Babymoon

Posted by Lotte on Friday, April 23, 2010. Filed under: ,
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Are you familiar with the term babymoon? Originally, it refers to the period right after birth, where the new mom and dad spend time with their baby, bonding and getting acquainted. In the last couple of years, however, it has taken on the meaning of one last getaway together of the mom- and dad-to-be. Baby gets to tag along too, but in mom's belly.
I've never been on a babymoon but I like the idea, especially for first-time parents. Despite all the reading you've done and the advice you've gotten and the courses you've followed, there really is nothing that can adequately prepare you for the roller coaster of emotions you go through when your baby is born, and how he or she changes the equation (including the one of your relationship with your partner) in such a major way. And while I think it is beautiful that most couples can't wait for those final two months of pregnancy to be over so they get to meet their offspring, I can't stop myself from telling them to please enjoy these very last, very intimate weeks together being 'just the two of you.' Things will, after all, never be the same again, and if all goes well, the next time it'll be just the two of you, you'll be well into your forties (if not fifties). So, savor this time, and go on a trip to somewhere that looks like this:

                                Jumby Bay Resort, Anguilla

While we never did that particular babymoon (I'm sorry to say..), we've decided to go on a babymoon of sorts this time, but we're taking the family. And by family, I mean not just our almost three-year-old, but my siblings and all of my cousins as well. Luckily, our family isn't that big, so it'll be a party of 11 in total, but still more than just the two of us. Also, the location will look nothing like that dreamy, lovely picture above. Instead, we are in for an activity-filled weekend at a family-friendly park that looks more like this:



                                           Note: images courtesy of Center Parcs

Not your typical babymoon sanctuary, I know, but family time with our little one nonetheless, and we are bound to have a great time! 
So, this is how we will be spending our weekend, starting five hours from now, so I'd better start packing... 
What's on your agenda for the weekend? Hope you have a good time!

Crossing Over

Posted by Lotte on Wednesday, April 21, 2010. Filed under:
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Anywhere between three and seven weeks from now, I'll be crossing over from being one very pregnant lady to being a new nursing mom again. I've been making so many lists these past weeks it is driving everyone crazy. It probably is a little crazy to be honest, but luckily very few people dare argue with a pregnant woman.
One thing on my list is nursing wear. I remember not being able to find anything that I really loved last time (I didn't start looking till my last week of pregnancy, somehow I wasn't able to look beyond giving birth), so I've begun my search a little earlier this time.
I must say I am surprised at the many elegant, comfortable nursing wear brands that are online now. Why look only in your own country when there is a world of pretty things out there? (Well alright, shipping costs are a pretty good reason) Today I ordered these items from Mothers en Vogue, based in Singapore:




And tomorrow I might just order this cute top from Queen Bee in Australia:



I love how you can't even tell that these tops and dress are nursing clothes. Makes me look forward to a stylish, nursing summer with my new babe!
What is your nursing style? Do you get your items locally or through the internet (I'm a total convert!)? Any great brands I should know about?

Wedding Season

Posted by Lotte on Monday, April 19, 2010. Filed under: ,
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Now that spring has arrived, so has the wedding season. We've got a couple of weddings coming up in May -don't you love going to weddings?- so I'm in full swing wedding mode at the moment. I've liked weddings even more since my husband and I tied the knot almost two years ago in what has got to be one of my favorite days of all time. We had a backyard wedding in August with about 100 people attending and we have such fond memories of that day. It has left me with a soft spot for outdoor weddings and to this day I love looking at wedding sites and inspiration boards.
Here are some pictures that leave me inspired and wishing I could get married (to the same guy of course...) all over again every year.




And since I will be attending at least two weddings while very, very pregnant, here's some inspiration on what to wear. I think this Tiffany Rose dress is perfect for spring weddings:


Here's to a long and sunny wedding season!

Note: Wedding cake photo from Martha Stewart, Dress picture from Tiffany Rose. Other pictures from The Knot.

