How Will I Know When I’m a Grown-Up?

December 17, 2014

 

My son will start asking this more often any day now. I can feel it. Right now, he’s asked me once, but his little brain is working hard at piecing things together and he’s figuring out how his world works. It’s a busy time for a three and a half year old boy.

The thing is, I still ask myself the same question. Surely my brain should have all of that figured out by now. Like just now, for example. On looking at my carefully arranged vignette of greenery in the kitchen, I realised that almost half the plants are dying. Not just “in shock” from being brought home from the shop (yes, I’ve had them just a few, pathetic weeks), but actually DYING.

1. Why can I not keep a house plant alive for more than a few weeks? I follow all the directions and do what green-fingered folks tell me to do. I pay attention to room temperature, sunlight etc. Yet they all die. Long, drawn-out, sad little deaths. Every time someone shows me their orchid (my nemesis), and nonchalantly throws out “Oh, that? I’ve had it for 6 years now. It blooms regularly every x months. So easy to look after, no?”, I feel my place on this earth is in question.

My mother can take a dead as a dodo plant, and have it not only revived but three times its original size within months. Years later, I can only look with bitterness at the camellia plant I threw in her bin some 15 years ago – it’s now a TREE in her garden.

2. When will I know how to ask for things at the deli, meat and fish counters by weight? I am 41 years old, a mother and wife, and I continue to internally panic when I have to ask for something using the term “pounds”.

Delicatessen couter

Me: Please can I have some ham?

Server: How many pounds?

Me: (This is when my heart starts to race.) 12 slices, please.

Server: Half a pound?

Me: Full heart attack is mere moments away. Is that 12 slices? I’ll take 10 if that’s easier. Or however many you get to, really. It’s to last a week. That doesn’t help. Right. Sorry.

Me: I’d also like 15 olives please.

Server: FIFTEEN? in an incredulous voice. (Really, there is NO need for that tone.) Ma’am, take a guess how many pounds you want.

Me: Ok. 4 lbs. (If I blushed, I would be beetroot-faced by now.)

Server snorts so loudly I can only assume I am not even in the ballpark.

Meat counter

Me: Please could I have this much *indicates size of meat using fingers*

Server: Does the biggest eye roll in history.

Fish counter

Me: (Reads online recipe on phone.) Please can I have 1 kg of salmon.

Server: Excuse me?

Me: (Panicking I’ve given the wrong weight.) Sorry, I mean 1 ounce of salmon.

Server: You want 1 ounce or 1 pound or what? I don’t think you want 1 ounce of fish.

Me: (Feeling hot and uncomfortable. Looks at online recipe again, except it’s gone. No wifi connection in supermarket.) I’ll come back.

Goes to car park where there is reception, reloads recipe, reads it and decides to make a lasagne instead.

I’ve never paid attention to the cost of six eggs. Nor how much a pint of milk costs. For ages, I stupidly assumed that organic vegetables (the ugly, deformed ones without chemicals) would be cheaper than the “evil” ones. Was I the only one?! Ok. Moving on.

The point is, I know women who can tell me these things without hesitation. They keep a stocked fridge all the time. They never let their household get down to student-like fridge contents disaster levels. AND I HAVE A CHILD! she wails.

3. When will I be able to balance a cheque book? I cannot budget properly. I try. The Husband assumes I’m being slack and irresponsible. The pathetic thing is, I do try to pay attention and keep the budget in check, ie manage the money properly. Regardless, I am not allowed to be in charge of paying the bills. If I had been, we’d have been in foreclosure by now. Simply put, my brain does not function properly when faced with numbers. Sorry, Dad.

4. When will I learn that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me? I realise my son will learn more from my behaviour than what I say. I cannot help but take something oh so personally. I can cut someone out of my life without hesitation in less than a minute. Neither of those reactions are grown-up. A grown-up would do things like try and understand why the other person is being mean, let the remarks go over their head or off their backs, and they wouldn’t seethe all night and plot a revenge to rival that of Hamlet. This is an area I need to fix before my son sees and feels my inability to let it go. Heh, there’s a thought. Perhaps Disney was cleverer than we thought. How did Elsa react when she was ostracised to live in a freezing cold castle in the middle of bumblef*ck? She danced a lot and stated “The cold never bothered me anyway.”.

