Sunday, 29 November 2015

Christmas Inspiration - Our 2014 decorations - by Bex

It's almost December.  Almost time to get the decorations down from the attic and make the place festive.  Can you tell I'm excited?!  I LOVE Christmas!  To inspire myself (and hopefully you), I thought I'd finally post some pictures of our decorations last year.  For obvious reasons (newborn twin survival), I never got around to much blogging but I did manage to take a few photos!  I'm only managing to blog about it now because my Dad's here unexpectedly for work and managed to book his flights to give him a weekend with us at either end of a week of meetings!  He's playing with the twins in the living room while I write this up on my desk this afternoon.  (But don't worry, we did also have lots of lovely time playing together this morning, I didn't just scarper immediately!)

It was my first time decorating the new house so I changed things around quite a lot from what I used to do in the flat in Glasgow.  For starters, the new living room has plum colours now so all of my beautiful olive green stuff was mostly re-purposed in other rooms.  As I don't have a mantel any more anyway, it was going to have to change but I also changed the main colour on the Christmas tree and on those shelves Nik and I made a couple of years ago.  Instead of green being the main colour, I stuck to neutrals - white, taupe, silver and wood.  (Although my green NOEL was placed here temporarily and stayed.)

The same went for the tree with all of the green decorations and baubles kept for another idea which funnily enough never happened last year but hopefully will this year!  Incidentally, I am NEVER buying a spruce again!  What a nightmare with the needles!!  I never had a real tree until I met Nik and we moved in together in Glasgow and I was pleasantly surprised that they weren't really a problem.  Nordman firs.  Definitely buy Nordman firs!

The pictures are clearly quick snaps and not the usual timely beautiful pictures with glowing lights all perfectly 'styled'.  Sometimes life is just too real.  Note the 'breastfeeding box' and pump on the arm of the sofa!  So glam ;)  I did love sitting there feeding the twins next to the glow of the tree though, so much so I'd often bring them downstairs to feed at 1,2,3,4am...  :)

Us with the tree on Christmas day

We also had some lovely personalised decorations specially for the twins' first Christmas from both sets of grandparents.  I had planned to make hand print baubles but, meh, two babies who don't like paint!!  It was enough of a struggle to get some on paper for their baby books!

A new addition last year was the snowflake display in the bay window.  I bought them in TK Maxx - £5.99 for the small ones and £7.99 for the big ones.  I saw similar ones this year for around £10 but I can't remember where.  Nik put up 3 hooks for me (which also came in handy for the twins' birthday decorations) and I hung my beaded snowflake candle holders.  It was difficult to get a good picture of those with the light behind them and with the reflections at night, even with the lights off.  They're beautiful in real life, I love them!

The only downside is that they can only take electric tea lights due to the heat of real ones obviously.  I've struggled to find any good ones but I still love the overall look.  I have another one in our box window but the photo of that is even worse, lol.

My favourite thing to decorate was probably by new dresser!  You might remember it arrived just two weeks after the babies were born and I still love it to bits!  Of course, our dining room and kitchen still have green features so I was able to use all of my favourite green bits 'n' pieces in there.

And finally, the hall.  I used some of my very old red decorations in here, including my old red berry wreath which actually goes very well with the red stained glass flowers that I hate in the front door!  The red ones have been banished to the 'red box' for a few years now so it was nice to get them out again.

The garland was also an old purchase from Ortak which I added some of my butterflies (also from Ortak) and dragonflies (from a pound shop) to.  (Mum and Nik tied this on to the banister for me as I was struggling!)  The big green balls were meant to be hung in the hall but ended up staying on the end of the banister for the duration!  Mum bought us the lovely Poinsettia and I put my mini tree on the sideboard too.

Considering that we were all just trying to survive last Christmas, I think the place looked pretty festive.  I do love Christmas so I was glad I still managed to decorate the house.  It's always extra fun the first time in a new place.  I'm really excited about this year though, although quite apprehensive about K&P and the tree this year!  Kalyan is going to absolutely love the lights and pretty shiny things and MIGHT be content to stare and point (his favourite things to do with lights and balloons) but Priya is bound to be in there trying to grab everything - I wouldn't put it past her to try and climb the thing!  We'll see.

I'm still not back at work (loooong story and very frustrating, although I'm loving this stage with the twins so I am glad not to be missing anything) so we're on an even tighter budget this year but I have bought a couple of very cheap pieces from Wilko and TK Maxx.  I have to say, TK Maxx is my absolute favourite place to shop for Christmas stuff!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Behind the scenes - Christmas card 2015 - by Bex

I have become one of those people.  I thought I'd just do it the first year, the cheesy Christmas photo of the babies (lets face it that will always happen) made into a Christmas card.  I just can't resist though and I love trying to get that perfect photo!  (The enjoyment is in equal parts to the stress!)

Anyway, it's happening and this year was actually a bit easier than last year.  Last year we were trying to get the babies to sleep and look all cute next to each other, on top of my old baby blanket placed over some fairy lights.  At 5 weeks, it just wasn't happening - had I not found my recovery and those first couple of weeks getting to grips with twins and breastfeeding so difficult, I would have tried to get some decent photos of the twins in those first sleepy weeks after they were born.

