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Last month I shared some photos of our front door makeover, which was part one of a three step project to finish the front of our house properly. Part two involved building a small decking area under our veranda and for part three we will be building a new path to the front door.


The veranda was added two years ago as part of the makeover/renovation of our house and until now we’ve just had the ground underneath covered with gravel. It was a cheap and quick temporary solution, but both children liked digging around in it and the gravel got everywhere, so it wasn’t great. The newly painted door looked so good that it inspired us to bump the veranda up the list of DIY jobs and get it sorted over half-term while Jim was off work.

In an ideal world we would have chosen to build out of composite decking which has a 25 year guarantee, but wood was so much cheaper we decided to use that. This area is protected from the worst of the weather by being under cover, so we hope it should last a decent length of time.

Here’s what the area looked like before…



Our wood for the project came on the back of a lorry from our local timber merchants. They also supplied a lot of the materials for the house renovation and all the turf when we did our garden, so we seem to spend a lot of time with one of their lorries outside our house!


The first part of building the deck involved laying out a timber grid to lay the deck on.


When it was all built we stained it. We chose black because we are hoping to build a much larger deck round the corner from this which we will build from composite. We’d like the two to match and black (rather than a shade of brown) is therefore our best bet for a close colour match. The staining required three coats with 24 hours between each. Jim did the first and I did the last two. When I did the final coat I heaped on everything I had left in the tin and it took about a week to dry, during which time Jim sat on it (ahhh!) and the children walked across it!


As part of the project we also bought a wood store, which we had initially planned to put on the deck, but it took up way too much room, so we moved the bulk of the logs with the store round to the side of our house. We kept a few as a token display at the front and added some of our garden furniture.

And here’s the finished result. I’d been hoping for some nice weather to take some slightly more “styled” photos, but I don’t think it’s going to happen this week!


The wall mounted stag head was part of my Christmas haul from HomeSense, but I think it’ll be a permanent feature.


In the spring I plan to plant out the area directly in front of the deck and find a more attractive dog bed for our Canadian pooch to sit in!

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In which we try out the Rolls Royce of trampolines…

A few months ago we started considering that next inevitable stage of parenthood… buying a trampoline. Before children I always wondered why literally every family I knew had one in their garden (even when there was room for nothing but the trampoline) and then I realised that they are practically the only toy you can buy a two year-old that they’ll still be playing with when they are twelve… and beyond.

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Home Life Project – April

This weekend has been really busy. I attempted to document Saturday, took half a dozen pictures and then decided to start afresh on Sunday. We were off to visit relatives an hour or so from home and strangely I don’t tend to take a lot of photos when we visit, but I liked having an excuse to do so this time.

We captured a few moments in our house, but the rest were a different kind of home life with copious cousins, another Easter Egg hunt, the Sunday papers and another copy (this month’s) of Ideal Home Magazine with our house in it.

The swing photo is my contribution to shooting at a different angle – I kind of like it!


Home Life Photography Project


So anyway… What did you guys shoot?

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In search of 107 Robinson’s babies…

Earlier today I was up in the loft rumaging around looking for baby things, when I found a picture of me at about the same age as Alice…

This particular photo isn’t a family snap, it’s an advert from a magazine. In 1977 I was one of 108 babies who featured in a Robinson’s Baby Food ad promoting instant baby food that could stay open for 4-6 weeks (cutting edge in the 70s I think!)

The picture has always fascinated me because all the children are doing different things, some are asleep others have tipped their bowls upside down and one baby appears to have been caught midway through lobbing something at the kid in the row behind. There are chubby babies, thin babies, babies with spectacular mops of hair and one wearing a hat. The noise in the studio must have been deafening and think of all those mothers standing by anxiously fretting about their babies…

Robinson's baby Food advert - 108 babies

I’m guessing we are all between six months and a year old when the photo was taken which means that pretty soon the first of us will be celebrating our fortieth birthdays. So it got me thinking, where are those babies now? Could we reunite some or all of us in our fortieth year? Maybe we could even recreate the photo or at least put names to the faces who I have lived with for the last four decades.

If you are wondering I’m on the third row from the back, four in from the left, just in front of the one who is bawling their eyes out and the two who appear to have fallen asleep. At least I’m looking at the camera…

Robinson's baby Food advert - 108 babies

Tracking down the missing 107 is a pretty crazy idea, after all this time there might be people out there who don’t even know they featured in this advert, but with the power of social media you never know what might be unearthed and it could be fun trying. Maybe we’ll find the photographer or perhaps locate where the photo was taken? Maybe one of the babies went on to more prestigous modelling jobs than a Robinsons ad, who knows…

Do you have any information on the Robinson’s 107? If so either leave a comment or send me an email using the link above…

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Alice at one month

It’s amazing how much you forget about the first few weeks with a baby. It’s been more than four years since Theo was a newborn and everything about that time is a bit fuzzy. It was only when I was trying to recall the details of things like how quickly he slept through the night, that I realised I had recorded some of that in monthly updates on this blog. It probably didn’t make great reading for anyone other than me, but it captured something that would otherwise have been lost and I’m particularly grateful of that now.

baby one month photo

As we did with Theo we have been following Gina Ford’s routine with Alice. Four years ago I had two copies of the book, a 1999 edition and a 2011 one, now I only have the latter and going back to it I have a sneaky suspicion that there are subtle differences in what she advises between the two editions, so I’ve tracked down an old copy of the book on eBay to compare the two and it will be interesting to see if I’m right when it arrives later in the week.

Theo was sleeping through the night for 8 hour stretches by 5 weeks, but Alice has been slower and it may be partly because we’ve done things differently with her. In our old bedroom in Scotland there was no room for a cot, so after Theo grew out of his crib (which happened alarmingly quickly) we put him in his own room. Now we have a bigger bedroom, we’ve kept Alice with us for longer, but it’s not without its downsides. I’m a light sleeper and her snuffling noises wake me several times a night. It’s also makes it hard for me to go go to bed early and let Jim do the late feed when we are both in the same room, so yesterday we took the leap and moved her into the nursery. We are using an Angelcare movement monitor which helps me feel a bit more relaxed about her being on her own and the move has paid off already as I managed (a much needed) 5 hours of solid uninterrupted sleep last night.


Alice is being bottle fed and currently takes 120ml six times a day and 150ml at 10pm and at the night feed. One of things I am convinced is different in the new version of Gina Ford is the number of daytime feeds. A couple of them are very close together and I’m sure we were doing less with Theo.

The one month milestone has seen some notable changes in Alice’s alertness levels. She is very interested in her big brother and enjoys looking out of the window or watching Cbeebies when Theo has it on. In the last few days she has also started smiling and attempting to laugh. Suddenly we can actually see her personality starting to shine through and it makes a real difference!

Having settled on her name and registered her birth a week ago, on Friday we went back to registrar for a second time to correct an error on the certificate. When we registered her the week before, we’d been so focused on checking the spelling of everyone’s names that we missed an error on her place of birth. The system automatically defaults to say the local hospital, but of course she was born at home. Now she has a birth certificate with a footnote, but at least it will give future family tree researchers something interesting to look at!

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Living Arrows
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