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Apparently this monument is based on the Parthenon, but they ran out of money. Ha.

When is a mini break not a mini break? When it’s a tiny break. That is, just 48 hours in total. I got back from Edinburgh yesterday afternoon, exactly 48 hours after I left. And I believe I have now cracked that great mystery of ‘how to have a successful holiday after having a baby’. The answer, my friends, is: Leave The Baby At Home.

Sorry to be glib. It actually wasn’t that easy, but it wasn’t that hard either. I dropped her off with my mum (who she loves to death) and only felt a tiny bit teary as I walked away – she was totally happy and playing so it wasn’t some great big emotional scene. The train journey up was bloody lovely – nice and quiet and I read a whole book and scoffed Pret and it was like being a grown up again. I also bought OK magazine for the first time in ages but never actually got round to reading it. I feel I need to mark this as some sort of pinnacle of maturity. The thing is, I usually buy Red mag (if I buy mags at all, which I never do any more – my 15-year-old self who dreamed of being a magazine journalist would be beside herself with sadness) but there were none left in WHSmith in Kings Cross. So I bought OK because it’s the kind of crappy thing I usually like reading in the hairdresser’s. But when it came down to it: just me, the train and the magazine, I found that I actually didn’t care. I looked at the cover several times, taking in all the trying-to-be-tantalising-titbits about various slebs I was vaguely aware of and I found I didn’t care enough to even open the damn thing. How times have changed.

Hmm. Not sure what the point of that little sidestep was, but I guess as an admission it won’t help my ‘career’ if I ever decide I want to get back into the meeja properly. Anyway… yes, my tiny break. Edinburgh is bloody lovely. Beautiful. Why did no one tell me this before? I’ve only been to Scotland a couple of times before – once on a rather disastrous honeymoon with my ex husband (we stayed in the middle of nowhere in the Highlands in JANUARY and it was freezing and boring and the water in the toilet was brown because it was filtered through peat or some such nonsense – anyway, nothing romantic about that trip) and then once for a wedding. I never knew Edinburgh was so pretty, and had such fab landscapes all around it. Also, thank you weather gods, because the sun shone all day – we walked 16km exploring the city as much as we could and I enjoyed every second. I didn’t even think about the baby much, which makes me feel ashamed and feminist all at the same time.

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The crooner and his talented sidekick

She was fine, anyway, and had a lovely time with her grandparents. And best of all, Oli’s show, Simply Bowie (a pared-back, Jazz interpretation of some of David Bowie’s hits), was a phenomenal success. They had no PR budget yet it was packed out every night, they were on Scottish TV and BBC Radio Scotland and the feedback was unanimously positive. I was so proud and I’ve been blathering all about it all over social media ever since we returned. But in case you’ve missed it, you can check out his Facebook page for more info and you can also buy the album on iTunes (or stream it, if you can figure out how on earth to use this new bloody Apple Music – if you can, you’re a wiser (wo)man than me).

My only regret about Edinburgh is that I was only there for one day, and that day was the last day of the Fringe, so lots of the shows had already finished. As a result there wasn’t much on offer to see, and the atmosphere was a little more subdued than I had expected. I did however, get to witness the awesome last night fireworks. So, you know, swings and roundabouts.

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Just a quick post from me today because – yay – it’s nearly bank holiday weekend and I’m sure everyone has more exciting things planned than reading blogs. But I just had to give a massive plug/mention to Bubblegum Balloons. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably already seen that for Daphne’s first birthday we bought her a personalised balloon, filled with confetti. That, along with a car seat, was her only present from us. Bear with me…

When my sister turned one (she’s now 32 so that’s a loooong time ago) my parents filled her cot with balloons on the morning of her birthday and there’s a photo of her waking up completely mesmerised by these rubbery things all around her (luckily not freaked out, as I fear Daph would be, but Sophie is a little bit more fiesty). So for some reason I got it into my head that I wanted to do something similar for Daph – but something maybe a bit less scary.

