3: the magic number!

Dear Olivia,
you turned “almost three” today! This is what you have been saying when asked…the concept of time is still a bit funnily confusing for you. This past year you have surprised us as we could have not possibly imagined. You moved to a new class at nursery, ditched the dummy, went through an overseas move, learned to use the potty, dealt with the arrival of your baby brother, started a new school, got your first haircut. And you did all this in such a natural way that we almost forgot you are only 3. Your life has been turned upside down and you have been dealing with things and behaving and growing as it was normal business. We were a bit distracted over the summer and all of a sudden we were looking at you and realising you had grown into a beautiful and funny and smart little lady. You make us laugh in a way no one does, you make us proud in a way no one else can understand, you keep learning and improving at a speed we cannot control, you keep changing in a way we feel lucky to witness. You are 3 today and we can only wish you to be the way you are for the rest of your life.
With love, mamma and papa’.

Why I love April

April is my favourite month of the year and I can give you 10 (maybe 9!) good reasons why it should be your favourite too.

  1. spring has officially started, whether the weather knows it or not
  2. end-of-winter blues are generally over
  3. the days are visibly longer
  4. the air smells good
  5. there is colour everywhere
  6. people have a positive attitude
  7. wool clothing is no longer around
  8. you can say hello to fresh food
  9. it is ok to have ice cream outside
  10. it is my birthday month J
And to celebrate the start of the month in style, we paid a visit to the RHS Gardens Wisley last Saturday. It was a bit windy, but nonetheless a beautiful day to be surrounded by nature and spend time with friends. The gardens were beautiful and in bloom; they truly are an English love affair! And while I was having a quick solitary stroll around my dream cottage (last picture below) and neatly laid flower beds, I reminded myself why I fell in love with botanical art so much since moving to England. The love and care for the plant world is visible at every corner, everything is perfect the way it is, and the peace that that brings to the soul is almost second to none; this is the same feeling I get when I work on a botanical painting. And I’m almost certain that the trip to the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew to celebrate my birthday in a few weeks’ time will be even better.
I’ll leave you with a few pics from last weekend.

My Personal Blogging Editorial Calendar

It has only been this year that I started to blog more regularly and started planning in advance my blog’s posts. The switch happened after reading an article from Kam of Campfire Chic in her ‘better blogging’ archive (this one). Before then, I never really thought myself as a blogger, and still don’t to be honest, but reality is I have been blogging since 2009 and that makes me a blogger. I don’t want to start talking about the reasons why I blog, that is a possible subject for another post, but I started to enjoy the weekly tasks, the coming up with a topic and, most of all, the record of things I have been building up during the past five years.

My editorial calendar is very simple and flexible. Since I’m using the Moleskine 12-month diaries this year, I have downloaded one of their free templates (the weekly notebook alternative template in pocket size, here). I have printed out 13 pages to cover the 52 weeks in a year and folded each in 3 pieces to nicely fit at the back of each monthly diary.

The tedious part was writing down the month/week/day on each page, but I did that while watching some tv and didn’t take too long after all.

Since my planning is more or less on a weekly basis, I tend to shift things around very often, especially is something comes up at the last minute and I want to blog about it. For this reason I use post-it notes, the index ones, as they perfectly fit in the space allocated for each day. I write down the topic and I stick it on the planner, and eventually move it around.

I was originally planning to use a colour coding system since I have some recurring topics I write about, like The Pick of the Month, the 52 project, and so on, but it wasn’t worth the effort so I just stuck to orange for the 52 project blog posts, which go live every (!) Monday and to green for all the posts that goes into my other blog SketchingIn Colour (Tuesdays and Thursdays only!).

So far this method has worked wonderfully for me; it gives me the flexibility and organisation I need to stick to my plans and gives me time to plan and schedule in advance, especially when I’m too busy or on holiday.

How do you plan your blog posts?

Pick of the Month: March // My favourite online shop

I casually discovered this amazing shop on Etsy, and I have fallen in love since! The first time I went through this shop I was very tempted to buy almost everything they had in stock, but that was because of my pregnancy hormones, and so glad I closed up the page and went back to it the day after with a much clearer mind (otherwise we would have been bankrupt by now!). I ordered a few essential pieces in one go, much needed because of my 4-month-pregnant belly! And if you are wondering if this is a maternity shop, my answer is NO! but because of their loose designs, most of their dresses can easily house a growing belly and to me it is a relief buying clothes that can be also worn after the baby is out.
So far I have ordered quite a few pieces, dresses and blouses, and I’m so pleased with the tailoring, the fitting and the price. Just check the size of their model before ordering to make sure it fits your height (I’m petite and the length of the dresses was perfect).

PS: This is not a sponsored post in anyway. I just love this shop and wanted to share it.

Happy Valentine’s Day

To all the lovely people out there: Happy Valentine’s Day…whether you celebrate the day or not, whether you are in love with someone or with yourself,  whether you are just looking forward to the weekend or hoping today will pass quickly!