Wednesday, 20 May 2015

50 weeks

So big news in the hairy household is that Arth has started crawling! This happened a few weeks ago after he finally realised he needed to flick his right leg behind him and since he's discovered this, there's been no stopping him! For quite some time before then he was doing a kind of strange 'dosey doe' shuffle (for those of you who ever did 'country dancing' as a kid you'll know what a dosey doe is).

You see me rolling...
The pugs volunteering to be shut in
 So with this new phase the pugs are now fearing for their lives  and my cupboard doors are no longer safe - the little rascal makes a beeline for anything with a key or latch, as well as the magazine rack and book case in order to ceremoniously turf out the 35 magazines and 16 books that used to be neatly piled (I now know this number to be exact as I have picked up, reshuffled and repeatedly stacked them around 25 times in the last two weeks) much to my little chaps amusement.

Scowl face wreaking havoc

The delights of parenthood are coming thick and fast at the moment and as Arthur approaches his 1st birthday and turns from baby into toddler his personality, sense of humour and character are now shining brightly.  He is an incredibly happy little boy who laughs easily, loves to be social and has the cheekiest glint in his eye with a large dose of mischief thrown in too.  He can exhaust me until the cows come home, be as stubborn as an ox and highly impatient - throwing dramatic tantrums if he's told 'no' (with accompanied scowl face - see picture), is tired or hungry. But one thing I know for sure is that our lives will never, ever be dull with Arthur in our world.

Chilling out after a day's mayhem making

Sunny Spring Sprung

With April  arrived the start of spring and all it's freshness, the sun and the glimpse of summer.  It also managed to combine a few of my most favourite things:
  1. The sun - yay to the warmth! Being a naturally cold person (I permanently have ice cold hands that could chill the devil to the bone - Adam has to suffer this torture quite regularly). I can never get enough of the delicious warm feeling when the sun settles on you and warms you through to your bones. Just blissful. It is also a great opportunity to get out summer hats and sunglasses for the little ones....
    I'd like him to stay like this forever please
  2. Picnics - if the sun is out and I'm feeling peckish then in my book it's a perfect combo for a picnic.  There's something that excites me greatly about parcelling up a few tasty morsels and finding a secluded sunny spot to eat outdoors. Being outdoors seems to make things taste that extra little bit better and unwrapping the parcels (especially when you've forgotten what's in them) and sharing food is such a nice thing to do especially with children - it's a whole different experience than being confined to the formalities of the dinner table.  I'm not a massive fan of formal dinner table dining and a good few times in the week i'll make a little indoor picnic for Arthur and I at lunchtime - it becomes more of a fun, sensory experience. Thankfully Arthur loves it and tends to gobble up anything laid out in a picnic tea!
The babybels were a big hit

Arth and his mates catching the sun

3. Easter - we had a lovely little Easter break visiting Adam's sister & family.  Arth wore his Easter bonnet, had quite a few chocolate treats and proceeded to get the chocolate grumps.  We also had a lovely trip to Bocketts Farm to meet the newly arrived lambs, bunnies and ducklings.  At one point we visited a barn full of labouring ewes and I have to say I did feel their pain - having myself been a rather hefty old ewe this time last year.

Easter bonnet parade

Chocolate grumps or is the hat?

Meeting new arrivals

A ewe or two

Savage Beauty

This month my sister Sophie, Arthur and I had the pleasure of visiting the Alexander McQueen exhibition at the V&A.  It was sensational and worth every second, Arth was as good as gold and quite fascinated by the displays and the people watching.  I was a little worried that some of the imagery or gothic head-pieces might have been a bit scary for him but nothing seemed to bother him and he seemed quite entertained by the different shapes and textures. He's been to a few exhibitions and galleries now in his first year and seems to understand 'gallery etiquette' (at least for now)!

Appreciating the exhibits

Reaping the Reward

With spring having sprung plus the mix of rain and sun, our garden really is looking at its best this year and in preparation for our move we've been getting the garden in ship shape.  It's nice to know that it's playing ball with the house viewings we've been having! We invested a lot of time and money into it and now two years on, everything has established and is looking lovely and lush.  We did some heavy pruning to our wisteria, clamatis and lilac tree and they have come back with gusto.  Its so rewarding to see that our hard work has paid off and I really am so sad to be leaving it behind.

Even our little figgy is doing its bit!

