20.4.14

Easter Sunday in the Forest





This morning we decided to go for a little hike in the forest, near the Waldsee. It is a short walk from our apartment and the weather was perfect for a stroll outside before lunch and nap time. The hike up is a little toddler-treacherous at points, a steep drop off and narrowed path, and I wondered to Charles if this might be too much for the little guy, but Edwin did a wonderful job and had a great time exploring the woods, as did we. 

The path was almost deserted—luck us—we had the forest all to ourselves. Just when we thought the magic couldn't get any more magical we were treated to the beautiful sounds of the Easter bells from the church below...



Hope you are having a wonderful long weekend.

Happy Easter!
xx Bess



11.4.14

TGIF!


I rarely thank god that it's Friday, but this week I am! We made it through our first week in our new Freiburg routine; Papa at work and Mama at home with Edwin. Granted, this won't be our routine forever, but while we look for a suitable childcare solution (daycare spaces are very hard to come by here, as are apartments) I have returned to my solo-parenting daytime duties. It wasn't that long ago that I was home with Eddie full-time, from birth until 14 months when he started part-time daycare, and then a couple days a week until he starting going full-time to daycare at 18 months. A lot changes though in 9 months in the life of a toddler, and 27-month-old-Eddie is a whole different can of worms. 

These days feel more intense, interesting and exhausting (I think there will always be an element of exhaustion when it comes to motherhood, no?). We go on adventures, and chat, he can help me do laundry or load the dishwasher, carry home the bread from the bakery, and he notices all the wonderful little details around us that I might otherwise miss. He's funny and bright, and having the time of his life—for about five minutes. Then there's the flip side, he drags the laundry across the balcony, pushes buttons on the dishwasher while it's running, drops the bread on the way home from the bakery, ignores me and my commands to "Stop and wait for Mama!". He's whiny, mischievous, and says no to anything and everything I suggest or offer—for about the next five minutes. We seem to oscillate between these two Eddies quite frequently throughout the day. 

I guess that's being two years old, right?! (Please agree here!)

It's a little bit like living with a crazy person, the days are exhausting not just because of our outings and the general physical nature of being with a toddler, but more so emotionally, the ups and downs of his absolute most wonderful self juxtaposed with his strong will and determination to be his most oppositional self. My back is also taking a beating with all the picking up I have to do... "Mama, I wanna pick you up." He really means he wants me to pick him up, but sometimes the other version sounds so much more inviting. 


In all honesty, I'm really thrilled that we've been given this time together again. When he was at daycare in Montreal, I always felt guilty that I wasn't spending enough time with him—a common feeling for working moms, I'm sure. The situation now is good though, I know it's not going to last forever, so we are making the most of it. We're working through the difficult moments that happen for all of us as we grow and learn new things, and basking in the amazingness of tractors, chasing pigeons and comforting "pick you ups". 

Ahhh, life with a 2 year old...

xo Bess

8.4.14

WE'RE HERE!


We have been in Freiburg for just over a week now, and I am happy to report that things are going very well. The days leading up to our departure however were stressful, to say the least. Edwin developed laryngitis / croup on the Friday before the Monday we were leaving. I spent most of the weekend taking care of him, and the majority of Sunday morning we spent at the walk-in clinic waiting to be seen. Luckily, the doctor also diagnosed an ear infection and we got medication for both ailments, unluckily we had a very sick little boy on our hands who needed to board a plane in 24 hours and a ton of packing still to do. Fun times—NOT. So, Charles took over most of the packing/cleaning/storing duties and I tried to keep Edwin happy and on the road to recovery. The meds for the croup kicked in pretty quickly and his breathing and cough started to improve. He did a great job on the plane, slept like a champ and stayed happily in his car seat for the entire 7 hour flight (I highly recommend travelling with a car seat). I think all those trips between Montreal and Toronto paid off, because (knock on wood) this kid is a good traveller. We had to change planes in Frankfurt and the last leg of the trip was a bit more trying than the first—jet lag, illness, and the fun of the airport was wearing off. We did however make it, and only suffered one luggage causality, we left the car seat in the taxi that took us from the Basel airport to Freiburg. So, Eddie's car seat is in Switzerland at the moment. I do have to give my husband a big, public, high-five for the stellar job he did packing my 27" iMac and Epson printer, both arrived safely. Thank you Charles, I should have never doubted your genius. (If you plan to take your computer on a flight email me and we can recommend a flight case.)