 

Elaine

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Fear of Father Christmas

December 15, 2014

Today we have a guest post from my cousin (by marriage), and yes I do like to rope my family and friends into writing for me from time to time especially when I know you guys would love to hear from an intelligent, witty, and extremely wonderful mum like my cousin Charlie: 

 

It’s all about Christmas 2014” I told my friends and family in the summer… having spent Christmas ’11 and ’13 pregnant and 2012 surrounded by the dust and chaos of a loft extension I was ready for a full on festive extravaganza and I was going to be Mrs Christmas!
Weird really as I’ve never been one for the commercial hype of such holidays and Christmas to me is not a religious holiday, but rather a break from work, mulled wine, mince pies and time with the people I love… but this year I was ready for turning the house into a winter wonderland from December 1st – open to all who need a place to rest or feast, candles, wine, tinsel and lights… bring it on. 
So just imagine my utter horror when my son’s keyworker at nursery pulls me to one side in mid-November and tells me she thinks she’s discovered the reason he has spent the last month frightened of the dark, getting up throughout the night in a state of fear, waking at 5am and refusing to go back to sleep… then she utters the words I never even considered possible… “he’s frightened of Father Christmas”… WTF! But yet, strangely understandable! This was not the news Mrs Christmas wanted to hear… this was going to seriously scupper my festive plans!
So in a nutshell, a kid at nursery has been sharing stories from his older brother about how Father Christmas comes into your bedroom when you’re sleeping… and that he watches you all the time to check if you’re being good. Now my son is a pretty sharp cookie but he isn’t even 3 years old yet and the thought that an old bearded man will be doing these things is probably enough to give a grown up the heebie jeebies let alone a toddler!
His behaviour started to become stranger from this point… as nursery and the world around us got more and more Christmassy his fear grew… and I’m talking duvet over the head, gag at the mention of Father Christmas petrified! … Putting him to bed at night he insists on shutting every door behind us; having always slept in the dark he now says he wants every light left on and he immediately pulls the duvet over his head when I leave the room. 
He constantly asks me “where is Father Christmas”?… he checks the roof of the house as we pull up in the car; I’ve seen him peaking nervously up the chimney and as bedtime nears his need to determine the exact GPS location of Father Christmas and his reindeer becomes paramount! My answer is always the same… he’s at the North Pole with his family”… but I’m not sure the answer has much longevity to its reassurance, certainly by 5am it’s effect has worn off…Zzzzz
After weeks of him waking throughout the night, often screaming & inconsolable… of more 4:30-5am starts than is healthy for a woman’s sanity I start to get desperate… what on earth can I do to deal with this problem… I mean he won’t even let me make Duplo chimneys on his houses anymore! 
We hadn’t been complacent, far from it; we had already tried so many things to reassure him… We started off buying him the Raymond Briggs ‘Father Christmas’ book – foolish mummy and daddy, this move was not robust enough – he wouldn’t even allow the book in his room! I bought him a novelty nightlight for his room, (to alleviate the pressure on the national grid being caused by his current need for illumination!) and he insisted on a photograph of all of us to sleep in his bed with him (bless him , this was sooo cute)… 
I sought advice from anyone I met, many of whom shared stories of children with similar anxieties, yet nobody held the answer I needed! We continued to talk to him about ‘FC’ (an essential code for retaining order in our house at the moment!) and Christmas in general and explained that at our house FC made his deliveries to the front door and would certainly NOT be coming in his bedroom… but we just didn’t feel like we were getting anywhere… 
Bearing in mind a nearly 3 year old has absolutely no concept of time, so trying to explain that Christmas was still almost 6 weeks away was futile… giving him adult information about Christmas was out of the question… I had to do something to get him to love the magic of Christmas… so I did what any mum would do… I called the big man myself and explained everything to him…
Then as if by magic, when my son was at the corner shop with his daddy one day FC & his reindeer made an early visit to No.1… they returned home to find glittery reindeer dust all over our front path and a shiny red bag hanging on the front door… the bag contained a small present from FC and a note reassuring him not to be scared; that his deliveries to our house would be left on the front doorstep… under no circumstances would FC be coming in! 
Since this visit… and with daily conversations about the man in red, things seem to be improving! We still haven’t cracked it… we can read books about him and have watched the Father Christmas movie once… but Christmas Cards are not welcome and my son’s need to know FC’s exact movements continue… however the excitement seems to slowly be replacing the fear… 
I do wish there could be some consensus amongst parents about how FC makes his deliveries… some families use a chimney, others have given him a key! Some hang stockings on the fireplace, others at the end of the bed… I think the hardest one for me is those families who use FC as a bribe for good behaviour (pretty much from the end of Summer!)… by informing their children that FC watches you & can see if you’re naughty… I didn’t give this much thought until I was a parent & now I really feel unhappy about it… we seem to spend time warning our kids of stranger danger and then randomly we make this massive exception for this old bearded man who can watch you whenever he wants and if you’re good he’ll sneak into your room and bring you presents… bloody hell I’d have nightmares about that one! 
So at least at No.1 FC is reliably informed by mummy and daddy if you’ve been good (leaving plenty of scope for bribery if required)… he will then come and leave you one present & a stocking on the front doorstep on Christmas Eve… and we will leave him a v large Rum and a Mince Pie (FC has told mummy that’s what he’d like!)… 
So the house is now festive, the tree is up, stockings are hanging and the countdown has commenced… visiting grottos is out of the question for us this year but hopefully we have retained the magic for now and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that after this year my son’s memories will be positive and next year we won’t have to go through this… having had many parents tell me their children have also been or are frightened of FC (mainly boys interestingly) I have only met one person who knows of an adult who is still frightened so I’m hopeful he’ll grow out of it! 
If however, anyone holds the ‘cure’ to this problem I will be forever grateful… especially if it gives me a full night’s sleep again! 
Merry Christmas one and all!

