Les Petites Merveilles – new business on its way…

Once again, I failed miserably at keeping up my promises of keeping this blog up to date…

I’ve got a new plan of attack though: time tabling all things that need to get done
– writing here,
– crafting for Les Petites Merveilles,
– editing photos & keep making photobooks,
– cooking ahead of time,
– cleaning sneaky corners of the house, etc.
Without forgetting to play with my gorgeous toddler & relaxing a little bit, maybe by practising the ukulele (that I have just started, because I didn’t have enough on my plate already…). Oh, and planning a wedding too…almost forgot!

For now, I am getting the Little Wonders ready for our Playgroup Shopping Night, next Friday. I’m really excited about it, but it is also pretty scary to start something from scratch by yourself. I will have created and own Les Petites Merveilles entirely from top to bottom.

PETITES_MERVEILLES_2

I have been sewing sock toys, soft balls, and baby accessories. Although the cold season is almost truly over, I couldn’t help but add knitted accessories to the collection. I just missed knitting too much.
At the moment, I have more ideas than time. Who am I kidding? This is actually the case ALL THE TIME, but with Les Petites Merveilles, it’s even more frustrating because I want to bring these ideas to the world and see how they work out.

I am working out slowly how I am going to present my creations on my stall. I plan on having a few items to sell on the night, but mainly to start taking orders that I can customise and make little by little.

I will be asking for your opinion as to which items should make it into the collection, but for now, I will, once more, postpone more updates for a few days…

(At the top, you can see our first trial at a ‘promotional’ photoshoot for my knitted accessories. Exceptionally, I decided to use the gorgeous face of my Little Man, and I’m pretty pleased with it :D)

The Little Man’s First Birthday

      Our baby boy turned one in June… I know we all say it, but I can’t believe a whole year has passed! I have enjoyed every minute of it. Even the late night feedings, the scary falls, the loud tantrums & all the joys in between. In reflection, so much has happened throughout this year, I cannot exactly say that it has gone in a flash. Staying home with him (how lucky am I!) 24/7 since he was born, I have been able to appreciate every little thing. Even though, I can barely remember my gorgeous boy as a newborn…

       That’s it for the reminiscing! Now, I thought I would share a little bit from his hot air balloon party. I spent a fair bit of time preparing it all, but I think it was worth it. If only because I thoroughly enjoy the process! 🙂

       I have decided to start a tradition for my child(ren): I have knitted the Little Man a crown for him to wear every year on his special day. A nice photo prop, helping us see how much he grows between birthdays.
This first birthday also signed the end of the monthly undergarments I have designed for him. It was the opportunity to make it a special one, adding sewn in fabric and felt (as you can see on this top picture).

Birthday 2

    I kept the decoration quite simple in the shades of blue and grey. I displayed a timeframe of milestones with pictures and cards (Milestone Baby Cards. I adore them, haven’t missed one!) along the walls. At first, the plan was to hang some on the photos (I have A LOT) on helium balloons, just like little hot air balloons floating about the room BUT I had not considered their weight… As you can see, some photos needed 3 balloons! I only ended up doing a handful like these. So, on the wall they go!

Birthday 3

   I had set a few tables on one side of the room with a buffet style of treats. All the ones I made were prepared with 2 things in mind: babies should be able to eat everything fairly easily AND it should try to some extent to follow the party’s theme.
The only things worth a notice are the homemade lollies in the shape of “1” (made of fruit juice, gelatine and glucose syrup; thanks Pinterest!) and the parmesan, rosemary & thyme crusted biscuits cut with my awesome hot air balloon cookie cutter!

     This wonderful cake (on the right) was a gift from the Little Man’s best friend’s mum, an amazing cake maker. She personalised it to my liking with our Ouistiti’s name, our colours and a little fox, just like his Mr Fox softie.

Birthday 4

    Finally, I had set up a photo booth, symbolising a hot air balloon (again, I know) where I got a picture with each of the kids with my Little Man and, if I may say so myself, they are extremely cute!

     Let me know what you think! Did you have a theme for your littlies’ first birthday? Did you go for the handmade or professionally planned party?

Aside

More apologies…

Hi everyone,

I have to apologise once more for my lack of presence on this blog. I have a few – more or less – legitimate excuses.

  1. I went back to France for a month with my Little Man (article to follow on travelling long-distance with a baby/toddler in tow).
  2. I planned a first birthday party. Cooking & handmade decorations included (might share a few pics of that too).
  3. I started planning our wedding, for December 2016…
  4. Last but not least, I launched myself into a new & exciting business venture!!!

More on that very VERY soon…

Mum guilt or human attribute?

