My Summer Recap


I have had the most wonderful summer, definitely the best in years! Last summer was bloody tough, juggling personal issues alongside a horrible pregnancy wasn't easy. So summer kind of just drifted on by and before I knew it, the leaves were turning and the nights were drawing in and I'd missed it in it's entirety.

This time round it has been completely different! and I've thoroughly enjoyed every sunny day. I've been productive, loved up, adventurous, sociable and (almost) completely anxiety free. With that, I thought I'd write up a little recap of my summertime.

Summertime Adventures

Every week, Jack and I make the effort to get out of the house with Olivia and show her something new. We managed a few trips around the local countryside, the wildlife park, York and Whitby. I have some photographs of our days to share. I don't want these trips to end when the warmer weather does so we're thinking of the peak district during the autumn, outdoor Christmas markets, etc. Any suggestions on fun things to do with a one year old during the colder months are more than welcome!

I'm Engaged!

Jack finally popped the question while we were celebrating our seven year anniversary and I was thrilled! I will always get a little emotional when I think about that night. How Jack went about the whole thing was so lovely and so us. I'm still unable to keep myself from studying my ring whenever I have a quiet moment, and I'm so excited that we will finally be getting married.

Reconnecting

I reconnected with my oldest friend over the summer. We've been best friends for about twenty years, but up until very recently we'd grown into the kind of friends who didn't mind not talking for a few months and visits were very few and far between. You know, I'm not even sure how we got back in touch but now Wednesday nights have become our RuPaul marathon, wedding planning, crafting, cooking and passionfruit cider sharing nights and I am so happy that we are constantly chatting and seeing one another regularly again. Ellie is definitely one of those friends who will always be in my life, even if we go a year without talking (which has happened in the past, life just gets in the way!). Even my mum thinks we're like sisters and you just don't lose a bond like that easily. We're stuck with one another!

Wedding Planning

This feels like one of the bigger things to have happened over the summer. Jack and I started planning our wedding pretty much as soon as he proposed. We're booking a venue viewing this week. I've already decided on my decor and theme and I know what I want my bridesmaids to wear. I'm thinking of writing a few posts about the planning that I'm doing so I'll leave it there for now.

Decorating

I'd been going on and on about decorating the house for what seems like years but once Olivia arrived I started to feel more strongly about it. It's amazing what a couple of tins of paint can do to a room!

My Business

I wrote a huuuuuge post about The Little Loud Love Company towards the end of August. I launched at the end of spring so I've been busy fulfilling orders and taking on custom designs over the summer. I've also been working on two or three new products that I'll be launching soon!
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Reflections : 4

Hello!


I have been feeling very settled and content. Olivia and I have established a routine, beginning with huge smiles and delicious baby cuddles each morning. She makes me feel dizzy with the love that I have for her! and I'm newly engaged to the love of my life. Life is good.

Making: I am constantly making nowadays. Making new products for my business, making up orders and making toys for Olivia. I wouldn't have it any other way. I love being lucky enough to stay at home with my little girl whilst earning.

Cooking: Syn free meals! I recently made a tasty chilli which spread over two days.

Reading: Wedding venue brochures, although I'm not entirely sure why as we think we've found the perfect place. We just need to go and visit to confirm that we love it before thinking of booking.

Wanting: A long bubble bath, an early night, undisturbed sleep and a late start! These things no longer exist, but the reason behind that is so worth it.

Playing: Around with this amazing, iron on metallic sheeting for my cot mobiles. I tried it out for the first time a few days ago with great success!

Wishing: For the wedding venue that we're going to go and see next week is the one. It looks gorgeous on the photographs, and we've heard so many great things about it. It has taken me weeks to even get to this point. It's the first venue that I feel positive about that's in our budget and the first one that I've been desperate to go and see. Hopefully they'll have our dates free if we decide to go for it!

Enjoying: Planning our celebratory engagement meal with our friends and family. I feel like I'm living in a bubble.

Needing: To finish cleaning the carpets, decorating and the little odd jobs around the house. I'll start something and then go onto something else as I'm going along. I have a to-do list as long as my arm at the moment and I've really stretched myself! I'll get there, but there's no light at the end of the tunnel just yet. Woops.

Smelling: Of Flowerbomb. Jack bought me a bottle for our anniversary. It's my favourite perfume, so dreamy.

Wearing: I'm usually wearing clothing covered in something baby related, nowadays! From the moment I go downstairs to make Olivia her breakfast, the carnage begins. I think I need to invest in a couple of trendy hazmat suits.

Noticing: Just how yellow the magnolia in my living room looks when compared to my newly decorated dining room. Yuck.

Knowing: That I ultimately did the right thing for me when it came down to it and that makes me feel so proud.

Thinking: About not over-thinking. We're trying to cut down my medication and it's crucial that I remain steady and focus on the positives. I don't want to revisit to crap that's happened in the last few years. I want to put all of my effort into focusing on what's good right now, and on what can be made good. My daughter deserves a happy, calm mother and that is what I endeavour to give to her each day.

