Illustrated Teacup

Family | Lifestyle | Food | Motherhood | Tattoos

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Why we need to support local businesses over a Lakaz Maman breakfast

Review post*

I find that some of the best conversations happen over food, particularly brunch where chatting over coffee and yummy food on a weekend morning feels both productive and relaxing.

One of my favourite pastimes is to find new and exciting places to have brunch, and especially more local business locations, so when I was invited by the Sotonbloggers to attend a brunch at Lakaz Maman* in Southampton's Bedford Place, I jumped at the opportunity.

With brunch, comes chatter, and that morning, as we were joined by the owner Shelina, I was reminded way it is so important to support local business.
Over baked eggs in a spicy sauce (which by the way were incredible and totally different to any dish I've had before), the most delicious sweet cinnamon toast (I've literally had dreams about the stuff and have every intention of recreating them with the amazing salted caramel sauce), and the most unique 'torpedo' breakfast stack (muffin, turkey bacon,chicken sausages and an egg, served with a spicy dip), we learnt a little about Shelina's life and how she built her restaurant after winning Masterchef in 2012 - We also learnt a little bit about the realities of Masterchef, which I am currently obsessed with!


Thursday, 29 March 2018

Childcare is bittersweet

We got a letter from nursery the other day to let us know that our childcare fees would be going up in April.
Not really a huge surprise there. Almost all businesses use the new tax year to increase their rates at little to keep them afloat of inflation. It's not ideal but it is a way of life.

However this letter gave me a shock, and put me in a very ranty mood. Our fees are going up by £5.05 per day!!


Tuesday, 27 March 2018

How we updated our toddler bedroom

Since we found out we were expecting a second baby, we have been planning Henry's bedroom move to free up the nursery for baby boy. 

The room has been a work in progress for quite some time, as it started life as a spare bedroom, then a playroom - which didn't really get much action to be honest. Now it has a new lease of life and honestly it's one of my favourite rooms of the house now. I feel like it's a room with so much functionality and fun. 

As I'm super nosey, and love seeing inside other people's home, I thought I'd share a little glimpse into our toddler bedroom and share a few of my favourite homely bits too. 

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Laundry Day - The Ordinary Moments

I've recently had a bit of an impromptu blog break, and with most blog breaks you get thinking about what you really want to do with and gain from your blog. And this inevitably leads you to thinking why you even started blogging in the first place. 

For me, my blog started life as a creative outlet after I lost a baby whilst I was in a job I completely hated and had zero creativity to it. 

Jump forever three years and it's a hobby and starting to be a bit of a business. It's where I still channel my creativity after spending a couple of years juggling a career in marketing and communications. It's my online space to share my thoughts and advice, and document a little bit of our family life.

But the whole thing with having a family blog was to write about my family, and what we get up to. 

Unfortunately that content isn't the clicky articles that a lot of people want to read, and I know I don't read many posts in that style unless I really love that blogger (this post by Hannah Gale really summed up a lot of where I also believe blogging is heading), however, after reading this post from Kirsty, I was reminded how much I do love a good rambly ordinary moment post. One that is real. One that is about every day life. 

Because I'm an ordinary mum, with an ordinary toddler, leading a pretty ordinary life. 

Thursday, 22 March 2018

How motherhood has changed me, for better and for worse

I think we all change so much over our life times. In fact it's kind of inevitable.
You can't remain the same person from your teens, to your twenties, thirties and beyond.
We become more educated, enlightened and in some places more sceptical and rational.

Our life choices and changes impact how we view the world, how we interact with it, and how we move through it.

Understandably, big life changes are going to have bigger impacts.
And one of the biggest changes for any person is becoming a parent.

Of course, there's the whole adjusting to having a small human-being be totally reliant on you for everything which is overwhelming as it is.

But once you've gotten used to actually being a parent (which I'm still not 100% certain I'm there yet!) you realise that your child/kids change you as a person too.

I'm not necessarily saying that they'll change you over night, and you'll go from a party and cocktail lover, to a slipper and nights in on the sofa knitting fanatic (but if that is the case then get those woollens out and enjoy) but they do have an impact. Or at least it has for me.


Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Am I done having babies??

There's a few inevitable questions when you announce you're having a baby.

Are you finding out the gender? And if yes, do you have a preference - this is especially true if it's a second baby announcement.

And are you having more babies after this one?

First off, let me get this one out before we make any rash decisions!!

But in all seriousness, am I done having babies?


Sunday, 4 March 2018

When sleeping through the night suddenly stops

One thing I really took for granted before I had a child was sleep.

In my younger days, I'd easily do a 40 hours job, and then another 20 hours as a bar supervisor in the evenings, with weekends working from 6pm til 3am. And I'd still function as a normal human being.

Just the thought of all those hours and staying awake that much makes me want to crawl into a duvet cocoon and sleep for 12 hours as a treat to past me.

