Friday, 31 May 2013

30th Bucket List

The only things I wanted to achieve before I was thirty years old was to get married, buy a house and have babies!  

Time was running out and I needed to get me scates on!  I got engaged after five years of dating Chris and we purchased our first house the same month.  18 months later of hard labour of living in hell we renovated our house into a beautiful home.  Piling our savings (yes I am the saving queen!) into this renovation, we then tied the knot at the lovely Folly Farm in Bristol.  Two ticks and one to go...

Poppy was our very own wedding gift, born nine months to the day after we married.  For some unknown reason I was convinced that I couldn't have children.  Probably because I wanted to be a mother so badly.  On return from our honeymoon I was already four weeks pregnant which was quite a shock followed by overwhelming happiness that our dream had come true.

It wasn't all plain sailing though, the next eight months were terrible.  Me and pregnancy were a big no-no.  The next two months I was off work feeling like I was never going to make the end of the pregnancy.  I honestly cannot recall a single day where I felt well.  I was constantly feeling sick and had lower back ache.  Poor Chris, he put up with so much grief from me and we were still newly weds.

I must say, I may have felt like I had a pregnancy from hell but my birth was a dream and I would be happy to do that ten times again than to go through the same pregnancy.

My due date had been and gone and the baby was showing no signs of coming.  So +3 days overdue and I woke up at 4am in the spare room.  We spent almost all of my labour in here, getting through the contractions with our music on in the back ground and a TENS machine strapped to my lower back.  I knew it was time to go so we drove in the car, me laying in the back and suddenly that moment came.  People tell you, when that moment comes, you know when to push.  My god did I. So there I was in the car pushing away to then arrive at the maternity ward only to be told they were full.  You don't discuss that scenario during your NCT classes thats for sure!

Without the gory details, I was giving birth in the waiting room, a midwife finally comes over to say they have a side room with just a bed and no equipment.  So literally with my baby's head crowing I ran (yes ran!) to this bed, jumped on, legs around Chris and out she comes, 25 minutes after the car pulling up.

So there was my final tick at the age of 29.  The bucket list complete.  Chris and I worked so hard to achieve what we have and it's taken years for us to get where we are.  I really do believe that if you want something in life, then it is achieveable.  But don't expect it to be handed to you on a plate. 

Celebrating my 30th on holiday with my family!

Birthday Girl

All the best people are born in May... yay me! I'm not really that fussed about my birthday and for the past few years (excluding the 30th) it's been low key with the family - is that age?  As previously posted, without spilling all my private moments, I thought I would make an effort to take note of just some of the gifts that Chris makes for me.

The day started off with a lie in until 08:30 (oh how times change!) Followed by an american style breakfast and opening of my presents including a little itinerary of what the day ahead has planned for me.   

Happy Birthday to Me!

When I heard Chris say his wedding vowels at the altar, I could have died and gone to heaven there and then.  So it was a lovely surprise to see he had printed and framed them for me to read everyday.  Zoom in enough and you will also see the spelling mistakes... Do I tell him?

Wedding Vowels

The below frame is how he printed a map of each of our home address where we were born and grew up and shaped the map into each family member and framed as 'The Coaths'.  Looks easy but was actually really difficult to do without stretching the map.  Overall looks fabulous!

Family Mapping

Firstly, I must say that there are only two eating cake people in our household so when this whopper of a cake was made for me... my eyes nearly popped out!  So sweet of my chef, how could I decline a slice of this.

Birthday Cake

Yes that is a duster!

The Weekend Getaway

In my opinion I am definately married to one of the most romantic men in the world, (Mr Slush as Gemma calls him!)  Chris is a gem that is for sure.  Even our first date was well detailed and planned to the T with romantic gestures.  His creativity blows you away and the level of time and effort makes all his gifts amazing.  What makes me smile isn't the purchases but the small gestures that come for free with them.  (Saying that if you read this Chris please don't stop buying me pretty things!)  Having dated Chris since he was twenty, I wish I had made a note of all things that he has done and made for me, because even the little things that he does day to day, some women would be lucky if they received once throughout their entire relationships.