On my way back from Mums & Bubs today, driving along, I had plenty of time to think about the day. As always, the first thoughts that came into my mind all revolved around the same topic:

Guilt.

Guilt

I felt guilty to have invited myself to another town’s Group. Guilty not to have brought anything. Guilty to have dragged the Little Man who probably doesn’t really care for social interaction just yet.

And yesterday? Why did I go to playgroup knowing it was the Ouistiti’s nap time? Why did I make everyone endure his cries while I tried to finally make him sleep outside of his own cot? Why did I make him endure that while I knew full well that it wouldn’t work?…

Guilt definitely is an attribute that comes hand in hand with motherhood.

I have always been quite a worrisome soul but since becoming a mother (when I first saw those two lines on a stick), it has only increased. At first, my guilt was not necessarily aimed at my son. It was more of a general feeling. A feeling of selfishness. Becoming a mother had always been a dream of mine; now I was fully enjoying it, not leaving much space to anything or anyone else.

Slowly bringing myself back to mingling with the outside world (not that I have ever been a social butterfly), I started to worry about talking too much when seeing my friends, about the Little Man or about myself, holding most of the conversation. I worried about not paying enough attention to them.

Then, of course, there is all the guilt about not feeding him the right thing, not nurturing him enough/nurturing him too much, pushing him too hard/not stimulating him enough, too much TV, not enough proteins, etc.

But in the end, is guilt really a mother’s attribute or simply a trait inherent to human beings, social by nature, simply acerbated by motherhood?

Anyone else struggling with guilt? About anything in particular?

Aside

Apologies

I am so sorry everyone…

I haven’t been around as much as I would have liked to, obviously. I promise it will be better from now on.

We moved house, so no Internet for a while. Then there was Easter. And a child-free trip away with girl friends. Bref, it has been a very busy couple of months!

I have also started teaching night classes again; so there might be a couple of posts to help those of you who want to make the best of any language learning opportunities they might encounter.

This week, I plan on writing a little bit about photography, motherhood of course, and probably about home decoration as well.

Bonne journée!

Craft Schmaft love

C.Craft Schmaft love

As promised, here is a whole post devoted to my love for all things Craft Schmaft. For those of you who missed it (see post about my crafty inspiration), Craft Schmaft is a lovely little Australian business selling patterns and sewing kits to make your own soft toys and mobiles, mainly out of socks! I fell in love with all these lovelies at the Finders Keepers market in Melbourne a few years ago and haven’t stopped making them since. (I now have my son as an excuse to clutter my house with more stuffed toys…)

Claire sells her patterns and fabric pieces on her website: CraftSchmaft, as well as on her Etsy shop.

C.Baby owl gang

C.Mum owl

C.Dog long

C.Dog

C.Bunny

C.Giraffe

These were made following her patterns (well, for the rabbit, I was actually a “pattern tester”, so the instructions hadn’t yet been finalised). As you can see, I grabbed a deal of several pairs of socks, so a lot of my softies are made of the same ‘material’ in fairly dull colours. The faded aspect comes from them living on the window cell.

The ones below, I created, inspired by Claire’s patterns but of my own designs. They’re definitely not perfect, probably not as good either, but they are still all prototypes.

I quite like the monkey, but the sloth would need a bit of adjustment, particularly with its face… I just really wanted to make a sloth after watching “The Croods”. 😀

C.Penguin

C.Monkey

C.Sloth

I do have one more for which I was once again “pattern tester”. You will have to wait for this testing stage to be over before I can share this exciting new softie friend with you.

Let me know what you think!

Feel free to visit Craft Schmaft, it’s well worth it.

Flying with a toddler: the planning stage

As you probably know by now, although we live in Australia, I am originally from France. I actually don’t really miss it, but I do have family that I like to visit as regularly as possible. Now that we have a family of our own, I feel a bit of an obligation to bring our son to see his grand-parents, aunt, uncle, and even more great-grandparents. It is a big chunk of our budget and now that I am no longer working, it means we can not really put any money aside, but that is the choice I made in coming to live all the way across the world.

Now comes the organisation part!

T.Flying

Flying with a baby/toddler is an adventure on its own, but when we start talking about flying for over 24 hours with a really active not-so-little one, it’s a whole other cattle of fish!

So far, we are only at the planning stage, as we will be leaving at the end of June, so I thought I would share some of this organisation process.

1. When to fly

At the moment, the Ouistiti only sleeps in his crib or in the car (but not when it stops, even if the engine is still running…). Now we were faced to a hard decision: should we choose an overnight flight, also called a red eye, or fly during day time?

As I mentioned, flying between Melbourne and Paris takes over 24h, so either way, we would have to fly both during night and day time. Our choice regarded whether to do the longER flight during either of these times.

