The un-sparking of joy. KonMari update 6 months on.

Ok, I am calling BS on the Marie Kondo method. After my joy filled rose tinted post several months ago about organizing my entire life I need to come clean about my fall from the organizational wagon. When the impossibly well presented Marie Kondo popped up onto my Netflix watch list in February I looked around at my living room which was strewn with various neon coloured bits of plastic and eyed the bulging drawers I daren’t open and felt decidedly non joyous. This sweet lady was offering to spark joy in my life and all I needed to do was throw out all of my things in return. Simple, easy, I. can. do this.

So I drank the Koolaid, I immediately binge watched the entire show and decided I needed to get my life in order or I risked becoming one of those people who hoards newspapers and becomes the centre of a television show documenting how I was crushed to death by my lifelong collection of greeting cards (it’s a problem, I keep them for no reason). No, this would not be my fate. Everything needed to go and it needed to go now.  So off I went with my bin bag (that’s garbage bag for you North American’s) and began holding every piece of clothing I owned hoping for the elusive feeling of “joy”. Unsurprisingly, much of my pre-pregnancy closet did not spark joy so into the bag it went and off to the donation centre. I earnestly held towels, ornaments, shampoos and other random household items in my search for joy and most of them found their way into the bag too. A lot of times the notion of joy gave me pause. Honestly, how can a towel spark joy? It is necessary but I don’t have a strange magic feeling when I hold it. What about my wireless skin coloured bras? it offers comfort yes, but joy? no. Soon I had my husband involved and a mountain of bags ready to leave my house. I was an organizational wizard, neigh a goddess. Why hadn’t I done this sooner? I recommended the book to everyone who would listen to me. I carefully took pictures of my drawers and promised myself and Kondo that I would NEVER fall back into my old ways.

marie kondo perfect shirt fold
Warning: this is an unrealistic, Utopian ideal.

Well it was all sunshine and lollipops for a few weeks. I carefully folded everything into strange triangles and put them into my drawers. I blogged about how amazing I felt and sang the methods praises. I must have been nauseating. But then things inevitably went awry. I must preface this by stating that I am a closet messy person. My house is organized and tidy on the surface but I have a nasty habit of sweeping stuff off counters and into the nearest drawer. It started small. Cables escaped their carefully organized box prisons. Bras were shoved into dividers rather than being carefully laid out. clothes were pushed into drawers in haste with the 0.5 seconds I had to myself.  Socks lay divergent on my bedroom chair. Folding the laundry became an EVEN WORSE job as I now had to take ages folding everything so bloody small. Perhaps a pivotal moment in the sullying of the Kondo method came when my 4 year old decided she wanted to dress herself daily and pulled every item of clothing out of her drawers. I could not face refolding. I couldn’t do it. I’m sorry Kondo but I have had my awakening. This was not sparking joy.

IMG_7696
She totally sparks joy but the mess that her new found style expression leaves does not.

So has my life turned into disarray and a joyless void since I stopped following the KonMari method? In a word, no. Folding and putting away my laundry, whilst not speedy, does not take 10 business days. I don’t want to cry in the fetal position every time my kid opens a drawer and spills the contents onto the floor with no regard for the hours of careful folding I have put in. It wasn’t a completely wasted exercise though. I have become a little more mindful of putting things back in their place, but I’m realistic. Sometimes you’ve gotta throw everything in the nearest drawer because you have company coming over. Sometimes you have things that just don’t have a “place” and end up moving between drawers. Sometimes All the time you don’t have time to fold your underwear into neat little squares. I’m not saying that her ideas are without merit, millions of people have bought her book and found a calmer life through her method but for the average, busy mum it is just a level of organization that is simply unattainable.

So there you have it. I throw my hand up and admit that I’m a messy person. I’ve been waiting 33 years to become a proper grown up who knows how to fold a fitted sheet and cared about folding underwear but it’s just not happening you guys. Will I ever be a grown up? But you know what? It doesn’t matter, what sparks joy for me is a relatively tidy home that is a place of calm but where you’re not afraid to get comfy or put your feet on the couch. Just don’t look in the drawers.

generatedtext (1)

 

 

Musings On Friendship In Your 30s.

It seems like your 30s are a decade of many questions and mysteries. Why are my veins sticking out? Is that a grey hair? Why don’t my shorts fit? What do I wear? How do I parent? Why can’t I sleep despite being perpetually exhausted? But one of the trickiest mysteries is why is it so blinking hard to make friends?

Friendships throughout the years

Humans are by nature pack animals. We seek out others to make tribes with and have done for millennia. Taking a look at our own lives, making friends throughout the years never seemed that much of a challenge. Lets go back in time for a moment. In the school yard you were a kid who had no idea who they are or what they wanted yet making friends was as simple as sharing a bag of crisps or playing a game of Little Mermaid. In Comprehensive school you got separated from your primary school pals and formed new bonds over the Bunsen burner which led into going to the park and chasing boys after school and then your first nights out on Bacardi Breezers and ten quid in your pocket. University saw you move away from home and into halls of residence with the giddy sense of freedom yet the responsibilities of adulthood being so far away. People from all over the country were thrown into the same situation and just like that you fell into easy friendships with room mates, course mates and randoms you met at the union. Who remembers waking up on a Sunday morning with a dozen friend requests and multiple tagged pictures? It was easy, it was fun, it was…natural. Then in a blink of an eye university was over and yet again you moved, either back home or away for a job. This seems to be where those carefree, easily formed friendships got a little trickier. Now you were an adult and probably had a job that required at least an iota of professionalism. New people at work needed to be vetted before friending on Facebook or asking them for a drink after work. Welcome to the minefield of adult friendship forming.

nights out
Behold the wonders of early 2000s fashion. Side belts, kilts and halter tops. Wait is that a..TIE?

I am an adult now, I am important and serious.

I think that a big change we go through with our friendships as we age is the fact that we develop a stronger sense of who we are, understand what we need (and don’t need) and lose some of that carefree childlike attitude that allows us to talk to practically anyone who crosses our path and ask them to join in our imaginary game. Add to that mix the lack of organic meetings (like school or uni), partners and children and it seems like an impossible feat to make new friends once you hit your third decade on the planet. Everyone is just so freaking busy and not to mention the fact that they might be plants from your boss to befriend you only to access your Facebook and divulge its most hideous content to your superiors resulting in your termination and social disgrace (Okay maybe that’s a bit dramatic and my Facebook doesn’t have anything THAT incriminating on it but I’m definitely more wary than I was many moons ago in the union when everyone and anyone made the cut to my friend list).

besties
Taking a short break from annoying absolutely everyone by retelling stories from school.

I moved across the world when I was 23 and left behind all my friends which was torture. I haven’t ever been a flavour of the week type of friend. I chose my mates carefully and have been friends with my girls since school. I love them more than anything. Each one makes me laugh and I wouldn’t want to imagine life without them. I’m a very lucky girl to have them. Now if they’d just move to Canada already! My best friend in the world, Charlotte, and I have been friends for almost our entire lives. I mean it started off a little rocky between us but a teacher forced me to sit next to her one year and the rest is history. I still chat to her practically every day and when we’re together its like we’ve never been apart. We have millions of in jokes and stories from our childhood and perhaps why I find making friends at this point in life is that lack of history. There’s something so special about having your lives intertwined for so long you can’t remember them not being there. Now just because you didn’t go to school together doesn’t mean you’ll never be amazing friends. I will say that I’ve got some amazing friends here in Canada who I cannot imagine being without. Many of them I’ve been friends with for years now so we’re building a new history together. My closest friend here keeps me sane, makes me laugh till my sides hurt and loves her wine as much as I do.

