04.06.15 Lola ate a 20p coin (and a warning about batteries)

she ate a 20p piece

So Lola ate a 20 pence coin.

Of all the things I worry about with the kids, swallowing money did not come onto my radar. None of them really put things in their mouth any more. When I saw my 3 year old choking in front of me, in our bedroom, I still did not think… she’s eaten a coin. Until she asked us whilst making the gagging, retching, choking noises of a toddler with a metal object stuck in her throat to ‘get the money out’.

A surreal experience of first aid, throwing her over my knee and hitting on the back between her shoulder blades, which did not empty out what she had in her mouth, a call to 999, a few vomiting episodes, an ambulance ride and an X ray later we knew it was definitely a coin. 56 hours later, we had poked around enough poo to find that magical piece of metal that had been places no human eye would wish. If you have no desire to see what a coin that has travelled through an acid bath of the human digestive tract looks like, then look away about now.

she ate a 20p piece

During the whole ‘experience’ I learnt I am not bad in a crisis. Those first aid lessons I had 8 years ago came rushing back. Apart from my initial horror of watching her choking, the only time I felt the gurgle of sickness rise up in my throat was when the paramedic questioned whether it could be a coin shaped battery. These little things containing lithium which fit into clocks, watches, toys, electric scales etc, can burn holes in your oesophagus and corrode your insides. They can be fatal. She reminded me this in the ambulance and I wanted to VOM. I had taken some upstairs to change the batteries from the scales in my bathroom and I couldn’t be absolutely certain she hadn’t found and used these as money until I called home and had him check.

So here’s the thing. You might not think it but kids swallow things ALL THE TIME. When we were in A&E, we were there with another little boy who had swallowed a ball bearing from a game he was playing. My friends little girl swallowed her wedding ring. These things happen. But when you consider where most of us keep batteries, in a drawer in the kitchen? (like me), in devices that can easily be opened by children, it is literally an accident waiting to happen. So think about moving them to somewhere similar to where you keep your medical supplies, high up and out the way of little fingers.

So thank God, fate, the world, karma for good shit happening. All is well in the house of Chalkio and we have 3 healthy kids. Breathe, smile, grin. Now tell me, have you ever swallowed a foreign object you didn’t actually mean to?

 

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21.05.15 Dressing up as a Roman

Dressing up as a Roman Day at school.

Homemade kids Roman costume

Homemade kids Roman costume

Roman hair

I remembered on the Sunday. Toga making time. As luck would have it she wanted to be a rich Roman lady as funnily enough, they get to wear lots of jewellery and make up. They also had enough money to buy fabrics that were dyed and therefore didn’t have to be white. There are a lot of simple instructions on how to make a toga online and a peasant costume can be made with even a simple white T shirt or pillowcase and a piece of string as a belt.

Obviously wanting to be true to the fashion whilst using a little creative licence, I also searched the images of TV series  ‘Spartacus’ for the costumes used in the show. This gave me a really good idea of how to put all our pieces together. The hair being braided into two small plaits either side was an effective finishing touch.

Her Rich Lady Roman Costume consisted of:

A cot bed jersey sheet with the fitted elastic cut from the bottom and two sides but kept at the top, wrapped around her and fastened with safety pins.

Green and gold scarf of mine worn as a sarong and crossed/knotted around her neck.

Thin gold belt, gold costume jewellery, all mine.

Plus a special last minute Sunday purchase from TopShop of the gold headpiece.

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08.01.15 Lola Wears

lola wears The Brand

lola wears The Brand

lola wears The Brand

She looks so good in black. She loves looking at herself in the pictures as soon as you take them. How would she have survived before digital?

Flounce Cotton top: The Brand

Jersey long sleeve top (underneath) – Next

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07.01.15 Black and white makes me happy

black and white edit

A few of my favourite scents. My new ‘going out purse’ and an old school bracelet thatis the perfect mix of chunky and cool. Oh and a black and white striped box. Say no more.

Perfume: Korres

Candle: & Other Stories

Skull Wallet: Zadig and Voltaire

Bracelet: All Saints

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07.01.15 Fashion: Lola Wears

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This girl. She cracks me up. My baby. My number 3. The craziest of the lot. That’s Lola.

