Illustrated Teacup

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Friday, 30 September 2016

September Degustabox

It's a new month which can mean only one thing... it's Degustabox* time!
The September Degustabox is as good as always with a great mix of old and new brands with lunch, dinner and snacks covered. I still really love getting the boxes through the post, and discovering new foods and brands. I've really enjoyed learning about lots of different brands, and have really fallen in love with different foods from them over the last few months.

You can get your own box delivered direct to your home with my special £7 money off code at the end of the post.

So inside the September box splits rather perfectly into the larder, snacks for work or play and plenty of hydration.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Formula feeding - a helpful guide

Being a new mum is a complex thing. You have to navigate a maze of information and advice, whilst trying to understand your child, and attempt to do what is best for them and for you.

One of the biggest and hottest debates on the parenting circuit is how to feed your baby! Which is better? Which is harder? Which is going to cause the least amount of pressure and stigma? 

The thing is you're kind of in a catch 22 situation. No matter what you do, someone is going to have a different opinion to you. Breastfeeding is great,until you do it in public and then Bob thinks it's wrong and distasteful. So you formula feed, but Jill is disappointed that you aren't breastfeeding because it's 'better for baby'!! It's a lose lose situation!! 

I started out breastfeeding - three weeks exclusively - but decided to wean to formula because I was struggling on a mental level (you can read about the decision here). Over the course of seven weeks we gradually replaced breastfeeding sessions with bottle feeds until at 10 weeks Henry was fully formula fed. And it works for us. It really does. And we haven't lost that special bond, but it does mean Dann can help out. 

Unfortunately there isn't a lot of advice out there for formula feeding mums, especially for those that start breastfeeding and decide to move on.
From my experience I thought I'd share a few little pointers for weaning and working with formula.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Updating your homeware

One of the things I love the most about owning my own home is that I can decorate it however I please and not have to ask anyone's permission (sorry Dann I know you'd probably like some say in the house decor, but nope!).
The only downside is that homeware can be very pricey, especially if like me, you change your mind a fair amount!

We bought our house in March 2015 and have only decorated once in the time - go us! However I'm feeling a bit of an update is needed for a couple of the rooms. Our bedroom is going to be having an entire overhaul, but I'll probably post about that separately when we actually get round to doing it. The other room I want to update is our living room. It's the hub of our home, and one of my favourites. It's had a few changes made to it since Henry arrived (and just before during my nesting stage) including the rearrangement of our seating area, a tidy of our storage, and movement of the artwork and entomology on the walls.

Now I'm looking at creating a new feel to the room by adding a splash of colour to the otherwise quite neutral pallette we have. I toyed with a couple of ideas - I am in love with orange as a colour at the moment - and have landed on gold and navy blue as my extra colours. I'm hoping the gold will and a little brightness and sophistication, and the navy will be good against stains (kids eh!) and add a new depth to the room.


Sunday, 25 September 2016

Maternity Leave isn't all its cracked up to be

Before I had Henry I was so excited to go on maternity leave. I felt massive, I was getting a bad back, shooting pains down my legs when walking, peeing every half an hour and to be honest was getting a little fed up of being in a constant state of uncomfortable.

The stress of finding a new job had been lifted as I had secured a new job after two and a half months out of work part way through my pregnancy, so I felt better about taking time off for the baby and still having enough money to live.

But until you live in maternity leave you don't really get it. It is just that, it is leave from your normal day job. It is not a break. It is not time off. It is not a holiday or relaxing.
I'll be the first to admit that I referred to maternity leave as a break, but I'll now tell anyone that it really is not a break. You'd be delusional to think it is after a week. And it really isn't the relaxed and lovely time off that it is made out to be.


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Exploring the Emerald Princess

I love travelling. It is one of the biggest loves of my life. Discovering and exploring new places. And I'm quite happy to travel in lots of different ways. 

I've travelled by plane, train and boat. In fact my boat trip was my most recent one back in November of last year when we went on a cruise to Amsterdam (read about the trip here, and the onboard the ship here). I absolutely adored the trip, despite being nine weeks pregnant and suffering from morning and motion sickness, so I was so excited to be invited on board the Emerald Princess by Princess Cruises to have a little explore before it went on its next trip to the canary islands. 


Monday, 19 September 2016

Brunch with Thomas Sabo AW16

Thomas Sabo have been on my radar for a number of years, back to my university days when I spent hours trawling fashion magazines and googling the advertisements.

Dann bought me one of their charm bracelets for a birthday one year because I simply fell in love with them and the amazing selection of charms available. But I have to admit, since then, I've kind of put my love of jewellery to one side, and almost forgotten about them as a brand.

Recently Thomas Sabo has had a little refocus I guess is the best word, and with the launch of their new Autumn and Winter collections, they asked the Sotonbloggers to join them for brunch at their Westquay store.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The mummy tag

Blogger tags are so much fun,but I haven't done one in what feels like an age, so when I was tagged by Amy to do the Mummy Tag I jumped at the chance. To be honest I'm always game to answer questions about me, my family and my life, I'm an open book. Plus I'm super nosey so might as well share too.


