31 Jan 2014

Project Life for Beginners: Getting Started

Now if you're a seasoned Project Lifer this post will be a bit redundant, but I have just converted to Project Life and a few of you have been asking me about it and so I thought that I would share some of my ideas.

There are four basics that you need for a Project Life album:
  • Project Life ring binder - I have my eye on this one 
  • A Project Life Core Kit (cards) - I am lusting after this one 
  • Special pocket page protectors - I got these ones 
  • A pen
And that is all...
So that is why many people are preferring it over 12 by 12 layouts - less 'stash' and therefore less expense.
If you just used these basics you could create a layout like this one:-

 However, the top layout was jazzed up by thickers, washi tape, stickers and stamps. This is where the cross over to scrapping is handy as you will have all sorts of exciting supplies to use. 

I am loving it at the moment because:
  • It is quick and easy.
  • You can do it little and often.
  • It is not as daunting as a big 12 by 12 layout with a blank page
  • I take far too many pictures of The Baby and I can feature more of the everyday moments of our lives.
  • It can be as simple or as complicated as you like.
  • I can use all of my supplies up.
  • The journalling cards are the sweetest thing ever.
  • You can use the little souvenirs you keep - like napkins, business cards and receipts.
Below is the first layout I completed for Project Life. Lots of other Project Lifers seem to struggle with the title page, but I managed it first time. I am a bit unhappy with the lining up of the photo. 

I jazzed it up with polka dot thickers by American Crafts (check out ebay or TK Maxx for bargains).


And sequins, which you can get from most craft shops and also sewing or fabric shops. I remember when we were younger we used to buy our sequins in a shop that sold glittery dance outfits and feather boas. It was like every little girls dream.

The 'problems' I have encountered so far:
  • printing of photos. From what I have read this is every Project Lifers nightmare and a lot 'give in' and print from home for ease. Our ink is quite pricey but I have been printing some of my phone pictures off on it and the cartridge seems to be lasting quite a while. I really want the Canon Selphy as you can print wireless from your phone straight to the printer. I also succumb to the photo booth in Boots which charges 40p a print - however they do mini prints so it works out to 10p each. My friend uses Tesco and informs me it is 35p a print. I also do big orders on snapfish and photobox and try to keep an eye out for offers. It depends how you are approaching it - the traditional way is a weekly approach but I am going with a monthly approach and am being fluid on the dates etc as I feel this doesn't matter as much as getting the memories recorded.
  • It could get quite samey and seem restricting at times. I think because I have the variety pack of page protectors I can change up the layout and photo sizes to keep it interesting. You also, in theory, need to plan your layouts before you order your pictures so that the pictures are the right way up and co-ordinate with the pockets.
  • Making the front and back match up. Some journalling cards are smaller than others and some have rounded corners whilst some are square and so you can get ugly random corners poking out. I plan to get a corner rounder punch to combat this.
  • It could get a bit monotonous and 'square.' I tried a sequin pocket to combat this and it was a bit of a nightmare as they kept escaping into other pockets. 

I love Finding Nana's blog - it has loads of good ideas and advice for approaching Project Life.
My Project Life pinterest board has loads of drool worthy layouts and my free printables board is useful for printing off some freebies - the 'celebrate the everyday' card is a free printable that I printed at home onto white card.

So, what do you think? 
Could 2014 be the year for you to start Project Lifing it?
Or do you keep your memories in other ways?

30 Jan 2014

Musings on motherhood: My baby is six months old!

How is it possible that I am writing his six month post already?
It feels like only yesterday I was in the hospital waiting for him to arrive and now?
Well the whirlwind has certainly arrived!


Your cheeky personality is really shining through. You love to babble, blow bubbles, eat your feet, roll over, have tummy time and smile away at everybody. You have become a lot more interested in other babies and try to hold hands and interact with them - very cute!
You are also really interested in playing with your toys now. You love rattling your plastic keys, putting your soft blocks in your mouth, chewing on your books, pushing buttons and bouncing up and down in your move and groove. You are a typical baby in that you love anything that lights up or makes noises. One of your favourite toys is your sensory ball that is pink, spiky, squeaks and lights up (daddy refers to it as the 'dog toy') and it was only £1.99 off Amazon! 
However, you also like to try to grab 'big kid' toys like mobile phones, tablets, remote controls, laptop cables and mummy's crafting stuff. The other day you found all her letter stickers and were rolling around in them and later when I changed you you had a 'U' stuck to your elbow! Welcome to your future!