So it sounds perfect doesn't it being married to a knight in shining armour.  It does however, make it super tough for me to constantly think of ways and gifts that would equally surprise him or exceed his expectations.  So for our second wedding anniversary I decided to take charge for once and organise a few things.  Leaving Poppy at my parents house, we were off on our first child free weekend to London.

Chris has a great interest of World War II, so trying to be selective of where we stayed, the hotel used to be the home of secret service during the world war.  (They also have TV screens in the bath and amazing views of the London Eye - and Mark Man Green gave me a discount!)

Bedroom View

Bath whilst watching Hollyoaks!

As you do in London, you walk for miles so on our way to the Churchill Museum (you see the theme here) we walked through St. James Park and checked out the scenery with my fancy new camera.  I must say the camera is one of the most beautiful things I've seen but it does make you feel like the paparazzi sometimes.

Would you like a camera with that zoom?

I was reccommended by a friend to try out Jamie Oliver's Notting Hill Recipease as an alternative to a meal for two in a restaurant.  I must say I'm really glad we did it.  We went to Vietnam in 2009 for three weeks so when I saw a cooking lesson for Vietnamese street food, it seemed perfect.  The food was delicious and we had lots of fun making it too and then enjoying a few glasses of wine whilst watching the world go by.  The receipe was easy to follow and we have since made it at home.

Chris cooking up a storm

The finished product

A great weekender just me and the hubby getting some quality time together.  happy Wedding Anniversary Chris!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Duracell Bunny

If I were to describe Poppy in three words it would be: confident, independent and determined.

Even on the day that Poppy was born, the midwife commented on how wriggerly and strong she was.  Not something I really took notice of.  My god I soon found out, Poppy is one tough cookie!  Even as a new born she showed early signs of being on the move.   She was doing it all before the 'milestones' that Babycentre hound you with each week.

I would say looking back and even watching her now she could/can be a frustrated baby.  She knows what she wants and doesn't give up.  Its so brilliant that she is like this, it can also be hard work too especially when she won't hold your hand down the street and will walk off into the wildnerness without even looking back for Mummy!  She's certinatly no couch potato and I would be lucky if the TV caught her eye for five seconds.  She's like a Duracell bunny, she just never stops moving.  The only time I can get her sit still is either in her high hair (eating), reading a book (fast) and most recently stroking her face (which equals a five seconds trance like state).  It's probably why she still sleeps for four hours during the day at 15 months.  Hey, definately no complaints here!

One of the things I love most about her, is her determination.  My mum says that she is very like me when I was a toddler and apparently I was a nightmare... not sure what the next few years holds for me then!  She certainly keeps me on my toes and I do feel like the fun police sometimes but I tell you what, my girl definitely has personality!

Poppy Taking Time Out to Relax

The Casino Party

The big day is here and my lovely Chris is 30!  He dreads his birthday every year and hates making a fuss, so obviously I managed to convince him to have a (small) party, enjoy some card games and a few decorations (made by me obviously!)  So in true Coath style another party is on the cards (excuse the pun!) he loves a gamble so why not bring the casino to him.

Playing Cards Bunting

'Chris Bunting'
Date of Birth Playing Card Bunting

Card Suit Signs

With lots of red and black craft paper left over from one of Poppy's parties I was almost there.  I purchased a couple of cheap tea light holders from Wilkinsons and used some LED tea lights that I had left over from our wedding and stuck playing cards to each side for table centre pieces for the main table.  Really pretty effect.  I also purchased a bag of small playing dice via Ebay, again using the LED tea lights put in a small glass around the room for extra decorations.  All subtle but very cute.  The wheel of cards were stuck together using blue-tac (pritt stick just wasn't cutting it this time).

Playing Cards Tea Lights

Dice Tea Lights

Wheel of Playing Cards

As Chris is the official king of cheese, I bought a lovely cast iron fondue set, best thing of the night.  Not only because Chris was in heaven but its a great social menu.  We had such fun using the fondue and can't wait to use it again (I'm thinking chocolate!)  Next time we will use the instructions to avoid another fire in the kitchen - yes an actual full on fire - don't ask.