The Bedford Road garden gnome

We recently made two home made herb gardens after I got a great deal on a number of terracotta pots (all different sizes and shapes) at a local reclamation yard.  I've not seen this pot shape before but I decided to stack them and plant various herbs around the edges. To secure the pots you can run a thin stick between the holes in the bottom. They work well with herbs, but I've also got plans for doing this with strawberries, and edible plants such as nasturtiums.  Any alpine or rockery type plants would do well too.

Peas-in-a-Pod Update

I'm delighted to be able to share a new promo video with you that Ian at Marriott-Smith Photography has cleverly created.  I'm thrilled with it and think he has really captured the essence of The Pod - if it tickles your fancy please like and share it!

With summer on its way I've added a couple of new colourful designs to my greetings card collection - you can't beat a bit of fizz or a macaroon or two in the sun! They're now available to buy in my shop here.

I've been toying with the thought of personalising my plates and know that the only viable way at the moment is by hand painting the design on to a ceramic plate.  For the last week or so I've been practising my designs and writing with ceramic paint.  They are more rustic than my digitally designed work, but that is the nature of handmade work.  I'm available to start taking commissions soon so watch this space!

And finally...

I commissioned a friend and former School for Startups classmate 'Handmade by Bex' to create one of her embroidery hoops for my bestie's new baby.  It arrived beautifully packaged and I was over the moon with how gorgeous it was - she's a very talented lady!


Monday, 13 April 2015

44 weeks

March has been a crazy month and with the new job and Arthur starting Nursery, I have sadly neglected this blog.  It has been a month of ups and downs where things have at times been testing; but hey, life is one great challenge isn't it and there are always more hurdles to jump.  Thankfully we have our little ray of sunshine who keeps us happily on our toes and who is now keeping himself on his little toes with some very solid standing!

Somewhere in the mix I also happened upon my 33rd birthday.  Quite frankly I'm not a fan of '33' the odd number doesn't sit too comfortably with me, but in celebration of this changing age I though I'd do my 'Top 33' of the little and big things that were discovered in Arthur's Army this last month (and a bit).  I then halved this number to 16.5 as thought that by the time you'd finished reading them all, I'd almost be turning 34.

So to start, I found a few interesting facts about my not so favourite number:

33 is is the atomic number of arsenic - fabulous if wanting to make your own celebratory poison.

For all the yogi's out there - a normal human spine has 33 vertebrae (including the bones that form the coccyx)

33 is (according to the Newton scale) the temperature at which water boils. Good to know for tea fanatics.

1. The Eiffel tower is much more beautiful than I ever thought it would be. I discovered this on my sister-in-law-to be's Hen weekend a few weeks ago, and it's a goldy colour - not the grey I'd always thought.

2. Arthur is now over the other side of being ten months and as every month moves on I keep saying to myself  'I love this age / stage the most'. I've realised I think this a lot and that every change he goes through it just gets better. I am loving every stage, simple as that.

3. My linea negra has all but gone - hoorah! I never thought it would I might add, so this is big news in the Hairy Household.

4. Pickle didn't attack the stuffed meerkat from the 'Compare the Meerkat' insurance adverts with as much ferociousness when it arrived through the post. She has a hatred for the characters in the adverts and attacks the screen whenever they appear, yet on meeting it in the flesh was most demure - I was a bit disappointed not to see a showdown.

5. As a parent you will do anything to make your baby laugh like a drain.

6. Anthony Browne's illustrated children's books about monkeys and apes are an absolute joy and have to be added to every child's bookcase in the land.

7.  Arthur now has ten teeth and has discovered the joys of grinding and gurning.

8.  The Theory of Everything is a spectacular movie and Eddie Redmayne's performance was worthy of the Oscar, but Jane Hawking's 'Travelling to Infinity' on which the film is based, is better.  If you need a bit of humbling or an injection of courage - read it for inspiration.

9. Travelling by Eurostar is now my most preferred mode of transport.  The ease and comfortability,  not to mention the frisson of glamour (I felt at least) and the fact that you can be in Paris from St Pancreas in a couple of hours is a delight.

10. The best birthday presents are those made with the littlest hands.

11. My severe dislike for National Rail has reached epic proportions - their unexplained cancellations, continuous delays, interrupting works and extortionate prices makes my blood boil, alongside their lack of customer service or accountability. See number 9 for how I would like to travel instead.

12. Arthur is a huge fan of custard.

13. The Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition at the Natural History Museum was, yet again, breathtaking. Arthur adored it too and was very very loud at expressing his excitement.

