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December 2013

Christmas Elma Family Kitty Me and Mine Photography

Me and Mine – a family portrait for December


2013 has gone past in a blink of an eye. Even though Elma arrived in the last days of 2012, 2013 I think has been her year; the year she grew and grew from tiny sleeping newborn, all scrunched up toes and dark fluffy hair, to the funny little girl who cruises around the lounge and is so desperately trying to walk all by herself.

She has undergone the biggest changes but the rest of us have grown and grown too (although some of that may be down to a little seasonal indulgence and I very much hope it to be temporary). H and I have if not exactly figured out how to parent two little girls (because I firmly believe that no one ever truly figures it all out), at least become comfortable in the daily minutiae, settling into a routine acquired mostly through trial and error.  All we need now is a few more hours sleep – and perhaps a challenge for next year might be to find a little more time for painting and sewing, and to make our studio a real retreat.

And Kitty, my sweet open hearted little girl has shot upwards in stature, outwards in shoe size, and wholly embraced her adored little sister.

It’s not been a year without its bumps, but on the whole it’s been a good one. I strongly suspect that 2014 is going to go just as fast and be just as exciting/challenging/completely exhausting (delete as applicable).

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade lifestyle and parenting blog

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade lifestyle and parenting blog

And so we’re rounding off the year as we began it, sat on the floor in front of a Christmas tree with our girls in our arms.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade lifestyle and parenting blog

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade lifestyle and parenting blog

I can’t quite explain why these photos make me so very happy.  The backdrop is just our messy over-stuffed bookcase, and the bit of the tree that I could fit in the frame, and Elma is a little sleepy, and still a little sad from a week of intensive teeth-growing, but there’s just something in the way these little sisters smile at each other that fills me with joy.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade lifestyle and parenting blog

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade lifestyle and parenting blog

My little family, in December.

And because no Me and Mine would be complete without an out-take:

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade lifestyle and parenting blog

Elma was getting a bit sleepy and decided she’d had enough of having her photo taken, so H tried to make her giggle by blowing raspberries at her.  It wasn’t exactly successful!

dear beautiful


Elma Family Kitty

2013 in a nutshell


There’s a lovely feeling about being off work between Christmas and New Year.  It’s a holiday, but more than that, almost everyone else is on holiday too.  Pre-family I used to work between the two, mostly for the peace and quiet and the chance to eat my weight in mince pies while tackling some of those big looming projects that get put off by phone calls and general interruptions.  Now it’s a little lull; a chance to be together as a family, without worrying that a hundred and gazillionty emails and voicemails are building up in my absence.  And a little chance to relax and take stock of the last year.

So before we bid adieu to 2013, it’s time for a little look back at my favourites of the year.

Favourite Handmade for Kitty: Say “cleek”


Made for Kitty’s third birthday, and a favourite with both of us ever since.

Favourite handmade for Elma: Just for Elma


I just love this dress, and sewing it gave me the confidence to cut into my treasured stash of Liberty prints, and to try something a little more complicated in the form of the girls’ birthday dresses.  It still fits (just) with a long sleeved vest underneath and I’m seriously contemplating hanging it up on the wall as art when she does get too tall for it.

Favourite recipe: Mmm! Blackcurrant or Red Gooseberry Ice-cream Recipe


It makes my mouth water just thinking about it – roll on the summer!

Favourite thing I cooked from someone else’s recipe: Pulled Pork from October Feasts from the Internet

Pulled Pork - Felicity Cloake - the Guardian

I cooked another batch on Christmas Eve, let it marinate on Christmas Day and we’ve been alternating it with the turkey leftovers ever since.  The final morsels disappeared this evening as burgers topped with pulled pork; every mouthful makes the seven hour slow roasting time completely worth it.

Favourite Birthday Letters: To my Kitty, on your Third Birthday AND One (well I could never choose between them could I!)


Favourite {this moment}: {this moment}


This was so hard to choose, I love the simplicity of {this moment} and just letting the picture speak (well most of the time anyway).  This is my favourite (and your favourite according to the stat counter), not just for the photo, which worked out far better than I could ever have hoped given that I was trying to be a bit subtle and taking photos with my phone propped on my knee, but for Kitty’s complete absorption in her dancing; she’s not posing or playing up for the camera, but completely oblivious to anything outside the music and her ribbon.

Favourite reason why I blog: The treasured everyday ordinary


Blogging in a nutshell, and why it matters so much to me to write, to take hundreds of photos, and to record the probably very mundane happennings of our blissfully ordinary lives.

Favourite story: The Worst Princess


Just a wonderful book for little girls – we may perhaps have given a few copies as birthday presents to Kitty’s friends this year.

Favourite Me and Mine: Me and Mine – a family portrait for June

June family portrait

The start of a wonderful addiction to taking family photos.

Favourite Day Out: Postcards from Spain: Vejer de la Frontera


This was probably the hardest one to choose, we’ve had so many wonderful days out this year; a trip to Bath, to London, summer sunshine in Devon for a week’s holiday and then again for the regatta, as well as trips a little closer to hand, to Compton Verney and our most recent expedition ice skating.  But the sunshine just pips it to the post, and my very favourite of all of the places we explored in out autumnal trip to Spain.

I have a feeling that 2014 is going to be just as exciting; roll on the new year.