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I can’t remember where I heard about Bubblegum Balloons – probably on Instagram, but they are the loveliest UK company and they make beautiful balloons for all kinds of swanky occasions – weddings, press launches, fashion shows etc. It’s such a simple but genius idea – STYLISH balloons that you can personalise. Most of them are filled with confetti (as the one we bought Daph was) and have beautiful little ‘tails’ attached, and are perfectly weighted so that they sit quite happily on the floor (they’re filled with helium). Better still, they come tissue wrapped in a simple white box – watching Daph’s face as we opened it and the balloon floated to the air was just a magical experience. And she LOVES it.

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We’ve had hours of fun out of it already – her pulling the tail to bring it down, headbutting it, watching it twirl about… it’s almost better than her plastic piano (current favourite toy du jour). She laughs her head off when she sees it. We bought her a pretty confetti balloon filled with hearts, clouds and stars, but we did notice after there’s a circus one (she LOVES elephants) so I think next year we’ll go for that one. It wasn’t cheap, at £36, but it was worth every penny. A week on and it’s still going strong too!

As well as the helium balloons, Bubblegum also sell super cute mini balloons on sticks and conventional ones you blow up yourself. The customer service was great too – I realised I had ordered Daph’s balloon to be delivered the day after Daph’s birthday – well done mummy – and they brought it forward without any bother. Have a look at the website – highly recommended!

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If only we could stay in the air-conned car all night too…

Oh god, I’m writing this during Bake Off, so I guess no one will read it. But anyway. Just a quick update and a big thank you to everyone who gave me tips for surviving my week home-alone parenting. So far, it’s been a mixed bag, but I can confirm that we are both alive. Hurrah!

Daph was actually an angel for the first two nights, sleeping through from 6.30pm to 6.30am which she has never ever done before without a middle of the night feed. So that got me all cocky and thinking I was nailing it. It also got me shedloads of sleep, which was awesome. But then last night, it all went wrong. I’m blaming the weather. This hideous weather! I love the summer but why in the hell can we not just have 23-24 degrees and sunshine all summer long rather than rain for most of it, punctuated by this insanely humid and stuffy ordeal. It’s horrible. We’ve also seemingly bought the Hottest House in the World. It has no loft (the ceilings are open to the roof, which sounds weird but is kind of cool and quirky – I KNOW I need to do pictures of the damn house, coming soon I promise…). The lack of loft means all the bedrooms basically ARE the loft, and you know how hot lofts get in this kind of weather.

Poor Daph’s room is about 32 degrees and there’s literally no way of cooling it down. I’ve looked into leaving frozen bottles of water in there but worried about the humidity from that making it even worse. The window is open, the blackout blinds have been down all day but it’s still a mini oven in there. Which means she’s been taking forever to go to sleep (she hates not having her sleeping bag on, but obviously she’s just in her nappy, and she’s also scared of the oscillating fan which sends her elephant mobile batshit crazy) and then last night she woke up at 11.30pm and screamed blue murder until 1am when she fell asleep on me. That was… sweaty.

I don’t suppose this is a very interesting tale really – all mothers are probably having the same issues. Compounding the situation though is the fact that she is now teething her first set of molars (they’re meant to come through at 14 months Daph, you precocious child!), and has simultaneously decided that Calpol and Nurofen are disgusting and there’s absolutely no way thank you very much she will take them: syringe, spoon, hiding it in Petit Filous, sucking it from my finger – NOT GOING TO HAPPEN MAMA.

So yeah. Today was tiring. I marvel as ever at Daph’s ability to scream and wonder what on earth my poor neighbours think – if I was them I would have been calling social services last night.

Another side effect of this lovely heatwave are the mosquitos. There are mosquitos in my garden thanks to next door’s stupid bloody water feature. Yesterday I actually caught one biting me and now my arm has swollen up to twice its size* – perhaps you’re not meant to interrupt them mid-meal. Either way, stupid neighbours, stupid heatwave and stupid water feature. *itches*

But onto more important things! What I really meant to say is that, thanks to pressure from my mum (who I suspect is just desperate to look after Daph) this Sunday I am now going to Edinburgh to see Oli’s show! And leaving the baby behind! EEEK.

