Tuesday, 19 August 2014

It's been a while

Well it’s been a while since I’ve visited this space. To be honest with the instant photo and message sharing apps it’s so easy to keep up with friends and family, to send a picture and share a snippet of our day, that I was beginning to think this blog was redundant. However I was looking through photos, remembering days out and play afternoons and thought how I missed having a written record of our life together so here I am!

Life at the moment is great. Really great. I never thought that seeing 5.30am on the clock would be an achievement or that my favourite way to spend an evening would be homemade pizza, wine and a good film (ok that’s a lie, I’ve always enjoyed that!) but I’m very happy. Of course the highlight of the summer has to be my sister’s wedding. It was a perfect, beautiful, fun day overflowing with love. Sorry for the slush but this is little sister getting married! Kate looked radiant, serene, graceful and so so happy. Mike made the most wonderful speech and I just feel so grateful to know my sister has got herself a top notch husband. Everyone deserves a life full of love and I’m really happy to think of Kate and Mike sharing theirs together.

Back on St. Martin’s this summer has not disappointed. There have been weeks of sunny, hot days. The house has been full of light and flowers. We’ve spent hours on the beach, playing in the paddling pool and hanging out with friends. One afternoon I even dared to get the finger paints out…

We’ve invested in a couple of new carriers now that Marcus is getting bigger. I’ve rediscovered a new coastal path that is a safe distance from the cliff edge (I don’t trust myself on some of the paths when I’m walking on my own!) and love getting on the back of the island. Barney has been working very hard at the bakery but as we have more staff due to me needing to be at home, I’ve got to spend more time with Barney this summer than ever before. We’ve had a fab few  family days out to Bryher, Tresco and St. Agnes. But we’ve also just enjoyed being together playing at home, on the beach, in the garden and eating together, sometimes even at the pub! It makes me feel so fulfilled to see Barney enjoy fatherhood so much. He is such a fantastic Dad.

As for Marcus, well he is such a little monkey. His little character really is shining through and he is such a joy to spend time with. Sometimes in the evening I think I can’t wait to see him the next day. This is largely due to the fact we have cracked his sleeping- touch wood! He is very happy pottering and playing on his own, his favourite thing is the washing machine but he still loves his jungle gym, all be it climbing it rather than lying under it! He is getting the hang of the walker but mainly enjoys sucking the wooden bar. Story time is a big hit and any book with flaps is reading material of choice. Who knew ‘playing ball’ was so very exciting? Lots of squeals and arm flapping bless him. However nothing beats blowing raspberries. It’s a lovely stage to be at. 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Catching up

At the end of May we had a lovely two weeks with both sets of our parents visiting. However as they left the lurgy descended on our house and there followed a fortnight of sleepless nights and days of just trying to keep on top of the basic things like cooking dinner. But one morning Marcus woke up and it was like having a different baby. It made me realise how much he must have been suffering, he didn't want me to put him down for one moment, not even to shower. So with my happy baby (now most definitely on the move and proving to be a real monkey!) I set about cleaning the house, opening the windows and venturing out to breath in some fresh sea air.

The past couple of weeks have been wonderful, soul lifting, back to back sunshine.

There have been lots of trips to the beach with group baby sitting so we could take it in turns to swim in the sea. Marcus is a real water baby. We have spent leisurely afternoons in friend's gardens, been on trips to St. Marys and we have even had a girls night out to the pub without any babies! We've taken advantage of Marcus being on top form and taken him to the pub for dinner and had a BBQ in the garden. I just feel so lucky to have such lovely people in my life to share all of this with.

Tomorrow we are heading off to the mainland for the first of two very special weddings. A little part of me is sad to leave St. Martin's but I can't wait to catch up with friends and family. I'm also looking forward to having some time with Barney away from all of the every day distractions. Goodness life is pretty darn good. 

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

May Bedside Posy

I loved the idea shared by Jools in her (very lovely) blog to treat yourself to a bedside posy each month. Here is my little posy of anemone flowers in the most stunning, vibrant purple. I love these flowers and despite how delicate they look they are still going strong a week later.

