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Hello Again!

Bonjour! Welcome back! I’m so very pleased to be writing here again. It’s been nearly 2 years (which is complete insanity), and boy have I missed it. At the time we were dealing with facing not having more children (biologically) and it was nice to get away. But I quickly realized I just needed a vacation rather than a real new start. So here we are. If you’ve stuck around, thank you! If you’re new, hello!

MoietE

So, a quick catch up for those who didn’t follow over to Seeking Small!

• Garret got orders to go back to England! We were elated (and a wee bit terrified)!

• On a trip to drop our dogs off with my family, we discovered I was pregnant nearly 18 months after the miscarriage. Surprise! Super excited!

• Turns out my feelings were correct…..twins! Oh my! Surprise!Twinkles9mo

• Lots of packing, move date kept getting pushed back, eventually for a total of 7 months (thanks in part to a super rough and scary pregnancy).

summerwildflowers

• March 16, 2015: Charlotte and Amelia made their arrival 5 weeks early. Rough first week, but they were perfect. Eleanor was ridiculously excited to be a big sister!

• June 2015, moved back to England.

abbeygardens

And it’s been a whirlwind since. We lived in 3 different hotels/ short term rentals while we looked for a home and waited for it to be ready. G’s temporary schedule has been insane. And being a mama to the Twinkles? Well I don’t recommend it for the faint of heart!

So, will posting be regular? Yes. My sanity depends on carving out some time for me. I will definitely be writing about reading the KonMari books and my feelings on simplifying our home and life. I’ll also be posting about how I’m attempting to get back to me, especially when it comes to style and making time for self care. And I’m going to attempt to be brave and do some vlogging, mainly cooking (since we all know I’m passionate about food!).

I cannot wait to settle in. So feel free to grab a cup of coffee (or three) and make yourself at home. I’m so glad to be back, and cannot wait to write more!

 

 

New Beginnings

For those of you who don’t follow on Facebook, I’ve begun a new blog.  It’s called Seeking Small, and it incorporates more of my life (which currently involves a lot of Eleanor).  I have loved writing here, and I plan to continue when the whim hits.  But 2 years ago my life got rocked hard by entering mamahood, and I realized that when this blog became more of a discipline to write rather than a labor of love, that perhaps it was time to figure out something different. 

At first, I thought that perhaps I could simply change it up here, but that just didn’t feel like a good fit.  I’d write a ton of posts that never got published because it simply didn’t feel like the right place.  And so it would be silent here.  I’d try and think of categories, to maybe jog my brain into writing more to no avail. 

After chatting with a friend (Heather from Our Kids Mom….whom I’ve known since I was a pre-teen) I realized the answer for me really lay in starting over with a new blog.  After much consideration (agonizing really, if we’re being honest), I chose Seeking Small because for me, it spoke to bridging the old and new.  I’ve always tried to seek our small pleasures, small moments in this crazy life.  And the new blog gives me a spot to really dig deeper and be real.  I wanted to create a space where I could celebrate the beautiful mess that my life so often is. 

I know that not all of my readers will be interested in more mama things, and that’s okay.  I will occasionally post or cross-post here.  But the majority of my writing will be there and I do hope you’ll wander over and check it out. I’ve felt a peace this week that has been missing when it came to my
writing.  It’s hard to describe, but I feel like the new blog just feels
like home for me.  I want to thank you all for reading and engaging with me both here and on other platforms (and e-mail!). 

Merci,
Kate

LIfe As I Know It

This year I’ve slowed down, tried to be more intentional.  I stop in the middle of a blog post because I have a 2 year old grabbing my hand, ready to set off on wild adventures.  I take time to sit with a hot mug of tea and sew or crochet or knit.  As I type, Nora flips over the end of our sleigh bed and comes up and says, “Hey.” It’s her soft way of checking in when she’s been playing by herself.  She’ll repeat it until you acknowledge it if you’re in the middle of something.  This time there is no wait, I smile, and say, “Hey love.”  She points to the wash cloth I’m crocheting, the one I’ve told her is for her and says, “Me.” 