When Oli first said he was doing the festival we did ruminate over me going up there for a couple of nights too, but I think if I’m honest we were both too lazy to think about the logistics. But the show’s been going really well and I’ve never been to Edinburgh before, which is pretty shameful at my age. And my mum seems very keen to have Daph overnight. And the other day I realised with a bit of a shock that she’s one now and I’ve never left her before – not for a single night. So perhaps it’s time to cut the apron strings a little. It’s pretty terrifying but the thought of two nights’ sleep in a row is unbelievably exciting. It’s kind of like going on a mini break! I suspect I will spend the entire time phoning my mum/trying to Facetime/whatsapping her bossy instructions but still. We might even get to have a grown up dinner out. Squeak!

*may be a slight exaggeration

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‘Oh god, don’t leave me here with HER Daddy!’

Tomorrow, Oli is leaving for Edinburgh, where he’ll be staying for just over a week. He’s going to be doing a show at the fringe with the wondrous Chad Lelong – a reinterpretation of David Bowie songs – if you’re at the festival and fancy popping by, then you can find out all the details here.

But this post isn’t really about that (sorry Ol). It’s about me (so far, so predictable). You see, it’ll be the first time I’ll have been left alone with Daph even overnight, let alone for a week. And I have a confession: I am absolutely terrified.

I’ve known this week was coming up for months – I think Oli agreed to do the festival back in January. But it seemed so far away and I thought as Daph would be one it would be OK. I assumed by now we’d have a really lovely easy routine and rapport going on, and of course it never occurred to me that she would still not be sleeping through the night every night. *bitter laughter*

At present, I know I’m a spoilt cow because Oli is around a lot in the day – he works evenings obviously and so I’ve always got help with the childcare. I’ve never had to be a traditional mum, stuck at home all day on my own with a baby. I get to say things like: ‘Can you just hold Daph for a sec while I pluck an errant chin hair/straighten my hair/have a twenty-minute toilet break?’ I’ve got used to the lie ins that I get every morning (I think I mentioned in an old post that Oli and I struck a deal – I do all the night feeds, and he gets up with her in the morning so I can catch up on sleep). I usually wake up about 8am. But this week, I’ll be doing the night feeds AND getting up at 6am and giving her breakfast and then looking after her all day until she goes to bed. I am afraid. Very afraid. Of the following things specifically:

  1. Bathtime. How will I coordinate running the bath/ getting her ready/stopping her from drowning while she’s in the bath while I turn around and grab her towel? We have a SYSTEM goddamit: Oli gets her ready for her bath, I give her the bath, he watches her while I get all her towels ready and then I lift her out of the bath and bring her to him to get her into her nightime nappy/pyjamas. Then I read her a story and give her her milk and she goes to bed. It works! It’s a process! If one of us is missing, it’s no longer a process; it’s a health and safety violation.
  2. Mealtimes. These are my most hated of all parenting duties, due to Daph’s rather fussy nature (read: tendency to scream and squirm and try to climb out of her highchair after one mouthful of food). And I will have to do all of them. Worse still, I will have no one there to distract her/pull funny faces while I try to shove food into her unsuspecting mouth. And how am I meant to prepare the actual food when if you leave her in her playpen for more than about ten minutes she goes batshit crazy?
  3. Playtime. I guess I am a terrible mother because… *whispers* … I find playing with my own child monumentally dull after about twenty minutes. Oli is BRILLIANT at playing with her, and comes up with voices, names and characters for all her animals etc etc. All I have managed so far is voracious quacking as I squeeze her rubber duck in the bath (which barely even registers a response, truth be told, let alone a smile). I feel so ashamed but I just don’t know HOW TO PLAY. I love her to death – I think I’ve got loving her down to a fine art and have mastered the art of cuddling and kissing her and soothing her when she’s sad. But more than ten minutes of stacking bricks that she just knocks over in favour of barging towards my handbag/mobile phone/any hard surface on which to bonk her head and I just want to stick her in front of Teletubbies and hide behind my laptop. I try reading to her, but she just yanks the books out of my hand and closes them. Apparently trapping Mummy’s fingers in the pages is more fun than watching Mummy point out where Mr Tickle is.
  4. Going to the toilet. How. How. How.
  5. Having a shower. The only time I’ll be able to do this is when she’s having her first nap at 9.30am. But on Thursday I have to go to work and my mum is going to babysit. So again, how, WHEN am I meant to have a shower before leaving for the office? At 5.30 before she wakes up? When I’ve probably been up at 4am anyway. Maybe the answer is NEVER GOING TO BED.

