Liebster Award

Liebster-Award[1]

Thank you Sarah from Run Jump Scrap for my Liebster Award nomination.  This seems to be a good way to learn more about the bloggers behind new blogs!  Here are my answers to the 11 questions posed by Sarah:

1) What is the most annoying thing you find about blogging?
That I know pretty much nothing about website design and promotion! I set up my WordPress site one day and the next day published my first post, thinking I would refine the site next, learning as I muddled along. But I soon realised that everything blog-related is so fast-moving and time consuming that I am only just learning how to create menus, categorise posts and make my site work harder. This is NOT GOOD for a perfectionist like me!

2) Facebook or Twitter?
I only joined Twitter last month when I started my blog, so I still feel more at home on Facebook. I can definitely see what a valuable tool Twitter is, but it will take some getting used to.

3) What is your favourite drink?
Tea by day; wine or an ice cold beer on the alcoholic front.

wine-bottle

4) If you had a day to yourself what would you do?
I’d go for a bracing walk first thing up a big hill or along a windswept beach, taking my camera to capture nature at its finest. Then head to my favourite coffee shop for brunch, a spot of people-watching and a read of a book or magazine. Finally, I’d book a haircut, massage or some other pampering indulgence that is impossible with little ones. Bliss!

5) What part of your blog are you most proud of?
The concept (each post inspired by something my two year-old has said) and the written content. I think my flagship post is still the one I’m most proud of.

6) Name 3 people dead or alive you would have dinner with and why?
Nelson Mandela – because he seemed the most gentle and courageous man and obviously because he has changed so many people’s lives for the better.  What a powerful legacy he leaves.  I would love to learn where he found his inner strength to fight such ingrained prejudice.

Ben Fogle – because he has led such an interesting life travelling to far-flung places, interacting with people with amazing stories to tell, and pushing himself to his limits physically.  There would be a lot to talk about. Plus, of course, he’s pretty easy on the eye 😉

My husband – bit of a soppy one, but I’m just being honest. He deserves it. He is the most amazing husband and father and is so giving. It’s been a crazy ride, especially the past 6 months since baby #2 who has not been much of a sleeper. We could use the ‘us’ time to actually hold a decent conversation.

7) What did you want to be as a child?
When I was little I wrote on a scrap of paper my life plan. I was going to get married at 23 and have children at 25 and 27 (all that pretty much happened 10 years later than planned!). I was going to be a teacher then own a ‘playgroup’ as they were called back then. By the time I went to uni, the teacher ambition had been cast aside and I wanted to work in the magazine industry. I spent some happy years instead working at the head office at Fat Face.  Then at 27 (after my travels) I found myself back at uni doing a PGCE and now? I teach!

teacher

8) What is your favourite restaurant?
The restaurant I have probably visited the most due to loving the food, staff and atmosphere is bizarrely in West Village, New York where I lived for a couple of months before my teacher training. It’s called Galanga and it’s a Thai restaurant. I love Thailand, Thai people and Thai food 🙂

9) Apple or Android?
Android, although I’d love an i-phone and a shiny new Mac. It’s all about the £££.

10) Tell me about your best holiday.
This has to be my mid-twenties backpacking experience. I went alone which was really character-building albeit a bit risky at times. I ended up spending 14 months away. I saw practically every bit of Australia where I met, travelled and worked with some amazing people and saw and did such mind blowing things. I also experienced some of New Zealand’s North Island and in Thailand spent time in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and even stayed with a practically non-English speaking family in Chiang Rai. I will always smile at the memories made on that adventure of a lifetime and am so pleased that I had an experience like that before ‘settling down’. And the best bit? I first met my now husband in a hostel on the Great Ocean Road 🙂

12 apostles

11) What are your hobbies apart from blogging?
Reading (books, blogs, magazines)
Swimming
Walking/hiking
Cycling
Amateur photography
Coffee/wine with friends
Travelling and day trips out
Artsy craftsy bits and bobs
Disclaimer: most of these are sadly on hold whilst I concentrate on keeping the baby and toddler alive and entertained.

Now time to pass it on…
11 questions for my nominees:
1)  What made you start blogging?
2) Which post are you most proud of and why? (Link away!)
3) How did you decide on your blog name?
4) What would your dream job be?
5) TV or a book?
6) What is your fondest memory?
7) Jeans or dresses?
8) Describe your dream home.
9) What is your favourite sweet treat?
10) What is the most adventurous thing you’ve done?
11) Best family holiday?

