He's here! - The Little Pip

He’s here!

As you might have guessed, little baby 2 has finally arrived. He was born 2 weeks ago tonight and we are all totally enchanted by him. I know by blogging standards 2 weeks is a long time to go without telling the world but I’ve wanted to enjoy this family time together before everything changes again when M returns to work after this weekend. Weighing 10lb 8oz, his arrival wasn’t the easiest but I felt far more at peace with this birth experience than I did with Pip’s.  I felt completely besotted with him from minute 1, despite being pretty anxious all pregnancy that if he were a boy, which I felt he was, that I wouldn’t know what to do with him. That all fell away the moment he was placed in my arms, and we haven’t looked back.

This past 2 weeks has been a real indication of what we can do a family of 4 – I’ve been amazed by my body’s ability to recover – 2 weeks on and I’ve managed to do a 6 hour car journey. 1 week on and we hosted a 4th birthday party for Pip, complete with a cake that I managed to bake to her precise specification. We’ve also dealt with M being struck down with a bout of tonsillitis and I’m still breastfeeding despite a migraine, his constant eating and fairly horrendous night sweats. Not perhaps the struggles some families encounter of course, but all the same, I’ve been proud of these past two weeks.

I’ll be back with more soon, but in the meantime, I’m sure you’re all keen to see what he looks like. Here’s a few photos that Polly took of us when he was 5 days old – I could have filled pages and pages of posts with these images but I’ve restrained myself and limited it to just a few.
baby 2 | The Little Pip | Little Kin photography
baby 2 | The Little Pip | Little Kin photography

baby 2 | The Little Pip | Little Kin photography
The Little Pip | Little Kin
baby 2 | The Little Pip | Little Kin photography
baby 2 | The Little Pip | Little Kin photography
baby 2 | The Little Pip | Little Kin photography
baby 2 | The Little Pip | Little Kin photography
baby 2 | The Little Pip | Little Kin photography

All photos by Polly of Little Kin photography.

Fashion notes: My striped shirt is Teija and my white blouse Monoprix | Baby wears Petit Bateau suit, Cam Cam muslin & vintage shawl knitted by my grandmother.

Please note, this is not a sponsored post.

40 + 3 - The Little Pip

40 + 3

So, here we are. 3 days into my due week and still no sign of little baby 2. Well, I say no sign, but I’ve been in what the community midwife describes as early labour for the past week. Which basically means every day or so I start getting contractions which intensify to the point of having to breathe through them, which settle into a routine of lasting over a minute every 5 or so minutes and last for a few hours. And then, of course, fade away to nothing.

This is all very familiar of course, although I only realised it just now, re-reading my entries from Pip’s pregnancy. The mind forgets a lot over 4 years, but the internet doesn’t, and apparently I was also feeling equally frustrated and let down, and of course, history will show that my body did deliver a baby eventually, as surely I must this time too. No woman stays pregnant forever.

I haven’t shared as much this time round, but I am hoping for a birth centre delivery. I never got round to finishing my birth story last time, ending part one still at the birth centre, but had I written it down it would have included my journey upstairs to the labour ward in a wheelchair, a female German doctor chastising the midwives for letting me push for over 3 hours without anything happening, of an epidural, of all the alarms going off and the room filling with doctors, the end of the bed coming off and finally, after an episiotomy and 3 attempts at a venteuse delivery later, all 8lb 11oz of a baby girl being born just after 5pm.

I was reminded of all this, and how I couldn’t remember it so very clearly anymore, when we were advised to come into the birth centre last night after contractions intensified for over an hour. I wasn’t convinced we should be going, but also didn’t want to go against their advice, but by the time we’d arrived, been admitted and examined, things were slowing down again, and despite being 2cm dilated, were kicked out again when someone needed the bed more urgently. Back in that same centre, same type of room, and using the very lift I’d been in when I transferred to the labour ward brought back some of the memories, but still, that day almost 4 years ago to the day seems very surreal.