I so wish I was better with children – I’ve never been very good with them, and much as I adore my amazing little daughter, I find spending long periods time with her now she’s older and more aware (and more opinionated) really quite challenging. I know you’re not meant to admit that, but I hope I’m not the only mother out there like it. I love the days when Granny comes over and I can sneak off and waste some time doing fun adult things like, y’know, replying to my emails. Or writing blog posts. The most challenging thing by far about being a mother is not having time to get things done. I hate that it takes four days to fold the washing because any spare second is spent firefighting the essential chores like emptying the nappy bin (you don’t want to leave that overflowing in August; LESSON LEARNT).

I am not complaining – I mean, it’s hardly a hardship to be at home with my child like many mothers up and down the country whose partners work abroad. But I AM scared. I think this week will be an interesting learning experience for me (and Daph, poor mite). I am hoping it’ll turn out better than I expect. I’ve arranged trips out for us every day, to make sure I don’t go insane with loneliness. But I’m frightened. I hope that doesn’t make me a horrible person. Wish us luck!

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Me five days before I gave birth…

I wasn’t sure what to call this post, or indeed, whether to write it at all, but it’s been niggling in my head for a week or so I decided to just do it. Please skip if it’s not your kind of thing, but for those of you who are curious about how having a baby changes you physically… read on. I love a good overshare, me. I also love reading these kind of posts because pregnancy affects everyone so differently – I find it fascinating.

So, deep breath, here we go…

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Me back in May. Not much has changed since. Note the frizzy hair…

My weight

Daph was born a year ago and I am kind of perversely proud to say I have not lost all my baby weight yet. Shock horror. I haven’t actually weighed myself since we moved because we’ve lost the bathroom scales somewhere in the melee, but you know how you know your own body… I would give a rough guess that I currently weigh about 9st 9 (on a good, non-period day, first thing in the morning after a wee). I’m 5ft 7 just to put that in context for you. When I got pregnant, I was about 9st 3, but I was actually the lightest I’d been in a while because I’d been on a bit of a fitness kick and had been going to the gym a few times a week for about six months. Earlier that year, I was about 9st 7, and that was probably my base weight for a couple of years.

So yes, I am not back down to 9st 3 (I was nearly 12 stone at my heaviest when pregnant!). I wanted to get back to 9st 7 but I haven’t even managed that. I have mixed feelings about this to be honest. I think – if I wanted to – I COULD get back down to that weight relatively easily, by doing a few runs each week. I started running earlier in the year when Daph was younger and weirdly I was less tired (somehow smaller babies are less tiring because despite the night-wakings, they’re less demanding during the day and nap a lot). But I gave it up when I started working again, when she was about five months old. Now when I get some time to myself I have to do my freelance work, and exercising has definitely taken a back seat.

Interestingly, when Daph was first born I was desperate to lose ALL the baby weight and really worried about it, but, now I can honestly say I don’t care! It’s quite liberating. The only part of me that really wants to lose the extra pounds is the part of me that sees myself in jeans, as they’re not as flattering as they were, but otherwise I am quite happy floating about in maxi dresses. The extra weight is all across my thighs – the inside of my thighs mostly, and a little bit on my tummy and arms. It’s not terrible. And on that note…

My tummy

The good thing about having a long back is that you also have a long tummy. Which means it usually looks pretty flat – there’s plenty of space to spread out the fat y’see. I also have a tummy button that goes in a lot which helps it to look flatter (blimey, this is a weird blog post). So my tummy actually looks pretty normal at first glance. I didn’t get any stretch marks (thankfully) when I was pregnant and the skin isn’t loose. What is different, is the – now excuse me here cos this is also a bit weird – texture of my skin on my stomach. It’s kind of squishier than before. I guess, it’s because it stretched and it’s now fatter, but I think it’s actually also cos my abs separated and I am fairly sure they haven’t joined back together yet. I think there are exercises I can do to sort this, but I can’t really be bothered to be honest. Maybe if we go on a bikini holiday next year I will do something about it. The main thing is that my tummy is pretty much the same as before, just a bit… softer.