Wallpaper Tree

Posted by Lotte on Friday, April 16, 2010. Filed under: ,
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We are still working on the nursery, although it is mainly decoration by now, and I think I've found just the thing I want to add the finishing touch. It is Inke's wallpaper tree and birds:

Notice that bird at the bottom of the tree? Here's a close-up:


I just think they are awesome. They are made from vintage wallpaper, and you can choose different colors of foliage for the tree (April tree/May tree etc.) and for the birds, as well. Inke also makes other animal silhouettes with wallpaper such as lions, giraffes, and monkeys. Great for boys' rooms, too!
So happy to have found the tree just in time though. Have a great weekend!

note: all images from inke.

Pottery Barn Mystery, Part I

Posted by Lotte on Thursday, April 15, 2010. Filed under: ,
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We are currently on the market for rugs. One for our living room and one for the nursery. For inspiration, I’ve been browsing the web, looking for just the right color and pattern. One of my browsing sessions led me to Pottery Barn. At least, that is where it should have led me. To my great surprise, instead of Pottery Barn’s homepage, this is what I got:
“Sorry, due to website restrictions we are unable to display the requested page.” 
That’s all. No information, no phone number or contact e-mail. Puzzled, but not fazed, I continued on to other websites. Then, I tried West Elm. The same mysterious message appeared, this time with a contact phone number. Williams-Sonoma: same story.
By this time, I was truly flabbergasted. What is going on? I live in Europe for Pete’s sake, not North Korea. I know that these companies don’t ship to Europe, but we should at least be able to see what it is we are missing out on, right? Well, wrong apparently. So far for the World Wide Web...
After a short round of googling the restricted website message, I quickly learned that I was not alone. I found more complaints of Europeans who were unable to access these websites, and none of them seemed to know what was going on. 
I am determined to get to the bottom of this. I started with West Elm’s contact number. The phone was answered by a lovely lady who ensured me that this was not West Elm’s policy (turns out West Elm, Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma are all the same company; I did not know this); the governments of the countries where the sites are blocked are responsible. My quest for the truth brought me to the Dutch government. No information about blocking websites could be found on their web pages, so I gave them a call. The lady told me she did not have an answer right away, but would inquire with her colleagues and get back to me. She called me back one day later (at least they’re fast) to tell me she had contacted the economic affairs department and they assured her that no such practice exists within the government. Blocking websites only occurs when sites are involved in illegal activities, which these furniture companies obviously aren’t.
So, this is where I am at today. I’ve gained some information, but it has not brought me closer to an answer yet. Next up I will contact my internet provider and Williams-Sonoma’s IT department. I will keep you posted on my progress. In the meantime, if anyone has already found the answer, I am dying to know here, so please clue me in!




Most of all

Posted by Lotte on Tuesday, April 13, 2010. Filed under: ,
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Sometimes I come across things, pictures, or stories that I like more than anything. These are the things I will share with you in my Most of all posts, starting here:

They came by delivery this week, and are the second pair we've bought for our son - rain boots. Not just any old rain boots, but my very favorite rain boots in the world: Bergstein boots.

                                           Note: image from Flavor-Style

I love them because they are very flexible (so no chafed calves after an afternoon of wearing them), and because they come in awesome colors, and because they are just the coolest. Makes you want to go outside in the rain to play!

                                                         Note: image from RoomRed


I just wish they would come in grown-up sizes, too, although they probably look lots cuter on kids...

