2017- The Little Pip

I’ve always been rather a fan of the January reflections but only in alternate years have I managed to post any of my thoughts for self-improvement for the year ahead here at The Little Pip. One of the (some would argue many) downsides to working a full time job in addition to writing a blog like this is that time is limited. Stating the effing obvious of course but I am good at spinning many plates and still finding a few minutes for writing. It helps of course that I am happy to press publish without too much agony but still, it’s something I enjoy, need and therefore I do find time to do.

I went back to work after maternity leave at the start of the month. Somewhat unrelated but I mention it because I used the time away from squeezing in blog related admin to spend time hanging out with my children and family, recovering from at least 8 weeks of back to back lurgies and generally reflecting on why my most recent attempts at new year’s resolutions have all remained resolutely the same. Same old stuff. The only progress I have made is the one where I wondered what to do about a second child. That answer of course came last April.

Looking back, I suppose I will wonder what took me so long. I think I was just approaching things wrong. I suddenly realised that I have not made a conscious choice about how I/we want to live. Blame everything I like from parents to being a generation X renter, but I have been making my life decisions the wrong way round. A work related strategy for me starts with considering the outcome and then working out how to get to that place, but instead of starting from the outcome, I’ve been plodding along with a whole bucket load of assumptions. I’m still not sure what my desired outcome is, mind you, but I’m hopeful a new mindset will help me find it.

So, I have decided this year I will not have resolutions as such but will get behind a trend for which I am at least five years too late and choose a word for the year. No matter which way I frame this, the word I’ve chosen is negative but I have decided to overlook this because sometimes the negative can be a positive; just as a decent amount of white space on a page brings additional meaning, so will reframing my resolutions by starting with a more negative concept.

My word is reduce – stuff, debt, stress, negative thoughts, wasting time with pointless multitasking and so on. I’m not going to make big proclamations about not buying anything, or stopping blogging, or reducing time on the internet because I like doing all of those things. What I do not like though is the stress with which the stuff in my flat raises or the personal anguish I feel after I have wasted an evening neither doing something useful online nor watching a film because I have been doing both, simultaneously, and therefore actually doing neither. Instead, I am going to try and approach things with a more mindful or meaningful outlook – being more conscious of why I am doing things and what I would like life to be like. An outcome based focus, if you like. Do I actually need the thing I am buying or am I doing it because up until now buying things has made me feel better. I do not have to keep things because I have always had them – a lot of the things I keep out of some misplaced sentimentality are just things, and not even ones intended to be long lasting. It is ok to get rid of things people have given me, or that I do not like, or simply do not have space for.

A major change in mindset came after watching The Minimalists documentary on Netflix. Whilst I realise it is a privilege to have earned or acquired enough money to have many possessions and a privilege to be able to let them go, it is also simple reality. I can make more mindful decisions in the future but lamenting how I got to here is not going to change anyone else’s situation.

Two things really resonated: “Use things; love people” and the more practical 20/20 rule – I do not need to hold onto things ‘just in case’ because I might need them again if they can be replaced in under 20 minutes for less than £20. I do not need to keep things which are worn out or tired because I might want to use them again – particularly clothes and household items.

As to how this fits with blogging and my search for a beautiful life and enjoyment of recommending products, that will not change. I will still work with brands that I like and use their products and will be happily recommending away as I do now, because I enjoy doing it. It is up to each person as to what they buy, bring into their lives and use – I do not see the two things as mutually exclusive.

More soon…

favourite-nursery-pieces-the-little-pip

I wanted to do a round up of some of my favourite pieces for the nursery – these are some of the things that I use every day and cannot recommend more highly. I have been working with some of these brands and have or will be doing full review posts but in case anyone was doing any sales shopping or similar, I thought I’d post a brief round up below.

favourite-nursery-pieces-the-little-pip

1 | Tiba & Marl Etta changing clutch – I love this versatile little bag because I can keep all the kit loaded inside and it can go into whatever bag we take out, or often lives underneath the buggy so whoever is taking out the baby knows it is there.

2 | Coco & Wolf changing mat cover – no one likes a cold bot when having their nappy changed and this one is in a gorgeous Liberty print that works well in the nursery. I would have everything in Liberty print if I could afford it or get away with it!