2013 I spent wanting it to hurry up, for the next stage of life to begin.  And when it didn’t, when life was the same, beautiful, but less full than I imagined, I wanted to rush it.  I wanted to hurry along to something, even if I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.  Even now, with the balancing act of different baskets (rather than keeping all of our eggs in one), I want to hurry, hurry.  But I force myself to pause.  To acknowledge today and it’s beauty. 

So now, I take it slower.  I walk to the park and sit and just watch the clouds while Nora runs like a banshee to go down the slide over and over.  I point out birds or talk about spring being around the corner.  We stomp through the last remnants of snow piles, feeling the icy snow crunch beneath our feet. 

Heart shaped biscuits

Our first year here was slower, and then the year before G’s deployment, we were fighting and rushing and then with the pregnancy, the quickness of everything just kept on running along.  This year has been more like the first.  I take time in the small things.  I have my favorite necklaces displayed on our dresser, carefully choosing one each day.  I’ve read more, relaxed more, and loved more. 

Color matching toys I made for Nora.

Sunday style posts were a bust because honestly the weekends are so full of life that I forget to pause and take photos or blog.  Maybe Sunday supper would be best.  We’ll see.  I’m just glad to be living a life full of meaning and intentional steps even if it’s only for me and my little family. 

Valentine’s Day Art

I have had an idea for something I wanted to make for G for a bit.  And what better day to try it out than for a Valentine’s Day pressie?  I got out some card stock, some leftover paint, and got to work.  I eyed the paper, and free-hand painted this:

I thought it was cute, and sums up both of us really.  Nora was super excited, and as soon as G got home today, pointed to where I had it and so I let her give it to him.  He thought it was awesome, so now I just need to find a frame and put it up!

Snow Magic

That first winter we moved here was magical.  I baked a lot of bread, made a lot of stock.  We sat around talking by candlelight, cozy and warm.  This winter, maybe because of the cold, or maybe because we have a 2 year old, but has been a little magical in the ways of old. 

I haven’t made any bread yet (really need to), but I’ve baked and cooked.  Sewn and crafted things for Eleanor.  Spent time just reading and watching the snow fall. 

Tonight I’ve made dinner (ham roast with roasted carrots and mashed cauliflower and potato).  Then I’m on my second batch of ham stock (I end up with 2-3 gallons per ham). 

I whipped up a batch of carrot greens pesto that yielded enough for 3 meals (using 2 bunches of carrot greens).  I’d never thought you could use the carrot tops for anything like that, but it tastes fresh and spring-like. 

I’ve taken all the peel off of the lemon I used for the pesto, and carefully minced it and put it in the freezer.  Peeled ginger and put it in the freezer (apparently it keeps it nicely and makes it easy to grate).  And I have gingerbread biscotti finishing in the oven (my first time making biscotti!). 

So the house is warm and cozy, my 2 year old is out playing in the snow at night (she’s snow obsessed and was literally in hysterics wanting to go out), and I’m ready to settle in and work on a few things for her.  And the glow of the moon upon the snow makes it seem just a little more than a regular night. 

Tart Cherry: 1 Insomnia: 0

For the last week I have seriously not made it to bed before 5 a.m. any day.  Which I recognize is a problem.  Sleep and I have a love/hate relationship.  I love sleeping once I’m there, but I hate going to sleep.  So much to read!  So much to do!  So much to ponder! 

But I’m been exhausted lately, and finally fed up with my sleep habits.  As much as I like being able to stay up until the sun comes up, I’d like more energy during the day.  It’s a clear sign I’m getting older (I used to easily be able to live on 2-3 hours of sleep), and I need to take better care of myself.