The Naming Game

Posted by Lotte on Monday, April 12, 2010. Filed under: ,
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In one of my previous posts I mentioned that we had agreed on a name for our baby boy. While I'm thrilled that this is the case, and that it happened relatively early, it has its drawbacks. With our first baby, finding the perfect name was a lenghty process that involved lots and lots of lists and discussions. We ended up writing down our top three names on a piece of paper and hashed it out over breakfast in a cute little breakfast place. After that, however, it took us a long time to really get used to his name, even after he was born.
This time it's been a little different. No real lists, no discussions. I mentioned a name I'd seen in a magazine and husband reacted by saying: "yeah, that might be a nice one." We pretty much left it at that and postponed the naming discussions until after the 20-week ultrasound. In the meantime (and ever since), though, when referring to our unborn baby, we called him "..." (the name we have in mind, not to be disclosed till he's born). This happened so often, that about a month ago, we decided it would be weird to change his name now, since we'd both gotten so used to it. A little too much so, as it turns out.
This weekend, my dad was over to help with the nursery when husband referred to our baby. Except instead of actually saying "our baby," he called him by his name. That's how much the name is in our system already. We were both stunned for a second and looked at my dad. He realized the mistake we'd just made and started to laugh, but was sorry that he'd not heard it properly. -Phew- We are going to have to be extra careful these last seven weeks...
I don't know about you, but I like to keep baby's name our little secret until he's actually born. Old-fashioned, right? What are your thoughts on this?

Garden Delight

Posted by Lotte on Friday, April 9, 2010. Filed under: ,
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These days, I'm all about the garden. I'd say backyard, but since ours is pretty small (as in 11 by 5 yards...) I prefer using garden. Sounds more picturesque that way. With space being so limited, decorating and landscaping can be a bit of a challenge. Aside from not being able to have large trees (and how I'd love to have large trees!), we need to make choices all the time. Pergola or pond (going with pergola)? Larger sitting area or larger lawn (went for larger seating)? And these are the easier choices. When it comes to plants and flowers, however, I'm quite lost. Luckily I have a mother with a green thumb who is always happy to provide me with some expert advice.

So yesterday I enlisted her help once again, and we spent the morning in the gardening center picking out flowers and new plants to liven up our garden for spring. We picked out these climbers for the fence:

                                 Pink Clematis. Photo by RussG


                                 Jasmine. Photo by Bonsai-Nursery


Pretty, huh? They're not as big yet as the ones in the photos here, but they should be a decent size come June. We also got some new pots and white hydrangeas. These were our wedding flowers and so we thought we should incorporate them into our garden as well.

                                Hydrangea. Photo by WholeBlossoms


We spent the afternoon planting everything (well, mostly mom did the planting and I got to watch. The perks of being pregnant...) and my little one is proving to be quite the gardener as well. He loved watering all the plants and riding around a bunch of twigs and leaves in his wheelbarrow.
Next up will be building the pergola (again: watching the pergola being built by others) and hoping that our Bougainvillea survived the rather harsh winter we had.
Do you have a backyard? What are your favorite plants and flowers? I'd love to hear what your yard looks like!

Petit Bateau

Posted by Lotte on Wednesday, April 7, 2010.
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Today I'm working on a comprehensive to-do list for baby's arrival. What to pack for the hospital, little chores around the house that I'd like to get done, some last baby clothes to buy etcetera. Just making the list is good fun in itself. I was looking at onesies and wanted to share with you one of my favorite brands in baby clothing: Petit Bateau. I fell in love with it after someone bought us a onesie as a baby gift for our firstborn. Most brands make their onesies and rompers pretty wide, but our little one was on the frail side and being a French brand, Petit Bateau has a slim fit. As it now turns out, they don't make just baby clothes, but kids' and even adults' clothes, too. Lucky me!
Here are some of my spring and summer favorites for babies:


And for kids:




These cheerful items make me look forward to summer!

note: photos from minirepublic.com

Writer's Block

Posted by Lotte on Tuesday, April 6, 2010. Filed under:
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Uh oh, writer's block hit me today... What to do? I've had writer's block before when I was in school and college, but that felt different because it usually involved boring assignments. Nowadays I can write about anything I want on my very own blog and find I have nothing to write about! I could do a post on some lovely things that I found online/in a magazine/in a store, but the thing about writer's block: nothing looks good enough to me today to merit a post. A quick tour around the blogging world convinces me that I am not alone. Question is, how do you fight or fix your writer's block?? In my case, writer's block usually means an altogether creative block as well.
So instead of writing something here, I'll ask you this:

Have you ever suffered from writer's block? When? What do you do to fix it?
Thanks for your input and I hope to be back with you tomorrow all refreshed and filled with inspiration.

