I'm a better mummy on Mondays

When I've had some time to myself over the weekend, and even some time where I can be in the house but mentally check out, because H1's got it.

H1 and Amelie after work on Friday.

H1 and Amelie after work on Friday.

When I've enjoyed the time my little family gets to spend together, just the three of us.

When I've got university to look forward to that afternoon.

I've just enjoyed one of those perfect weekends – enough going on that I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything, but quiet enough that I end it feeling relaxed. Somehow we managed to see friends, family, get in lots of time just for our small family, spontaneously wander a cool design store, drink coffee, drink beer and still laze around in bed for hours on Sunday morning with Amelie, the cat, more coffee and the best hot cross buns ever. I even got my hair done, and H1 was able to watch the Formula 1. It was one of those weekends that reminded us why we live in the city, and re-energised our excitement for our future.

Amelie and Cuper on Sunday morning. She adores him. He is less sure.

Amelie and Cuper on Sunday morning. She adores him. He is less sure.

And that carried over, and I looked at Amelie this morning and thought 'I'm a better mummy on Mondays.' I'm an awesome mother everyday, of course, but when I'm refreshed from the weekend, and I'm reminded of all the things that make up 'me' – alongside mother – I'm better. 

Moral of the story? More of all of it. More time for me, more family time, more spontaneity, more perfect weekends. Hey, more weekends generally (re-structuring the working week doesn't seem too hard). It makes me better, and knowing I'm being better for my family is a pretty amazing feeling.

Hope you all enjoyed just as great a weekend, whatever that looks like for you. On with the week!

Time to capsule?

Time to capsule?

Capsule image via Pinterest/Modern French blog

H1 and I each have set monthly budgets for all our personal expenses – coffees, lunches, clothes, etc. Thanks to presently being a one-income family, those budgets are smaller than usual, and thanks to a few purchases earlier this year that were made to try to reduce my feelings of new-mum frumpiness, my budget in particular is seriously depleted for the next couple of months.

Of course, budgets don’t always align with desires. All the autumn and winter clothes are coming into stores and I want most of them – this despite having a wardrobe full of really nice clothes. I haven’t even worn most of them for a couple of years, being pregnant last year and all.  But looking at them doesn’t excite me, or make me feel any less frumpy (yes, it’s still a thing. More on that later). I also have a few constraints in place. Budget, of course, but I’m also still breastfeeding four times a day, so anything I wear needs to work with that. And sadly clichéd as it is, I have a small baby, so everything I wear needs to be easily washable. Dryclean-only clothes don’t make sense for me right now.

All of which makes me feel that a capsule could be the answer to my problems ("problems", that is. Trust me, I know).

Everybody knows the basic idea behind a capsule, so I won't offend you by recapping that. In my case, I've found inspiration through the well-dressed Caroline of Un-Fancy, and her dedication towards capsules – which is less a literal dedication and more of a soft approach towards an undoubtedly good idea. She suggests 37 pieces for three months, excluding underwear, pyjamas and workout gear. And she uses the capsule itself, along with the experience over those months, to identify true gaps in her wardrobe and then – and only then – buys to fill those gaps.

Image via Un-Fancy

Image via Un-Fancy

All of this sounds pretty reasonable to me. I'm only going to do two months though, as we're away for most of June in the northern hemisphere (e.g. completely different weather). Due to this I'm probably going to allow myself fewer than 37 pieces. But otherwise, it's on. April and May will be experimental capsule months, with no buying anything new. No clothes, no accessories, no shoes, no jewellery...time will see whether this makes me feel more or less frumpy. Hopefully the latter, obviously, but at the very least it will be an interesting experience!

A few good things

Time is starting to fly. Everyone told me it would when Amelie was first born, and as I fed for the millionth time that day then tried to get Amelie to sleep for the millionth and one time, then sat holding her because that was the only way she would sleep, messy house be damned, I seriously doubted their sanity. But then Amelie grew older, started feeding far less and sleeping on her own, and I can attest that they were right. The time is flying. It's bittersweet. Amelie only gets more fun, but everything is going so quickly. I'm scared I'll forget what it was like and what it is like. I swear, having a baby is just one big mass of contradictory feelings, all the time. Oh and guilt. Contradictory feelings and guilt. 

Oh, and love. SO MUCH LOVE. Look at this button! Our little Amelie, five months old, coolest baby ever.

Oh, and love. SO MUCH LOVE. Look at this button! Our little Amelie, five months old, coolest baby ever.

Sunrise in Kingsland. We had a few days of awful weather but happily, summer has returned for a final hurrah, with cooler autumn nights to make us all sleep better.

Sunrise in Kingsland. We had a few days of awful weather but happily, summer has returned for a final hurrah, with cooler autumn nights to make us all sleep better.

Matchy matchy with Amelie, right down to pink sunglasses.

Matchy matchy with Amelie, right down to pink sunglasses.

Wore my red lipstick for the first time since Amelie was born, and regained a tiny bit more of myself in the process. Gave Amelie a nice red cheek also, thanks to a forgetful kiss.

Wore my red lipstick for the first time since Amelie was born, and regained a tiny bit more of myself in the process. Gave Amelie a nice red cheek also, thanks to a forgetful kiss.

Enjoying a teddy bear's picnic at Amelie's baby sensory class. Here she is doing her usual thing, watching what everyone else is doing and ignoring my silly singing and playing!