Christmas Elma Family Kitty

Christmas 2013



Kitty was a little ball of wrigglish Christmas spirit by Christmas Eve.  Father Christmas had sent an elf on an advance party – to check that the magic of our tree would allow entry to our house of course – and left new pyjamas in the girls’ stockings.  She helped me bake and stir in between watching Christmas cartoons and running around telling everyone it was Christmas soon, and telling her sister not to touch the Christmas presents, “No Elma, they for tomorrow!”.

Elma was less than impressed, but then she has grown five new teeth since last Sunday, with all the traditional teething side effects, and has been less than impressed at anything other than sitting in my arms, or being fed more baby nurophen or teetha sachets.  Poor darling, I hope (all fingers and toes crossed) that we’re through the worst of it now.

Last year both girls fell fast asleep all through the crib service so I’m pleased to report that they managed to stay awake this time; and it was a brilliant nativity play by Sunday Club, all written and performed by the children, who get cleverer and more inventive as they get older; this year’s was all done as segments from a Nazareth National News broadcast, complete with an ad break featuring ROAD – Riding On A Donkey for all your donkey or camel needs!

And then it was time for Christmas bath, Christmas PJs, Christmas storytime, and the all important laying out of the stockings; Elma chose the plate, Kitty choose the exact mince pie.

20131224-DSC_0135 20131224-DSC_0129


And then Christmas sleep.

Kitty woke up not ridiculously early, but before Elma, and so she tucked up next to me in our bed, and we lay there in the dim early morning light, whispering under the covers, as the faint forerunners of the sunlight peeking round the curtains lit up the sparkle in her eyes. And in the deep blustery night must have come a sleigh pulled by tiny reindeer because when we got downstairs, the tree seemed to shimmer in reflected sparkle from the wrapping paper below, and four stockings lay nobbly and bulging in front.


She ran to the plate, and there, where a mince pie and scotch had stood the night before was an empty glass, and beside it, a little tiny Father Christmas, the perfect size for our Christmas village.


He’s going to go back to the North Pole over the course of the year, and then come and visit again next year I think.

We went to church to sing with hearts bursting with joy, and came home to snuggle up in a haze of tinsel, turkey and champagne.

And while it was just the four of us here, we had the rest of the family on Skype (complete with festive jumpers) and at the end of the phone throughout the day.


We watched the Queen’s Speech, although we had to explain to Kitty that the Queen really truly is a Queen, and that that little boy in a long christening gown really truly is a Prince, and that they do exist outside of a Disney film (I’m not sure she quite believes us), and The Snowman, and simply sat in a glow of happiness and wrapping paper.  A truly lovely Christmas.






Family Kitty

Kittyisms – December 2013


It’s amazing how much a three year old’s language changes even in a month.  Kitty’s very own version of the alphabet has already been replaced with the rather more traditional version, and while I love that she’s soaking up information so rapidly, it’s a very visible reminder of how fast she’s growing up, even if the clothes are lasting for a week or two longer than they used to.

This month’s Kittyisms are less about mispronunciation, and more the beautiful and extraordinary thoughts and turns of phrase that run through the mind of our lovely girl:

To Mummy and Daddy:

“I love you two awesome guys!”

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade lifestyle and parenting blog

While eating breadsticks:

“My sticks are perfectly beautiful because they are mine”

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade lifestyle and parenting blog

While planning a little crafting

“Daddy! May I interest you in making a bracelet with me?”

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade lifestyle and parenting blog

Driving into one of those car parks where you take a ticket at the barrier, H passed the ticket to me and from the back seat came:

“No Daddy! No! You need to hold it in your mouth!”

No points for guessing what Mummy does with the parking tickets.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade lifestyle and parenting blog

And another mash up:

“Five Christmas trees in a garden shop,
Round and fat with a star on the top.
Along came [Kitty] with a penny one day,
Bought a currant bun and took it away!”

On being asked to put her shoes on:

“No, not those shoes! I don’t want to wear those shoes!”
“Well which shoes do you want to wear?”
“The pink ones”
“Your shoes are purple, you don’t have any pink ones.”
“Yes I do! Yes I do!”
“Where are they, which shoes do you mean?”
“The pink ones, they’re pink”
“Well where are they?”
“In the shoes shop. We should go and get them.”

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade lifestyle and parenting blog

And because Frere Jacques can be adapted to all occasions by her nursery team, this is her favourite Christmas song:

“Christmas Pudding, Christmas Pudding
Steaming hot, steaming hot,
Sprinkle it with sugar, sprinkle it with sugar,
Eat the lot, eat the lot!”

The pictures incidentally are from Christmas Day.  Kitty and Elma gave each other a playsilk and Kitty spent most of the afternoon dressing up as Mary and ordering Joseph-Daddy to go on a donkey ride.  Since then the silks have been a balloon parachute, several capes, and a key part of a whole number of donkey-ride re-enactments; they’ve been brilliant.

Christmas Elma Family Kitty {this moment}

{this moment}


Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade lifestyle and parenting blog

Two sleepy little girls in our bed in the morning; I’d got up and Elma rolled over in the other direction to snuggle up in her sister’s arms.  It’s a very imperfect iPhone photo but one to treasure nonetheless.

Joining in with {this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.

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