IMG_5242I’ll start with an apology – I lost my blogging mojo back in the spring and have spent the past four months with my head firmly in the sand. When I started the blog I was spending a significant amount of time feeding Caspar in the small hours, and decided to put some of that time to good use (nourishing a hungry baby aside) by writing. Of course once I got into that routine, Caspar decided he was a 12hours straight through kind of guy and I lost my window. I can assure you though that I’m back, and I’m blogging.

So what’s new? Caspar turned one last month and is checking off the milestones on a seemingly daily basis. He’s a happy chap with a turbo crawl, obsessed with finding out how things work (no switch, button or door is safe) and a sweet tooth.

I’m back at work, four days a week, and currently figuring out how all the pieces of the ever-changing puzzle fit into place each day. I miss Caspar during the working day but am so grateful that he is being looked after by his Granny (my Mum), who he adores. Eventually I expect we will look into a nursery option, but as long as everyone is happy we will stick with the status quo.

We are also on the hunt for a new house, somewhere with a bigger garden and another bedroom or two, in the hope we will be settled somewhere before Caspar starts pre-school/school and in case we decide on a sibling (which is certainly not on the agenda imminently!).

In terms of the blog, I’ll be back with the usual product recommendations, tips for things to do in Winchester and further afield, general chat and of course ideas for how to add a little luxe into everyday life.

More soon…

Living in the middle of nowhere sometimes has its downsides – when that 9pm chocolate craving strikes, or when you run out of nappies, it’s not just a question of nipping out to the corner shop with a coat over your pyjamas, but a 20 mile round trip in the car.

But this time of year brings something to our nearby woodland that makes it worth the mileage – bluebells. Our local wood in Micheldever is famous for its purple carpet, and they are in full bloom this week (usually the last week of April is your best bet for the peak of the display).

This year I was determined to get a few photos of Caspar in the blooms, not least because we have just put our house on the market and may not be here next Spring. Lots of local photographers offer professional shoots, but having neither the money nor the forethought to book in time, I roped in my photography enthusiast younger brother to help, and I am so pleased with the results.

If you’re keen to get some similar snaps, or just enjoy a walk in the scenery, get down there quick – I expect they will be gone for another year by the end of next week.

As promised in my previous changing bag post, here are the highlights of what I keep inside my trusty tote. I’m not talking nappies, muslins and baby wipes etc as I would hope these are already a given, but things that I didn’t know existed when I was pregnant, and have found to be invaluable since.

Clockwise (starting from top left):

Kiddylicious Wafers
These handy packs take up little space and weigh virtually nothing, but keep Caspar engaged just long enough for us to wolf down a coffee or quick meal when out and about. The fact the remnants cement themselves to his little hands and sleeves is the only sticking point (pun unapologetically intended).

Milton Antibacterial Wipes
These are brilliant for wiping over toys that have made contact with the floor, or sanitizing a surface you can’t guarantee is clean (this isn’t a comment on the cleanliness of local eateries –  I find these most useful for after we’ve torn through a cafe. We are like a tiny, sticky tornado).

JoJo Maman Bebe Changing Pouch
I keep all nappy changing essentials in this handy pouch, so when we need to head to the Baby Change I can just grab everything I need with one hand.

Sudocrem
Specifically, this tiny travel-sized pot. I got this in one of my free Bounty packs, and despite having used the original contents months ago, I now top it up from the full-sized tub as it’s just so much easier to pop in the bag.

Ikea Soft Book
Like every other sane person, before becoming a parent I sped through the baby & child section in Ikea faster than you can say ‘meatballs’. These days, I relish in their sweet, simple designs and affordable price tags – nearly every baby-populated household I go into has one of their highchairs.

Ring O Links
These are one of my best buys. You can use them to attach toys, teething rings etc to the pram or highchair, but they also provide entertainment on their own – Caspar enjoys manically shaking them together at any given opportunity.

Sophie Giraffe Harness
All new parents know about Sophie Giraffe and her natural gum soothing qualities, but not so many seem to know that you can buy a harness* to stop her making a quick dash to the floor every 5 seconds.

*Don’t worry – it’s not long enough to cause any safety concerns.

Cath Kidston Travel Bags
Available in a number of their iconic prints, these zip-up, waterproof bags are handy for holding anything you’d rather not come into contact with everything else (the less of which said, the better).

As always, I’m all ears to hear your recommendations!

As Caspar was born in the middle of a hot summer, it took me a while to realise that something I entirely neglected to put on my (what I thought was a bullet-proof) pre-baby wish list, was a practical raincoat. One that can be kept in the car and thrown on over any type of outfit, in any season.

Until the wet Autumn rolled in, I just hadn’t quite thought through how I was going to shield myself from the British weather with my trusty Cath Kidston umbrella, at the same time as pushing a rather large pram – and getting it, plus what feels like all of my worldly possessions, as well as the baby in/out of the house and/or car.

Yet my search for a suitable raincoat, when I actually got round to doing it, wasn’t quite as straight forward as I had hoped. For my money, there are a few non-negotiable essentials I require in a coat:

  • It has to have a hood
  • It has to be able to pack down into the pram basket, so no bulky linings
  • It has to actually be waterproof – beware the term “showerproof”
  • It has to be able to go with anything, in all seasons
  • It has to have some modicum of style, even if it’s just a fitted waist or pretty lining.

You would be amazed (or perhaps not, if you have walked this soggy path before), how few options this actually leaves. So here’s a selection of options that I feel match the above criteria:

  1. Haven Prime Jacket by Joules
    The King of the Raincoat – you can’t go wrong with Joules, but I particularly like this modern floral number
  2. Curve Jacket by Rains
    This Danish brand does waterproof very well. If you live locally to Winchester, they are stocked at the lovely Long Barn in Alresford.
  3. Mosebacke by Stutterheim
    An ultra-luxe version, but should last a lifetime.
  4. Downpour Mac by Seasalt
  5. Rain Coat by H&M
    A more purse-friendly option.

As always, I love to hear of other tried and tested recommendations, so please do get in touch!

Lots of people have asked us why we chose the name Caspar for our son, and my answer is always the same – quite simply, because we like it. We like that it goes well with our surname, that it has a pleasing sound to it, and that it has some grounding in its origins (a derivative of one of the Three Wise Men, no less). We also like it because it is fairly unusual (or so I thought – we have recently started a baby group with both a Casper and a Jasper in the same class…). 

Because we didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl, we came up with lots of names for both genders and started picking them off one by one over the course of several months, until at the end of my pregnancy we were pretty certain of one for each. It’s difficult knowing how a name is going to suit someone, but with Caspar it just seems right, and has done from the day he was born. If we go on to have any subsequent children I am secretly hoping for a girl, as I am still quite attached to our girls name – a lot of thought went into choosing it, after all. 

Some people ask us if we worry school children will tease him about a certain friendly ghost, but I think his generation won’t be overly familiar with a film of the 90s, and who is to say another cartoon or Hollywood blockbuster won’t come out with character names that haven’t even been realised yet? 

After all is said and done, I just hope that as he gets older he likes his name, and feels proud to introduce himself, whether it be to a teacher, at a job interview, or perhaps even saying his wedding vows*.

 

*I am not a pushy parent. I am not a pushy parent. I am not a pushy parent…