From a Mama in the know to Mamas on the go!

Pumpkin Soup via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Unorginal I know, I could give you 1000′s of pumpkin recipes, but none of them would be as tasty as this. Honestly.

You probably carved your pumpkin a day or so ago, or you may even be like me and leave it until literally just before Halloween to keep it as fresh as possible, either way you now have a tonne of pumping that needs cooking (especially if you have more than one child!!) and no idea what to cook with it.

Well, first thing is first, get all the pumpkin flesh into the fridge until you know what you are doing. It doesn’t keep great outside of the fridge and is likely to be all slimy the following morning if you don’t! I thought I’d share my favourite pumpkin recipe. Highly unoriginal, its a soup. I just don’t think that you can beat soup at this time of year, it’s something that I always think is so darn tasty and filling, especially served with warm, crusty bread – which you could make yourself using pumpkin seeds. Just saying.

My favourite Pumpkin Soup:

2 onions, roughly chopped

1kg of pumpkin flesh, deseeded, stringy bits removed.

1 carrot, roughly chopped

1 sweet potato, roughly chopped

1 clove of garlic

800ml – 1L chicken or vegetable stock (I prefer chicken, but if you are vegetarian then you can use vegetable too!)

250ml cream (optional)

1- 1 1/2tsp curry powder

butter or oil for frying

Fry the onions and garlic in the butter/oil for a few minutes until they are turning translucent, then add the curry powder. Fry for 20 seconds.

Add the chopped carrots, pumpkin and sweet potato and fry for around 2 mins, just to warm and coat with the onion and curry mixture.

Add the stock and simmer for approximately 30 minutes, until everything is very soft. Blend. You can add cream if you want to, it does just finish off the soup perfectly, but if you are wanting a healthier version then don’t.

Enjoy, Harriet x

The Pregnancy Diaries :: Week 27 via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Week 27 :: Baby is about the size of a cauliflower – and the weight too!!

What’s happening to baby this week?

This week, baby weighs almost 2 pounds and is about 14 1/2 inches long with her legs extended. That’s the same size as a cauliflower! Baby has regular sleeping and waking patterns now and has a super active brain because of all the tissues developing. The good news is that, though her lungs are really immature and would need a lot of medical help, she could now survive outside of the body.

The reality: How have I been feeling this week?

Well, you may have noticed that there was no week 26 in my pregnancy diary, because I was quite poorly towards the end and I had to have a little trip to my triage to check a monitor and check over from the midwives! The problems are largely due to my low ferritin levels (which are 8!!) but also because after a very stressful and active week last week, baby dropped right into my pelvis and practically became engaged! Unfortunately this caused me to have contraction like pains for a few hours and gave everyone a bit of a fright. The other thing that has happened this week is my stomach acid has been causing real indigestion, something that hasn’t been much fun at all either.

Good news though, baby has some really regular movements so I have been able to spend some time with my husband enjoying feeling her movements in the evening. I am also in the process of redecorating the upstairs (we’re having a huge bedroom shuffle!) so my nesting has really started to kick in… in fact I think it kicks in just after conception, but hey!

Cravings.

Yes, I still have a thing for Wispa Gold, though I think that is more about a liking for them than anything. I also can’t seem to get Chilli Ramen out of my mind so I have been making that quite a lot. I’m really hoping that particular love stays, not only is it good for me but with it being mainly liquid the soup and chilli help with any constipation (especially now I am on iron tablets!) and noodles fill me up!

The bad, adorable and downright funny.

Funny:

A friend of mine posted a picture on her Facebook profile, with the caption 2 weeks to go. I showed it to my husband, who looked at me and smiled, because I was distraught that I looked 10 times bigger than her already! Needless to say this is her first baby! I think I was her size after about 2 weeks!

Adorable:

Toby is obsessed with finding his belly and keeps saying ‘here it is’! He lifted way top up the other day only to be completely baffled by my over the bump jeans! His little face was such a picture!

Bad:

The ferritin deficiency, the labour style pains and the tiredness have all been trying this week. I have also been getting a few headaches, though we think that is more because I need to wear my glasses more often than anything sinister!

Harriet x

Aymara knitwear via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

At this time of year I’m always looking for something to keep me and the boys warm, and I love Aymara knitwear.

Aymara knitwear via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

The design detail isn’t the only thing that is so special about Aymara. Their clothes are made from Peruvian cotton fibers, so they are extra soft and cosy.