This time though, I feel a little more prepared, mentally, for the birth, when it (hopefully!) does come. Although I’ve been juggling being pregnant with working full time and co-parenting, I’ve also made more time to attend pregnancy yoga, to go to a birth class with M and think a bit more about the birth I had last time and what could happen this time round. I’m still firmly in denial as to what happens if I get to the 41 week appointment next week, but at my 40 week appointment this week everything seemed good. There was no mention of inductions, or sweeps, or c-sections, or any kind of intervention at all, none of which I am particularly keen on (is anyone?) so hopefully, last time’s experience is something to go by, and it will happen of it’s own accord.

Of course, the added complication of having an almost 4 year old to care for as well has made things trickier. Yesterday, we took the decision to take M’s parents up on their offer of a holiday for Pip. Despite us having several plans in place, and bags packed for her at home and nursery, I still felt anxious about the idea of having to wake up a friend in the middle of the night, knowing they need to work the next day, and then deliver Pip to them on the way to the hospital. Although I’m missing her madly, and feeling a little guilty at some childfree time, it has at least meant I am soothed knowing she is being cared for.

So, crossed fingers that something happens soon…

The Little Pip | Liberty for Uniqlo

The Little Pip loves: UNIQLO x Liberty

I really am a bit of a Liberty fan, as I may have mentioned once or twice. It is really an inherited obsession as pretty much everyone in my maternal family is rather enamoured too. My grandmother used to make us all sorts of things when we were little girls, often from Liberty tana lawn, including clothes for our dolls and even a case to keep my paper tissues in by my bed. One of my earliest memories in relation to Mothering Sunday was my Grannie giving me a little Liberty tin with a soap in to give to my Mum. Growing up, our house was also full of Liberty print – our sitting room curtains have always been Hera print that my mum sewed herself when I was tiny. These days, I am rather fond of some of the smaller prints, although the Betsy print is one that I constantly fall for…

I am also a big Uniqlo fan and so eagerly awaited their latest collaboration. Uniqlo frequently collaborate with interesting designers – I thought their Jil Sander range (maybe in 2009) was excellent and still frequently wear one of the skirts I bought at that time, which is a tulip shaped high waisted black one in an interesting fabric and looks great with all sorts of looks, as well as both brogues and high heeled boots. Not bad for something that cost around £30 to get 6 years of fairly constant wear from it. Other items which have also done well are the heat-tech thermal underwear which our whole family owns (mine are Orla Kiely so brighten up a bottom layer too) and their jumpers and down jackets are also good.

Another thing I like about Uniqlo is the fact that mainly the clothes are to be found in a sensibly organised way – the jumpers are all together, so are the shirts, so are the jeans etc, which makes it much easier to find things and not miss things.

The Little Pip - Uniqlo x Liberty

The Liberty range was something that I was keen to get my hands on, and I did an online order as soon as it opened – I’ve pretty much spent my maternity leave shopping so far, it seems. I bought Pip several t-shirts, including the two in the image above, which are the ones we kept. They are an unusual shape, and she preferred the ones above to the plainer shape, which we ended up sending back, as while we liked the patterns, we found the proportions a little strange (too tight under the arms but too wide in the body). The ones we kept both have slightly frilly sleeves, and a little bow at the back, and are a little slimmer in shape, and work really well under pinafore dresses and dungarees. I like the fact that they aren’t pink – Pip likes the fact that they are floral. Win-win. I also bought myself the zipped pouch, which I obviously didn’t actually need, but it’s packed in my hospital bag, so I hope it will do a good job of cheering me up post-birth! I also bought myself the matching striped t-shirt as I thought it might look quite sweet for Pip and I to dress in matching t-shirts to go with our matching Saltwater sandals… I’m not sure she agreed, mind you, but I liked the t-shirt, so I kept it. I did send back the bra dress that I bought on a whim when I remembered that I would hopefully be breastfeeding this summer, and wouldn’t get much wear out of it. So abstemious!icon

The other items that I bought were for “our new baby” as Pip calls it. I ordered the floral suits direct from Liberty as they had them online and then I went down to Uniqlo’s revamped flagship shop at 311 Oxford Street to have a look at what was in store, and bought the car suits (and also some car leggings for the baby later in the summer). I love that car print – Pip has a blue pinafore dress in the same print which she is also very keen on. I know people don’t always put boys in floral outfits but I am not sure that I’m bothered – I like the print, suits are unisex and the baby won’t know what he’s wearing. After all, M got married wearing a blue Liberty print shirt (yes, that is a link to a very old blog – don’t say I don’t treat you every now and then…!). I did figure though, if I think the suits are just not right (I was going to say too feminine, but what does that even mean?) then I could gift them to the next friend that does have a girl, which is also my plan for a pair of pink bloomers that I bought in the Liberty sale at Christmas. I bought Pip a pink, blue and orange floral party dress for her birthday in the sale, and found a pair of small matching bloomers for £5. They probably are a bit pink and frilly so if baby 2 is a boy, they will go into my present bag. Which reminds me, I still need to share the photos from her birthday party!