IMG_0318.JPG
My Swansea girls. Not to brag, but they are literally the greatest (and most gorgeous) girls in the world.

Let’s hear it for Mum Tinder

A major problem in your 30s is the lack of organic friend meeting opportunities. You’re probably done with school and don’t go out as much unless it’s with your kids and you spend an abnormal amount of time chasing them around persuading them to go to the bathroom and not much time looking like the carefree, approachable perspective friend you hope to be. I joined the Peanut App (think mum Tinder but way, WAY more wholesome) and I’ve been blown away by how many 30 somethings seem to struggle to find friendships that are meaningful. So many women say they’re lonely or find it hard to get out and meet people that it seems somewhat pandemic. I’ve decided to put myself out there during this maternity leave and I’ve made it my mission to say yes to anyone who wants to meet (within reason of course, I do not wish to be made into a lampshade or have my organs harvested and sold on the dark web) and to take a chance on asking fellow mums out on play dates or for a drink. It’s actually been an incredible experience and I’m amazed of the response you get when you just put yourself out there. I’ve met some incredible women who I have so much fun with. Sure it wasn’t the most organic way to meet but it works!

Another reason is that we’re busier now than ever with careers and families, but I remember my parents always having people around or going to their friends’ houses for dinners and parties. This left me wondering if it is a generational thing? Or is it the advent of the smartphone and how we now message people for our friend fix rather than taking a chance and ringing the doorbell to see if they’re in for a chat? It absolutely blows me away that no one just calls around their friend’s house for a coffee or a wine on a whim but it is a somewhat military style operation that must be organized and reorganized a month in advance. Why are we so scared of inconveniencing people? I guarantee you that many of your friends are probably sitting at home wishing someone would just ring the bell and take the freaking pressure off of all. this. damn. planning. I fear spontaneity is an art lost on many millennials.

mum and kim
Some 80s frienship flavour. My beautiful Mummy and one of her besties, Kim. Oh and that’s me.

FEAR

Maybe the real reason that making friends as you get older has much to do with fear. Fear of not liking other people, fear of not being liked, fear of being too much or too little, fear of offending people, fear of being made into a skin suit (this fear is REAL when you are meeting internet people guys…just me?). Maybe if we could go back to that carefree child we once were who danced with abandon in public and thought nothing of pretending to be a cat with a perfect stranger then we would find it a lot easier to connect with other people as we age (or find ourselves the subject of an unflattering newsreport).

There seems to be many reasons as to why your 30s seems like some kind of friendship black hole whether it be lack of natural circumstances to meet, being cooped up covered in baby sick and barely functioning, or just plain old fear. What we need to do is take a chance on friendship, put ourselves out there and start making new stories with new friends that soon become old friends. That way you can be part of the biggest clique in the nursing home (on Wednesdays we wear support stockings).

Love,

generatedtext (1)

Hello…it’s me again.

Hey friends,

I know, I know it’s been a long time. I started off this blog guns blazing and I desperately wanted to create something that people would flock to amidst the saturated blog market. It started off swimmingly, I was featured in Scary Mommy  and I felt unstoppable. The response to the article was widely positive (of course some lovely people felt the need to minimize by feelings from behind their keyboards but that’s the internet for you) and it was amazing to have people from all over the world reach out to me. I was asked to be a part of a collection of expat stories for a book which was really special. I felt unstoppable. But then, I started to run out of steam.

Desperate to make the blog a success that might allow me to supplement my income, I lost focus and direction and focused on writing about what was popular and might get more hits rather than what I really cared about. I became too bogged down in affiliate programs and honestly the content suffered. I started this blog as a space to be real about the trials and tribulations of parenting as an immigrant (not expat, thank you keyboard warriors) farm wife and to share things I am interested in. It’s time to get back to that and if success comes then fantastic but what’s more important is connecting with other women and men who might get a little laugh and support from my ramblings musings.

At the same time as trying to be the world’s most unlikely influencer I decided to start taking better care of myself and found that nap times were taken up by getting active rather than writing and my little window of available time slowly got smaller. Add to that the never ending mum guilt of having a 4 year old that constantly wants to play and I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down and write. Now, I chose to say yes to play as much as possible as I know my daughter will be going to school soon and I just want to soak up every delicious minute with her so I’m not complaining, it just naturally happened that the blog took a back seat. I just tried to enjoy this maternity leave as much as possible, I went on trips, took lots of pictures and made new friends. Oh and let’s not forget the most stressful, long planting season EVER (yes I’m a farm wife to those of you who are new) and my little space in the internet just gathered dust.

Now I feel like I want to write again. Maybe it’s the giant upheaval that’s coming in the form of returning to work? I mean I’ll have so much more time now right?!  I’m not sure but I hope that whoever is reading this blog is happy to have me back and enjoys what’s to come!

Love,

generatedtext (1)

 

barbados

How I KonMari’d My Makeup Routine

I’m obsessed with the magic of tidying up. If you’ve been following my blog then you’ll know that I’m slowly but surely Kondo’ing my life and I am LOVING it. Yes I know that Kondo says that you have to tidy up in one go, but I have two kids and I just cannot work like a Trojan every moment of the day cleaning things up. However, I am following her mantra of sparking joy very closely and tidying by category and I am finding the whole process oddly soothing and therapeutic. My closet has taken the brunt of my KonMari craziness with a whole host of random clothes bought in a postpartum induced haze finding their way to the donation box. The biggest plus side is that I have noticed that getting dressed in the morning has become a lot easier as I can easily see everything I have and I have gotten rid of all the junk that just didn’t fit in with who I am now.

Where am I with the KonMari method now?

So I’ve moved on to Komono which is basically everything else in the house that isn’t paperwork, books or sentimental items. I will say that I kind of skipped over books as I don’t really hoard them. I always lend books out to friends if I really enjoyed them, I leave them on vacation for someone else to enjoy or I read on my Kindle. For someone who loves to read, I actually have very few books lying around the house. I did tackle paperwork but I didn’t want to bore you with my filing system. So here we are at the vaguely more sexy komono. This was the category I was most afraid of because herein is where the majority of my hoarding lies. I don’t know why but I have a plethora of old decor, craft items and most shamefully of all, outdated beauty products. Despite my fear I tackled komono head on and made most progress with my bathroom and product stash.

Tackling the tidying of my beauty products

Honestly I don’t know what I have been saving all my products for. My bathroom vanity is a graveyard of half empty bottles and an inexpiable amount of samples of various cosmetics that I would never in a million years wear. I am a bit of a product junkie and I will try anything out if  it promises perfect hair, nails, skin or eyelashes. I’ve tried it all. Forget Makeup Alley if you want a review, come to me and I’ll tell you the honest truth. I am also a little fickle with my products and rarely commit to anything long enough to finish the entire bottle. I mean come on, who can wear the same mascara until the end or stick to the same shampoo once the conditioner is finished (really though, why can I NEVER finish a shampoo and conditioner at the same time? It must be some conspiracy from the shampoo company to keep you repurchasing) I am a bit of a commitmentphobe when it comes to products and my bathroom vanity tells the story of past relationships and breakups. So I tackled my vanity head on in typical KonMari fashion. I threw away anything out of date, I got rid of any products that I haven’t used since Christmas and I separated everything into little boxes so they were easily accessible and didn’t roll around the drawers. To say it is now a thing of beauty isn’t hyperbole. I can easily find my everyday skin products and I can even find my hair ties (girls you KNOW how hard it is to lay your hands on those suckers). However, nothing has made my routine simpler than my makeup organization.

