Sunday, 8 December 2013

A first time for everything

As you get older your first experiences get fewer and far between, maybe trying an exotic food or travelling somewhere new. However as a parent your 'firsts' come thick and fast, even the smallest activity having an extra significance. Of course there is the important milestones, the first smile (although this was debated!).

The first time Marcus rolled over, the first time his eyes followed one of us across the room, the first time he grabbed at something, the first time he kicked his legs in the bath, making his first cooing sounds

Then of course there are the first activities. The first pub lunch in The Mermaid.

The first picnic on the beach.

First swimming lesson, first Christmas Fayre, first afternoon tea outing to Polreath. It is amazing watching Marcus absorb all of the new sounds, people and lights when we take him somewhere different. His little furrowed brow just melts my heart.

Unfortunately not all of the firsts are that enjoyable. This week Marcus had his first injections. He is now suffering with his first cold, heartbreaking and exhausting for us all! The best cure of all being snuggles on the sofa.

Aside from all of these momentous first occasions (well momentous for Barney and I..) there have been a few lovely little things brightening my life.

I was originally going to call this post 'life is rosey' as I've been enjoying theses gorgeous yellow roses I treated myself to.

My wonderful sister also sent me this fab pamper pack the other day. It was completely out of the blue and really brightened my day! Thank you Kate x

The silver lining to the shorter days is being able to enjoy the most magical morning and evening skies. Every day is different; steely greys, mauves, watery pinks and fierce oranges. Just stunning.

However what with the lurgy hanging over our house this title didn't seem quite right. This week would have also seen us celebrating the 40th birthday of my lovely late brother in law Dan. I like to think Dan is looking down and watching Marcus's first experiences, I can picture the big smile on his face. I know for sure he would be proud of Barney for being such a fantastic dad. (And husband of course, do you know I haven't cooked a single meal since Marcus was born. Every day Barney cooks up a lovely home cooked meal without thinking anything of it. Thank you Barney x)

So now we are are preparing for Marcus's first Christmas, much more exciting for us than him! We are flying off on Thursday and I really can't wait to see everyone. But for now I have a serious amount to get organised in the next few days, the list writing has commenced! See you all in 2014!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Settling down

After an exciting and nerve wracking first three weeks as a new family followed by a couple of weeks of visitors, we are now settling down. Settling into a new type of normal now we are plus one.

Thank you cards have been written, posted to the mainland and delivered across the island. Over a hundred new baby cards have come down and the front room is looking a little bare!

But it feels like we are getting into a relaxed pattern and the days seem to be passing by very quickly. The mornings start with coffee, followed by baby smiles as it is definitely Marcus's favourite time of day.

We have small aims each day like to get the house hoovered or attacking bakery paper work. I have learnt to lower my expectations as to what I can achieve. I attempted to get my sewing machine out earlier this week but this was not to be- my plans for homemade Christmas presents have now gone out of the window!

In between these little activities we are busy undertaking important jobs like making friends.

And chilling with daddy on the sofa.

We have also been meeting with friends. Marcus is the third baby to be born in a baby boom year on St. Martin's. The fourth was born 5 hours after him, the fifth was born on Friday and the sixth is due in spring, exciting times for a small island! Marcus is very lucky to already have so many pals and it is pretty good for me too! We have had our first baby and toddler group at the new reading room and it was great fun. Marcus really loved it and soaked up all the noise and activity around him.

The weather has been a mixture of strong gales and glorious sunshine, it is the time of year where I have a woolly hat in one pocket and sunglasses in the other!

We have been meeting up with the other babies and mummies for walks and it has been great to get out for some good exercise and fresh air. In fact our walks have been too long, we haven't had time to stop for tea at the end, something that we need to rectify!

Mostly we have been learning so much about our little man.

He loves-
  • Music, he concentrates so hard when it is playing and has such a funny expression.
  • Light, there is nothing more interesting than our living room lamp.
  • Bath time, he loves being in the water and has learnt in can kick his legs against the side.
  • The bell in his stripy whale, it provides entertainment for approx. 3 mins.