Aymara knitwear via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Aymara produce such a great range as well, and in wonderfully vibrant colours. perfect for Autumn and Winter.

A few days ago I finally relented to letting the boys go out into the garden and play in the mud and gravel with their dump trucks. They were still in their pajamas and it was only when I followed them outside that I realised how bitterly cold it was! So back in we came for big, thick knitted jumpers, socks and winter boots!!

Anyway, this got me thinking, at this time of year I am always on the hunt for knitwear brands that stand out or that I haven’t come across before. On one of my ‘hunts’ I found Aymara knitwear, a really stylish company that produces the most wonderful knitwear, made with Peruvian cotton – some of the best in the world in case you didn’t know!

The company was born in  2007 and is the result of a love story between a Belgium engineer and a Peruvian travel agent, who quit their jobs when they fell in love to start up their own company together. So sweet.

I love the designs that this company produce, and because of the fibers in the material, the knitwear is so soft and luxurious to touch.

You can shop their E-shop here and get something that will help keep you snuggly, despite the impending cold. Brr.

Harriet x

P.s – Aymara also makes womenswear, which is divine. You may well want to join me in flexing the credit card on this one girls!

We don’t have a big Halloween party for the kids, which I always think is really sad – every year I intend to do one and then just simply run out of time… maybe next year! I think it is a part of Halloween not really being celebrated so much over here (UK) and often left out of the celebration calendar. We’re getting better with kid’s play areas offering events, especially for the half term!

Anyway, even if I don’t get to host a big party for all of the boy’s little friends, I always make sure we have a Halloween banquet on the night! Instead of having a ‘normal’ dinner, we get really crafty and all of the decorations we have been making come out to adorn the table, we dress up (much to Daddy’s horror!) and play spooky music. We even have a spooky table cloth and special Halloween trays (I really need to organise a proper party next year!). It’s something that anyone can do, even if there are only a handful of people at the table. I’ve put together my list of favourite spooky treats (some savoury and some sweet – though not all sugary sweet!) that will be served at our mini Halloween feast this year. Take your pick, draw the curtains and indulge your gross side – it’s fun!

Halloween buffet food ideas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

As you can see these little rice crispies pumpkins are too cute (and perfect for getting kids to join in with! The recipe I will be using (which I have tried and tested before you) is from pennypinchinmom.com

 

Halloween buffet food ideas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

You might remember my post about pizza dough a few month back. Well the pizza dough will be coming out for this little treat! I might even try individual ghost squares!

Halloween buffet food ideas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I’ve tried this before for the boys and they LOVED it! So much fun! Pour jelly into the straws and allow to set, perfect wriggling worms for pudding!

Halloween buffet food ideas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I have never met a child that doesn’t love cheesy fingers, and these are the perfect solution to a creepy cheesy bite!

Halloween buffet food ideas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

This is another firm favourite with my boys who are sausage obsessed. What i love about this one is that they can do it themselves. We will buy pre made puff pastry and they can wrap it around their sausage, put it in to cook and voila!

Halloween buffet food ideas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I haven’t actually tried this before, but what a cool idea! If you are pushed for time, buy a variety of dipping chips, cut up some veg crudités for the kids and use your favourite family dip, just with a few embellishments! A tasty treat in minutes!

Halloween buffet food ideas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

We always do this for the boys, and they love it. You don’t have to use chocolate to dip the strawberries in, you can use a yogurt dip if you choose to.

Halloween buffet food ideas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Twiglets (or plain breadsticks if you prefer) with cheese wrapped around the bottom make great witches broomsticks!

Halloween buffet food ideas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Perfect healthy treat for any Halloween table. You could even combine this with the tombstone dip.

Halloween buffet food ideas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

This is a fab idea, easy and simple, perfect for families to have as a main meal or make them smaller for ‘bite-size’ burgers.

Halloween buffet food ideas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

The perfect combatant to all that Halloween sugar, a fruity surprise that kids love but it take your minutes. We have done the bananas many a time and they have never been rejected!! This particular image comes from spendwithpennies.com

Halloween buffet food ideas via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

These are great as an after dinner treat. I usually cheat and buy pre made cup cakes and squirt some frosting on top… cheeky I know!

So that’s it, you don’t have to go mad, but it will just add a touch of fun to meal times on Halloween!