We got you a high chair and have started weaning you. You look very pleased with yourself as you sit at the table with your mummy and daddy. We started you on baby rice flavoured with banana and strawberry and you were very keen on it. You clearly have a sweet tooth (like your parents.) On the second time feeding you you grabbed the spoon and started very confidently feeding yourself - you had clearly been watching us all eating and so you knew exactly what to do with it. You often let it dribble back down your chin, but you are a beginner to this stuff so we'll forgive you.
In the last week we have been trying you with fruit and veg purees. You were very keen on the sweet potato and the pear, but weren't sold on the banana. You make a real mess and daddy finds it 'stressful' but I enjoy seeing you interact with and explore the textures and tastes of food.
You have become very mobile this month - it is amazing how much ground you can cover just by rolling. One night you rolled yourself up in your blanket and we found it so funny to see you in such a pickle! Your drawn to the cables and the freeview box and so it looks like its time to babyproof our house. You're happiest on your tummy and so are more interested in trying to crawl than trying to sit up. In the last few days you have managed to lift your torso and bottom up and assumed crawling position, so it won't be long till you are off! Look out world!
P.S Changing you is becoming a slight challenge as you are very strong and don't want to lie on your back to get changed and so I have to pin you down! You like grabbing the wet wipes to help me out too! 

Travelling baby:

Now that your passport is here there is no stopping you. You were an expert flyer and seemed to enjoy your stay in daddy's hometown of Bruges. We pushed you around on the cobbles and ate lots of waffles and pancakes on your behalf. Your great-grandparents were very excited to meet you for the first time and brought you your own little Belgian football shirt. We also took a day trip with them to Sluis and you were really after the complimentary chocolate they got with their coffee! 
We also took a weekend trip, on the train, to visit Aunty Mara in London. You loved Camden Market, m&m world and Covent Garden and seemed to be taking it all in from your pushchair.

You're still a reluctant napper and tricky to get down at night but on the whole we could not have asked for a better baby than you. You are really placid and so easy to be around. I can carry on my life as normal - seeing friends for lunch, doing some Project Life, watching Netflix and you generally can entertain yourself. You just like smiles and tickles every now and then. You rarely cry and are just a happy little chappy.
Happy six months little man! You can stop growing now, okay?

22 Jan 2014

Wednesday Wish List: Project Life Goodies

So I have seriously caught the Project Life bug. Why did no-one tell me how much fun it is? It appeals to me as I take so many pictures of The Baby and cannot even imagine creating layouts for each one. With Project Life I am able to encorporate more photos and also lots of journalling - it will be great to look back on - and you can capture the everyday. I will share some of my layouts soon.
But for now here is my wishlist:-

1) Becky Higgins Project Life Core Kit - Kraft 
This is perfect as the colours are bright but neutral and so I can see it would work with lots of different colours schemes and styles. That speech bubble card is too cute!

2) 'Hello' washi tape 
This would be great for embellishing photos and journalling cards. Plus I am partial to anything that says 'hello.' This font is one of my favourites too.

3) Stars and Such wood chips
My layouts so far seem to be lacking dimension and textures and so I think these little embellishments would be perfect to accent my pocket pages and add a bit of pop to my layouts.

4)  Camera and speech bubble washi tape
This is so cute - polka dots and vintage cameras - what's not to love? Perfect for embellishing all of my pocket pages.

5) Becky Higgins Core Kit: Midnight Edition
I think that black and white cards are perfect filler cards for layouts. I love the patterns, that wood grain textured card, the cute little phrases and camera print.

Do you Project Life? If so do have any tips
 or recommendations for stash?

20 Jan 2014

The Happiness Project...

So today is BLUE MONDAY the day of the year we are supposed to feel the most depressed due to the weather, credit card bills from Christmas darkening our doorsteps, still a week till payday and we feel like failures since we have already quit all of our resolutions and are pigging out on the bar of cooking chocolate from the baking cupboard (oh is that just me?) 

However, I have always been a glass half full kinda girl. (Plus we're both quite careful with money and avoid store cards and credit cards. Enter smug smiley!)  

So I thought that I would blog FIVE simple things that bring light into my life. Feel free to join in. It always makes you feel better to focus on the positives in life and what you have been blessed with rather than what you don't have.

1) How happy something as simple as sitting in a high chair for the first time made my little boy

2) My little sister (she hates it when I call her that) is due on the 4th Feb so The Baby will have a little cousin to play with. This was the spread we put on for her baby shower. We love to put on a good spread.

3) Walks in the crisp January frost with the little one in the sling.

4) Dancing round the kitchen making tea with the radio on in the background. Songs I currently love singing along to:
  • Katie Perry Roar
  • Pharrell Williams Happy
  •  Pitbull (featuring Ke$ha) Timber
5) Blowing raspberries on my baby's tummy just to hear his cute little giggle. When I get my camera upgrade then I will share a video with you.

The Baby's idea of happiness is chewing on his toes - yum!
  So what are some of the simple things in
 life that make you happy?

17 Jan 2014

Goals for 2014...