I nominate the people behind the following 11 new (or new-ish) blogs:
Thirsty Daddy
Ellies Mummy Tummy
Dirty Nappy
Fake Tan to Mummy
Mummy’s Little Helper Blog
Nicola Says
Live Now Blog Later
Days in Bed
Wendy’s Naptime Natter
Happy Motherhood
It’s Mostly Okay

I look forward to finding out more about you all 🙂

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50 Things that make me Happy

Thank you Mrs R at My Life After Logan for the nomination for this.

I did promise myself when I started my blog that I’d keep it ‘pure’ and simple, with EVERY post being related to something my son has said.  It didn’t take me long to get sucked in, did it?  But maybe it is about time I wrote a bit about myself for a change.

Happiness makes the world go round and I have really enjoyed reading about what makes other bloggers smile.  So here is my list:

happyMy Happiness List

1.  My amazing hubby.  He rocks my world, and is my rock.  I’d be in a constant tizz if it wasn’t for his calming influence and constant love and support.

2.  My gorgeous kiddiwinks.  Especially my boy’s constant chatter (the inspiration for my blog) and my baby girl’s peachy lips, smile and cute coos.

3.  My cat.  Poor Miro – he has been rather relegated to the bottom of the pile of late in our hectic family life, but I love him so much.  He is so handsome and affectionate.
IMG_20130521_1150154.  Family in general.  You can’t choose them, but I am very fortunate in this department and love my family dearly.  The relationship my Mum has with The Boy melts my heart (she looks after him two days a week) and my little nephews Oscar and Rowan are a delight.  I am also lucky enough to have acquired in-laws who I love spending time with.

5.  Family days out.  Particularly if a) It doesn’t rain; b) The Boy behaves and enjoys himself and c) Pipsqueak naps and eats something.

6.  Spending time with good friends.  I am blessed to have many good friends in my life, old and new. As family life ‘takes over’, I know that they are always there for me.  When we do spend time together it is precious.

7.  Me time.  By this, I mean the new luxury (time out from the children), but also just being alone.  I quite enjoy my own company and have never, ever experienced boredom when on my own.

8.  My morning cuppa.  Put it this way, I am not happy without it!

9.  Baby yoga.  The highlight of my week during this maternity leave has to be the Bibble & Bubble baby yoga class that I attend with my now 6 month-old.  Life with a baby and toddler is so busy, but this is an hour where I can completely relax and focus on my baby.

10.  Seeing children learn and discover.  This is the reason why I became a teacher.  And now I am relishing seeing my own children develop and learn.  Bliss.

11.  The Great Outdoors.  It is just such a spirit-lifter and Mother Nature never ceases to amaze and inspire me. It saddens me so much to know that we are slowly destroying our beautiful planet.

12. Fresh air. As above. Preferably administered in big, restorative gulps.

13.  Spring and Autumn.  When it is sunny but crisp/fresh (i.e. no sweaty upper lip but all the feel-good vibes).

14.  Tulips and daffodils.  So colourful.

15.  Birdsong.  But not birds per se.  In fact, I am terrified of pigeons and seagulls.

16.  The seaside. (Seagulls aside).  I love the sound of the sea, collecting shells, building sandcastles and, of course, ice cream.

17.  A good stomp up a mountain. My favourite thing to do pre-sprogs was to head out, often alone, find a hill and hike up it.  I still do it when I can. It makes me feel so alive:  muscles and lungs burning, the sense of achievement and the ultimate reward of the view from the ‘top of the world’.

18.  An exploratory cycle. I’ve loved cycling since I could pedal.  I have such fond memories of being out and about with my brother and school friends, exploring the roads and tracks around where we grew up.  I haven’t done much cycling since The Boy arrived.  We have got him a seat, but then I fell pregnant again.  I’m really looking forward to the summer when we’ll get Pipsqueak on the back of mine and head out as a family.

19.  Swimming.  This, for me, is the ultimate way to keep fit.  I love a bit of front crawl and can get a bit competitive in the lanes if the truth be told!

20.  Colour and pattern. As my current blog theme suggests, I love a bit of brightness in my life!

21.  Orla Kiely.  Her use of colour and pattern is right up my street.

STACKED CUPS - WELLIE'S [Converted]22.  Creative interiors.  My mood is really affected by my surroundings and I love to be in a creative space.  I am really enjoying the current trend of up-cycling and wish I could find the time to indulge!

23. Textiles.  Cushions.  I do love a cushion.  Especially with a bit of appliqué or an interesting pattern.  Ooh and buttons.

24.  Notebooks & journals.  I have quite a collection.  I have a whole series documenting my travels when I was in my mid twenties.  They are in the loft at the moment but I look forward to reading them back.  I have several filled with notes about my babies.  And still more where I note ‘ideas’ – for the books I will one day write, the small businesses I have thought about starting up, craft ideas.  Maybe, just maybe one day I’ll have the time to work on some of these!

