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.