What do you think of the Uniqlo range? Anyone else have a Liberty obsession like me?

1 Blue t-shirt | 2 | Zipped pouch 3 |  Floral body suits 4 | Car wrap body suits 5 | Room shoesicon 6 | Striped t-shirt

40 weeks - The Little Pip

40 weeks

Well, we made it. Baby 2 is officially full term. These past couple of weeks have been a strange mix of waiting, sorting, dealing with boredom, frustration, nights and nights of cramps and contractions and then nothing happening, and all the while trying to make the most of enjoying some peace and quiet by myself and with Pip. I think I must be the only person ever to be waiting for work to release my P60 and for my pension provider to send my documents for the last tax year so I can finalise my annual return!

In the midst of this, I made a last minute decision to get some maternity photos taken. I had already booked a newborn shoot to capture baby 2 once (s)he is here but had prevaricated over booking any photos of myself pre-baby. I guess I suddenly realised that pregnancy is such a privilege, a fleeting time in my life which I might perhaps not either choose or be lucky enough to experience again; that I am never going to be as young again as I am now, or that unique combination of curves, vulnerability but powerful body that I have now, and perhaps, just perhaps, it would be nice to capture that whilst I had the chance.

Thankfully, after a lot of deliberation, Polly of Little Kin, the photographer that I had chosen to take our newborn photos also takes amazing maternity photos and we were able to find a time that we were both free last week. I spent quite a bit of time thinking about the type of photo that I liked and Polly and I discussed over email and through Pinterest look and feel, and then, I headed down to Richmond Park where I happily put myself in Polly’s hands and trusted that she would take some beautiful photos. Polly has blogged some of her favourite images on her blog today, and I’ve picked out some here, if you’d like to see…

Little Kin | The Little Pip | Maternity photos Little Kin | The Little Pip | Maternity photosLittle Kin | The Little Pip | Maternity photos
Little Kin | The Little Pip | Maternity photos

Little Kin | The Little Pip | Maternity photos
Little Kin | The Little Pip | Maternity photos
Little Kin | The Little Pip | Maternity photos
Little Kin | The Little Pip | Maternity photos

Little Kin | The Little Pip | Maternity photos

It was such a peaceful experience, particularly lying in the sunshine in the long grass, the sun on my face, feeling this little one kicking away, savouring the last minutes of peace and quiet before life changes and we become a family of four. I am so pleased with the photos, thank you Polly.

All photos by Polly of Little Kin photography.

Fashion notes: Maxi-dress from Anthropology (old – I wore it last pregnancy too) | wool shawl – Liberty | boots – Zara.

Please note, this is not a sponsored post.

The Little Pip | Windowsill gardening

Windowsill gardening

After a week or so of maternity leave, I think I’m firmly into the nesting stage of pregnancy. I’ve been doing the usual cleaning and organising, which included last week taking every last thing out of our bedroom and then scrubbing the carpet. That’s normal, right?

A couple of months or so ago, Pip brought home a yogurt pot with a small amount of soil in, marked “runner bean”. I duly popped it on the windowsill, sporadically gave it some water and was rather surprised when a few weeks ago, a shoot appeared. Miraculously, Pip and I watched as it seemed to grow before our very eyes, each day being a couple of inches taller than the last.

The Little Pip | Windowsill gardening

When it was about 3 inches tall, we potted it into a larger tub and gave it a stake, which had to be extended. Two weeks ago, it was over 2 foot tall. Now, it’s closer to 3. Whilst cleaning the tiles behind the sink this morning (definitely nesting, I usually leave that to the cleaner) I realised that it’s now outgrown the taller stake and probably should be planted out into the garden. I’m told that we need to wait until the last frost has passed before it goes into the garden, so it’s still on the windowsill.