One Makeup Organizer To Rule Them All

This post contains affiliate links

I LOVE makeup. I wear it almost every day and I have a lot of the stuff. I am constantly changing how I store it. I have had it in boxes, in cases and bags but every thing I used didn’t help keep in organized. I spent ages rifling through my overflowing make up bag to find my little pencils or my sharpener would leave shavings everywhere causing a kohly mess. So when I started doing the Marie Kondo method on my products, I knew my make up would require the most attention. I wanted one of those perspex organizers that would sit on my vanity to hold all my essentials but didn’t want something huge as I don’t have a dressing table and my vanity needs to be clutter free. I headed to Amazon and found this beauty for a steal and it has changed my morning routine completely.

I couldn’t find the exact one I got but I found one that is EVEN BETTER WITH AN EXTRA DRAWER!! I might need this one too… Click on the picture to check it out!

Sure it isn’t the biggest organizer but that isn’t what I was going for. I wanted something that could hold all my daily makeup essentials and keep them organized and easy to access. I’m busy and don’t get much time to do my make up what with being my kids’ snack bitch and all so I needed something functional and user friendly. I am not Sephora, I am a mum who likes to look nice. Overall, I wanted to simplify my morning make up routine. This organizers does that perfectly. The drawers are pretty small but I can put my tube of foundation, bronzer, highlighter pallet, eyeshadow pallet, blush and lipsticks in them which I think is just perfect. The organizer on the top is perfect for displaying your most used products and numerous pencils can fit into each compartment. I added a little mason jar to keep my brushes in and voila, everything I need is in one place. I do have my other make up in little boxes but for my everyday things this is PERFECTION. I cannot recommend it enough. Look at this organization nirvana!

Benefits of KonMari-ing my makeup

  1. I can see everything I have.
  2. My make up is clean as it doesn’t share a home with a pencil sharpener that constantly seems to have kohl and shavings attached to it.
  3. I don’t waste time rifling through my makeup bag every morning. Each product I use daily is at my fingertips.
  4. My makeup stays in better shape as the powders are not banged around in a bag.
  5. My morning routine is simplified and that is ALWAYS a good thing.

I am so glad that I got this little organizer, it sparks joy to see all my products looking so neat and tidy. Only negative is that it has spurred me to buy nice things so they look pretty on my counter (a make up junkie is always in recovery after all). I am also so glad that I got rid of the fake tan that has been sitting in my drawer for 5 years. No one needs to see a green tinged woman walking around the place (did you know tanner goes a khaki green colour after a while???)

So my friends I’ll keep on Kondoing (I like that verb) and keeping you all updated on little tricks and hacks I’ve picked up along the way.

What do you like to hoard randomly?

generatedtext (1)

A Little Change Is Good

Hi friends,

As you might have noticed, we’ve had a bit of a change around here. Not to worry, it’s still going to be the same blog you know and love but now the name represents what I’m about a little closer. When I started out I thought I wanted to talk about my life experiences as a way to vent but as time has gone on, I’ve built a community of women who are navigating the same challenges and joys in life. I’ve struggled with being in my 30s, not as an existential issue but more so in the way that I don’t really feel at ease with myself. I don’t know what to wear, what fitness plans work, what beauty supplies suit my skin and what on earth I’m doing as a parent (sometimes, haha). So, I thought, why don’t I put that information out there in one place so women who are feeling like me (I know there are many of you) can find somewhere to laugh, learn and enjoy a safe space on this big scary web.

Thank you all so much for your support, I am amazed every day at the response my blog has had and I’m excited to see the exciting ways in which it will grow.

Let’s take back our 30s!

generatedtext (1)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

What The Heck Do You Wear In Your 30s?

Dressing well in your 30s is tough. Read my advice and tips to make 30 your most fashionable decade yet.

IMG_3225
Full closet, full heart, nothing to wear

Sometimes I feel like your 30s is the forgotten decade of life. Forget the awkward teenage years, nothing compares to that strange, uncomfortable feeling you get when you are called “ma’am” when you definitely feel like a “miss”. I feel out of place in Forever 21 (not to mention the fact that I don’t really fit in any of their clothes) and I’m definitely not ready for the Sears collection (well that’s gone now in Canada but you know what I mean). I feel stuck in between. In my head I’m 18 and carefree wearing whatever I want and looking fantastic but in reality I’m 32 and struggling to find my style again. I used to be obsessed with fashion so much so that I wanted to be a fashion buyer. I actually went to interviews for TK Maxx and Next to be a part of their graduate buyer program but apparently being a buyer a LOT more statistics and complicated maths and a lot less Rachel from Friends minimal work an fantastic wardrobe. However, as time has marched on I found that my love for fashion has kind of faded. Now I chose my stores based on budget and whether the clothes have the ability to cover my slightly squishy tummy. Most days I reach for jeans or leggings and a jumper. My 20 year old self would sneer at the state of me now. I PROMISED I would never wear sweatpants out in public, well, that rule has been out the window for several years now. I wore pants with an unidentified stain on them all day last week and didn’t notice. I need an intervention.

via GIPHY

Why has this happened? Where is that girl who loved the latest trends? I know you’re in there somewhere Jo, you can come out now!

DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you purchase a product I get a little something from the retailers at no extra cost to you.

When did I become retro?

I love American Eagle clothes and I shop there often but lately even my trusty AE is moving in a worryingly young direction (or maybe I’m moving in a worryingly old direction). When I saw a distressed band t shirt with a band from my teenage years on display on it I almost lost my damn mind. When did 2000s music warrant a retro t shirt? More to the point when did I become retro? What is happening? Stop the world I want to get off. I’ve bought a lot in Forever 21 but needing to size up 4 sizes is somewhat depressing when you’re already not feeling great about your postpartum shape. What we need is a Forever 30. Somewhere that has beautiful, affordable, fashion forward clothes with a little more Lycra and a slightly longer hemline.  Tell me why someone has not invented this mecca yet?

You can still be fashionable and fabulous in your 30s

I know for many of you this goes without saying. I see so many people who are always immaculate that are my age and maybe I just got lazy somewhere between kid one and kid 2, but for a lot of women, the 30s is a weird transitional decade. You’re coming out of your 20s and the skin tight polyblends in the younger stores but you’re far too young for that wolf print turtle neck. It’s hard to know just where you fit and what fits you. A quick Google search for “what to wear in your 30s” brings up few results. It seems that most fashion blogs and websites focus on fashion hungry 20 somethings who crave fast fashion or more mature 40+ year olds who have the money to invest in high end fashion. “What about us lot in our 30s?” I want to shout at the computer. Does no one care about us because it is assumed that many of us are working hard at climbing the career ladder and/or having kids? We’re relevant too fashion world! Notice us! The few pages I have found offer somewhat outdated advice and seem to put us in sweater sets and pearls long before our time. I think it’s high time women in their 30s take back fashion.

Tips for finding your style in your 30s

Tip 1 – It’s time to invest girl

As I tried to dive back into fashion I made the mistake of going super low end because I just wasn’t sure what I should be wearing and well, I’m just too old for cheap clothes. I don’t want to wear fabric that sparks every time I pull it over my head. I gasp at seams that don’t sit just right on my new body shape. Now I love a bargain don’t get me wrong. I often head straight to the sale rail at most stores to snap up a deal. When I get back to the UK I love to hit Primark to snap up a cute party dress. However, I just don’t have the patience anymore for tat and I think my everyday wardrobe and the key pieces in it need to reflect the fact that I have, despite my protestations, grown up.