My general shape

My mum doesn’t believe this, but my hips are definitely wider than before. You know how they stretch a bit when you are pregnant thanks to the ligaments relaxing? I really don’t think they go back – fitted trousers and dresses I wore before I got pregnant just don’t look quite right now (and no, it’s not just the extra weight – I can tell the difference). My waist is also less defined – that whole area is a lot more ‘square’. But it’s not terrible. I feel a bit more ‘mumsy’ shaped and dare I say it – middle aged?

Oh and my feet. My feet are still bigger. Not swollen any more but bigger, and most of my pre-pregnancy shoes are now uncomfortable.

My boobs

As you may know, I didn’t breastfeed really – just pumped for six weeks then gave up. After I stopped pumping my boobs shrank back pretty quickly to their previous size. They look the same now as before, honestly, but they are pretty small and inoffensive (I fail the pencil test) so maybe that’s why. I reckon they’re a bit lower than before, but that’s probably ageing more than anything else. I don’t know if boobs change more if you ‘properly’ breastfeed, would be interesting if anyone wants to share!?

My hair

This is the weirdest and most annoying thing. A year later – my hair is still not the same. It’s still darker (although I noticed my first few greys coming in – AAAAAH!) and even more weirdly, I seem to have developed a strange kink on one side. At first I thought it was the way I was wrapping my hair in a towel, but no, it turns out it’s actually gone a bit curly on one side. My hair has always been poker straight, and now if I leave it wet, it goes into a really unattractive wavy mess. Annoying.

My down-belows

Yikes, I can see my mum reading this and thinking I’ve truly lost my mind. However. I can confirm that all is functioning as before in this respect! No discernible changes AT ALL, despite my second degree tear. Your body is designed to give birth, and seems to make a really decent job of recovering from it. Or maybe I just got lucky. Either way, there’s been no leakage (SORRY!) or problems of any other nature… *stops talking before everyone I know disowns me*

Baby brain

Has gone! Hurrah. Apart from being eternally knackered, I feel my brain has returned to its previous level of functioning. If anything, I reckon it’s better – I’m certainly better at remembering things, multitasking and all that jazz.

What else what else… In general, I look older. A lot older than before. I am pretty sure this is all down to lack of sleep however, and not the baby per se. Oh and y’know I’m 35 now so it was to be expected.

So there you have it. My most navel-gazing post to date. Literal navel-gazing. I can see loads of you rolling your eyes and sneering at the sheer self-absorbedness of it. I may be full of regret at publishing this. But I think the point was really to say that yes, my body is different from before and no, I don’t actually care. I know all that gubbins about seeing your body differently after you’ve given birth sounds annoying but it’s SO true. It does put stuff into perspective. It does make you respect it more. It doesn’t stop you wanting to eat ice cream and sugar all day to cope with your three hours of sleep. But one look at the little person you made, and their PERFECT BOXFRESH skin and PERFECT SOFT hair and it’s a sacrifice that feels both completely natural and well worth making.

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Daphne is one! Well, she will be in 45 minutes time – right now a year ago I think I was in the last stages of proper hideous pushing – the bit when you feel like you are ripping yourself in half but you really, really don’t care. Anything to get them out. All a distant memory now thankfully. In fact, I said early on that I’d go through labour again twice over rather than have to endure the agonising six weeks of ‘breastfeeding’ that I attempted. Labour was incredibly painful and exhausting but it was still the biggest natural high I have ever had – much like how I imagine people who climb Everest feel. It is amazing what your body can do if you, er, make it.