Sunglasses: Disney

T-shirt: H&M

Jeans and Neon Star pumps: Gap

 

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07.01.15 January: A fresh start

Around the year by Elsa Beskow

I love this book my friend Geraldine bought the kids last year. Around the Year by Elsa Beskow.

It pretty much shows me what I need to do round here. Simplify and get back to creating.

Happy New Year to you all!

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24.10.14 Sibling love: How to keep them loving each other

 

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sibling love

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I really can’t explain the bond between siblings. I have 3 children. They are all close, individually with each other and as a three. But how have I encouraged this and what do I do to keep it this way?

(P.S. They are 7, 5 & 3…I can’t promise this will work forever but it has done us all pretty well so far ;)

1. Keep them physically close

My youngest two still sleep together, in single beds they want pushed together so it’s like them sharing one bed. I might as well have put them both in a double. I shared with my sister until I was nearly a teen and loving or hating her at times it’s like sharing a dorm or a house at university. You are bound by a shared experience and a physical closeness of being a team, sharing a space. It won’t work for everyone but if your children want to sleep together don’t dismiss it just because you have enough bedrooms for them all.

2. Promote a positive family expectation in discussions and arguments.

I don’t allow my children to talk badly to each other whenever possible. They have to explain themselves to each other and apologise. Properly. Kiss, cuddle, make up, whatever! But it has to be genuine. I tell them that in life your family is always first. That we will all be here for each other no matter what and that means thinking about your brothers and sisters when planning things and playing games too.

3. Enjoy playing and holidaying together

We love to take them on holiday. Luckily we can afford to do this every year and for us its a priority. I’d say most of our favourite memories and experiences come from a trip somewhere and one that we have taken together. Neither of my parents are alive but i have a special bond with my sister even though we don’t see each other often, because we shared a childhood of memories together that no one else has shared with us….and yes we definitely hated each other a lot at points too! I recently met someone with a large family of brothers and sisters, all now with their own families. She said they were all still really close. I asked how and she told me that every Summer her parents rent a house for 6 weeks and invite everyone to stay. They all manage to cross over staying there for at least a few days and that special time is what keeps the families connected and still making memories even though they are all grown up.

4. Visual encouragement

I’m a visual person. Everything I see matters and it also influences me on a daily basis. I think my children may learn in this way too. If Lola doesn’t want to go swimming, if i show her a video from my phone of her swimming unaided and show her what she is capable of its like she suddenly remembers and is a lot less resistant about going. It’s the same with the way they act towards each other. If I take photos of them having fun together or even of places or things that we have done together it triggers a memory of positivity towards each other. Keeping or showing them photos or videos of them together often brings out a sentimental part where they want to create how good they felt and this has an immediate effect on how they interact with each other.

5. Don’t expect too much

I like my children to have a caring responsibility for each other. If they fall over, help them up, check they are Ok etc. but not many children want to be 2nd parents to their siblings. They are siblings and friends and over and above looking after each others well being I would not expect them to ‘babysit’ each other. This generally leads to resentment and feelings of dissatisfaction about their role in the family.

6. Finally spend time on each child individually

This is easier said than done but there should always be times every so often where each child can feel special without his siblings being there. One on one time with your children is the fastest way to boost feelings of happiness and make each member of the family seem important, even if this is done inside the home whilst the others are occupied. I try and spend an extra 10 minutes at night sitting talking and reading with all my children and I love buying experiences for their birthdays as opposed to things so that they get a memory which lasts, sometimes together and sometimes just for them.

siblings

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09.10.14 Art: Rafael and Jimmy

So I’m just a little bit in love with Rafael and his dog Jimmy Choo.

Rafael and Jimmy

Apparently using his art as a hobby, Brazilian Rafael Mantesso, found himself taking more pictures of his dog after being left alone in an empty house after his divorce.

Rafael and Jimmy

Rafael and Jimmy

A very small part of me thinks about one day having a dog for the kids and also for security, if it could be perfectly trained and well behaved! I’m not sure how I’d feel about a Jimmy if he ate my Jimmy Choos?!

Do you have a dog and children? How do you find the balance?

Follow Jimmy and Rafael on Instagram here.