25.  Talented friends.  I have several friends who are super-talented and I am a big fan and supporter of each of them.  Special mentions go to:
– My colleague Jon Senior of 60ft Chicken (@60ftchicken), a band of self-taught musicians and singers who played at our wedding and had every single guest on their feet dancing;
– My colleague Hannah Ross of Little Black Dress (@LBD_Southampton), one half of an uber talented singing duo who are a must-see if you are based on the South Coast.
– My little cousin Daisy Farris, who has set up her own dance collective and has impressed me with her passion and hard work.
– My old school friend Leigh Hodgkinson (@hoonbutton and @TheWonkybutton) who is a successful children’s book author and illustrator, maker of lovely things and all-round very clever creative who must never sleep.
–  Another school friend Lisa Good AKA Chocamama, who makes delicious homemade chocolates from her kitchen.
Whoops – a long entry, but they deserve it!

26.  Chocolate.  In particular, Minstrels.  My son now points to these and calls out ‘Mummy chocolate’ whenever he sees them in a shop!

27.  My man’s cooking.  Especially his lasagne.

28.  Prosecco.  There’s something so decadent about a glass of fizz.

29.  Strawberries.  They make fruit worth eating.  Also good with chocolate/prosecco.

30.  Coffee shops and wine bars.  For the coffee and wine they sell, and for the atmosphere.  I spent a lot of time in my twenties visiting friends in London.  My ‘young, free and single’ days!  Whenever I visit a trendy coffee shop or wine bar it reminds me of these happy times.

31.  People-watching.  I’m nosey.  I just can’t help it.  I just hope I’m more subtle when doing it than my mother is!

32.  Cornwall.  I am so glad our parents took us holidaying in this county when we were young.  The coastline is stunning with its rugged rocks, sandy coves and rock pools.

33.  Thailand.  This is such a special place to me.  I’ve been several times: with friends; on my own when travelling; to meet my now husband (and decide that our future was together!) when he was living in New Zealand; and twice since then with him.  The Thais are so friendly, the scenery breathtaking, the food and accommodation so cheap and the massage out of this world.

ko lanta 1

34.  Camping.  I guess this links back to my love of the outdoors.  I have now successfully persuaded Mr Don’t Say that this is a viable holidaying option, although only since we have kitted ourselves up with a super-sized tent, chairs and camp kitchen!  I’m really looking forward to lots of camping adventures with my little family.

35.  The smell of freshly cut grass.  Lush.

36.  Blue skies and cloud watching.  The ultimate way to relax.

37.  Trees.  They are so beautiful.  I always think about how old big trees are and what they must have ‘seen’ in their lifetime.

38.  A long bath.  Preferably listening to music or reading a book.  Or (my new discovery) listening to an audio book – this way the pages don’t get soggy!

39.  Candlelight.  So romantic and cosy.  Back to basics.

40.  Clean bed linen.  And the smell of freshly washed clothes generally.

41.  Origins ginger body lotion.  In fact the whole Origins range.  And Sanctuary.  That fragrance transports me straight back to South Africa where I was when I first used Sanctuary shower gel.

42.  Music.  I used to spend a fortune on CDs and listened to music all the time when I lived alone.  Somehow, this habit has got dropped in the busyness of family life.  Note to self: play more music!

43.  A good book.  Getting lost in another world – I love that this can happen through simply reading words.

44.  Hugs. ‘Hugs and snuggles’ as The Boy calls them.

45.  Memories (good ones) and dreams.  Definite smile-worthy material.

46.  Photographs.  Photographs are so important to me, especially as I have such a terrible long-term memory.  I love capturing special moments or beautiful things and being able to look at them again and re-live them whenever I please.

47.  Celebrations.  Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, Christmas.  All excuses to party.  All make me happy.

48.  New clothes.  Anyone who knows me knows that I love clothes.  I am a White Stuff addict! This is an addiction I have had to seriously curb since having children due to a lack of funds.

49.  A new haircut/colour. Incidentally, my hair is not red in real life: I applied a pop art filter to my blog photo.

50.  New adventures.  Travelling, living, working.  I am not one for standing still for too long and I embrace new challenges and experiences.  Blogging is my latest adventure, and so far I’m loving it.

Wow.  This is my longest blog post to date.  And I dare to call my toddler egocentric!

I now nominate:

Emma at Tropical Tot
Aimee at Mum Amie
Dad Without A Map

You Baby Me Mummy

Thank you Aby at You Baby Me Mummy for the lovely mention in this week’s #TheList.
Why not pop on over and have a nosey at some of the other amazing blog posts there?