Alice’s nursery

I can finally show the other ‘project’ I’ve been tinkering away on! I couldn’t share any pictures of Alice’s nursery before she came along because we had some special items that we couldn’t put out to finish it off until she arrived – those items being pink! We found out that our Bunny was a girl at the 20 week scan, but chose not to tell anybody that we found out. We just wanted to keep a little something about our baby to ourselves which I’m glad we did, but it did complicate some things! Apologies to all those we lied to … it wasn’t easy!

Here is her door …

Welcome to Alice's room!

Welcome to Alice’s room!

I bought the Beatrix Potter letters from Peter’s of Kensington and then mounted them to a canvas … well actually Buzz was in charge of the gluing and I directed. This is the extent of my crafting ability!

Room layout

Alice’s Expedit. On the top are a set of prints from Etsy that were the very first things I bought from her nursery, along with some special items including the Steiff bear that my sister brought her back from Hamley’s in London and the measuring tape used to measure and record her statistics straight after birth. Above the Expedit are some Martha Stewart paper chains from her baby shower.

I love a good Exedit!

The Expedit contains a lot of my own baby toys and books, as well as the lovely gifts we have received for her. I keep her blankets in a storage cube (and I do not recommend these horrible plastic ones from IKEA – they are a nightmare to assemble and caused a few injuries in the process!).

Some special items:

Top row, second cube from left: Alice’s Daddy chose this print on our honeymoon in San Francisco from an artist at a street festival. At the same time I chose a print of a little girl with dark hair and blue eyes, and when I bought it I told Buzz that this was our daughter. It disappeared when we moved house, making way for the real little girl to arrive. In front of that print is a modern Beatrix Potter book given to me by my aunt called “Rabbit Organises Everything”: too perfect!

Second top row: Books! The most wonderful things in the world. I thoroughly believe that children should be swamped in books. So many of my own are here, and new editions that I’ve bought for her: Anatole the Mouse, Ricki Ticki Tembo, Edward Ardizzone books, Peepo, Madeline.

Alice's Expedit

On the top of the Expedit is my childhood print of the Snow Queen, which fascinated me no end with its ethereal queen and her gossamer dress; a little shoe I wore ; Alice’s birth card; and an owl which is too pretty to be a doorstop as intended (I stalked PoK for months until they got this owl back in stock).

On top of the Expedit

On the other side are the most special of my toys. On top are my teddies: Big Ted, a handmade bear; my number one Ted, given to me by my grandma when I was born; and Little Ted, an antique with glass eyes who my Dad bought for me at an antiques fair at the Camberwell Civic Centre when I must have been about five. In the cube underneath are my Humty, Ollyfump (bought by my Dad before I was born), and Yangzom, a doll given to me by His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s sister, Jetsun Pema-la, when we were in India when I was 2. I named her after my ‘Tibetan mother’.

My bears

Here is the reading corner, with my grandma’s TV chair re-upholstered and re-sprung. I love the fabric and even more love how a piece of furniture that I associate so strongly with her has been given a brand new dose of love and will be used by her great-granddaughter. On the floor next to the chair is Barkly, my wooden dog, who has been dragged around hither and thither. Penny the Penguin sits on the side table, bought by us in Sorrento while on holiday.

Our reading chair

Above the reading chair are decals chosen by Alice’s Daddy from 41 Orchard (does anyone else look at a lot of nursery decals and feel a bit sick at the overload of princessy-ness or, in the more hipster stores, owls?), and a print from Etsy (framed in a Target frame – bargain!). I love the sentiment.

Print from Etsy

Alice’s Boori cot was given to us by our ex-neighbour, so is well-loved and teeth-marked but still sturdy! Her pram (a Bugaboo Cameleon that we bought from gumtree.com in as-new condition for 2/3 of the price- score!) is also parked in here (the blanky in it is from here – I totally adore these florals).

Cot

Above the cot are decorations that reflect the same on the other side. The other half of the decal perches above the cot, and an Etsy print with matching font in the same frame heads the bed. The fishy mobile is mine from when I was a child and I love the glassy tinkle it makes in the breeze.

