Little Princess Wish List

Now that you know I am a big fan of Little Princess allow me to share with you several beautiful things coveted by me.

Crown fit for a princess…

from English Heritage

Gold Crown

 

 

Pure and simple…

Beautiful night gown by lavenderave

wgown

 

 

Who is the master of mud and puddle now?

Red Hunter Wellies from All Sole

wellies

 

 

Meet Mr Aurelius Steiff…

Cute teddy by Steiff

Steiff-Aurelius-Teddy-Bear

 

 

And there is something for the Big Princess too….

Nightgown dress by Peter Jensen

gowndress

 

 

There are times when you have to fake it…

Delicate crown by International Fun Shop

Fun Shop

 

Big Princess goes retro…

Red Vintage Boots by Modcloth

redboot

I hope these pretty things have cheered you up a bit.

Thank you for visiting,

Zuzana

Little Princess

To encourage children to watch TV is probably the essence of bad parenting but I must say that since there is very little time for me to watch anything else but children’s programs nowadays, I have grown rather fond of some telly gems for kiddies. My baby daughter wakes up at 6am which is when kiddie shows start and, usually being well-organized, we complete our morning rituals and ablutions in time to watch a few of our favourite cartoons with a cup of English tea for me and a bottle of English milk for the baby.

The other day I caught myself being slightly frustrated because I had missed the beginning of Little Princess as I had to change the nappy for the second time. The little girl is addicted to water! We are very selective as to what she can watch even when it comes to cartoons and Little Princess is definitely on the to-view list.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Little Princess, it’s a series based on books by Tony Ross about a four-year old girl who lives in a castle with a selection of truly intriguing characters as befits the royal household.

Little Princess

Little Princess

If your child of tender age has read Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and fallen in love with the book because it has touched the natural philosopher within, your offspring is likely to subconsciously cultivate a brooding existentialist type of persona. Unless you can counterbalance this by introducing them to a character who likes to get dirty in the mud rather than torturing herself over a vain rose.

We like Little Princess with her toothy grin, northern accent and mop of unkempt hair, who seems to own not much else but a plain nightgown and  a shabby teddy. She is cheeky, feisty, mischievous and inquisitive, playful, there in your face and doesn’t care about clothes. Her best friends are the General who is ever so slightly gender-ambiguous, the Maid who has a daring touch of burlesque-style glamour for a maid about her, the Admiral who is a charming eccentric of a lunatic asylum assortment, the Prime Minister who governs the kingdom riding a tricycle, the Gardener tending to some suspicious greens, the theatrical French cook with a demeanor of a marriage-fraudster in hiding, and an opportunistic canine-feline duo lurking around. And, of course, an invisible friend (surely a cross-dresser) voiced by the fabulous Julian Clary.

I genuinely love this cartoon. To learn more please check out The Little Princess Kingdom website:

http://www.littleprincesskingdom.com/

Now here’s a show that teaches about tolerance and the value of life’s simple pleasures whatever your mental condition. Every Little Prince needs a Little Princess is all I’m saying.

Horrible Insects Encounter I

Are you one to get a fit of hysteria upon spotting a tick crawling up your leg? Would you be likely to toss your grandmother’s heirloom fine china teacup out of the window should a caterpillar decide to skinny dip in your afternoon brew? Do you go paralytic on a sudden sighting of a spider bungee-jumping off the ceiling and making a beeline for your pillow while you’re abed? If the answer to any of the above is yes, look away now.

If you dislike creepy crawlies perhaps you should skip this piece immediately, forget you ever knew me and pick up some revulsion-free reading instead. For the following is the true account of my own close encounter with what is, in my opinion, the Alien of the insects universe. Fast breeding, expert in the art of concealment, adaptable, super-resilient, blood thirsty and hard to kill, this creature is the ultimate survivor. And it is ugly. Meet the bed bug.

I have hesitated for a long time as to whether to share this experience publicly. For one, having been afflicted by the bed bug plague carries a certain stigma. Oh yes, I too had uttered some snooty comments about ‘such filthy people’ when I saw a documentary programme on TV featuring sanitary conditions in cities some years ago. Two, I wanted to just wipe the memory of this short-lived yet intense  affair out of my mind for good. And three, I didn’t want to fall into disrepute of making my readers cringe with disgust.

Looking back though, I was grateful to have read stories of other people who shared their experience because, panic stricken as I was, I was relieved to hear that I wasn’t alone and I didn’t have bed bugs for the lack of cleanliness. Not by far. Also, I was able to convince my husband that I wasn’t going through some behavioral phase of bizarre nesting paranoia since I was one month from giving birth.

It was November 2011 and I had just started my maternity leave, enormously looking forward to the last month of pregnancy. December was to be my time of pampering crowned by the Christmas festivities and my last true carefree holidays for many years to come. I had planned on taking long indulgent baths, listening to some beautiful music with my feet up, reading feel-good books, practising breathing techniques, even positively visualizing the imminent D-day as advised by the silliest of the mum-to-be literature.