Harriet x

DIY craft Halloween masks via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

The boy’s made the masks (which I pre bought) by decorating them with glitter, crépe paper, tissue paper and paint.

Halloween can be so unrated in the UK. It’s something that I really love as I think it is the ideal time for children to really indulge in their creative and imaginative sides!

I spend hours trawling pinterest at this time of year to find fun foods, craft ideas and DIY costumes for the boys to enjoy. There are so many things out there for them to get involved in, even for little ones of Toby’s age.

So this year we have made a few things (sun catchers, pom pom spiders and meringue ghouls to name a few!), but one of my favourite things, which I will treasure forever is the Halloween masks the boys have made this year. I am going to confess that I am a bit of a cheat, we pre bought the paper mâché masks and the boys decorated them using crépe paper, tissue paper, glitter, funky feathers and paint.

You can buy the pre made masks here and decorate them yourself, which I honestly think is the best course of action if you are a busy mama, especially this late in the day as you won’t really have time to make the paper mâché and let it dry, then decorate it and let it dry.

The boy’s masks are really dear to me but they are really basic, crazy and unlikely to win any talent contests! With that in mind, I thought I would share a few pictures of the wonderful DIY masks that have inspired me, all using paper mâché or other really easy to get hold of supplies!

DIY crafts Halloween masks via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Funky, traditional design for a halloween mask (done using paper mâché and a pre bought mask from the same place I ordered ours!)

DIY crafts Halloween masks via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

This pin was automatically sent to my Halloween board for being super cool. 10 different cardboard mask designs from handmadecharlotte.com

DIY crafts Halloween masks via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Felt is a great last minute mask craft option, you can glue it to cardboard or thick card to create a solid impression, or not if you choose.

DIY crafts Halloween masks via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Another hugely tradtional mask, decorated using paints.

DIY crafts Halloween masks via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Made from cardboard, why not try something like this and team it with a homemade sword!? Found via allfortheboys.com

DIY crafts Halloween masks via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I love this idea, and the way Reuben behaves when he sees a falling leaf, he would too. We may well buy another mask and give this a go just for fun by sticking leaves (these a faux, hence the reason they look so perfect!) onto a pre made shell! Found via Magpies Masquerie on Etsy.

 

Harriet x

Pinterest Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Sad but true. Pinterest is one of the most addictive things I have ever come across! Join me!

I have developed an obsession.

It’s true, I can’t help it – I have developed an obsession with Pinterest. In the bath, in bed, on the loo… pretty much every time the kids have gone to bed, the phone comes out and I am on that app like a wild thing ready to pin pin pin!

As addictive as Pinterest is, I think it’s a great tool for parents, teachers and anyone wanting to add a bit of inspiration to their life!

At the moment, my obsession is Halloween, Christmas and yummy recipes that I can try out to help us all through the changing of the weather… because it is freezing all of a sudden! I am also loving the crafts and activities that I am finding on there… especially as I can try them out with the kids and when our efforts are disastrous or very basic, I can inspire you with whatever it was that inspired me!

If you don’t already follow me on Pinterest then hop over there now to see over 30 boards that are updated all the time (literally at the moment!) to inspire your creative mind… or something like that!

Harriet x

 

 

Maii Berlin Halloween with a twist via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

This is one of my favourites from the Maii Berlin collection. I love that it doubles up to suit more kids and their tastes as they grow!

Maii Berlin Halloween with a twist via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

These dungarees are perfect for trick or treating when it is so cold, but will also make an enjoyable outfit for kids to play in after Halloween!

Maii Berlin Halloween with a twist via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

A devilish costume for your little devil! Perfect for cool kids!

Maii Berlin Halloween with a twist via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I love love love this cape! It is super cool, the detailing is amazing and I can just see Toby running around in it day after day… and he’d be warm and sort of dressed so I’d take that as a Mummy win!

As you already know, I am a huge advocate for products that last… and last… and last. I keep having more and more children, so to me it would be a touch impractical if the products that I choose to buy are not long lasting ones!

Maiiberlin are an absolutely brilliant company that design fun dressing up clothes for kids that can be used as normal everyday clothes with a bit of pizazz!

From hoodies to dungarees, the clothes are designed to be more than just your ‘let’s wear this on Halloween and shove it in the wardrobe for the next child’ kind of clothing.