Print from Etsy

Alice won’t use her cot until she’s bigger, so until then it houses some toys including a big bear dressed in a footy jumper that was hand-knitted by Buzz’s aunt in the same pattern she knitted for him when he was born (and yes, I have allowed her to barrack for Daddy’s team), a giraffe from Buzz’s parents, and a bunny from my work colleagues. The teal and white chevron blanket was also knitted by Buzz’s aunt and is just gorgeous. The multi-coloured chevron minky is also from Etsy. The ‘Love’ cushion was handmade for me many years ago by my dear friend Zoe, whose latest venture, Beetle Bug Sleepwear, is utterly adorable handmade children’s sleepwear.

Special toys and bedding

The Boori changetable was a real find on eBay, in almost brand new condition and I was the only bidder. I stalked eBay for weeks waiting for the right thing that wasn’t going to go for a bomb. Who knew furniture that is designed to have babies poo on it would be so expensive?!

The tallboy was a Boori second (a couple of tiny dents!) and holds most of her clothes. The rest are in the cupboard just peeking in in the corner of the picture. A small library of books on birth and parenting are waiting for me to read them … or not.

Tallboy and change table

Over the changetable are Martha Stewart lanterns from the baby shower, and a print (Etsy again) that we displayed at our wedding with lyrics from The Pixies’ classic “La La Love You”. We sing this to each other – sometimes seriously but mostly tongue in cheek!

We also have displayed a little book called “I Like You” which is a poem by Sandol Stoddard Warburg, an excerpt of which was read by my friends during our wedding ceremony. A wedding photo and a beautiful framed print given to us by friends are also on display.

Lanterns over the change table

Naturally Alice couldn’t care less about any of this. Her world at the moment is cuddles, boobies and sleeping, which is all she is meant to do. When she is bigger I want her room to be her own space where she can learn to control her environment, explore whatever she wants, feel safe and have lots and lots of things to do. As much as I have loved making a room full of my memories and lovely things, I want it to become full of her own memories and things she likes. I just hope she keeps it a little bit clean!

Baby shower, bits and bobs.

baby shower day at 34+1 weeks. Bunny’s bassinet will live in our room.

Such a lot has happened and yet so little. I’m now almost 36 weeks pregnant, in my first week of maternity leave, and am still completely unable to accept that there is a real baby in that tummy. Surely you go in to labour to prove that you really want a child, and then after a while the midwives just bring in a baby and say “Here’s one we prepared earlier – you can have this one”?

Baby shower day – with the re-covered chair. Last time I’ll be wearing heels for a while too!

I feel like little has happened because I’ve spent the last few months slowly marking small things off lists, none of them amazingly important but all of them necessary. A good example is the photo above – was it worth reporting that I had my grandma’s chair re-covered (v happy btw), bought and built and Expedit, and framed some prints? Not really, but each activity required research, reconnoissance,  a number of visits and at least some swearing. It took time and energy but each was really a bit boring. Together, however, they all add up to something a bit prettier.

The photo above was taken just before my baby shower, which was generously hosted by my sister and sister-in-law. It was a just lovely afternoon with lots of friends and family, champagne (a little less for me) and afternoon tea – a chance to have some girl time and chats before I am swamped with nappies and various bodily expulsions (from Bunny, natch).

The afternoon tea set up.

This is the afternoon tea table above (taken from a poor angle!). You can see some of the lanterns I used (I placed myself in charge of decorations so I could re-use them in the nursery!) – I chose three styles from pinkfrosting.com.au and also used some gorgeous Martha Stewart paper chains (all pictures from Pink Frosting):

Pink polka dot lantern.

Blue butterfly lantern.

Sweet Lucy lantern (love this one).

Martha Stewart paper chains.

All of these will find new life in Bunny’s bedroom – I can occasionally be thrifty!

And here’s a better view of the tea table – instant diabetes.

The little flags, cupcake tower and table runner were also from Pink Frosting.

It was a real treat to just mingle, chat, catch up and spend time with so many dear people. It was the perfect way to mark the beginning of a new phase of life, even if I was mortified to learn that my belly measured 122cm in girth! There were also some amusing names mooted in the ‘guess the arrival date/weight/sex/name’ game – should I be concerned that ‘Bruce’ was mentioned twice?!