14. Katie Mullally is a jewellery designer I have come across thanks to my friends at KC who bought me a beautiful leaving gift  - a peas in a pod necklace.

15. I now know what an MCZ and a RNR is thanks to my new job at KWT. Both are valuable to our wildlife habitats and need protecting. If you are interested in protecting your local landscape, you can find out more about how you can help by clicking on the links.

16. Packaging is seriously fun (if you are still small enough to fit into cardboard boxes).

16.5 Red River Hogs are are my new favourite animal, as discovered on a trip to Port Lympne on the animal safari. Quite frankly anything with this snazzy natural facial hair gets my vote.

Arthur's Curiosity

The wet wipes didn't stand a chance
against the persistent ET finger
Arthur's curiosity amuses me greatly.  His attention to detail is fascinating and he exercises this by wielding his determined little ET finger which gets poked and prodded into all manner of interesting thing.  From nostrils to nipples, glasses and loose threads, a detailed stud earring to the patterned jacket of a plastic monkey. All are explored by the little finger in a very determined fashion whether you like it or not.

I'm not sure why this amuses me so greatly, it's partly the determination on his little face and being able to see his character developing in front of my eyes,  but I'm also putting it down to the fact that I too share this love of detail (though I'm not so interested in nostrils and nipples these days). I'm sure that the fact we share this trait appeals to my 'alpha' gene greatly, in that I may have 'passed something on'.  In my ridiculously over-romanticised thoughts I love imagining him one day as a high-flying architect or fashion designer..... but hey, I think I'm getting a tiny bit ahead of myself, let's master crawling first!

Objects of Desire

In London the other week I could not resist this Gap summer babygrow - they have a new collection using designs from 80s graffiti pop artist Keith Haring.  His playful, colourful designs lend themselves so well to kidsware, just in time for the Spring sun.

Peas-in-a-pod Update

I've taken part in quite a few events over the last couple of months - Manna fairtrade cafe in Tunbridge Wells, The Office Group at Marylebone station (a really interesting office space service which had great decor themed around the old station) and The Fairy Tale Fair at Brighton Open Market along with some other lovely designer makers.

At The Office Group, Marylebone

Objet d'art at The Office Group - love an old suitcase!

At Brighton Open Market with my two furry helpers drawing in the crowds

At these events I was able to get some good feedback on some of my new products including these new notebooks and picnic plates - perfect for genius thoughts and delicious morsals.... available in my shop or at notonthehighstreet.

And lastly...

I'm afraid this blog-post ends on a bit of a sad note - there has been yet another demise in the Hairy Household with Marge passing away a few weeks ago.  Our little punk haired guinea pig is sorely missed but she will always be remembered for her crazy hairstyle and odd coloured ears. RIP Marge.


Saturday, 7 February 2015

35 Weeks

So it seems as quick as a flash January has been and gone! These last four weeks have been really quite busy and a little frantic at times with some big decisions made - jobs, house move etc, along with plenty of small ones (do the pugs need to go on a diet, does Arthur need a haircut yet... fyi the answer to both of these for the time being at least is no.)

Needless to say there are always lowlights when things get a bit stressful and busy, but we won't dwell on any of that.  Instead we'll celebrate some of the highlights:

1. Adam getting his new job - the clever old stick did brilliantly in his 1st and 2nd interviews and I'm as proud as punch of him - he starts the new job in a week.

2. Arthur - he's always a highlight but has been particularly delectable over the past month with constant smiles, giggles and chattering.  He's now mastered clapping, nodding and boogying, along with some very obvious flirting (cocking of his head and sly smiles) and is making tentative moves towards crawling.

3. Teeth - since the dreaded demon-fang's arrival which kept us awake all over the new year period; Arthur has sprouted three more at the top and two more at the bottom - he looks so grown up (and at times a little freaky) with teeth and it means dinner times are much more satisfying especially when he's presented with a stick of celery or breadstick.

4. Whitstable - there are so many great things about this gorgeous little seaside town and the seafood and arty vibe are the main attractions for us.  We enjoyed a little day trip to banish the January blues at the beginning of the month,

5. Belle's 1st Birthday - can't believe our gorgeous little niece is one already and is now toddling around like a proper little human!

6. Listening to our new audio library of Roald Dahl books - The Twits, Matilda, James & the Giant Peach, we can't get enough!  Of course they were bought with Arthur in mind.... 

7. Kitchen makeover - in preparation for the house going up for sale we now have lovely wooden surface tops and a new sink.  It's lovely to have a spruced up kitchen, even if it is the size of a shoebox.