My favourite is the wonderful Hedgehog/Gruffalo costume top, because if you love Gruffalo it is the perfect costume and everyday outfit for your child, but it can also double as a hedgehog and can be worn for fun or just as a normal hoodie.

Check the company out here on Etsy, by the way – they are offering express shipping so you can still order for this Halloween!!

Harriet x

HorseHead by Donkey Creative via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Something so simple but a great way to add a touch of fun to a really old game. The other thing you could do is strap this to something else for Horsey fun when you aren’t available!

HorseHead by Donkey Creative via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

My boys love this game, its something that we have always done!

I can’t.

I think this is hilarious, and even as I’m writing about it, I’m not entirely sure I’m taking it seriously! My boys (yes even Reuben at 3 1/2) love to play the game Horsey Horsey, where they bounce on your knee and you sing to them. They love it!

This is a totally awesome product (slightly insane) designed by Donkey Creative with the goal of making a game as old as time a bit more up to date and fun for kids.

You just strap the horse head to your leg and suddenly you have a perfect Horse. The horse is made from cord and synthetic leather so is really sturdy and going to withstand being beaten and bitten by even the youngest of riders!

Hilarious, totally crazy and something I bet you never thought would be invented! You can get one here.

Harriet x

I always find Halloween to be such a fun time of year, here in the UK I really don’t think we make enough of it. It’s so fun! I wrote about my thoughts on celebrating Halloween here, which you can read if you missed it.

One of my favourite things at Halloween is to dress up and enjoy playing make believe and getting into character, I join in with the boys too and it’s great fun (I have, as of yet, to get my husband to join in *ahem stick in the mud ahem* but I will eventually!) So with that in mind I thought I’d put together some of the coolest (and cutest) Halloween costumes that you won’t find on the highstreet.

How adorable is this Lion's costume from

How adorable is this Lion’s costume from BooBahBlue?

This little Lion’s costume from BooBahBlue is just so sweet! The whole thing is made from polar fleece, so nice and toasty for trick or treating in the Autumn chill, and comes as a one piece so is easy to take on and off.

Halloween Costumes with a difference via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Again these cosy all in ones are perfect for little ones, but with Thumbelina you can choose from a larger range, and you can always keep them on as pyjamas after Halloween!

I love Thumbelina, not only do they provide these adorable costumes, but you can also buy hoodies and ponchos in a ‘costume style’ with little ears etc if you don’t want to go all out! How sweet?

Halloween Costumes with a difference via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Perfect for older kids, especially those who like to play Cowboys and Indians.

Barrutoys produce these fab little dress up outfits for kids (the one pictured is their Native American outfit) 6 years and up. I think quite often that age bracket is forgotten, passed over and left with outfits that are either too young or not suitable because they are too grown up. These gems are the perfect solution!

Halloween Costumes with a difference via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Everyone loves to dress up Superheros, and this little set is no exception.

I love these superhero sets from Chamaléon, they are fab. One of my favourite things about them is that you can team anything with the cape, wrist cuffs and mask to create a totally unique hero every time.

Halloween Costumes with a difference via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

The perfect Halloween costume for those wanting something a little bit more unique and creative for their kids.

If you are looking for something slightly more creative then this customisable paper costume from OMY is the perfect Halloween treat. The sky is the limit for decorating as you can paint, glitter, marker or colour – whatever you choose. There are pre cut arm and head holes too, so no need for scissors, just decorate and go!

So something for everyone! I hope you enjoy searching for your child’s dressing up box as much as I do, and try to remember that a Halloween costume doesn’t have to be just for Halloween, kids love to dress up all the time and a dress up box is a must in any household!

Harriet x

The Irish Fairy Door Company via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Ideal little windows into another world that will inspire your child’s imagination.

The Irish Fairy Door Company via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Inside or outside, you can add a touch of magic to any room.

The Irish Fairy Door Company via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.The Irish Fairy Door Company via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I love the accessories packs that you can buy for these doors, they add another touch of magic to the whole scene.

I love the concept behind this company, it is so sweet. Created with inspiring the wonderful imaginations of children, these little doors are handcrafted and decorated in Ireland, they come in a variety of styes to suit every little imagination.

Not only does the fairy door add the most adorable and fun touch to any room, but the company also create the most wonderful little accessories; from wall decals to create a magical portal to a new world in one of the rooms in your home or just to add the finishing touches to fairy’s door step like a bench for them to rest on, or a wall plaque to name their home with.

