Sunday, 28 August 2016

Baby's First Romper

I have been on a bit of a sewing frenzy the last few weeks, so it's high time I shared some of my creations! Every time I think about starting something new, e.g. preparing a blog post or actually getting stuck into some creating, the hands on projects always win over! So I have produced a bit of a backlog of sewing projects that I'd love to share.

This is hands down my favourite and therefore it gets to go first! It's baby's first romper suit!

It's been absolutely baking August here in Blightly (so unusual!) so I figured a little light romper would be exactly the thing to welcome baby home in. (Okay, so I know full well this little munchkin isn't going to give two hoots about it's first outfit! But, I have a sneaky suspicion that I sure will!)

I used a lightweight cotton in neutral, unisex colour way that I dug out of my fabric stash (great think about baby clothes is they don't need so much material - perfect for recycling old men's shirts etc!). We can always mix it with a blue or pink vest or cardi down the line once we know if it's a boy or a girl (or we can add green or yellow for that matter. In fact, I'd probably prefer one of those!).

I created my own newspaper pattern by drawing around each panel of an existing romper we were lucky to inherit. I simply added a seam allowance around the outside of each panel as I went along. Then I tried to follow it's structure to make this one. Sometimes it's a little tricky to work out what order to sew things up in, but a spot of unpicking here and there never did anyone any harm did it?!?! ;)

I changed ups few things, for simplicity's sake! For example the original had button fastenings not the front, which I switched for simple tie straps - in fact I love the cute little ears on the knots at the top of each shoulder so I think that worked well! Also, the original had a single strap that split half way up the bag, which I simply switched for two separate ones going directly from the waistband. Again, don't think we've lost anything there.

Since we have no clue what sort of size our sprog will arrive at, I was paranoid about spending hours slaving over something that would never fit! I also have no clue whether the template romper was large/small for it's size, so I was generally pretty generous with my pattern adding a fair cm to the important spots to make sure it gets at least ONE wear!!! Figured it can always grow into it...

For comparison purposes here's a shot of them both side by side:

So there you have it, one gorgeous little romper that took me days to make but will most likely get puked on within moments of being worn! Haha. Guys that's just something I will have to get used to very quickly... :)

Monday, 22 August 2016

The Great British Seaside: Margate Photo Walk

What is there NOT to like about the Great British Seaside?! I LOVE everything about it. The wind, the rain, the plastic buckets and spades, the rock, the melting ice creams, the scampi and chips, the wind, the rain, the freezing cold water, the grey sand or pebble beaches, the wind, the rain, the deckchairs, etc. Okay, okay, so it takes a little getting used to! And those folk who haven't spent day of their childhoods huddling behind wind breaks on exposed open beaches, shivering as they eat ice cream filled with blown sand, or using trainers as buckets to get the water out of their tent, may not have a clue what I'm talking about! But for most British kids, trips to the Great British Seaside are a rite of passage, it's made us who we are and it's now in our blood!

Margate is a lovely little example of a quintessential Great British Seaside town. It's got a large sandy beach (a rarity!), a fun promenade, lots of little cafes and fish and chip shops. What's more it's got a particularly arty, retro vibe with the renovated Dreamland fairground area, a host of vintage stores and the Turner Gallery. All in, it makes a GREAT destination for a day-trip from London and that is exactly what we did.

I'd been meaning to visit Margate for YONKS, so when I spotted that Xanthe and Betty Magazine were hosting a photo walk in my number one destination seaside town, I leapt at the opportunity! (Well, not quite, my giant belly is hindering my leaping abilities these days). I dragged along my sister and we made a full day of it. I've written before about Xanthe's photo walks (see here!). They are great fun, a wonderful opportunity to meet like-minded folks and filled with experimentation, exploring and education.

Here are my five key must haves for a quintessential British day out at the seaside along with some of the wonderful colourful snaps I took during the photowalk:

1. Seaside Grub

Fresh fish and chips, tangy vinegary cockles and winkles, melting ice cream, rock sticks as hard as nails! There are so many treats that you simply MUST indulge in to make a trip to the seaside complete. We indulged in a shared newspaper full of fish and chips sat on the prom as soon as we arrived in Margate - you can't do a photowalk on an empty stomach! ;)

Later we also had a super delicious ice cream - mint choice chipped mango sorbet. Yum! But Margate had so much more on offer, and all worth sampling!