We all have to budget, I get that and I’m not saying to hit Chanel and spend your mortgage but now is the time to invest in some key pieces that will last. You’ve done the hard time of crappy fake leather bags and shoes that rub your feet. You’re a grown up now and you can invest in a little bit of luxe. Besides, fast disposable fashion is a false economy. Can you honestly see you wearing those furry slip on shoes next season? No I thought not and more to the point if you didn’t shell out enough for them, they probably wont last. Things that you should really invest in are

  1. A great leather handbag
  2. A killer pair of leather ankle boots
  3. An amazing pair of heels that give you legs for days
  4. A leather jacket
  5. A dressy wool coat to take you from work to a night out
  6. THE jeans
  7. THE white T-shirt (I’m still searching for this one but my cheap ones haven’t cut the mustard)
  8. Tailored trousers that give you all the bum peachy-ness
  9. A well cut suit if you work in an office environment
  10. A classic cocktail dress that you can accessorize with lots of different things
  11. A well tailored shirt

Tip 2 – Play with fashion trends but don’t be a slave to them

It’s often said that your 20s are for experimenting with fashion but it is in your 30s that you really find your personal style. The fashion oracle that is Coco Chanel once said “Fashion fades, only style remains the same” and I believe that this should be your mantra for dressing in your 30s. I’m not saying that you have to be boring, but perhaps you need to think twice before shimmying into that pvc dress because it is THE RAGE. Like I said above, invest in some amazing day to day pieces that will see you through a few seasons but the fast fashion pieces are where you can go budget as you probably wont be wearing them more than a season. Have fun with them and use them to accentuate your own personal style. Look at textures, colours and accessories that are on trend and bring your own personal style to them.

Lets take a few of next years projected trends and see how to make them fit your style.

  1. Hats are slated to be THE fashion trend. This is an easy way to accentuate your own style without overhauling your entire wardrobe because you read somewhere that neon orange is the last word in style (yes my friends, neon is coming back). Adding a hat is a pretty risk free way to spice up your outfit and is very 30s appropriate. I mean, how many of you have watched period TV shows with immaculate women and wished that you could rock a hat like that?
    big_hat

    Some of my faves



  2. Pleats – When I first saw this one I kind of thought of my old school skirt. However, pleats this season are set to have a fresh makeover. Think tight pleats, not wide netball skirt ones. A great way to wear this trend is a midi skirt with a tshirt for a casual office look. You can also wear pleats on sleeves to add some extra chic flair to your outfit.
    pleat_skirtpleats_shirt

    Some Of My Faves

    Nordstrom pleated midi skirt 
    Nordstrom sequin pleated midi skirt  (two trends in one!)

    Abercrombie & Fitch pleated shirt (VERY LIMITED SIZES AVAILABLE -SALE ALERT)

  3. Sequins and sparkle – Let me put it out there, I LOVE SPARKLY CLOTHES. I have amazing Old Navy slippers that are covered in glitter and I feel like Beyonce strutting around the house in them. However, sequins can look dated and like you’re trying to hard. 30s style tip – stick to classic designs with a modern cut or only wear one sequined piece and pair it with a very plain piece. For example, a sequin shirt with black tailored pants. Not feeling so brave? Try an accessory like a sequined purse or shoes. The feel of sequins can also be recreated with intricate, sparkly beading.
    beaded_purse_close
    beaded_top
    sequin_dress

Some of my faves

Abercrombie & Fitch Sequin Cami (SALE ALERT- UNDER $30!!!)
Abercrombie & Fitch sequin booties (I’m dying over these, all sizes available)
Nordstrom embellished Sheath Dress 

4. (Not so short) shorts – A few years ago city shorts were EVERYWHERE. I loved them as they made a fresh change to my work skirt but were still totally appropriate. Last season was all about lycra cycling shorts (thanks but no thanks Kim Kardashian-West. My two kid bum looks like a sad pancake when jammed into those high-waisted, skin tight monstrosities). This season’s short is a little looser, more tailored and has an overall more classy vibe. Plus, shorts

shorts

Some of my Faves

Abercrombie & Fitch Blue belted pleat shorts
Abercrombie & Fitch Tie Front Shorts – stripes
American Eagle High Waisted Short
All the above are in limited supply so make sure you snap them up if you LOVE them. I’m getting the belted pleat shorts for sure!!!

5. Fringe – Be still my boho beating heart, fringe is back in fashion. I absolutely adore boho style. Sienna Miller in her Jude Law years is my ultimate fashion icon. There’s something so carefree about fringe. Before you go out and purchase a pair of cowboy chaps let us think how fringe can be stylish in our 30s. A fringe bag is the ultimate easy way to add this style to your wardrobe. Think cute cross body satchels and FABULOUS clutches. Sometimes fringe can be worn in unexpected ways like Abercrombie & Fitches fringe sweater and American Eagle’s fringe poncho duster. Fringe doesn’t need to be costume-y, it can be bang on trend if worn right.
Fringe_bag_close_up

fringe_Abercrombie_sweater

fringe_sweater
Fringe_outfit

Fringe_boho_bags

Some of my faves

Abercrombie & Fitch grey fringe sweater – AS SEEN ABOVE on sale and in high demand buy it quickly before it sells out

American Eagle fringe cardigan On sale – RUN to pick this up while it’s in stock.

Tip 3 – Break some fashion rules

I am a grown up, I have a mortgage and I mostly remember to pay my bills on time.

When researching this post I came across so many articles with “rules to follow in your 30s”. Well excuse me,  I’m not sure who invented these rules but I don’t agree with the sweeping statements about what is not OK to wear in your 30s. We’ve followed rules our whole lives and now here we are as grown ups with a fresh set of restrictions placed on us. Not today Satan. I am a grown up, I have a mortgage and I mostly remember to pay my bills on time. Here are a few pearls of wisdom I came across.

No miniskirts – Come on, how outdated is this? If you want to show off your legs then you go for it. I personally like my legs best (more so when the old varicose isn’t acting up but age doesn’t come alone) and love showing them off. I’m not talking about a bum grazing mini but a 30s appropriate one. Slightly longer, maybe a little A line and definitely paired with something more modest on top. I am not ready to hang up the short skirts yet!

No leather skirts – whatever. I just bought one this past season and paired with a turtleneck, tights and ankle booties it is the cutest outfit. It isn’t pretty woman style but a softer, more expensive looking leather that hits just above the knee.

Stick to blouses not shirts – This one is going right out of the window. Look at Meghan Markle in her gorgeous crisp white oxford. Just take a look around Ralph Lauren and its abundance of shirts. I don’t think a beautiful shirt ever goes out of style and whilst I like the soft vibe of a blouse, I feel like sometimes they age you. A shirt and jeans is a fresh, downs to earth style that anyone can wear.

Tip 4 – Have fun and remember who you used to be

That 20 something girl is still in there. She might be hiding under sleep deprivation induced eye bags and layers of dry shampoo but she is in there. Fashion is meant to be fun and a way to express ourselves and just because we’re 30 doesn’t mean that we have to step into some little box and stay there. Sure we’re not 20 anymore but that’s OK. Life is meant to go forwards and not backwards. We’re older, so much wiser and are honing a sense of self that will see us through the next chapter in our life. It’s high time we used this confidence to capture a sense of style that tells the world who we are and that we’re not afraid to own it.

Stores for your 30s

Aritzia

H&M

Topshop

J Crew

ZaraZara

ASOS

Old Navy

Banana Republic 

So ladies, there you have it. You 30s don’t have to be a decade of embarrassing fashion mistakes and you certainly don’t have to resign yourself to frumpy, ageing clothes. The stores and fashion industry might have forgotten about us but we sure as hell haven’t forgotten who we are.

via GIPHY

Stay fashionable, stay beautiful and for goodness sake take off the mumu.

generatedtext (1)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The Easiest Barn board Wall DIY Tutorial.