3 | Back in Action nursing chair – we were gifted this chair to review and we absolutely love it. Ergonomically designed and incredibly stylish, we actually have this in our sitting room where my husband loves sitting in it as much as I do. It seems to keep the body warm whilst being a very soothing place to sit and feed the baby and then gently rock him to sleep. Not yet online but buy through their shop…

4 | Done by Deer muslin squares – a myriad uses and not the usual white. I brought these back from Copenhagen last year when all I could find here were white or pastel colours, since then the UK seems to have cottoned onto Danish brands and these are now even available on Amazon!

5 | Poco Baby Hammock – one of our favourite new born products and about which my husband is particularly enthusiastic. Fabulous for rocking the baby to sleep and so easy to transport that we used to take it to other people’s houses for dinner and pop Buster to sleep in it. I actually cried when he started rolling and therefore we had to stop using it. Made nap times a bit easier all round.

6 | Cybex Priam Changing Bag – I was gifted this by Priam but actually use it pretty much every day and I think it might be the best changing bag I’ve used so far (and I’ve tried a few). I particularly like that it is plain and looks rather like a handbag but also comes with little clips to attach to the buggy, or a shoulder strap, all of which are detachable and work well. I also love that there is a wet interior pocket which I use to store my WaterWipes which seem to constantly leak as well as lots and lots of space. It is also easy to access when hung off the buggy, and there is a pocket inside which fits my laptop. I have to admit to taking it to work as my work bag for the KIT days I have been in for recently…

7 | Grobag Travel Orla Kiely Boats Sleeping Bag 2.5 Tog I am also a massive Orla Kiely fan and so was delighted to be gifted this Grobag. We have another one in a different pattern which I bought for Pip at the same age and Buster alternates between the 2 – I adore the boat pattern and he loves how warm and snuggly it is. I also love the fact it fits a 5 point harness as I quite often load him into the buggy in it in the morning for the school run and let him have his morning nap all snugged up outside whilst I sort some emails and have a coffee.

8 | Stokke Sleepi – we were gifted this for review by Stokke but having had Pip sleep in our friend’s one in Copenhagen it would have been our choice of cot. Full review post will be coming soon but we absolutely love this. Does the Stokke Sleepi come with mattress I wondered, and the answer is an amazing yes! It comes rolled up and vacuum packed in the box and unfurls. So easy to put together, so stylish and cosy and best of all, perfect for small spaces: we can fit it into our room where we thought we couldn’t fit a full sized cot because the oval shape means more bed space for Buster but less floor space used for us. I also love that it can start as a mini crib and end up as a toddler bed, growing with your child. It looks so appealingly cosy I have been tempted to crawl in myself – if that wasn’t high praise, I don’t know what is!

This post is not sponsored but we did receive some of the items for review however only the pieces that I love and would recommend are included. 

mr-poppers-penguins-the-little-pip

If you’re wondering whether to take your children to the theatre this Christmas, or thinking what should I take the children to see in the West End this Christmas, I have the answer for you: Mr Popper’s Penguins at the Criterion Theatre. Packed full of retro charm and adorable heart warming penguins with the pitter patter of little penguin feet, we absolutely loved Mr Popper’s Penguins. Mr & Mrs Popper and their remarkable family of performing penguin puppets come to the Criterion Theatre in London’s West End direct from a UK tour and US première at New York’s renowned New Victory Theatre and we were invited to attend with our little critics to give a review.

mr-poppers-penguins-2-the-little-pip

Based on the book by Richard and Florence Atwater (and following a successful film adaption) although we didn’t know about either of these before we went, Mr Popper’s Penguins is the story of an Antarctic loving painter & decorator and his subsequent delight and the hilarity which ensues when he receives a packing crate from the Southern oceans containing a penguin.

Both M and I enjoyed the performance as much as Pip and Buster – the animated penguins are absolutely adorable and the acting such that after the first few moments you sort of cease to notice the penguins are being operated by actors. I thought the costumes and acting were fabulous and there was just the right amount of audience interaction and participation but it was still primarily a musical theatre production rather than a pantomime. The snow that fell in the stalls towards the end added an air of Christmas magic to it – the delight on the children’s faces watching was heart warming! The performance was festive without actually being Christmassy at all and was utterly charming. Our spirits were most definitely lifted.

Pip particularly loved the baby penguins and I loved the meta ‘show within a show’ element and the use of the stage and different characterisations by only 4 actors. 5 out of 5 from all of us!

mr-poppers-penguins-1-the-little-pip

Tickets: £14.50 – £23.75 – show is 60 mins and is on until 31 December 2016

Criterion Theatre 218-223 Piccadilly, Piccadilly Circus, London W1V 9LB

We were kindly given press tickets to the performance. I received no payment for this post. {Photos provided by the PR company}