People were also wonderfully thoughtful and generous with gifts for Bunny (and some for me too!) – the thank you cards are on their way! It was very touching to receive such special things and the Bunny is a lucky baby indeed.

So the next few weeks … anything from 1 to 5 weeks and that’s it! I’m so close to term and will try to enjoy and rest during this quite strange holiday. I am powering through my To Do list while I have the energy, while keeping my (swollen) feet elevated.

The Laguiole silliness continues.

Last year I wrote about my sunshiney Laguiole-style cutlery, and had a very interesting conversation with reader Christine about the naming, provenance and trademark issues surrounding the Laguiole flatware heritage. It appeared that the ‘original’ Forge de Laguiole was never trademarked, and every other branded Laguiole-style flatware such as Jean Dubost at one end and Debutante at the other was a bit of a knock-off regardless of differences in quality.

Annnnnnyway … I saw this article yesterday (I hesitate to add that I do not habitually read the Herald-Scum; I saw it in Mx which is a much high quality publication ROTFLMAO hahaha) and the upshot is that apparently everything labelled Laguiole has been trademarked and it’s all even more confusing and silly than we imagined.

Key points include:

  • “Under the terms of the brand’s registration, anyone can use the name Laguiole for knives …”.
  • “The court ruled that … Laguiole knives had become a generic product not necessarily linked to a particular place.”

I am just going to keep buying flatware that I like the look of seeing as it’s all dubious anyway!

 

From the Herald-Sun:

French village renounces knife name

by: Emmy Varley

From: AAP

September 30, 2012 2:49PM

 

RESIDENTS of Laguiole, a village synonymous with the manufacture of France’s most famous knives, have symbolically “unnamed” the place in protest against losing control of the name.

The villagers are furious that the name Laguiole has passed into the hands of an entrepreneur who allows it to be used to sell made-in-China knives and barbecues.

To the cheers of about 200 locals, mayor Vincent Alazard pulled down a sign at the entrance to the village in the Aveyron region of southwestern France.

“Our name no longer belongs to us, so what do you want us to do with this sign?” the mayor asked the assembled protesters. “We are going to take it to Paris and give it to those who have taken it away from us.”

The village this month lost a legal battle to reclaim rights to the name from businessman Gilbert Szajner, who registered Laguiole as a trademark in 1993 and has since licensed its use for products including clothes, table and bed linen, lighters and barbecues, as well as the cutlery which originally made its name.

Under the terms of the brand’s registration, anyone can use the name Laguiole for knives but the villagers would have to pay Szajner if they want to diversify and produce any other products under that name.

“The word Laguiole has been kidnapped, it has been stolen from us,” said Michel Bras, owner of the village’s Michelin three-star restaurant.

“It is very easy to ride on the backs of people who made sacrifices, who made the most of what little they had, to establish the name of this area.

“These people have been swindled by someone who does not know the place.”

The local council attempted unsuccessfully to persuade a Paris court to annul the trademark registered by Szajner on the grounds that his use of it could confuse consumers about the origin of products.

The court ruled that the name of the village was not sufficiently well known to constitute a de facto marque and that Laguiole knives had become a generic product not necessarily linked to a particular place.

An appeal is being planned.

Meanwhile, local officials hope to persuade the government to pass a law protecting village names and to create a wine-style system of labelling manufactured products by their origin.

We’re all going on a summer holiday.

We had the most relaxing, restful, sigh-making week away last week, sans everything (including the dogs) except ourselves. It was a first wedding anniversary-babymoon-last hurrah kind of holiday. We stayed in friends’ parents’ cottage on their clifftop farm with views across the peninsula, and really did nothing at all except what we felt like. We managed a short outing every day – we are avowed ubanites after all – but most days retired to bed and a sea view by about 3pm for a solid three hour rest time, in which reading, drawing, napping, snacking and chatting were all that was accomplished. It was brilliant.