The Little Pip | Windowsill gardening


















Whilst at the garden centre a couple of weeks ago, getting some plants for the planters on the front window sill, some herbs for our new planned herb garden (more on that soon) we let Pip choose some plants to make the garden look more colourful. She was also keen to plant some more seeds, so we planted out some radishes in pots in the garden, and a handful more beans alongside some nasturtiums which we hope will give us some edible flowers.

We picked up some compostable pots along side the seed packets and a packet of small stakes. Pip loved putting some soil into the bottom of each one before carefully placing one bean in each, and then in some other pots she put 3 nasturtium seeds. She then covered the seeds over with more soil and watered them with her little watering can, and again I put them onto the kitchen windowsill. For over 2 weeks, nothing happened, and I kept giving them a small amount of water every time I noticed they looked a little dry. And then, suddenly, nasturtium shoots have appeared.

I’ll probably leave them on the windowsill until they seem a little stronger and taller and, in all likelihood until this baby puts in an appearance, and then Pip and I will plant the whole of the little pots into bigger ones in the garden.

The Little Pip | Windowsill gardening

The Little Pip | Windowsill gardening


















I was surprised at how pleasing straightforward this step was, and how satisfying it has been to watch the little shoots appear – obviously I can’t vouch for what might happen next, mind you. Pip has also been excited to get involved with growing some vegetables for later in the summer, in doing some of her own gardening and getting involved. I couldn’t recommend having a go more highly.

The Little Pip - Nursery

The Little Pip: Orange, mint and grey themed nursery

I wrote previously about our planned mint and orange themed nursery and thought I’d give an update as to where we are at, now that the baby must almost be here… (S)he is due to be a Spring baby and now Spring has officially started I am hopeful that baby 2 will put in an appearance before too long.

Of course, I never did get around to painting the wall in our bedroom, so I am just going to have to work with an orange cot and a red wall for a while… Anyway, this was the wish list that I posted a few weeks ago, prior to going to Copenhagen, where I did exactly as expected and bought lots of muslins and bits and pieces in various shades of eau de nil, mint and grey.

The Little Pip | Orange & Mint nursery

I didn’t end up buying a new sleeping bag though, as I couldn’t quite justify the price when I have got several perfectly good ones from last time (including this one for the summer, which already matches my theme!) and I compromised on the pouf by buying a new mint coloured Cam Cam cover for my breastfeeding pillow.

My colleagues very sweetly and generously gave me a Mamas and Papas voucher when I went on maternity leave, after reading my last blog post about how much I love the Liberty print range. As I still am not sure whether baby 2 is a boy or a girl, I decided a blanket and a musical cot toy would be very welcome, and would pick up the orange colour of the cot nicely without being too matchy matchy. Sometimes, it’s nice to use a gift to buy something you like rather than strictly speaking need! (I also noticed that if you spend over £30 and order by the end of today – 30 March 2016 – Mamas and Papas will email you a £15 voucher next week, which will also come in handy!).

The Little Pip - Nursery

The baby garland is one I picked up in Liberty for my baby shower (photos to come of that soon too) which I had a couple of weeks ago. Although you can’t quite tell in the image, it comes on a lovely neon orange ribbon which I hope when put up on the wall slightly away from the cot will also accent the orange without actually clashing…

I’ve bought all the bits, I’ve now just got to actually move our room around to accommodate everything. Once I have, photos to follow.

Original wish list credits:

1 | Sleeping bag Camomile 2 | Liberty print changing mat cover Coco & Wolf 3 | Bloom Alma mini cot 4 | Cam Cam mint muslin Oskoe 5 | Cam Cam Pouf, sashiko mint Illums Boglihus 6 | Grey Fitted Sheets

Updated nursery credits:

1 | Liberty print blanket 2 | Baby garland (Meri Meri for Liberty) 3 | Liberty print cot toy 4 | Bloom Alma mini cot 5 | Cam Cam mint muslin Oskoe 6 | Liberty print changing mat cover Coco & Wolf 

The Little Pip - Rabbits and Hares

Easter rabbits and hares

Hope everyone had a lovely Easter – I meant to post this on Easter Sunday but something happened to my scheduling and it never went out, but perhaps everyone was busy doing egg hunts and eating dinner with their families…

Pip is pretty obsessed with rabbits, so I am always on the look out for some good rabbit related things, and these are some of our favourites recently, which I thought would have all made lovely Easter presents.