Friday, 16 September 2016

Smarties Cookies Recipe

I haven't done a foodie post in ages, but when I was asked by my sister-in-law to make some Smarties Cookies for her daughters christening I just figured I might as well share here too.

These cookies are hugely popular with little ones, and well large ones (adults you know) and to be completely honest are simple and pretty quick to make.

I got the recipe from the BBC Good Food site, but I'll also add it below too.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Henry's three month update

Illustrated Teacup The Photo Rooms It's still a cliche, and I've definitely said it before, but oh my gosh does time fly.
My little baby boy is growing up so fast.

I have to admit, when he was first born and I was trying to learn as much as possible about being a mother as fast as I could, that I was looking forward to him being older, but I'm now at the stage where I kind of miss him being so tiny. Maybe it's from looking back over the photos from the last three months that I'm feeling a little nostalgic.

Anyway, Henry has just turned three months old and although I may miss some of the tiny baby stage, I am loving seeing his personality develop, and helping him to learn new things - and these beautiful photos from The Photo Rooms have really made me love this stage even more! (lots of info at the end of the post about the shoot!)


Monday, 12 September 2016

Our favourite children's books & bedtime routine

We're a family of book lovers. I've always been a big book reader, though I will admit to having less and less time for it these days. Other things just take priority over sitting in a chair with a book for several hours.

After posting my list of summer reads last month I felt inspired to share more about reading and books here on the blog, in the hope it will motivate me and my family to try and read more. It's so easy to get stuck into a TV series when a book could give us so much more.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Baby, Belo and Me

One of the best things about little ones is all the accessories, and I have loved putting together Henry's nursery and playroom. Admittedly I've rearranged the nursery more times than I can say, and I think my nesting hit post-birth, instead of before (you can see the nursery here).


Friday, 9 September 2016

Freakshakes all around

Southampton has some pretty cool places to visit, and a pretty great food and drink scene. The city is undergoing some huge development at the moment and is fast becoming a great competitor for cool city in the South. 

One example of the new cool is the introduction of the brand new Freakshakes to Orange Rooms in the Bedford Place area of the city centre.
Orange Rooms is a bar/nightclub by night, but is a little hidden gem of a daytime location if I'm honest. 
Not only is it the perfect backdrop for chatting - each room is decorated differently and it's pretty amazing - they also serve great food and drinks. 

As part of the Sotonbloggers, I was asked along with the girls to try out their Freakshakes,which honestly I was really excited about. 

Freakshakes, for those not in the know, and basically super sized,extra naughty milkshakes.They're a huge trend this year and aren't showing any signs of going anywhere - you've probably seen them on Instagram!

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Some frequently asked tattoo questions answered

This blog started life as a tattoo blog as it's one of my true passions in life but tattoos have had ro take a bit of a back burner in recent months due to falling pregnant with Henry.
However I still get asked lots of questions about tattoos which of course I'm always happy to answer.
As I haven't talked about tattoos for a while I thought I'd do a little Q&A from questions asked in person over the last few months and some from Twitter and put them together here for you.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Back to school with Degustabox

September means the start of the new school year, and to celebrate Degustabox* has put together a 'back to school' box perfect for the new term.

As usual the subscription box is sent direct to the door, jam packed with snacks, drinks and food ideas.

The August Degustabox has a great mix of healthy and naughty drinks, snacks, fast dinners and supper options. There are brands from a mix of backgrounds including large names and small independents.

And as you can see, this month I have a new helper with my box in the form of Archimedes - Degustabox unboxing just isn't quite the same without Dante (RIP 16.08.2016)

Check outside the box below - as well as a £7 off your first box code at the end of the post!

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Stack them high

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with jewellery.
I love jewellery, really good versatile jewellery, simple and unique. But unless I have it on all the time, I tend to forget it completely.
For instance, I never take off my wedding, engagement or commitment rings, but have now let my ear piercings completely heal as I always forget to put earrings in.

I've accepted that generally jewellery isn't really for me. I rarely wear necklaces, and with a little one they are particularly impractical. I dislike things on my wrists, especially when it comes to typing at a laptop or PC. Earrings are an obvious no-no. So I'm left with rings.
I went for years thinking that I wouldn't suit rings as I have short fingers but I've developed a true love for them, especially stacking rings.

Before Henry arrived I decided I want to get something to wear that would always remind me of him. I was inspired by Taza who has a set of stacking rings with her children's names, so I went on the hunt. This is where Bloody Mary Metal came in. I decided to get their Classic BMM personalised stack ring. The 2mm ring is stamped with what ever personalisation you like, including a heart symbol (yes of course I added it) and are available in either sterling silver, 9 carat yellow gold, or 9 carat rose gold.

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