I have never been a huge fan of New Year's Resolutions, but the start of a new year is a great time to ponder the coming year and think about what you want to achieve. 

So here are some of my goals for the year:
  • Blog twice a week at least
  • Take more videos of The Baby
  • Upgrade my SLR so that it has a video function
  •  Learn a new craft
  • Start and complete Project Life for the year (yikes!)
  • Try to read a classic book every month
  • Purge and organise our house
  • Buy our first home together
  • Spend less time browsing online and more time socialising with friends and spending time with my lovely family
  • Be more active
  • Eat healthier 
  • Take The Baby to Eurodisney (I know he's too young, but still!)
What are your goals for the year? 

14 Jan 2014

Flying with a Five Month Old!

So although I was looking forward to spending Christmas and New Years with our families I was feeling a bit apprehensive about taking our first flight with The Baby. I asked a few other mums for advice and also consulted the world wide web. Some conflicting advice I was given was:
  • feed your baby on take-off and landing so their ears pop
  • customs are okay about milk and you can take on extra liquids if its baby milk
  • you should order your milk at the Boots in departures
  • you can only check a pushchair if it is fully foldable
  • you can check a car seat and push chair seperately
  • take a sling so that you have your hands free in the airport
So as you can see some of the advice left us a bit confused. We decided to chance it with our normal pram as we would be needing the car seat to get around Belgium and were being picked up in Brussels for the one hour journey back to Brugges for starters. We had our connecta sling just in case we could only check the car seat and The Belgian was ready to take our wheels back to the car if needs be.
Luckily at check-in they said you can have two parts of a pram. We flew Brussels Airlines so they may be more flexible than the notoriously strict Easy Jet or Ryanair.
We checked one sports bag with our clothes in and the presents for his family. Our hand luggage was my camera and all of his changing stuff and baby clothes, also some toys for him. Our bag was not over the weight limit (which the Belgian was VERY anxious about - he's a worrier you see!). So far so good.
We got the the security checks and they took our liquids (two pre-made bottles) and made us put them on a different conveyor belt. It was slightly more stressful juggling the baby, the pram and stripping ourselves of belts, boots and coats. We kept having to pass the baby between us and I think the people behind us were probably wishing they had joined another queue.
I went through the detector with The Baby only to have us pulled over and frisked (rather vigorously) so at only five months old he has been patted down. Poor little thing! 
We picked up the two large containers of pre-made formula, that we had ordered online, in Boots. Slight hold-up as they were reserved in my maiden name as I haven't changed my name on my passport yet. Have any of you? I always have to remember to book the plane tickets in my maiden name too!
We had a leisurely breakfast of mini pancakes in Burger King and browsed the shops. We were feeling ever so slightly smug. We had loads of milk and our bellies were full and The Baby was happy.
We stopped for a little photo shoot as this was clearly an occasion to be captured in the scrapbook. I was delighted when a lovely mother offered to take a picture of all three of us (see below) and even seemed to know how to handle our ancient SLR and was taking shot after shot with different angles and settings. Score!
We got to the boarding gate and were looking forward to sailing past all of the other chumps and boarding early. The Baby started to grizzle for a feed and it seemed perfect timing as we could feed him on take-off. I looked under the pram for his bottle bag and, horror of horrors, it wasn't there. 
We started frantically searching and it confirmed our worst fears. The bottle bag was MIA. The Belgian went running through the concourse retracing our steps. The cleaner in Burger King kindly informed him that if it was left lying around it had probably been destroyed. Gee thanks for the vote of confidence pal!
The Belgian returned flustered clutching a Boots bag. Could this be a solution? It contained a pink sippy cup. The Baby doesn't use them yet. My heart sunk. But I persevered and filled the sippy cup with the recently purchased milk. The Baby was having none of it. Turns out boarding gate eighteen was not the location for teaching him how to use a sippy cup.
By now he was really howling. He only ever really cries when he is hungry. But his hungry cry sounds like he is being horrifically tortured or has been starved for a year. The fellow passengers were all secretly hoping they did not get seated next to us. I hadn't even brought sweets to bribe them with as one mummy blogger had suggested. This was quickly turning into a nightmare.
I urged The Belgian to try the security gate as this is when I felt like I last saw the bottle bag. He obliged even though it was miles away. Another mum took pity on me in the meantime and gave me her ten month old's sippy cup which had a longer teet. He still wasn't interested.
Spoiler alert in the picture below..

The Belgian returned, even more flustered and sweaty than before,but he was clutching the bottle bag. I was SO relieved. The Baby was soon sucking away contently. 
I asked how easy it was to retrieve them and he said they weren't going to hand them over and that he ended up having to drink some of the milk to prove it wasn't arsenic or something.
I went to the facilities to clean out the kind ladies sippy cup and when I returned a girl was chatting The Belgian up, whilst he wrestled with the hungry Baby. She was an ex-student and wanted a big catch up with us. I was immediately wondering if she had witnessed his hungry meltdown and felt that we weren't selling the notion of parenthood so convincingly!