He hates-
  • His hat, is there anything more insulting than having a hat put on?
  • Getting ready for the bath.
  • Getting out of the bath.
  • 5pm, not a good time of day!

Friday, 15 November 2013

A new addition to the family

Last week was the week of the McLachlans. Despite a slight set back with the weather everyone made it over to St. Martins. And it turned out being stranded on St. Marys in the Star Castle hotel presented Tom with a pretty good opportunity...

Barney and I couldn't be happier for a more lovely couple!

Ellen is already a firm part of the family but I am a believer that marriage cements relationships, not just between husband and wife but between family members. I am very excited to have a lovely sister-in-law and fellow Mrs E McLachlan!

I am sure Ellen will agree with me that the McLachlan family is a special family to be a part of.

Plus Jo needs some help with all those boys! That is slightly unfair, they all managed very well with a week full of baby and wedding talk!

We had some lovely weather when everyone was here and spent a particularly nice day on Tresco. It felt more like spring than autumn with the hydrangeas coming into flower already.

We had hoped to spot the red squirrels that have been recently released on Tresco but instead we saw this very colourful and confident pheasant!

We had lunch in the New Inn, I will always have a special affection for that pub given it's where my waters broke! We spotted this signed picture of the Culdrose navy helicopter and of course Marcus had to have his photograph taken next to it. Poor thing, he's never going to live down his arrival into this world!

Back on St. Martin's we took advantage of a low tide and some sunshine to walk across the flats, it was hard to believe it was November.

Marcus loved the week with his family. Grandma got lots of smiles, Ellen got lots of cuddles and Uncle Tom got hi-fives. But one of his favourite times was being sung to by Grandpa.

Barney and I are now desperately trying to remember the songs of our childhood to sing to the little man because he really does love it. However I don't think it will be a patch on Stuart's rendition of The Rose of Tralee!

Everyone has left now but it is less than a month until we head back to the mainland for Christmas. We can't wait for more memory making times with our families.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Against the odds

As October came to an end these gorgeous narcissi have come back into season.

Narcissi are associated with the islands as the warmer winters we have here means the season starts much earlier than on the mainland. Their heady scent takes me back to when I arrived on the island nearly five years ago to work at Churchtown Farm, a postal flower company. I still work part time at Scilly Flowers as the marketing assistant (although I'm now on maternity leave) and the novelty of having a jug of narcissi in the house still hasn't worn off!

At this time of year Barney and I usually head off on holiday and to catch up with family and friends on the mainland. However with the arrival of Marcus this year family came to see us. Last week when they were due to arrive the storms were forecast and it wasn't looking too good. But against all of the odds everyone made it. We have had the most wonderful week filled mainly with lots of baby cuddles...

Walks in the wind, rain and sun...

Sewing, Mum helped me finish off the chair cover I started nearly a year ago, such a relief it is now done!

Meanwhile Mike helped Barney build a chest of drawers and Kate baked some seriously tasty muffins for our little Halloween party.

Of course it wouldn't have been a Halloween party without a pumpkin, a joint sisterly effort!

Thank you Scotts, it's been fab!

Now for the McLachlans to arrive. So it turns out there are storms this weekend too... Against all of the odds and a rather bumpy flight Tom and Ellen made it to St. Mary's this morning. However the sea is too choppy for the crossing to St. Martin's. We have our fingers crossed they will make it over tomorrow!

(This photo doesn't do stormy weather justice but trust me I had sand blowing in my eyes!)

It's funny to think when we planned for our family to come and stay we were worried Marcus wouldn't be here yet and they would have travelled all this way to see a very grumpy pregnant person! But we needn't have worried.

Our little boy is now one month old. He has grown and changed so much. This photo was taken in hospital and it does make me a little emotional when I see it. Such a small little thing!

