And in non-canine fashion news


This is the first time in many years that I have no need of a sparkly new festive outfit, and I'm struggling to come to terms with it.

I absolutely love the first part of winter, when everything is anticipation. The first snow, Christmas, my birthday, maybe a ski holiday: my excitement for each milestone trembles in the air like an early frost, and clothes are a big part of it. Dusting off my winter coat, pulling cosy jumpers out of boxes like slightly bedraggled rabbits, slipping my hands into snug leather gloves, willing it to get cold. And above all, sequins and glitter.

Maybe it harks back to a wise man offering gold to a tiny baby, or maybe Marks and Spencer have just done a spectacular marketing job on me, but something about this time of year makes me yearn for magic and sparkle. A new dress for Christmas parties, nails painted dark, a sleek pair of heels that are entirely inappropriate for the climate. Is it really too much to ask?

This year, unfortunately, it is. I have no parties to go to - maternity leave has bumped me off the guest list for my work do, and most of my formerly party-loving friends are now boring baby drones too - and even if I did, I couldn't justify the expense (maternity leave has also bumped me off the payroll, or may as well have).


In fact, I'm not buying any new clothes, sparkly or otherwise, for a while. Inspired by Rebecca, I've jumped on the capsule wardrobe bandwagon. It's quite a crowded bandwagon, but we're all travelling light and in impeccable style.

Back at the beginning of October, I carried out an honest assessment of my lifestyle right now and the clothes that will realistically be useful and relevant at this stage in the game. In: jazzy leggings, non-grabbable jewellery, machine-washable knitwear. Out: sequins, statement heels, brushing my hair.

Despite the lack of glitter, I have secretly been enjoying the whole capsule wardrobe experiment. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, the idea is to select a limited number of pieces of clothing, shoes and outerwear and wear only these for an entire season (a season is three months, not that anyone's told the Scottish weather that). Then when the next season starts, you can mix up your selection, add new things, take some out, so that you don't get completely bored and want to set your wardrobe on fire. That's the theory, anyway. Blogs like Un-Fancy and Into Mind go into the whole thing in much more depth, if you feel like reading up.

I went into the experiment with three goals. 1) Wear clothes that I actually like instead of just whatever I happen to find in the back of a drawer. 2) Get dressed quickly in the morning without having to think about it. 3) Cut down on washing by wearing the same small selection over and over instead of just working my way down to the absolute dregs and letting everything pile up until I want to cry at the sight of my washing basket.

So far, I'd say I've been moderately successful in all three. When the next season rolls around (hello, January) I'll probably aim for a bit more variety, so that my outfits don't get too repetitive, but in general I've enjoyed getting dressed in the morning ten times more. The very fact that I've been getting dressed in the morning at all, despite having a reasonable chance of being dribbled on by a tiny person within ten minutes of getting up, probably says more than anything else.

All I need are some sparkly pyjamas, and I'll be all set.



Images: 1. Natasha Poly by Mario Testino for Vogue Paris October 2014, via Visual Optimism 2. Miranda Kerr for Marie Claire Australia October 2012

GIVE ME ONE GOOD REASON...


...why I shouldn't buy Smidgen this jumper for her birthday.

I mean, LOOK AT IT. And you know Smidgen would wear it better than some terrier.


Whatever, Buster. You're no sighthound, and you know it.

There are, actually, a few good reasons why I shouldn't buy Smidgen this jumper for her birthday. 1) It's £46. 2) It's £46. 3) She will almost definitely roll around in the rotting carcass of a seagull within minutes of putting it on. Even if we're inside. She ALWAYS FINDS A WAY. 4) It's £46.

But hey, a girl can dream. And anyway, it had been far too long since we had a dog wearing clothes around here.

Did anyone see any good doggy Halloween costumes this year? Remember these guys? Never not funny.


SEE ALSO:

Smidgen's third birthday (in which she wears a hat)
Smidgen's fourth birthday plus a lot of random facts.

Images via Houndworthy

Burning Questions


Here is a picture of my face, to prove I'm still alive. It was taken at my sister-in-law's wedding, just eight days after the baby was born. An hour later, I found myself sitting topless behind a filing cabinet in a sweltering catering office, breast pump in one hand, glass of champagne in the other, trying to avoid flashing my in-laws through the window. Motherhood is so glamorous, you guys.

Since then, in case you were wondering, I've chopped all my hair off again, thus definitively answering the 'pixie or bob?' question. At least for now.

I was reading through my blog the other day, as one does, and it seems I have a bad habit of leaving questions unanswered. Fascinating questions, such as which nappy bag did I eventually get? (This one.) Did I ever finish the wee grey hat? (Yes!) Did I ever learn the Marseillaise? (No.) Which coat did I buy? (This one, and I'm very excited about the cold weather returning so that I can throw it on over my leggings-and-baby-dribble uniform and feel vaguely stylish again.) What's the baby's name, for God's sake? (It's Flora, but she's better known in our house as Bumps McGumps. Don't ask.)

Now that I'm on a roll, here are some more fascinating questions about myself that I'm going to answer, lifted from this post by the wonderful Moz. I know you're all sitting there breathlessly anticipating some mundane facts about my life, so here we go.

