This is a massive "Things I'm Loving". It was meant to be published in March but I kept on adding things and before I knew it, it was April. Anyway, I have lots of things that I'm loving so here goes...
I finally got around to framing these two gorgeous prints that Maisie received for her first birthday. Fresh Strawberries by A Little Sweetness from my sister...
And Balloons by Sarah Jane Studios from my parents...
I have loved both of these artists for ages and love that Maisie was given art for her birthday. We certainly don't need any more toys and these will lovingly hang in her bedroom for years to come (and then one day hopefully she'll pass them on to her children).
After a bit of a battle with our insurance company (which thankfully ended in our favour), our swimming pool was finally fixed... on the first day of autumn! Now everything around the pool has to be ripped up and replaced (it's a major!) but it's lovely to have shimmering blue water instead of a grey empty hole in the ground.
A few weeks ago I rejigged Maddie's art supplies. I had all the art supplies stored away in individual clear Sistema containers in a dresser in our playroom. It looked so lovely, neat and tidy. However, Maddie is a very enthusiastic artist and as I watched her "create" I realised she was limited by all those sealed containers. So I did a little decoupage on some old tins and popped them in an old soda crate. Now she has everything (except the paint!) at her finger tips. We've since added more supplies in there (stickers, glitter glue etc). She loves it and her creativity has soared.
First time ever but I caught a summer cold last month and with it came a hideous persistent cough. Luckily I had a bottle of Malcolm Harkers Lung Elixir on hand and with the first dose I was back on the path to full health. It's a very strong natural tonic (I quite like the taste though) that you can actually feel moving all the way down your oesophagus and starting to work it's magic. I can't recommend it enough!
This one probably deserves it's own blog post! Have you ever had a week or two where you've wondered what on earth happened to your happy baby? One week everything was amazing, and the next week they are the three c's - crying, cranky and clingy? Maisie has just come out of one of those phases now. But thanks to the Wonder Weeks, I knew that she was having a mental growth spurt and it would pass. Parents are well aware of the physical growth spurts that babies go through but the Wonder Weeks teaches parents about the mental growth spurts babies experience before they learn a new skill. Both of my girls have followed the Wonder Weeks to the absolute letter and I am eternally grateful for the insightful knowledge. Available as an in-depth book or a quick reference iPhone app (which I love!), the Wonder Weeks gives parents a summary of what is going on in their babies brains, what signs or behaviours they might be exhibiting, the abilities they will have once the mental growth spurt is complete and most importantly - how long it will last for. No tips or tricks on how to make that cranky baby happy, but I find it invaluable when I'm struggling with a suddenly moody little someone in our house. The Wonder Weeks starts from your babies due date and goes right up to 84 weeks of age.
Speaking of whom, Maisie had her first proper hair cut a few weeks ago. She absolutely loved it! So cute!
I saw this fantastic book in The Warehouse while I was browsing - Amazing Aotearoa, Margaret Mahys History of New Zealand. It looks brilliant. It touches on every aspect of New Zealand history, right up to the recent Christchurch earthquakes. I read a few passages and think it would be a brilliant and interesting read for school age children.
While Awesome Aotearoa would be lost on my little girls, Maddie is right in to all of the old books I have collected over the years - especially the Enid Blyton Annuals and the Brambly Hedge books. She has also been enjoying some of the Noddy Books. It seriously thrills me that she chooses to read these stories each night without any input from me. I just love the Secret Seven and look forward to when she is old enough for chapter books.
She is particularly enjoying an old book called Come Follow Me to the Secret World of Elves and Fairies and Gnomes and Trolls by Gyo Fujikawa who was a American born Japanese illustrator. This book is absolutely beautiful and completely magical to little ones who love fairies. It is full of short stories, poems and stunning illustrations.
A quick visit to our local Warehouse last week yielded these gorgeous pink cake stands for only $4.97 each. I grabbed two at that price. I still can't believe they were so cheap! They'll look great on the table at a certain little someones 4th birthday party next month. Any guesses on the theme?
For those of you who follow me on Facebook, you would have seen that I recently met the lovely Julia from Mactisserie at the Coatesville Markets. Her macaroons are absolutely out of this world - the best I have ever ever ever ever tasted (that's a pretty big call don't you think!) I can't recommend Mactisserie and her beautiful macaroons enough.
Cider starting to take it's market share on the shelves at supermarkets lately and those hideous old green plastic bottles are starting to be replaced by some more attractive boutique packaging with some interesting flavour combinations. Wildside Feijoa and Passionfruit is delicious! Plus Koppaberg Elderflower and Lime is so refreshing. Such a easy summer beverage :)
Call the Midwife Series 3 arrived from Amazon last week. I just can't bear waiting to see it on TV in New Zealand when I know it aired months ago in the UK. I greedily watched the whole series over one weekend and it was brilliant. There was a lot to take in and there were some heart breaking storylines (I cried on more than one occasion) but it was as fabulous as ever.
Finally, I am loving the day we spent at the annual Kumeu Show last month. Held on the second weekend of March, we have attended religiously for the last 4 years. It's like a more rural version of the Auckland Easter Show and a fabulous family day out. This year was no exception. It was particularly fun because Maddie was old enough to understand and participate in so much more.
But the thing that I am loving the absolute most above all else is Maddie played the clown game at the side shows (which was my absolute favourite when I was little). She won two tiny little teddy bears and she turned straight around a gave one straight to Maisie - my heart seriously melted. I couldn't have been more proud of her!