When a friend came by one day, little did I know that the doorbell rang goodbye to my wonderful plans. Brandishing a Moses basket, she entered my house with a beaming smile of a gift-giver. The basket was a hand-me-down from our friend’s friend’s acquaintances but appeared in good condition. I was just about to buy one but since I hadn’t gotten around to it yet I accepted it as a back-up in case the baby came before I got the new basket. What happened next proved that I had made a grave mistake. Okay, I have to go tend to the baby so I pause here and you guess. Stay tuned for the next installment of the insect horror tale.

Little Prince Wish List

Looking for a thoughtful gift? If so, take a look at this rather excessive list of beautiful gift ideas inspired by Little Prince

I just couldn’t resist.

Wooden Model Biplane

To search for friendship in the desert…

2. Andromeda Gemstone Globe

To dream of galaxies far away…

3.  Illuminated Star Globe

To fall asleep gazing at stars…

5. Insulated Green Pants by Vital Outdoors

To run wild…

6. Green Top by Juicy Tots

To have your own star…

7. Green Scarf by Clanarans

To be cosy…

8. Little Prince Plate by La Boutique du Petit Prince

To savour the taste…

9. Mug by La Boutique du Petit Prince

To enjoy the quiet…

10. Diary 2013 by La Boutique du Petit Prince

To cherish memories…

12. Silk Scarf by La Boutique du Petit Prince

To feel the lightness…

13. T-Shirt by La Boutique du Petit Prince

To take it easy…

14. Music Box by La Boutique du Petit Prince

To sing to a sweet melody…

15. Baby Desert Booties

To walk tall even if you’re so small…

16. Baby Play Booties by Pips

To tiptoe…

17. Notebook

To say something nice…

Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Book has quite possibly been my best friend. Not a particular book, but book as a species. And not a substitute for human friends I may or may not have fallen out with or because I couldn’t find any friends. Book has always been there in a physical sense when my human companions were not. Maybe the fact that I am one of those nerds that always carries a book with them everywhere has something to do with it (including places a book should never be taken).

Apparently, some books stay with you for life. But how should I know? I’m not dead yet. There have, however, been books that have kept me a constant company so far. Like ever present conscience,  they are at times chicken soup for the tender soul, at times an itchy wart you just want to rip out.

For me, the charming novella Little Prince is such a constant silent presence. Something about the sad story touches the child inside, the time of life when things were clear and simple. That child knew how things should be.

This is a story worth coming back to time and time again, whether you need to remind yourself of simple rules of human goodness or you finally want to read a book featuring baobabs. Not being dictatorial but I believe a copy of this book should occupy a spot of honour on everyone’s shelf, if you can take the melancholy.

Little Prince comes up with some wise lines about life but the one quote I shall be reading and re-reading to my child is this one: Quand on a terminé sa toilette du matin, il faut faire soigneusement la toilette de la planète. When you’ve finished getting yourself ready in the morning, you must go get the planet ready.

You’ve got to get them at the early age. Never mind the higher meaning, it’s the clearing the mess they make I have in mind. Your room is your own planet. Now off you trot and wipe that paint off the wall.

Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry

Back to Work With Baby Brain

So the inevitable was bound to happen one day. My maternity leave came to an end and I returned to work after 7 months of crash course in motherhood.  Coming to terms with the new status quo has been a bumpy ride, to say the least. Especially those first months when we were getting used to having a new person in our life and the baby was getting used to, well, life. Apparently, the journey is never to cease.

Despite various trials of the strength of the spirit and hilarious tribulations often involving lots of wipes and paper towels, I can report that the baby is still alive and well and I have not been apprehended by social services. That has to count for success, surely. And I didn’t even attend any parenting class nor read any books on the topic, blindly relying on my maternal instinct.

There had been a few times when I thought that I had inadvertently killed the baby. I worried constantly. Do I give her enough milk or will she end up malnourished like those African babies seen in charity campaigns?  What if I feed her too much and she’ll grow to be the fattest little cherub among dainty angels in the nursery? Do I keep her warm enough or will the morning find her blue-lipped, her tiny fingers stiff with cold? Perhaps I wrap her too much? Am I thus one of those pushy mothers stifling the child spiritually also, and so early on in the childhood? This can only end up in a nasty rash and suppressed neurosis in later life. Have I broken any of her tiny bones without even knowing it?

At every baby clinic I imagined the nurse’s condemning eyes watching me, waiting for the tell-tale sign of child abuse. I noted how the other mothers breezed through the undressing, nappy changing and dressing their tots with easy elegance of motion and self-assured serenity written all over their faces. Sensing their disapproval of my baby-handling techniques, I imagined their head-shaking, their contemptuous sniggering behind my back.

At the end of the clinic, another mum smiled at me.

‘My firstborn,’ she said apologetically. ‘Glad I didn’t break him.’

‘Oh, mine firstborn too,’ I said.

‘No way,’ she said. ‘You make it look so easy.’