The Little Pip - Rabbits and Hares

I love a good Liberty print and both Coco and Wolf and Magnificent Stanley are small businesses which I like to support – I am coveting both of these rabbit/hare t-shirts and will likely order one for Pip once the baby has arrived (I might get them something matching…)

The Little Pip | Easter Egg Hunt

I also wanted to try and find out where the bag that Pip loves and has used in her egg hunts could be bought from now that sadly Fritha’s shop has closed. I managed to track down both colours to the shop in the link below. As you can see from below, we used them last year as well, so they’ve already done pretty well for 2 egg hunts.

2015-04-05 11.10.27

2015-04-05 11.08.12

Last year’s hunt had to be held inside – and this bashful bunny which Pip was given at my baby shower hid one of the clues. I am trying to decide what soft toy shape baby 2 should have –  I kind of feel rabbits belong to Pip, but I do love them so. Perhaps one with floral ears would work?

Animalesque - Sara Lowe - Leonie Freeman

And lastly, I love love love these headdresses which Sara Lowe makes by screen printing and then sewing into the most amazing woodland and other creatures. I am in the process of choosing one of them for Pip – more on that soon, I hope.

1 | Coco and Wolf Leaping hare Liberty print tee shirt 2 | Sass & Belle Easter gift bag 3 | Mothercare Peter Rabbit suit 4 | Magnificent Stanley Liberty print rabbit tee shirt 5 | Jellycat Blossom Bashful Bunny 6 | Animalesque white rabbit headdress

All lifestyle photos by me aside from the Animalesque image which is by Leonie Freeman photography and is used with permission from Animalesque’s website.

easter egg hunt

Easter ideas: A bank holiday garden egg hunt

It’s been a beautiful Good Friday, peaceful and sunny and so we decided to take advantage of the timing and have an early visit from the Easter Bunny with a garden egg hunt. My sister and her husband and daughter happened to be passing nearby on their way somewhere, so we invited them over for tea and enjoyed the fact that both girls were together and could enjoy searching together. Pip doesn’t see her cousin very often as we live about 5 hours away, so it was really lovely for us to see our daughters spending some time together.

The Little Pip | Easter Egg Hunt















We opted for a pretty low key hunt, but that really didn’t detract. M and I hid a selection of large eggs which I picked up from M&S alongside some Lindt Easter chicks, rabbits and sheep, making sure that there was an equal amount for each of the girls and that we chose hiding places which were challenging enough for a 4 year old but could also be seen by a 2 year old. Sometimes, hiding in plain sight worked the best – a little chick sat on top of a football proved harder to notice than the eggs in the trees!

The Little Pip | Easter Egg Hunt

The Little Pip | Easter Egg Hunt

By some family quirk, Pip’s cousin was born almost exactly 2 years after Pip, and baby 2 is due almost exactly 2 years after her. They have always enjoyed hanging out together and Pip was delighted to help her cousin, and her cousin delighted to be helped. Despite feeling somewhat grumpy due to late pregnancy hormones, I couldn’t stop myself smiling at their enjoyment at such a small pleasure as running around barefoot and finding chocolate, and it lifted my spirits somewhat.

The Little Pip | Easter Egg Hunt

The Little Pip | Easter Egg Hunt

The Little Pip | Easter Egg Hunt

The Little Pip | Easter Egg Hunt

The Little Pip | Easter Egg Hunt

The Little Pip | Easter Egg Hunt

I bought the little rabbit bag last year from Fritha‘s shop (which she has sadly closed now) and had saved it because it was so sweet. Last year I bought Pip’s other cousin his own version but I couldn’t get hold of anything else at such short notice, but I did have a yellow striped paper bag which worked just as well.

The Little Pip | Easter Egg Hunt

Hope everyone has been having a lovely Bank Holiday. I’m hoping that late pregnancy will bring some more time to sit on the sofa and indulge in writing some more blog posts! Any more ideas for fun but low key Easter games?