But enough about me. Daphne is one and what a month it’s been! We’ve moved house, and thankfully she seems to love the new place just as much as the old place. She settled in straight away – in fact my biggest worry was her freaking out about being somewhere new but she seemed to love her new bedroom from the very first night. I think a lot of this has to do with the Flensted elephant mobile* she has hanging over her cot – she absolutely LOVES it, and as soon as I put her in her cot in the new room and she looked up and saw the elephants there, she smiled and rolled onto her side and went to sleep. The only problem with this ‘sleep prop’ of course is that it’s not very portable, so we’ve undoubtedly made a rod for our own backs there, but it was a godsend in keeping some sense of consistency for her when we first moved in.

The biggest change in the last month however, is that she is now crawling! She started to crawl at exactly 11 and a half months. It was amazing – just totally out of the blue one morning she just ‘got it’ and now she happily crawls everywhere. She’s also started trying to pull herself up but in typical Daph style, hasn’t really got the logic down yet and instead tries to push off by sticking her bum in the air and straightening her legs while in a crawl position – a kind of downward dog type affair. It doesn’t get her anywhere of course and she just gets frustrated. She sort of tries to climb up on furniture but not really, she can get onto her knees but then she loses interest. I’m not so worried about any of this anymore – I know she’s a little ‘behind’ what all the books say but she’s definitely progressing in her own way and I have no doubt she’ll get there in the end. The crawling is ace though – she’s so pleased with herself as she comes scuttling towards you. It’s a nightmare, of course, logistically – we were very used to being able to leave her in one position while we did something but now of course that’s impossible. Thank god we have a bigger house now – at the moment she uses the (pretty much empty) dining room as her main exercise track and has all her toys out on the floor.

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With her beloved granny, who made her this awesome Liberty dress for her birthday <3

What else is new? She’s finally started sleeping in a bit later – now she wakes up at 6.20 ish, which is much more bearable. However, she has still, never, ever, NOT ONCE IN HER WHOLE LITTLE LIFE, slept through from bedtime at 6.30pm to 6am without waking up at least once for a drink/cuddle. I have tried SO hard to wean her off the milk (I know she doesn’t need it at night at this age) but nothing bloody works. I’ve diluted it so that it’s just 90% water, given her just water, given her less milk… doesn’t make any difference, she will still wake up at some point the next night and demand to be picked up, reassured by a bottle (it’s about 30 seconds of ‘drinking’ each time!), and put back to bed. Any tips on this gratefully received! She usually goes straight back to sleep so it’s not been TOO annoying (and it’s usually at a reasonable hour like 11pm so I’m awake anyway), but for the past two nights I fear we have hit a new ‘phase’… I think it’s maybe a mini regression, but she’s woken up later than normal – at around 12.30am – and then stayed awake for an hour and a half each time, crying the second I leave the room. And not just a few whimpers, but proper howls. The heartbreaking ones. So I guess this is more separation anxiety at work – oh joy. Last night I was a bit despairing and even brought her into bed with us (I couldn’t get out of her bloody room without taking her too and quite frankly I just wanted to lie down by then) where she decided it was all rather funny and started giggling and jumping about. So she went straight back to her cot. Eventually she kind of wore herself out and went back to sleep, but honestly: WTH! Babies are so badly designed. This sleep nonsense is The Worst.

Another challenging aspect at the moment – food! Daphne takes after me (at least when I was young) and seems to now find eating a boring waste of time that gets in the way of all the exciting things she could be doing like going through mummy’s handbag or pulling all the tissues out of a box. The only way to get her to eat at the moment is by distracting her and then shovelling food in her mouth as she concentrates on something else – it’s amazing how creative you can get when you need to, and how entertaining you can make the wax bit of a Babybel. We’ve tried letting her feed herself but all she does is pick things up, turn them over in her hand and throw them on the floor – she hardly ever puts things in her mouth. It’s like she has zero interest in food. Unless – and here’s the caveat – I’m having a chocolate bourbon with my cup of tea. Then she’s suddenly desperate for a bite and a swig from the mug (don’t worry, I never let her do either. Promise. Ahem). Oh and she will happily munch on a rice cake in the car or in her buggy. She hates being fed from a spoon but will take things from a fork – again I think this is because she’s seen us eating from a fork. Mealtimes are exhausting and take hours.