Then of course I had a baby, and he hasn't been the best of sleepers I have to admit. We spent many, many months co-sleeping (or bed sharing) which I was totally fine with, though as he got older it did become less and less comfortable. In those early days with a newborn, we experienced many sleepless nights. More nights than I can count where I was stood gently swaying to coax him to sleep. And lots of tears of sleep deprivation. And don't even get me started on sleep regression and teething!

However, around the one year old mark, sleep started to change for us.


Thursday, 1 March 2018

What I've been reading: part1

I'm not really sure how regularly I'm going to post these mini book reviews, but as I love reading other people's thoughts on books, I'm quite happy to do my own too.

Reading is one of my ultimate treats for myself, but one that often gets left behind as life is so busy, so I'm also hoping that writing these little reviews will also drive me to putting reading higher on my agenda, especially in the evenings, and particularly when I need an escape. Pregnancy hormones are a bit of a mood killer and reading is my favourite form of self care, which I need to practice a little more when the hormones peak!

So here's the books I've been reading recently - basically from the start of the year to today!!


Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Are kids really that expensive?

This is a collaborative post*

Kids cost a fortune right?

At least that's what everyone who offers their usually unsolicited opinion will say.

Kids cost so much many. They have so much stuff. You'll have no money for you anymore once you have kids.

And I guess in some respects kids are expensive.


Sunday, 25 February 2018

Getting our garden kid ready for Spring

This is a collaborative review post*

The seasons are a changing, hopefully at least, and with that means getting ready for much more outdoor play and adventure.
We've always loved getting outside, and with our garden almost completely renovated now (we just have some wood chippings to put down, and a tidy of the flower beds) - you can see some of the original garden in this post.

Alongside our Wendy house which we put up over the summer courtesy of Dann's parents, and hand painted by me, we wanted to add a few extra toys and outdoor play things for Henry and Baby Boy to play with. We have a sand and water table, and plans for a mud kitchen to be built this summer.


Thursday, 22 February 2018

Rabbits and toddlers: A mini guide to introducing and keeping bunnies with an excitable one year old

Toward the end of last year we got rabbits.
We've had a rabbit before, and to be honest I was a little sad about not being pregnant (little did I know that I actually was) and I wanted to get a pet that Henry could properly interact with as our cat isn't particularly interested in being cuddled by a toddler.

So we got a pair of female bunnies and set them up to live in our playroom/conservatory.

As I've had a few questions over social media about the bunnies and Henry I thought I'd do a mini guide to owning rabbits and how we make it work with a very excitable little boy.


Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Our gender reveal and scan with Babybond

This is a review post*

Ever since we found out I was pregnant again, I knew I wanted to find out if we were expecting a boy or a girl. I just knew I couldn't wait until they were born this time, unlike Henry, who we didn't find out until Dann announced it on his arrival into the world.

Since our 12 week NHS scan, we have been counting down the weeks to our 20 week scan, and finally knowing if we're having a girl or a boy.

We honestly didn't mind what, not that it makes any difference anyhow, you get what you're given. But I wanted to experience both ways, and I have to admit, I loved finding out early.


Sunday, 18 February 2018

13 thoughts about brunching with the girls at Vospers

This is a collaborative review post*

Is there anything better on a Saturday then a whole load of food and drinks with lots of girly chat?
I don't think much beats it to be honest.

Brunch has to be one of my absolute favourite meals, because the combination of bacon, sausage, pancakes, muffins, eggs with tea, coffee and juice, with the occasional cocktail (or currently for me, mocktails) thrown in for good measure, is just perfect.

And any self-respecting blogger is likely to agree (of course no judgement if you're not a fan, but how?!?!?) so get a bunch of bloggers together and offer them brunch and you've got a very happy bunch of camera toting foodies.

I thought I'd share just some thoughts whilst brunching at Vospers*.


Friday, 16 February 2018

Having a Very Lazy Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year.
It feels like the perfect excuse to get a takeaway, I mean, it sort of feels rude not to.

But I have another solution for getting you in the Chinese celebratory spirit, make your own Chinese inspired dinner at home. Less grease, more veggies and cheaper on the purse strings.

And it doesn't have to be difficult.


Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Money-saving Mama - a mini guide to cost saving for baby no.2

This is a collaborative post*

Everyone knows that babies are expensive right?
Well they are initially and then they sort of level out a bit, and then they get a bit expensive again, and you just go through money cycles.

Then you have the GENIUS idea to have a second baby.
Because, you know, it wasn't THAT expensive the first time, so I shouldn't be so bad the second time! Right?

Well with a little planning, it doesn't have to be so bad.

There are places you can save money, with your first, second, third or sixth child.


Monday, 12 February 2018

Becoming seriously outnumbered, and do I really have a gender preference?

This pregnancy we found out the gender of our second little Bee, and we're pretty damn excited. Well I know I am!
And with this, and everyone sort of asking if we are finding out the gender, we've had the inevitable question "are you hoping for a girl this time?"

And for some time I really did think I was hoping for a girl.
One of each is the dream right? A boy and a girl.