So, my aunt e-mailed me suggesting trying tart cherry juice.  Apparently my Uncle Ron takes it, and as I’m pretty sure he’s the healthiest person I know, it sounded like sound advice.  I watched a Dr. Oz episode on it, learning about the natural low dose melatonin in it, and bought a bottle of concentrate. 

We’re all 3 now drinking it nightly.  Last night was the first night.  We slept in past noon yesterday, so I knew it might be difficult, but before midnight all the lights were out, I was threatening Nora with expulsion from our bedroom if she didn’t settle down, and we eventually all fell asleep.

I woke up at 6 a.m.  I told myself I needed to go back to sleep, but quickly realized it wasn’t going to happen.  Nora was up before 7:30.  So, here I am, 10 a.m. and debating a morning nap.  But, overall I’m quite impressed by how refreshed I felt by 6 a.m.  I will keep the facebook page updated with how well this tart cherry juice works for our family!

Style Sunday: Drugstore Beauty

Living on a tighter budget, while also wanting to play more with hairstyles and make-up means that if I want to try something, I need to think cheaper.  Luckily, thanks to Pinterest, it’s easy to find good make-up that doesn’t cost a lot.

I’ve been wanting to try Revlon’s Matte Balm in Sultry, but every single Target I have looked at has been out of these!  Apparently they’re very popular.  Still, I decided to try one of their Just Bitten Kissable balm stains and chose smitten.  It’s a beautiful pop of color!  I’ve been keeping it in my bag to use daily.

I’m also loving Rimmel’s Kohl eye pencils in both the Soft Kohl Kajal jet black and the Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl in nude.  I use the nude on the bottom waterline of my eyes to make me seem more awake.  It has helped a lot (still dealing with insomnia, so I’ll take all the help I can get!). 

 And finally, I picked up Rimmel’s Stay Matte pressed powder in Transparent.  I like it a lot, it’s great to just set everything, and at $4, was much cheaper than anything I’d found before.  It lasts, blends well and looks beautiful (but keep in mind, I’m super pale, so the color really doesn’t work if you have some color).  
Soon, I’ll take pics of these on me and post them to the facebook page.  Unfortunately the weather here has not been cooperating for good lighting for pics.  I’ve been so pleasantly pleased with how these look that I can’t wait to show you!  Hope your weekend was relaxing and full of joie de vivre!

Zzzzz

I missed writing Thursday’s post.  Because I fell asleep before 10 p.m.  Oh yes, yes I did!

Yesterday I was up before 8 a.m., getting Nora and I ready for a play date.  Then after that play date we had another with the moms’ group.  Hours of children and playing and chatting left us both tired.  Dinner was chips, salsa, guacamole and some microwaved quesadilla things from Trader Joe.  After catching The Big Bang Theory, we promptly fell asleep (in our clothes).  Woke, undressed, and went to sleep again.

At 2:25 this morning I woke up.  And tried desperately to get back to sleep.  Then woke again at 5 with G.  Then tried to get back to sleep.  We slept until after 11.  Seriously.  I apparently needed some major re-charging.

So here I am, a Friday.  G took Monday so we have a 3 day weekend.  I’m guessing this will involve lots of sleep.

Hope everyone has an amazing weekend!  I’ll be back on Sunday, hopefully refreshed and ready to share some style bits with you.   

Play Room Nook Design

G and I have been steadily working to make our home feel more like a us, more of a family space.  Only, let’s face it…. we’re on a thrift store/IKEA sort of budget.  So, it’s slow going, as we find the perfect things for our space.

After having Nora’s play kitchen in a nook of the play room, we realized it would be better to move it into her room on the second level (the play room is in the open space outside our bedroom on the third level).  By doing so, we originally planned to move my desk from the living room up to in front of the window (how it was when we first moved into the house, only with a different desk).  However, sitting around today I realized that there was a better option: a little bench seat (hiding the kitty litter out of site) in front of the window, with a table in front of that and a couple chairs.