Feeling: Good!
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Whitby With Olivia


The North Yorkshire coast is my favourite part of this country. Give me the sea, beautiful beaches, bustling seaside towns and open countryside over big cities any day. I love the seaside. I last wrote about visiting Whitby when I was about twenty weeks pregnant with Olivia, I mentioned at the end of the post that I hoped that the next time I visited, I would have my baby in tow with me. How crazy is it that I did, this time? I know that I keep coming back to this word in particular but 'surreal' really is the one word that crops up when I think of how to describe my life at the moment. Surreal in the happiest, loveliest way.




We've really been making an effort to get out of the house and explore on Jack's days off this summer. Olivia probably won't remember her first summer, but I want each one that she has to be full of happy memories and experiences. I'm so happy that I caught the moment when she first saw the sea on camera, and the moment that she first padded her little feet in the soft sand.

We started with short distance trips around our local area and then gradually built upon the time spent in the car. Olivia is a dream to travel with but she still struggles with napping properly when she's out so that's something we need to try and crack!



















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The Little Loud Love Company! (Discount Code)

This weekend I am offering The Little Loud Love Company customers 10% off their entire order using the code WEEKEND10 (valid on all items, including custom orders).


I am SO excited to finally be talking about The Little Loud Love Company on my blog!

I became a first time mummy to my darling Olivia Irene towards the end of November in 2015. Being able to spend each day with my little girl has changed my life, nothing could make me any happier! She is just a treat.

With the end of my maternity leave looming over us; I got to thinking of ways that would possibly allow me to be able to stay at home with my baby and bring her up in a fun and creative environment (whilst still providing for my family). The thought of missing out on any firsts and milestones was just unbearable!

And so The Little Loud Love Company was born (possibly pun intended, I'm sure there's one in there somewhere!).

Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved crafting and creating. I remember the first project that I set myself on with. I would paint little pictures of cats and make tissue paper pompoms to decorate their collars with. Those collars looked fabulous! Although probably not practical for a real cat... considering the pompoms covered their faces... sometimes their entire body... to be honest they did just end up looking like big fluffy tissue pompoms and nothing else but nonetheless, I maintain that they were fabulous. I also recall carefully cutting out paper dolls and designing paper dresses for them to wear. I once made a ladybird out of clay that I was so proud of! Until my naughty cousin pulled it's legs off... let's not go there.

The simple fact of the matter is this, I feel fulfilled when I am creating with any medium. So naturally, I'd like to provide a product that I have been completely hands on with. Right down to the preliminary templates.

When Olivia finally came along, I was determined to create a beautiful nursery full of magic and fun so set to work creating plush softies and garlands to adorn her room with. She loved them, I loved making them! and so I decided to turn that idea into a business.

So, please do take a look and let me know what you think! I'm currently working on a mobile that I'm really excited to share once finished. I always say this, but any sharing (retweeting, wishlist posts, etc) is so appreciated.

I am planning on writing a few posts on starting a business (including sourcing supplies, budgeting, registering, advertising, etc) in the future so stay tuned for those.
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We're Engaged! Our Engagement Story


One house, three cats, one baby and seven years later Jack finally got down on one knee and proposed!

Our anniversary falls on 1st August and we almost always try to do something to celebrate.

Jack had booked a table for 8PM at that 'lovely little Italian restaurant out in the countryside' that I mentioned way back when in my 'Four Years' anniversary blog post. I also mention it here. I love it there, it's definitely become our go-to should we want to go out and celebrate in a pretty place with a good atmosphere and nice food!

After convincing my mum to babysit Olivia for a couple of hours, we got into Wentworth much earlier than I had anticipated so we decided to pop round to the pub before heading over to the restaurant. Looking back now, Jack did seem a little unsettled! Rambling about things we wouldn't usually talk about, nipping to the loo and coming back looking as though he'd just spent ten minutes smartening himself up. I really didn't think anything of it.

We finished our drinks and decided to head on over with about ten minutes to spare. It was a beautiful night and if you walk up by the church, it leads out onto open countryside. Jack suggested that we go for a walk before heading in, to which I was pretty confused and told him that we didn't have the time to if we wanted to arrive for our table on time. Poor Jack had to sit through the entirety of our meal getting worked up over whether he would still manage to find the right time to ask as I had just scuppered his immediate plans! (or rather, my rumbling tummy and desire for wine had!)

During dinner, we somehow got onto the subject of jewellery and engagement rings. I was describing the ones that I liked the look of best when he excused himself again, leaving me to sip my wine alone! By this point, I was a little peeved that he kept leaving me to entertain myself! I later discovered that he'd nipped into the loo to examine the ring again! as he wanted to double check that it was similar to what I was describing. Could you imagine if it wasn't!? He would have never have asked!

After we had finished our mains, I told Jack that we could go for the walk that he wanted to go on.

We took our time, chatting and enjoying the views. The church bells had just struck nine. The sky was stunning. Red, pink and blue. I pointed it out and Jack suggested I take a couple of photographs. I'm so happy I have a few photographs of the sky taken only moments before he proposed. As I'm happily snapping away he fell silent.