Cheese Fondue

To help keep the theme going and of course because I love going over the top obviously, I cut out playing suits shapes using red and black felt (from Paper Village on North Street) to use as coasters.  When it came to Chris' birthday cake.. knowing how much he loves cider, why not build him a cider cake.  I wrapped up empty boxes with red crape paper to stacked the bottles on different levels and wrapped a huge ribbon round them all.  This Somerset boy loves his Thatchers!

Playing Suit Felt Coasters

Cider Cake

Uh Oh.. (shhh) the chairs don't match!

Food wise we kept it simple so we didn't have to be in the kitchen all night and we had pizza and garlic bread.  I have recently purchased my first Wilton set of nozzles and piping bag... dear lord you need to be good at it, mine were terrible but its the thought that counted - That's what I have to keep telling myself!  So for the sweet tooth we had deserts included black and red cupcakes (tried to keep them manly) and shortbread dice using fondant icing and chocolate drops.

Black and Red Cupcakes

Shortbread Dice Biscuits

Throughout the night we played card games and the delightful Oli bought along his poker set.  I also bought a roulette wheel with glass shot glasses.  The most amazing game ever and certainly will be used again for any party (perhaps not Poppy's 2nd birthday).  All for under a tenner - amazeballs!

Roulette Wheel
Happy Birthday to my darling Chris xx

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The Trouble With Sleep

Is your baby sleeping through?  Has got to be the most common question I was asked since Poppy came into the world.  I hated being asked it because automatically it made me feel like I was doing something wrong because she didn't.  "My baby is such a good baby, because he/she sleeps through" is what I would hear from smug mums lapping up 12 hours of sleep.  Leaving me feeling worried or down and wondering where I was going so wrong, along side trying to cope with motherhood on broken sleep every night.

I remember being told that we must sleep train Poppy around three months, two weeks max and 12 hours sleep every night will be ours and if we don't we will have months or even years of hell.  So there we were at three months old and six weeks later still doing controlled crying then moving onto to cry it out and our little princess still wanted her milk and us feeling like failures.

Funny what a few months does to change your perspective on the world of baby sleep.  Looking back and reflecting on the situation, after the new born phase Poppy used to wake up once or twice which doesn't sound that bad but at the time the broken sleep was unbearable.  Chris is a true legend.  He never complained about lack of sleep and went to work everyday as well as helping me.  Somehow I still managed to slap on the war paint and go out everyday.   What I really needed was someone to say (and for me to believe) that it's OK if your baby wakes up and that it is very normal for this to happen.  Neither Poppy or us were doing anything wrong.  Better still not every method works for your baby and if she's not sleeping through now doesn't actually mean that she won't ever. I don't regret sleep training I just believe that she wasn't ready at the time, sleep training or not.  But I suppose that comes from experience of being a mum.   

So what I have learned?  It's OK if my baby wakes up in the night and next time I won't get so hung up on whether or not my baby sleeps through because I know at some point there is sleep at the end of the tunnel even if it does take more than two weeks!!

I know you are now desperate to ask the famous question.  And the answer is yes.  YES!!!!!!

Poppy the Sleeping Beauty

The Hungry Caterpillar Party

To celebrate Milo's first birthday, my lovely bestfriend Gemma decided to choose the popular Very Hungry Caterpillar theme for his party.  Without taking over her plans and organising everything for her, I offered (any excuse) to get paper crafting and make some decorations.  Such a cool theme to choose and so much that you can do!  You could go completely over the top, something I would probably ended up doing.  So pulling the reigns back in, out comes the craft box and hey presto we have some lovely fun caterpillars and butterflies, personalised for the little fella. 

Very Hungry Caterpillar
Table Caterpillars
Personalised butterflies

Sharing the wealth from Poppy's party, I also made a 'Year of Photographs' for Milo, a photo for every month.  Trying not to go caterpillar overload, the glorious bunting came out too. Awww happy birthday to little Milo!

A Year of Photographs
Milo Bunting

Happy Birthday Bunting