You can order these awesome little gifts (which I think are perfect for any fairy fan for Christmas by the way!) from their online shop here.

Harriet x

Marinski Handmades via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I just can’t get over how gorgeous these bowls are. Each one is handmade to order and you can select your favourite colour.

Marinski Handmades via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Perhaps you don’t need bowls but you are looking for something really fun and unique to give as a Christmas gift, or even as a serving dish for your own nuts and treats and Christmas.

I love these bowls, wow they are super stylish!

Etsy never fails to impress me and seldom lets me down but these bowls are just glorious! They are the handmade products of Marina, a fabulous designer from Croatia, and are so stylish that you wouldn’t mind having these out at a dinner party never mind just for the kids cereal in the morning.

You can find Marina’s lovely Etsy shop and her super stylish handmade bowls here.

Harriet x

The Pregnancy Diaries :: Week 25 :: Toby & Roo, daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Baby weighs roughly about the same as a large swede at this point in pregnancy, which is pretty heavy!

What’s happening to baby this week?

Baby is now about 13 1/2 inches, weighs roughly around 1 1/2lbs, and is beginning to get some baby fat. Baby is also now beginning to get more hair, which is already showing the right colouring. This week baby is about the size of a large swede.

The reality: How have I been feeling this week?

I am so tired this week. Not to mention irritable. Unfortunately, this week has been really challenging with little sleep, badly behaved toddlers not contributing helpfully and general stresses. One really positive thing is the amount of kicks I am feeling from baby, it’s been absolutely lovely to feel her moving about… though feeling those sharp elbows and knees digging in hasn’t been as much fun.

I think the lack of energy also hasn’t been helped by my anaemia, something which i’m hoping to combat with spatone and a better diet! I also had to have a glucose test this week thanks to a family history of diabetes, which was absolutely horrible!

Cravings.

Not really had any this week, though I have been eating oranges and pink grapefruit slices like they are going out of fashion. Yum.

The bad, adorable and downright funny.

Funny:

I can now pop my belly button out because my bump is getting so big! It’s gross, but the boys think it is hilarious!

Adorable:

Toby and Reuben are getting more and more spellbound by my bump as the weeks go on, it is really quite adorable and special. They haven’t had the patience to feel baby kick yet, but it is very sweet when they put their little hands on.

Bad:

The tiredness and irritability has been really tough this week. I really just want to be left alone and rest.

Harriet x

Merino wool slippers from EgelSweetHome via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

100% merino wool slippers from EgleSweetHome. Just so adorable and all handmade.

Merino wool slippers from EgelSweetHome via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

The detail on every pair is sublime, and you can ask for any size – including children’s!

Is anyone else beginning to feel the nip of winter beckoning? Well I am, especially in the mornings before that Autumn sun has had a chance to warm things up a touch. I don’t think I ever appreciate warm feet as much as I do in that period of time when the weather is changing from Autumn to Winter and things are so chilly.

I was looking for some new slippers for everyone (apart from my husband who would wear flip flops in snow!) and I came across these absolutely lovely ones from EgleSweetHome. They are all handmade slippers, made and designed by the very talented Egle in her craft shop in Lithuania, with 100% merino wool and a handy natural latex sole to stop you having any accidents slipping over in the house.

Egle can make any of her designs in any size, so if you have two or three little ones and want a pair yourself you can all have some!

You can find Egle on Etsy here.

Harriet x

P.s – If you are like me and trying to get organised early, these would make a wonderful Christmas gift for someone special, even the man in your life.

Relationships during pregnancy via Toby & Roo :: daily inspirations for stylish parents and their kids.

Relationships during pregnancy can be hard work! It’s simply not true that everything should be a bed of roses during pregnancy or the first few months of a baby’s life. You are becoming totally new people on top of the people you already are.

This is something that always makes me cringe and grind my teeth. I feel like the media are constantly ramming down expectant parent’s throats that they are supposed to be soooo much more in love during their pregnancy and the first few months of baby’s life, after all it’s such a happy time. Ha. You only have to google relationships during pregnancy and you will be met with image after image of blissfully happy couples or on the flip side, advice about violence during pregnancy, but nothing about the average day to day relationships ups and downs many face. Every time you open a parenting magazine, or even if you want to read a celebrity story of pregnancy, you can guarantee a heartfelt piece about the wonders that this pregnancy and baby has done for the couple’s relationship, coupled with couples smiling blissfully at each other over the baby’s head. They are just so happy and so in love with being pregnant and welcoming this wonderful gift into the world… blah blah blah.