2. Paddling (or swimming for the very brave!) 

No trip to the seaside is complete without braving the water. Remarkable, when it's windy and rainy, the water actually feels relatively much warmer!! Luckily, on this trip we were blessed with sunshine so a paddle in the shallows was no hardship at all. Phew!

And embracing the grey murky water, just like these seagulls!

3. Sheltering from the wind (or rain, or sleet, or any other extreme weather events!)

British beaches are always littered with wind breaks and umbrellas. And not simply to keep our white bodies from burning as might initially be assumed. No, these perfofrm another very important function - they create a small space with respite from the whipping wind and blowing sand. Worthy of note is the fact that no matter how wind-tight your barriers, you will still find sand in every crevice, sarnie and ice cream to provide that added crunch!

4.  Plastic tat

In most homes these days (including ours for the time being), plastic tat is banished completely, or at the very least restricted to the play room! But I firmly believe that a day trip to the Great British Seaside demands that we push all these rules to one side. What about a plastic mini cricket set or a bright gaudy volley ball for games on the beach? A trip to the beach would not be complete without it...

5. Arcade Games

Most traditional is the cheap and garish 2p or 10p machines ubiquitous to every pier and promenade in the UK. My sister is a 2p machine fiend, always has been since a tender young age! Whenever we went to the beach as kids, Izzy would collect 2ps for days in advance and make a bee-line for the arcade machines as soon as humanly possible! Margate is a little bit more special as Dreamland actually has a vast collection of vintage games machines that are both fun AND look good!

Dreamland is a wonderful step back in time, it's an old pleasure park that is chockablock with vintage rides and games that have been restored and opened for the modern day seasiders! It's only a few hops from the beach and is a retro feast for all the senses, and as you can imagine, a treasure trove for a photowalk... :)

Whether it be Margate or any of our other wonderful seaside towns all around this British island, its still not quite the end of the summer holidays and this coming week is forecast to be an absolute steamer - so, grab your swimmers, jelly shoes and wind-breaks (just in case!) and get yourself and all your loved ones down to the Great British Seaside to celebrate our highly unpredictable but totally lovable British Summer in super style. 

If you know of any other British seaside towns that you think I'd love, let me know so I can add them to the list and try and squeeze in a few more visits before the summer's out!

Monday, 15 August 2016

Coming Soon!

So I've been keeping a little something under wraps on here for a while. But it's getting a bit real and a little tricky to hide, so I'm coming clean! We have a Mini Fantastic arriving to join the team very shortly!!

This gorgeous illustration from our wonderful niece has been up on our wall for months now, I love it! To clarify, yes that is Mr Fantastic on the right in a pink dress, pink stubble, red lipstick and rings on every finger! Brilliant. Our little niece is in the middle with the red bow in her hair. And I'm on the left with the flowery dress and a little baby growing inside - Our niece is convinced we're having a boy, I'm also convinced it's a boy (no particular basis for this!), but we'll have to wait and see for sure - it will be a surprise when it arrives! At least he looks happy to be growing inside me, and that makes me feel very grateful. 

In April, at four months when it looked as though I've had myself a very large lunch! :)

We've been a little hesitant to share the news very publicly so far, since it's been a little bit of a twisty road for us to get to this point. We barely believed it to being with, counting the days as we got through them. Then we felt like we were walking on eggshells for months, which was tense. But now with our little pocket rocket bashing around on an hourly basis and my growing bump getting hard to conceal, our anxieties have finally started to abate. I am now absolutely determined to enjoy the final few steps of this pregnancy journey and celebrate the changes in my body and the small life growing within, for it really is truly remarkable.

Back in Venice on our 'baby-moon' in May, at about four months and a bit and my tummy is starting to round, but is a little tucked away under that big wooly jumper!

Exploring Burano at the same time (about 4 months and a bit. Incredibly scientific with these dates!).

And most recently at 36 weeks in France with Mr Fantastic on a family holiday.

Each day we grow this little munchkin a bit more is incredibly special. We are savouring every day of our pregnancy, every wriggle and kick, every ache and pain and every huff and puff (sort of)!! But we're also eagerly awaiting it's arrival at the end of the summer. We've been so focussed on the pregnancy journey itself so far, parenthood has just seemed like a distant concept. But as we near our due date, this motherhood malarkey is starting to feel rather more real! I am a teensy bit apprehensive, but in reality so looking forward to this new chapter in our lives. We're both very ready to embrace all the changes in our lifestyle that this little arrival is going to mean and going through them together is going to be both wonderfully challenging and rewarding, all at the same time. Mini Fantastic, we are ready and waiting for you! xx