Saturday, 23 August 2014

And so it begins...

And so it begins... I finished work yesterday, emptied my drawers, handed in my pass, said good-bye to everyone... Then same again with the nursery, which was really quite emotional as the girls there have been caring for Siena since she was three months old so they definitely felt like part of our extended family. Saying goodbye to them was more emotional than I envisaged although we'll keep in touch with them.
I just love this.

But now here we are. I am voluntarily unemployed/housewife/stay-at-home mum/whatever you want to call it... To me, it is a career break. Maybe two years at the most, hoping that a concrete plan will form itself overtime. I already have various projects of different natures which I am extremely excited about, so I know everything will work out just fine.
I am going to be looking at making some changes to Green Loving Girl too as I feel it has been a little neglected of late so watch this space! For now, I am going to be taking a little time out to enjoy my new found "freedom" but I will be back really soon so don't go far! In the meantime, please feel free to catch up with previous posts and by the time you finish, i'll be back with more!
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Friday, 22 August 2014

Happy 1st blogaversary me!

I am really excited to say that it has been one year since I started writing as Green Loving Girl...

┌iiiii┐                                                              Happy Birthday
I haven't been able to write every single day, but I have managed to write 130 posts since I began... which I am really proud about. I remember when I first set up my domain name whether it was ambitious committing to a full year but it has flown by!

My most popular posts have been the ones writing from the heart, from my decision to stop breastfeeding, losing loved ones, and taking big life decisions. And that feels amazing. The support has been amazing. I have had had some pretty fantastic comments over the last year and it feels simply fantastic connecting with likeminded people from all over the world. Indeed, the vast majority of my readers are from the United States, but also have readers from the UK, Guyana, Russia, China and Brazil amongst others! How amazing is that? I love this online community and modern technology!

Talking about community, this is one of my most favourite thing about blogging. I have met some truly wonderful people since I started writing here. Wonderful, and also, extremely inspiring! Whether it be Amanda from Rhymes & Ribbons who I met when taking part in the Cara box exchange, Monique from French Wedding Style , Vicky from Vicky Farr Make Up & Hair artist (I especially love this post of hers) and many others in between... I have loved getting to know so many inspiring people. I truly feel that through blogging, I am finding my true voice. My true self. And with that, I feel like I am coming back to life with projects pouring in from all directions... I am so incredibly excited! But first, I need a pretty complex diary to organise the next year because there is so much more I want to give to Green Loving Girl, I just need to figure out where to start! (any suggestions? I keep finding some amazing ones based in the States but as of yet nothing in the UK...)

All in all, thank you, yes you! for reading my posts and being a part of Green Loving Girl. I would love to hear from you, in relation to what type of posts do you enjoy reading the most? Do you have your own blog or do you prefer reading other blogs? Any advice on what a blogger should consider after their first year?

Thank you so much to all the pinners that make this board fabulous! I am so grateful!
Don't be shy, I'd love to hear from you! (ps all my contact details can be found here ;)
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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Green Loving Girl on the lookout for UK based businesses to work with

One of the things I love about the online community, is that you get to find out new brands and products I might have otherwise never heard of! Indeed, I found my beautiful much loved leather handbag when reading Jo's blog a Cup of Jo, Hugo's gorgeous mocassins by connecting with Fritha on twitter who in turn introduced me to  Amy & Ivor (post to follow on these as they are simply stunning!). I have also been introduced to some fabulous UK based wedding specialists since writing for French Wedding Style. More recently, I have been in contact with This Modern Life and Bobby Rabbit for some inspiration when decorating the kids bedrooms.

All that to say we have some pretty impressive talent here in the UK!

As much as I love browsing beautiful products from overseas, I love nothing more than finding a local person who is passionate about their brand, creating beautiful products as a result. And then to spread the word! I have therefore decided to help such talented people promote their business on Green Loving Girl.