Question 1: How tall are you?


5'8". Shorter when I'm sitting down.

Question 2: Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what?


My family will mock me for this, since I'm a famously untidy person, but I'm actually a very efficient tidier-up. I can turn a messy room into a reasonably presentable one in the time between someone ringing our buzzer and arriving at our front door (and have done. Often. Just don't look under the couch).

Question 3: What’s your biggest blog-related pet peeve?


There is no excuse for bad grammar.

Question 4: What’s your biggest non-blog-related pet peeve?


THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR BAD GRAMMAR.

Question 5: What’s your favourite song?


It varies. As I have previously confessed, I tend to become fixated on one or two songs and play them to death, then heartlessly move on. Currently getting the listen-to-death treatment: I Will by the Beatles for simplicity and sweetness; It's a Wonderful Life by Black for an 80s-style pep talk at 2am; and Ye Cannae Shove Yer Granny Off a Bus for keeping madam entertained.

Chevron Bib NecklaceTOTE - grey triangleespresso double - porcelain (glacier colour)cloud cushion
Hand Printed Organic Cotton Leggings - Navy Animals on CreamValentine's Day Bunny Plush with pink felt heartFabric Storage Basket Modern Black and WhiteDual Stone Ring - Diamond Wedding Ring - Horseshoe Ring - 18k Gold
You are Super Duper 8 x 10" giclee printCrossed Arrows Sticker Seals - Set of 10Silicone Teething Necklace, Nursing Necklace - Geometric NecklaceRoxy Marj Safety Black Eye Glass Case
(Hover over for direct links)


Question 6: What’s your favourite Etsy shop that isn’t yours?


Asking me to choose my favourite Etsy shop is like asking me to choose my favourite child: EASY. It's this Canadian handmade bag shop. Or, hmm, maybe it's this Israeli jeweller. Ooh, but I also love these smiling cloud cushions. And I've already told you about this vintage bookseller, and the f*ing great Emily McDowell.

Choosing my favourite child is actually much easier than this.

Question 7: What’s your favourite way to spend your free time when you’re alone?


HA. Free time, alone? Please. But in theory: sleeping, watching Scandal, showering, in order of preference.

Pre-baby, I've always been a fan of trying on outfits for imaginary events until every item of clothing I own is scattered across the bed and I'm thoroughly sick of the sight of my own face. Fun times.

Question 8: What’s your favourite junk food?


Burger King large cheeseburger meal, no pickles (so they have to make it fresh for me), Diet Coke, preferably drive through so I don't even have to get off my FAT ASS. Yesssssssss.

Question 9: Do you have a pet or pets? If so, what kind and what are their names?


Who wrote these questions? Do you even know me at all?

Here are ten things you didn't know about Smidgen, for the uninitiated.


Question 10: What are your number one favourite non-fiction and fiction books?


Fiction: After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farrell. Non-fiction: probably Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer. I love a good mountaineering disaster book. I have no idea why.

Question 11: What’s your favourite beauty product?


Erm, water? For my face? This is so not my thing. I do like Essie Ballet Slipper nail varnish because it's hard to tell when it's chipped - does that count?

Question 12: When were you last embarrassed? What happened?


I'm now a bit embarrassed to have told the internet about that topless, champagne-fuelled pumping session, but OH WELL.

Question 13: If you could only drink one beverage (besides water) for the rest of your life, what would it be?


A perfect white wine.


Question 14: What’s your favourite movie?


It's Beaches. I haven't tried watching it since my mum died, though. I'll probably be ready for that in, oh, twenty years? Or when they invent a bottomless box of tissues, whichever comes first.

Question 15: What were you in high school: prom queen, nerd, cheerleader, jock, valedictorian, band geek, loner, artist, prep?


I was COOL AS BALLS. If by "cool" you mean the kind of person who goes to orchestra camp.

Question 16: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?


Here's the thing: I *could* live anywhere in the world. Nothing's stopping me. So I suppose the answer must be Edinburgh. It is quite lovely. Having said that, there was a listicle doing the rounds recently entitled 53 Reasons Living in Edinburgh Ruins You For Life, and I misread it as 53 Reasons Living in Edinburgh Ruins Your Life. Not sure what that says about Edinburgh, or about me for that matter.

Question 17: PC or Mac?


PC. See "cool as balls," above.

Question 18: Last romantic gesture from a crush, date, boy/girlfriend, spouse?


Fin took the dirty nappies out to the bin last night. Swoon.


Question 19: Favourite celebrity?


I was about to complain about the non-specific nature of this question - is it the hottest or the smartest? The one I want to be friends with or the one I want to be? The one whose work I most admire or the one with the best hair? - when I realised that the answer to all of these questions is Amy Poehler. Amy Poehler, Amy Poehler, Amy Poehler.

Question 20: What blogger do you secretly want be best friends with?


Amy Poehler?

Question 21: What do you have hung on your wall that you adore?


A framed picture of Amy Poehler.

Not really.

