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5 from my Insta Wish List – March 2016 edition

It’s been a while since I last updated the Insta wish list with yet more awesome goodies I wish I could have. This month the goodies are boy and monochrome inspired, from local to around the globe! Oh, and there seems to be a little bit of a things-with-ears theme. But that’s totes OK with me.

1. Amazing wire art from More Than Just

2. Metallic concrete diamond from local fave Create Something

3. Unique & gorgeously modern-meets-vintage boys top from Mr Willo

4. The most amazeballs cardi I am so ridiculously in love with by Wild World Clothing

5. The cute cute cute Scoobie hooded vest from Little Owl Big Bear

And yet

An online friend recently linked me to to this piece by Ada Calhoun on marriage. In marriage, she reasons, it’s good practice to apply a little Buddhism of sorts, and think of the “and yets.” And yet he makes me laugh. And yet I love him.

It occurred to me, being someone in the official Parenting Experience Less Than One Year category, that this applies equally well to parenthood. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard parents – be it six weeks, months or years on – say something like “this has been the hardest but most rewarding time of my life.” The thing is, I don’t really agree. Doing this is not hard, because it has such clear purpose. Any hardship happens only in tired moments and hormone-soaked bleariness. In those moments, I quickly self-correct: I must do this mildly unpleasant thing, because adorable-tiny-person, that’s why.

The ‘and yet’ principle is perhaps a restating of the same principle, of working and struggling and reaping reward, but I prefer it, because it’s somehow easier to apply in those very moments. Because the year isn’t hard, the weeks aren’t hard, but the moment you’re sitting on the couch with baby puke in your bra and seriously contemplating whether this means you really have to change said bra, that’s more like it. And yet. And yet, that face. Or the nipple twist. Ow. And yet, the giggle afterwards (causing mama pain is funny). The wake-up-as-soon-as-their-head-touches-the-cot, it’s an absolute bitch of a thing. And yet, that silky soft little head asleep on your chest. And yet.

Religion just isn’t for me. And yet, this is a solid piece of life advice. Go Buddhists.

I hear crying.

Insta wish list, June 2015

Insta Wish List June 2015 by Cuppa Whisky

In today’s self-explanatory post, here’s 5 things I love, thanks to the power of ye olde Instagram:

1. Swankaroo kids pack – would love one of these for the boy when he’s big enough, it’s gorgeous.

2. Adorable toy camera from JollyBeans – self explanatory! He already has a plush one from Darwin & Penn, but I love these. Photog mama, photog baby.

3. Abstract print by Sarah Kelk from Hello Polly – love these colours and the mood of this.

4. We’ve established I dig a good pair of baby kicks, and Zuzii make some crazy good ones.

5. Lightning bolt marquee light from Little Letter Lights Co. Decor with a difference.

WTF do babies wear?

10 pieces of newly acquired baby wardrobe wisdom - CuppaWhiskySo, like I mentioned last time, I am now one of those people ungraciously burdened with newfound knowledge (at a stretch, I’ve called it wisdom, but that’s pushing it) about what it’s like when you’re suddenly left to look after a baby. We had prepared beforehand on the clothes front, but of course, when you haven’t done it before, no amount of clothes shopping, buying, washing, folding, organising or ooh-that’s-so-cute-ing is going to help you work out what you really need. Here’s 10 random nuggets of cold hard truth we’ve discovered in three months of poo-related outfit changes and endless laundry.