By doing this, it still gives me a space to work while Nora plays.  Very important.  Secondly, she can sit at the table and color or do a puzzle, or sit on the bench and read by the window.  And lastly, it gives us a small “breakfast nook” of sorts.  We can have coffee there and read the paper on Saturday mornings.  Sounds odd, I know, to have a breakfast nook 2 floors up from the kitchen.  But for us, it seems like it might work out to be a highly functional space. 

Here is the design board I came up with tonight:

Breakdown:

• The paint color will be Benjamin Moore’s Stonington Gray, like most of the house.
Ikea Besta bench, put in under the window to create seating and also hide the litter box.
Ikea Docksta tulip-esque table for a work space and cozy place to chill.
Ikea Bernhard Chairs (2).  The seat is leather, and the base is chrome.
Ikea Lack Shelves on one wall to offer a place for art/photos/etc
Home Decorator’s Dovecote pendant light in nickel.

Notes:

• I will be attempting to DIY a bench cushion from this tutorial by Pretty Handy Girl.  Doesn’t her project look pretty?

• I would prefer to DIY some chairs rather than splurging on the leather ones, so I will also be searching for simple wooden chairs to paint similar to these from This Old House:

• The beauty of the dovecote light is that it is a conversion one… meaning it will just screw into our recessed lighting socket that is already there. 

• And finally I’d like to try my hand at making a sunburst spoon mirror in white to add some texture.  This tutorial from Dana Albertson looks amazing!

So there you have it, the plan for later this spring (around April I should be able to get to it!).  I’m excited for some modern pops done in a cozy space.

Style Sunday: Sultra Bombshell

The other day on the Une Vie Chic Facebook page I showed a photo of my hair all curled for the day.  I realized that I love the product enough that I wanted to share about it here!

Back in 2011, before I found out I was pregnant with Nora, I was a wee bit indulgent while G was away.  I splurged on a pricey curling iron called the Sultra Bombshell 1 inch curling iron.  At $130, it was a ridiculous sum, but I had been researching wand curling irons for a bit, and decided to go for it.  G really loves when my hair is all sexy curls, and so I figured he’d appreciate something I might use more often.

Fair warning, it gets HOT.  The pink glove is what you wear to wrap your hand around it without touching it.  The first time I used it I accidentally brushed the top of my forehead with it, and I had a burn mark for a while.  However, the heat is actually it’s strength.  I used to curl my hair and by the end of the evening the curl would be falling out.  (I have a lot of thick hair.)  This week, I curled my hair on Thursday morning and it was still going strong up until Saturday afternoon (when I washed my hair).  It literally still had the same curls I had on Thursday, even after running my hands through it a million times….without any styling product to hold it.  I had simply rubbed some Moroccan Oil into my hands before running my fingers through it after it cooled on Thursday to give it a bit of shine.

Another feature I love is that it’s cord swivels, so it doesn’t tangle.  Makes it easy.  Also dual voltage, so if I travel out of country I can take it with.  And you wrap it up all nicely in a little felt pad that you use to place under it while you’re using it (so it doesn’t burn your counter).

It took some watching youtube videos about clipless irons, and a couple practice times, but it is super simple to use, and in under half an hour I have sexy curls that are always a nice surprise for G.  Yes, it is pricey, something I had saved for, but I strongly feel I’ll be using it for years (and I’ve already had it for nearly 3).  So it’s an investment that has worked well and cut down on time getting my hair curled (it used to take me upwards of an hour with all my hair, now it takes me 20-30 minutes).

So, if you are looking for a great curling iron, I cannot recommend the Sultra Bombshell enough*.  It comes in 3/4 and 1 1/2 inch sizes as well, but I thought the 1 inch was the perfect one for me.

*I was not paid to endorse this curling iron,  nor have I worked with the company (though they can feel free to get ahold of me any time!).  I simply love this curling iron enough that I use it much more frequently than I’ve ever used a curling iron before!