I turned, half expecting what was going to happen next but not getting my hopes up just on the off chance that I was wrong. I needn't have worried. Jack was down on one knee with the most gorgeous antique, peridot and diamond ring in his hand! I remember pulling my hands up over my mouth as he asked the question but by that point I was pretty speechless so just nodded as he hugged me and popped the ring on.

I always thought that I'd cry if he ever got around to proposing! but instead I just turned into a giddy, speechless mess. I kept saying 'I'm so happy' and thanking him. Are you supposed to thank your fiance for wanting to marry you!? Ha!

It was the perfect moment. No one else was around, it was quiet, the sun was setting and we were in one of our favourite places that holds many happy memories for us as a couple, dressed up and celebrating our anniversary. That moment will forever be up there with the birth of our baby. The love that I have for those two. It just doesn't get much better.

Needless to say, life is pretty blissful right now.

See our previous anniversary posts: Six Years, Four Years.
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A Letter to Olivia : 16 Weeks Old


4th April 2016

Dear Olivia,

You turned sixteen weeks old on the 18th March. I'm now going to begin to calculate your age by calendar month.

You are outgrowing your 0-3 clothes and moving onto the next size. I can not believe how fast you are growing. You no longer fit into my favourite little dress of yours, the one with the rain clouds and smiley sunshine. I think I'm going to buy it in a larger size as I loved it so much!

You have found your voice. You don't cry when you wake, instead you chat to your little dolly. On a morning, I'll wake and see your little face studying mine, you'll give me a huge smile, a coo and a dance before I feed you, change you and we begin our day.

You sleep through the night, although your nap times are a little shorter than we'd like them to be! but we are working on it. When I make my way up to bed, I hear you sighing deeply in your sleep, your little arms raised above your head. Those sighs of yours are the most angelic noises on this earth. I wonder what you dream of. You search for my hand and squeeze my fingers as you drift off.

You are such a happy little girl. Always ready with a smile and a squeal. We haven't had a real belly laugh quite yet but you're almost there. You are developing a sense of humour and find various things hilarious! You laugh when you hear us laughing and smile when you see us smiling. You laugh and smile at your reflection. You smile at your toys and tell them stories.

We're almost babbling. Your favourite noises to make are rah, aboo, agoo, agee and farqua. Baby language is incredible! It's as if you know something that I don't!

You are really taking everything in. You watch my mouth as I form words. You love it when I perform The Ugly Duckling cabaret style, and I kind of really appreciate that because it's harder than level two of the shred!

You love cuddles and nuzzling into my neck, especially when you are sleepy. You love being placed in your cot, being rocked gently, a stroke on the bridge of your nose and a lullaby. You sing back to me with your little sweet sighs as I sing your favourite twinkle, twinkle. You look to squeeze my hand as you drift off.

You pause to smile and sigh while feeding, staring into my eyes. You seem to have developed a need to hold my hands while you are feeding. You love Sophie the Giraffe, your fingers and putting your cuddle in your mouth to chew on furiously when you think that I'm not looking.

You can roll over onto your side but you seem to only do it when you want to. You've managed it a total of three times while I have been watching, but it doesn't amuse you so you choose not to do it daily. I'm not worried. You can hold your head up, do mini push-ups during tummy time, use my hands to pull yourself up into a sitting position whilst you are resting on my legs and sit unaided for a few seconds now. I think that you are doing very well.

After a change, I lay on the floor next to you with your favourite books. You like the ones with the bold, bright pictures like The Very Hungry Caterpillar or The Tiger Who Came To Tea and the ones where I have to do silly voices like Super Duck or Peter Rabbit. Your reaction to being read to is amazing. You'll look at the pictures, look to me for reassurance and look back to the book.

You had your last lot of immunisations on 22nd. You hate them and I hate them.

I have been blessed with such an easy child. You are so happy, so relaxed. You are a gift. Everything about you is pure and beautiful.
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A Few From Easter


March 30th 2016
Our very first Easter as a family of three was just lovely!

Although Jack is an atheist, we both believe that holidays should be about family and traditions. We want little Olivia to be able to look back on them with magical, wholesome memories of unity and fun.

Of course I'll teach her the true meaning of Easter (as I will about holidays from all walks of religion). I don't want her to grow up thinking that there's a national holiday dedicated to eating chocolate because... chocolate.

     
We started the day with baby cuddles, coffee and pastries, then I cooked dinner as Jack played with Olivia and her new, crinkly elephant teething toy (which is going down way better than Sophie, already!). We bought it for her as a little Easter gift, not that she's any the wiser just yet! Speaking of teething, this little girl is really struggling. I dread to think how long it'll take for her to cut her first tooth! Thank goodness for Ashton and Parsons, teething toys and plastic backed bibs.







I love a good roast but as usual, I cooked way too much! Will I ever learn? I couldn't move for a good hour or so afterwards, I was so full. We ended up having chicken and stuffing sandwiches on the Monday though, so it worked out in our favour!

Now I did have plans to take us all out on a family walk at some point but what on Earth was with the weather!? Instead, we spent the rest of the day cuddled up on the sofa together listening to the rain and watching movies. Jack and I obviously had to eat an Easter egg for Olivia, too.
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