Illustrated Teacup

Family | Lifestyle | Food | Motherhood | Tattoos

Thursday, 31 August 2017

The boys made smoothies

Sunday's should always be for lazing around and having long breakfasts.
Last Sunday, my boys were up early, and because we had a large stock of fruit in the fridge from strawberry picking in the week, decided they were going to make smoothies! Yep I felt a little spoilt, I must admit. 
We decided to make this recipe for a Raspberry and Strawberry Smoothie which we slightly amended, which I will detail below. 

I pretty much think this was the perfect morning making these smoothies, and it was literally exactly how I pictured having kids before I had Henry. Him sat on the worktop, putting the fruit in the blender (supervised obviously) and actually helping with making our food. I think baking may be next on the cards!! 

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Countryside Adventures

One of the perks of living away from family is that you get to go and visit them. And luckily for us, our family (most specifically Dann's parents) live in very places. 

We keep our weekends free for travel and family adventures, and the a couple of weekends ago we decided to drive back up to visit Ninny and Grumpy for a Saturday chill in the sunshine. 

Of course I took along the camera as the village Dann grew up in so perfectly photographic and is pretty much an Instagram dream. 


Friday, 25 August 2017

Thank You Notes #5 - The Woodlands Edition

I can't be the only one who is a little dismayed that the summer is basically over - although I am pretty excited for Autumn, because we know I LOVE autumn! 

This summer has been one of the absolute best though as Henry is walking about and just generally been a pleasure to have around. I feel like we're making the most of our summer weekends which is always a good feeling too. 

So here's to another month of thank you notes....

Thank you Holly Hill Woodland for giving us a new favourite place to visit when we kind of accidentally found you whilst in search of a play-park! You were WAY more than we were expecting and I'm very much looking forward to lots of summers of exploring!

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Cake and The Birthday Thief

Is there anything better in life than a really good book and a hot cup of tea? Well as an adult, not much beats that chilled out feeling of zoning out with a great story. 
But for a kid, I think the ultimate equivalent is a picture storybook and cake!

If you've read this blog for a while you'll know that we adore books, and as a writer of sorts, and a huge reader, having an extensive library has always been a priority. 
I also really believe that books can make some of the best gifts ever. 
And even more so if they're personalised. 

Enter Wonderbly and their story The Birthday Thief*. 

Monday, 21 August 2017

City strolling with Cosatto

Ok so you may have noticed that as a family we like to get out and about?!
Fortunately for us we live in an area with the biggest mix of places to go, including Southampton City Centre. 

Now that Henry is a bit older, it felt right to change over our pushchair to something a little lighter and easier to navigate around with. 
Enter Cosatto... 

I fell in love with Cosatto late last year after seeing a number of bloggers with BEAUTIFUL travel systems and car seats. We ended up buying the Hubbub ISOFIX seat for Henry and we absolutely love it, so it only made sense to have a stroller from them too!

Say hello to our city strolling pal.... the Supa Dragon Kingdom*! 


Sunday, 20 August 2017

Strawberry Picking

I think it's a blogger's summer rite of passage to get themselves to a 'pick your own' so obviously we had to go and have a visit to our local farm. 
Luckily for us Pickwell Farm is walking distance from our house so last Saturday when we had a free afternoon we toddled off to get some fresh fruit and veg and a run around in the fields. 

Of course we got a load of photos - which I LOVE - but I also decided to test out the video function on our Canon 200D and start our journey into Youtube!!! I've embedded the little video at the at the end of the post so make sure you have a little watch, and subscribe to my channel

Friday, 18 August 2017

Happy Hour at Taco Bell

Dann and I have a bit of a thing for Mexican food. 
Some of our earliest date nights would be in Chiquitos in Ocean Village, and fajita friday was definitely a regular occurrence. 

Back in November last year I was invited to the Taco Bell opening in Southampton, and since then I've been promising Dann a visit! Luckily, Taco Bell invited us along to try their Happy Hour menu* so Dann finally got his way. Parenting and going on date night aren't a friendly combination in the baby days!  

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Displaying keepsakes - a pin board DIY

One of my absolute favourite things about owning my own home is that we can decorate however we like, and this includes showing off bits about our life and memories. 
I'm actually a bit of a keepsake lover too, especially tickets and invites, and bits of bobs from travels. 
However I get a little down in the dumps about having it all hidden away. 

Up until recently we had all our little keepsakes in our glass-topped IKEA table which was living in our conservatory. However our tickets were starting to get sun bleached and the table is going soon as we are moving the sofa into its place.

So I decided to display everything on a pin board at the top of our stairs, and here's now/why I did it.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Lights, camera, action - capturing kids on the move!