  1. Don’t forget yourself. In the epic stock-up-for-baby ahead of time, don’t forget that a) if you breastfeed you will need an array of easy-access tops, not to mention the pricey maternity bras, and b) you might need a post-baby wardrobe refresh if things don’t quite fit for a while or if – like me – you realise that your non-work wardrobe is a little lacking when you’re spending most days at home. This can all take quite a chunk out of the wardrobe budget, so keep it in mind.
  2. You can never have too much wool. Unless you live in far more tropical climes than where I do, woollen under-layers are invaluable for making sure you’re keeping the baby warm enough, and a merino onesie is breathable and suitable for autumn/winter/spring. One or two will not cut it! And for a winter baby – wool pants are a thing!
  3. Think through the mechanics of how you’ll put an outfit together to figure out what you really need more of. A lot of the outfits that attract you these days when you’re an expectant new parent are onesies. They tend to be the cutest and most adorably, now-essential things you’ve ever seen. Thing is, especially if it’s a little chilly and you’re going woollen onesie underneath as per #2, then either you have to double-down on your onesies and put your cute one on top of a warm layer (so many snaps, yo!), or what you actually need is a cute tshirt instead.
  4. You are not too cool for pants with feet in them. Especially not cool ones like these (as pictured). End of story.
  5. Pick either top half or bottom half and put emphasis on buying adorable patterns for just one, while sticking mostly to solids for the other. If you buy adorable patterns for both, you will struggle to mix your orange cartoon lions with your grey geometrics, trust me.
  6. You are not too cool to shop the cheap stores. From time to time the cheapest places I’ve been to have great quality cotton baby clothes that are as good or better than the same items elsewhere.
  7. Your baby can’t always wear big cosy jackets. Don’t forget to add some light sweaters or cardigans that can add a layer of warmth without looking like they are ready to hit the slopes.
  8. Your baby might be longer/shorter/bigger/smaller in certain areas, and that will affect how long they fit different sizes of different items. Take this into account when trying to guess sizes ahead of time, as you could place a wrong bet if you stock up too much on any particular size/item combo. My long-torso baby is in 6 month tops and still fits newborn pants, for example, so had I purchased too many newborn or 0-3mth onesies/tshirts (I didn’t, luckily) I would have regretted it.
  9. Save the designer purchases, overseas imports etc until you know what you most like to dress your kid in. That said, don’t forget some of the overseas stores are surprisingly affordable and a great spot to get those extras that you can’t pick up locally. The Zara romper pictured is cute for $20US.
  10. Yes, things with zips are easier. Yes, things with built-in mittens are useful. Yes, natural fabrics feel better. Yes, the amount you paid for this very high quality item is inversely proportional to the ease of doing it up. Yes, baby hats will mostly end up in your handbag, because you will only put them on your baby when you go out, and they will only stay on your baby’s head when you go out for a very short period of time before you end up hanging onto it and then it gets filed along with the three others already in your bag. And yes, there will be a day when your baby ends up wearing the horrible brown onesie with the fluffy sheep on it that your Great Aunt Hilda gave you, the one that says “ewe are so cute.” Go with it.

PS: all of the above should be taken alongside the advice that none of it matters. It’s a baby. They always look adorable. So just keep ’em warm, dry & comfy and the rest is mostly for your enjoyment.

5 gifts for NZ mamas and papas

It isn’t hard to find cute things for little babies. Not at all. But it can still be hard to know what new mums and dads will find useful, fun, sweet, thoughtful or otherwise helpful for their newborn bundle of awesome. Having just been through the new baby thing, here are five gifts you can pick up easily in NZ that balance the practical with the affordable, the adorable, the trend-setting, and with quality local goodies.

cuppawhisky-5giftsforkiwimamasandpapas

1. Babu merino sleeping bag – awesomely practical because it’s thick, amazing quality wool, and because it fits a smaller baby thanks to handy under-arm snaps that stop it riding up. These can also be purchased with FlyBuys points – woo!

2. A zip romper from Cotton On Kids – these come in fantastic, bang on-trend patterns, fit like a dream (the newborn size was one of the only things we had that fitted our 3.25kg/7lb2oz baby right from the get-go), wash well, and are easy to get on and off. Perfecto for teeny babies.

3. Baby Wilson boots – okay, so I haven’t actually tried these ones, but they’re too cute to pass over and they literally have my name on them! Not everyone is pro babies wearing shoes, but a nice, soft and well made pair of shoes or boots can be helpful not only to maximise cuteness but to keep the abominable baby socks where they are supposed to be. If for some reason you’re averse to the bling or the $69 price tag for these designer kicks, you could always try some gorgeous (and handmade locally) Little Lane Co. shoes.

4. Bonds baby leggings – this is really a shout-out to the whole Bonds range, which – pretty awesomely for the parents on a budget – is available at The Warehouse in NZ. The leggings are adorable and a great outer layer, but if you can get your hands on a zip-up Wondersuit/Wonderbundle sleeping bag, they’re fantastic – a great compromise for those who don’t want to (or can’t get their baby to) swaddle. Bonds newborn socks also seemed more effective than other brands at the previously mentioned staying on thing, in our experience.

5. Maiko Nagao print – if you’d like to get something for baby’s room, the current craze for all things monochrome means there’s lots of goodness available that can’t possibly clash with mum & dad’s decor. This store is full of hand-lettered goodness, all from right here in NZ.

