens Phoebe won't hurt herself or break anything. With that in mind it has made it more difficult to find something...until I came across the World of Weerts facebook page.

I've been after a couple of their decorations for ages, I'd seen a few on Instagram and loved them. So when Michelle announced she was having a christmas market night on facebook I was poised and ready to be quick! Her decorations sell like hotcakes and it's easy to see why. I've been really lucky to purchase a few ready for the tree this year. 

This is the one I've chosen for Phoebe's first Christmas...

How cute is he? I love him and especially how Michelle has personalised him on the back. I'm hoping this will be the start of many lovely decorations for Phoebe to collect for her tree when she grows up.

I might have purchased a snowman family for us all too...
I love that she includes snowpets too! They are part of the family too after all. I also managed to grab an order slot with Michelle before she closed them for her maket nights and ordered these two along with a few that I can't post as they're gifts for friends...hopefully they'll love them as much as we love ours!

Think I've got the first Christmas well and truly covered with those don't you?!
86 days to go! K x

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Snigger on a Sunday...

At the moment I don't mind my Sunday evenings but come the end of December when my maternity leave runs out and I'm back at work that may well be a different story. So, snigger on a Sunday should appear every Sunday evening to start your week off with a chuckle.

This sums up this last week perfectly, Phoebe has been really poorly with Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease, poor thing. It's been tough seeing her so upset and just not her usual happy self. It's been a week of lazy snuggles which I can't complain about, now she's on the move those snuggles are rare!

Have a good week! K x

Friday, 23 September 2016

The Twelve Weeks of Christmas - Week One - Crofts Christmas Traditions

It's a bit longer than 12 weeks until Christmas but it's creeping up on us so quickly this year! With that in mind, you'll be getting a Christmas related post every Friday for the next 12 weeks!

It's really important to my husband and I that Phoebe grows up with loads of happy memories of her childhood. We both love Christmas and are incredibly excited about starting some proper family traditions with her this year. We already had a couple that we'd started when we got married which we still want to continue with but we're looking forward to adding to those this year.

Our current traditions...

A new bauble for the tree - we had a bauble given to us for our first Christmas as 'Mr & Mrs' and decided it'd be a nice idea to add a new one each year after. So, each year, usually around my birthday in September (kill two birds with one stone and all that!), we go down to London for the day and pick a new bauble (or four) from Liberty. I'm also toying with the idea of Phoebe picking one each year and then she has her own little collection for her own tree when she grows up.

Ralphie Tinsel, the Christmas Elf - Ralphie has a bit of a reputation for being naughty so he's going to have to rein it in a bit this year, he's got a serious job to do now Phoebe's here! I'm looking forward to having some fun with him and in the next few years we'll include baking Christmas biscuits, writing cards etc as part of his visit. 

Christmas Eve Box - we've had one of these for the last couple of years and made it very couple orientated. This year we're going to make it more about Phoebe and Father Christmas & Rudolph coming. I'm so excited! I'm going to do a separate post on this though as we've found some gorgeous bits to go into it for her.

Our new traditions...

Putting the tree up - I'm crazy for Christmas and the tree usually goes up as early as I can get away with. However, from now on, we're going to wait until Phoebe has gone to bed on 30th November and put it up so that it's "arrived" overnight and there when she wakes up on 1st December. I can't wait to see her little face when she sees all the sparkles and lights! We'll do this for as long as she believes in the magic of it all and then it will become something we all do together as a family.

Treats for Father Christmas & Rudolph - so we'd have probably looked a bit weird doing this before Phoebe arrived but this year I'm going all out, haha! She'll be eleven months old (yeah, I know, it upsets me) at Christmas so she'll have a bit of an idea of what's going on, there'll be reindeer food for her to scatter on the lawn, a carrot to leave out for Rudolph and a pint and a mince pie for Father I draw the short straw and have to take a bite out the carrot rather than eat the mince pie!

Looking at the Christmas lights - there's a few houses near us that put up amazing displays of lights at Christmas so we thought we might wrap up warm when it starts to go dark and go for a walk to have a look at them all.
We'll continue to spend Christmas Day with the family but Christmas Eve is going to be just us and that's something we want to keep too. 

I am literally skip around the room excited for this year! K x

Friday, 2 September 2016

Where is this year going?

While I was pregnant I was constantly being told to enjoy every minute, time flies with a baby. They weren't lying! Phoebs turns 8 months old this month, some days I still look at her and can't believe she's actually here and ours to keep.

How/when did this happen?

I'm completely torn at the moment, desperately wanting her to stay little but so excited at how much she's changing, growing and learning every day. She's becoming such a little character with an amazing personality.

So, here we are, September! The start of my favourite seasons, Autumn & Winter. I'm even more excited about them this year as I get to spend them with my little family. I'm incredibly lucky to have been able to take the whole year maternity leave so there's plenty of time for fun at Halloween, Bonfire Night and the run up to Christmas. I won't lie, the planning & lists (I bloody love a list!) have already started.

I'm so looking forward to cold crisp walks in the Autumn sunshine, kicking leaves and collecting conkers (hell, I'm up for trying anything to keep those spiders away!) I can't wait to dress Phoebe up for her first Halloween and see her face at the fireworks, she loves pretty lights so I'm hoping she'll love them as much as her Daddy and I do. 

Looking forward to making some more of these this year

And then her first Christmas, there'll be a whole set of posts about our Christmas plans which I am ridiculously excited about. The husband and I are off to London in a couple of weeks for our annual tradition of a trip to Liberty for a new bauble for the tree.

Can't wait to see her little face when the tree goes up!
So, with Summer pretty much over, we're looking forward to the rest of the year and making lots more memories. K x

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Where it all began...

So, the Phoebster & me. Obviously, the me is me. The Phoebster is our daughter, Phoebe, who arrived in January and completed our small but mostly perfect (everyone has their off days, right?) little family.

We waited a long time for her, four years in total, but even after all that waiting we were not prepared for the craziness of a newborn, haha! I won't lie, no matter how much you want this little person, the first few weeks are TOUGH. But you get through it with whatever works for you and yours. Seven and a bit months in and I think we're doing an ok job of it all, we even have elements of a routine to our days!

Life has changed considerably but we really wouldn't have it any other way.

As I said, we're seven and a bit months into this parenting malarky and Phoebe has her weekly routine where she happily goes off to nursery on a Friday and often spends an afternoon or day with her Grandma & Grandad. I've decided that I need to stop feeling guilty about her being with other people, it doesn't make me a bad Mummy, it makes Phoebe a better little person who loves to socialise and develop her own personality. I need to spend that time on my own finding me again.

I guess that sounds a bit dramatic but it's easy to get bogged down with nappies, washing, cleaning, tidying and making sure that small person has everything and forget about you. I'm ridiculously guilty of this, so it's time I sorted myself out, shifted that bit of baby weight and did a bit for me. Which is where I thought about a blog. I blogged our wedding and a bit about life while going through IVF but nothing regular, I'm hoping this will become my regular outlet for sharing ideas and stories.

Hope you enjoy reading. K x