You know what? After years and years of working with expectant, new parents and having four pregnancies of my own, I can honestly say this just isn’t reality for most people. It isn’t, relationships during pregnancy can be damn tough. I’m sorry to burst that bubble, but if you lie awake at 3.30am after your fourth bathroom trip in as many hours and your partner is lying next to you blissfully snoring away, you are normal if you contemplate smothering him with a pillow and plan how to get away with it. Hell, you’re likely to be acquitted by a jury anyway!

We all know that marriage and partnerships are a give and take game, and it’s hard work at the best of times. You are both individuals, two people who share their lives together and often live as a ‘one’; you’re invited to events together, you share bills, you share responsibilities. You share yourself while still remaining a sense of individuality. The thing is, when you throw a pregnancy or a new baby into the mix, those individualities suddenly slip: you aren’t just those people anymore, there is a whole new dimension to you, especially for a new or expectant mother. Why is it that we struggle so much as a society to recognise that this is a process and isn’t going to be a smooth evolution of your partnership. It’s ok for it to be tough, and insisting that relationships are only affected in a positive way is foolish and only adds further pressure to an already pressured filled situation.

It isn’t just a new baby that alters things, it starts from that blue line, doesn’t it? Be honest. You’re world shifts, you become a mother prepared to do anything to protect your young, while your partner has to process that the person he loves is now forever changed, not to mention the fact that he is now on a count down until there will be someone else in his life who will be dependant on you both. There are those subtle reminders that things are on the change too, probably a good percentage of us will remember being sat on a sofa with boobs that feel like they are going explode at any given moment, exhausted just because you are awake and feeling queasy as hell, when our partner has sidled up to us looking to do the dance with no pants. If you are anything like me the response will have been anything but positive, and if you are on pregnancy two or more then you’ve probably perfected a ball shrivelling look just for those occasions. It’s not just things like sex that suddenly change, but what about saving money: there is a car seat to buy, a pram, a nursery to furnish, do you need a bigger house? Bigger car? Nursery fees? All of these things leave a slug like stress line across you both that no doubt leaves you questioning the other’s expenditure, something you might never have done before. I have lost count of the amount of people I have had arguing in front of me while I try to help them select the right car seat or mattress, it usually goes something like this: “Don’t you want the best for our baby??!”, ” Of course I do, I’m just thinking of money and if we need to spend that much on a mattress for a baby, doesn’t your sister have one we could have?”, “You can’t use a second hand mattress!! DIDN’T YOU LISTEN TO ANYTHING I SAID TO YOU!!”

As humans we don’t always do so well with change, and everything is changing. Everything.

There are magical, wonderful moments during a pregnancy and the first few months of new parenthood that you can share with your partner, and you will have those kodak moments where you never thought you would love the other as much as you do, you are so grateful to have them there and to share these blessings with them. Throughout the darkest times in my marriage (most of which have been during a pregnancy or just after one of the kids have been born), when all the chips were down, the moment of feeling baby kick and sharing that with my husband has been a sliver of light on an otherwise cloudy day. No one will share those moments but you two, and that is what children are, the ultimate coming together of two lives to make one, a blessing and a gift to cherish and nurture. There will also be those moment’s when you will wonder what the hell you were thinking letting this person impregnate you, were you drunk?

Just remember, you aren’t the only one wondering if you can file for a quickie divorce over the way he chews his toast on a morning and you aren’t the only one with a pillow poised over his head at 3.30am. We’ve all been there, it’s normal and you so are you.

Harriet x

 

 

 

Muddyfeet eco friendly toys via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

This is one of my favourite pieces, and such a great marble game set. Designed for the Little Red Hen story.

Muddyfeet eco friendly toys via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Dragon eggs, made from wood and painted with eco friendly dyes. Perfect for any little knight of the round table.

I am smitten with these glorious toys from Muddyfeet. I really can’t get enough, it’s one of those Etsy finds that I literally just trawl through over and over and sigh at every new piece that becomes available.