Thank you, unknown mum. That comment perked me up.

Because this baby is very unfortunate to have an extremely clumsy woman for a mother. This woman also happens to have very low levels of manual dexterity.  I have gone through a good deal of both joy and fear that made a pact to co-exist against the odds. As a result, I am sure the poor little biscuit must have picked up not merely on my physical ineptness but also on the emotional imbalance (although that I blame on hormones). Well, we’ll see what her future psychotherapist will have to say…

I concluded the baby would be safer in her father’s charge. Since the Boy’s occupation allows him to stay at home and take care of the girls during the day I am free to work regular business hours. And so the decision was made and on one sunny summer morning I discarded the loose shapeless garments and put on my work clothes, stretching a few seams here, straining a few stitches there in the process. As I stepped into my work shoes I felt I was stepping into my smart old self again.

But I wasn’t much prepared for such a blow to my ego. While at home, I did have a nagging sensation that the connection between my brain synopses was becoming slower. When I took the baby for a routine check, and the nurse asked to confirm the baby’s date of birth, I willed the words to come out but I just blank-stared, my mouth opening and closing, like a netted carp. The thought-embryo remained trapped inside my head as the cells failed to relay the information. The spark had gone out. The nurse waited, impatiently tapping her pen against her note pad. To spare me an embarrassment she looked in the baby health book herself and triumphantly jabbed the page with the ball point.

‘Ah!’ she said. ‘Here it is.’

‘Yes,’ I nodded sheepishly. ‘That’s it, right there.’

‘Don’t feel bad,’ she said.  ‘I’ve already had my coffee!’

There had been countless occasions when my grey matter had proved sluggish and neurons had taken their sweet old time to shift but the baby clinic faux pas should have been my warning sign. What sort of mother doesn’t remember her child’s date of birth?! Especially when the birth happened so recently.

But I ignored it, being determined to become once again a woman of rational thought, sharp perceptions, eloquent expression and quick wit. On the morning of the first day I evilly cackled at the thought of the Boy being stuck with the baby and pans and pots while I am out and about, being all professional.

Well, I can tell you that smirk of mine froze my face when I caught myself staring helplessly at the flat screen at my old desk, unable to recall what it was I actually used to do here. Someone asks me a perfectly reasonable work-related question. I nod vigorously while inwardly I am willing the brain to decode the meaning of a perfectly ordinary range of words arranged in a logical order. A demented grin is the best I can do for now.

By mid-morning I try to think of ways to keep my lids off of my eyes. All I can think of is sleep.  If I do allow a little indiscretion and slip into a micro kip, images of Little Princess, Peppa Pig and Mr Men flit behind my closed eyes.

Naturally, the pesky little characters all have their own catchy tunes and they always worm their way into your head. Thus I have been heard involuntarily humming the silly melodies at most inappropriate moments. Like when absently acknowledging concerns (bordering on complaint) from a very important associate. Don’t worry, in the end the endearing song from 64 Zoo Lane turned him in my favour and we made friends and closed the deal. All ended well.

Despite drinking endless cups of strong coffee to keep awake at the end of the work day I want to crawl under the desk and forget about the world (only when caffeine-induced palpitations signal the impending collapse will I begin to worry). Instead, I forgot to get off at my stop as I had sunk into deep sleep on the train. When I asked one of the underground staff how the hell I am supposed to find my way out of this labyrinth, he seemed worried. I think that he interpreted my exasperation as a cry for help on some existential level. I couldn’t blame him really. By this time, I was dishevelled, with dark circles under the eyes and ravenous (hunger makes me quite frighteningly irritable). For a moment I thought he might consider calling security but he appeared to take a pity on me instead and pointed the way to fresh air. It was humiliating but I didn’t care. The good thing is that at the end of the undignified first day as a working mother, there was the sweetest little girl waiting for me at home. And she doesn’t think I’m stupid.

Lush Crush

Switching between overground and underground at the Liverpool Street Station on my way to and from work, I pass one of the Lush stores. The combination of heavy scent and intense colour always knocks me out. In a good way. Fighting the urge to enter the shop proves mostly futile. And once you let yourself being lured in, it’s like you have entered a three-dimensional Fauvist painting and you begin to ride the carousel of sensory madness! Ok, I’ll quit such contrived metaphors at once. Just go and see for yourself if you happen to pass a Lush shop. The relevance of the choice of this topic for my post is not as random as you may think. If you are trying to lose that post-baby weight I recommend nipping into Lush on a regular basis. The fact that the lovely smellies are conceived of as giant sweets (certainly the mint-coloured soap I scored could pass for Kendal cake’s doppelgänger taken out of the context) has its advantages. My senses get such a visual and aromatic overload that I get sick even so much as thinking of candy. I won’t touch anything sugary for the day. Works for me, I discovered. Anyway, I love Lush vibrant displays; they always cheer me up on a rainy day. I want to share a few images with you. They were taken last Christmas.

Looks delicious, non?