I brought two bunches of these lovely flowers from our local butchers shop for £2 and have spread them between three vases in three different rooms. Now that's value for money. I also brought three other bunches for various friends just because. I think flowers brighten anyones day no matter what else is going on. 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Island life

(Photo taken by the lovely Dan McLachlan)

I read a post on one of my favourite blogs about the need to justify what you do as a stay at home Mum and whilst this is a subject I feel passionate about (come on ladies we all make our own decisions based on financial/ and or emotional reasons so lets give each other a break!) it got me to thinking about how I feel the need to justify living on a small island.

When people hear that I live on an island there is either one of two reactions
1)   Wow that must be so idyllic
2)   Doesn’t that get boring?

Well my life isn’t idyllic (although I’m pretty happy with it) but it certainly isn’t boring. In fact I would love to have enough time to get bored!

There is no doubt that there are things that I miss about the mainland.

* Family and friends. No doubt the biggest draw back about living on this rock in the Atlantic is the distance from all the other people I love. I so wish I could arrange a last minute day trip to catch up with my friends or family and there are countless reunions and events that I miss. Arranging to see people involves a boat, plane and train and is costly and time consuming.

* Costa Coffee/ Anonymity there is no such thing as a trip to Costa to flick through a magazine over a coffee. This is because there is no Costa and there is nowhere on St. Martin’s where you aren’t known. This is lovely but sometimes it’s nice just not to talk!

* Shopping. I admit it. I really miss having a wander around the shops. Internet shopping is amazing and has improved so much in the time I’ve lived here but it just isn’t quite the same…

But like any life decision there are benefits to living where I live. These ultimately outweigh the drawbacks and this is why I am now an islander.

* Walking. I do a lot of walking, even more so now I have Marcus. There is only one road but it is literally on my doorstep. I don’t have to drive anywhere, I don’t have to negotiate any main roads, it’s just there. Whilst the road is not very long, the hedgerows are always changing, different flowers are out, different light at different times of day and year, different views depending on the weather.

* Scenery. Carrying on from the above theme, the Isles of Scilly are stunning and well worth a visit if you’ve never been. St. Martin’s has some of the most amazing beaches in the country, some say if not the world.

* Community. At the heart of any village is a community and our island community is something special. Yes there is lots happening from gig rowing and cricket to bowls and badminton, charity coffee mornings to road improvement working parties. But mainly I have learnt that people on this island really care. We never have to worry about going away and finding someone to feed the cat. When we returned from our honeymoon our house had apparently flooded whilst we were away. However we would never have guessed, islanders got together and cleaned it all up. And then there was the time we came home from the mainland and our lovely neighbour had mowed our lawn! Barney and I have been through some pretty life changing stuff (happy and sad) and there has never has been a shortage of people offering to help. There is an overwhelming feeling that someone has your back.

* Friends. Aside from the wonderful community I really have made some fantastic lifelong friends. Somewhere as unique as this is likely to attract like minded people and I have been very lucky to not only get to know some very interesting people but to count them as good friends (one of them even married me).

* Lifestyle. In all honesty we couldn’t afford the lifestyle we have, our house, business, me being able to stay at home with Marcus, on the mainland. For some reason I always feel a pang of guilt about this. But mainly I feel lucky. What if I’d never applied for a 6 month seasonal job on St. Martin’s on a jet lagged whim? Goodness it doesn’t bear thinking about.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Weaning update

We started weaning Marcus onto solid food two months ago and I have to say it has been really good fun. I was very taken with the idea of Baby Led Weaning, basically finger foods that baby feeds them self. However we have found that a mixture of mashed food and finger foods works best for Marcus.

Barney has always done the majority of the cooking and whilst I do enjoy pottering in the kitchen this is really the first time I have taken charge of preparing most of our meals. I have really surprised myself by enjoying the challenge. Generally for lunch I put together some sort of finger foods such as toast with hummus or cream cheese followed by chopped fruit. On our quiet days (when I'm not working, swimming or baby grouping) I try to make something a bit more adventurous, such as mini frittatas or butternut squash pancakes.