One of the perils of being a parent to a toddler is that they're constantly on the move, which can make photographing them somewhat tricky. 
We all want photos of our little ones to look back on, but this wonderful fun stage does seem to lend itself to many a blurred and occasionally out-of-focus photograph of your smiley rosey-cheeked angel. 

With this in mind, and having had A LOT of practice taking photos of Henry - it feels like he is never ever still,but that might just be me - I took up the challenge with Lifecake* and Canon, to share some of my top tips for photographing kids on the move! 


Friday, 11 August 2017

The tale of a teething toddler - and how you can help yours

If you're a parent or have been close to a parent of a child, you will undoubtedly have heard some complaints about teething.

Teething is a pain... in the mouth, and the head for parents.

The tale of teething includes red cheeks, puddles of dribbles alongside mountains of damp bibs, tears from both toddler and parent, sleepless and stressful nights, sore bums, and the ultimate break through of a tooth which elicits more excitement than fridge chocolate!

For us it feels like Henry has been teething forever, but we actually got our first tooth through just after his first birthday....not going to lie, it feels like the prior months of dribble was a total waste, but I guess that's the fun of parenthood!

Since that first tooth, we've had a further three emerge, with another two starting to show their pearly goodness, all in the space of a month! Yikes!
We've been on a mission of learning with teething and with a little help from Nuby have found our way through the teething nightmare, with limited stress and no loss of life (phew).

(also check out our self timer photos using our new camera!! So much fun!!)


Tuesday, 8 August 2017

How we renovated our garden for under 1k

We've been in our house now for just over two years, and to be honest have done quite a bit of work transforming it into a place we love that suits us as a family. We've completely overhauled the kitchen (including basically everything in the kitchen minus new flooring) and the upstairs bathroom, as well as redecorating every single room, re-flooring all of the upstairs and creating a nursery and playroom.

Whilst the main focus of our home was to make it ready indoors for a family, we realised that we had kind of let the garden fall behind. But we're now finally there with it.

Because of our somewhat limited English summers, we didn't really want to spend a fortune on the garden but wanted to try and make it as child friendly and safe as possible.
We had a £1,000 budget, and I think we stuck to it pretty well, with a little help from family. (you can see some before shots, in this garden post!)

So what did we do?


Monday, 7 August 2017

Why Hampshire is Home

I moved to Southampton in September 2008 to start studying for my Journalism degree.
A little known fact, Dann actually moved down to Southampton in June 2009 so we could move in together. Since then, Hampshire has been our home away from home. We're both originally from Buckinghamshire/Oxfordshire (there's some question as to what county Dann's home village is actually in). We met in Bucks, and 90% of our family is still in the county, so you'll often hear us say we are going back home for a weekend.

But it's a sentence I am planning to drop.

Don't get me wrong, I love my old home. I think I might even love Dann's old home more than my own. Our visits there always stick with me, and we have some of our fondest memories there - including our wedding which was in the church in Dann's village, and the reception in my favourite local town.

But it is no longer really home.
It was a home. But our home is now in Hampshire.


Friday, 4 August 2017

Why I love leg tattoos

You may have noticed recently that I've had a number of new tattoo additions added to my legs.
I'm kind of on a collecting mission especially since meeting the absolute doll that is Madeleine June and falling head over heels for her artwork and tattoo style. Plus she's a fellow hufflepuff so we're essentially kindred spirits.

I've always been a big fan of leg tattoos but have been slower in the collection front in this area until now.
For me, my legs are for collecting a mish-mash of cute smaller tattoos. Definitely all in colour.

You see. I kind of have a love/hate relationship with my legs. From the knee down I'm OK with them. My calfs aren't half bad. But my thighs, well they're a different story entirely.

And that's half the reason I'm on a leg tattoo collecting mission. Because the more ink i have on my legs, the happier and more confident I feel about them!!


Wednesday, 2 August 2017

The best burgers in Southampton and shaking our own cocktails

One of the things I love about being a blogger, especially in Southampton, is that I get to see a lot of the new restaurant launches pretty early on, and learn about all the great new businesses in the area.
I'm also a really big fan of supporting local businesses and independent companies, particularly if they are local!

One of our absolute favourite Southampton businesses is Mettricks. I've talked previously about their coffee houses (now numbering five!!) and their great coffee masterclasses, and now is the turn of a little something new from the Mettricks gang!

Welcome to Vospers*, a rather gentlemanly and cosy burger restaurant, steeped in Sotonian history. Unlike your normal burger place, it's no diner, but rather one of a kind wooden tables and deep leather chairs with a mish mash of old wooden chairs and antique furniture. Think an upscale Mettricks with burgers, and more alcohol!

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