Everyone thought I was crazy when I told them confidently that the vinyl floor boards would work perfectly on the wall. My builder, my husband, maybe even myself if I’m totally honest. But, I was a woman on a mission. I mean, if they stick to the floor why wouldn’t they stick to the wall? (I should have paid more attention in physics because, well, gravity).

img_5067[1]

I Am A Pinterest Queen

As you may know, I am in love with all things farmhouse. I love rustic pallet walls that are all over Intagram and Pinterest. I love how they give new houses some old world charm and character. I JUST LOVE WOOD FEATURE WALLS. However, what I do not love is splinters and dust and I was worried t is what I would get if I put real barn boards up in the playroom. I have a very curious 3.5 year old who would for sure poke her fingers into the notches and run her little hands over the boards and that is a recipe for splinters and tears. My budget just can’t take buying endless boxes of hello kitty band aids! However I knew I needed to do something to make the room a little less box like and to infuse some farmhouse charm. As part of our main floor renovation we closed up the wall between the playroom and the dining room. Now my house had a bit fat wall with staring at me (a novelty for a home that is almost completely open concept) and I was itching for a project. I am an avid pinner. If you follow me on Pinterest you can see that I am obsessed with home decor boards. I am always looking for easy and budget friendly DIY ideas so I set to work finding an alternative to wallpaper and scratchy real wood for my soon to be feature wall. I saw a tutorial about how to use vinyl wood plank to create a rustic style feature wall. I was instantly hooked and rushed out to the local hardware store to buy some barn board style vinyl planks. My husband was the first to air his concerns as we were loading them into the truck. “Do you really think that vinyl planks will look like wood?”, “how is this adhesive supposed to hold?” But I wasn’t having any of it. I saw it on Pinterest and therefore it must work. As we got home and started unloading into our garage our builder curiously spied the boxes. When I told him my plans he laughed and shook his head. He said he wouldn’t want to put it up as it would not work and I was on my own in my crazy little project. I remained undeterred. Pinterest wouldn’t lie to me, I saw the results and it looked fantastic. My long suffering husband agreed that after the builders were done with the reno he would put the planks up for me. I smiled like a Cheshire cat as I knew it would look amazing and he would be eating his words like he had so many times in the past with my harebrained design ideas.

Prepare to eat your own words Joanna…

I finally managed to coerce my husband to put the feature wall up one Saturday in the early autumn. As he carefully measured and planned I was excited for what I knew would be a successful DIY project. However, as the planks began to go up my Cheshire cat grin began to fall. This was not what I ordered. My husband, no matter how carefully he measured, couldn’t get the planks to remain flush together and little gaps of Benjamin Moore Silver Satin peeked through. OK, no big deal, wood walls are meant to be rustic and a bit uneven. I didn’t want to say anything negative so on we pressed. He finished the wall quite late that evening and as we stood back to admire it we both didn’t know quite what to say. I would love to tell you that we were stunned into silence by its beauty but it was more a case of being stunned into silence by horror. It looked fake. The light bounced off it and it shone like a conker. Not the beautiful, rustic wood look I was going for. Tired and disappointed we went to bed, neither of us saying anything about the wall.

vinyl_barnwood

Things That Go Bump In The Night

Throughout the night we could hear “bang”, “bang”, “sliiiiiiiiip” “swooosh”, “BANG”. It was really weird but I just thought it was the dog banging around in his room or the wind rattling the windows. When we got up in the morning, I was met with the culprit of the noise. My wood feature wall lay all over the ground and peeling sadly off the wall. My daughter ran over to the sticky adhesive strips and promptly glued her socks to them. This was my first real Pinterest disaster (well, after the unicorn cake debacle of 2017 but the less we talk about that the better).  My husband took one look at what remained of his Saturday project and I could feel him biting back the words “I told you so” but he’s far too nice for that. Being the stubborn proud woman that I am, I was sure we could salvage the wall and then in a very professional manner started gluing the planks to the wall with no more nails. And that’s how the wall stayed for over a year. Periodically we could have to glue bits back on and it sort of became a part of life.

pinterest_fail_barnboard

Fixing our Pinterest Fail

For some reason, after we returned from our trip to the UK I was inspired to tackle all of the little home projects that had fallen by the wayside. It might have had something to do with my mother’s flawlessly decorated house and the fact that I finally felt human again as the baby was sleeping through the night. So the first weekend back home, my husband and I took the truck to the hardware store and with a case of design deja vu picked up supplies to make our feature wall. This time we had thought carefully about the product we wanted to use. We still wanted to have an easy to clean, spliter free finish but also wanted the warm rustic farmhouse feel of wood. We a MURdesign panel in Jasper at the Home Depot that was perfect for the job. Easy to install and clean and no vinyl in sight. I can’t find the link to it on the Home Depot website but it is on Rona and MURdesigns have their own website with more designs and a link to find a retailer close to you . Now that it’s up we are over the moon with the result. It looks awesome and it was so easy. Here is how you can achieve the same effect.

Creating A Barn Wood Wall In An Afternoon for under $200

Step 1: Remove all old paneling and ensure that you are starting with a relatively smooth wall. Honestly we left some adhesive and it’s fine. If you will be gluing the panels up you need to scruff up the walls with a sander but we decided to use finishing nails to hang the wall.

img_5006[1]

easy_barnboard_wall

Step 2: Use a stud finder to locate the studs in your wall and mark them out. If you are using nails then it is important to get them into the studs to ensure your wall is secure. The panels aren’t that heavy but you’re going to want a lot of nails. We ended up doing 6 nails across and 6 rows down for each board.

easy_barnwood_wall_diy

step 3: You will need a helper to hold the board for you while you nail the board to the wall. It is important that the first piece is flush and true or your wall will be all wonky. Remember that ceilings are not always a good measure of a straight line so be sure to use a level.

Step 4: You will need to measure the wall to determine the size of your next piece that you will need to cut. We used 2 full boards and 2 half boards.

Step 5: Once you are ready to put your next piece up you will want to check that the pattern aligns. There isn’t too much thinking work that needs to go into it but we found that some pieces match up better than others. Then all you do is butt the boards together until they are flush and nail to the wall. There is a small seam but you can’t really notice when it’s all together and it isn’t apparent enough to bother us.

img_5012[1]

Step 6: Repeat until wall is covered with boards.

Step 7: Admire your amazing new barn board wall.

Here is the finished product.

easy_barnboard_wall_tutorial

barnboard_wall_easy

I love that I can wipe it clean when the kids inevitable draw on it or get some unidentified sticky mess onto it. We’re hoping to get a sofa in this room once we agree on one which is why the picture is so high. Oh did I mention that you can hang things on this baby as well?

img_5015[1]

So there you have it. We learned that not everything you see on Pinterest is a good idea and vinyl floor boards are probably best left on the floor. A beautiful farmhouse style barn board wall in an afternoon for under $200. We are so happy with the results and our playroom looks amazing! Can’t wait to get the rest of the furniture in and finish up the room. I’m looking into the white washed version for our bedroom but shhh don’t tell my husband.

vinyl_plank_wall

Have you got a wood feature wall in your home? Any Pinterest fails that are particularly note worthy?

Happy decorating friends,

generatedtext (1)

 

 

 

A Day Trip To London With A Baby and Dino-Mad Toddler

On December 14th 2018 we braved the transatlantic red eye with the girls to go and visit my family and friends back in the UK. It was Aria’s first flight and to say we were a little nervous was an understatement. Back in October in the deep trenches of her colic when we booked the flight I wasn’t feeling overly confident in our chances of her NOT screaming bloody murder for the entirety on the 6+ hour flight. But it was Christmas, I needed my Britain fix and we were going. So off we went to Toronto Pearson airport in the midst of the Christmas travel rush with our arsenal of luggage and we began our journey to Wales.

flying_with_kidspearson_airport

Disclosure – this post contains affiliate links which means that if you purchase anything through the post you wont get charged a penny more but I get a little something to keep the lights on.