Muddyfeet is a wonderful company that hand crafts toys for children to enlighten and develop their imagination. The toys are all either wooden or felt, no plastic over here thank you very much. Based in Arizona and created by an ingenious homeschooling Mama, these are the kind of thing that just fill me with excitement! Each toy is designed with the flair of a creative craftsman but still retaining that childlike imagination that is so often lost with today’s big gadgets and gizmos. The other thing I love about these eco friendly toys is that they are actually eco friendly toys, designed from wood or felt and finished using eco friendly dyes and beeswax. You can’t ask for more can you?

Muddyfeet eco friendly toys via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I am smitten with this wonderful felt pumpkin set. How much fun is it?! The play mat is felt and reversible with two different scenes, the mice come inside the pumpkin along with the tree. All designed with eco friendly supplies.

Muddyfeet eco friendly toys via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

A round of bowling anyone?

I love the story behind the company name. When this Mama took her 8 year old son out of school to home school him, she realised he had never been allowed to get muddy at school after asking him to write a poem, even if it was about something silly like mud. She coxed him outside and got him to stand in a muddy puddle with no shoes on (Do you remember doing that? And mud pies?) and feel the wonder that is nature. From then on both her boys have played with mud and seen it for what it is: anything they can imagine it to be.

Muddyfeet eco friendly toys via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Getting inspiration for Xmas? Well these marble games are endless fun, you can do a type of bowling, just play make believe with Santa and his reindeer or practice getting the marble through the hole.

My favourite pieces are the Pumpkin set (maybe it’s because it’s coming up to Halloween… I do love a good pumpkin during October) and the brilliant Little Red Hen set which is crafted from wood and designed to be played with as a set or as a game of ‘bowling’ where you knock down the little characters. Perfect for travelling too.

You can visit their Etsy shop here, and their supply website here.

Harriet x

 

Quiet time books from MonoNoAvare via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I just love the concept behind these books. Quiet time for your toddler to learn and develop their skills while having fun. Perfect.

Quiet time books from MonoNoAvare via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

These chalkboard variation books are great for helping your toddler to learn to write and read numbers and letters.

Quiet time books from MonoNoAvare via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Teach your little one about the colour wheel and different colours with this page.

I love these quiet time books from MonoNoAvare a wonderful little company from Texas that I came across on Etsy. The books are all handmade and you can even buy separate pages to add to your own handmade book if you want to.

Aimed at preschoolers these books build on life skills such as doing up zippers, working with buttons, learning about shapes and colours, threading and working with clasps. The books are so bright and vibrant, perfect for keeping your toddlers interest… which is challenging at the best of times right?

You can order one of this wonderful books from Etsy at MonoNoAvare here.

Harriet x

Bloomingville via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

These bookshelves come in a variety of colours and are designed to save space but still keep your room looking beautiful and stylish.

I love this bookshelf from Bloomingville, so stylish and a great way to enjoy the displaying your child’s books without taking up a lot of floor space.

Bloomingville are a super stylish home interior and decor company from Demark, founded in 2000. I love their products and the way they bring such an elegance and grace to the home without effortless style. This kind of bookshelf would be perfect for my baby’s nursery because it is a smaller room, but I don’t want her to miss out on having books in her room.

You can find the wonderful Bloomingville products in some of the top highstreet stores, but for children Smallable have a wonderful selection here.

Harriet x

The Pregnancy Diaries :: week 24 via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

This week baby is about the size of an ear of corn, which means she weighs over 1lb and is nearly a foot long!

What’s happening to baby this week?

Baby is growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week, and is about the length of an ear of corn! No wonder pregnancy is so tiring huh?! Baby is still pretty lean but is beginning to plump up steadily. The brain and lungs are really developing rapidly now, making leaps and bounds, though the skin is still red and thin.

The reality: How have I been feeling this week?

Well, I can explain last week’s energy drop by my discovery that I am slightly anaemic, though not worryingly so at the moment. I have decided to start taking Spatone as opposed to classic iron tablets (which can often cause problem with constipation) which was recommended to me by a group of really helpful ladies in one of my pregnancy/mama groups. Spatone is essentially just a pure iron supplement and is really great for pregnant women and, so fingers crossed this will boost my iron levels and I can avoid the dreaded iron tablets.

I am still being treated to very low lying kicks, some of which are really quite sharp. This little lady is one strong kicker!

I haven’t had too much stomach acid this week, so fingers crossed this is beginning to wear off. Sleep is still pretty dicey, Reuben is still restless in the night, which is so unlike him, and incredibly frustrating for me!

Cravings.