Charlie x

Maternity wear – Keungzai

December 14, 2014

Recently I came across a new maternity wear brand that I haven’t featured on the blog before – Keungzai. Perfect if you need a beautiful NYE outfit or for any number of special occasion this season throws up.
You will find they do separates and everyday clothing very well too. Clothes with a laid-back, well-made, elegance, many items will see you through the whole process of motherhood from the barely-there bump to well into the postnatal period. I have a feeling that even after the baby has long been walking you’ll be reluctant to hang up these clothes for any length of time. I’d bet they look just as good on non-pregnant ladies, I know I’d be happy to wear most of their collections, as long as I’d mentally adjusted to the fact that I was actually  wearing maternity clothes!
maternity wear

 

Here’s what they say:
“Keungzai was born out of a personal passion to create ethical, quality clothing with a timeless aesthetic. The brand serves women who are not slaves to fashion but whom lead the style conversation with contemporary yet timeless looks.”
Keungzai woman
“The Keungzai woman enjoys investing in the foundations of her wardrobe and adding a few key pieces each season. She enjoys the knowledge that her clothes are made ethically and appreciates quality rather than fast-fashion fads. The collection offers women essential styling blocks, accented with bold prints and luxurious textures.”
So pregnant ladies go take a look at all they have to offer on the Keungzai website.
Natalie x

Now it’s time for Street Style Sunday:

To link up a blog post – Click add link.

Grab the Street Style Sunday badge (left hand column).

Comment on this post and one other post in the link up.

Tweet about it, and remember to tag @stylemesunday – I will always retweet. 

Each week I will be reposting my favourite instagram style  pic on my IG feed, all you have to do is tag @stylemesunday in your pic and hashtag #streetstylesunday. You can gain some new followers and it means more people can get involved with Street Style Sunday. 

I run this link up in conjunction with the lovely Laura from Side Street Style.

Now get linking and have a look around at all the other fabulous style posts that link. It’s a great way of discovering new blogs you’ll love!

 

 


Life as the Awesome Foursome by Gemma

December 12, 2014

First week back writing for the blog and, despite my best intentions, baby brain is well and truly taking over. Poor Natalie had to kindly remind me that today is in fact Friday and that my post was due, giving you an indication of my life as an awesome foursome.

Whilst most days I am able to delude myself that I am pretty much back to normal, and that coping with a two year old toddler and a newborn isn’t THAT bad. There are the moments when you realise that this isn’t quite the truth and that life with the gruesome twosome may be taking its toll, with some of the clearest signs being this…

  • When the kitchen is a health hazard and the living room looks like its been burgled approximately five minutes after cleaning it
  • Your eldest is living off a diet of cheerios and yoghurt and is permanently busting the look of orphan Annie (not much change there!)
  • When on the rare occasion you have five minutes to spruce yourself up and you’re for once your not sporting the usual no make-up, Uggs and deeply unflattering leggings look, you catch sight of your “perfect” reflection in a public place and realise that a) your top is riding up and your mummy tummy is hanging out, b) you have breast milk stains in an exact nipple size on your favourite top, c) you have the obligatory sick stain on your shoulder, or in my case d) all of the above
  • Your husband looks surprised when you give him a kiss and you realise that it’s the first you’ve shared this week/month