The Little Pip | Hospital bag for baby

Packing the hospital bag: What to take for baby

Finally, maternity leave has started and I’ve managed to get some things organised for our imminent arrival. Expect a little more baby related content over the next few weeks – but don’t worry, I will also be posting my usual mix of thoughts, toddler related stuff, lifestyle and home too, and even some London related content.

My first task of maternity leave was to get my hospital bags packed. I’d kind of forgotten what I needed so I love these kind of posts for getting ideas, and this has been in draft for a while – hope it’s not too repetitive or derivative but everyone has different suggestions, which I always find useful. I’ve packed 3 bags in total – one for me, one for baby clothes, and then a basket of other bits and pieces that I think I will need. In this post, I’ve covered what I’ve packed for the baby.

The Little Pip | Packing hospital bag for baby

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World Book Day | The Little Pip | Where the Wild Things Are

#worldbookday: On choices (and Where The Wild Things Are)

World Book Day – a date, which if Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts is to be believed, causes parents no end of stress, rolls around annually. Yet, for some reason, seems to repeatedly take parents by surprise, and generates endless rounds of debate – including what technically qualifies as a book, how many ‘brownie points’ a home-made or non-Disney costume may or may not score, and why we need so many dressing up days anyway.

World Book Day is a celebration, they say: It’s a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading.” Which suggests that perhaps it’s being taken a bit too seriously by the scores of parents who have strong opinions either way as to whether Elsa is a justified choice of costume. They go onto say “The main aim of World Book Day in the UK and Ireland is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own.”

My feelings around Disney and Elsa in particular are mixed. Pip recently persuaded me to buy her an Elsa dress in a charity shop and has been keen to wear it to a variety of occasions. When we started talking about World Book Day and potential costume options over our evening meal a few days ago, Elsa naturally was at the fore-front of her mind. Her reasoning was faultless – she loves playing Elsa, and Elsa is a character in at least two books that she has. However, in my opinion, those Frozen books belong in the recycling alongside Peppa Pig books – they are merchandise, with poor writing and sad illustrations. Why waste time on them when the other possibilities are amazing and endless. I have sympathy with both sides of the argument, and it really should be that anything that promotes reading is to be encouraged. As an English graduate, book lover, and with both a particular interest in children’s literature and feminism, I just couldn’t quite let it pass.

And to my amazement, Pip agreed. She wouldn’t go as Elsa – she’d go as one of other favourites: Max, from Maurice Sendak’s celebrated Where The Wild Things AreSure, this was also her choice last year, but who am I to argue. I bloody love that book, never tire of reading it, and would take it any day over some Elsa merchandising. It’s also a nice easy and comfortable costume to put together, and the crown can be worn for many other occasions.
World Book Day | The Little Pip | Where the Wild Things AreWorld Book Day | The Little Pip | Where the Wild Things Are
Sendak captures perfectly in less than 350 words how complicated our relationship with anger and love is; how frustration can become all consuming and creep in before retreating just as quickly, and how important parental love, input and reassurance is in creating boundaries for children to feel safe. I particularly love the way the positioning of the illustrations on the page adds to the climax of the story; that Sendak is reported to have written the words and then removed as many as possible in the editing so that each word is essential – much like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s approach.

Of course, allowing her to go as Max, or Elsa, were indeed the lazy options. I could have come up with something far more original from one of her other favourites, which currently include Shirley Hughes’ Alfie books (front runner currently Alfie Gets in First) or one of the nincampoop knights from Princess Daisy and the Dragon. Princess Daisy can be recited word for word, whilst turning the pages accurately, which is somewhat disconcerting, particularly as it is one she has only encountered it at nursery. Likewise, Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy. Another favourite is What the Ladybird Heardrecited frequently as a song, to the same tune as the The Gruffalo’s Child. All of those, with the exception of the Gruffalo, would have no doubt made a more engaging and feted costume, but, to my mind, that is not what book day is about, boasting about costumes, despite my feelings about not going as Elsa. The argument that Frozen is based on the Snow Queen which is a book, is I think b*****cks and really irrelevant/missing the point. WBD is a celebration, not something where there are rules – if the Snow Queen is a child’s favourite book that is excellent. But Frozen is not the Snow Queen; it is a dumbed down version which has been princess-ified. To my mind, own the choice. If it makes your child happy to go as Elsa, or your life easier, then do it, without caring what justification is required.

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