Therefore if you have your own business, whether it be related to home, garden, children's toys/clothes/nursery, please do get in touch and we can discuss how best to work together on promoting your business via Green Loving Girl.

Don't be shy! I look forward to hearing from you ;)
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Monday, 18 August 2014

Children and Funerals

For those of you who may have followed Green Loving Girl from the start, you might remember that it's pretty long year for my family since last August, as we lost my godmother, my grand dad and more recently my grand ma. There is no other way to put it. It has been a shit year in that respect.

As a result, Siena and Hugo have already attended three funerals, all before Siena turned four. I don't expect Hugo will remember anything, as he has only just turned one. But at the latest one, Siena was most definitely more aware.

Barry and I strongly believe in talking to the children seriously. Don't get me wrong, we are happy to play along at "pretend" games and have silly conversations with them. But if Siena asks us a question, we aim to answer it as best as we can. A child's curiosity is a precious thing. I do not want to discourage it in any way, but on the contrary, keep on watering it as I genuinely believe this will help forge their character as they grow up.

However, as a parent, or even just as a grown up generally, it can be really hard to know how to answer specific questions from a child...

When Jane died, we didn't tell Siena that she was gone. Hugo was only a few weeks old, so she would have been two and a half. Yet she seemed to understand as when she saw me cry at the end of the service, she said that "mummy was sad because she can't see Aunty Jane". Children are definitely a lot more perceptive and clever that we sometimes give them credit for.

So when my grand dad died, I decided to explain to her that he was no longer here with us as she was almost three. I can't remember exactly what was said. But she asked me a lot of questions, and I remember we talked about Bambi and his mummy as this was one of favourite films at the time. She then seemed to realise what I was saying and seemed really upset, and I worried I had taken it too far... I remember exactly where we were, on our way home after work/nursery. Then she had her thinking expression on and told me: "Superman's daddy died didn't he?", which I acknowledged. And so she proceeded to tell me all about Superman. I felt relieved but also impressed. Kids truly are amazing.

At my grand ma's service, I think the tears from all three services combined into one and so I cried more. Siena was observing me as she does with her beautiful big hazel eyes, and then became upset stating that she missed grandma and so needed a big cuddle. This was difficult to see, as she is so little, so we reassured her, explaining that there was no need to be sad. But again, difficult to convince a child of this when she has seen you cry over that same thing!

Naturally, I did not take Siena in with me to say goodbye to Jane prior to the service. To be honest, I don't think I will ever get used to seeing a dead body and so would rather wish Siena had a say in the matter when she was older before imposing this on her. But with regards to attending the funeral itself, we are lucky that both kids were beautifully behaved throughout each one of the above services, Siena particularly liked the singing part! Additionally, everyone seemed happy to see them, and they brought many smiles to peoples' faces, which is also greatly welcomed on sad occasions. They do represent after all, what life is about, don't they?

And to me personally, when I think of my new mantra (taken from Jane): "It is important that we focus on our blessings in life of which there are many", Siena and Hugo are most definitely my two most precious blessings!

How do you deal with questions from your children? Would you take your child to a funeral or do you believe they should be kept away from such events?

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*All images unless otherwise noted are my own, so please do not use them without my permission.*

Friday, 8 August 2014

Little Bird Clothing Range

We have a Mothercare near us, and so I often tend to pop into to see what they have that's new. At the moment, the new Little Bird Clothing range is out, and I love it! It is a beautiful mix of colourful, vintage, fun clothes from baby sizes to the age of 8. I love the style as it mostly reflects the clothes I used to wear as a child but with a modern input and brighter colours. I easily could have picked up one of each item, but limited myself to just these four... for now. I have my eye on a few items for Hugo too so we'll see!
View details of Little Bird by Jools Pointelle Knit Jumper

View details of Little Bird by Jools Orange Ditsy Blouse

View details of Little Bird by Jools Pointelle Cardigan

View details of Little Bird by Jools Rainbow Belt

What is your current favourite clothing range for your little ones? Do you stick to the same one or do you have a few favourites?
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Thursday, 7 August 2014