Saturday, 10 February 2018

10 thoughts when getting ready for a road trip

This is a sponsored post*

Road trips aren't just for newly loved up couples and free-spirited teens out for their next adventure.
We quite often go on road trips as a family, especially as we live some miles away from our respective families.

However, road trips as a family are much less care-free, and definitely need a lot more planning. Jumping in the car and just driving into the sunset isn't really an option with out at least two checklists, an assortment of bags, and a couple of arguments thrown in.

At the very least you have to get yourself organised, then there's the kids and their menagerie of toys, clothes, wipes and other necessities.
Then there's the car. Because to be honest, prior to kids, a little bit of rust really wasn't an issue, and that squeaky brake was drowned out by the badass roadtrip playlist you put together. However, now you have kids and you're basically putting them inside a metal death trap, so every safety precaution is needed... right now!

So here's some parental thoughts whilst getting ready for a road trip!


Wednesday, 7 February 2018

When the second trimester isn't all sunshine and rainbows

I'm a few weeks into the second trimester - in fact getting scarily close to the half way mark - and I have to say I was not prepared.

I've done an entire pregnancy. 
I have friends who have done it all too. 

And I believed the rumours that the second pregnancy is easier if your first was uncomplicated. 

It's all lies!! 


Monday, 5 February 2018

Holiday planning with kids is very different to trips as a couple... but they're just as fun

This is a sponsored post*

So much changes when you have kids, particularly with everyday little things, but also with the big experiences. And one of the biggest experiences is going on holiday.

No matter when you decide to go, whether alone, as a couple, with friends, or as a family, it's pretty exciting.

We haven't yet planned our first abroad trip, but we have definitely thought about the places we want to go as a family. We want something that is going to interest everyone and be a great experience for all of us.


Tuesday, 30 January 2018

You know you're a mum when....

After weeks of feeling totally useless and spending a lot of time in bed, I finally feel like me again.

It really took it's toll, especially on how I saw myself as a mother as I wasn't really doing a huge amount of actual parenting as I either in bed or the bathroom.

But I've got my mama crown on now, and am feeling top of my motherhood game. In fact I'm pretty excited to become a mum of two this year.
So I thought I'd share some things that are clear-cut signs that you are a mum (tongue in cheek, of course).


Sunday, 28 January 2018

Why reading is my favourite self-care therapy

Even since I can remember I've been a bookworm. I've always been the one in our family with my nose in a book. However for some years I kind of lost my reading mojo in favour of hours of mindless scrolling and binge TV watching.

Last year I started to make a real effort to read more, which started well but did slow towards the end of the year. This year, again, I'm trying to continue my reading efforts, and broaden my horizons. With one very important reason behind my decision.

I realised towards the end of the year that reading was part of my own self-care regime, and a really big part of it. I think it really hit me when an old man on my bus stopped to talk to me on his way off the bus to say "you're never alone with a book". And he was right. That's why I find books so important for my personal mental health and wellbeing.


Friday, 26 January 2018

18 thoughts about winning the lottery

This is a collaborative post*

Do you know what one of my favourite, completely useless, pastimes to do is?

I like to plan what I'd do if I won the lottery.

It might seem a teeny bit sad to be planning something that has odds very much not in my favour, but it's a nice little thing to think about when walking home from swim class whilst Henry chills in the stroller.

Now when I say a lottery win, I do mean a big one. Go big or go home.
And my thoughts usually go a little something like this:


Wednesday, 24 January 2018

What to expect with an 18 month old (and some unexpected things too)

2018 is already flying by which I think is one of the symptoms of having a small child - the months just seem to fly by and you're constantly trying to work out where you are in each month.

Back in December, Henry turned 18 months old, but due to lots of pregnancy nausea/sickness/fatigue/can't be arsedness I never got around to doing a little update on his progress. So apologies this is more of a 19 month update, which now I've typed it, makes him feel EVEN older!

So what can you expect at 18 months of age?


Monday, 22 January 2018

A childcare rant:The Nursery germ breeding ground

It's just a week into the new year, and Henry has been back to nursery for approximately two point five days when I get the call. The dreaded call. The call that all parents hate to see on their mobiles.

One missed call from nursery.

A call can only mean bad news. He's ill or hurt. Neither is good, and generally means your working day is about to be cut short.


Friday, 19 January 2018

The first trimester... The second time around

You know people always say every pregnancy is different. Well I categorically agree!
I'm officially out of the first trimester of this second pregnancy and oh man has it been a journey.

I really truly believed that having "been there and bought the t-shirt" that a second pregnancy wouldn't be all the difficult or surprising.

I was so very wrong.

I'm not sure if this pregnancy is just plain worse, or my memory isn't all that great, or maybe because I was out of work for quite a bit of my first pregnancy I was able to cope better, but the last seven odd weeks have been mildly hellish.

Now I will say now I know I'm very fortunate to be pregnant again, and with not much difficulty, and I by no means have it as hard as some mum's (shout out to the HG mum's because girls I honestly don't know how you do it and you're heroes in my eyes!) But I have struggled. Really struggled.

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