But whilst it’s of course natural to want to get back to your normal pre-pregnancy self, let this be a word of warning. Take your time. I have rushed to return to my former self and suffered the consequences, mainly in the form of a back injury after a hasty personal training session. But it has taught me a valuable lesson. That life as a new mummy is hard, whether you have one, two or five children, and the pressure I have felt to be “normal” again mainly comes from me.

So after I have finished writing this post (whilst simultaneously juggling the baby and stopping Coco from smashing the baubles from the Christmas tree) I will be taking a break. I think I deserve it.

Gemma x

Jambo Cat Gifts

December 12, 2014

Jambo Cat make cards and gifts perfect for the little people in your life. The wonderful prints are full of character with vibrant colours and fun illustrations, perfect to add those finishing touches to your child’s bedroom.

jambocat_cheeky_monkeys jambocat_dancing_penguins jambocat_dj_stripes jambocat_funny_fish jambocat_jumbo_jazz jambocat_the_featherettes

 

Another small business I am more than happy to support and promote. Go take a look at the Jambo Cat website to see the full range on offer.

 

And if you want to be within a chance of winning some fantastic prints and/ or cards, you can win £30 to spend on anything you like on the website. Lucky you!

 

You must be 16 or over, a UK resident, and you must complete the 3 mandatory entry requirements. The other entry requirements are optional, but more you fulfil the more your chances of winning go up.  Please note: I will share your email address with myself and Jambo Cat and no other parties.

 

Good luck!

 

Nat x

 

 

 

 

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Christmas lust list

December 10, 2014

Just one of my many Christmas gift list ideas to inspire you. Christmas wish list
Nat x

Princess and the frock

December 10, 2014

If you follow me on Twitter you may know that last Saturday I asked small businesses to retweet my tweet if they wanted to appear on the blog. Well here is one of my Retweeters, and I am more than happy to showcase this wonderful small UK business.

 

The Princess & the Frock lovingly hand make these gorgeous little dresses for 0-7 year olds, in beautifully luxurious material, at really great prices. Each dress is unique and made to order. Prices start from as little as £18!

 

How cute would this festive frock be for Christmas Day?

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So please help me in supporting wonderful little home grown businesses like this one and shop local.

 

You can also help even by just spreading the word, and sharing this post.

 

Hope you love The Princess & The Frock as much as I do.

 

Love Nat x

Christmas in Washington DC by Elaine

December 9, 2014

 

It doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Christmas in New York, does it? Regardless, at the end of the day, if one’s not in Vienna, being pulled along in a horse-led carriage, covered in glorious furs (faux too), it doesn’t really matter where one is.

I love Christmas. LOVE IT. It’s the one holiday of the year where I get giddy with excitement. It starts with getting the tree. Growing up we had a fake tree (didn’t everyone in the 70s?) and after we’d stuck the branches into their slots, I loved wrapping them up with the tinsel – gold, silver, green, red and blue. Fond memories but not of the rash I’d get from wrapping it around my neck. Do you remember how tinsel smelt? *gets all misty eyed*

I knew I was almost a grown-up when we got a real tree. I thought it was so wonderful. My mother was mortified by the pine needles trudged throughout the house and deep into the carpet. She didn’t see what all the fuss was about. Being first-time real tree people, we didn’t water it nearly enough, and on the day we went to take it down, EVERY SINGLE pine needle dropped off as soon as the first bauble was removed. I believe we went back to a faux tree the following year.

My toddler is three and a half, and this will be the first Christmas he really understands Christmas. Not necessarily all the ins and outs of it as a religious occasion, but we’ve told him stories about Baby Jesus and the Three Wise Men – or Los Tres Reyes Magos/Three Kings. He knows that Father Christmas is the same person as Santa Claus, and that he will also be visited by the Three Kings on January 6th. Woo-hoo, two sets of presents. One benefit to a multi-cultural family. I, as his Mother, also get two sets of bargaining chips. Not only does he get the “I shall tell Father Christmas if….” threat, he also gets reminders that the Three Kings only visit if one has been a very good boy. Where some might see an opportunity for extra spoiling, I see an opportunity for extra discipline and leverage. Hello, Mommie Dearest.