We did short trips to the Merricks General Wine Store, a drive across the peninsula to Dromana to check out Buzz’s old stomping grounds and then a leisurely coastal drive to Portsea, lunch in Mornington (loved the pizza at D.O.C. and the navy and gold Tod’s bag I picked up at Bella on Barkly), tapas at The Green Olive, and also a highly enjoyable visit to Endota Spa at Moonah Links where Buzz resisted snoozing in his massage and I had a lovely facial and neck/shoulder/hand/foot massage. I’m not sure you can get much less taxing.

The week did make me realise however just how tired I am even when I have nothing to do.

Despite going to bed when I felt tired, sleeping until I woke naturally every day, having three hours of lying down a day, and doing nothing more exerting than a stroll through some shops (and no real housework!), I really noticed my lack of energy. The week away coincided with hitting the third trimester so I assume that this is now when all my body’s efforts are diverted into turning The Bunny into a little porker ready to come out. I also had a week of constant and almost crippling back pain as a result of my now-habitual backwards lean and waddle to offset the bowling ball attached to my front, so I have settled on the idea that I do not have to push through at work until 38 weeks, and will let my physical state guide me. Provisionally I am leaving at 35 weeks, which is just 8 weeks away, and I really think that’s as far as I can go (especially after this Monday’s train commute where despite being rested and having a seat, I came perilously close to a very public purge if I hadn’t had been able to get off the train pronto).

Another reason for the expanding bump – Whittaker’s Dark Rum’n’Raisin chocolate!

In other, exciting, grown-uply news, this week has seen Schloss Buzz acquire a new back security door and split system heating/cooling in the living/kitchen/hall area, our bedroom and the nursery. We do feel quite the proud (and now poor) homeowners.

And now off for more pre-Bunny preparatory work – chasing missing online deliveries, raging at recalled whitegoods and their manufacturers, touching base with suppliers, and trying not to let pregnancy-brain erode too much of my life.

PS: Instagram, I love it. I am at aplaceforeverything.

Update: Operation Pick-Me-Up

Update on the weekend’s purchases made under Operation Pick-Me-Up:

1. The Grown face wash is lovely and looks very nice indeed on the vanity. I’ve been using it to rinse my face in the morning, which is about as much effort as I can muster. Only the tiniest bit is required – the frothing action is commendable given the lack of Sodium Laureth Sulphate (or is it Lauryl?). Verdict: Win.

2. The A’kin facial scrub is a bit weird – it smells as funny as ‘jojo and corn’ would suggest and the actual exfoliant bits are few and far between. I’ve been using it as a face wash/makeup remover in the shower, which is most convenient. However it isn’t making me feel spesh as I’m too busy concentrating on its odd smell. I’ll use it up then replace it with something from Sukin I think. Verdict: Fail.

3. The L’Oreal EverSleek conditioner and serum are the business. I haven’t had a single morning of my usual ’80s rockstar perm gone wrong’ hair since I’ve been using it. The ‘do is still quite frightful first thing, but nowhere near as laughable. Verdict: Win.

4. I don’t think I mentioned buying this, but I finally remembered to get a barrel brush for blow-drying my hair. I gave it a go on Sunday and I think it’s my technique rather than the brush that’s at fault. – I’m really a GHD girl. Verdict: More Practice Required; Still Under Review.

5. The Chanel sunnies are winners-plus, even though I’ve been scrounging for opportunities to put them on in this weather. I am really pleased with their sun-shading abilities, face-comfort, and general feeling of swishness. Verdict: Mega Win.

So did the shopping make me feel like I had the energy to spend a bit more time on myself? I think so. I still haven’t mani-pedi-ed, cleaned my jewellery or gone for a walk, but I have made an appointment at the hairdresser, remembered to shave my legs before seeing my musculo-skeletal therapist, have returned to using eyeliner, and all-around Saturday was a hugely productive day* and that in and of itself makes me feel pretty darn good.

Shopping FTW.

 

* ALL of our moving boxes are now unpacked; our bookshelves are securely in situ and have books on them; the nursery has made great progress with a pretty display Expedit and only one thing being stored in there; everything that belongs in the study is now in the study; I folded and put away two weeks of washing; and as mentioned we are now returned to a state of modesty in our bathroom with the installation of a blind)

Pottering on Etsy.