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The best bit about Daph at the moment though, is her understanding. I keep desperately googling what’s normal for this age because I find it absolutely mindblowing, as she seems to understand everything. Well, she understands the names of everything. You only have to tell her once and she’ll remember what something is called – and now we can ask where blue dog or her phone or her piano or mummy’s computer are, and she’ll crawl off towards them and then bring them to you or pick them up to ‘show’ you. She knows what the car is, what houses are, what grass is, where the garden is, where her books are etc etc. She’ll also come to you if you ask her to, although she has yet to hand you something you ask her for. I think she must have at least 50 words in her receptive language already. However, she doesn’t say any! She speaks a lot in her own funny goobledegook, and often sounds like she’s saying ‘Daddy’ (not to anyone in particular however!) and ‘Eeeeeee’ which she says if she sees me or the cat. But no proper words, and not a snifter of a ‘mama’. Huh. Today, though, I swear she said ‘up’ after me (I was picking her up and said it as I did so, and she parroted it back. Might have just been a random fluke thing however!).

Most of all, Daphne age one is absolutely the most entertaining and lovely she’s been so far – I LOVE this age so much! She’s so happy and funny – a real little character. I’m much less worried about her than I was, and if only we could crack this sleep thing, I’d say life as a mum was pretty perfect right now. Happy birthday, my little lovely Chip.

* not a sponsored link, nor did I get it for free! 

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Taking pride of place by my Sebastian Cox desk – more on that in another post!

Right so I promised you interiors posts, but I didn’t promise you pretty interiors posts (if you want them, may I suggest my friend Vicky’s blog Style Made Simple?). I’m starting with this because it’s quick and easy for me to blog about (unlike all the decorating/room scheme planning that’s been going on and which requires decent photography) but also because it is possibly the most exciting purchase I have made since we moved in. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s certainly ONE of the most exciting purchases.

As with most desk-chained work drones, I have had to endure years of backache thanks to uncomfortable ‘ergonomic’ desk chairs. When I worked at IPC (now Time Inc, but forever IPC to me) and they moved into their fancy new office (which has since been sold off at the same rate as all their magazines) they gave us all these swish Vitra chairs. They looked lovely – all black mesh and sleek curves, but within days I was in agony. I think because I have a ridiculously long back (seriously I can’t wear a swimming costume because they don’t reach over my nipples), I just can’t get on with most chairs that are sculpted to fit. Anyway, we got free physio at work (like I said, this was back in the days when people still bought magazines and there was lots of money floating about) and I took full advantage of this. After using up my six free sessions and still finding work about as comfortable as walking across nails, I complained to my manager, who ordered me a hugely expensive Stephen Hawking-like contraption which, quite frankly, was actually worse.

Oh god, as usual, I’m being ridiculously verbose here – what I meant to say is that I prefer simple chairs rather than someone else’s idea of ‘ergonomic’. In fact, some of my most comfortable desk days have been sat on a kitchen chair with a cushion under my bum.

But obviously after a while this set-up gets a bit bum-numbing. I have searched high and low over the years for a solution. Just a comfortable desk chair – not too much to ask, right? And then finally I found one in John Lewis. About three years ago – the Herman Miller Setu. I sat on it and it was like being given a great big bear hug from behind. It was LOVELY. I was in love. But I was also wary – much like shoes you try on and prance about the shop in for five minutes that FEEL comfortable, chairs have a habit of turning on you after an hour. The chair was also expensive. Really expensive. I walked away.

But then I came back. Four times. Every time I went to John Lewis I would go and sit in it for as long as I could get away with before whoever I was shopping with wondered where on earth I had gone. And it was always the same: a great big bear hug. So finally, two weeks ago, I ordered one.