8. Our new sofa - we've been waiting for this for aaaaaaaages and it's been well worth the wait.  It's a beautiful brown leather chesterfield from Tetrad.

'At home' with Marge

9. My new job. This was the last thing I expected so soon in the year but as of March I will be Digital Media Officer at the Kent Wildlife Trust! It's a job that is right up my street combining two loves of mine.

10. I survived my first tax return - phew! 

News from the Pod

Peas-in-a-Pod has also been a hive of activity since the start of the year.  And already for 2015 I have some great new designs and products arriving soon (new plates, mugs and notebooks) as well as more fairs planned and booked.

Dates so far for 2015:

Saturday 8th March - Manna Cafe Makers Fair, high street, Tunbridge Wells
Sunday 29th March - The Fairytale Fair at Brighton Open Market
Stay posted for more!

Peas-in-a-Pod products can now also be purchased from on-line retailer Look out for regular features about us in Wealden Times!

Recent logo work includes this little chap which (giving my love of anything furry) I thoroughly enjoyed working on!

Love is the answer

Valentines will soon be wafting its way towards us over the next week so I thought I'd share a few of my favourite loved-up treats with you all from a host of some marvellously clever creatives....

For adorning...

Toast necklace at
Thunder in our hearts necklace at
Geometry leather shopper at Brilliantly British

For pampering...

The Magic Mitt & various pampering sessions available at and
Treat parcels at

For hanging...

Train Ticket by Of Life & Lemons
Lobster by Peas-in-a-Pod (last orders taken on Wednesday 11th Feb)

Peas-in-a-Pod personalised lobster print

For fun...

Skippity Hop Creatures - particularly the Party Pig & Puppy Pug
and to be blown away... tickets to Alexander McQueen's Savage Beauty at the V&A

For dining...

Walnut espresso cup & saucer set at Brilliantly British
Cosy up on Valentines night with a little tipple from Sipsmith

In the kitchen...

Arthur seems to happily devour most things these days, including fingers, pug tails and most of his toys.  But most favourite of all is his love for oranges - the excitement and love in his eyes when he spots an orange segment is pretty spectacular.

The two-handed orange fist grab

He has, it seems, a sweet tooth perfectly displayed by gripping his mouth tightly shut when it's salmon fishcakes or pork hot-pot, yet at the hint of something sweet it's as wide as the Grand Canyon. He's quite a crafty little chap and is getting cheekier by the day so I have had to mix things up a bit - putting sweet with his savoury and not letting there be a 'pudding' at the end of every meal. He's definitely keeping me on his toes though and planning meals for Arthur takes more thought and imagination than I've ever dedicated to mine and Adam's! But the days that he eats well and heartily makes me grin from ear to ear and is worth the experiments and failures.  Here are a few new recipes I've been trying that seem to get the thumbs up from the little man:

Blueberry and blackberry muffins

Cream together 75g unsalted butter and 50g caster sugar.  Add an egg and stir in 75g wholemeal plain flour and1 tsp baking powder.  Put blueberries and blackberries in the microwave with a little water and when dissolved into a puree add to the mix.  Add 50g raisins and mix together.  Divide into 12 muffin cases and sprinkle each with porridge oats.  Bake for 20 mins at 180 degrees.

Oaty banana bakes

Mush up half a banana and add three tablespoons of porridge oats, add chopped up dried fruit (Arthur likes apricots, prunes, apple and raisins).  Mix together and spread out onto a greased baking tray and bake for 15 mins.  When cool, cut into little squares.

Turkey and apricot bites

Mix turkey mince with chopped up dried apricots and add dried herbs and finely diced onion.  Add an egg and mold into small meat balls, bake in the oven and serve either slightly warm or cold.  Arthur eats them better when their cold.

Sweet potato and tuna squishy balls

Roast a large sweet potato and mash the insides with a tin of tuna (in spring water) and two teaspoons of philadelphia cheese.  Add some dried herbs and/or sweetcorn if you fancy it.  Mold into little balls or sausages and keep cold. If you find the mixture is quite thick and dry add a little milk or more philadelphia.

Cheese and courgette/leek savoury muffins

Mix 175g of wholemeal plain flour, 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1 tsp baking powder and add 50ml milk, 1 egg and 100ml veg oil.  Mix in 75g grated cheddar and a finely chopped leek or courgette and fold into the mixture.  Divide into 12 muffin cases and bake for 25 mins at 180 degrees.

And lastly...

Playtime = Pugtime