One of the ways to while away the winter months whilst with child … apart from indulging in alliteration … is to shop for one’s unborn child.

I’ve found Etsy to be one of the most satisfying sites for beautiful yet usually impractical baby stuff.  Seeing as we don’t know whether the Bunny will be of the innie or outie variety, I am browsing universally. Here are some current favourites.

Nursery stuff:

We’re not going overboard but we are tending towards yellow as a unifying colour in the nursery (inspired by these) as it’s bright and cheery, and can be added to in pinks and blues as the occasion requires.

I am eyeing off some new cushions for a reading chair in the corner.

This one is very Sass-like but I am not enabling her at all. Hands off!

And I’m also considering this set as I appear to have over-neutralled my living room.

Girl stuff:

Too much candy pink makes me want to join the Riot Grrrls, but I do love a bit of prettiness.

I think that this was originally Napoleon’s comment on China, but seeing as I’d expect little less of my girls it’s apt.

Boy stuff:

Much as a lot of girly things seem saturated in sugar’n’spice and sickliness, a lot of boyish stuff seems to be all about tanks, soldiers, and breaking things. Dinosaurs, cars and sailboats are up there too. I don’t really love any of it so am struggling to find more masculine babywear that wouldn’t have him all bloked up from birth.

And of course the stupidly tacky but fun:

For a little Mo Bro.

So I guess we’ll see what the stork brings. I’m having fun pottering around in the nursery in the meantime, and will happily fill in the next 16 weeks or so filling it with sturdy, educational and beautiful things I want my child to be surrounded by.

Cleanliness is next to godliness.

Oh my giddy aunt.

I have discovered the most joyous of all events.

It’s a hot shower in your own bathroom in your own home.

(Excuse the iPhone photos; it was all I was up to).

Before. WiIl you just look at the lovely colour scheme.

When we moved into our new home it was disgustingly evident that the previous tenants had never cracked out the bleach or Easy Off Bam. There was mould in the crevices of the shower screen and the grout that once sat between the back of the vanity and the tiles behind was now a black strip of putrid rot. Our shiny white-ish tiles showed every speck of dirt no matter how often they were swept and mopped. The bath presumably leaked, juding by the cracks in its cheap plastic bottom. The pipes squealed when the shower was called into action and each tap required delicate nudging throughout the shower to ensure a steady flow. There was no storage – our possessions sat sadly in shopping bags in the bath.

It was vile. I never went in there without shoes on and I never showered without thongs. It was first and foremost on my list of renovations.

Oh the trim. It made me gag.

We were lucky enough to happen upon some great builders on our first phone call. A father and son team, I dealt with the son who spent a lot of time walking me through their approach and providing advice before I even committed to the project, and whose speedy return phone calls and emails were fan-bloody-tastic. If anyone in Melbourne is after a reliable, responsive and good quality building team, I am more than happy to recommend them.

During. An improvement already!

The bathroom build started in mid-June and for two weeks we had tradies trooping in and out every day. Our cats were in a cattery and I’d take the dogs to my parents’ house each morning and pick them up after work, taking advantage of my parents’ shower while I was there. All things considered, it was inconvenient but not greatly, although brushing our teeth over the kitchen sink got old fast.

During. I thought once the shower was taken out it would reveal a gaping vortex to hell.

Despite a hiccup with The Narrowest Bath In The World, we ended up being delayed by only a couple of days. It was the next two weeks when we had a fully functional bathroom but no shower screen (and therefore no use of the shower) that was toughest, although we’d been warned that having the screen measured to fit would be time-consuming but worthwhile.

Before. We also had a charming toilet suite with original tiles … and asbestos.

Before. Lino tiles in the laundry – the owners even considerately left us some spares in case we liked them so much we wanted to extend their spread.

And it is. We’ve been shower-functional for about a week and a half now, and the ease and joy of being able to use a clean, shiny, relaxing and functional bathroom at will makes me happy beyond all measure.

After. I haven’t finished painting the window frames.