This year, I was prepared.  During their morning/midday nap, I got the 'stage' set, practised settings using stand in 'models' and made sure it looked right in the camera before we tried putting the babies anywhere near.  I also had props on standby to keep them occupied/entertained/in one place!

I settled on Christmas jumpers with jeans for their outfits, with the back up of their Christmas day outfits for if we needed/had cooperation for a change.  I had a couple of plastic star baubles and a couple of pine cones to give them in the hopes they'd stay put and I had my own headpiece to try to get them looking in my direction!  (More on that little DIY Pin It Do It project on the blog soon!)

My set up this year was to put a lot of fairy lights all over our headboard, cover them with a sheet to hide the wires and let the lights shine through.  I put a white sheet on our mattress to hopefully blend into the background.  Unfortunately only a few lights were shining through as the sheet was billowing forward due to the lights pushing so I had to try to stretch it as tight as possible to show all the lights.  Pegs helped but keeping it taut at the top was tricky so I stuffed some jumpers down the back which pulled the sheet tight and held against the wall.

Nothing is ever simple though of course and when the babies woke, the sun had come out and was shining full force onto the bed.  Nightmare!  Shadows, harsh light, not what I wanted!  I hastily pegged up a sheet in front of the window as closing the blind would make it too dark.

Finally having my diffused light, stage set and models ready, rested and not too hungry, my two fabulous assistants (Nik and Mum) plonked them down and we hoped for magic!  I'll share my favourites closer to Christmas, once I've actually sent out my cards, but for now, here are a few out-takes!

Priya liked the pine cones a little too much!  Munch munch munch.
Kalyan trying to escape from Priya's kisses!

Later in the day, I happened to go back into our bedroom to find we'd left the fairy lights on and they were much more noticeable.  I hadn't wanted to leave it so late as I thought the dark light would be difficult (blurring moving babies and all) but tried another test shot on the bears and liked the result so thought it was worth a try.  It was!  The lights showed up so much better without so much light shining into the room and I managed a few shots with the ISO cranked right up.  There were still a lot of blurry ones though.

Fighting over pine cones.

And the lights being more obvious meant Kalyan was a little too interested in them ;)

I also tried a few with the big Santa hats I bought for a different idea which needs to be done in the dark.  I have to say, those shots were mostly of the hat in the process of being removed!  Priya especially did NOT want to wear a hat today, lol.  Cue even more blurry ones as I frantically tried to focus before the hat was removed!

She even helped to release Kalyan from the evil of the hat!  lol

It soon got to late afternoon nap time and they started losing it so we had to give up but I'm pleased with quite a few of the hundreds I took!  :)

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Sneak Peek - The Twins' 1st Birthday Party - by Bex

SO MUCH FUN!  Many more to come soon but I just had to share a couple few of the amazing photos that Amy took for us at the twins' first birthday party!


Thursday, 19 November 2015

Pin it do it - Pom pom wreath by Bex

I really wanted to make something out of pom poms for the babies' birthday and found a few pom pom wreaths I liked on Pinterest.  Obviously I wanted to make mine in rainbow colours so bought a few brightly coloured wools and got to work with my new pom pom making gadgets (Pompom Maker Kit)!

Mummy - can touch these?!?

These gadgets are so easy to use and SO quick!  I made lots of different sizes and colours (can you guess how many?) and stuck them all on to the 35cm Half Rounded Polystyrene Wreath with hot glue.  I've been using my hot glue gun a lot lately - it's fab!  (I have the Dremel 930 Glue Gun Hobby 7mm - Dual Temp.)

Before sticking any on though, I decided to wrap the wreath with the blue wool and I'm so glad I did.  Although it took about and hour and a half, while watching The Big Bang Theory, it meant I didn't have to worry about any white areas showing through.

I was really pleased with the final result.  I stuck on a number one I cut out of a shoe box and wrapped with the same fabric I used to add 1s to their white tops.

I plan to change this for a 2 next year!  ;)  By which time I'm also hoping to have our new blue front door!

I love it so much and enjoyed making it so I plan to make a white one for Christmas (like snowballs) using various types of white wool and stick on some snowflake decorations I have.  That one will definitely look better on the dark blue door.  I might not get it finished for this year anyway!

Monday, 16 November 2015

The twins' first birthday - by Bex

As I had hoped, the twins' birthday week was amazing!  I really need to spend some time editing my own photos of the week and write about what we got up to and our fun party but for now, here's a sneaky peek from the wonderfully talented Laura.  I am so lucky to have become friends with Laura since moving down south and as usual, she didn't disappoint when we hired her to document the babies' birthday trip to Sea Life Brighton.  You may remember Laura also took photos of us 16 days before the twins were born and 15 days after Kalyan and Priya appeared!

Anyway, Laura has kindly sent me over a few pictures as she started editing our shoot.  I already love them!  I cannot wait to see the rest in a couple of weeks!!!  Here are a couple of my favourites for now but I'll be sure to be back with the rest!

We had such a great day out!  The twins were so curious and interested in everything, touching crabs, anemones and sea stars, it was a brilliant place to spend their special day.

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