What To Buy For A First Birthday




This post has been sat in my draft box for sometime now and this morning I decided that if it’s going to see the light of day it’s now or never, because otherwise the Birthday related posts will continue until the next birthday rolls around!

Let me start this post a little off piste by telling you about a fantastic read by Emily Rollings called ‘Slow Blogging.’ If you use social media- Instagram in particular- or blog then it’s well worth a read. I found it to be both an inspiring yet relatable approach to posting content, with an emphasis on quality over quantity. I like to think that social media is like all good things- worth the wait. Which is why, like Emily, I’m going to stop apologising for not posting regularly enough!

(Starting… now)

Back to the task at hand and can you believe Little Ored is turning one in a matter of days? (Four to be exact) which has thrown up the BIG dilemma of “What do you buy a one year old” Suddenly, the gifts we bought for friend’s children, having not yet had a child of our own, seemed laughable. Wind up wooden musical toys albeit beautiful, are by no means practical especially in the hands of a baby!

So it was time to get our thinking caps on and with Little Ored’s first Christmas a not-too-distant memory toys were 100% out of the question. Quite frankly Father Christmas (aka both sides of the family) spoilt him rotten and whilst he’s come to have his favourites it seemed kind of crazy to buy any more.

Now that we’re a one-income household also had to think about a budget. It would’ve been so easy to get carried away and buy gift after gift, but a) we couldn’t afford to do that and b) would have been overwhelming for Little Ored. (We’ve read a lot online about how children are overwhelmed by too much choice and how less toys = more quality playtime).

So with that in mind we tried really hard to think of gifts that will have a little more longevity; presents that he’ll be able to use/keep for years to come.

So here’s what we’ve opted for, with our reasons for doing so. I really hope that by sharing our thought process behind the presents, it’ll help any parents struggling like we did, and maybe help you to think a little more outside the box.

1. All The Things I Wish For You

This personalised picture book was an absolute no-brainer. Not only does Little Ored adore having books read to him (not to mention how often I catch him flicking through them at leisure when in his nursery) but the story itself has a beautiful, heartfelt message, making it the perfect first birthday present. Not only that but you can include a personal message/dedication making it a wonderful keepsake for your baby to read/look back on when he’s not such a little baby anymore!

2. Tipi

When Little Ored starting pulling his ball-pit over his head, relishing the hiding space, it soon became apparent that a tipi could quite possibly be the BIG birthday gift. Despite the price tag (you can buy them on Etsy from anywhere from £40-£150+) we’re hoping that this will be a gift that will grow with Little Ored, giving him a fun place to play, read and relax until he eventually grows out of it (literally). And I think that’s what I really like about this- it’s not a present that by his next or even third birthday, he’ll be done with. I also like that’s there’s so much choice in design meaning that you’ll get something pretty unique that matches your chosen space, with the ability to make it even more special by adding your own little creative touches (lights, pole flags, bunting, cushions etc).

3. Birthday Letters To My Baby

One of the things I love about Instagram is how random follows lead to random discoveries and that’s exactly how I stumbled upon Emily Rollings. I know writing birthday letters has become popular, but for a couple who are both seriously unorganised and have a penchant for loosing misplacing stuff, having a beautifully bound book seemed like the safest way of storing those thoughts, memories, hopes and dreams that we have for Little Ored.

Also, I very much like that I only have to find the time to sit down once a year to write and reflect because quite frankly I’ve failed at keeping on top of filling out his Baby Book as the months have passed!



It’s A Boy!


As I sit here with a sleeping babe next to me, hands finally free to write this post, I’m still struggling to put into words what the past three weeks have meant for Ored and I, both as individuals and as a couple.

Because it’s virtually impossible to describe the beautiful whirlwind that has been our life since this little man came into it.  After two sweeps and an agonising wait- he was 10 days late- Baby Ored was born after just a four hour labour*, weighing 7lbs 15oz. With a full head of hair, button nose and lips that garnered the same reaction from everyone (“He’s got his Mother’s lips!”) we instantly fell in love.