Baby Things II

Posted by Lotte on Monday, April 5, 2010. Filed under:
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Hi! Hope you all had a good Easter weekend and are feeling refreshed for the week ahead. We had a lovely weekend of nesting, as the weather wasn't all that great. We managed to get out a couple of times for little walks and bike rides (in between the rain showers) but other than that cosied up inside for most of the weekend, which wasn't too bad because of all the yummie goodness we'd bought and made.
Back to my topic: it has been amazing to see how many companies on the baby market have gone green over the last couple of years. One of my earlier discoveries was a Dutch company called Kindekeklein (how's that for a pronunciation exercise...). They make hanging cradles that are a joy to look at (and I imagine to lie in) and responsibly produced as well.


  


The cradles are suspended from the ceiling with jute ropes and a spring, which lets the cradle swing as well as lightly bounce, creating a womb-like sensation. I remember endlessly rocking my firstborn on a bouncing ball until he'd fall asleep, only to have him wake up again as soon I laid him down in his crib. All it would take with this hanging cradle is a gentle nudge, and thanks to the spring, baby would bounce back to sleep. Now why didn't I think of that?
The cradles are made of 100% organic cotton, unvarnished wood, and jute, and the canopies come in a variety of colors. They also have a tripod available to take your baby outdoors for a Spring nap as well as bigger cradles for twins:


 

Aren't these great??

note: all pictures from Kindekeklein


Easter Yumminess

Posted by Lotte on Friday, April 2, 2010. Filed under:
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So it is Easter weekend this weekend and I love it! Mostly because it means that there isn't a sliver of Winter left for Spring to hide behind, but also because of that yummie Easter breakfast we'll be having. I started my Easter baking yesterday, when I made lemon cookies with my 33 month-old. Admittedly, I was into it a little more than he was (with that 10 minute attention-span and all) but they turned out quite well. We'll be decorating them tomorrow, which should be more fun for him since it will involve chocolate and candy.
Now for the grown-up bit, I'm making lemon curd (just the thought of it makes me want to do a little happy dance!).

Picture from cheekywipes.com

Nothing makes me happier in the morning than warm croissants with homemade lemon curd. The comforting warmth of a croissant fresh from the oven combined with the tart sweetness of the lemon curd reminding me of the impending summer: now that is something you can wake me up for, anytime. I've tried many different recipes over the years (so many to be found!), and have decided to go with foodblogging genius David Lebovitz's recipe this time (can't go wrong there!).
Also on the list this year are cinnamon rolls. I have to admit that I've never made them before but I've been craving them (must be those crazy pregnancy hormones...) and I prefer to have them homemade. I'll be using apurpleocean's recipe and hope they taste as good as they look!

picture by apurpleocean

Well, happy Easter everyone! Will you be doing any baking or cooking this time? What are your favorite Easter treats?

Young House Love

Posted by Lotte on Thursday, April 1, 2010. Filed under: ,
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It has been a little more than a year since we moved into our new home, and though we love it, I can't claim it to be anywhere near finished. All the major things (new bathroom, new kitchen etcetera) were done right when we moved in, but the part that makes a new house a home, i.e. the decorating bit, is still a work in progress. So far, I had been looking to magazines for inspiration, but since hiking up my blogging frequency, I've found a wealth of inspiration on other people's blogs as well.
My latest find is one that has particularly inspired me. It is Sherry and John Petersik's blog Young House Love.


The blog is dedicated to the first house they bought and fixed up together. And boy did they fix it up! You really shoudn't miss their house tour, which is full of before and after shots that will leave you inspired and amazed. I especially love it because they used furniture and accessories that are available to and affordable for most, as opposed to buying only expensive design items. And have a look at this photo, isn't that just the most adorable house? Makes me wanna pack up my things and move to Virginia! Are you the fixer-upper type or do you prefer a turn-key home?

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