Enjoying a teddy bear's picnic at Amelie's baby sensory class. Here she is doing her usual thing, watching what everyone else is doing and ignoring my silly singing and playing!

Decorating the nursery

I'm not saying this is why H1 and I had a baby, but decorating the nursery was absolutely one of our favourite parts of getting ready for Amelie's arrival. We had constraints of course – both the fairly standard financial ones and the additional ones of being in a rental and not knowing whether we were having a boy or a girl. Constraints often just make it more fun, though, and I'm inclined to believe they worked in our favour. We spend a lot of time in there with Amelie, playing, reading and listening to music, and we all enjoy that time – it's a really nice place to be.

We started with the cot, looking all over for ones we liked before settling on an IKEA one. Before we chose this one, we were on the verge of buying a Stokke one that converted from bassinet to cot to toddler bed. It was gorgeous and really quite expensive. We were okay with that – it would have been one of our big ticket items and we would have had to save elsewhere – until we realised we have two houses, which means we needed two cots. Stokke was out, IKEA was in.

I had some pretty strong reservations initially about buying a cot from IKEA. It felt wrong to cheap out on the baby's bed, and I was really concerned about safety. Looking into it, however, set my mind at ease about safety. We don't actually have an IKEA in New Zealand, but you can buy some stuff from third-party distributors. For this reason, not many Kiwis buy IKEA cots. They do in England though, and after more than one visit to Mumsnet I decided it was our best choice – thankfully, because there are a lot of hideous cots out there. After the Stokke, this was the one I liked best, and once we finished decorating I decided I liked it even more. It's so simple and goes perfectly with the rest of the room.

Change table and big chair/small sofa in background.

Change table and big chair/small sofa in background.

We already had a dresser in the nursery which would have to stay, so this helped us decide on some of the other furniture. I looked at a multitude of changing tables online, but they all also suffered from a general sense of hideousness, and – vitally – for the most part offered virtually no storage. I love our apartment but it has almost no built-in storage, so if a piece of furniture doesn't offer additional storage as well as fulfilling its core purpose, I'm very reluctant to allow it into my house. Knowing exactly what I wanted, but unable to find it anywhere, I turned to TradeMe and trawled for a few weeks, waiting for a nice dresser that was the right height to turn up. It eventually did. I purchased it for $25, convinced H1 it would look great once it was painted and the knobs were changed out, got him to do those things (I was pregnant, remember!) and now it's one of our favourite things in the room. I usually lack the patience to shop used anything, but I'm so glad I pushed through that this time. 

Lights from la case de cousin paul.

Lights from la case de cousin paul.

Amelie's playgym and sheepskin.

Amelie's playgym and sheepskin.

The last big item in the room is the big chair/small sofa. I didn't think we needed a chair in there initially but I'm so glad we got it. It's used every single day, when Amelie has her last feed before bed. We have the star light on, listen to classical music, and once she's done feeding, we have a short chat about what we've done that day before I put her down for the night. During the day we sit on it and read stories, and because it's nice and big, we'll be able to do this for many years to come. We got this from Mocka, who seem to be the go-to furniture store for people with children; I don't think I know anyone with kids who doesn't have at least one thing from Mocka in their house.

A small book collection (already about twice this size since this photo was taken!)

A small book collection (already about twice this size since this photo was taken!)

We finished the room with stick on decals (so good for renters!), gorgeous art from Carisse Enderwick, a good old classic NZ sheepskin from OnceIt, bedding from Nature Baby, fairy lights from la case de cousin paul (we picked these up in Montmartre some years ago and they've been with us to three different apartments and two different countries – some things never get old!) and toys and books from everywhere. I love this room – I think it's my favourite in our apartment, actually – and happily, Amelie seems to also.

Art from Carisse Enderwick.

Art from Carisse Enderwick.

Amelie's monkey, made by her very clever grandmother. The toys have doubled also – there are two toyboxes now!

Amelie's monkey, made by her very clever grandmother. The toys have doubled also – there are two toyboxes now!

A few good things

It's been a pretty lovely couple of weeks. 

Rose lemonade and my new book at Devon on the Wharf.

Rose lemonade and my new book at Devon on the Wharf.

Amelie and I went along to a book signing for Emily Writes' new book yesterday. It was Amelie's first time on a ferry and her first time at a book signing, and she loved them both. There was a reading before the signing and she spent more than an hour just smiling at everybody, then fell asleep in her pushchair so I could eat my lunch and start reading the book in peace. One day later, I have nearly finished it – it's a lovely, lovely book, and also wildly funny in just the right moments. So glad we made it along to the event!

Coffee with this gorgeous guy and wonderful girl before work on Friday.

Coffee with this gorgeous guy and wonderful girl before work on Friday.

Amelie was pretty delighted to be able to get into her toy box by herself. I suspect tipping it over will be priority number one when she's mobile...

Amelie was pretty delighted to be able to get into her toy box by herself. I suspect tipping it over will be priority number one when she's mobile...

Being treated to one amazing sunrise over Little Barrier Island this past weekend at the country house. 

Being treated to one amazing sunrise over Little Barrier Island this past weekend at the country house. 

Cuddles with Amelie in the morning light. She always wakes up so happy, and the weekends are just the best, when we bring her into our bed and feed her while drinking coffee ourselves. Love our little family so much!

Cuddles with Amelie in the morning light. She always wakes up so happy, and the weekends are just the best, when we bring her into our bed and feed her while drinking coffee ourselves. Love our little family so much!