When we left Montreal we were wearing parkas, hats, mits and boots, thankfully spring is in full bloom here. I hated wrestling Eddie into those snow pants every morning. Speaking of Edwin, he is thriving. The freedom he has to run around by the Dreisam river, just a few minutes from our apartment, is unparalleled. We are all enjoying it so much. We spend a huge portion of our days outside, exploring, walking, running, climbing, jumping, touching, looking, smelling and listening to all the new things around us. I feel like this proximity to nature is what had been missing in our lives. North America provides the suburbs and countryside as an alternative to the hustle and bustle of city living, but Europe generally manages to keep cities liveable. We have always lived in a city and will likely continue to do so for Charles' job, but have also longed to be surrounded by the freedom and beauty that nature provides, I feel like this is what we have found here. Freiburg is not a big city though, with 230,000 inhabitants and surrounded by the Black Forest—and with the Mayor a member of the Green Party—it's not an impossible feat to make nature and city feel seamless, of course it takes a lot of planning and a strong will for it to succeed but it is possible—and it works so well here!

There are many more things to share about what life is like here, and I'm sure my opinions will continue to change as we spend more time in Freiburg. For now though, things are looking up! And, if you want to follow our journey in photos, I'm posting daily to my Instagram feed.

xo Bess

21.3.14

New iPad Background


I popped my Happy Spring illustration from yesterday onto my iPad last night and thought it looked pretty good as a background. So, I've made it available as a download should anyone else want a Happy Spring background from English Muffin. It would probably work on iPhones too, or any other device for that matter.

Download here. For personal use only, please :)

Enjoy!
xo Bess

20.3.14

HAPPY SPRING!


We did it! We survived this long, cold winter. Even Edwin is over all the snow and cold, it's been like wrestling a full-grown tiger trying to get him dressed in his snowsuit for the last few weeks.

So happy to see you Spring!

xo Bess

19.3.14

Videos are fun!

Since moving to Montreal almost four years ago, I've had the opportunity to meet so many creative, kind, inspiring, encouraging and really wonderful people. I've met many of these people as a result of English Muffin, and I'm always thrilled when new projects and collaborations emerge from these new relationships.

Earlier this year, Melania and Manuel of Emesval Photography, approached me about shooting some of my work for a video they were producing for the lovely Marie-Josée of the boutique Identi-T. Marie-Josée opened her shop at the end of 2013 and she wanted to create an exciting and fun video to introduce her customers to all of the wonderful made in Québec products that she carries. 

I think the video is so stinking cute—and the little boy is pretty adorable too ;)

Enjoy!

5.3.14

BIG SALE, VERY BIG SALE!

You read it correctly, English Muffin is having a 50% OFF (almost) EVERYTHING in the shop sale. In an effort to lighten our luggage for the move to Germany, I am selling off as much remaining stock as I can. Quantities are limited! Some prints have already sold out, so shop quickly before your favourite items are gone! 

Want to see what's on sale? Click here

Happy Shopping!
xo Bess

PS. If you want to be the first to hear about sales, news and other shop happenings, sign-up to the English Muffin Mailing List (sign-up form is in right hand column) ---------->

28.2.14

The Animal Colouring Book


Have you seen our Animal Colouring Book? It was another item I created for the Holiday shows, and now it's available in my shop (just a few months later...). The 12 illustrations are based on the 123 Animals Print, with a couple new ones in there as well. The Animal Colour Book makes a great gift for little ones, my personal product tester can attest to that ;)

Happy Friday!
xo Bess