Both of these were made with very local eggs and milk, for some reason this makes them taste even better!

We decided we wanted to make an effort to eat dinner with Marcus, this means having a meal ready by 5.30pm which is a bit of a sweat! But it really is worth it and a time of day I really look forward to. Of course there are days when Barney and I eat later but it is noticeable that Marcus doesn't eat as well when we aren't sitting down together. We're lucky in that Marcus has so far eaten anything put in front of him. I know this will change as he gets older but for now I'm making the most of exposing him to as many flavours as possible, he's had curry, tagine, fish you name it! The only thing I avoid is salt but by cooking with baby stock cubes (salt free) Marcus can pretty much just eat what we eat.

Some days I make mini extra portions for the freezer, perfect emergency meals for days when 5.30pm rolls around too quickly! As well as salt, Marcus so far has not had any sugar, just fruit and natural yogurt. This has also made me think about how much sugar I eat but this can wait for it's own post!

Marcus is very strong minded about feeding himself, it is a battle of wills.

By the end of the day the kitchen tends to look like a bombs gone off...

I usually start the cleaning up operation and Barney tackles bath time.

I do quite literally mean tackle as Marcus tries to crawl in the bath, eat the duck and grab the bath handle. 

Once all this is done it's time for some mummy milk. But first daddy has to 'do the letters.' 

Marcus is spelt out in wooden letters on his bedroom door, each depicts an animal and Barney tells a little story about each. It's just one of those funny little things he's done since Marcus was very little. But the other day Barney carried him into the room and passed him straight to me. Marcus wouldn't feed, he kept looking at the letters so Barney had to tell the story first. Now it is a nightly ritual. Very cute. 

Monday, 5 May 2014


The little things making me happy..

* Fresh flowers in the house.

* The arrival in the post of some lovely fabric and the beginnings of a new project.

* A milky coffee first thing in the morning...

*... and a gin and tonic on the sofa in the evening.

* Putting Marcus to bed and then going to look at the view from our bedroom window because, well, it's stunning.

The big things making me happy...

Spending the weekend with my family and very good friends. We went to cheer Barney on as he rowed in the World Pilot Gig Championships with the St. Martin's men. It was such a fantastic weekend, 140 plus crews took part, the sun shone and the sea was calm. 

(Picture taken from The Isles of Scilly Facebook page)

On Sunday night Barney and I headed to the pub without Marcus. Yes we've had our first evening out! A perfect end to a lovely couple of days.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

A few makes

I've finally finished a few projects that I have been pottering away with between baby naps and in the evenings.

I decided I wanted to give our living room a bit of attention. Unlike the other rooms in the house I really don't know what colour I want to paint it, even after 3 years of living here. I think I like it neutral but I'm not really ready to repaint all of the walls (it is a large room!) just to change the peachy shade of magnolia for something more chalky. It will have to wait! So I thought a few little changes would bring everything together. I decided to start with cushion covers. I wanted to make some without spending any money, I used left over fabric from previous projects and an old red throw-blanket.

These are the covers that I've made...

..and here they are with the cushions I already had. (Please note there is no way Barney would let me have all of these on one sofa, they are in fact spread across two sofas and the armchair and I've promised not to make anymore.)

I'm not overly convinced on the red but it's growing on me.

Two of my good friends have recently had new baby boys. I wanted to make a crochet blanket for baby Jowan. I really like the colours and would love to make a similar one for Marcus. 

For baby Roman I had a different idea, he is a fox cub after all being a member of the Foxworthy family! I made a taggy foxy for baby and a plain foxy for his older brother Ashton. I also made one for Marcus, he loves ribbons and different textures so I thought I'd try out making one for him first to see if the idea of a taggy fox would work.

I hope the Foxworthy boys enjoy their foxes as much as Marcus...

Having finished these WIPs I'm really looking forward to starting some new makes. I have some chunky wool waiting to become a cushion cover and have already ordered fabric for not one but two patchwork blankets. Watch this space...