Personally, with our Little Man being such a light sleeper in unfamiliar environments, I think the red eye flight will be the hardest one. That said, if we can get through the first 14h flight, the second one should be a little bit easier… The Ouistiti will probably start getting used to it by then, and also be a bit more active. So a shorter (7h) second flight during the day should be a bit easier to entertain him.

On the way back, we did not have as much choice, so his night will be split between the 2 flights. I will be able to tell you afterwards if this is a better choice for an active baby. I’ll be your guinea pig!

This second flight also scares me as I will be flying with the Little Man by myself…

2. Who to fly with

This is not sponsored by any airline, and only reflects all the research and experience I have had with the different airlines.

As we have flown several times between these two destinations, we have had a bit of experience with different airlines.

Our first criteria used to be the price. These tickets cost between $2,000 and 5,000 on average… It is A LOT of money. No need to draw you a picture there! So we flew with various, usually Asian, airlines and were pretty happy with them. I am quite small (1m58/5ft 2in), so space doesn’t bother me too much, but some of these airlines did lack a little bit of legroom for longer people, such as my fiancé. Air China was one of those.

Now, with our little one in tow, we decided to upgrade a little bit, still considering the price, but without overlooking comfort.

We had noticed on previous flights that Emirates and Qatar both seemed to have good baby facilities in flights and were definitely very comfortable. After a bit of research, it confirmed that these airlines, as well as Ethiad, had great options for families.

They all have bassinets overhanging front rows, baby food and kids entertainment, and even in-flight nannies on long-haul flights for Ethiad! This seemed a wonderful idea, enabling us to get at least a couple of hours of sleep (I’m talking more for myself, I know Daddy’s rest won’t really be disturbed…).

In the end, we had a look at these 3 airlines, but Qatar came out as the cheapest. (I would have loved Ethiad but saving $500 or so does seem more important at the moment…)

By the way, we did not get a chance to get back to Melbourne in time; otherwise, we would have got a quote from STA Travel. We’ve been using them for a while now, as they have cheaper fares for under 26 (30 in some flights) and for teachers. And we are both! (Well, I’m no longer under 26, but still a teacher and ‘Daddy’ is still both…)

3. What stop-over to choose

One more decision: choosing a longer or shorter layover between the 2 flights? Or even choosing to break down the flight into 3 separate flights?

We chose not to go for more than 2 flights. We’re still not sure of our decision but in the end, it seems like a good thing not to have to pack all the goodies back in the diaper bag, between crammed seats, more times than necessary!

Now for the second decision… This one was a hard one for me, and I am still not sure we took the right one!

Shorter layover: we’d get to our destination faster; no time for the Ouistiti to get bored and unmanageable.

Longer layover: more time to stretch our legs, maybe even catch a snooze if he hasn’t managed to really sleep on the plane.

In the end, after talking it over with our travel agent, we decided to go with a shorter layover. We will still have around 2h in the airport, which should be just about enough for the Little Man to run around. Now, I am just hoping that our first flights won’t be late…

4. What seat to choose

Unfortunately, there is only a limited amount of choice in this matter. It mainly depends on how early we will arrive at the airport, how full the flight will be, how many other families will be on board…

Our baby boy is already too big – at only 8 months old – to fit in the bassinets…so he will definitely not be able to sleep in them at almost 13 months! This means that, as an infant (under 2), he will not have a seat of his own, unless there is a spare one, which is unlikely in such a peak-time flight… The Ouistiti will have to be seating on our lap and find a way to sleep in our arms, or possibly on the floor, but without risking airplane safety…

So, no ideal solution for us there. The BEST solution would be to pay for a child seat and therefore be sure that he will have somewhere to seat on his own for these 24 hours. But this would mean $1,500 more and we have decided the discomfort of two 24h flights was not worth that much.

5. What to bring

I will be writing more about this after all our trial-and-error first flight late June, but here is what I plan on trying:

  • drinkers & bottles;
  • small, easy snacks, without too much sugar that could get him quite hyper;
  • wipes (and, of course, diapers & diaper disposable bags);
  • blankets to play on and be wrapped in;
  • board books;
  • stickers & maybe a bit of colouring;
  • his soft ball;
  • stacking cups;
  • quiet book, maybe handmade if I find the time;
  • iPad with appropriate apps;
  • teethers;
  • pre-prepared ziplock bag activities.

The hardest thing I find in planning this is that babies change every month! I can’t really know what my son will be interested in in 4 months time. And I like planning as you can see. Hopefully this should still come in handy.

Any tips on flying long distance with a baby or toddler? What were your best strategies? Short or long layover? Which airline?

I can’t wait to read about your tried tips!