Silly parenting thoughts of the day (another day in motherhood)

Do you ever talk about motherhood or parenting in a negative manner? I am constantly worrying that I do this far too much. 
I do secretly feel envious when friends say to me that their friend, who is usually a new mum in the conversation, is loving everything about motherhood, and that "she was definitely made to be a mum". Mainly because I worry no one would say this about me. It sounds ridiculous writing it down, (and reading it back to myself) but that is how I often feel, and so I wonder if you ever feel like that too or is it just me?!
I do have a tendency to talk about motherhood "as it really is", the good and the bad, according to my friends. I don't know if it is the French side of me (think "brutally honest" at times), but that is just the way I am. I am working on thinking more before I speak, but I still have a little way to go.
Thinking about it, I think there are also other factors involved... When I became a parent, most of my friends were not in that phase yet. I now have more friends who have joined the "club", but only a few. Same at work, only a few of my friends and colleagues are entering/have entered this new phase of their life. The others are still able to go out and have a drink whenever they like and socialise on a regular basis... I do feel slightly jealous everytime they head off to the sun for lazy drinks outside. I therefore do occasionally feel a little isolated as a mum, which i think a lot of parents must feel when they find themselves in a completely new world, which is very different to their previous one...
This is not to say I don't love being a mum, but at the same time I do miss the liberty and flexibility my life had pre-kids. And there I go again, does this sound negative? I don't mean it to... just being honest.
I also used to be called Monalot as a kid... as in... moan-a-lot. This honestly took me until my teens to realise the meaning of this nickname... shocking! Because of this, I am now paranoid as coming across as moaning too much... In reality, I honestly don't think that I moan any more than the next person, but I still remain worried about this.
Because of all this, I often find myself either going on and on about the children to my mostly childless friends and colleagues... to the point that I can't help but imagine that I sound like that girl in American Pie "and this one time, in Band camp...". Naturally, Siena and Hugo are a massive part of my life. Also because of the reduced socialising as per the above, it is true that they have become the main topic of conversation I have. I know that most of the stories I have, are probably mainly cute/adorable/the best mainly in my eyes, and Barry's, and my family and close friends... but I can't help sharing them. They just make me so happy!
I do also have a tendency to complain a little (!) of lack of sleep and feeling overall very tired when the kids don't sleep through the night (Siena is awake as we sleep speak and Hugo is teething so restless), whether directly or via Facebook. When I eventually wake up or calm down from my bad mood, I worry that I am one of those people you read on facebook, always complaining and moaning about one thing or another... and so I feel bad. But I also manage to successfully overload people's Facebook with happy posts with lots of cake. So surely it is just a way of keeping the right balance on my status? :oP
I am not 100% sure where my train of thought is taking me tonight... I guess I just started off the day badly and felt a little overwhelmed. But I took the kids out for lunch, got a few bits from the nearby shops I needed (and more, always more...) and by the time we got home, we had all cheered up and enjoyed cuddles, silly kisses and giggles before bedtime. And it is then that I truly remember that it is the small things that become the big things.
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Do you ever have silly parenting fears/worries/concerns pop up into your head? What is your way of dealing with them? Please do share x
ps: no matter my fears, at least I have nothing on these guys!
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*All images unless otherwise noted are my own, so please do not use them without my permission.*

Deciding on the feel of a wedding...

Did you catch up with my latest post on French Wedding Style? If not, don't worry, you can read it here. It is naturally fabulous and make sure you also take the time to read through Monique's website, it's gorgeous!

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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

My new obsession...

I have no idea where this came from... but I am now completely obsessed with macarons, and i keep wanting to bake them all the time!

I mainly blame Amanda from Rhyme & Ribbons, as she is always posting amazing recipes on her beautiful blog, so clearly, this is all your fault Amanda! ;)

My first attempt... well... didn't quite go to plan... I am thinking I might need to be a little more patient when preparing the bakeware and the macarons themselves.