Get that bassinet seat whatever it takes

Surprisingly, the flight itself went really well. When we first got on board and the temperature in the cabin soared to what can only be described as Sahara level, Aria started to cry and would only stop when someone stood up with her (not idea when you have to be sat down to take off). But then, something magic happened, she fell asleep. I couldn’t believe my luck as I gingerly sat down (why is it that children know when you switch from standing to sitting?) and attempted to buckle my seat belt without waking her. Emmy was set up with her Ipad and neck pillow and happy as a clam. This wasn’t her first rodeo so I knew she would be a pro. Before I knew it we were up in the sky hurtling in a tiny tin can across the Atlantic to the motherland. The flight passed quickly (thank you flight attendant for the extra bottle of red wine) and I really believe that upgrading to the bassinet seats was a lifesaver. If you didn’t already know, parents with infants (under 25 lbs) can opt to sit in the bulkhead and get a little bassinet that clips onto the wall. One parent gets to sit in the extra legroom seat free of charge with Air Canada and we paid to upgrade Emmy and my husband. Not only could Aria sleep in the bassinet, but Emmy could play on the floor. Travel hack – put your paraphernalia on the floor so people don’t use your legroom as a walk way. It also seemed that the bassinet metered people from walking in front of us which was great as we were right behind the toilets and people seem to think that pacing between them makes the occupant move faster (side note, what the heck are people doing in there??).

kid_on_flight

Reading For The Night

We arrived in Heathrow with red eyes and some what muzzy heads to crisp air and glorious sunshine. My parents came to pick us up and took us to Reading where we would spend the weekend before heading onto Wales. I love Reading, it’s a beautiful city with lots of history, great restaurants and bars. We took a much needed restorative nap and then headed out for some drinks to get the Christmas period started. We found The Fisherman’s Cottage pub on the river a short walk from my family’s flat.

The next morning we got up bright and early and headed into London. I know, it was a bold move the day after a transatlantic flight with two jet lagged children but with a packed Christmas schedule we had to get it done. My daughter is OBSESSED with dinosaurs and I knew that she would just love the exhibit at the Natural history museum so off we went on the train to London (somewhat) bright eyed and bushy tailed.

reading_canal

reading

Navigating the Tube with an infant and toddler

Before we left for London I umm’d and ahhh’d about taking the pushchair for Aria.

Pros – I could put my crap in the basket at the bottom and not have to strap 15lbs of baby onto my body for the day.

Cons – I’d have to push a pretty bulky travel system around central London and the Tube for the day.

Something else to consider is that we’d have to carry Emmy a lot as she doesn’t “do” walking and has been spoiled with a double pushchair. Times are a changing toots.

You’re going to want a great carrier

My pushchair is not made for the city, it is made for the snow and massive North American cars so I decided to whip out the Lillebaby and wear Aria. I got the Lillebaby complete all seasons as the big ticket item for our second baby. Emmy categorically refused to be worn so I never really splurged on a carrier for her. I had a couple of cheap soft carriers that I got on sale at Winners but neither were comfortable and honestly trying to put her in there was akin to putting a cat into a bathtub. Also I got hot, real hot wearing my little furnace. I knew that with baby number 2 having my hands free to wrestle baby number 1 would be clutch so after much research I landed on the Lillebaby Complete All Seasons. I could not be happier with my purchase! It is so comfortable and you can adjust it pretty much everywhere. You don’t need an infant insert and it’s good from birth so you just plop babe in and go. There’s a zipper panel on the front that exposes mesh so you can get some air into that sucker and keep somewhat cool. It is also ADORABLE and I don’t feel all crunchy and granola eating wearing it. I got mine in black and white stripe which is just about masculine enough for my husband to wear but the gold details are pretty enough for me. If you need a baby carrier I honestly cannot recommend it enough. The Lillebaby is hands down the best thing I’ve bought for my kids.

I get that it is a bit spendy but I cannot rave about this carrier enough. If you want to baby wear you’re going to want comfort and you’re going to want your baby to be comfortable too. Aria was in the carrier pretty much all day (apart from lunch and coffee breaks for a stretch) and she was so happy and comfortable. She falls asleep almost instantly in it. It is MAGIC.

The Natural History Museum – Nirvana For The Little Paleontologist

We arrived at the Natural History Museum by tube at around 11 am. It was super busy outside because of Winter Wonderland. We picked up some mulled wine from the little van selling drinks and cakes and walked up the museum (they even let us bring it in which was brill seeing as it was scalding and I didn’t feel much like chugging a big cup mulled wine, not very responsible). As always, admission was free which was great as we only intended on staying an hour or so to see the dinosaurs. Britain is awesome for free things. We headed to the dino exhibit straight away and it took about 45 minutes to walk around it with a very slow and very easily distracted toddler. She LOVED the massive robotic T-Rex. It was really well done and for a little paleontologist it was just the best thing ever. All good adventures end in a gift shop as we all know and I was dreading it but we escaped the gift shop with one dinosaur egg toy which was nothing short of a miracle. After we sat in the cafe for a drink and a potty break (well coercing Emmy to go but that child’s bladder is a vault in public places. That’s a whole other blog post). It was really busy and I’d say avoid it if you can on a weekend but it was good to sit down and get a snack into the dino lover.

Zizzis for lunch

We got the tube to Covent Garden which is my least favourite stop. It is so busy and there are loads of steps to climb if you can’t get into the lift. I was a little salty that we had to stop there but I was pretty surprised that we got straight into the lift and up to street level. It was packed so I was glad I wore Aria in the Lillebaby. She was still asleep at this point and had been for the whole day. Her first trip to London and she slept the whole time! I know people can be a bit reluctant to go to a chain when London has so many fabulous eateries to offer but we had 2 kids with us and I don’t know how well we would have fared at a white table place. Emmy would have definitely been crawling between chairs and you can guarantee that is the time Aria would decide to scream her bonce off. So we booked a table ahead of time in Zizzis to save walking around trying to get a seat somewhere the week before Christmas. We sat in the window which was perfect for distracting the toddler and Aria could lie down on the bench seat. The meal was delicious and the service was awesome. Definitely the fuel we needed after a morning full of exploring.

Covent Garden and 7 dials for a stroll

We decided to take a walk after lunch to Covent Garden to see the tree and the lights. It was absolute magic. I don’t think there is anything more gorgeous than London at Christmas and it did not disappoint. I managed to get lots of Instagramable shots which my husband absolutely hates loves me doing . We walked up to 7 dials and it was chocolate box beautiful with the twinkling lights and people bundled up with their Christmas shopping. I actually felt like I was in a Hollywood christmas movie that I always scoff at as “unrealistic”. I mean honestly where does Kate Winslet live in The Holiday to have a cottage like that outside of London? and how did Cameron Diaz’s character fit all those coats into that tiny case? I call B.S. Anyway I seem to have gone off on a “The Holiday” tangent again.  We got some nice pics and then dropped back down to Covent Garden to get the tube to Paddington. I let my brother wear Aria at this point and he looked like quite the modern dad about town.

Pro Parent tip – make sure the baby and the nappy bag aren’t in different carriages on the train.