We got our tree at the weekend. The Boy’s face when he realised we’d be taking a massive tree home with us… It was magical. Right there in the tree lot, surrounded by mud, deep puddles and the smell of pine needles (but could have been dog pee).

I’d been imagining us putting the baubles up together, listening to Christmas music in the background…well, after the first bauble he touched got a “NOT THAT ONE, IT’S GLASS!’ x 25 times, then the “DON’T WRAP THE LIGHTS AROUND YOUR HEAD!’, ‘THEY DO NOT BLOODY BOUNCE!’ and “NO!!!” ad infinitum, he lost interest and disappeared off to play with his cars.

The tree took almost 80 feet of christmas lights. In five separate strands. My maths has never been good. I took one box home the first time. Standing in CVS, reading the box “12.5 feet total length”. Right. The tree is 8 feet tall. That’ll do fine. One box it is then. Bargain, $9 for the whole tree. Half an hour later….back to CVS. Grab one more box…no…be smart and make it two, JUST IN CASE. One hour and one sh*tfit later, back to CVS to buy ALL of the lights they had left.

We have hung the tree with lots of silly, traditional, sentimental baubles. Some handmade, some shop-bought. The breakable ones are at the top, the soft ones at the bottom. The Boy did reappear at one point to hang some decorations. They say to leave the decorations where the children hang them, so as not to crush their spirit. Really?? If I’d not followed him around, rearranging each ornament 2 seconds after he’d hung it, I’d be the one with the crushed spirit. My OCD rarely comes out, but when it does, it is inevitably during Christmas tree light arranging and bauble hanging. It was easy by the way – he’s easily distracted, so I could do a fast grab and switch without him realising. Ahem. I know, you’re thinking What a COW. I can live with that.

This year will be extra special. My sister, her hubby and three sons will be spending the holidays with us in DC! I am so ridiculously excited that everytime I hear adverts telling us “Only FOUR weekends til Christmas, get your shopping done now!”, it doesn’t panic me as in the past, it just makes me happy. As of today, there are only (rushes off to check calendar) TWO weekends until they arrive!

The house will be full to bursting and I cannot wait. Hold on, that’ll mean FOUR boys aged from 2 to 10 in the house for 10 whole days and nights. Oh well, the noise, breakages, tantrums, fighting and general hell on wheels will be worth it. In spite of what I wrote in the first paragraph, sod Vienna, as long as we’re with the ones we love, Christmas could be anywhere.

Elaine

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Molly & the Wolf – perfect presents giveaway

December 8, 2014

Molly & the Wolf asked me to take a look at their website and come up with gift ideas for little sisters. Well this is what I’ve I chosen, but to be honest picking just six items was the hardest thing of all – there’s tons on there that I could’ve picked. Packed full of lovely quality wooden toys like this children’s stove and laugh-out-loud nostalgic gifts such as the Whoopee cushion for hours of fun. Molly & the Wolf is a perfect place to inspire you for that perfect gift for the wee ones.

 

Style Me Sunday Collage_Final

 

 

Style Me Sunday readers can get an exclusive 10% discount on anything you order by entering this code: STYLEMESUN10

You can also win an AMAZING £75 to spend on anything you like from the website by entering this fantastic giveaway:

There are 3 mandatory options and then a selection of other optional entries to increase your chances of winning. You have to be a UK resident and 16 or over to enter. Your email address will be shared with myself and Molly & the Wolf only.  Good luck!

 

Nat x

 

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Black Truffle

December 8, 2014

It’s good to support local businesses and here’s another fabulous find for you.

Black Truffle is an award-winning independent store located on Broadway Market. You’ll find some rare and unique finds. Here’s a little taster of some of the shoes they have to offer. If you can’t get down to the shop itself, then make sure you have a look at their full range available on the Black Truffle website.

6163 kiwi

Green ankle boot – Relance laceup £125carson oxford aw14 black

Laceups – Frye Carson £198

carson oxford aw14 burnt red

Laceups – Frye Carson £198Desertboot leopard

Clarks Originals desert boot – £99 

Hegos 4

 

Navy and zebra bootie – Hegos £125

 

If you know a small or local business you’d like to see featured on Style Me Sunday, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – natalie@stylemesunday.com

 

Nat x

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