Luckily Barry had bought me some from Marks & Spencers so all was not lost!

So watch this space, I will soon dazzle you with some real beauties of the macaron world!
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Monday, 4 August 2014

Short and sweet

Today's post I shall keep short and sweet. My lovely, truly inspiring grand-ma died last night in her sleep, after getting septic pneumonia. She was 96, and had left an incredible life, being a modern woman way before her time. She would go down the water slides with us in the Sunderland pool in her 70s. She carried on dancing roll'n'roll and going to her keep fit classes until her 80s. And she kept her sense of humour right until the end. She would always tell us stories of when she was younger, and you can easily guess she was a little trouble in her time, but always remaining a lady! All in all, an amazing life, which I feel truly blessed to have a part of.

There is much comfort in knowing that she is finally reunited with my Grand-dad, whom she would kiss good night every single night, and their daughter Jane. It has been an incredibly long year for my family, most of all my mum who has lost all members of her nuclear family within a year. This is what I found the most heartbreaking. However, we have also had the arrival of our beautiful son (look how chubby he is below!!), the daily fun that is Siena with her conversations and her giggles, two engagements, and my brother and sister and I are probably the closest we have ever been despite all living in different countries! I therefore ensure I appreciate each one of my blessings!

Therefore tonight, I made sure I had a glass of bubbly to celebrate my grand-ma's life, and although I will miss her terribly, i will take comfort in knowing that wherever she is, she is most probably dancing away, with a G&T, some chocolates and of course, dressed very stylishly, having a laugh with Jane and my Grand-dad.

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*All images unless otherwise noted are my own, so please do not use them without my permission.*

Saturday, 2 August 2014

A day at the zoo/farm (or how to save a parent's sanity)

Today was one of those days where I had to get out of the house. The kids were both bored, and therefore driving me crazy by the time it was 9am. It was going to be a long day. The weather seemed to be holding up, and so we decided to go to Noah's Ark Zoo Farm where the kids could get lots of fresh air and Siena could run around freely.

Within ten minutes, the rain arrived...

but it got a lot better afterwards, and at least the park was nice and empty!

Barry complained of the cost, but we agreed that this was definitely worth it in order to save our sanity for the day. What are your tricks as a parent to keep sane and keep the kids happy?
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*All images unless otherwise noted are my own, so please do not use them without my permission.*

Friday, 1 August 2014

No panic! The marvellous green Pinterest hover button is now back!

I suddenly realised today that my beautiful green Pinterest button was no longer appearing on my blog's photos, which became very annoying, as I am in love with Pinterest! There is therefore no doubt that my lovely readers must have the possibility of adding images to Pinterest from my blog by a simple click!
I couldn't remember the exact technique I used before, but found another really easy one and so I have decided to share it with you, should you like to add this amazing button to your blog. You're welcome!
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For the magic to unleash, simply click here.
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Beautiful shoes!

I do love browsing online at beautiful things...

Recently, when going through my Instagram feed, I came upon this photo, and have since become obsessed with these shoes, from Avarcas by Castell. These shoes are originally from Menorca, and you can find so many models on their website, but the UK site also has a great collection. I am so tempted to get a pair for me, and a glitter pair for Siena! Apparently a few French shops stock them so might have a nose while I'm there next month.

Here are my favourite below:

I have also fallen in love with the designs from Joy Folie, an American online shop. Their collection is absolutely stunning!

*NEW* Foy in Peacock*NEW* Hazel in Gold
*NEW* Jayla in Rust*NEW* Naomi in Red

Marion Knot Heels in GoldAlma in Tangelo
*NEW* Fiona in PeacockMelia

The green ones are called Fiona... meant to be don't you think??

What do you think? Do you like them? Do you often find new things you fall in love with online?
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*All images unless otherwise noted are my own, so please do not use them without my permission.*
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