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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Hello Again (Again!)

It feels so good to be back up and running. I have a ton of posts that were written over the last six months to share, so things may look a little back to front for a while but who cares? I am just over the moon that I have my little space back and that I can use it freely again. Absence makes the heart grow fonder!


Sooo, let's have a little 'what on Earth have you been up to over the last six months' recap, shall we?


The Little Loud Love Company

Perhaps one of the most exciting pieces of news that I have to share. I have officially started my dream business! The Little Loud Love Company launched just after my maternity leave ended and I was lucky enough to be busy with it right from the word Go!

I design, create and craft garlands, wall hangings and mobiles completely by hand and out of the most beautiful, pure wool felt. One of the best things about owning a business where you craft your own products is that you can take inspiration from literally anywhere. I'll be watching the telly or be out with friends and I'll see or hear something that'll spark some inspiration and I'll immediately grab my phone to jot down notes. The possibilities are endless, so I expect that you will be seeing much more from me where my little business is concerned!

Any sharing is very much appreciated! and I have a post dedicated to the whole thing that'll be going up when I get around to it.

Olivia / Motherhood

My little lady is coming along leaps and bounds! I was sad that I didn't get to share any milestones as and when they were happening but I've got so many posts in drafts where I share her month by month updates that I will be publishing. I'm actually really looking forward to looking back on what I wrote at the time!

She has recently discovered that army rolling across the floor is probably the funnest (and most hilarious) way to get about the house so I have to be super careful and keep an eye on her at all times. She's trying her very best to get crawling so she can explore and I'm really looking forward to it! I just adore seeing the world through her eyes. I am sad that the newborn days have all but slipped away. Jack and I were looking through photographs and videos of her first couple of weeks and I had a moment of broody madness where I so desperately wanted to be pregnant again and then have another newborn to take care of. Good job that feeling lasted all of five minutes. We have so much to do before we so much as think of adding another to the brood. Madness, I tell you!

She babbles and can say 'mama' but she's only ever called for me a few times (when she was very poorly a few weeks ago). I've been trying to encourage her to say it again but she just giggles at my efforts. I think she thinks it's a game. Speaking of which! She loves playing peekaboo and we have this thing where she'll make a scary noise and jolt her body to get me to pretend I'm frightened, which leaves her in fits of giggles.

Her bottom two teeth are completely through but now she's cutting her top two, a canine and a molar! Let's just say this whole teething thing is making weaning rather difficult! but we're pushing on through it.

She's sleeping really well, too! So much so that I'm hesitant to take her out for too long unless there's a quiet, dark place where she can nap. She'll sleep in her pram but if she naps at home she can manage a two hour stretch more often than not. I have a dream child. I have no idea how that has happened.

Health

The last time I wrote about my mental health I was struggling. With lots of support, I'm finally beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Jack, my GP, my friends and family have been amazing. Some big issues in my life have been put to bed. I'm already feeling the benefit of tying up loose ends in order to move forward. My child, partner, family (and pets!) need me at 100% and that's what I endeavour to give them. They deserve it.

It's time to move on and look ahead. It was liberating when I finally understood that I have always been in control of my future. I have so many amazing people, plans and good things in my life right now. I'm seeing them for what they are and embracing them as wholly as possible.

Physically, I've pretty much recovered from labour. It took an astonishingly long time and was a lot harder than I thought it would be! I completed The 30 Day Shred about two months ago and while I didn't lose any weight, I felt much stronger and the abdominal muscles that had turned to mush during pregnancy finally returned. I'm currently following Slimming World to shift these extra pounds (it's also completely changing how I look at food. I can't recommend it enough! Even if you don't want to lose any weight!) and I follow the Ballet Beautiful workouts as and when I can fit them in. I'm also back to swimming. I do think I'll give the 30DS another go at some point and I'll try keep a log of my progress on here.

So, overall I'm pretty cheery and hopeful. Everything is humming along at a pace that I am comfortable with and I'm excited for the future.
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Motherhood : The First Month



Man alive, these last six weeks have been an education! I've discovered so many things during the last six weeks. Things about myself, my daughter and being a mother.

Life with a newborn is testing. It's tiring. It's hard work! But believe me when I say that it is one of the most rewarding jobs that you will ever do. Even in my moments of cranky, desperate, can barely keep my eyes open fatigue; being Olivia's mama brings me a joy that I wouldn't trade for the world.

It will take you three hours to clean and tidy one room, your hands will be dry and cracked from baby wipes and constant bottle washing, you will put your phone down because sleep suddenly becomes a precious commodity, the constant flow of visitors and people expecting you to travel to them will bother you, you'll become superwoman and somehow complete all tasks one handed, you'll also become multitask extraordinaire and manage to cook, wash the dishes, sterilise the bottles, put on a load of laundry and feed your pets at the same time while somehow keeping an eye on your baby.

But amongst all of that you will experience special moments that you'll treasure forever. I love cradling her little head and singing her to sleep while she makes little content noises and wraps her perfect little hands around my fingers, I love lowering her down into the warm water and seeing her face light up with wonder at bath time, I love it when she curls up like a tiny frog and falls asleep on my chest, I love staring into her gorgeous big eyes, I love how her tufty hair is all fluffy and messy when she wakes from a nap, I love the huge gummy smile she gives me in the morning and I love watching her settle with her daddy and seeing the unconditional love that he has for her.

All told, the first month was easy considering that I had Jack with me each day. I found the first two weeks difficult as I was still coming to terms with the birth and trying to deal with the pain but from then on I think I really found my feet and grew more and more comfortable with my abilities as a mother.

Jack returned to work last week and I've found motherhood more trying without him here with me. He managed to take five weeks away from work when Olivia was born and I had grown accustomed to having him here with us. I've had a few wobbles, I've sat and cried with her when she wouldn't settle, I've desperately missed my sleep and I've popped over to my mum's in the week (they work from home) so I could have a bit of help. However, during the last couple of days Olivia has been an absolute joy to care of so I can't really complain! I'm still trying to settle into this new rhythm but I'm determined to get there. Good with the bad.

I was afraid that I would be an awful mother. I felt unprepared and frightened. I paid attention to too many 'life with a newborn' horror stories (it really isn't that bad!). I've since realised that I can survive on two hours worth of sleep. I can settle her when she's grizzly. I can read her cries and noises. I can get up in the middle of the night and provide her with what she needs without having a breakdown. I do have the capacity to love another person wholly and completely. I can do all of this and still enjoy being a new mother. I've got this. I was made for this and I wouldn't change this new life that she has created for us.

Life has changed but it's now much richer and has a happy purpose.

Now if only time would slow down for us! She is growing and changing every single day. Realising that she won't be my little newborn forever has been a hard pill to swallow!
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