I seem to have such a sweet tooth this week and I am really beginning to worry about it! I don’t want to gain an excessive amount go weight, but I also don’t want to feed baby nothing but nutrition-less junk!

The bad, adorable and downright funny.

Funny:

I can’t think of anything especially funny this week! The boy’s have been stock piling their amusing sayings for another day!

Adorable:

There is such joy to be had in sharing the moment your baby is kicking. I love spending the evenings lying on the sofa with my husband while he sits and feels baby kicking and wriggling about. It’s magical.

Bad:

There is nothing fun about being kicked on the cervix. Nothing at all.

Harriet x

Pretty table wear from RICE via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

I love the tableware  from RICE, it’s pretty and practical. Stylish enough to brighten any table on a dull Autumn day like today!

I love beautiful tableware, there is something a little bit uplifting about having pretty things in your home on days like today when things are dull and yucky outside.

RICE have designed such wonderful tableware for kids that look like porcelain, but are actually made from a completely safe, tough wearing melamine. Wouldn’t you love to decorate your table with these?

If you want to get your hands on some RICE tableware to brighten your dining room, then you can find them over at the brilliant Smallable here.

Harriet x

Halloween: Good or not? via Toby & Roo :: daily inspirations for stylish parents and their kids.

Halloween celebrations: do you enjoy them in your home or not?

I am a huge advocate of enjoying the innocence of childhood. In my house make believe, imagination and fun are king.

It’s at this time of year I start to read lots of debates about Halloween, whether you ‘celebrate’ it or not in the modern way of dressing up and trick or treating, or whether that is somehow detrimental to children, especially under the ages of 6 because it is introducing fantasy and they can’t differentiate between that and reality. As some of you may know, my boys go to a montessori school and traditionally, Montessori take the stance that ‘fantasy’ isn’t great for children under the age of 6, however dressing up is part of learning through play so is actively encouraged.

I just can’t help but feel that this underestimates our kids and is so desperately frustrating!

Where is the sense of fun? What is wrong with dressing up as a vampire and enjoying a bit of face paint, don’t you remember doing that as a child and having so very much fun!? I understand that children are easily moulded and so terribly impressionable – god don’t we all lie awake at night and worry about how impressionable our children are? – but if Halloween is dressed up as something fun and ‘make believe’ then I can’t see how children won’t enjoy it and will be given a skewed perception of reality that will terrify them. There perception should be skewed shouldn’t it? Isn’t that the magic of childhood, the innocence that is taken all too soon? We believe in the impossible, we dream up the magnificent. In a child’s world a dragon can be your best friend, a teddy can come to life and the world isn’t such a bad place. Doesn’t everyone want that wonderful imagination to bloom?

For our Halloween this year I fully intend for the boys to dress up and visit a few of our friends and families houses (we are in an area where there are a lot of elderly people who don’t want to be disturbed, so we stick to the rule that if a house has decorations up, or if we know the family and they have kids we will visit, if not we assume our visit might not be welcome). We will carve pumpkins, we will tell ghoulish stories and our tea time that night will be a feast of gory and gross things – witches fingers, eyeballs, bogey mash and more (I know, Daddy is so excited to come home on that night!). Throughout the whole thing I can’t imagine that either of the boys will be afraid or lose perspective of what is real, mainly because they are children and their idea of reality and fantasy is skewed anyway, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The boys understand that the ‘witches’ and ‘ghouls’ are nothing to be afraid of, they won’t come and “get them” or hurt them, but in the same sense that I don’t want to take away their innocence, and I don’t feel the need to deprive them of enjoying their childhood fantasies, I also feel that to have the good without the bad and the scary won’t help them at all with the realities of the world when they come to learn them. There is, and always will be, good and bad… even in make believe.

I also think it’s important for children to celebrate the reality of Halloween. My boys haven’t lost anyone that they are close to yet, however I will be taking the time to explain to them that, although we love the Halloween that encompasses sweets and games, there is a side to it that is about celebrating the people who went before us and remembering them. For that side of Halloween I thought we could make a number of different crafts that we can hang around our house, and talk about things. When the boys are older and have experienced loss we will take the chance to visit the graves of our loved ones and remember them as they were.

So I want to know, what do you do with Halloween? I don’t judge anyone for choosing to do it differently to us, and I think that’s how we should all be. Please share your thoughts, even if they differ from mine :)

Harriet x