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25.09.14 Shop: Bicester for Kids

Most of you in the UK have heard of Bicester Shopping Village   which as they describe it, is ‘a chic shopping outlet’.  It’s a designer haven of delightful shops all at discount prices near Oxford.  During the Summer I went to check out what they had on offer specifically for the kids.

i i love gorgeous pop up shop

My favourite store was their centrally placed pop up shop area which is changed seasonally. Over the Summer it was home to the beautiful and eclectic ‘I love gorgeous‘  which made it their own with a huge selection of pieces from ditsy prints to sequin party dresses, all colour organised in rails. A true visual treat and even included their own small garden for children and events at the back.

i love gorgeous pop up shop

i love gorgeous pop up shop

i love gorgeous pop up shop

I love gorgeous, started in 2006 by two mums and has gone from strength to strength ever since. The concept of the store at Bicester was a perfect environment to provide inspiration to other mothers looking to dress their girls in whimsical partywear and everyday funky yet feminine pieces at a reduced price to that in the stores and online. The pop up shop therefore giving people the chance to try the brand before making additional purchases when they are hooked!

The Bonpoint store was another favourite space crammed full of heart achingly divine French fashion for the little ones. From embroidered cherry logo pins to linen and cotton mix blouses perfectly chic, displayed on your very own Delphine or Pierre.

Bonpoint store at Bicester

Stella McCartney‘s main store offered a beautifully curated collection of on trend designs for the smaller clientèle, including the popular cowboy boot and tiger print knitted rompers.

Stella McCartney Bicester

Stella McCartney Bicester

The village offers a wide selection of brands including Dior, Dolce and Gabbana and Gucci as well as more high street names you may be more familiar with, such as Clarks and Cath Kidston, where you can pick up the latest nappy bag or lunch box in that perfect retro print.

Cath Kidston Bicester

Hackett and Ralph Lauren also offering smaller sized pieces of their classic mens key looks. The Ralph Lauren kids shop being one of the largest and busiest stores I viewed, but with a lot of choice and a wide range of price points.

Bicester

It is never as fun to shop with the kids as it is without but there are facilities in place for the children, with good toilets and various eating spots including plenty of high chairs and playgrounds for when they really have had enough!

Bicester

Bicester playground

To get the most out of a trip here, I would definitely recommend the ‘Hands Free Shopping’ service which for a small fee, lets you make the most of browsing and purchasing without the need to carry everything you purchase around with you. This is especially helpful if you do have children with you as you can keep your hands free for making sure they don’t make a quick escape!

The village overall is perfectly laid out and just the right size to fully appreciate it in a whole day of shopping. Once parked, (valet parking is optional) everything is within a 5-10 minute stroll through the part cobbled and decorated centre. It is clean, well staffed and really quite pretty. I adored the very British red telephone boxes scattered about and feel they make a special effort to keep the grounds of the village attractive with flowers and being partly covered, it is still a great place to be hopping between the shops when the weather is not so great.

For a full list of stores available here go on to the Bicester Village website to view the map and brands available.

 

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24.09.14 Shopping someone else’s Wardrobe

jimmy choo carrera glasses

Do you do second hand, vintage or passed down? Or are you a strictly ‘brand spanking new’ only person?

I have to admit there is something about new and shiny things all wrapped up in beautiful packaging and then again, I also love something almost new, but at a fraction of the original cost.

Recently I purchased these uber cool Jimmy Choo ‘Carrera’ black and gold wayfarer style sunglasses on line from Charlotte’s wardrobe over at The Fashion Guitar. I know how much she loves her clothes and can assume therefore that she looks after them pretty well too. They arrived all the way from NYC in their case, nicely packaged and ready to wear. If I didn’t know better, I would have said they were brand new.

The popularity of the second hand designer shop is definitely on the rise where I live and really it makes sense. I buy great clothes for me and my kids, look after them and when I fall out of love, need a clothing  purge or the zip gets too tight, I take them in to one of the stores near me and someone else resells them. None of the time, effort or drama. Just a cheque at the end. It’s a great way to buy too and if you are local enough to visit these in person, you can try everything on before you buy. My most epic second hand purchase was a fitted black Givenchy jacket I paid £80 for.  It still is epic.

To buy from Charlotte’s wardrobe yourself check out her shop here. Or for inspiration, go on over and check out her style at The Fashion Guitar.

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