We borded the plane. He fed and slept on take-off, totally unfazed by it all.
Our air hostess was an older Scottish lady who loved babies and made a big fuss of him.
I had to translate for The Belgian as she said things like, "close your wee peepers, wee bairn, to get some shut eye." 
He was the model flyer and now we are thinking that the world is our oyster.
I liked this capture below...as if I got to read a page of that magazine...

He was awarded with a Brussels Airline bib and penguin shaped teething toy. Both of which are being put into his special box. 
We were even given a complimentary drink and chocolates. However as the air hostess made her way down the aisle offering a basket to passengers from their reactions you would think she was offering them fish guts. I was pleasantly surprised to find the basket full of little squares of chocolate instead.
By the end of the flight he was pretty tired...
But not too tired that he couldn't fill his nappy just as the seat belts sign came on and we had to stay in our seats ready for landing. The Belgian informed me that if I had any sense of smell it would not be pleasant.
Needless to say once we landed the bag with all of his spare outfits came in handy. Plus a bumper pack of wet wipes.

The return flight was not as stressful. We didn't let that elusive bottle bag out of our sight though...that lesson is now firmly etched in our minds.
Pictures of The Baby in Belgium coming up on the blog soon...

12 Jan 2014

Musings on motherhood: My baby is five months old!

The Baby was five months old on Christmas Day and so somehow in all of the madness we managed a little photo shoot - although I am disappointed to see that the rub on cracked a lot probably because he is such a little wriggler.

The Baby: 
You are turning into a real charmer and have enjoyed spending time with my family over Christmas. Your granny and aunties were very obliging in babysitting for you over the festive period and they love your big smiles in the morning. You got lots of lovely new toys for Christmas that flash and play music much to your delight. You especially love your blue baby sensory ball from your Aunty M and this shows that you might be a footballer like daddy. 
Swimming and bath time are still some of your favourite things to do. In swimming you are really progressing well and you entertain everybody by smiling away and splashing and shaking your head in the water. You are very brave about going underwater and even start to hold your breath before going under. My family love your 'no, no, no's' as you vigorously shake your head from side to side and beam away. We made you a megamix of songs involving the word 'no' such as Destiny's Child and Two Unlimited and you wiggled away to it.
You seem very taken with Grandad J, but weren't too keen when he fed you some cherry yogurt - your face was a picture. You met father Christmas and unlike most babies you beamed away and did not seem fazed at all. In fact we think you love grandad as he looks like santa with his white beard.
You were totally spoilt and my family even got you your own little Christmas tree and you were a big fan of the twinkling lights. On Christmas day you enjoyed opening the presents and playing with ripped off bits of wrapping paper rather than the actual presents inside.

You have found your voice recently and have been babbling away to yourself - especially when you first wake up in the morning. You like screeching too and seem to be really amused that you can make such a loud and piercing noise.
The only downside this month has been that you had a really persistent cough that would often wake you up at night. I took you to the doctors and he diagnosed you with bronchitis and so we have to give you an inhaler four times a day. You really scream when we encase you with the mask and it takes both of us to hold you down. You are good though as the minute we remove you are smiling away again. It seems to be improving though - slowly but surely.

Mummy and daddy:
Every month we say 'this is the best age!' We love how interactive you are now and all of the new milestones. Daddy loves doing swimming lessons with you and mummy enjoys watching from the sidelines and of course taking lots of photos and videos. We loved sharing your cuteness and quirks with the family over the festive period and they enjoyed watching you splashing away in the bath.

It has been a really busy month for us and we felt apprehensive about being away from our home for so long over the festive period (and especially the plane ride coming next month in the six month round up.) We had just got you into a good bedtime routine and so the thought of travel cots, steriliser tablets and a car packed with all of your paraphernalia filled us with dread. It was better than we thought but your bedtime had to be more flexible as you didn't want to miss out on all of the action in the J household.
We enjoyed having some lie ins and it made us realise how nice life could be if we lived nearer to our families. We even managed a date to the cinema together - even if we did end the night buying nappies and more clothes for you in the supermarket! Both mummy and granny were crying their eyes out when it was time to say goodbye and granny keeps emailing to say how much she misses her morning cuddles with him and how 'dismal' the place seems with you.
We still feel immeasurably blessed to be your parents and to have you in our lives - you light up the room and everyone is captivated by your charm! 

       (The above would have been on our Christmas cards if we
                       had got round to sending any!)

9 Jan 2014

One photo: Twenty words

Best New Year's date ever.
Even if he didn't make it to midnight.
He did sleep through the fireworks though.

Linking up with the lovely Abi at Creating Paper Dreams

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