 

Our vintage eclectic nursery inspiration

These days it seems like it’s no longer a reasonable question to wonder where you should start in decorating a room. You start on Pinterest, on inspiration websites like Houzz, on blogs like Apartment Therapy, on entire websites – like Project Nursery in this case – dedicated to the type of room you need to design. There are moodboards, there are room tours, there are inspiration galleries, you name it. In a Brave New World kind of way, it’s more a question of having too many ideas that you need to choose from, to the point it can be a little overwhelming.

Our nursery is essentially a blank canvas (a blank canvas with no wallpaper on it at the moment, but let’s gloss over that bit), as it’s a room that aside from sometimes housing our exercise equipment or acting as a guest room has had no set purpose the entire time we’ve owned our house. It’s a pretty large room with a single large window, a generous-ish built-in wardrobe extending out from one corner, and no other set furnishing or décor to worry about it. Here’s a ‘before’ shot of sorts, as we started to prep the walls:

Nursery Before

A quick browse through my nursery board on Pinterest shows that I’m drawn to a variety of styles, but some common themes seem to be:

  • Bright, light spaces
  • Mixed, modern patterns
  • Monochrome or mid tones rather than primary colours or pastels
  • Pops of bright colour or even neon used as an accent
  • Quirky and vintage pieces
  • Unusual hand-drawn or hand-made animal accents
  • An eclectic mix of styles and items
  • A sweet feel – nothing too adult – but without being too babyish.

Here’s a perfect example:

Nursery Inspiration via Inside Out and SFGirlByBay

Inspiration from sfgirlbybay via Inside Out magazine

Should be easy, right? As we say here in Aotearoa, yeah, nah. Not easy in the least.

After a fair amount of deliberation and much more browsing than was probably necessary to achieve it, here’s what we’ve come up with as an indicative mood board of our inspiration for the nursery.

Our Vintage Eclectic Nursery Inspiration

Although I haven’t felt the need at all to pick a theme (nautical, woodland, or otherwise) I’ve been drawn from the beginning to a grey, turquoise and yellow colour palette (helpfully, it’s gender neutral), and generally speaking that’s what we’ll go with, as you can see. We’ve picked a few key ingredients that will anchor our design, as shown above:

  1. Some quirky wallpaper. This is probably the most controversial pick, if I’m being honest. This (kind of weird) animal wallpaper might be a little dark or creepy looking for some people in terms of its suitability for a kid’s room, but to me it’s a perfect way to really introduce that eclectic mix to the room, and I think it’s funny! The pattern is pretty full-on, so it will adorn just one feature wall of the room, behind the door (so not visible from the hallway).
  2. Pops of yellow. After I spotted the yellow geometric light fixture (pictured), I felt like I had pretty much locked in yellow as an accent colour. I haven’t worried at all about the shade of yellow, but we’ll have at least three substantial items in the room popping out in this colour.
  3. Oh so many animals. I am a sucker for animals. Little toy animals, prints of animals. Photos of animals. Adorable soft toy animals. You get the idea. The little one will have a series of hipster animal prints as pictured above, along with some gorgeous wooden Anamalz toys on display, this really sweet storage bin, and a much beloved soft toy or three.
  4. Refinished furniture. I just couldn’t get into the right frame of mind for too much white or stained-wood flat-pack to furnish this room. I’m really excited about using vintage pieces we’ve refinished ourselves instead, to add texture and a mix-n-match feel to the room that I think we’d otherwise miss out on. We’re pairing the chalk painted turquoise drawers pictured above with a mid-century lowboy chest in yellow and an ever-so-slightly distressed grey cot/crib.
  5. Prints. My last post covered my quest to design my own prints for a fabulous gallery wall. Most of the (many!) ideas I have are typographic, so I look forward to adding some words of wisdom (some of the words are not so much wise as wise-ass) to the room!

So there you have it, the plan of attack! We’re starting to pull it together now, so I hope to feature some ‘after’ shots in the near-ish future.

Nursery walls

You don’t have to be a frequent flyer on Etsy or Pinterest to know that inspiration is rife for fun, affordable graphic prints for your home. But nonetheless, thinking about what should adorn your nursery walls is a daunting, and potentially expensive, exercise. In the end, I decided to use my limited budget on other things, and turned to my existing design knowledge and products for help in making some fun, personalised art that was kid-friendly, but makes this mama-to-be smile. My Scottish heritage inspired me to use this adorable tartan from my Getaway kit (link to store coming soon) for a little twist on something like this bold ‘Oh Yes’ print from Designsbyritz. I haven’t had it printed for the wall yet, but I’m really happy with how it turned out – colourful, a little different, and of course, wildly popular with the Scottish side of the family!

Och Aye Print

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