It arrived. I was so nervous. I sat in it but it was just as good as I remembered. Everyone who’s visited the new house has also sat in it and sighed in envy. It is a good chair. It’s not particularly fancy – in fact the only thing you can adjust is the seat height, but somehow this works. You can’t tilt the seat or fix the back or raise the arms but this means you’ve got less chance of locking yourself into some godawful position which seems comfortable at first but is slowly and stealthily crushing your spine.

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Also, even though I said this wasn’t a pretty interiors post, it’s a pretty chair right? It’s bloody lovely to look at. It comes in lots of sophisticated shades – in fact the ‘Berry’ one, a kind of navy, was my favourite in the store but after much deliberation I went with the neutral ‘Alpine’ to match my new office decor.

So yes. If like me, you’re in need of a new desk chair and you also can’t cover your nipples in a swimming costume, maybe go and have a sit on it in John Lewis for three years too. I reckon you’ll be as convinced as I was.

moving-home-lifebylotte

See, I can do minimalism…

Hello!! I’m still alive! We survived the move! The sun is shining and I have a gin to hand. All good things.

Apologies for the radio silence, so much for my two-week break from blogging… Thing is, everyone was right: moving house with a baby is just soooo hard. The problem is not the moving so much as the fact that you don’t have any time in the day once you have moved to Get. Shit. Done. It’s impossible – Daph sleeps for a maximum of two hours per day at the moment and the first nap is in the morning so I spend it washing my hair and stuff like that (OK, OK, and wasting precious time on the sidebar of shame, but I MISS being able to waste time like that SOOO much), and the second one is just 45 minutes after lunch which I mostly spend checking emails and whinging on the phone to my mum about how busy I am. Hmm.

But when you move, you have to do things like unpack boxes, order furniture, sort out curtains, hang pictures, CLEAN (a lot), find lightbulbs that fit, redirect mail, work out how to use your stupidly expensive new washing machine etc etc. Oh and break up tons of cardboard boxes and try to squeeze them into your fortnightly (!! bloody suburbs) collected recycling bin. So yes, it’s all been a bit of a blur.

Meanwhile we’ve also been going back and forwards to my old flat to try to clear it. I thought I was quite a minimalist person but then I went up into my loft for the first time in about two years and apparently I’m actually the sort of person who hides stuff in my loft and pretends to be minimalist. Why I felt the need to keep every single box for every single thing I ever bought (knackered old kettle, a £20 iron etc) is a bit of a mystery – somewhere in the back of my mind a stupid little voice kept saying ‘if you keep the box you’ll get more for it on eBay one day’ but when on earth am I going to get around to selling an old iron on eBay anyway? Time is money Charlotte, and ain’t nobody got time for that. Thank god for London’s street freecycle system (leave things outside your flat, the next day they’ve magically disappeared – it’s brilliant).

The good news is that we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we’re finally getting there with the new house too. It’s been an exciting and incredibly expensive two weeks buying new things for the house – we have loads of furniture but of course none of it fits or looks right in the new place. It’s like when you get a new job, suddenly you need a whole new wardrobe because all your old clothes aren’t quite right. Or maybe that’s just me. Either way, we’re having to decide what furniture to get rid of, and what to keep, while ordering exciting new things like massive extendable dining tables for all the Christmases we’ll probably never host and sideboards (oh so middle-aged) to store Scrabble and Monopoly in. COS WE HAVE A BABY NOW AND IT’S TRADITION TO HAVE BOARDGAMES IN THE SIDEBOARD EVEN IF YOU LITERALLY NEVER PLAY THEM.

I’d love to blog a bit about the new house, if people are at all interested. I’m not sure who reads my blog these days – I get lots of emails from PRs talking about interiors stuff but as all the posts have been baby-related lately I suspect most of my readers are interested in babies. And of course next week we have the momentous occasion of Daphne turning one so lots to talk about in that regard too. If only there were more hours in the day!

Oh god, what a tired old cliche. Yes Charlotte, you’re SO busy and important, we get the message…

*shoots self by way of apology*

What I wanted to say in this long rambling and really slightly pointless post is that I will be back, whether you want me or not, and I’m hoping my new mix of topics won’t put you off. So there. More soon!