The main change is his strength, he can lift his head and is not far from being able to roll over. He has also found his lungs, boy can he make a noise! He also loves looking at light and every day seems to be taking more and more in. One thing is for sure, he still a real cutie.

He is also a very lucky boy to have such dedicated family travel all this way to see him.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

The C word

Is it too early the C word? I'm going to anyway, Christmas is coming!! I know some people dread the festive time of year and feel it gets dragged out for months but I LOVE Christmas. I love the list writing, the planning and thinking of gifts for people.

I know Marcus is going to have no idea what Christmas is this year but I wanted to give him one gift that could be used in years to come, a gift that he will come to know was given to him on his first Christmas. I decided to make a Christmas stocking.

Firstly I ordered a selection of fabrics from ebay. For £10.50 I got the most gorgeous package of fabric scraps. I got out some other bits and pieces that were hanging around in my craft box to get the creative juices flowing.

I found a great tutorial online for making a 'stitch and flip' patchwork stocking. Good old Kirstie Allsop, here is the link if you fancy giving it a go- it really is very easy!

So one afternoon I found I had some time to start playing...

And I got hooked. A couple hours later, with a few interruptions from the little man, the stocking was finished! I was shocked it came together so quickly and minus a little issue with the lining at the top, very happy with the end result, voila...

We have a Christmas craft fair on St. Martins at the beginning of December and I am considering making a few to sell, along with maybe some patchwork hearts, but I am going to be realistic and see  if the time presents itself. 

Anyway back to the planning of a Halloween party, I'll think some more about Christmas next month.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

October sunshine

Today it is windy and raining and we have happily resigned ourselves to the fact that it is an indoors day. However over the past couple of weeks we have has some gloriously sunny days. It has felt wonderfully autumnal and the island has a lovely relaxed vibe, the vibe that comes after a season of working very hard and feeling ready for a break! There is time to stop and chat to people and I have already seen some friends more in the last two weeks than over the whole of summer.

Autumn on the islands is different and I do have to confess that it is at this time of year, whilst being my favourite on St. Martin's, I hanker for the mainland and trees! I miss falling leaves and the obvious change in landscape, the opening of the view you get as the trees shed their leaves. Having said that we still have signs of autumn over here, the golden bracken and skeletal cow parsley provide a rather lovely frame for the sea.

We also have some pretty impressive mushrooms growing in random spots across the fields.

And a sure sign that winter is on the way, boats pulled up and tucked away.

While the weather has been so nice we have been out and about showing Marcus the island ie. testing out how off-road our all terrain buggy can manage- so far we are impressed!

I was particularly excited to take Marcus to the beach for the first time. Barney isn't too enthusiastic about swimming in the sea so I am already planning on getting Marcus started from a young age so I have a little person to splash around with!

Among our adventures was our first trip to Tresco with our little man and a lovely bunch of friends. Unfortunately in all the excitement we didn't take any photos but Marcus was a complete star (and loved the boat journey!). The trip out has also given me so much more confidence to leave the house for a set time as well as dealing with feeding in public- something I was a little nervous of but was completely fine! 

As well as having fun I have also been trying to get the house back in order. Due to my pregnancy lethargy there are a few areas of the house that have been completely ignored. Last week I set to work on a massive cleaning mission, doing a little bit at a time. Although you are told to rest and take it easy with a newborn I can't explain how much better I feel now that it is done, it was worth a few days of feeling extra tired. I have even my kitchen shelves up (thank you Ryan) ta dah...

I cannot believe that Marcus should still be inside me for nearly another week. For one thing I don't think I could of hacked 4 more weeks of being pregnant! But mainly it is just amazing how much he develops each day and strange to think that it isn't meant to be happening yet. We have had a very special three weeks getting to know each other and although it is sometimes hard (especially as I do love my sleep!) now I have relaxed things are seeming to go much more smoothly and be more enjoyable as a result. Barney and I look at Marcus every day and wonder how we could have made something so perfect.