Every cliched sentiment anyone has ever told you, or that you’ve ever read, about the wonders of parenthood is completely and utterly true. There is no love like it, but the amazing thing is that the three of us have been able to bask equally in the glow of this unconditional, boundless love.

Of course there have been moments where I was so delirious from a lack of sleep that I was laughing at everything, forgetting everything, and am still never able to find the time to dry my hair after a shower. But when I looked at Ored, he too was laughing, forgetting and lapsing on grooming. We’ve shared everything together- dirty nappies, hanging out endless cycles of washing and taking turns to wind Baby Ored so the other one can eat dinner – all with patience, humour and stolen kisses. It’s been the very definition of teamwork and I can’t imagine parenting working any other way.

And it isn’t all Ored. Little Ored’s personality shines stronger with every day. Sweet natured, inquisitive and above all super chilled if on occasion, a little grizzly. I can count on one hand the amount of times this baby has really cried (and almost all of those have been because he needs me to release a boob a little faster) which means that when Ored returned to work after his two week Paternity leave, I felt encouraged. Hell, I’ve even taken him out and about on my own, an experience which is yet to be as daunting and terrifying as I previously envisaged.

I thank my lucky stars, because my post-labour experience could have been very different as it is for so many new Mum’s.

And so begins my journey into Motherhood.

Stay with me and I’ll promise to [honestly] share with you. When I get a free moment of course!




P.S I will write more about my labour as it was such a positive experience, I really would like to share it with you. Like I’ve said before, there are too many horror stories out there and not enough reassuring ones!

You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen at Parties (Room Update)


Things have been super hectic over the past few months. My work as a freelance journalist is really picking up alongside an ever increasingly busy social life, now that I have weekends all to myself again. I can’t complain, but it hasn’t left me with much time to post, so I apologise for the absence.

Determined to update you, I sat down this morning with a cup of coffee feeling super excited to share with you our mini-kitchen update.

The kitchen was always the one room in the house that I thought wouldn’t need decorating. Before Ored moved in, four years ago, he completely gutted it, putting in brand new fixtures and fittings, slate flooring and a fresh coat of paint on the walls.

But then I saw this amazing photo on Instagram which really inspired me. That’s why I love social media. You can stumble across a blog post, picture or an article which can ignite a spark and really fuel your imagination.


If you’ve watched as many home renovation shows as I have you’ll know that you can afford to be brave and use bold, dark colours in a small space which has lots of natural light. Our little kitchen fitted the bill perfectly, and with frames already hanging up on the feature wall I could see this insta-look translating really well.

Ored of course had his reservations. Where I’m impulsive, Ored is rational, preferring to problem solve before a project and not after (like me!) Whilst he argued the blue was too dark (“I know.” “Yeah, but I mean, it’s really dark.”) my confidence won through and the more we talked the more we compromised, creating a vision we could both see.

We decided to trade the white for grey, because all the rooms in the rest of the house are white, and planned to paint the two largest walls opposing colours.

And so in just over four days our kitchen went from this….




To this…






feature wall.JPG

I was thrilled with the results and even happier to see Ored fall completely in love with our handiwork. His idea to paint the return and windowsill alternate colours, was just the thing to lift the room and balance the colours.

The boring, bland, plastic light fixture is the only thing left that needs changing but we’ll need some help from a qualified electrician so it’s now on ‘the list,’ which I’m hoping to get round to sooner, rather than later!

The great thing about this room update (and any paint job for that matter) is that it’s a quick, easy, low-cost way of creating a completely new look. Other things in the house, like a new sofa or a bay window seat, require more time and more money which both of which are in limited supply (as it is for most young couples).

I hope you all love it as much as I do- let me know your thoughts below!


Paint (from Homebase)

Blue: Stolen Sapphire by Valspar (soft sheen finish/ kitchen and bath)

Grey: Timeless by Dulux (matt/ kitchen)

Cost: Approx £70!