I made a cloud mobile for Flora with colourful felt ball raindrops which is pretty adorable, but it's hanging from the ceiling so it doesn't count. Failing that, I'm a big fan of this friendly lion who resides on the wall in "her" room (she doesn't sleep in there yet, so it's mainly used for hanging washing and hiding things when people come to visit, as per Question 2).


And since Moz added a question of her own to her list, I'm going to add one of mine, one that I've been asked more times than I can count in the last 13 weeks and never know how to answer.

Question 22: How are you getting on?


I'm fine. We're fine. Tired, happy, overwhelmed, bewildered, healthy, terrified, loving, fine. Thank you for asking. How about you?


Images: 1. Kitchener Photography, 2. My Etsy treasury powered by Toastie Studio - Etsy Tools. The rest are mine.

Blog Love: Boring Baby Drones


I hadn't expected early motherhood to involve so much spare time. Not free time; I am chained to that hungry little monkey almost constantly and don't expect to be liberated any time soon. Fortunately, I have a severe case of Stockholm syndrome when it comes to my tiny captor, so I don't mind. But I'm spending many, many hours cradling either a baby or a breast pump, neither of which provides me with much in the way of sparkling conversation. Inevitably, at some point I will find myself gazing blearily into the glow of a laptop or phone hoping to fill some of those quiet hours with companionship, consolation or distraction, depending on my mood.

Pretty much anything will do for distraction - working my way through fifteen seasons of ER, pinning pictures of trendy haircuts that I don't have time to get, rearranging the baby's adorable outfits for the tenth time - but companionship and consolation are more elusive, particularly when you only have one hand and can't move from the couch. So it's the internet to the rescue, once again.

If you have no interest in children, you will probably have no interest in what I'm about to share with you. If, like me, you just want to know that You're Not The Only One, you should bookmark these links immediately.

Please note: as if to prove my point, I am sitting on a couch cradling a baby and typing this with one hand. I don't have the time or the energy to write long, heartfelt pitches as in previous Blog Love posts. You'll just have to take my word for it. This is the good stuff.

TEA & ORANGES


Tea & Oranges is the blog of a woman from New Zealand who is currently on maternity leave. I know no more about her than that, but I know that if I ever ran into her (admittedly not likely) I would give her a hug then give her a high five. Her blog is a combination of thoughts on parenting and society, snippets of her own personal experience, and well-informed rants about New Zealand's parental benefits system, the last of which is surprisingly interesting despite being of no direct relevance to me whatsoever.

I particularly loved this post about being a child of a high-flying career mother. There's a lot of discussion on this topic from a working mother's perspective, but not much from that of the child, I guess because today's children haven't developed the self-awareness or fine motor skills to write about it yet. Slackers.

FLORENCE FINDS


I've mentioned Florence Finds before, back when we were both young and fresh and could sleep for 8 hours in a row. My, how times have changed, eh Rebecca?

Rebecca's beautiful baby Bea was born just a few days after our bairn made her appearance, so Florence Finds is really resonating with me at the moment. From practical posts about slings and nursing bras (in both cases, it's all about the support) to thoughts on body image and the emotional impact of becoming a mother, Rebecca's opinions are always well thought out. I really enjoy hearing her perspective, even if - especially if - my own experience has been different. Her recommendations are also excellent, be they tense BBC dramas or maternity dresses.

In short, she's like a cool mum friend with great taste that you wish lived round the corner. In fact, she's exactly that.

ONE BAD MOTHER


Technically this is cheating, because One Bad Mother isn't a blog; it's a podcast. Sometime I don't have a free hand or even a free pair of eyes ("La la la, looking at my phone, reading a blog, la la la, this is so easy oh whoops the baby threw up all over herself and I didn't notice") so something that just requires my ears is perfect. Bonus points for being sarcastic, honest, informative and highly amusing. 

One Bad Mother takes the form of a conversation between the two hosts, both mothers of small children, on topics including parenting triumphs and failures, the horrors of pregnancy, and why a glass of wine for mommy is not only justified but necessary. Fin can't listen to it on the grounds that they're "screechy," and he may have a point, but they've become my late-night sanity-maintaining feeding buddies so I'll forgive them anything.


So. There are three things that make me feel marginally less alone in this crazy endeavour called parenthood. Fellow caretakers of tiny humans, what else should I be reading/listening to/gobbling up at four in the morning?


SEE ALSO:


Images: 1. Mama Watters 2. Top with Cinnamon 3. Rebecca's Instagram 4. One Bad Mother

Signs of Sleep Deprivation


Leaving the hob on all afternoon.

Then putting a plastic tupperware box down. On the hob.

I have no idea how to clean melted plastic. Maybe I'll just stop using that hob.



Waking from a thick, black, unplanned sleep to find the baby lying where I'd left her on my chest, her fat cheeks cold to the touch. I've never felt panic like it. Seeing her wriggle, then realising that Fin had been awake and alert and watching over us the whole time, did nothing to stop my hands shaking.

Falling asleep at the wrong moment has never been so terrifyingly easy.



Watching a High School Musical spin-off from start to finish because I couldn't summon the energy to change the channel.

Secretly enjoying it.



Image: Natalia on Flickr
 

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