When we arrived at Paddington I was bursting for a pee. However the train was on the platform and if we had any hope of getting a seat we had to hustle and get on board. Not being a hardened commuter I jumped on the first carriage I came across with the nappy bag attached to my back and told my brother that I would run down the train once I’d gone to the toilet to give him the baby supplies. So I jumped on with my Mum and husband and off went everyone else towards the end of the train. We got a table seat which was a bit of a unicorn moment and I went off to the toilet. I got back to my seat and told my mum I would run a bottle down to my brother for Aria in case she was hungry. I pushed my way down the rapidly filling train through endless carriages. As I entered first and jogged to the end I realized the door would not open to the next carriage. Perplexed, I looked out of the window and saw the nose of another train facing me. Oh. No. We were on one of those massive trains that are two smaller trains stuck together. I was standing there with a bottle in hand staring helplessly at the other train that held my brother and my probably screaming 3 month old. I didn’t have my purse or wallet on me so I figured if I jumped off and ran up the platform I would risk being left behind with no way back to Reading so I went back to my seat and frantically messaged the rest of our party. When I heard nothing back I assumed Aria was all good and would be fine until we got to Reading in half hour or so.

I was wrong…

Upon disembarking the train at Reading station we were greeted by a very red faced, sweaty and frazzled bunch. The resembled the scene in Twister when they strap themselves onto those posts and survive the F5 “hand of God”. As my brother thrust the sweaty carrier, straps loosened haphazardly into my hands it became clear a struggle had ensued. Apparently Aria decided she wanted out of the carrier shortly after leaving London and broke out her best screams until her wish was granted. My brother had no idea how to release her from her canvas prison carrier and the buckles and adjustable straps that make the Lillebaby so great also make it a bit tricky for novices or people who have never strapped a baby to themselves. A struggle ensued to get Aria off his increasingly overheating body (if only he knew about the handy dandy front mesh panel) quickly. Thankfully, between the three of them they finally liberated her before my brother passed out. Once free the challenge of removing her coat began. My brother, his girlfriend and my stepfather wrestled her tiny, yet surprisingly rigid, arms out of the coat to the increasingly curious passengers on carriage B. Aria was in a right mood now and refused to settle unless being walked around the train. A problem on the evening Sunday service from Paddington to Swansea as anyone who has been on it will tell you. You are like sardines. If you enjoy getting up close and personal with random people who usually have eaten a tuna sandwich or garlic then this is the train for you. My Stepfather had to kind of waddle within a 1 foot radius to maintain some movement to appease my darling daughter. What people must have thought on that carriage? A young couple and middle aged man with a baby with absolutely NO supplies. Reckless! Stolen baby! Thoughtless! I feel bad that I was sat scrolling Instagram in carriage N without a care in the world.

So that was our day in London. My little dino lover had the time of her life, we got to experience the magic of Covent Garden at Christmas and we learned the hard way that the baby should never be separated from the nappy bag no matter how perilously full your bladder is. Parenting is an adventure.

london_christmas

Have you got any tips for navigating London with two kids in tow or any recommendations for cool dinosaur attractions?

Don’t forget to sign up for emails so you never miss a post!

generatedtext (1)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

A Day In The Life Of A Mum On Maternity Leave As Told By GIFs

Maternity leave is amazing. I get to spend lots of quality time with the kids, wear leggings or PJs all day long and watch tons of daytime TV (I’ve watched so much HGTV I’m positive I can now redecorate a run down farm house on a $50 budget). Living in Canada means that I am able to take a whole year off to stay at home with the kids on maternity leave which is fantastic! I cannot imagine being in work right now especially as it would mean washing my hair and putting on real pants. No buenos. However some days I feel like I am going to go nuts from being stuck indoors with a baby and a toddler and only Joanna Gaines for company (let me clarify that I understand that she is on the TV and not actually in my living room talking to me). My husband often comes home and asks “how was your day?” and honestly some days I can’t even put it into words.

Here is a little collection of GIFs to explain what my day looks like.

  1. Wakey wakey Mummy. Forget those peaceful alarm clocks that wake you gradually from your slumber with the peaceful sounds of birds or whales. If you have an infant you’re getting full on screaming to jolt you awake every morning.

Audrey Hepburn Cat GIF

via GIPHY

2. COFFEEEEEE

Coffee Drinking GIF

via GIPHY

3. Make breakfast for everyone. This task will usually involve at least 34 different types of cereal, 52 changes of cups for juice and being told “I don’t want orange juice, I want ORANGE juice”. What does that even mean?

Snow White Cooking GIF

via GIPHY

4. Husband leaves for work. I’m on my own now.

Disney Hello GIF by O&O, Inc

via GIPHY

5. Try to get the kids to do something educational like read.

Read Beauty And The Beast GIF by Disney

via GIPHY

6. Nope, that was fun for 10 minutes and now she wants to get out the Playdoh.

Lady Gaga Nod GIF

via GIPHY

7. Get kids ready to go out

Mr T Alligator GIF

via GIPHY

8. Get self ready. Hair is a little crazy but it works

Sigourney Weaver Derek Stevens Comeback GIF by Saturday Night Live

via GIPHY

9. Have a snack as I probably didn’t eat breakfast. Toddler hears wrapper and promptly seeks me out and steals my snack.

Friends Joey GIF

via GIPHY

10. Story Time at the library. Mamma gotta show off her moves.

“Open shut them, open shut them, give a little clap”

Siouxsie Sioux Dancing GIF

via GIPHY

11. Baby has fallen asleep in the car on the way home. Gotta get this puppy into her crib without waking her.

Adam West Running GIF

via GIPHY

12. Baby wakes up

Angry Tyra Banks GIF

via GIPHY

13. Make lunch and throw away pretty much everything because your child got distracted by shadows and now refuses to sit at the table and eat while she investigates.

Mostly 4 Millennials Smile GIF by Adult Swim

via GIPHY

14. Afternoon activities. I wanted to try some pinterest crafts but I’m EXHAUSTED so I pretty much let my kids do whatever. Insanity has set in as this point. You want to try that Indian ink calligraphy set on the white carpet …

Do It Whatever GIF by Abbey Luck

via GIPHY

15. why is it still only 2:30?

Dawsons Creek Crying Dawson GIF by HULU

via GIPHY

16. Try any means possible to get baby to sleep but they wont.Gluten Free Crying GIF

via GIPHY

17. Make your child’s favourite dinner. Oh you thought pasta was your child’s favourite food? Think again. You are wrong.

Angry Beauty And The Beast GIF

via GIPHY

18. Husband walks through the door. TAG.

Seattle Seahawks Im Here GIF by NFL

via GIPHY

19. Observes the chaos

Lord Of The Rings GIF

via GIPHY

20. He plays calm games with the children.Wwe Spinning GIF

via GIPHY

21. Bath time. Hope you got the bathroom floor waterproofed!

Killer Whale Texas GIF

via GIPHY

22. You get the kids to bed. You’re freeee!Baby One More Time Dancing GIF by Britney Spears

via GIPHY

23. Your toddler has an existential crisis and wants to get out of bed but you’re too experienced for that nonsense. Not after I’ve clocked out junior.

Rihanna No GIF

via GIPHY

24. Pour a small glass of wine
Amy Schumer Drinking GIF

via GIPHY

25. Do fun and exciting things with the hour you have before you fall asleep.
Tired Killing Eve GIF by BBC America

via GIPHY

26. Try to go to sleep but your head is spinning your to do list and you think you just heard the baby.

Black And White Sleeping GIF by FilmStruck

via GIPHY

So how does your day look? Do you put on proper pants?

generatedtext (1)

Little frequent flyers. Activities and advice for surviving long haul flights with toddlers.