And every day he also makes us laugh, a lot. 

Friday, 11 October 2013

The best made plans

So, according to my plan I will now have finished the nursery curtains, the freezer will be full of home cooked meals ready for our convenience and the house will be sparkling clean, everything organised and ready for 29th October, our due date. However it would seem our little bundle had a different plan and couldn't wait any longer to come into the world.

Marcus Daniel McLachlan, born 7.23pm on October 1st on route to Truro on the Royal Navy Search and Rescue helicopter XV705.

After a week in hospital full of joy and fear, tears and laughter we finally brought baby Marcus home on Monday. As we flew over the islands, Marcus fast asleep enjoying the sounds of the aeroplane, it felt like Christmas. I cannot explain the feeling of excitement, the feeling that we have all this to share with our little man.

Being home was overwhelming and after the routines of hospital it felt difficult to know where to begin. A lovely friend made us a very tasty bolognese for our first night, I cannot explain how welcome this was, tasty food with very little effort! (Enjoyed with a little glass of sparkly..)

After an initial flurry on unpacking (and throwing away all the mouldy food in our fridge!) I sat in the front room listening to Barney chopping wood in the garden, our cat happily purring away and little Marcus murmuring in his sleep next to me in his carrycot. I don't think life can get any better.

The cards and gifts we have received have been overwhelming. So many people are so excited about our  new arrival, he certainly is a lucky boy.

Our lives have changed forever but it is already hard to imagine what life was like before Marcus came along. My heart is so full of love for my two boys.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Remembering a special man

Dan there is so much from the last year we would have loved to share with you. But you are always in our hearts and as we are surrounded by the sea it is never hard to imagine you are very far away.

In the words of my lovely father-in-law, who borrowed words from an equally intelligent man-

Sea Fever
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking,
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

Monday, 23 September 2013

A last minute treat

I feel like a very lucky girl. I have lots of lovely people in my life but I think a friend who travels to see me jet lagged without sleep for 23 hours, 2 days after returning from Australia needs a special mention. Thank you Jenny. And April thank you for returning from a work trip from Dublin at 1am and leaving less than 12 hours later to get the Scillonian here. And thank you Jon for coming down with the girls and bringing an awesome selection of wine (so I've been told, although yes I did have a couple of glasses...)

It was a last minute plan for Jenny, Jon and April to come and visit this weekend but this made me feel even more spoilt. I like the image of Jenny driving Jon's Jag, picking April and Jon up from a comedy club at 1.30am and then starting a 12 hour journey, all just to see me!

We had the most wonderful time catching up. Jon was roped into playing cricket after being on the island for less than 1 hour and didn't complain once. It was like the old days of living together in our student house, drinking, eating olives and talking A LOT. But rather than discussing where our futures were going, discussing what has been happening in our lives. I think we are pretty much following the paths we predicted for each other 5 years ago. Jenny working in TV, travelling, keeping a bunch of men in check and being the life and soul of every party. April working hard and playing hard, living life to the full enjoying music, wine and good food. Me, well the girls always knew I'd be settled in the countryside (although maybe they hadn't guessed an island..), married to the man of my dreams. 

This weekend has been autumnal and everyone whole heartedly embraced my idea of black berry picking. 

Of course all the hard work called for cake and beer, ginger beer for me. 

(Sorry April, I have no idea why you are pulling that funny face!)

We had enough blackberries to make a crumble to follow our gorgeous roast beef (thanks Barney) and I have enough left over to possibly make some jam if I have time!

I know the guys will be on their way back to London now and I am already planning our next meet up, although next time we will have a new little person in our group. Yes, the girls did also predict I'd be the first to have a baby!

33- 34 weeks

I've failed, I haven't got a picture of every week of my pregnancy but this is at 33/34 weeks and to be honest I don't think there was a lot of change between those two weeks. Still I'll get back on it for my 35 week photo.