There is nothing more humbling than a screaming child at 37,000 feet. As you “shh” them desperately through gritted teeth and offer them everything from stickers to your kidney if they just cooperate all you can think of is “why the fresh heck did I put myself through this?” Pretty much anyone who has ever flown with a child has been through this and if they say that they haven’t then they are either lying or actually have an angel for a child.

Flying Alone With A Baby

I remember going on my first flight with a baby ALONE. That’s right, in the throws of postpartum fog (not to mention the postpartum anxiety I was feeling) I thought it would be a great idea to head back home to the UK. Honestly, I was so homesick after having a baby I didn’t care. I needed to get out of Canada and to my parents’ house to lounge around in my tracksuit bottoms and be fed wine. So armed with a 4 month old baby and an arsenal of things I was told by numerous online resources that I MUST have, I started the 7 + hour journey to Cardiff. Oh did I mention I threw a stop over in there? Lay overs are not ideal with kids. However we made it and so began a lifetime of flying with kids.

what-not-to-pack-for-a-baby-on-a-flight

This is HONEST TO GOD what I thought I needed for a flight with a baby. This is what Pinterest tips tell you to pack when you are flying with a baby. Life hack – you definitely do NOT need all these things. Why did I think I’d need 5000 breast milk storage bags?

Navigating the airport with a million different things and a baby

Getting through security was my first challenge of flying with a baby alone. I had so much stuff, a baby and just two hands. It is unreal how unhelpful people actually are when you’re flying alone. I definitely made a mental note to offer my assistance to others more readily at the airport in the future as a business man pushed past me and dumped his crap into the tray I had put out for myself (I made some other mental notes but I wont go into that). As I struggled to collapse my stroller and get it onto the x-ray machine all while holding my baby I was slowly regretting what I had gotten myself into. We made it to departures, Mummy had a nice BIG glass of wine and snapped the obligatory “we’re going on holidays” passport Instagram photo. Next thing I know we’re walking down the walkway to the plane and I take up my residence in the tiny seat that would be my prison home for the next several hours. Emerson was asleep pretty much as soon as I sat down and I optimistically got out my headphones and book and settled down to smugly spend the flight with a sleeping baby. That lasted until the cabin pressurized and her eyes popped open and she screamed until we were up in the sky and there was no escape. I frantically apologized to all those around me “she’s usually so good”, “she wont scream long” as beads of sweat appeared on my brow. Finally she did stop screaming after what seemed like hours but was in actuality about 15 minutes and she did indeed sleep all the way home.

What I wish I knew before heading on a long haul flight with kids solo

  1. Peeing with a baby in a plane toilet involves Gwyneth Paltrow yogi level flexibility. You have to hold your demon you don’t want to wake sweet sleeping child while pulling down your pants, doing your business, flushing that crazy loud flush that makes you feel like you’ll get sucked out, wash up and leave the bathroom. Trust me, this is no easy feat.
  2. You can’t wear your baby for the whole flight. For take off and landing they must be out of the carrier and on your lap. Fun times if you just got your child to sleep.
  3. If you lucked out and got a bassinet seat, you can’t use this during turbulence. I guarantee this will happen several times when crossing the Atlantic. Cue screaming baby who has been woken up.
  4. If you are in these bassinet seats that you upgraded to people will use your extra leg room to walk through, stand in, do stretches in, .
  5. Collapsing your stroller and car seat combo will be the hardest thing you have ever done when you have a line on antsy people behind you and a baby in your arms. Start practicing now if your flight is in a year.
  6. Your stroller and car seat will likely get lost/broken/look like it survived a tornado.

There’s a lot to learn and I’m sure I haven’t mastered it all but I do have some tips to help you get through what will feel like the longest flight of your life

flying-with-a-child

Emmy is a little frequent flyer. This Christmas will be her 8th flight at 3.5 years old. Better get her an Airmiles card.

Advice for getting through a long haul flight with kids

  1. Don’t pay attention to all those packing lists, they are totally crazy. For a baby you literally need milk, bottles (pack 2/3 so you don’t have to wash on the plane), a change of clothes, diapers, wipes, antibac wipes, a blanket, a dummy, one toy.
  2. Make a busy bag for your toddler (blog post to follow) with colouring books, stickers (PACK LOTS OF THESE), a small toy, water painting books.
  3. Get to the airport EARLY. I used to stroll through security without a care in the world 90 minutes before my flight but that’s not going to fly with kids (get it?!) You’ll need a lot of time for diaper changes, bathroom breaks etc. Rushing will not help your stress levels which are probably a little higher than usual. Sit and have a beer before the flight and relax!
  4. Take the stroller and check it at the gate. It is a great way to lug all of your duty free items baby crap around the airport.
  5. You will want to get a stroller bag and car seat bag if you value these items at all NO offence to ground staff at the airport but sometimes it looks like they’re practicing for log throwing when they load your items on to the plane. I saw my car seat sitting in the pouring rain on the tarmac at Cardiff and I was really happy I had it in a bag to keep the water off it. I got mine off Amazon and they survived loads of flights. I actually just got new ones for this flight and this time they’re a pretty grey colour! They actually seem a little sturdier than the last bright red ones I had. If you click on the picture it will take you straight to Amazon.
  6. Take advantage of priority boarding. I know it seems crazy to sit on the plane longer but this way you guarantee that you can put your diaper bag or purse above where you are sitting rather than having to fight with the people in row 43 who have thoughtfully filled your overhead bin space with their full sized case.
  7. Your technology rules are going to have to go out of the window here. Take an iPad if you have one for the love of God, it will save you. My husband actually forgot to pack ours last time we flew and I think we set a new world record for how long you can be salty.
  8. Do not pack toys that are loud, roll, bounce, rattle, squeak, are valuable. It’s not fair to those around you if your child is playing with something that is bleating in the middle of the overnight red eye flight. Also planes are black holes and I guarantee you that you will lose something. Honestly my kids played with plastic cups and the headphone wires last time we flew.
  9. Those pacifier clips make great toy clips and stop your child lobbing Sophie at unsuspecting passengers’ heads.
  10. Get some nice big headphones for your kid so they can easily listen to the TV. Earbuds are not nice for littles.
  11. If you’re alone then take your carrier so you can wear your baby as you board the plane and you can strap them to you when they fall asleep. I have also gone to the bathroom with a baby strapped on me but that wasn’t easy or sanitary.
  12. Wear leggings or sweatpants. Yeah like I need to tell you twice. If you are alone with a baby you will probably only have one hand and buttons aren’t your friend in this scenario.
  13. Pack ALL THE SNACKS. Whatever your kid likes, pack it. Favourites are Goldfish, gummies, chips, crackers and granola bars.
  14. Lollipops are your friend. They’re great to pop ears and I am yet to meet a kid that wont step into line at the promise of a lollipop.
  15. Take water or juice for your kids so they don’t have to wait for the drinks cart to come around.
  16. If you have room, pack an extra blanket. Planes are cold overnight and those static polyblend monstrosities the airline provides have the tog factor of toilet paper.
  17. Accept the help of strangers. You will be so surprised with how many people are happy to lend a hand if you just ask. You will also be surprised at how clueless other people can be but focus on the positives!
  18. Know that you might not get a lot of sleep so try to have someone pick you up at the airport if possible or arrange to stay over night at an airport hotel.

Flying with kids can be done!

I’m not going to lie and say that it’s easy but for lots of us travelling with kids is a fact of life. Don’t ever apologize for taking your child on a plane. I’ve yet to experience a flight with a kid (mine or someone else’s) screaming the entire time and honestly people aren’t as bothered by a kid on board as you might think. Even if they are, you bought a ticket just like them and you’re entitled to travel.

Do you have any amazing tips or tricks for surviving a long haul flight with kids?

generatedtext (1)